Perspectives

Religion & Science are Bound Together by Public Policy and Political Authority


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A new study will examine how the relationship between science and religion impacts political power, social authority and culture, according to Dr. Myrna Perez Sheldon, assistant professor of Gender and American Religion at Ohio University and editor of “Cosmologics,” a magazine that is the project of the Science, Religion, and Culture Program at Harvard Divinity School.
Dr. Perez Sheldon believes that too often we become fixated on whether science and religion are polar opposites of one another and whether if one believes in one it precludes any belief in the other. She feels that concentration purely on science versus religion begs many more important questions.
Instead, Dr. Perez Sheldon thinks we should dig deeper and examine the relationship of religion and science and the impact of both on our political debates and cultural decision-making. She cites that in modern times that both “scientific knowledge and religious institutions are involved in debates over contentious topics such as reproductive technologies, immigration policy, environmental protection, and healthcare.”
Her most recent grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation will enable her and her colleagues to study questions such as: Who should citizens trust to make decisions about their health and bodies? Who decides whether public funds should be used to support access to contraceptives and/or abortions? And, what uses of science and technology should be considered unethical by the state?
Critical Approaches to Science and Religion also will sponsor a symposium and an edited work from scholars studying this relationship. Additionally, Dr. Perez Sheldon will be piloting a new curriculum at Ohio University to address these issues.
If you wish to explore this topic beyond the Spectrum Podcast conversation with Dr. Perez Sheldon, go to the magazine “Cosmologics”: a magazine of science, religion and culture. https://cosmologicsmagazine.com/
The magazine shifts discussion away from science versus religion and instead examines looks at the impact of each on matters such as race, gender, and inequality.