Kelvin: The Battle Between Religion and Science

Here is an interesting article from the BBC, which explores the battle between religion and science through the story of Lord Kelvin.

All chemists will have heard of Kelvin and the Kelvin temperature scale, but not everyone will be aware that such a giant of science and engineering was devoutly religious.

Kelvin’s scientific research didn’t diminish his faith, but instead strengthened it, with him believing that the laws of thermodynamics were proof of a ‘creator’.

Furthermore, Kelvin opposed Darwin’s ideas of evolution, and thought that Darwin was ignoring obvious signs of intelligent design in the Earth’s creatures.

It may be surprising that such an influential member of the scientific community held such strong religious beliefs, but it shows that you don’t necessarily have to be on one side or the other in the typical science vs religion debate.

The article allows us to learn more about a major player in scientific history, and also provokes some thought into the issue of science and religion. It also questions whether it’s actually beneficial for scientists to have a religious ethos, as it quotes the scientist Joseph Needham, who concluded that Europe’s science had progressed so well due to the scientists’ religious beliefs allowing them to believe anything was possible.

It’s an interesting issue, and one that isn’t about to be resolved any time soon. Take a look at the article, and see what you think.

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