Science and religion are two aspects that have always been in antagonism. Many people have been asking about the existence of a conflict between scientific methods and religiosity of the soul. In a general sense, when people talk of science, what comes to the mind is the modern advancement in technology which has made life more comfortable. Nonetheless, it has to be noted that science in its true sense does not just refer to the technological advancement, and that it can be looked at as a vision of life itself.
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The conflict that exists between science and religion is not in the technological advancements, but rather, the challenges arise from the theoretical framework of the scientific discipline (Sweet, p 5). This paper explores the points of conflict between science and religion and the challenges that are posed to religion by science.
The conflict between science and religion started way back in the 19th century. This is a time when the geocentric view was replaced by the heliocentric view as propounded by Copernicus. The argument presented by Copernicus caused a great conflict with the church as it contradicted the biblical beliefs and traditions.
In the conventional sense, before Copernicus came up with his assertions, it was believed that the earth was main foundation and that other heavenly bodies such as the sun, moon and stars moved around it. This was a great challenge that religion had to deal with at the time (Sweet, p 14).
The other thing that was the point of conflict between science and religion was in respect to the origin of the earth. Religious belief held that the earth was created by the Almighty God about 4000 years ago. However, scientists came up with the theory asserting that the formation of the world can be traced way back to millions and millions of years ago. In this case, the formation of the earth is said to have occurred several millions ago. This assertion was a great challenge to the religious community of the medieval time (Sweet, p 38).
Also, the theory of creation in religious view held that human beings, and other animals and plants, were the creation of God. On the other hand, the arguments advanced by Charles Darwin and other scientists contradicted this by arguing that all humans and plants evolved from simple life. This has caused many challenges to religion in defending the creation theory (Sweet, p 42).
The discovery of the law of gravity by Isaac Newton was another scientific challenge to religion. Isaac Newton argued that everything happening in the physical world could be subjected to mathematical deduction through the logical process in which the conclusions could be derived from premises. Newton further argued that the physical world was contained in what can be referred to as ‘cup of time and space.’
Laplace, who was an adherent of Newton, came up with the ‘Celestial Mechanics,’ and this seems to have ignited the conflict between religion and science. When Laplace’s work was taken for consideration to Napoleon, he refused citing that ‘God’ was not represented in the work. On his part, Laplace argued that he had failed to scientifically prove the existence of God (Sweet, p 58).
In conclusion, it can be argued that there are many points of conflict between religion and science. Religion was the first to establish its dominating view about the world. Nonetheless, when science came up in the 19th century, an alternative view of the world was provided. Science came up with various premises from which religious assumptions were challenged.
Sweet, William. Religion and the challenges of science. Aldershot [u.a.]: Ashgate, 2007.