Friday, May 15, 2009

Science and Religion

John Gray (as quoted by Žižek) makes the following interesting observation about science and religion interchanging their roles in contemporary society: "Science alone has the power to silence heretics. . . Like the Church in the past, it has the power to destroy, or marginalize, indepnedent thinkers... For us, science is the refuge from the uncertainties, promising - and in some measure delivering - the miracle of freedom from thought, while churches have become sanctuaries of doubt."

As paradoxical as this might sound, there is a lot of truth in this statement. If you ever tried mentioning the words "theory of evolution" to a biologist, you'd know that the experience is not much better than mentioning the words "the right to an abortion" to a Christian fundamentalist. People get very aggressive and start screaming "It is not a theory!!" in a way that shows a lot of emotional involvement with the subject.

Jose Ortega y Gasset, a Spanish philosopher, warned against an excessively narrow specialization of scientists in the 20ies of last century. I wish thinkers like Žižek were familiar with and incorporated into their work not only the French and the Spanish predecessors but also some Hispanic philosophers. But this is cultural hegemony for you.

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