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Science and Religion

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What is the nature of the relationship between science and religion? When do they conflict? And how do they influence each other in the pursuit of knowledge and truth? While conventional wisdom says that science and theology must perpetually clash, they have actually been partners in an age-old adventure.

These 12 engaging lectures cover both the historical sweep and philosophical flashpoints of this epic interaction. You'll encounter a surprisingly cooperative dynamic in which theologians and natural scientists - from St. Augustine to Sir Isaac Newton to contemporary thinkers - share methods, ideas, aspirations, and a tradition of disputational dialogue.

Moving from the early centuries of the Christian era and the Middle Ages to our own day, Professor Principe examines St. Augustine's profound ideas about reason and faith, and he follows St. Thomas Aquinas's exploration of miracles - the need to identify them is one example of how scientific and theological inquiry overlap.

You'll meet a 19th-century writer whose anti-Catholic diatribe spread myths that persist today, and you'll learn about the courage (and stubbornness) of Galileo, the unexpected rationality of his accusers, the inspiration of Darwin's natural selection, and the religious implications of Lemaître's big bang theory.

The solution to modern conflicts is the study of history. Such study will equip you to join that partnership with ideas and a clear, historical perspective on the science/religion relationship. These tools will help you participate more effectively in a dialogue that is as thought-provoking today as it was hundreds of years ago.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses

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A historical approach

If you take the title "Science and Religion" seriously you would expect a much, much longer book taking a big chunk of our free time. Prof. Principe wisely constraints himself to a historical inquiry into the wide spread but dubious perception of science and religion as natural born opponents. He discusses his theme so interestingly that my only reproach is: This book is too short! And I found a new favorite quote: "Some bad ideas are like Dracula. Just when you think he is dead and buried you feel his breath in you neck all the sudden again."