Science and Christian Belief

By C. A. Coulson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
Scientific Method

A former Master of Marlborough College in England recently described the opening sentence of a schoolboy essay on Science and Religion.1 He had written: 'The difference between Science and Religion is that Science is material and Religion is immaterial.' This is an interesting sentence, reflecting a good deal of what is commonly felt about the mutual relationship of these two movements of the spirit. It is widely held, for example, that science is concerned with what is physical, religion with what is spiritual (and, of course, with nothing else!) Science deals with things that you can get hold of, and usually measure in a quantitative fashion; religion with things that you cannot get hold of, far less measure. It may be claimed that the things which are seen are temporal, and the things which are not seen are eternal. But since seeing is believing, the obvious corollary of all this is that science is relevant, religion is irrelevant; science matters, religion does not.

These widely held convictions will prove a good starting point for our present discussion. For in the last chapter I showed how there was a sense in which the development of science had rendered God obsolete. Made, as Voltaire would say, in our image, He could remain alive and active only so long as we were ignorant of true facts: the development of science would chase Him unceremoniously away. As Dr. J. Bronowski has put it:2 the fundamental

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Science and Christian Belief
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • The Mcnair Lectures vi
  • Preface vii
  • Contents *
  • Chapter One - The Challenge of Scientific Thinking 1
  • Chapter Two - Scientific Method 29
  • Chapter Three The Human Element 64
  • Chapter Four - Christian Belief 97
  • Notes and References 119
  • Index 125
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