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Stages of Thought: The Co-Evolution of Religious Thought and Science

by Michael Horace Barnes
Oxford University Press, 2009
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Barnes argues that religious and scientific thought evolved together and are actually complementary.

Description

“Although religious and scientific modes of thought are often portrayed as contradictory-one is highly rational while the other appeals to tradition and faith-Barnes argues that they evolved together and are actually complementary. Using the developmental thought of Piaget, he argues that cultures develop like individuals in that both learn easier cognitive skills first and master the harder ones later. This is especially true, says Barnes, because the harder ones often require first the creation of cognitive technology like writing or formal logic as well as the creation of social institutions that teach and sustain those skills. Barnes goes on to delineate the successive stages of the co-evolution of religious and scientific thought in the West, from the preliterate cultures of antiquity up to the present time. Along the way, he covers topics such as the impact of literacy on human modes of thought; the development of formalized logic and philosophical reflections; the emergence of an explicitly rational science; the birth of formal theologies; and, more recently, the growth of modern empirical science.”
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