Science and Religion : The Great Courses: Christianity

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Lawrence M. Principe
  • Series: The Great Courses: Christianity
  • 6 hrs and 14 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent overview

If you could sum up Science and Religion in three words, what would they be?

Finally someone reasonable

Any additional comments?

Professor Principe assumes the position of a historian, trying to be fair to both sides of the conflict, which is refreshing and wonderfully calming. In fact, he is sorry about the conflict. He is of opinion there were times science and religion were able to work together, why not try it again.
Whole series is full of historic details that show us both amazing wisdom and cleverness of some people, but also staggering stupidity of others. In both camps, among Christians, but also among the scientists.The details of Galilei's conflict with the church are extremely interesting, but there are other examples.
Principe respects theology, yes, but critically. He doesn't approve of blind clutching of the Bible. But on the other hand he points out that early and medieval theology actually encouraged natural explanations of natural things (being of opinion miracles were rare, not common) and discussed more the true metaphysical parts of the doctrine of creation, that is creation out of nothing, which is not a scientifically solvable problem, than being concerned with how exactly it happened the world looks like it does today. For someone who is professionally a historian of science and a chemist by education, he certainly has done his theology homework.
He says a lot about changing of philosophical atmosphere during the course of history, and also of changing of roles in society, and the impact it all had on the relationship of science and religion. He tells funny stories about stupid books there were written to promote science and stupid law suits to promote Christianity. He likes both scientists and theologians, but prefers them well educated in philosophy and at least a little educated in the field of the others (and able to use their brains!).

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- Jana

An absolute disgrace

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

maybe being unbiased and looking at science rather than just a history of the field.
For a start,the fact that most if not all historical scientists were tied to a particular religion means absolutely nothing at all as until the last 100 yrs almost all people in the west were theists or deists.This does not mean that christianity itself is scientifically minded.
The lecturer does not question the possibility of miracles which goes completely against all we know and the laws of nature are the only starting point we can begin from otherwise nothing makes any sense and would not work.

This may be the worst book i have listened to as it gives a veneer of intellectual integrity.At least ID(creationism)book dont try and cloak there message and are more up front about what they are saying

Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

the great courses in general are very good but this is not one of the many excellent courses from the said company

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Professor Lawrence M. Principe?


If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Science and Religion?

any of the ones that give credence to a biblical outlook of the earth or that give the impression that subtle interpretations of the bible are somehow factual

Any additional comments?

In a teaching course one should value the truth and facts rather than just a woolly concept that is nothing more than a sop to religion and the degrading of scientific truth and endeavour.
One should remember that just because two different people can interpret data in different ways it does not follow that both interpretations of the said data are equally valid,this concept would basically mean we are entitled to make up our own truth and empiricism does not matter.The same also follows that one theory is not automatically of equally valid.
One other point worth making is that just because one can not disprove something does not mean it follows that its existence is 50/50 or even nearly 50/50 and even if it were 50/50 would not mean that we should always believe it to be true until proved otherwise.If that were the case then i would walk around believing there was an invisible fairy(or fairies) somewhere in my house and that i should live my life accordingly

This course was released in 2006 and life and science especially move on a pace often in scientific+atheistic literary works so this course may already be behind the times regarding the current clash of science and religion

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- Nicky Beet

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses