Paper 6: Reductionism: Help or Hindrance in Science and Religion?



Mr Michael Poole


Claims have been made that the natural world – the subject matter of science and its many methods – is all there is. If these allegations were substantiated, they would threaten religious beliefs. But arguments rather than assertions, however vocal and frequent, are needed. One such argument that has been offered is that the constitution of the material world can be exhaustively accounted for by ‘reducing’ its constituents into successively smaller parts until nothing is left unaccounted for. The question as to whether this reduction is a help or a hindrance to the scientific enterprise is considered, as is the question of whether this practice renders science necessarily atheistic.