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Philosophy Essay On The Relationship Between Religion And Science

910 words - 4 pages

The relationship between religion and science has always been a complicated, precarious and sensitive issue. Religion and science have the same goal - to seek truth and understanding to our own existence and surroundings. Modern scientific thought is based on systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. Religious thought differs as it’s based upon reflection and spirituality and focuses on beliefs and values. This is contrary to science which focuses on factual knowledge and relies on empirical evidence.

The relationship between religion and science never used to be an issue for early philosophers as scientific explanation would work around the existence of a deity (generally). However in recent times we’ve seen various conflicts arising due to disagreements and even cases of religion holding back scientific progress. For example, in 1610, the Catholic Church banned Galileo’s works (specifically his studies on the Heliocentric model) and branded him as a heretic. Unfortunately today we still see the the long term effects of this decision as 1 in 5 Americans still believe that the Sun orbits the Earth (Study by Jon D. Miller of Northwestern University in 2005). Another fine example of dissension would be Charles Darwin and his work on The Origin Of Species (published 24 November 1859). He was hesitant to publish his work for decades as he feared religious persecution and knew that his theory would controversial as it essentially disproved the theory of Intelligent Design. Natural Selection is now accepted amongst the Catholic Church as God can still play the role as the omnipotent designer who set off the long process. As wonderful as this is we still find certain Creationists demanding Intelligent Design to be taught alongside of Natural Selection in public schools. This evidently shows that the relationship between religion and science is an unstable and potentially dangerous one and a solution must be established.

To relate the relationship to my topic, Geology (specifically geologic time), I shall briefly outline a religious and scientific figure for the age of the earth and how each was calculated. Radiometric dating, a popular scientific method for dating the the earth, puts a figure of 4.54 billion years to the age of the earth. To arrive at this figure we look at the half life of radioactive isotopes. Since we can accurately predict the half life of isotopes we can take samples of meteors from our solar system (rocks on Earth unusable due to plate tectonics recycling material into the mantle) and look at the how much lead it has and calculate how much the uranium the original sample had. However a Young Earth Creationist would argue the Earth is less than 10,000 years...

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