Science vs Religion

Science vs. Religion

Mark Vernon

What’s at the heart of the conflict between science and religion? Can it be solved? Philosopher and author Mark Vernon answers one of modernity’s most complex problems.

  • 0016753ab
    Mark Vernon

    A former clergyman, now writer, teacher and psychotherapist. His latest book is The Idler Guide To Ancient Philosophy


About the Course

How did consciousness arise? Is the universe rational? Is there a meaning to life? Once these questions were the domain of the sacred, but in the modern world, science offers very different answers to religion. In this course, Dr Mark Vernon explores the common ground between these allegedly incompatible world views. But which can provide us with the best description of reality?

By the end of the course, you will have learned:

  • How Darwinism has been misinterpreted by the rise of the New Atheists
  • Why the way people understand the world has been polarised
  • The six branches of metaphysical world views
  • The failings of materialism and naturalism to provide a complete account of reality
  • What progress science has made towards explaining consciousness
  • How both science and religion connect us with our experience.


As part of the course there are in-video quiz questions to consolidate your learning, suggested further readings to stimulate a deeper exploration of the topic, discussion boards to have your say and an end-of-course assessment set by Dr Mark Vernon.

IAI Academy courses are designed to be challenging but accessible to the interested student. No specialist knowledge is required.

About the Instructor

  • Mark Vernon

    Mark Vernon is a broadcaster and journalist who writes for The Guardian, The Philosophers' Magazine, Financial Times and New Statesman. Vernon was formerly a Church of England priest, but has since become an agnostic Christian. 

Course Syllabus

  • Part One: The Battleground
    Vernon reveals the history of the science-religion conflict and its place in our culture.
  • Part Two: Alternatives to the Conflict
    Can we think about science and religion differently and avoid the conflict altogether?
  • Part Three: Science and Consciousness
    Vernon proposes a new model for solving the problem: does consciousness hold the key?

Suggested Further Readings

A selection of further readings has been suggested by Dr Vernon as part of this course. 

Explore Further

Our editors have brought together a range of content from across which explore the ideas in this course.