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MemberJason Josephson

I am currently Chair & Associate Professor of Religion at Williams College. I have three primary research foci: Japanese Religions, European intellectual history, and Theory. The common thread to my research is an attempt to decenter received narratives in the study of religion and science. My main targets have been epistemological obstacles, the preconceived universals which serve as the foundations of various discourses. I have also been working to articulate new research models for Religious Studies in the wake of the collapse of poststructuralism as a guiding ethos in the Humanities.

DepositIntelligent Design v. Evolution: Both Right and Left Misguided in Fight

Eighty years ago, the nation stood transfixed by the spectacle of two giants, William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow, fighting valiantly over the place of creation and evolution in the public school. Bryan, three-time presidential candidate, defended creationism as “inerrant fact” and denounced evolution as “atheistic fiction.” Darrow, celebrated lawyer for the new ACLU, insisted that evolution was “scientific fact” and creationism “obsolete myth.” Bryan won the argument. But the 1925 Scopes case was a storm signal of many battles to come between law and religion and religion and science. This fall, the nation stood transfixed again by the same battle rejoined in Dover, Pennsylvania – now pitting proponents of intelligent design (ID) against the ACLU. This time the ACLU won handily. Their main argument: ID is simply biblical creationism by another name, and to teach it in public schools violates the First Amendment prohibition on government establishments of religion.

DepositScience and Religion: Two Paths to Truth Business Economics 1-15 September 2018

The putting together in contradistinction of science and religion has been the task of philosophers, religion, sociologists, writers, and anyone who even cares to think, for many centuries now. So, here I would not go into the traditionally discussed aspects of this debate but rather would highlight some less or not discussed aspects. First, when one puts science and religion either on a comparable basis or pits them against one another, there is an oversimplied assumption that the words ‘science’ and ‘religion’ have singular meanings. The reality is, as everyone knows, that these two terms mean a loosely-knit group of disciplines that are a conglomeration of paths, sometimes quite opposite to one another. For instance, medicine is denitely science, but works on axioms, many of which are not accepted by quantum physics. Or, neuroscience has researched and made some ndings that go against the spirit of many axioms of mathematics, which is also considered science. To make matters complicated, science is often seen by philosophers, as a discipline that maintains scientic temper or the scientic method. However, it is interesting to note that scientic temper or method is a characteristic that many disciplines other than science have shown to possess. Let us now examine the term ‘religion’. Many religious traditions advocate a linear perspective on the creation of universe, there is a beginning and there would be an end. There is a creator God, and in many traditions there is an eternal devil or Satan.