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Science and Religion. Enemies or Allies. Lesson Intention – Introduce the main ideas that influenced the Scientific Revolution and the key scientific figures. What is a world-view ?. A world-view is the way in which the structure of the world is understood, based on beliefs and/or science.

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Science and Religion

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science and religion

Science and Religion

Enemies or Allies

Lesson Intention –

Introduce the main ideas that influenced the Scientific Revolution and the key scientific figures.

what is a world view
What is a world-view?
  • A world-view is the way in which the structure of the world is understood, based on beliefs and/or science.
  • A world-view often includes ideas about the world’s place in the universe.
  • Science and religion both discuss ideas about how we understand the world, how traditional religious beliefs relate to scientific understanding and how the contributions of philosophers, scientists and believers can contribute to the welfare of humans.
science and religion the love affair
Science and Religion: The Love Affair
  • Religion and science weren’t always at each others throats!
  • It was out of the work of scientists and philosophers that science was born.
  • Until the 16th century philosophers and theologians were the scientists. They asked questions like: How was the world made? What holds the world up? Why does the Moon not fall down?
science and religion the love affair1
Science and Religion: The Love Affair
  • The two got on so well together because the scientific explanations included reference to God.
  • Things began to change in the 16th century as the way in which we understood God’s place in the universe and His relationship with humans began to change.
  • Science and religion began to drift apart and scientific principles began to be accepted without reference to God.
  • Profound change in the European world-view in the late 16th and 17th centuries
  • Primary cause was the Scientific Revolution (1543-present)
  • The most profound change in human history?
  • New intellectual climate differed from medieval & early modern world-view:
    • Rejection of authority – e.g. bible and church - without reason
    • “Best” knowledge was practical
    • Demystification of the universeScientists of this era differed from predecessors in combining mathematics and experiment – previous just Observation
scientific thought in 1500
Scientific Thought in 1500
  • The Aristotelian/Ptolemaic Universe
    • Geocentric
    • 10 separate, transparent, crystal spheres
      • First 8 held the moon, sun, planets, stars
      • 2 added during Middle Ages
      • Heaven lay beyond the 10th sphere
      • Angels kept the spheres moving
    • Sublunar world
      • Earth, water; fire, air
      • Uniform force moved objects until something stopped it
  • The Church invested greatly in this world-view – man was at the center of the universe, most important part of Creation
  • The Scientific Revolution
why earth centred
The sun appeared as if moving.

Earth felt stationary

If earth moved round surely wind would sweep everything off the earth.

Distant stars did not seem to change position

A spinning earth would be expected to fling off everything that was not fixed to it.

A cannonball, fired straight up would be expected to fall to the west of firing point as the earth moved (same with birds and clouds.)

Why Earth centred?

Some people were studying the stars and noticed that they moved. Eventually, scientists started discussions that the world was round and went round the sun.

nicolaus copernicus 1473 1543
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543)
  • Polish monk
  • Observed patterns of star and planet movement
  • On the Revolutions of Celestial Bodies (1543)
  • Heliocentrism
  • Called into question the literal truth of the Scriptures
  • Copernicus waited until he was near death to publish his findings
galileo 1564 1642 then published his own work based on copernicus and his work was widely read
Galileo (1564 – 1642) then published his own work based on Copernicus and his work was widely read.
galileo galilei 1564 1642
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
  • Italian scientist
  • Improved the telescope
  • Made observations that proved the Copernican view of the universe
    • Moon
    • Planets
    • Stars
  • Wrote in the vernacular
  • 1633 – Church forced Galileo to recant; placed under house arrest
letter to the grand duchess christina of tuscany 1615
Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany (1615)
  • Written to address the conflict between the Bible and heliocentric theory
  • Argued that the Bible must be interpreted in light of scientific knowledge
  • Argued for a non-literal interpretation of the Bible
  • Galileo declared the Bible teaches how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go
  • The letter began Galileo’s troubles with the Catholic Church
Galileo believed in God so why did the Catholic Church declare him a heretic?
  • Why did his books remain banned until the second half of the 20th century?

Real issue for the church was,Who interprets the Bible?The Church wanted to and if they allowed the scientists to it would mean a danger to the literal interpretation of the Bible.

ren descartes 1596 1650
René Descartes (1596-1650)
  • French mathematician and philosopher
  • A transitional figure between the medieval past and modern science
  • A rationalist – Appealed to reason
  • Promoter of deductive reasoning, predicting particular results from general principles
discourse on method 1637
Discourse on Method (1637)
  • Descartes wished to develop a method that could be used to yield scientific truth
  • Argued that abstract reasoning and math were a more reliable path to truth; our senses could deceive us
  • Cogito ergo sum (“I think, therefore I am”)
significance of the scientific revolution
Significance of the Scientific Revolution
  • Contributions of these scientists made the universe comprehensible for the first time
  • The individual became much more important; collective authority was not the source of wisdom…individual intellect was
  • After the Revolution, God was viewed by many as either a remote “master mechanic”, or his existence began to be doubted
  • Began long “adversarial” relationship between science and religion
  • The Revolution laid the foundation for the Enlightenment of the 18th century…
the enlightenment
The Enlightenment
  • Intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th centuries…a product of the Scientific Revolution
  • Key principles of the Enlightenment:
    • Belief in human reason
    • Belief in the scientific method
    • Progress, or “easing man’s estate”
  • Enlightenment ideals often came into conflict with religion
  • Blossomed in 18th century France
john locke 1632 1704
John Locke (1632-1704)
  • An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)
  • Argues against innate knowledge –ideas of God, right and wrong , justice
  • Experience is the only source of knowledge
  • Tabula rasa - mind is a blank tablet – on which experience writes everything we come to know
  • Consequently, the knowledge of which we are capable is quite limited
jean d alembert 1717 1783
Jean d’Alembert (1717-1783)
  • With Denis Diderot, edited the Encyclopedia (1750-1765)
    • Published in 17 vols.
    • Hundreds of contributors
    • Goal was “to change the general way of thinking”
  • The Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedia of Diderot contains d’Alembert’s reflections on knowledge
  • Goal to make everything available to the masses – math's, science etc
  • Discredit religion and superstition
  • Listed Communion as ‘see Cannibalism

To Do

  • 1. Read back through the notes pages 1- 5
  • Create 5 questions based on the information on those pages.
  • Create in jotter 1 page summary of notes on the Medieval Worldview and the Scientific Revolution
  • You could do a mindmap, bullet points etc but MUST only be ONE page in length