Jeremy Kidwell, “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, pp. 149-159
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.
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