A great post on the website of Science and Religion Today by Karl Giberson, who writes about what he finds most interesting in today’s science and religion debates. Giberson finds it interesting – and clearly annoying – that the science and religion debate has become so political. Giberson is right on the spot when he writes:
It shows that there just isn’t much genuinely intellectual discourse in public any more. Everything is political. Nobody wants to dialogue about their positions—they want only to defend and promote them, and assault the other side.
As someone who aims at seeking the middle position inbetween the extremes of atheism and biblical fundamentalism, Giberson writes, he is attacked by both atheists like Jerry Coyne and biblical fundamentalists like Ken Ham and Al Mohler. Science and religion has become a discourse of hyperboles. Giberson concludes:
I am surprised and disappointed that there is not more interest in stepping back from the defense of entrenched positions and getting into serious conversations about the very engaging questions at the intersection of science and religion.
Giberson is right, or at least partly. In the public sphere, discussions concerning science and religion often turn into fights about who’s right and who’s wrong. Nuance often flies out the window very soon, humility has become a dirty word. On the other hand, however, there is the academic level of discussing science and religion – I mean the level of debate that is more abstract, that aims at a scholarly audience, or at least an audience that is willing (and able) to invest time and effort into reading articles like in Zygon or in Theology and Science. The point, however, is that the gap between those two discourses – the public discourse and the more academic one – has never been deeper and seems almost unbridgeable nowadays. And this is the real problem facing scholars working in science and religion nowadays.