Science and Secularization Symposium

Advances in science and technology are often cited as causes of secularization. Yet on inspection this connection appears oversimplified. Does science itself necessarily pave the way to secularization? Do current developments in science and secularization—or in the interactions of science and religion—differ from those in historical situations?

On October 17, 2012, CHF presented a symposium featuring internationally renowned scholars of science and religion John Brooke and Ronald Numbers in conversation before a live audience. Lawrence Principe moderated the discussion, and John Templeton, Jr., provided introductory remarks. Watch an edited video of CHF’s Science and Secularization Symposium below.

Questions examined during the conversation included

  • What are the roots of tying secularization to progress? Is the perceived connection valid?
  • What is the actual extent of secularization? How has public secularization affected spirituality? Has spirituality simply retreated or has it been reconfigured?
  • Can science and technology play increasing roles in society without diminishing the role of spirituality and religion?
  • How have modern redefinitions of science’s scope and authority and the social position of the scientist played into secularization?
  • With increasing globalization what is the result in religious contexts of Western science’s entry into non-Western cultures?

CHF gratefully acknowledges Kazuo Inamori’s generous support of the Science and Secularization Symposium.