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Some argue that scientific knowledge is superior to religious knowledge because science is objectively true, whereas religious beliefs are a component of culture. However, others maintain that ?science, like a painting, necessarily has a perspective? (Medin, Lee, & Bang, 2014). For example, Kohlberg?s early work on the moral development of children was challenged because it ignored the perspectives of women and Eastern religious traditions. Sometimes the results of scientific studies can change based on the cultural lens of the scientists conducting the study. For example, most of the early study of chimpanzee behavior was conducted by men. Influenced by evolutionary biology, these researchers assumed that the male chimpanzees would compete with each other for dominance over the females. Therefore, whenever a female chimp asserted dominance over a male, it was dismissed as a fluke. However, when female scientists conducted the observation, they found that females played a more active role in the chimpanzee community than previously thought. Meanwhile, Japanese researchers gave more attention social relationships between the chimps, in contrast to the American researchers who focused on dominance hierarchies. Consequently, the Japanese researchers discovered new factors that determined social structure outside of male rank.
In light of this, discuss whether you think it is fair to say that science is more ?culturally neutral? than religion. Can you think of any other times when culture significantly influenced the way scientific research was conceptualized, conducted, or interpreted? (Feel free to look up examples online. Try to find an example that another student has not already discussed.) Can you think of examples of how our American individualistic culture shapes our interpretation and application of Scripture? Denominational differences aside, are Christian beliefs and practices in the United States fundamentally the same as those found in Africa, Asia, or Europe? What can we do to minimize the influence of our culture on our understanding of scientific and religious truth?