buy cialis online
- reset +

6. Topics: History and Philosophy of Science [Prof. Skordoulis, Greece]

Start Date:
26. June 2015, 15:30
Finish date:
26. June 2015, 16:15
MESHS - Room 1



Reflections of the Relation between Religion and Science in Science Teaching


Abstract Course

This lecture is going to give an account of the conflict between creationism and evolutionism in the US educational system and will expand on ontological issues concerning the teaching of science. In recent years the Intelligent Design movement, or creationism, has expanded the attack on the teaching of evolution in U.S. public schools, while promoting an ambitious strategy aimed at transforming both science and culture throughout society. Their Discovery Institute makes it clear that their ultimate goals are: "to defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies… replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God." This has reignited the 2,500-year debate between materialism and creationism, between scientific and religious conceptions of the world. The arguments from Intelligent Design and the opposing materialist view (that the world is explained in terms of itself, by reference to material conditions, natural laws, and contingent, emergent phenomena, and not by the invocation of the supernatural) date back to the writings of the Greek philosophers. Today’s intelligent design proponents, continually affirm that the philosophical foundations of the materialist views they oppose can be traced back to Epicurus in antiquity. However, the three greatest materialist enemies of Intelligent Design in modern times are said to be Darwin, Marx, and Freud. It was Darwin who in a critique first used the term “intelligent design” in its modern sense, while Marx and Freud both developed materialist critiques of religion and design. Marx was a strong critic of teleology and the argument from design, which he saw as alienated attempts to provide a rational basis in nature for God’s dominion on earth, thereby justifying all earthly dominions. Presentation of the arguments: In attacking evolution and materialism, proponents of intelligent design emphasize that the world is too specified and irreducibly complex to have been the product of “pure chance.” In contrast, materialist thinkers from antiquity to the present have argued that the world is ruled not by pure chance (or produced by strict mechanical determinism) but is characterized by contingency, i.e., historical deviations from structured conditions, leading over time to the emergence of qualitatively transformed phenomena: in Darwin’s theory through a process of natural selection.

    Discussion: How do we deal with teachers’ and students’ ontological beliefs?



  1. Peter Harrison (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Science and religion, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2000.
  2. Richard G. Olson, Science and Religion 1450-1900. From Copernicus to Darwin, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 2004.
  3. Gary B. Ferngren, Science and Religion. A Historical Introduction, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 2002.
  4. Philip Clayton, Zachary Simpson (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2006
  5. Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah, Magic, Science, religion, and the scope of rationality, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1990
  6. David Livingstone, Dealing with Darwin. Place, Politics and Rhetoric in Religious Engagements with Evolution, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 2014
  7. Thomas Dixon, Geoffrey Cantor, Stephen Pumfrey (eds), Science and Religion. New Historical Perspectives, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2010
  8. Alister E. McGrath, Science and Religion. A new Introduction (Second Edition), Wiley-Blackwell, UK 2010.
  9.  Ronald L. Numbers (ed.), Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion, Harvard University Press, reprint edition 2010.
  10. David C. Lindberg, Ronald L. Numbers, God and Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter between Cristianity and Science, University of California Press, California 1986
  11.   Ronald L. Numbers, Science and Christianity in Pulpit and Pew, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Oxford 2007.
  12. John Hedley Brooke, Science and Religion. Some Historical Perspectives, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1991.
  13. Efthymios Nicolaidis, Science and Eastern Orthodoxy: From the Greek Fathers to the Age of Globalization (Medicine, Science, and Religion in Historical Context), Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 2011