10 June 2103 Science and Religion A Terry Lecture presented by Keith Thompson – a podcast

Thompson used Jefferson and Darwin to explore the nature of ‘conflicts’ between science and religion.  The specific reactions are part of a broader reaction to change.  This is reflected in how we have come to know in the first place – by what we know personally or what we know from others. Knowledge and ideas now change very rapidly – more rapidly than mainstream ideas can keep up.  Reactions to new ideas/concepts can be

  • Development of a complex explanation to preserve the old explanation of the truth
  • Ignore it and see how the new idea develops ie whether reinforced or discredited
  • Run with it and see what new insights it brings


Jefferson was a creationist, how saw the natural world was complex and therefore must reflect the work of an intelligent creator, the forerunner to the present ‘intelligent design’.  After noting the contorted strata of the Blue Ridge Mountains compared with the ordered layers in the western plains, and the fact that fossils were found on the top of the mountains, he sought to explain these through logical explanations resulting his observation that the earth had been ‘created in time” ie not in some instant of time through the say-so of a creator.   This realisation provided the ground work for the later development of the concept of evolution (over time) by Darwin.

How do you react to new ideas that challenge previously held briefs?

Ian Harris