Predestination and the Influence of Religion on Science

by Lillian Pao (’18)

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Fig. 1: Religious beliefs can often conflict with those of evolutionary biology and other sciences, but sometimes they seem to align.

Despite the contradictions science and religion have with one another, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim beliefs have recently been able influence current interpretations in biology. One of these interpretations concern the evolution of cave fauna.  Several people believe that “biochemical predestination”, a higher power or strict law that governs the phenomena in nature on our earth, and possibly beyond, exists. Professor Aldemaro Romero Jr. of Baruch College argues that predestination provides a strong explanation regarding the loss of phenotypic features during the evolution of organisms living in caves and other light-deprived areas. He supported his argument with the idea that predestination is deeply rooted in all monotheistic religions and has been adopted by evolutionary biologists. Romero believes that we need to fully understand predestination if we believe that the scientific process is free from religious influences.

Evolutionary biologists and theorists from all time periods have incorporated predestination into their psyche. Jean Baptiste Lamarck, a physician, believed in the idea of inheritance of acquired traits from a metaphysical “power of life”, where the power of the environment enabled the life forms we see today on earth. Besides biologists, theorists like John Calvin generated the concept of “double predestination”. This idea stated that God chose specific people for damnation and salvation. It allowed religious believers to have faith in God being almighty and powerful. The idea of predestination still shadows modern evolutionary biology. Scientists who do not understand the historical and philosophical framework of it may present a biased view of nature.

 

 

References:

  1. Romero Jr, The influence of religion on science: the case of the idea of predestination in biospeleology. Research Ideas and Outcomes (2016), doi: 10.3897/rio.2.e9015.
  2. Image acquired from http://www.sansmemetics.com/somethings-to-never-forget-regarding-the-scientific-method-vs-the-religion-of-science/

 

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