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1Science v. Religion: Is There an Answer?Since the birth of both science and religion, there has been a conflict by scientists and theologians about whether their respective fields can ever exist in harmony, without one overriding the other. This very conflict lies at the heart of the trial of Galileo Galilei, and by studying the proceedings of the trial we can make a reasonable conclusion regarding this ages-old conflict between science and religion. “…the incident was the first to illustrate the problem as it exists today, in the sense that the facts of the case do indeed show all the external signs of a clash between a symbol of science and a symbol of religion” (Finocchiaro 3). In the end, I believe it is logical to conclude that modern science and revealed religion can peacefully coexist without one of the two trumping the other in cases that create a question of conflict between the two areas, so long as both are observed and interpreted accurately and objectively.When Galileo investigated the Copernican theory that the universe was heliocentric, he never claimed that the Catholic Church was wrong, but rather that the Bible had merely been misinterpreted to support the belief that the universe is actually geocentric. “Therefore, I think that in disputes about natural phenomena one must beginnot with the authority of scriptural passages but with sensory experience and necessary demonstrations” (Finocchiaro 93). In his letter to the Grand Duchess, from which the
2previous quote is extracted, Galileo carefully and eloquently explains that, in disputes between science and religion, we must use science to explain the “truth of nature.” He writes, “…since Scripture can never lie or err, it follows as a necessary consequence that the opinion of those who want to assert the sun to be motionless and the earth moving is erroneous and damnable” (Finocchiaro 92). Galileo seems to present the ideathat although there are times when the Bible (religion) conflicts with our senses (science), we must explain religion with science instead of science with religion. Logically, this would lead one to believe that Galileo also believed that modern science could not coexist with theology peacefully, because the former must always be used as a tool to explain the latter. However, later in the very same letter, he redeems himself from the unfavorable graces of the Church by explaining that he does not “wish to imply