Evolutionary Theory According To Science And Religion

1958 words - 8 pages

Charles Darwin was a scientist and naturalist, primarily recognised as the first and most influential advocate of the evolutionary theory through natural selection. After the publication of his book in 1859, “On the Origin of Species”, people began to identify the foundations of humanity very differently. However, even though the scientific approval of his theory was close to becoming worldwide, there have been countless opposition groups, predominantly amongst the religious believers. (Darwin, 2008)

According to Darwin, the relationship between science and religion is commonly represented as an issue that is irreconcilable where one side is claiming something, the other can’t accept; the inconsistencies between the two cause them to deny one another. The popular view of what constituted as science held by the majority of scientists including Darwin himself was that science was the methodical study of the organisation and conduct of the natural and material world through experimental investigation and empirical observation. Whilst, religion was primarily concerned with spiritual and immaterial substance that cannot be empirically verified and therefore could not amount to knowledge in the same way science would; he recognised religion as a simple social construction which evolved overtime. As a result, he deemed those who believe in religion rather than science as ignorant, which is clearly stated in his book “The Descent of Man” (1871), where he observed that: “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” (Darwin, 2010) In this case, it is noticeably evident that Darwin believes science and religion are incompatible with one another.
Nevertheless, even with the numerous conflicts and disagreements between science and religion, there have been various religious scholars who have reacted optimistically towards science. In fact, many religious thinkers argue that the reconciliation of science and religion is in many ways possible. For instance, Islamic scholar and physicist Dr. Usama Hasan argues that no contradictions are evident in Darwin’s theory of evolution with the Quran’s references to the foundations or origins of living species in the world (Hasan, 2013). Furthermore, conservative Iraqi scholar and theologian Al-Jahith stated in his book, 'The Book of Animals': “Environmental factors influence organisms to develop new characteristics to ensure survival, thus transforming into new species. Animals that survive to breed can pass on their successful characteristics to offspring.” (Wikipedians, 2012, pp 101) In addition to this, extremely loyal Christian and Harvard biologist Asa Gray being regarded as the key leading botanist of his time took an active role in merging the knowledge of the taxonomy of plants inhabiting the environments of North America, although he was also...

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