Monday, July 15, 2013

Science and Secularization

(Harvard UP, 2007)
Science and Secularization are two words often uttered in the same breath with the assumption that science is responsible for secularization. This misunderstanding had been exposed some time ago by historians of science such as John Hedley Brooke [“Science and Secularization,” in: The Cambridge Companion to Science and Religion, ed. Peter Harrison. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 2010, pp. 103-120]. In 2007, Charles Taylor gave us a book-length evaluation of this assumption from a social and broad cultural perspective. His conclusion: secularization is the result of many developments which converged on giving people the freedom to accept or reject the Christian faith. When people turn away from God this shows in everything they do, including science.

If science has anything to do with secularization, it is that science has been and continues to be used illegitimately as a stick to beat what some consider the dead horse of religion. Here is a recent review of Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age by David Brooks from the New York Times.