"Does Science Threaten Religion?" By Gerber and Macionis: A Review
The article “Controversy and Debate: Does Science Threaten Religion?” has demonstrated the changing relationship between science and religion, from apparent contradictions in the past to recognizing and accepting each other in the present (Gerber & Macionis, 2018, pp. 553). The author has incorporated a structural-functional sociological perspective with secondary analysis resources and a scientific sociology approach, to show that science and religion are considered different ways of viewing life but both are equally important and can be integrated into one’s life values (Gerber & Macionis, 2018).
The reading challenges a previous argument that science and religion are opposing and only one side’s opinion is valid by showing a growing middle-ground perspective nowadays that science and religion are different ways of answering different questions about our world (Gerber & Macionis, 2018). The author did very well in supporting their thesis with reliable data and remaining a value-free perspective with consistent neutrality, which makes the conclusions valid in my opinion. However, the reading’s conclusion is only applicable to a portion of our diverse globe because all of the survey examples are taken from one part of the world, such as Canada and America (Gerber & Macionis, 2018). Therefore, one question that evokes from the reading is whether the consensus between science and religion is still applicable in other regions, especially where science is still not catching up with developed countries yet.
The author uses a structural-functional framework, which is a sociological perspective that views society as a complex and united system between interdependent parts (Gerber & Macionis, 2018). I chose this framework because the reading emphasizes the emerging consensus between religion and science (Gerber & Macionis, 2018). The author also stated that each perspective gives different answers to different questions about the world but they are all important (Gerber & Macionis, 2018). The author further supports this consensus by mentioning that scientific development has left more people in greater need of religious moral guidance (Gerber & Macionis, 2018).
The methodology used for this study is quantitative, which can be seen through examples of surveys where the author points out the numbers that are significantly relevant to the purpose of the study (Gerber & Macionis, 2018). For example, the author mentions that “a third of American adults”, “Half of Americans”, and “88 percent indicate that it is possible to be both religious and scientific” (Gerber & Macionis, 2018, pp. 553). The author also uses other secondary materials in the form of historical events such as Galileo’s contradiction with the Roman Catholic, the “Scopes monkey trial”, and the Vatican’s conclusion that the church’s decision to reject Galileo’s work is wrong (Gerber & Macionis, 2018, pp. 553). The approach of sociology being used is scientific sociology, which is an approach that closely supports the structural-functional framework (Gerber & Macionis, 2018). The scientific sociology approach studies society based on systematic observation of social behavior (Gerber & Macionis, 2018). I chose this approach because the reading uses many quantitative surveys to show the systematic new trend of accepting the co-existence of science and religion, without providing in-depth reasons why this trend emerges. (Gerber & Macionis, 2018).
Gerber and Macionis (2018) have provided a neutral and reliable study on the new trend of seeing science and religion not as separate and opposing components, but as interdependent parts of a united social system. The reading is also a representation of how sociology, or science in general, can study something as personal and non-evident-based as religion.
- Gerber, L.M., Macionis, J.J. (2018). Religion. Sociology (Ninth Edition). Don Mills, ON: Pearson Canada Inc.
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