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The debate between science and religion is never out of the news: emotions run high, fuelled by polemical bestsellers like The God Delusion and, at the other end of the spectrum, high-profile campaigns to teach 'Intelligent Design' in schools.
Yet there is much more to the debate than the clash of these extremes. As Thomas Dixon shows in this balanced and thought-provoking introduction, many have seen harmony rather than conflict between faith and science. He explores not only the key philosophical questions that underlie the debate, but also the social, political, and ethical contexts that have made 'science and religion' such a fraught and interesting topic in the modern world, offering perspectives from non-Christian religions and examples from across the physical, biological, and social sciences. Along the way, he examines landmark historical episodes such as the trial of Galileo by the Inquisition in 1633, and the famous debate between 'Darwin's bulldog' Thomas Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce in Oxford in 1860. The Scopes 'Monkey Trial' in Tennessee in 1925 and the Dover Area School Board case of 2005 are explained with reference to the interaction between religion, law, and education in modern America.
1. What are science-religion debates really about?
2. Galileo and the philosophy of science
3. Does God act in nature?
4. Darwin and evolution
5. Creationism and Intelligent Design
6. Mind and morality
References and Further Reading
"A rich introductory text [...] on the study of relations of science and religion."
- R. P. Whaite, Metascience
"A marvellous book that should be required reading for dogmatic fundamentalists of every persuasion."
- Patricia Fara, British Journal for the History of Science
"Dixon shows great skill in composing a book which combines coherence and clarity with a strong forward momentum [...] The interested reader need not hesitate."
- Michael Fuller, The Expository Times
"The relationship between science and religion, past and present, is much more varied and more interesting than the popular caricature of conflict. Thomas Dixon gives us the richer picture, and he does it with clarity and verve. This is an ideal introduction to a fascinating subject."
- Peter Lipton. University of Cambridge
"Thomas Dixon has made a delightful contribution to this OUP series of Very Short Introductions"
- Church Times