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Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction Paperback – August 1, 2008
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Science and Religion: Questions for Consideration and Discussion
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Top Customer Reviews
Dixon argues that casual observations about the war between religion and science ought to take several points under consideration. First, it's not at all clear that it makes sense to talk of either science or religion simpliciter. Both are extremely complex terms that accommodate a large number of interpretations. Second, it's not at all clear what the boundaries of either science or religion are. Neither falsification nor testability are, by themselves, sufficient criteria to designate science from pseudoscience, and defining religion is even more problematic. Finally, what frequently gets interpreted as a clash between religion and science is frequently a deeper social or political clash that's opportunistically fought on the science/religion battlefield. It is true that science/religion conflicts, when they can be identified, are disagreements about epistemic authority. But even that is complicated.
To flesh out these claims, Dixon examines the Galileo incident (chapter 2), the reaction of Victorian England to Darwinism (chapter 4), and the current U.S. phenomenon of Intelligent Design (chapter 5), demonstrating how each is much more involved than merely a battle between theists and scientists.Read more ›
Perhaps the broadest lesson one can glean from the book is that science and religion have always had a messy multidimensional relationship, with many areas of potential agreement and disagreement. Part of the reason is that both science and religion are unavoidably framed in sociocultural and historical contexts, dialectically both affecting those contexts and being affected by them. Moreover, science and religion both have fuzzy boundaries, and both face many similar epistemic difficulties with respect to justifying their beliefs (despite the common but mistaken notion that science is purely objective whereas religion rests purely on faith and subjectivity).
The book lays all of this out with the help of many examples, and thereby gives a sense of how complicated matters are, but doesn't provide any final answers. This gives the impression that some disagreement and tension will probably always exist between science and religion, despite whatever progress might be made in finding reconciliations. However, if one wishes to be optimistic, there is still the prospect of finding (creating?) more and more common ground between the two, possibly resulting in worldviews which increasingly draw on the strengths of both, and of course there's already much precedent for this.Read more ›
Dr Dixon suggests that the science and religion `conflict' is really a debate about the politics of control rather than philosophy. In this context Dixon discusses the Scopes `monkey trial' in America in 1925. The first scientists like Newton and Galileo were natural philosophers trying to establish how God made the universe work - they were not trying to remove the need for God. Similarly, Enlightenment philosophers like Thomas Paine wanted `not an end to religion but the replacement of Christian religion by a rational religion based on the study of nature.'
The Intelligent Design concept, which claims to find scientific validation for scriptural text, is simply the most recent attempt to re-establish creationism or anti-evolutionism with a scientifically respectable façade. ID is rejected by scientists as groundless and unscientific and by theologians as portraying a continually meddling God. ID makes no novel predictions and there is no unequivocal experimental evidence. But then many scientific theories are not directly testable or falsifiable, so these are perhaps not entirely satisfactory criteria for scientific validity. Conformity with an established paradigm is also an important criterion.
Most of our knowledge comes from other people; only relatively little from our own direct experience.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent way to write the support for scientific view, and elegant way to put the lack of support of religión standpointPublished 18 months ago by Lauro Garcia
I wish scholarly authors would state their presuppositions from the outset of their respective works. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Frank Lovera
Author Thomas Dixon says that most books written about the relationship between science and religion aim to make the reader either more religious or less religious. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Robin Friedman
A very concise book that gives various theories about science and religion. Very informative and interesting book for the whole family to read.Published on December 6, 2013 by Maria Carolina Paraventi
I have found the Oxford Short Introductions to be one of the most convenient sources of information on topics from pre-Socratic philosophy to quantum theory. Read morePublished on November 1, 2013 by Martin Katahn
I just have yet to receive it. I suspect I will like the book, but I have been waiting 33 days to receive it. Read morePublished on September 12, 2013 by Elisabeth
As implied in the title, it is a very short introduction. It outlines and defines the structure of historical thought processes and the context in which moral and ethical... Read morePublished on August 29, 2013 by Alexs328