Stephen Jay Gould Non Overlapping Magisteria Summary
In Non-Overlapping Magisteria, Stephen Jay Gould argues that religion and science do not contradict each other because each have separate magisterial, or domains of teaching authority. He claims that values and ethics are within the magisterium of religion, while empirical facts and theories are within the realm of science, and the two magisteria do not overlap. Gould claims that NOMA is a principled position that is supported on moral and intellectual grounds; however I argue that science and religion do contradict each other, and religious claims should be subject to empirical and philosophical investigation. Gould immediately begins by discounting all creationist views as illegitimate because “creationism is a local and parochial …show more content…
The problem with this premise is that Gould is severely underplaying the amount of people who believe in the literal interpretation of sacred texts. He claims that major western religions “interpret for proper understanding”, however that is a vague term. Proper understanding means very different things for different people, perhaps some people think the Bible should not be taken literally, but more in a metaphorical and allegorical sense. However, lots of religious groups around the world, including the Protestant fundamentals he refers to, think proper understanding means a literal interpretation. Therefore, NOMA only works if you discount a large amount of religious believers.
Setting that aside, my main argument against NOMA is that science and religion do contradict each other, and religious claims should be subject to empirical and philosophical investigation. In addition, I argue that morals, ethics and values are not solely under the magisterium of religion, being that religious teachings violate many of our ethical principles today. Religious and scientific teachings do contradict one another, as demonstrated by the Bible’s version of creation, and science’s overwhelming