Darwin's own life could be seen as almost synonymous with the battle that is now raging between faith and science. As a student he joined Cambridge University with the intention of studying to become a clergyman, but found himself distracted by an interest in collecting beetles.
His hobby led him to become the greatest naturalist of all time. But throughout his life he struggled to reconcile his religious views with his theories on evolution through natural selection.
Today, many leading scientists who hold religious beliefs now face a similar internal struggle as they wrestle with mounting scientific evidence that forces them continually to reassess their view of the Bible.
The mounting debate over evolution and creationism has now left many people asking whether science and religion can ever coexist, or even if scientific research will eventually bring an end to religious belief entirely.
This week, however, leading scientists will debate the issue at the Cambridge Science Festival at the premiere of a new film that attempts to demonstrate that the divide between religion and science is not as great as it has been portrayed.
A growing number of scientists who also hold religious beliefs are now speaking out against the growing antagonism that is emerging between scientists and members of the religious community in many parts of the world.
"The perceived conflict between religion and science belongs much more to the current millennium than any time in the past," said Dr Denis Alexander, a committed Christian and a biochemist at Cambridge University (until last year when he became director of the university's Faraday Institute for Science and Religion).
"I think some of the polarisation of faith and secular society following 9/11, combined with the last US administration, goaded the new atheists, like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, to start a campaign attacking religion.
"Their strategy has been to use science like evolution in an ideological way by equating it with atheism. This has created unnecessary conflict."
Thursday, 16 April 2009
A View From the Pulpit - Useful summary in the Daily Telegraph
An interesting round up of views from here;