Religion and Science: The Basics

Religion and Science: The Basics

Religion and Science: The Basics

Religion and Science: The Basics

Synopsis

Religion and science are arguably the two most powerful social forces in the world today. But where religion and science were once held to be compatible, most people now perceive them to be in conflict. This unique book provides the best available introduction to the burning debates in this controversial field. Examining the defining questions and controversies, renowned expert Philip Clayton presents the arguments from both sides, asking readers to decide for themselves where they stand:

  • science or religion, or science and religion?
  • Intelligent Design vs. New Atheism
  • the role of scientific and religious ethics - designer drugs, AI and stem cell research
  • the future of science vs. the future of religion.

Viewpoints from a range of world religions and different scientific perspectives are explored, making this book essential reading for all those wishing to come to their own understanding of some of the most important debates of our day.

Excerpt

It is hard to imagine any institutions in human culture and existence today with deeper roots than religion and science. Religion is so basic to human history that the human species has been called homo religiosus, the religious animal. Indeed, some scholars even connect the origins of our species, Homo sapiens sapiens, to the first archeological signs of religious rituals and practices. A huge proportion of the world’s population today is identified with at least one of the major religious traditions of the world.

It is equally impossible to imagine humanity without science. By 1900, about three centuries after the dawn of modern science, it was clear that this new means of studying the natural world and organizing our beliefs about it was transforming humanity more than perhaps any other development in the history of our species. By the end of World War II, when much of Europe had been reduced to rubble and Hiroshima to an atomic fall-out zone, science had changed the face of the planet for ever. Today there is virtually no aspect of human existence that does not depend in some way upon scientific results and technological inventions. From immunizations to heart surgery, from fertilizer to genetically modified crops, from our cell phones to our computers, from roads to airplanes, from the bananas on our table to our ‘cash’ in the bank, existence without science has become inconceivable.

As we will see in the following pages, the impact of science is not only limited to its products. The scientific mindset has transformed humanity’s views of what knowledge is, how it is obtained . . .

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