In his 1954 essay Science & Religion, Albert Einstein wrote that "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." The meaning of this quote is not as it appears to be, and many philosophers would argue that science lends more to religion than religion lends to science. In this lecture we will provide a basic exploration of the relationship between science and religion, addressing such key themes such as faith, natural science, intelligent design and the nature of 'truth'. Both science and religion require different kinds of faith. For religion, faith is belief without substantial evidence; for science, faith is confidence in empirical process. And whilst science and faith address similar themes - the creation of the universe and the nature of existence, for example - they present opposing constructs of reality and employ different epistemologies. Science is based on the systematic study of observations, made with our senses and with scientific instruments, that we might apply acquired knowledge for the ultimate benefit our species. Religion comprises a set of formalised rituals for communication with the supernatural with the ambition to apply whatever is gained to helping the person and, possibly, humankind. Do such differences equate to mutually exclusivity? Mathematicians and physicists argue that nature and the universe have order: our universe operates in cosmological phases, expanding, contracting and expanding again. But apart from implying that the universe conforms to natural laws, might this also leave room for a divine creator, something behind the laws?  As Stephen Hawking asks, "Why does the universe bother to exist? If you like, you can define God to be the answer to that question." We conclude by asking whether battle lines must always de drawn between the science and religion; does it have to either/or? Can we believe in science and in a God, whatever that God might be?

SCIENCE & RELIGION

Can they co-exist in the 21st Century...?

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