A sweeping, scholarly investigation of the main ligature that connects religion and science: trust.
Fishman (co-author: Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis, 2007, etc.) wrestles with a notion that has always flummoxed philosophers: the relationship between religion and science, i.e., faith vs. reason. Bucking a trend to interpret the two as mutually exclusive or two parallel modes of discourse too different to effectively communicate with one another, he argues that they share a common core: the “mysterious phenomenon of trust.” In fact, Fishman contends that science blossomed from the seeds planted by religion; science, he says, refined religion’s preoccupation with the investigation of ultimate causes and the underlying demand of doctrinal consistency. Religion focuses on the “uncreated creator,” while “science traces the skein of all causes back to, yes, exactly one cause.” The common and fertile ground of both (as well as in law) is trust. “The Scholastics, with what many still consider utterly vain arguments, were actually doing the groundwork, the essential preparation for the social institution of science,” he says. The key was “satisfying a necessary precondition for a large group of somewhat different peoples to appreciate the same problems, and be able to agree about the conditions for their solutions.” Broad in its scope, Fishman’s approach is a deeply philosophical mediation. While he focuses on Christian sources of theology, he also discusses Islam, Confucianism, Taoism and other non-Western schools of thought. While the prose is lucid, this isn’t a book for a layperson; it presupposes a strong understanding of the development of Western philosophy. In the end, science ends up much more reliant on mutual trust within a community than one might think; meanwhile, religion, also dependent upon trust, can be much more rationally rigorous.
A scrupulously researched and timely investigation for those with backgrounds in philosophy and theology.