Science vs. Faith: Addressing History's Oldest Debate

Kenneth Miller – Brown University

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Modern science has its roots in western religious thought, was nurtured in universities established for religious reasons, and owes some of its greatest discoveries to scientists who themselves were people of faith. Nonetheless, on one issue after another, from evolution to the “big bang” to the age of the Earth itself, religion is often on a collision course with scientific thought. On one side, religious believers have constructed pseudosciences to justify narrow interpretations of scripture or to support specific religious claims. On the other, non-believers have used scientific authority to label faith a “delusion” to be set aside.

Science vs. Faith – Can They Coexist?

Can science and religion truly coexist or are they forever locked in conflict? This one-time-only presentation will approach this question by focusing specifically on a few of today’s most contentious issues. Can science today be understood in a religious context, or have we finally reached the end of faith? Public opinion continues to demonstrate a surprising unwillingness to embrace the scientific consensus on issues affecting the well-being and prosperity of the world. While it might seem logical to attribute anti-science attitudes to dogma or factual unawareness, the roots of this problem go far deeper.

Science vs. Faith and Evolution

This class will approach this question by focusing specifically on the contentious issue of biological evolution. Is it, as critics of evolution state, time to abandon Darwin? Is the evidence for evolution as solid as scientists claim? Does the human genome show that we are unique creations, or the products of evolution? Finally, can science today be understood in a religious context, or have we finally reached the end of faith?

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