Religion and Science: Beyond the Epistemological Conflict Narrative

Abstract: Studies of the relationship between religion and science have traditionally assumed that any conflict that exists is based on epistemology. This assumption is built into the history of Western academic thought, the founding of sociology itself, as well as the common definitions of religion used by social scientists. This assumption has hindered the examination of the relationship between religion and science. We categorize studies of the relationship between science and religion into three groups: the symbolic epistemological conflict studies, the symbolic directional influence studies, and the social-institutional studies. We find that the social-institutional studies, which most closely examine actual public conflicts, do not presume that the conflict is over epistemological claims and offer a more general and fruitful approach to examining the relationship between religion and science.

Authors: John H. Evans and Michael S. Evans

Notice: This paper can be accessed for free using this link to the Annual Review of Sociology website.

© Michael S. Evans 2008-2017