Religion and Science

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A one-stop resource for undergraduate students examining the many complexities of the relationship between religion and science.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847060150
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 12/24/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Brendan Sweetman is Professor and Chair in the Department of Philosophy at Rockhurst University, USA. He is the author of Religion: Key Conceptsin Philosophy (Continuum, 2006) andco-editor of Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology (OUP, 1992).
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Why Are We Interested in Religion and Science?

Religion, Science and Secularism

Some Models for Relating Religion and Science

A Philosophical Approach to Religion and Science

2. Religion and Science in History

The Ancient World: Aristotle

The Medieval World: St. Augustine and St. Thomas

The Protestant Reformation

The Galileo Controversy of the Seventeenth Century

Galileo and Newton, and the Development of Science

Eighteenth Century Developments

The Nineteenth Century: Darwin and Freud

3. Science and Naturalism in the Twentieth Century

The Success of Science

The Scientific Method, and Objective Knowledge

Realism vs. Anti-Realism

The Undermining of Truth in the History of Science

The Modern Face of Science: Naturalism

4. God and Evolution

Evolution and Modern Culture

Brief History of Evolution

The Theory of Evolution

The Evidence for Evolution: Questions and Answers

Religious, Philosophical and Moral Implications of Evolution

5. Science and the Human Person

A Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of the Human Person

The Nature of Consciousness

Human Free Will


Artificial Intelligence

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

6. Design in the Universe

William Paley's Argument

The "Laws of Physics" Argument from Design

Design at the Beginning: The Anthropic Argument

Intelligent Design Arguments

7. God and the Universe

The Universe and the Big Bang Theory

God as First Cause

The Significance of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics

How Does God Act in the World?

8. Science, Religion and Ethics

Mapping the Human Genome

Stem Cells and Cloning

Conclusion: Some Lessons for Scientists and Religious Believers


Guide to Further Reading


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  • Posted March 10, 2011

    A Rational Voice on a Hot Topic

    True to its title, Religion and Science is an introductory text for students and others who are interested in the relationship between these two sometimes contentious disciplines. Written in an engaging and inviting style, the author introduces the reader to the key questions that have shaped the discussion today. These include such matters as God and evolution, science and the human person (consciousness, free will, immortality), God and the universe (creation, design, big bang), and science and ethics (human genome, stem cells, cloning). Additionally, the book provides a detailed discussion of the development of the scientific method, points of convergence and divergence between religion and science, and the history of their relationship from Aristotle to Darwin and Freud. Although there are various ways to describe the relationship between religion and science, the model that seems to attract the most attention today is one of conflict. This approach states that religion and science are essentially incompatible. As Sweetman points out, however, not only is the model of conflict selective in its account of the history of the relationship between religion and science, it often (wrongly) assumes that religion is subjective and irrational, while science is objective and rational. Sweetman's approach, on the other hand, is dialogical, which requires both science and religion to be historically informed and rigorous in their search for truth. He is convinced that ultimately, science and religion pose no threats to each other. As a philosopher, Sweetman's method of approaching the study of religion and science is through logical arguments and empirical evidence, not through theological presuppositions. Thus, he restricts his study to an analysis of the different sides of the debate and looks at the arguments and evidence offered for each. The result is a book that is rigorous, yet manages at the same time to be readable. Religion and Science is an excellent source for anyone interested in one of the hottest topics today.

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