Relationship between religion and science  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The relationship between religion and science has been a subject of study since classical antiquity, addressed by philosophers, theologians, scientists, and others. Perspectives from different geographical regions, cultures and historical epochs are diverse, with some characterizing the relationship as one of conflict, others describing it as one of harmony, and others proposing little interaction.

Science acknowledges reason, empiricism, and evidence, while religions include revelation, faith and sacredness whilst also acknowledging philosophical and metaphysical explanations with regard to the study of the universe. Both science and religion are complex social and cultural endeavors that vary across cultures and have changed over time. Most scientific and technical innovations prior to the scientific revolution were achieved by societies organized by religious traditions. Elements of the scientific method were pioneered by ancient pagan, Islamic, and Christian scholars. During the Islamic Golden Age foundations for the scientific method were laid by Ibn al-Haytham. Roger Bacon, who is often credited with formalizing the scientific method, was a Franciscan friar. Hinduism has historically embraced reason and empiricism, holding that science brings legitimate, but incomplete knowledge of the world. Confucian thought has held different views of science over time. Most Buddhists today view science as complementary to their beliefs. While the classification of the material world by the ancient Indians and Greeks into air, earth, fire and water was more philosophical, medieval Middle Easterns used practical and experimental observation to classify materials.

Events in Europe such as the Galileo affair, associated with the scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment, led scholars such as John William Draper to postulate a conflict thesis, holding that religion and science have been in conflict methodologically, factually and politically throughout history. This thesis is held by some contemporary scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Steven Weinberg and Carl Sagan, and some creationists. While the conflict thesis remains popular for the public, it has lost favor among most contemporary historians of science.

Many scientists, philosophers, and theologians throughout history, such as Francisco Ayala, Kenneth R. Miller and Francis Collins, have seen compatibility or independence between religion and science. Biologist Stephen Jay Gould, other scientists, and some contemporary theologians hold that religion and science are non-overlapping magisteria, addressing fundamentally separate forms of knowledge and aspects of life. Some theologians or historians of science, including John Lennox, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme and Ken Wilber propose an interconnection between science and religion, while others such as Ian Barbour believe there are even parallels.

Public acceptance of scientific facts may be influenced by religion; many in the United States reject evolution by natural selection, especially regarding human beings. Nevertheless, the American National Academy of Sciences has written that "the evidence for evolution can be fully compatible with religious faith", a view officially endorsed by many religious denominations globally.

See also

By tradition:

In the US:

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Relationship between religion and science" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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