Science and Religion: An Interpretation of Two Communities

Science and Religion: An Interpretation of Two Communities

Science and Religion: An Interpretation of Two Communities

Science and Religion: An Interpretation of Two Communities

Excerpt

The basic concern that has to a large extent motivated the writing of this book is not a new one with me. It came to a focus urgently in my thinking years ago, when I was a young instructor in college. I had bought a book, the title of which had caught my imagination. Though I did not know it at the time, its author, Alfred North Whitehead, was one of the really great sages of our time, and the book, Science and the Modern World , turned out to be one of his very best. One day while reading in it I came quite unexpectedly upon an assertion that struck me with terrific impact. Its implications were literally breath-taking. I have had to return to it many times, and it has influenced me tremendously. Here it is:

When we consider what religion is for mankind and what science is, it is no exaggeration to say that the future course of history depends upon the decision of this generation as to the relations between them. We have here the two strongest general forces (apart from the mere impulse of the various senses) which influence men, and they seem to be set one against the other--the force of religious intuitions, and the force of our impulse to accurate observation and logical deduction.

If the reader can appreciate why this should so profoundly affect a young scientist and teacher interested in the influence of his science upon youth, he will understand the basic purposes and goals of this book.

Whitehead is no longer with us. If he were, would his analysis of the situation today be the same? Probably it would. It is still true that among the forces that affect or shape our culture and our . . .

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