3 - Daniel Callahan


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Academic Search Premier Choose Databases » Basic Search Advanced Search Visual Search Search History AN 9604301710 in Select a Field (optional) AND in Select a Field (optional) AND in Select a Field (optional) Add Row Title: Database: Calling Scientific Ideology to Account. By: Callahan, Daniel, Society, 01472011, May/Jun96, Vol. 33, Issue 4 Academic Search Premier Calling Scientific Ideology to Account I come to the subject of science and religion with some complex emotions and a personal history not irrelevant to my own efforts to think about this matter. It seems appropriate for me to lay this history out a bit to set the stage for the argument I want to make. For the first half of my life, from my teens through my mid-thirties, I was a serious religious believer, a church member (Roman Catholic), and someone whose identity as both a person and as an intellectual had a belief in God at its center. During that time I had little contact with the sciences; literature and philosophy caught imagination. I was a fine example, for that matter, of the gap between the two cultures that C. P. Snow described, caught up as I was in the humanities and generally ignorant about science. I spent most of my time among humanists and religious believers (though believers of a generally liberal kind). All of that changed in my late thirties. Two events happened simultaneously. The first was a loss of my religious faith, utterly and totally. I ceased to be a theist, became an atheist, and so I remain today. I did not, however, have any revolt against organized religion (as it is sometimes pejoratively called) or the churches; nor did I lose respect for religious believers. They just seem to me wrong in their faith and mistaken in their hope. The second event was my discovery of the field of biomedical ethics, seemingly a fertile area for my training and an important window into the power of the biomedical sciences to change the way we think about and live our lives. With this new interest I began spending much of my time with physicians and bench scientists and worked hard to understand the universe of science that I was now entering (through the side door of biomedical ethics). Meanwhile, as I was undergoing my own personal changes, the relationship between science and religion was shifting in the country as well. When I was growing up, there was still considerable debate about religion and science, with some believers arguing that there was a fundamental incompatibility between them and others holding that they were perfectly congenial. Some scientists, for their part, wrote books about religion, saying that they had found God in their science. Others, of a more positivistic bent, thought that science had forever expunged the notion of a God and that science would eventually offer an explanation of everything. This debate seemed to subside significantly in the 1970s and 1980s. Science came almost totally to win the
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This note was uploaded on 08/31/2011 for the course STS 302 taught by Professor Nkriesbert during the Summer '08 term at N.C. State.

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