The science of evolution
The science of evolution

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

The science of evolution

3 Evolution and religion

It would be a mistake, however, to suppose that the invalidity of the creationist hypothesis and the redundancy of any supernatural agency in the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection necessarily endorse atheism, as has been mistakenly supposed both by creationists and some evolutionists alike. That God has not miraculously created every species does not disprove the existence of a deity. In fact, Darwinian evolutionary theory is equally compatible with theism and atheism. Darwin himself eventually became an agnostic, correctly recognising such a personal issue as being irrelevant to his science. In this context, it is of interest to note the following pronouncements from Pope John Paul II in the late 1990s:

Figure quo4
Pope John Paul II (1998)

Leaving aside the philosophical problem of what religious 'truth' means, the key point of interest here is the assertion that the articles of faith and the well-established findings of science cannot flatly contradict one another. Hence, the findings of science concerning evolution received explicit papal endorsement:

Figure quo005
Pope John Paul II (1996)
S170_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus