Durkheim, Emile | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Christian authors have traditionally used the Bible as a source ofhistorical information. Biblical exegesis of the creation narratives,especially Genesis 1 and 2 (and some other scattered passages, such asin the Book of Job), remains fraught with difficulties. Are thesetexts to be interpreted in a historical, metaphorical, or poeticfashion, and what are we to make of the fact that the order ofcreation differs between these accounts (Harris 2013)? The Anglicanarchbishop James Ussher (1581–1656) used the Bible to date thebeginning of creation at 4004 BCE. Although such literalistinterpretations of the Biblical creation narratives were not uncommon,and are still used by Young Earth creationists today, theologiansbefore Ussher already offered alternative, non-literalistreadings of the biblical materials (e.g., Augustine 416 [2002]). Fromthe seventeenth century onward, the Christian doctrine of creationcame under pressure from geology, with findings suggesting that theEarth was significantly older than 4004 BCE. From the eighteenthcentury on, natural philosophers, such as de Maillet, Lamarck,Chambers, and Darwin, proposed transmutationist (what would now becalled evolutionary) theories, which seem incompatible with scripturalinterpretations of the special creation of species. Following thepublication of Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859), therehas been an ongoing discussion on how to reinterpret the doctrine ofcreation in the light of evolutionary theory (e.g., Bowler 2009).

Émile Durkheim - Wikipedia

Social Science Dictionary with a Durkheim bias
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Emile Durkheim - New World Encyclopedia

Whereas Marx saw social conflict as inherent in the manner in which labor was organized in capitalist societies, Durkheim believed that diminished solidarity was a pathological condition. He believed that modern societies would need to develop new means of reinforcing social norms and a shared sense of affiliation. Drawing on Alexis de Tocqueville's analysis of American society2, Durkheim suggested that social cohesion could result from action of occupations groups.

Extracts from Emile Durkheim - Andrew Roberts

Whereas the functionalist and conflict perspectives are macro approaches,symbolic interactionismis a micro approach that focuses on the interaction of individuals and on how they interpret theirinteraction. Its roots lie in the work in the early 1900s of American sociologists, socialpsychologists, and philosophers who were interested in human consciousness and action. HerbertBlumer (1969),[]a sociologist at the University of Chicago, built on their writings to develop symbolicinteractionism, a term he coined. This view remains popular today, in part because manysociologists object to what they perceive as the overly deterministic view of human thought andaction and passive view of the individual inherent in the sociological perspective derived fromDurkheim.

Social Science Dictionary with a Durkheim bias, linked to Andrew Roberts' Social Science History
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Religion and Peacebuilding | Religion Peace Conflict …

Sociological studies (e.g., Ecklundt 2010) have probed the religiousbeliefs of scientists, particularly in the United States. Theyindicate a significant difference in religiosity in scientistscompared to the general population. Surveys such as those conducted bythe Pew forum (Masci and Smith 2016) find that nearly nine in tenadults in the US say they believe in God or a universal spirit, anumber that has only slightly declined in recent decades. Amongyounger adults, the percentage of theists is about 80%. Atheism andagnosticism are widespread among academics, especially among thoseworking in elite institutions. A survey among National Academy ofSciences members (all senior academics, overwhelmingly from elitefaculties) found that the majority disbelieved in God’sexistence (72.2%), with 20.8% being agnostic, and only 7% theists(Larson and Witham 1998). Ecklund and Scheitle (2007) analyzed responsesfrom scientists (working in the social and natural sciences) from 21elite universities in the US. About 31.2% of their participantsself-identified as atheists and a further 31 % as agnostics. Theremaining number believed in a higher power (7%), sometimes believedin God (5.4%), believed in God with some doubts (15.5%), or believedin God without any doubts (9.7%). In contrast to the generalpopulation, the older scientists in this sample did not show higherreligiosity—in fact, they were more likely to say that they didnot believe in God. On the other hand, Gross and Simmons (2009)examined a more heterogeneous sample of scientists from Americancolleges, including community colleges, elite doctoral-grantinginstitutions, non-elite four-year state schools, and small liberalarts colleges. They found that the majority of university professors(full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty) had some theistic beliefs,believing either in God (34.9%), in God with some doubts (16.6%), inGod some of the time (4.3%), or in a higher power (19.2%). Belief inGod was influenced both by type of institution (lower theistic beliefin more prestigious schools) and by discipline (lower theistic beliefin the physical and biological sciences compared to the socialsciences and humanities).

Extracts from Emile Durkheim - Andrew Roberts' Web Site

From the 1920s onward, the scientific study of religion became lessconcerned with grand unifying narratives, and focused more onparticular religious traditions and beliefs. Anthropologists, such asEdward Evans-Pritchard (1937/1965) and Bronislaw Malinowski(1925/1992) no longer relied exclusively on second-hand reports(usually of poor quality and from distorted sources), but engaged inserious fieldwork. Their ethnographies indicated that culturalevolutionism was mistaken and that religious beliefs were more diversethan was previously assumed. They argued that religious beliefs werenot the result of ignorance of naturalistic mechanisms; for instance,Evans-Pritchard noted that the Azande were well aware that housescould collapse because termites ate away at their foundations, butthey still appealed to witchcraft to explain why a particular househad collapsed. More recently, Cristine Legare et al. (2012) found thatpeople in various cultures straightforwardly combine supernatural andnatural explanations, for instance, South Africans are aware AIDS iscaused by a virus, but some also believe that the viral infection isultimately caused by a witch.

To what extent are religion and science compatible?

As noted, most studies on the relationship between science andreligion have focused on science and Christianity, with only a smallnumber of publications devoted to other religious traditions (e.g.,Brooke and Numbers 2011). Relatively few monographs pay attention tothe relationship between science and religion in non-Christian milieus(e.g., Judaism and Islam in Clark 2014). Since western science makesuniversal claims, it is easy to assume that its encounter with otherreligious traditions is similar to the interactions observed inChristianity. However, given different creedal tenets (e.g., in Hindutraditions God is usually not entirely distinct from creation, unlikein Christianity and Judaism), and because science has had distincthistorical trajectories in other cultures, one can expect disanalogiesin the relationship between science and religion in differentreligious traditions. To give a sense of this diversity, this sectionprovides a bird’s eye overview of science and religion inChristianity, Islam, and Hinduism.