Are Science and Religion in Conflict? - Paper

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 571
  • Published : May 10, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
Are Science and Religion in Conflict?
The debate about the compatibility of science and religion has been quite ongoing for a while. Many clergy men do not believe that both institutions are in conflict with each other. In fact people have come to believe that they both complement each other. In other words, science provides an explanation where religion falters and religion provides an explanation where science falters. This argument has been used to quell inquiries into the relationship that exists (or seems to) between science and religion. The argument being presented in this paper is very straightforward. It transcends the borders laid out by the proponents of the compatibility of science and religion regarding how they seem to complement each other and proves that they are in conflict with each other. Science and religion have been in conflict with each other from time immemorial and this is still the case even at the present. It may even be subjectively suggested that it has become obvious to the ‘compatibility’ proponents that religion has lost the war against science and rather than surrendering, religion could still be made to coexist with science, and thus, the ‘compatibility’ argument. In subsequent paragraphs, the opposing sides of the argument on science not being in conflict with religion will be presented. As with any proper argumentative paper, a counter argument will be presented and this will also be followed by an argument that counters the counter-argument. The main opposing view will delve into the conflicting nature of these institutions by considering the wide gap between the nature of scientific laws and that of religious laws by means of logical reasoning techniques. The counter-argument on the other hand will explore the possible relationships between scientific laws and religious laws that make them complement each other, and the subsequent response to the counter-argument will still provide logical means by which the claims made in the counter-argument may be refuted. The main difference between science and religion lies in the laws that both endeavors present. All scientific laws are derived from nature and can be said to obey the laws of nature. A typical example is Newton’s law of gravitation which stipulates that the force of attraction between two bodies of different masses is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of their distances apart (Hawking, 1996). This law was formulated by means of observation of natural phenomena and when it was applied to objects within the natural context, it proved to be very valid. As with other natural laws such as this, it is subject to experimental validation and even Karl Popper’s disconfirmation theory. As a matter of fact, it was later discovered that this law becomes invalid as a body approaches the speed of light (Hawking, 1996). Without delving too deep into the esoteric jargons of Physics, the point being made here is apparent. Scientific laws obey nature and even when they are disconfirmed or rendered invalid by other theories, they still fall within the natural context. Before proceeding, it is important to adumbrate the reader on what is meant by ‘natural’. The term ‘natural’, according to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary anything that is not made or caused by human beings, but that exists in nature (Wehmeier, 2000). Nature constitutes everything that exists in the universe that is not caused by man. In this context, one can easily conclude that the scientific laws constitute are made up of observable phenomena in the universe whereas religious laws do not. How then are they not in conflict with each other? Approaching the argument from a logic point of view, we can come up with the following argument: “Religious laws are compatible with scientific laws” [P] “Religious laws are based solely on observable phenomena in the universe” [Q] Using the modus tollens argument form,...
tracking img