Galileo and Fear of Science, Essay Example

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Galileo was a scientist arrested and imprisoned for discovering ideas that were contrary to the teaching of the dominant political force of the time, the Catholic Church.  He boldly stated that the sun was the center of the universe in opposition to the Church.  Ironically, scientists originally worked from within a religious perspective.  Galileo was a devout Catholic, as were many other scientists, such as Mendel.  However, as science has progressed and uncovered more knowledge, it has come into contention with religion, as evidenced by the Galileo controversy.

Currently, the most obvious example of science conflicting with religion involves research on stem cells.  While scientists are able to gather stem cells from a variety of tissues, the easiest and best method of harvesting them is by using a hollowed-out fertilized ovum.  As the embryo divides, the scientist can collect the stem cells produced until the embryo stops production of viable cells.  Additionally, stem cells harvested in this manner are medically superior to those gathered by other means.

The controversy over stem cells between science and religion occurs because many religions define the beginning of life as when an egg is fertilized.  Thus, the use of a fertilized egg to create stem cells equates murder to those who hold such a belief.  Many religions also hold other beliefs based in the philosophy of natural law, a philosophy that regards any interruption of what would naturally occur in an organism as a sin or error.  Thus, fertility treatments, gene treatments, and many other areas of current scientific research are controversial to those adhering to this philosophy.

In the end, science will always be at odds with religion.  Science seeks to uncover all knowledge while religion believes that some knowledge is mystical and unknowable.  Such opposing positions will always cause conflict.

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