Science is the product of human intellect, creativity and imagination. It helps answers the profoundest of all questions. Where did life come from? How old is the Earth? What is the structure of the universe? How did humans come to be? As the history of science shows, as it progresses so does the nature, accuracy and reliability the answers to such questions. The scientific picture of the physical world is a provisional and an ever changing one.
Science is not the only way to understand the world and our place within it. Majority of the time humans have existed most of them have been equally content and secure with different answers to the same fundamental questions. For them ancient holly texts provide unambiguous solutions. Science is not needed because it is not required.
The debate between science and religion is as intriguing and contentious today in the 21st century as it has always been. Science progresses by actively challenging its core tenants through the rational exercise of reason. On the other hand religious beliefs have divine origins, don’t require changing and are thus inherently stronger.
There are surprising large number of high profile scientist who are also committed to a particular faith. Perhaps they can shed some light on how they reconcile this apparent contradiction.
Dr Allan Chapman who is not a scientist but a historian of science and a practising Christian with a particular interest in the history of astronomy talks about science and religion. He is the author of several books including biographies on Mary Summerville and Robert Hook. Perhaps he is better known for “Gods in the Sky” and as the presenter the of the three part series of the same name on channel4.
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Welcome Back! I thought you’d disappeared for good!
Edmund Simpson says
Fascinating interview which was conducted with great tact and sensitivity. Dr Chapman is a man I’ve always respected for the enthusiasm and erudition he brings to science and astronomy. But as an aetheist I was astonished at how his powers of logic and reason suddenly deserted him when faced with fairly basic questions concerning the existence or otherwise of a deity. Intoning mantra-like that “god moves in mysterious ways” when asked to explain the glaring contradictions or anomalies in the tenets underpinnig his Christianity simply does not cut it.
Like you I found this fascinating, the fact that I did not agree with Dr Chapman’s views was not important.
I submitted a shorter version of of this podcast for the 365 days of astronomy podcast. The comments there were on the whole negative but not as considered as yours.