University Don says science, religion must collaborate for society’s advancement

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A lecturer with Dominican University, Samonda, Ibadan, Dr Patrick Akunne has advocated that science and religion must must be seen as two strong allies working for the advancement of the society.

Dr Patrick Akunne stated this recently when the Catholic university marked the Saint Thomas Aquinas Day with a lecture titled “Religion and Science are Friends” .

Speaking at the event which took place at the university’s Tom and Carolyn Walker Hall, Dr. Akunne the guest lecturer, underscored the relationship between religion and science.

Akunne explained that both religion and science should ally towards the advancement of society.

He stated that conflict and warfare model were identified in the relationship between religion and science.

“There are people who think religion and science occupy disparate universes in human affairs and thus there is no ground for any form of relationship; friendly or hostile.

“Of all the model of religion and science, the conflict model is inequitably the dominant model. Every now and then, situation arises that brings this to the fore,” he said.

The guest lecturer stated the historical conflict that existed between religion and science.

He considered the works of notable scientists and their view to both concepts.

“The conflict and the warfare template between religion and science holds that there is no relationship between the two , they are irreconcilable and there is no cordiality that can exist between them.

“According to this template, religion and science are rival ways of explaining realities. As a result of this they hustle for the same explanatory space and are perpetually opposed to each other,” he said.

He further said that the idea that religion and science were locked in perpetual war was not original to scholars.

“Scholars’ point to the duel of John William draper and Andrew Dickson White has been responsible for the entrenchment of the idea that there is a war between religion and science.

He examined the myth between both religion and science , quoting some of the historical writing of Peter Harrison and the three reasons he gave for the myth.

“According to Peter Harrison, We can identify cases of conflict between religion and science. Tight situation where scientific theories were rejected based on religious ground.

“For instances, rejection of evolutionary theory by scientific creationist, the current rejection of the COVID 19 vaccines based on religious ground.

“The fear of the return of religion, some believe that religion can not go away and it is about to take humanity into a dark age.

Akunne noted that conflict that existed between scientist and religionist is a problem of sobriety of knowledge.

He made mention that from the Africa tradition; there is no conflict between religion and science.

The guest lecturer urge scientist all over the world not to neglect religion because of the ethical issues like morality that might arise in the course of their study.

In his opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Anthony Akinwale , said “If freedom is found in truth as the motto of Dominican University professes, we must bear in mind that truth is learnt, when researchers in various provinces of knowledge; researchers in provinces of natural science and religion carry out their conversation in collaboration”.

Akinwale stated that the topic of the lecture was necessary based on the current pandemic (COVID19) battling the whole world.

Dignitaries at the event included Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Akinwale, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Domingo Okorie, Prof. Francis Offor, Prof Issac Ukpokolo, Prof. O. A. Okwilagwe, Prof Jude O. Mbukanma, Prof John Anetor from University College Hospital, UCH Ibadan among others.

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