Oracles, Prophets and the Exoteric Circles of Science and Religion
KeywordsPopularization of science, Mariano Artigas, Ludwig Fleck, science and religion, demarcation criteria, conflict thesis
AbstractDrawing upon Karl Giberson and Mariano Artigas’ joint book The Oracles of Science, I discuss the limits of an emphasis on so-called philosophical bridges in the relationship between science and religion. Epistemological and metaphysical analyses of the claims by scientists and religious people are indeed necessary to avoid illegitimate extrapolations; but a clear separation between scientific and religious statements is problematic. Following Ludwig Fleck’s characterisation of the esoteric and the exoteric circles of science, I argue that popularization of science is always embedded in scientific cultures and ideological agendas and that one cannot expect a clear demarcation criterion between pure science and pure popularization. I also consider Lyda Walsh’s rhetorical analysis of the scientists as prophets to understand the oracles’ public portrayal of science in pseudo-religious terms.
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