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Re: Re[2]: [escepticos] criticar a ARP-SAPc?

Hola a todos,
Sobre el tema ciencia-religin quiero compartir esta pieza que le el
otro da. Hace ya algn tiempo Nature publico un editorial sobre la
ciencia y la religin (lo pego ms abajo, ojo est en ingls) y un
lector escribi lo siguiente en la seccin de cartas al director. Que lo

Nature 433, 571 (10 February 2005) | doi: 10.1038/433571c
Would you accept advice from a believer in Santa?
D. J. Hosken1

I was horrified to read the recent Editorial "Where theology
matters" (Nature 432, 657; 2004) in the world's foremost science
journal. Not only did the Editorial appear to support the position that
science and religion deal with different aspects of reality (which they
do not: for example, either Jesus rose from the dead or he didn't 
clearly a scientific question), but it also implied that religion has
some privileged position in ethical debates.

This view is reflected in many public discussions of moral issues, where
the obligatory priest or rabbi is wheeled out to comment on some topic,
in spite of their utter lack of any qualification other than a belief in
a paranormal entity that created the Universe and all it contains. Would
you be prepared to accept fundamental advice from someone who insisted
that Father Christmas was real?

The suggestion that religion has an intrinsic and predestined role in
any ethical debate is indefensible, as a simple read of the ethics
promulgated by the Old Testament (for example) will make abundantly
clear. In most parts of the world, and certainly in the Western world,
we no longer stone adulterers to death, the sins of fathers are not paid
for by their sons, and masturbation is not viewed as a mortal sin.

It is also time for us to discard other atavisms, including pandering to
religion and pretending that this out-dated, dogmatic endeavour is
preordained to lead or advise us on any issue, ethical or otherwise.
Dogma is not ethics.

El editorial anterior de Nature:

Where theology matters
Nature 432, 657 (9 December 2004) | doi: 10.1038/432657a

The voices of religion are more prominent and influential than they have
been for many decades. Researchers, religious and otherwise, need to
come to terms with this, while noting that some dogma is not backed by
all theologians.

Theologians and philosophers have been arguing about religion and
science for centuries, so we won't presume to break any new ground here.
Besides, nearly 800 years ago, Thomas Aquinas found a way to reconcile
the two  as did Einstein, who wrote in 1930 that: "The cosmic religious
feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research."
Why not just leave it at that? Why not simply accept Pope John Paul II's
view that science and religion each "bring out different aspects of

The reason is that the two traditions regularly stray onto each other's
territories and stir up trouble. Consider the political battles over the
teaching of 'creationism' and 'intelligent design' in schools an
attempt by some religious people to foist their beliefs, masquerading as
science, on others. Science bases its conclusions on empirical data, not
on the authority of the Talmud, Bible or Koran. And even though some may
find it distressing that science recognizes no god, forcing it to do so
will only produce bad science.

Meanwhile science, allied with business, is encroaching on religion's
turf by unleashing technologies that raise profound questions about
human nature. Religious thinkers and secular ethicists are right to
raise concerns, and scientists shouldn't just charge ahead without
listening to them. Perhaps researchers will find a way to extract stem
cells without destroying the early embryo, and today's hot bioethical
dilemma will go away. But others will come along to replace it.

Jewish bioethicist and chairman of the US President's Council on
Bioethics, Leon Kass, cuts to the heart of the problem: "Victory over
mortality is the unstated but implicit goal of modern medical science."
And immortality has long been the realm of religion.

Medical science aims to relieve suffering  an unquestionably noble
goal. But religion thinks it wrong to emphasize this value over all
others. Kass again: "In parallel with medical progress, a new moral
sensibility has developed that serves precisely medicine's crusade
against mortality: anything is permitted if it saves life, cures disease
or prevents death." Most religions accept the inevitability of suffering
and death, and seek to invest life with meaning, rather than simply
extend it.

Religion and science also have different methods and standards.
"Proponents of human embryo research have argued that all scientifically
sound lines of research should be pursued simultaneously," writes Kevin
FitzGerald, a Jesuit priest and molecular biologist at Georgetown
University. "From a scientific perspective, this approach makes the most
sense. In science, when there is uncertainty, one does all the research
indicated to gain the desired knowledge and understanding," he adds.
"But what is best for science is not always best for a society and its

FitzGerald would avoid experiments he finds ethically unacceptable.
Others ask why society should be denied a medical advance just because
some of its members find it morally troubling. This is a real concern
if, as suggested on page 666, those morals are expressed with more
conviction that some theologians would support. For example, not all
Catholics believe that the Vatican's position on the status of embryos
rules out embryonic stem-cell research.

Too often the debate is full of the rhetoric of televangelists and
biotech lobbyists, who caricature each other as godless Frankensteins
and ignorant Bible-thumpers. But looking back through testimony put
before the President's Council on Bioethics, one is struck by the
high-mindedness and sincerity of the discussion.

Secular scientists (probably the majority) should avoid underestimating
the influence and rights of those who believe that only a god can give
meaning to the world, human suffering and mortality.


Francisco Perfectti <fperfect@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>