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Science and Religion will always conflict. Discuss. (Nov 2002) by Mind Map: Science and Religion will always
conflict. Discuss. (Nov 2002)
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Science and Religion will always conflict. Discuss. (Nov 2002)


Defining the question

Are Science and Religion complementary responses or at utter odds with each other?

Defining the terms

Science, Science is defined as a system of enquiry, which helps us to understand phenomena and natural occurences in the world, Prides itself on the scientific method, a systematic approach in developing hypotheses and proving them based on emprical evidence.

Religion, Some describe it to be an act of faith, the belief that unexplainable observations are a result of the work of an omniscient being

Our Stand

Science and Religion may not necesarily be in conflict with one another, both methods have their limitations but are required in understanding the truth.

Argument 1: Religion helps to maintain the ethical underpining of the society (not in conflict)

Society is governed by 2 major dimensions- the physical and moral dimension. Science is about solving mysteries through research and discoveries and hence deals mainly with the physical realm of things.

Yet, where the realm of the interpersonal is concerned, the other huge component of human existence, religion is more meaningful and relevant in guiding human behaviour. Religion ensures that the society maintains its moral awareness by adopting morality as a human obligation rather then questioning its existence.

For example, 'Thou shall not kill' is a divine commandment that is unassailable and explains how a hamonious relationships can be maintained.

Science, with its dealings with the physical realm, and constant pursuit towards discovering new theories, fails to concern itself with the other dimension, the ethical aspect of society, and in this respect, religion serves as a moral net in ensuring that scientific pursuits do not go out of hand and disrupt the social well-being of our society.

Hence, while science and religion are two radically different means of interpreting the world, both are equally well-equipped in exploring the different things that governs the world we live in.

Argument 2: Science and Religion both play integral roles both at a personal and societal level.

Science and Religion each caters to different needs of people.

Both Science and Religion are essential parts of peoples' lives.

They both have different roles to play in peoples' lives and not necessarily have to be conflicting.

Science benefits the society through explaining different phenomena while religion provides spiritual comfort and assurance to individuals on a personal level.

Thus, Science and Religion can actually complement each other.

Counter Argument 1: The Idea of Miracles

Religion posits that God is the creator of all universe and is capable of performing miraculous signs and wonders. These cannot be explained by the natural laws of the world.

All these cannot be explained by Science, which prides itself on explaining phenomena based on natural laws.

Thus, there is an apparent conflict between Science and Religion.

However, this is not the case if we consider the view that miracles is just a matter of perspective.

For example, a Toyota Corolla would appear to be a miracle to a caveman living in the Stone Age.

Thus, miracles does not only refer to supernatural occurences and Science and Religion may not be always at utter odds with each other.

Argument 3: Science and Religion provide different but complementary ways in understanding the world

Religion attempts to explain why things occur and addresses questions linked to the human philosophy

Religion answers philosophical questions of existence, like "what is our purpose in life", "why the laws of universe are the way they are"., For example:."Evolution" and "natural selection" are terms that some scientists and science-lovers use to explain how everything happened. But they don't. Religion can simply say that "evolution" and "natural selection" are God's way of improving on what he made

Science is better positioned to explain how things work and primarily addresses questions pertaining to cold matter (non-human)

Science answers well questions about the functioning of things, about the laws that govern the universe., For example:Science explains the concept of gravity and how it keeps us close to the ground (center of earth)

Limitation of science:Science uses natural "laws" to explain much of what it does. It has never and can never explain the reasons why such laws do or should exist, For example:Science cannot explain the existence of gravity.(Why does gravity even exist)

Conflicts will only arise when either Science or Religion tries to explain the opposite (i.e religion explains how and science explains why)

For instance when Science assumes the role of interpreting religious facts, For example, the six-day-creation story approximately 4000 years ago, as proposed in the bible of the abrahamic religions, is easily shown to be false by provable evidence uncovered by science


Even though it is apparent that Science and Religion are in conflict due to their disparate ways in interpreting the world, both should nonetheless be respected for their different but equally important role in shaping our world today.

Hence, as long as Science and Religion do not override or undermine each other's importance, perhaps this symbiotic relationship between them can then be maximised.