Philosophy, Science and Religion

Explore contemporary debates at the intersection of Philosophy, Science and Religion

Join us on Coursera

How should we think about the relation between science and religion? This course, created by the University of Edinburgh's Philosophy and Divinity Departments, surveys several topics within the contemporary science-religion field, with a special focus on philosophical approaches. The aim is to introduce learners to the many subtleties of engaging science with religion and to some of the biggest questions facing humankind: Is scientific knowledge the absolute truth? Is evolutionary biology more scientific than creationism? What makes us religious, according to neuroscience? Could science and religion be compatible in the way they perceive the origin of the Universe? What are the ethical dimensions of the science-religion debate?

The course will be released in three self-contained parts:


Science and Philosophy

The nature and limits of scientific knowledge

Implications of scientific knowledge for philosophy and religion

Live now
Philosophy and Religion

The nature of religious disagreement

Comparing religious and scientific fundamentalism

Summer 2017
Religion and Science

Can eastern religions can give insight into the study of minds?

Social and political consequences of the public debate between science and religion

Winter 2017

The course is open to all, and no formal qualifications are required to enrol and complete the course.

The course is delivered online through Coursera, so students can progress through the course at their own pace.



Adam Carter and Orestis Palermos: Introduction to the course

Martin Kusch: Relativism

Michael Murray: Science and religion

Conor Cunningham: Pseudo-science and religion

Orestis Palermos: Creationism and Evolutionary Biology


A textbook accompanying the course is forthcoming.

Learning objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, learners will:

  • Understand the main parameters at stake in the current debate between science and religion.
  • Have some familiarity with the relevant areas of science that feature in the debate—including cosmology, evolution, and the neurosciences—and will have begun to engage with them conceptually.
  • Have encountered key philosophical approaches to the interface between science and religion, and will have had the opportunity to engage them in practice;
  • Have embarked constructively in cross-disciplinary conversations;
  • Have demonstrated an openness to personal growth through a commitment to dialogue across intellectual and spiritual boundaries.


Professor Duncan Pritchard

Dr Mark Harris

Dr J. Adam Carter

Dr James Collin

Dr S. Orestis Palermos


Online MSc programme

A new online masters programme in Philosophy, Science and Religion launches September 2017.

MSc Philosophy, Science and Religion