Science vs. Faith (Part One)



In his book Religion and Science, philosopher of science Ian Barbour describes four models of interaction between science and religion:


1. Conflict

2. Independence

3. Dialogue

4. Integration


The Conflict Model is popularized by many pop-scientists and religious fundamentalists who each insist that either faith or science can be true (but not both). Skeptics insist that religion is merely a mythical way of explaining the natural world that served a purpose prior to the Scientific Revolution. This story, while popularized by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lawrence Krauss, Richard Dawkins, and others, couldn't be further from reality. Historian of Science (and agnostic) Ronald L. Numbers says:


“The greatest myth in the history of science and religion holds that they have been in a state of constant conflict. No one bears more responsibility for promoting this notion than two nineteenth-century American polemicists: Andrew Dickson White (1832-1918) and John William Draper (1811-1882)… Historians of science have known for years that White’s and Draper’s accounts are more propaganda than history… As a first step toward correcting these misperceptions we must dispel the hoary myths that continue to pass as historical truths. No scientist, to our knowledge, ever lost his life because of his scientific views…”

(Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion, p. 1-2, 6).