Something to Believe In Essay

Something to Believe In Essay

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K. O’Conor
THL 5400
Fall 2013
Something to Believe In
Using the concepts discussed in Bloom, Bering and McCauley and the historical developments, discussed in Toby Huff’s “The Rise of Early Modern Science”, specifically in the Islamic World, in China, and the Western World, we are able to establish a relationship and build a connection between the two competing systems of science and religion. In Paul Bloom’s work “Religion in Natural” he dives deep into discussion, using a comparative perspective, of the naturalness of religion and the unnaturalness of science. He claims that, exactly as the title suggests, that religion is natural. Natural meaning we as human can accept it. We are born with a capacity to believe and religion is what is supposed to fill that void. Bloom continues his comparison suggesting that religion is an epidemic of sorts’ -it is easily spread with words, ideas and phrases whereas science is at its core unnatural. Most of the time science contradicts what makes sense to you. Robert McCauley, in his work “Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not”, echoes this sentiment, relaying that science is inherently social, as it takes collaboration and institutions such as peer-reviews in order to overcome cognitive biases. With this being said, science then can be understood as depending more fundamentally on institutional support than religion does, as the maximum understanding of scientific theses is "practiced naturalness" (as in literacy), depending on costly educational and institutional investments. This leads to independence, which in turn makes possible research and speculation. Toby E. Huff, in his work The Rise of Early Modern Science, parallels this notion and considers how changes in legal thou...

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...vented the emergence of autonomous institution conducive to social legitimization of scientists’ role. By using the concepts from Bering, McCauley, and Bloom, and the explorations of Huff, the connection between science and religion becomes more transparent. Religion and science can cohabitate, but in balance: With the proper environment, too much curiosity, it kills the desire to believe in religion, but without something to believe in, what can we be curious about?

Bering, The Belief Instinct, New York: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint
edition (February 20, 2012).

Huff, The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West, New York: Cambridge
University Press, 1993, 2nd ed. 2003.

McCauley, Robert N., Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not, New York: Oxford
University Press, 01 November 2011.

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