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The Relationship Between Religion and Science

Cultwick: The Science of Faith. Alice Page served the Cultwick Empire as an operative, tracking down, retrieving, and killing dangerous Alice Page served the Cultwick Empire as an operative, tracking down, retrieving, and killing dangerous individuals for her government. When she was tasked with reclaiming the heretic, Erynn Clover, Alice lost her life, but her death came to an end Have you ever struggled discussing your Bible faith with someone who believes in Big Bang Have you ever struggled discussing your Bible faith with someone who believes in Big Bang or General Evolution?

Do these or other popular 'theories' of modern science give you pause? This study guide is designed for you! This study covers several Faith in Science. There is growing academic interest in addressing the relationship of religion and science. There are There are also very generous funding sources that encourage scientists to demonstrate the reality of purpose in the world. Still, there are organizations offering support to community Introduction to Animal Science. This is a bold, new approach to Especially in light of his poor logic and lame reasoning as exemplified by his saying that atheists can be moral but their morals have no justification.

Where does our morality come from certainly not God and why do we need religion to validate it? We are social beings and it would seem reasonable to have developed a moral impulse. Theology is a hobby for intellectuals. It has nothing to do with the religious masses. Not in my experience. Basing what Dawkins knows of theology on what I read in The God Delusion, most of my Christian acquaintances know a great deal more about theology than Dawkins. They do follow bible teachings closely duh but you seem to imply that such a practice is orthogonal to sophisticated theology.

It is not. You can have a sophisticated theology that follows the bible teachings closely. In that case it is not theology that is heretical, but theology that is nonbiblical. Oh yeah--theology is irrelevant to salvation--we know this theologically because a study of the bible reveals no such thing as salvation by a passing grade on a theology exam, or salvation by sincerity, or salvation by good deeds. You comment is just like a million others that I see along the lines of "we unbelievers generally know more about the bible and theology than Christians.

You can only make that case weakly if you standup a caricature of a Christian.

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He should have invoked Godel and Quantum Mechanics to make his points. Taken together, they prove the importance of faith, interconnections among all beings, and the mystery core of the universe. For one, it obviously requires faith to see the truth of the unprovable statements in arithmetic systems. If you can't prove them, how else would you know they are true?

That is the implicit premise in Godel's argument. Quantum mechanics in the phenomenon of state vector reduction shows not only that you influence whatever you measure thereby showing how connected everything is , but that there is a fundamental mystery at the core of the most important science. How does an actual possibility reduce to an actual actuality? Godel and QML: faith, mystery, connection, all proven by science.

Why therefore, shouldn't the best science be part of the best theology? And why not vice-versa? My theology says purpose is also fundamental, therefore it must be integrated into our best science. Science and theology are both looking at truths, so they should complement each other, not be in conflict once they are fully developed. My previous comment was a parody. What I wrote about Godel is complete poppycock confused in so many ways I won't even waste the space to explain why. The QM stuff is just the typical crap, though with an actual kernel fo truth: state vector reduction is a mystery, a real stumper.

But so is the cause of Alzheimer's disease, and you don't see the New Agers trying to make a big deal out of that. To end on a somewhat lighter note, do you think that New Agers who are into QM should be allowed near cats? Anyway, Happy Mithras Birthday. You know, the son of God who was born today, the 25th of Dec. The guy who had the 12 disciples and baptised and had the meal with the bread and wine to represent his body and blood. He was worshiped before Jesus-come-lately ever arived on scene. What's this I read in 1 Corinthians 11, then?

In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. And a teaching on top of that. Did Paul write that bit? Michael Kremer, Ya your right, I never should use the word never. However, Paul was refering to the eucharist and that was a big part of religious rites even in worshiping Mithras.

Was he refering to Jesus the person or Jesus the Christ figure? To my mind, there seems to be a lack of passing on the teachings of Christ and little mention of specific historical references in Pauls letters. It's as if he's not familiar with Jesus' life or specific teachings. Even when there is a chance to use Jesus' teachings as an authority to add import to a statement, Paul never? Example, Love is patient and kind, Why didn't Paul also mention that Jesus taught that love was the greatest commandment?

In looking at Paul's teaching over all it seems that he's not familiar with Jesus the person but only Jesus as a Christ figure. Having read Elaine Pagels book "The Gnostic Paul" I think that Paul's teachings might have been gnostic to start with because they were part of one of the gnostic cannons I forget which one. Looking at them from a non-orthodox view, I can see many gnostic things. His conversion and training as a convert seem gnostic also. In any event, it's been some time sense I entertained an interest in this and I was just offering some suggested reading material for those who may be interested.

Since it matters not, I choose only to say this. Either Jesus did not exist as a historical person, since we have nearly nothing mentioned of him by historians of the day, or he was a big fish in a very little pond, say the Essenes, and his story became a mixture of all kinds of myths and teachings.

Either way I don't care. He means as much to me a Mithras. I just don't want to see the religious fundys get any sway whatsoever in our government. I'll grant them freedom of religion if they grant me freedom from their religion. Rick, Mithras was born of a rock, not a virgin, and the whole idea of him having twelve disciples comes from pictures of his deeds like the slaughtering of the bull being surrounded by the twelve signs of the zodiac.

I contributed a stub article on Mithras to SkepticWiki:. What I have found is that the remarkable parallels between Jesus and Mithras are not real, and the real parallels between Jesus and Mithras are not remarkable. I do not have much to offer IanR's claim that Paul contradicts himself regarding his conversion except to say that I think that it is curious that the conversion on the road to Damascus by the Paul of Acts is considered so important that it is mentioned three times yet the Paul from the Epistles makes no mention of a "Damascean road" conversion nor to an origin in Tarsus incidentally, Jerome reported that Paul was from Galilee.

For instance, we are informed by Acts that St Paul's early day stance was as Saul, the Christian persecutor. Paul's own account of his very Calvinistic conversion in Gal. As for why he wasn't an earlier persecuter--there could be many reasons. He may have been restrained by his mentor Gamaliel who see Acts 5 demonstrated moderation in dealing with the early Christians. Perhaps he simply came into his own when outright persecution was adopted as an official strategy. Why he never mentions that he is from Tarsus in the epistles, I couldn't say.

It doesn't seem very significant. Do you have a refererence to Jerome arguing that Paul was from Galilee? That is something I was not aware of. A quick google search and I find a lot of what I wrote above. I see also that Joseph Campbell writes that Mithras had a virgin birth. Campbell, Joseph The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. Viking Press. This website talks of the plagiarism of Mithraism by Christianity.

How unremarkable is it that the attire, the mitre this word is even derived from Mithra and the name of the pope are all pre-existent in Mithraism. I find there is compelling evidence of a connection between the 2 religions although it sounds as if you aren't convinced. Could I ask why? I think not. Rick T. Because there is a huge gap between what one finds in the literature and what one finds in a "quick google search. Because I've caught outright dishonesty in the attempts to make connections between Mithras and Jesus of Nazareth.

See my links above. According to Merriam-Webster Online, the word "mitre" derives from "Middle English mitre, from Anglo-French, from Latin mitra headband, turban, from Greek," and the word dates from the 14th century. And it is hardly remarkable that the heads of two different religious groups be called "father. Oh, and as for the page from ReligiousTolerance. Those are red flags right there. In each source, Jerome is reporting a story he has heard.

Paul is said to have been from a town or region in Judea called Gischala; his parents are said to have been forced to flee to Tarsus by the Romans. The placement of Gischala in Galilee is not Jerome's but the only known Gischala is apparently in Galilee. See the book I referenced above, pp. Again, this is just the result of my googling -- prior to this I knew nothing about it.

That's quite interesting. I read the pages you indicated having found the book on google books. It describes St Jerome repeating a story which may be true for all I know to explain a different problem--oddities of Paul's education--a story that suggested Paul moved to Tarsus as a child.

Of course, a thirty-something man who spent all his life except early childhood in Tarsus could accurately be described as "of Tarsus. He speaks of the virgin birth of Mithras. I think you are trying to hard to protect a cherished belief. If you were an archaeologist you would be throwing away alot of fossils that didn't look like what you wanted to find.

As Dr. Phil would say, "How's that workin' for you? It's early here and I'm late for work. Still, are you going to ignore all evidence? You seem to be over-compensating. A little skepticism is great but you're taking it to a "ho nuvuh lebel" to quote Mad TV. First, Campbell refers to the same rock birth as I did, and his justification for calling this rock birth a virgin birth of sorts rests in a strained appeal to Jungian archetypes. Second, as Manfred Clauss pointed out in his own book on Mithras, Campbell's claim that there were shepherds at Mithras' birth is incorrect, and apparently derives from the torchbearers shown at the birth.

I actually read the same account but from a different source. I find your explanation that Paul may have been restrained by his mentor in his early days unsatisfying. Would not Paul, a young religious hothead have been an enthusiastic witness to Jesus's blasphemy before the Sanhedrin? And where was Paul during "passion week", surely in Jerusalem with the other zealots celebrating the holiest of festivals? Yet he reports not a word of the crucifixion? Joseph Campbell is good if you want Jungian storytelling, not good if you want historical accuracy and impeccable scholarship.

Jerome, it is never claimed, wrote under inspiration, so it is no special problem that he may have contradicted himself, or may have exegeted erroneously. No doubt he and every theologian ever since have written in error at some point or another. As for Paul being restrained by Gamaliel, whom it seems clear was still greater in the Pharisee ranks than Paul in the early days of Christianity, just after Pentecost, well I guess plausibility is in the eye of the beholder.

I'm not saying that I believe that either--I just offer it up and consider it possible. There was a growing dynamic here--and at the time of Christ and just after there was not intense immediate prolonged systematic persecution thanks in part to Gamaliel. It could very well be that it just took a while before the authorities reached a flash point and unleashed Saul. Or maybe Saul himself simply wasn't fired up yet. There are many possible explanations--it does not follow that there is anything suspicious about the fact that Saul began his persecution, which may well be what put him in the limelight, at some day other than day zero.

I wasn't arguing that Gargamel was lower in rank than "Paul" within the Pharisee ranks. I was arguing that "Paul" would have found it difficult to restrain himself, as a young zealot hothead, against such outrages. But, ok, you say he wouldn't have been a ringleader, or even a participant. Maybe you can address this issue a little more straightforwardly -- why is it that St Paul doesn't appear anywhere in the secular histories of his age not in Tacitus, not in Pliny, not in Josephus, etc.?

Why would this be? I agree that almost certainly Paul would have mentioned it if he had been there, so I conclude that he was not there--with no concern that this is a problem. Since we have no knowledge of where Paul was during those few days from trial to crucifixion to resurrection, or indeed during all of Jesus' public ministry, nor do we know his standing at the time, there is simply no reason to consider it a problem. The possible reasons are virtually endless. As for Paul not appearing in secular histories--I would say that it is because the historians of the era did not consider him important and may not have even heard about him, and if they did they would just consider him a disciple of yet another obscure sect of Judaism.

Jesus barely made it into Josephus' history, and even there at least part if not all of the reference to Jesus is almost certainly a redaction. Surely such a renegade could not have completely escaped the attention of the scribes. But I suppose this is also of no consequence for you.

How likely is it that Paul really studied under the Pharisaic grandee? Paul clearly had difficulty with the Hebrew language: all his scriptural references are taken from the Greek translation of the Jewish scripture, the Septuagint. So does Haught's theological argument really come down to "Silly atheists, don't they know these are all myths? But, apparently, myths which are true on the dimensional level of feeling, hope, and purpose. Which belief is sometimes referred to by the technical term "atheism. Thanks, I guess, for prompting me to do a little research.

The Persian version has Mithras born of Anahita, an immaculate virgin mother once worshipped as a fertility goddess. Anahita was said to have conceived the Savior from the seed of Zarathustra. And, the Roman version of Mithras, based according to Ulansey on cosmology, introduces the prospect that there are now similarities to be explained in the Mithraic treatment of Mithras being outside the cosmos in the same way that Jesus, the Word, is described in John as being above the world. The rock birth is the exterior view of the cave which depicts the universe. Mithras emerging from the rock represents the breaking of the cosmic egg and emerging from and then controlling the universe.

Jesus is seen as doing much the same as he conquers death and leaves this world to be above it and in control of it. The core of my original comment stems from this. Argument from the authority of the Bible, which has none, is just a silly endeavor. The Bible is no more authoritative and holds no more truth than any other religion.

It also has been influenced by other beliefs to some degree or another. If this does not describe you then I must ask what is you nit picking point? The Catholic Church like all religions has had a mixed relationship with science. It has provided a great deal of support for scientific research, as well as sometimes coming into conflict with its findings. As I also say in my book, their are Catholics who support Intelligent Design as well as those notably Kenneth Miller who teach and research evolutionary theory.

The existence of the Index does not show that science and religion are incompatible, it shows that in some periods, one religious institutions, the Roman Catholic Church found some scientific ideas unacceptable. Its existence does not sustain the much broader generalisation that you want it to support. Many although not most religious believers accept that scriptural texts are human creations. There is certainly a conflict between biblical literalism and modern science — although even there the picture is more complex than we might suppose since biblical literalism is itself a product of kind of modern scientism.

Let me end my saying again that I very much appreciate your taking the time to engage so carefully with my book and, especially, with my response to your review. In turn, thank you, Thomas. I think this is a compelling discussion; thank you for contributing to it. A Foucauldian take. Yes claims about who has the authority to describe reality are political, but the political aspect is fundamentally extraneous. It may loom large, or it may not, but it is ultimately beside the point. I really am not sure how 2 can coherently fit with 1. Science as practiced by Aristotle is not the same as science practiced by Newton, and science practiced by Darwin is not the science practiced by Galileo.

Science and Faith A New Introduction pdf download

Of course philosophers of science do study science as a whole, and the field of philosophy of science is a far better field to compare with theology. Basically, both Science and Religion are messy bodies of knowledge or communities that are very separate bodies of knowledge and separate communities. The task or field itself is incoherent and nonsensical. As Ophelia points out in her comment 12, your book is supposedly a history and not a philosophy or science in itself, and worse, it is not the task of history to resolve conflicts.

What this all boils down to, is political conflict between science and religion. It has nothing to do with anything else. The idea that things are complex is in itself a political weapon to attack contemporary science. I should like to interject here that since it is typically the two most authoritarian monotheistic religions that seem to have the most trouble with science, and in the main, for historical reasons, Christianity, I wonder whether it would not be far better to couch the quarrel in terms of science and Christianity and not in terms of science and religion generally.

In Japan, where I live, no Japanese apart from a few Christians have any trouble whatsoever about accepting the theory of evolution, and to most Japanese people the squabble that seems to exercise so many people in the West appears merely quaint.

I do not think you are putting enough weight on the epistemological questions that arise when you speak about the relationship between science and religion. Even if I were ready to acknowledge that religion is a very complex reality indeed — which I am — the epistemological question still has to be faced, and we cannot show any reasonable sense of their relationship without raising that basic question. For it to claim some kind of status as making a claim to knowledge about reality, however described, it has to show how that claim can be made good, and that means that it must have a method or error theory for settling disputes.

It does not have any such method. If it did, there would not be such a variety of religious traditions, none of which has a shadow of a chance of being right. I was part of the messiness of religion for years, and achieved a moderate competence in making theological arguments.

For part of that period I was at the more conservative anglo-catholic end of the spectrum, and then, under the influence of life events and a special relationship, I began to unwind, and ended up at a liberal extreme, very Cupittian, in my own way. I understand all about the messiness of the church, or at least one part of the Christian tradition.

But even with that understanding, a kind of privileging of the biblical text is still a requirement if you are going to be taken at all seriously. One can be as hermeneutically daring as one likes, but, in the end, the text is either privileged, or what you say will not be taken seriously as a contribution to the Christian conversation. Much that Don Cupitt writes is not considered Christian at all, as interesting as so much of it is. That is epistemological bedrock, no matter what critical study of the Bible may say.

Of course, there are similar features in science. In fact, it is, at the growing edge, so specialised, and requires such a lengthy apprenticeship in complex skills, that at any given time only a few people are likely truly to understand what is being said. Nevertheless, unlike religion, every scientific thesis must be in principle checkable by someone else by means of following certain methods and procedures of experiment or observation. Without that basis it cannot be considered part of the body of scientific work.

So, when there is a conflict between a religious belief, based on a traditional conversation, rooted in a privileged text and its intepretation, and a scientific finding, appropriately grounded in experiment and observation, the religious belief must give way. Now, some religious people say that they understand this, and that it has been understood since Augustine, but that was long before science came to recognise that we ourselves are products of a natural process. Augustine thought we had been created by God, and are, as such, a privileged part of creation, distinct from the other forms of life around us.

But the rest of the world was able to be understood by us, since we shared, in fact, something divine. Indeed, he uses the different faculties of human consciousness as a model for the Trinity. So, of course, he could speak of the world around as able to be investigated and understood by the mind. But there was a sharp division between the knowable world, and the revealed truths of religion.

That boundary is still quite carefully patrolled. He is in conflict with it. What the pope thinks is that, if God did not create us, as beings of infinite worth through that creative act, then life is meaningless. There is no reason to conclude this. In fact, if this is what he thinks, science tells him that his life is meaningless, for God did not create us.

There is not a scrap of evidence for this. We can story it in myth if we like, but then we must not consider it knowledge. And if we are to consider it to be knowledge, then we must show how it can be proved. I am particularly concerned about the right to die, because my young wife had a very aggressive case of MS, and after trying and failing to take her life, she opted to go to Switzerland to die before her paralysis had trapped her in her body. And it is religious conviction which perpetuates the cruelty of forcing people to live in conditions that they consider degrading and humiliating.

I do not think, and you have not convinced me, that we cannot sort out, from the messiness of history, types of discourse which are more likely to be able to be well grounded epistemologically from types of discourse that are not able to be so grounded. Nor is it clear to me that there has not been, and continues to be, a conflict between those two very different types of discourse and the traditions they embody.

For convenience, we can distinguish them by speaking of religion and science, recognising that underlying those words are historical processes and realities that are as messy as you like. But it still does not follow that one of them is not a knowledge producing activity, and that another produces no knowledge of any significance or worth; though I am prepared, with Richard Holloway, to suppose that there is, within religion, sometimes an imaginative grasp of being human which is existentially compelling.

I think, though I may be wrong about this, that this could be done just as effectively through other forms of imagination, and that the time has come to say goodbye to the mythmaking imagination, since at some point in the messy cultural reality which constitute religion it inevitably makes epistemological claims which cannot be made good, even while some within the same tradition will understand them as freeform aspects of the creative imagination.

For the more realistic understanding of religious beliefs is the form of religion which underlies religious power, and the sooner we are freed from the tentacles of religious power, it seems to me, the better off we will be. But now, echoing you, I am getting a bit weary, so I must say adieu. I do, however, find the discussion of this issue a compelling one, though I do not think of it as a field of study.

By the by, in your first post you remark that you did not put any weight on the issue of its being a field of study or not, and yet in your second one you say that of course, it is indisputably a field of study. Harmonising science and religion is of no interest to science. Harmonising religion and science is a religious undertaking. Even agnostics may sometimes pitch in and help religion out. Thomas Dixon also said I stand by my emphasis on the political aspects of all of this. Cl aims about the nature of […]. Freeman remarks on the similarity of the quarrel then with the quarrel now.

Just a quick note to thank you again for your engagment. I think this is all fascinating and we have made good headway in clarifying our differences and some agreements too — and in a pretty civilised way! My own personal background is similar to yours — a journey from Christian belief to nonbelief, via non-realist Cupittian Christianity. On the key issue which clearly concerns contributors to this blog — about the conflict between certain scientific findings and religious beliefs — e.

I tried to make it clear that astronomy, physics, neuroscience, and evolution have all posed substantial challenges to religious beliefs and that in many cases those beliefs have had to be reappraised, reinterpreted, or abandoned. As far as I am concerned this field of study clearly exists it has journals, books, conferences, societies , and I agree that for many but not all who work in that field it is as a religious or theological undertaking. And it is certainly not true that harmonising science and religion is of no interest to science.

I will have to leave it at that for now or else I will spend the whole time from now till Christmas posting on these fascinating issues. Merry Christmas…. Very often it is a problem that people want simple answers, and over-simplify narratives to fit their narrow ideological schemes. But sometimes it is a problem that a very simple issue gets obfuscated by those fearing the simple truth, unpleasant as it is for them.

As an outsider, how do you know which of these it is for a given topic? Unsurprisingly, I think in this case it is the second problem. It is really very simple: there is one reality out there. We either have a soul or not; natural disasters are either divine retribution or they are not; the universe has either been created by a superior intelligence or not; etc.

The first does not exist in practice, and the second we would not call religion. I understand your reluctance to carry this thing further. These threads can become something of a never-ending story, with diminishing marginal returns as they go on. I do, however, want to thank you for engaging with the conversation so fully. It has been a help to me in clarifying some of my thoughts around the relationship between religion and science.

As such, I have no problem, except, of course, that it should then be called Religion and Science not Science and Religion , as, in fact, I proposed in my review. It is a religious concern. It may become a concern for scientists, if they also happen to be religious, like Kenneth Miller, or for educational organisations, like NCSE, which tend to take the view that it is politically useful to make religion-friendly noises in order not to scare religious people away from science. One of my concerns is that trying to accommodate religion to science tends to preserve the cultural power and influence of religion, a role in the culture which it does not, on its merits, deserve.

Regarding the conflict between specific religious beliefs and science. It is true that you do address these in your book, though they seem to get lost in the more general project of dissolving the religious-science conflict into cultural complexity. I think it is this more general issue that is likely of most concern to people who blog on Butterflies and Wheels. How belief in miracles, for example, conflicts with science, is just a particular instance of a broader epistemological question regarding how we justify our beliefs, and how it would be best to relate scientific concerns to continuing interest in the antiquated forms of thought preserved, like bees in amber, in religious myths and related hermeneutic.

As for people who are motivated by religious belief in their scientific undertakings, this, while of some cultural interest, perhaps, is of no real consequence for science. While perhaps a helpful motivation, for that person, it also provides motivation to misrepresent what is found. Since conflicts between specific religious beliefs and scientific findings are not uncommon, a religious person has more reason to qualify his or her conclusions with religious bias than a person who is motivated by purely scientific considerations.

There are always reasons for trying to make observations fit presuppositions, as the sad case of Marc Hauser demonstrates. Adding another level of interpretation simply adds another source of possible distortion. Once again, many thanks for engaging so fully. I think, anyway, that your last post illustrates how far you have moved from the conclusions to which you come in your book. It also tends to make it look as though the relationship between religion and science is as tenuous as I thought when I was reviewing it.

Since I am retired, every day is in some sense a holiday, but I can wish you Happy Holidays! The emphasis on epistemology is critical to understanding why science develops knowledge that works while religion develops only a stuttering set of faith-based beliefs, and why the two are incompatible ways of knowing.

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Stick to your guns, Eric. When religion attempts to make a truth claim about anything knowable, it does so either by borrowing from science and often claiming it as its own revealed truth , or makes assertions and assumptions on the basis that believing faith-based beliefs is a virtue. This has the effect of creating a lovely closed circle that prohibits honest inquiry about the specific religious portion of the claims. As such, faith-based beliefs are a form of anti-intellectualism regarding a method open to inquiry to produce knowledge.

Science and Faith: A New Introduction - John F. Haught - Google книги

When it comes to weighing the strength of the religious aspect of a claim, the use of faith to inform it is presented as a justifiable in religious terminology but such faith outside the church doors is a clear sign of ignorance in any other area of human inquiry. Lack of knowledge is usually not a strong selling point about what informs a truth claim. The results of such fruitless efforts are entirely predictable: whereas science attempts to find explanations through the process of critical inquiry to create knowledge that works, religion attempts to provide answers approved by some supernatural agency that looks exactly like asserting baseless faith-based beliefs.

That it was used in connection with fundamentalists only makes it more confusing, not less suspicious. Harmonizing science and religion may be of practical value for individuals who want to avoid anti-theist statements.

John F. Haught

However, harmonizing science and religion appears to be of no value whatsoever in developing a methodology to produce an view of the natural world which is as accurate and complete as possible. That is manifestly true and utterly inconsequential. Isaac Newton believed in alchemy, while Ramanujan believed that mathematical ideas were purveyed to him in his dreams by a certain goddess. Thank you, Saikat Biswas, for wading in.

But you have encouraged me. As somebody who pretends to be some sort of a scholar of religion, Dr Dixon, you should at least have some awareness of the fact that Christianity is in its essence very unlike the generally tolerant and decentralised polytheism it destroyed, a polytheism that had permitted the emergence of a brilliant tradition of rational thought about the world that Christianity also destroyed. Again, the religions of the Far East, where I live, have been Taoism, Shinto, Buddhism, Confucianism, various ancestor cults, and a variety of localised spirit cults such as those of the Na Khi in western China of which the American botanist Joseph Rock and, following him, Ezra Pound wrote so eloquently.

The reason why Chinese and Japanese people have in the main little difficulty about accepting the theory of evolution is in part because none of these religions make the kind of claims both to truth and to the authority to judge scientific ideas that Christianity regularly has done and does.

That was my point: Christianity as well as Islam makes claims that directly challenge the findings of science, and, although it has been forced, time and again, to accommodate itself to scientific findings, it has done so reluctantly and with ill grace, and it is wholly clear that it cannot cede its fundamental dogmas without destroying the basis for its existence; and were such as the present pope or the Baptist Mohler in a position to wield the kind of power a mediaeval pope had at his command, it is clear that it would go badly for science.

Yes, of course, any religion at all cannot resist rational scrutiny, but such East Asian religions as I have listed are with the exception, perhaps of certain Buddhist sects such as Soka Gakkai who have modelled themselves after Christian groups simply not in the business of challenging science in the way that Christianity necessarily does, and they have, in general, a history of syncretism and tolerance that is quite unlike that of Christianity.

Another matter is that Taoist-influenced thought has small difficulty with a universe that is in a state of flux. Of course we find people who are religious and scientific, although if they mix these ideas they necessarily infect their science. But the fundamental conceptual incompatibility will be left unmoved by such peregrinations.

After all, as has been discussed here before, the very grade of religious belief is defined by its compatibility with science by all of us, including the religious. You can write any number of dissertations on such beliefs and their effect on culture and society. But they decidedly fall outside the ambit of science. Just back from a long day at the British Library pretending to be a scholar — and wanted to offer a further clarification.

I was drawing a parallel between the acceptance of science by liberal Christians and also by the Eastern religionists you mentioned, not suggesting that e. Taoism was a theistic religion. The following extracts from a couple of my publications suggest that perhaps we might agree more than you seem to supppose. The reality seems much less balanced than either of these metaphors suggests. It is generally scientific theories, and the philosophy of scientific method, that set the terms of the interaction, and religion and theology that are required to fit in with the theories, and to mimic the methods.

Professional theologians write books and organise conferences about how their work should be shaped and constrained by the latest developments in the sciences. It goes without saying that prominent scientific atheists, such as Richard Dawkins , are also adamant for their own reasons that good-natured dialogue between science and religion is impossible for the opposite point of view, see Ward In reality, of course, there are, and have been historically, an almost infinitely wide array of different sciences and different religions.

The third criticism follows on from this point. The problem arises only when it seems that this particular context is being obscured or hidden by the use of very general language. The very general questions alluded to in the introduction to this chapter, for instance, about relationships between the book of nature and the book of scripture; between faith and reason; and between the seen and the unseen, would make some sense to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.

The answers given to those questions would differ widely, not only between these faiths, but also within each tradition, but the questions could be discussed with some integrity nonetheless. But can the dialogue be extended even further? Robert Russell, in the editorial of the first issue of Theology and Science , expresses the hope that it can. As historians have shown, those preoccupations have arisen from a very particular set of intellectual, social and political circumstances in Western Europe and North America, especially from the seventeenth century onwards.

Mathematics and astronomy were both particularly nurtured in Islamic cultures in the middle ages, for example, where they were used to calculate the correct times of prayer and the direction of Mecca, as well as for many more secular purposes. Islamic scholars working in academies such as the House of Wisdom in Baghdad preserved, tested, and improved upon Ancient Greek medicine and optics, as well as astronomy and astrology, between the ninth and the fifteenth centuries.

Excluded from more mainstream European academic institutions, Jewish communities formed a particularly strong connection with the science and practice of medicine in early-modern Europe. The relationship between modern scientific knowledge — a characteristically Western system of thought — and the religious traditions of the East, is different again. There is, finally, a very particular story to be told about the relationship between evolutionary biology and modern Protestant Christianity — one which we will return to below.

The point is that none of these particular relationships can serve as a universal template for understanding engagements between science and religion. I have some sympathy with this view. However, at least within the Abrahamic, monotheistic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, there is enough common ground, historically, philosophically, and theologically for a more general discussion to take place. Whether it is possible or desirable to extend that discussion still further to include non-theistic or non-scriptural traditions is another question, and one which I will not explore further here.

The monotheistic faiths, however, are all united by the idea that God is the author of two books — the book of nature and the book of scripture — and that the individual believer will find their understanding and their faith strengthened through the careful reading of both books. On the other hand, the bewildering variety of different religions consist of credos and precepts that aim to compete for heights of absurdity despite their glaring contradictions.

Again, utterly inconsequential. There is no such thing as Islamic mathematics or Islamic astronomy. These feats were achieved in the middle ages by people who professed themselves to be Muslims. The stability as well as general prosperity fostered by the Islamic empire of the time surely inspired those achievements. But in no way do these impressive achievements reflect on the validity of the core principles of the Islamic faith. This is very true, however, While both have their different subcategories and eras, science gravitates toward factual based evidence, while religion tends to gravitate toward revelation or authority.

Science is of course about knowledge, and when you attempt to do epistemology, you need some kind of selective process, that distinguishes between truth and falsehood. Religion also does a selective process, but based on revelation or authority; that which concords with authority passes such as the works of Aristotle and Plato or the science of gravity and that which discords with authority gets burned or is termed heretical heliocentricity, evolution, The entire Catholic Index of banned books.

And so the conflict is still obvious. Hence why science stopped progressing in the post-medieval periods within Islamic territories, and why it stopped progressing within the Christian orthodox dominated middle-ages. The idea that there is a bridge between science and theology, that appears onesided, is a good analogy. Theology is of course an epistemological enterprise, although not a religion in itself. In even attempting to mimic science or scholarship, it is attempting to make coherency—following a kind of objective coherent methodology—but out of an incoherent revelatory authority.

Science especially natural science has absolutely no interest in any revelatory authority, as you must know, but only within empiricism. Where you may discover some complexity or obscurity which never helps in epistemology is when studying these subjects historically. As for the three great monotheistic traditions, while each share the same God, and borrow from each other, they are all based in different authorities. In theology, which attempts to create coherency, it is no surprise that it can unite all three traditions. The problem is, that theology is not religion, and religion is always based in authority of texts or prophets and not in the authority of another religion.