Science and Religion
Enemies or Allies
Science = mechanism
“how do my cells divide and replicate?”
Religion = meaning
“Why am I here?”
Science does not claim to have all the answers
The beauty of flowers for
example can not be
You can not ask science to prove there is a God or
not because scientists study the physical world.
Questions about God’s existence are outside the terms
“Science without religion is lame,
Religion without science is blind”
So... Are they Enemies or Allies?
The Middle Ages –
The Earth is seen as centre of the
Thinking was deductive, i.e. Not on
observation but on the basis that that the
bible was literally true
Why Earth centred?
• A spinning earth would
• The sun appeared as if
be expected to fling off
everything that was not
• Earth felt stationary fixed to it.
• If earth moved round • A cannonball, fired
surely wind would sweep straight up would be
everything off the expected to fall to the
earth. west of firing point as
• Distant stars did not the earth moved (same
seem to change position with birds and clouds.)
Some people were studying the stars and noticed
that they moved. Eventually, scientists started
discussions that the world was round and went round
Copernicus (1473 – 1543) A polish priest published
a paper based on the belief that the sun was the
centre of the universe not the earth. Copernicus
was afraid , but his paper was only read by those
who had similar ideas.
Galileo (1564 – 1642) then published his
own work based on Copernicus and his
work was widely read.
The church confronts Galileo and
asks him to back down
At this time the Vatican is all important,
with Pope at head. The Pope issues a
The belief that the earth moves round the
sun and that the sun is stationary in the
centre of the universe and does not move
from east to west is against the teachings of
the Bible and therefore can not be defended
Galileo is put on trial and denies what
he published (not surprising as his
freedom and life were at stake.)
Real issue for the church
Who interprets the
The Church wanted to.
If they allowed the
scientists to it would mean
a danger to the literal
interpretation of the Bible.