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The Philosophical Journey: An Interactive Approach

Descartes' Legacy

Until Descartes’ Meditations were published, being a scientist was very dangerous. Since their methods and conclusions clashed with the ideas of the Church, scientists were often condemned as heretics and punished accordingly. Many were pressured to give up certain lines of inquiry, imprisoned, tortured and even burned at the stake. Consequently, one item on Rene Descartes’ agenda when writing his Meditations on First Philosophy was to create room in society for both religion and science. By the end of his sixth Meditation, Descartes had divided reality into two aspects (physical and non-physical) and explained why each needed its own sort of enquiry. The realm of physical reality, Descartes argued, could be best explored by science. The non-physical realm, including the mental and spiritual aspects of reality, was left as the purview of religious enquiry. Though undeniably successful, Descartes’ splitting of science and religion has not been entirely without problems. One source of these problems is that science’s prominence has grown over the past few hundred years; extending far afield from the rudimentary physics, astronomy and biology of Descartes’ time. The slice of reality left over for religion has consequently dwindled; or so it seems. We can investigate this problem by focusing on one particular example, the tension between science based proponents of evolution and geology and the religious based creationists. Use the web links listed here to explore the issues arising from the evolution – creation battle.

Center for Creation Science

Creation vs. Evolution (promotes Creation)

The theory of evolution and Creation Science

What Americans think about evolution

Supreme Court decisions concerning teaching Creation

National Center for science education

Creation Stories

 


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