Science and god Essay

This essay has a total of 1545 words and 7 pages.

science and god




With each new development in science comes conflict, mostly from those who don’t
believe that science follows the teachings of their religion or allies with their beliefs
in an almighty power or God. Looking back in history at some of the great names in human
scientific achievement, such as Copernicus, Galileo, and Darwin, we see that with each
genius discovery came some outcry from religious groups. Nikolaus Copernicus was one of
the first pioneers of science. Until 1540 science had long been a servant of the Christian
religion, but Copernicus brought about change, and with that change came persecution.
Copernicus’ work, although not immediately and widely accepted, lead directly to the
undermining of centuries of assumption and superstition. He was the first to state that
not only was the earth not the center of the universe, but it also orbited the sun. Later
in history came Galileo who brought Copernicus' ideas to practical fruition. He was also
on the receiving end of much religious persecution, even to the point of living out his
last years under house arrest, forbidden from writing and publishing. Then in the
1800’s Charles Darwin researched and published revolutionary biology books on the
theory of evolution, his most widely known book being “The Origin of Species”.
Even today, long after his death, his works receive much religious debate; religion today
is no more apt at dealing with scientific theory than it was hundreds of years ago; this
is because it is a completely separate ideal than science. Science seeks truth and fact,
whereas religion is based solely on faith in things that are not based in fact. Also,
science deals only with observable physical aspects of life and nature, whereas religion
(in any form) tries to explain that for which there are no answers. To avoid conflict and
persecution in our country (the United State) we recognize in the constitution that
government (which includes public education) and religion should be separate. The issue
at hand now is whether or not science and religion should also be separate. Often,
strongly religious people feel that a separation where their beliefs don’t get
recognized is unfair. They also feel that if an idea that doesn’t coincide with
their religion is being recognized, their beliefs are being persecuted. When the issue of
requiring a religious belief to be taught in science classes in public schools alongside
scientific theory was brought before Judge William R. Overton in the case of
“McLean vs. Arkansas Board of Education,” he established that requiring
religious theory to be taught in public schools is unconstitutional (8). Then Overton
defined five “characteristics of science” to help distinguish the difference
between science and religion and clarify why religion shouldn’t be taught as fact
(8). Today Mr. Jones is again being asked to teach creationism, a religious theory, in
his biology class alongside evolution-science, which consists of tested scientific theory.
I propose that creationism be taught in an optional theology class or through an
extracurricular workshop to maintain the separation of church and state, as well as
religion and science in public schools.

In 1981 the Governor of Arkansas signed into law Act 590 that entitled “Public
schools in Arkansas shall give equal balanced treatment to creationism and to evolution
– science”; a suit was filed challenging the Acts constitutional validity soon
thereafter (Overton 1). The plaintiffs stated that the Act violated the prohibition of
the establishment of religion in the first amendment to the constitution (made applicable
to the states in the fourteenth amendment), the Act violated the Free Speech Clause also
in the first amendment by denying academic freedom to students and teachers, and due to
the vagueness of the Act, it also violated the Due Process Clause in the fourteenth
amendment (Overton 1). Judge Overton ruled that Act 590 did indeed violate these clauses
and cited past court rulings. It had been ruled in “Everson vs. Board of
Education” that “the Establishment Clause enshrines two central values:
voluntarism and pluralism, which must be guarded in Public Schools” (Overton 2).
Requirement of the teaching of creationism does not embrace these rights. Several prior
cases such as “Stone vs. Graham” ruled that mandatory prayer in public schools
was found to violate the first and fourteenth amendment because “no statute can
advance nor inhibit a religion” and “statutes must not foster an excessive
government entanglement with religion,” so due to the fact that creationism is a
religious theory, it therefore violates these requirements for statutes (Overton 2).

To clarify that creationism is a solely religious theory, and that evolution has nothing
to do with religion, Judge Overton gave a clearer definition of science and five essential
characteristics of science as follows:

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