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Religion, science and public policy

05:02 AM August 13, 2019

I would like to comment on the editorial “Religion trumping science” (8/10/19). It is a misleading title because the issues brought up by the editorial are not scientific issues: not about physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, geology, etc. The article presented three issues that are moral issues: divorce, the death penalty and contraception.

It claims that the legislators who are debating about pending bills on divorce and the death penalty are being led by religious arguments rather than by arguments that are “scientific.”

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Regarding the matter about contraception, the editorial claims that it is religion that is hindering the implementation of the reproductive health law. And this is an “instance of religion trumping scientific evidence.”

What I noticed in this editorial is its unscientific spirit. I studied science for my bachelor’s degree and I know that scientists are people who are open to change their theories in the presence of new evidence.

Regarding the issue of divorce, the editorial insists on having divorce legalized in our country citing as evidence that 53 percent of Filipinos favor it and that we are the only UN member country without it.

This is very unscientific, because it did not present the evidence to the contrary: the evils spawned by divorce in those countries like broken families, juvenile delinquency of children of divorced couples, drug addiction, etc. A good scientist will take into account all the evidence. The insistence on divorce is not science: It is ideology.

About the death penalty: The editorial presented good evidence for dissuading the passing of the death penalty bill. There is no scientific evidence that the death penalty deters crimes. But the editorial misrepresented religion or “religious evidence.” It should have said that the Catholic Church is determined to work for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide, instead of citing Manny Pacquiao who does not represent the Catholic Church.

About contraception: If the editorial were a bit more scientific, it should have explored why the implementation of the RH law is way behind its targets. It should have presented more evidence than laying the blame on religion. There could be a myriad of causes for this failure. It could be the fault of the bureaucracy. There could also be the culture of Filipinos who simply want children. Thank God our country has children and young people, while many others lack them.

FR. CECILIO L. MAGSINO
[email protected]

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TAGS: Cecilio L. Magsino, Inquirer letters
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