On Science and Religion, part 3
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from All-Creatures.org


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

On Science and Religion, part 3

In general, the scientific revolution has been a disaster for nonhumans. Thanks to technologies spawned by science, humans now occupy nearly the entire globe, and we are poor neighbors to nearby nonhumans. Humans kill billions of nonhumans called “pests” or “vermin” – creatures whose principle crime has been to compete with humans for food and other resources. Perhaps more disastrous for nonhumans, modern technologies make possible the enslavement of many more billions of nonhumans to lives of pain, suffering, and misery.
From the perspective of nonhumans, there is, perhaps, a silver lining to the dark cloud that humans call “civilization.” Science is, largely, a universal language using a universal method, and its conclusions rely on evidence more than the opinions of authorities. The evidence, readily available to anyone who cares to look, shows that nonhumans of many species share similar feelings and emotions as humans. This commonality is a foundation for rights and respect.
Unfortunately for nonhumans, humanity has not abandoned Medieval thinking, which relied more on authority than evidence. For example, many people still agree with religious authorities who declare (with scant biblical evidence and without any empirical evidence) that only humans have souls, and then they confidently assert that humans are free to do to nonhumans whatever humans please. In general, animal advocates employ modern thought, which is grounded in a scientific evidence, to make a compelling case that we should treat nonhumans ethically and with respect. Tragically, even many scientists ignore this evidence, which might be inconvenient to their research programs as well as their tastes in food, clothing, etc. However, if there is a glimmer of hope for nonhumans (other than the self-destructive path humanity seems to be heading), I think it lies in what science tells us about the rich lives of nonhumans.
Some people, using the scientific approach, deny that there is evidence for God or for meaning. Is there a role of faith in a scientific, materialist world view, or should all good scientists reject religion? I’ll explore this question next essay. 

Go on to: On Science and Religion, part 4
Return to: Reflection on the Lectionary, Table of Contents 

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