LETTERS: Science and religion never stopped talking to one another

Click to follow
The Independent Online
MARTIN Redfern's account of conflicting views of the world is ruined by factual and logical errors. It isn't true that science and religion parted company in the Renaissance. Naturalistic and materialistic views of the world appeared thousands of years earlier in ancient civilisations - Greece and Rome (Democritus, Epicurus and Lucretius), India (Lokkayata and Charvaka), and China (Hsun-tzu and Wang Chung) - and the conflict between faith and reason was a commonplace of the Middle Ages. The tradition was revived, not created, in modern Europe.

It isn't true that attempts to bring science and religion back together are new. This has been a frequent phenomenon ever since the Renaissance. Nor is it true that science is essentially dualistic. On the contrary, it sees all nature as one. Science is essentially monistic. It is religion which is dualistic, seeing god apart from nature.

And it isn't true that religion can answer questions which science can't answer. It just adds another question. If God is the reason for the universe, what is the reason for God? If nature comes from God, where does God come from? If we can ask why the world is, we may ask whether God is. The truth is probably that there are no answers to such questions - that they aren't real questions. The fact is probably that religion can't explain science, or anything else, but that science may explain religion.

Nicolas Walter

Rationalist Press Association,

London N1