How can we know what we’re talking about?: Drawing on epistemology and philosophy of science to better address the topic of religion and the environment
In this chapter we finish our discussions of definitional questions about “religion,” “environment,” “values,” and “America”– wrestling with some of the possible meanings and implications of these terms, and focusing on what sort of conversation we think is possible and responsible about these topics. Underlying the intersection of these terms is the more basic and potentially challenging relationship between religion and science. If science and religion are going to be discussed in the same conversation, we’ll want to take a close look at what we think we mean by “science,” and what we think we mean by “religion,” and what we think anyone can say with any authority or reliability about these subjects. Doing so may uncover some often-ignored barriers to better understanding, and will help us lay a firmer foundation as we move forward to discuss the key concepts and questions of religion and the environment.