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by Sharon Dirckx
The assumption that science and religion are in conflict is a view that never diminishes.
Many assume that modern science has rendered religious explanations irrelevant, and some go further to say that science alone can answer all of the questions of life.
Not so with Professor Brian Cox, the renowned BBC presenter and particle physicist at the University of Manchester. Professor Cox recently shared a conference platform with Professor David Wilkinson, astrophysicist, Royal Society fellow and Principal of St John’s College, Durham.
Cox expressed concern over the unnecessary “polarisation of the debate” adding that, although he himself has no personal faith, different “opinions and worldviews need to be celebrated and explored”.
Cox’s vision of dialogue between scientific and religious voices is welcomed and shared by many scientist-theologians, not least Alister McGrath, professor of science and religion at the University of Oxford, who holds that these two disciplines are “mutually enriching”.
The history books also remind us that the two have interacted in this way for centuries. Key contributions to disciplines such as mathematics, medicine, astronomy and philosophy, have come from several different civilisations and religious cultures; ancient Greece and Egypt, the far east, the Middle East and, more recently, Western Europe.
Further, the birth of modern science in the West has strong connections to belief in the God of the Bible. Many key scientists, such as Francis Bacon (1561-1626), often referred to as the father of the modern scientific method, were Christian Theists whose belief in God made possible and drove forward their science…
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