Religion, science and the Enlightenment

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Bilton et al. (2002) - The Enlightenment





"It was during the Enlightenment that humans crossed the 'Great Divide' and moved from ignoreance, guesswork and faith to certainity and truth".

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Key aspects of the scientific approach:


  • Knowledge must be based on facts.
  • Scientists must ignore their personal feelings and remain objective.
  • Scientific thinking should be rational and logical.
  • Scientists' observations and theories must be testable by other scientists.
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The Enlightenment and religious thinking

Problem for religion:

- the existence of god(s) cannot be proved.

- religious belief relies on faith rather than hard scientifc evidence.

Frazer (1980) believed that the growth of scientifc explanations of the world would cause religion to disappear.

Science tells us little about things that matter a great deal to us:

- Values  - Hopes  - Fears  - Aspirations  - Anxieties.

Science isn't able to make us feel comfortable.

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Science and religion



Science and religion coexist side by side, with tensions.

While virtually all scientists agree that life on Earth has evolved over billions of years, many Americans consistently reject the idea of natural evolution, largely on the grounds that it conflicts with bibical accounts of creation.

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