What are the ethical implications of the science-and-religion debate?


What are the ethics of the modern debates between science and religion? In this chapter I suggest that there are actually a range of different ways that the debate between religion and science might be described as ethical. I note several ways that science and religion are brought into relationship in professional scientific ethics and suggest that within the space of professional scientific ethics there has been a tendency to sideline or absorb religious ethical perspectives. I then turn to more constructive “big issue” ethics and examine two specific cases: embryonic stem cell research and climate change in order to highlight ways that science and religion can sometimes be reduced to stereotypes: that scientists work with the real world and religion deals with ideas (and not reality!). I argue that looking more closely at the range of perspectives represented by scientists and religious leaders in both cases presents a much more complex case and that this in turn commends a kind of ethics which should be jointly pursued by both science and religion.

“What are the ethical implications of the science-and-religion debate?” in Philosophy, Science and Religion for Everyone, ed. Duncan Pritchard and Mark Harris, Routledge, 2018
Jeremy Kidwell
Jeremy Kidwell
Associate Professor in Theological Ethics

Ethicist, activist, hacker, ethnographer and eco-theologian. Interdisciplinary and unafraid.