For many centuries, there has been a major dispute based on the beliefs of humans. Discrepancies between religious belief and empirical knowledge have been a rough topic since the beginning of documented history. This is where Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction comes in. Science and Religion discusses the history of significant science and religion disputes, ranging from Galileo Galilei in 1633 to the ethical consequences of homosexuality today.
In Chapter 1, Dixon begins by questioning what Science and Religion debates are really about. The Chapter begins with an example of philosopher Galileo Galilei, who was punished for challenging the beliefs of a religious body. Dixon then goes on to compare and contrast science and religion. He notes that while people often think of Science and Religion as being contradictory, both entities can both be quite complementary. He says that science and religion debates are really “about the intellectual compatibility or incompatibility of some particular religious belief with some particular aspect of scientific knowledge.” He then argues that many successful scientists have a strong religious belief system.
Dixon states that science and religion are actually more similar than most people assume. Both are built upon previous knowledge. Religious were handed down and expanded upon, and we expand upon our scientific knowledge every day. Also, both systems attempt to explain the unknown. Faith came first, as very little hard facts were known. As our society has progressed, we have found concrete evidence, we have been able to back away from religion and depend more on scientific reasoning.
Chapter 2 begins by discussing how people obtain knowledge. Supposedly, we use four key sources to take in information from our environments: “our senses, our powers of rational though, the testimony of others, and our memory.” Dixon claims that none of these are perfect, and we can easily be misled. However, science can provide more accurate explanations since it combines the experiences of multiples observers. Even though science can disprove religion, science can eventually disprove itself as time progresses. Galileo and Copernican theory is then discussed. Despite the common belief that everything revolved around the Earth, Copernicus held that the moon orbited the Earth and the Earth orbited the sun. Galileo shared this belief, and tried to persuade others of it. He was eventually punished because he fought the beliefs of what was widely accepted by Catholic Church.
Chapter 3 discusses God’s presence in nature and everyday life. The idea of miracles is discussed from a religious point of view and then a random-scientific point of view. It is suggested that if people didn’t believe in miracles of God, we would be left with the image of a God that seems “uninterested” with our lives. But then if God performs miracles in only certain situations, why does he let other tragedies happen? Also, why do we only use...