History and Philosophy Of Science | Science & Religion at the End of the 20th Century
X100 | 25980 | Larry Glass


Science & Religion at the End of the 20th Century

Time magazine famously asked on its cover in 1966, "Is God Dead?"
This cover reflected the perception that religion was on the decline
among Americans. It also pointed to the growing importance science
as the venue for answering life's many questions. But, forty years
later another Time cover story instead framed the debate as
being "God vs. Science". If religion in America was to disappear by
the end of the twentieth century (according to the 1966), why the
emphasis on an active debate between science and religion at the
beginning of the twenty-first?

In this class we discuss some of the variety of positions about the
relationship between science and religion at the end of the
twentieth century. We begin by formulating a framework for questions
of what are science and religion and how they relate. Then we
examine examples from prominent thinkers, who have differing views
on how science and religion should be related. These examples reveal
the underlying assumptions and motivate a closer look at the central
questions on the relationship of science and religion. Re-aiming
these questions to the dispute between Intelligent Design
Creationism and Evolutionary Biology reveals how important they
remain. Finally, a look at the way this dispute has been addressed
in American courts points to the difficulty in coming to a
satisfactory solution.