English Term Paper
March 13, 2000
Thesis: In the book Phantoms, Dean Koontz relates the "war" between religion and science through the defeat of a supernatural being.
A. Similarities to science from the theological view
B. Differences to science from the theological view
1. Why they are different from the theological
2. How to overcome there differences from a
A. Similarities to religion from a scientific view
B. Differences to religion from a scientific view
1. Why they are different from a scientific view
2. How to overcome these differences from a
A. World view of the supernatural
B. How the book uses the supernatural to show the
"war" between religion and science.
For many years, there has been a so-called "war" between
religion and science. religion is a powerful worldview as is science. Many people around the world believe in the existence of both religion and science. Unfortunately, the conflict between the two is partially due to the fact that they are so similar yet so different. Both religion and science expect a person to rely on information that is sometimes unexplainable. In the book , Phantoms, Dean Koontz relates this "war" between religion and science through the defeat of a
There are many different religions that fill this world. Religion requires a person to believe that some events are unexplainable, and that a person should just believe because God, or some other figure wanted life to be this way (Hall 26). A person is expected to believe without a foundation of reason. This relates to science because theories are reasons that have not yet been proven. A scientist expects for a person to believe a theory because it is a reasonable explanation, even if it is not a proven explanation.
Scientists have been accused of saying that religion is only a belief, and that there is a scientific explanation for everything, but if this is true, how come all things in life cannot be explained (Hall 27)? Hall says, "Science cannot explain how a man can survive something when it is impossible to survive." But can religion explain this? According to a theologian, a person who studies religion, there is an explanation. Hall says, "God has a plan for everyone. It is almost like a outline of life. If you are expected to do something before you died, the nothing will stop you."
There are also many things in religion that are unexplained. How can a man rise from the dead? How can a man change water into wine? How can a man walk on the surface of water? These questions are just some of the many that a person is expected to believe without and explanation (Guiley 236). Science has tried to explain some of these phenomena. Scientists have said that a man could easily appear to walk on water during a very low, shallow tide. Other scientist have said that a man can appear to be dead, while really in a semi-coma, and then appear to rise. Theologians refuse to believe these theories, because they are strong believers of their religion. And scientists refuse to believe in religion because they are strong believers of science (Hall 27).
It is often claimed that science can say nothing about values and ethics because it can only tell us what is, not what ought to be (Hall 28). But, science tells us not only what is but also how we must behave if we are to understand what is. Religion also tells us how to behave, while also offering values and ethics. Science is able to overcome the currently evident public attitude of ignorance and hostility (Hall 25). A reader said "God is in control of the universe, and the sooner these so-called scientists realize this, they will not need to invent hocus-pocus dark or unseen matter' as a man-made
explanation instead of acknowledging the true source of all things, the all-powerful omnipotent, omnipresent God, the creator."
The topic of evolution has brought many conflicting views from scientists and theologians. Theologians believe that the world was created by God in seven days, six days of work, one day of rest. Scientist believe that the world has evolved from organism to organism. There has been a compromise that because a day might have been many years, that God created the world, but it looks like a evolution over time. Although, these compromise is often discarded by many theologians.
What about the supernatural? How does the world perceive the supernatural? Religion and the supernatural, if discussed broadly enough, can be confused for the same topic (Cavendish 112). The supernatural is something that cannot be defined by scientist or people. And a person can choose whether or not they believe that the supernatural exists. With science and religion, it is agreed that theories and beliefs are about things that we know exist, such as water, earth, and human life. Where as with the paranormal, well, the supernatural has no explanation. In the book, Phantoms, the power in the whole town is gone. this can easily be explained by science, but it can also be the cause of something that is unexplainable. Dean Koontz relates the two themes, religion and science, by using an unexplainable element (Draper 54). This element happens to be the supernatural. The two main characters return home to their town to find all the residents dead. They cannot yet come to a conclusion on what they find. Scientists are flown in and squads are brought in to protect the survivors. What they discover is least what they expected.
The "killer" is not a human being or a disease. Some of the characters believe it to be the form of the devil, or evil, while other characters believe it to be a prehistoric being from many years earlier. After research, and prayer, the survivors discover that the being is an acid type being, and can be destroyed-using science. The being is defeated, but it took both the strong belief in religion to give the characters strength to mentally defeat the being, and science to physically defeat the being. Dean Koontz uses a harmonious
relationship between religion and science. James Draper says, "I feel Dean Koontz, whether he knows it or not, is trying to state that instead of religion and science fighting, they should work together to overcome and defeat the evils' of the world."
The battle between religion and science has existed too long to end now. And even if it does, there will still be people who disagree with religion, science, or both. Lately there has been a study called Realistic Idealism. Realistic Idealism is dedicated to the concept that philosophical ideas and morality can be based on evidence (Hall 28). It is a friendly philosophy similar to all religions through reverence and faith. If enough theologians and scientists agree to try Realistic Idealism, it could bring a "truce" to the war between religion and science.
Religion and science are both two issues that are believed by personal preference. If a person believes strongly enough in a religion, the discoveries of science has no effect on this person. Likewise, if a person believes in science strongly enough, then the values and morals of religion will also have no effect. Religion and Science are opinions, personal preferences, and just two of the many choices of beliefs a person has today. And if someone is
open-minded, then he/she will be able to see the unity of religion and science.
Cavendish, Richard. Man, Myth, and Magic. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1985.
Draper, James P. Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol 78. New York: Gale Research Inc, 1994.
The Gale Group. Koontz, Dean. June 10, 1998. January 7 2000. Online. Internet. Available www.galenet.com
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. Harpers Encyclopedia of Mystical
Paranormal Experiences. New York: Harper Collins, 1991.
Hall, Norman F. "Is the War Between Religion and Science
Over?" The Humanist; Pgs 25-29. May/June 1986.
Koontz, Dean. Phantoms. New York: Puntam, 1983.