Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction

Thomas Dixon

The conflict between science and religion is always in the headlines, with polemical bestsellers like The God Delusion and high-profile attempts to teach “Intelligent Design” in schools fueling the heightened emotions. The conflict between these extremes is just one aspect of the argument. On this intricate and age-old topic, there are a variety of viewpoints, nuanced arguments, and fascinating perspectives to be found, as Thomas Dixon demonstrates in this fair and thought-provoking introduction. In addition to examining the fundamental philosophical issues at the heart of the argument, he also sheds light on the social, political, and ethical conditions that have contributed to the modern world’s heightened interest in the conflicts between science and religion. Dixon underlines how the ongoing arguments over how to interpret the First Amendment’s separation of church and state serve as an example of how the present struggle between evolution and creationism is uniquely an American phenomenon, emerging from American culture and history. Along the way, he looks at significant historical events like the Galileo affair, Charles Darwin’s own journey through religion and science, the Scopes “Monkey Trial” in Tennessee in 1925, and the Dover Area School Board case of 2005. He also incorporates viewpoints from non-Christian religions and examples from the physical, biological, and social sciences.