Title 5 – KQ 7: How far are the knowledge claims accepted beyond evidence the areas of Religious systems and Ethics?

KQ 7: How far are the knowledge claims accepted beyond evidence the areas of Religious systems and Ethics?


By tradition and practice , Sciences have used Reason , Evidence (Sense perception) , Empiricism to build the foundation for knowledge , while Religions have depended more on Faith , Imagination , Intuition and Emotion for putting together knowing of their respective religions and at the same time recognising – in varied degrees – the philosophical and metaphysical aspects of the Universe.

The earliest elements of the scientific methods were proposed and used by deeply religious scholars from the Christian , Islamic and Pagan groups. However , every religious system always has something to disagree and dispute with Sciences be it on the method , logic , interpretation or definition of knowledge claims . The principal dispute between science and religion is seen in religious belief and empirical science to the extent that sometimes public acceptance of scientific facts require approval and endorsement from the religious groups, most debated example that of Evolution and Creationism.

Hinduism has historically embraced reason and empiricism, holding that science brings legitimate, but incomplete knowledge of the world. Confucian thought has held different views of science over time. According to John William Draper , Conflict thesis , Religion and Sciences have been in conflict in methodologically, factually and politically throughout history.

However many scientists and philosophers have stressed on the parallels and similarities in the methods employed for testing knowledge claims in both the areas of Sciences and Religious systems. Both the areas are deeply committed to Universality that protects against subjectivity . Two physicists, Charles A. Coulson and Harold K. Schilling, asserted that both areas of science and religion have “a threefold structure—of experience, theoretical interpretation, and practical application”and that science, like religion, “advances by creative imagination” and not by “mere collecting of facts,” while stating that religion should and does “involve critical reflection on experience not unlike that which goes on in science.” Science requires moral commitment comparable to those required in religion.

Moral fallibilism within the larger epistemological fallibilism , does debate between moral subjectivism and moral objectivism while holding a stand that objectively true moral standards may exist but these standards cannot be reliably and conclusively determined by humans. Thus reinforcing the idea that morality is not merely an opinion or belief that can be explained within relativism of subjectivism.

The logical positivists and later neopositivists , through verifiability principle , asserted earlier that a claim is ‘cognitively meaningful’ only if some definite procedure conclusively determines its truth , either by their analytic or by empiricism and the area of Ethics failed to meet the criterion. The debates, discussions and multiple stances in later years have assigned ‘cognitive meaningfulness’ to Ethics but there exists is a lot of room for interpretation and contextual connections.