December 15, 1997
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Conflict Between Science and Religion Resolved?
Despite freezing rain and sleet, over fifty people
showed up to listen
to Physics Professor Stuart Samuel
give a public lecture on "Science and Religion:
Are They in Conflict?"
The event took place on December 10 at Columbia University.
For more than several hundred years, religion
and science have been at odds.
In the seventeenth century, Galileo Galilei stood trial,
was found guilty and spent the last eight years of his life
in house arrest over the issue of geocentrism.
When Darwin's Origin of Species was published,
people were divided among those who supported evolution
and those who opposed it.
Heated and sometimes hostile debates were commonplace.
Even today the controversy continues.
But with coming of the third millennium,
can the battle between religion and science be put to rest?
Quoting from The Bible According to Einstein,
a book to be released by Jupiter Scientific Publishing in late 1998,
Professor Samuel argued that the two domains are complementary.
"Religion deals with the spiritual world;
science deals with the physical world.
Conflict arises only when one discipline tries
to make a statement about the other. The Church
overstepped its area of expertise when it tried to say that
the Earth was the center of the universe.
On the opposite side, science cannot tell us what is good or bad.
As long as religion confines itself to issues of morality and faith,
and as long as science restricts itself to descriptions of the physical world,
no clash between the two arises."
The presentation created quite a stir among the attendees.
Dozens of people asked questions and made statements.
Kevin Renshaw, manager of the Columbia University Bookstore
and organizer of the event, noted the high interest,
"This is the most people that have attended any of our readings."
Was the issue of science and religion resolved
in the minds of those present? It is hard to say.
As Renshaw, Samuel and others left the room
after almost two hours of discussion, some people remained
and continued to debate the issue.
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