Don Quixote's Disciples: philosophy, fantasy and fascism where science and religion meet 

by Dr. Mark Smith, Physics with Astrophysics, 1989

This book brings much needed perspective to the debate over the compatibility or otherwise of science and religion. The subject matter ranges across religions, science, philosophy and psychology, to show that both science and religion ultimately rest on similar bases.  The conclusion is that there is no need to consider them mutually exclusive.

The text starts by reviewing all the current areas that are considered to be in conflict and looks at  both sides of the arguments in a non-judgemental way. Topical issues such as reason, historical rights and wrongs, morality and child abuse are disassembled to uncover the various facets of the debate. This is followed by a wide-ranging review of the psychology and philosophy of how and what we can actually know. The problem of personal paradigms and their interpretive framework is highlighted, and the importance of considering what we learn and feel is explored through the medium of Personal Construct Theory. The nature of the universe itself is subjected to similar considerations and questions raised over whether our need for it to be coherent can ever be satisfied.

At this stage both religion and science are able to be de-constructed to their basic elements and processes to see if incompatibility are actually present within their structures. It is argued that this is far from the case and that in fact both use remarkably similar reason structures to test hypotheses. Careful distinction is made between what both disciplines actually require as opposed to what others have artificially imposed upon them.

Readers will now have gained considerable knowledge upon which to make their own choices. In order to illustrate that it is indeed a choice decision, the author then takes a look at the deepest foundations of both subjects, showing that at their cores lie some very strange axioms used to solve the infinite regression problem that both disciplines cannot avoid. Which are chosen and indeed their interpretation, it becomes clear, have to be left to the individual.

The argument for conflict is finally laid to rest with a detailed look at who encourages discord, and why this aggressive stance is being taken. Modern problems of information flow, constrained knowledge within specialisms, philosophical ignorance and even intellectual fascism are shown to be at the root of most of the difficulties. There need be no conflict, and far from dispensing with religion or science the world needs both to work in harmony. The last chapter makes exciting proposals for actions in both the scientific and religious communities that would lead to positive engagement rather than destructive conflict. Changes need to be made that range from individual choice to philosophy, teaching and societal realignment which would bring such ideals into being.

The book is currently available in paperback and kindle online at Amazon. It can also be ordered in bookshops or requested in libraries.