Consider the following comments and develop a piece of writing in response to one or more of them. Your writing will be judged on the quality of your response to the theme, how well you organise and present your point of view, and how effectively you express yourself.
- ‘One religion is true to another.’ – Robert Burton
- ‘Religion to me has always been the wound, not the bandage.’ – Dennis Potter
- ‘So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully to find someone to worship.’ – Fedor Dostoevsky
- ‘My country is my world, and my religion is to do good.’ – Thomas Paine
- ‘I count religion but a childish toy, and hold there is no sin but ignorance.’ – Christopher Marlowe
Suggested Theme: Religion (Section A)
Time limit in the actual exam: 30 mins
Chosen Quote: ‘Religion to me has always been the wound, not the bandage.’ – Dennis Potter
Science vs. Religion
‘Science and religion maybe two most powerful social forces in the world today’ – this was the notion expressed by Phillip Clayton, the author of ‘Religion and Science: The Basics’. When Dennis Potter explained, ‘Religion to me has always been the wound, not the bandage.’, he referred to religion as the cause (wound). The science, then, can be the solution (bandage)? The following dialectic explores the correlation between religion (limited to Christianity) and science on human existence and origin of the universe.
Karl Barth, a neo-orthodox theologian, asserted that science and religion to have different objects of interest. Religion and theology focus on the development of new life under the dominant conception of a higher sphere, and science studies the natural world; thus, science and religion obtain knowledge differently. Christianity’s foundation is faith, and as with many other religions, its emphasis and dependence are on the supernatural – God. For Christian, the explanation on the origin of the universe, God and human life existence, is patterned after the Divine Son. The underlying philosophical idea of God, espoused by religious thinkers, is that God is the one ultimately self-existent reality, or supreme and unsurpassable value, and beyond the capacity of the human intellect to understand fully in a logical way.
Conversely, science is tangible and valued by society because the application of scientific knowledge helps to satisfy many basic human needs and improve living standards. The most recognisable approach of science in providing evidence to human existence is the evolution theory. First formulated in Charles Darwin’s book ‘On the Origin of Species’ in 1859, the theory of evolution is the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioural traits, and that allows an organism to better adapt to its environment with help it survive and have more offspring. Additionally, the Big Bang Theory shows an effort to explain what happened at the beginning of the universe. When the masses become better informed about science, they will feel less need for help from supernatural higher powers. The need for religion diminishes when one becomes sensible enough to govern himself, which explains the recent growing popularity of atheism.
While the doctrine of religion appears fantasised and intangible, science is sheer evidence-based. Science entails accumulation and understanding observation of the physical world. That understanding alone, however, will not solve the problem. Lack of action causes many of humanity’s biggest problems, not lack of knowledge; thus, individual people have to act on the understanding for it to help solve the problem, to make it as the ‘bandage’.
Feedback from METC Institute
Engagement with the chosen topic:
The essay does not exhibit a full understanding of the quote. While it covers the topic of religion it fails to analyse it as the wounds as opposed to the bandage. As a result of this a fundamental piece of the quote is lost.
Knowledge and thought:
This essay lacks any real sources of secondary evidence. While it discusses factual topics such as religion and science it fails to pull any real examples from these.
Structure of the Essay:
The thesis section doesn’t have a clear argument that relates back to the topic at hand. There is not quite a clear counterargument to these points. Synthesis is limited. The essay does not use the TAS which is recommended by the course.
The student’s writing is free from any major technical writing issues, The tone and presentation are mostly formal with occasional lapses.
The essay misses the key point of the quote and this is an issue. It is a discussion of religion and science and the bases of their beliefs.
Use your quote, this is your essay. If you don’t analyse your quote you miss the point of the task.
Feedback from AceGAMSAT
The main issue with this essay rest with issues regarding expression and structure. Avoid rhetorical questions in essays of this kind in general please. It reads as though you are no clear on what you are attempting to express. Also expressions such as “objects of interest” are not very clear. Try to avoid such ambiguous language. Once again, it can translate for the maker that you are not directly engaging with the topic and attempting to hide a lack of perspective behind ambiguous language.
There are also factual issue with what you have written. Lamarck’s work on evolution predates that of Darwin. Your marker would likely know this as Lamarck and Darwin are considered to have competing view on evolution. On this basis it is likely that a marker might penalise you. Try not to make factual claims if you are not 100% confident of them.
Focussing on the positive you are definitely ambitious in the kind of argument you are attempting to make. I strongly feel that once you get much more clear on the exact format you are writing in, and in turn have a better grasp of the kind of people who will be reading your essay, you should on the whole improve in your scores.
Feedback from the Gold Standard GAMSAT
A good essay on the difference between science and religion. It does take on an extra element outside of the theme of the quotes but does so in order to explore that theme.
Thought and Content:
We appreciate the comparison of science and religion here. However, one thing to bear in mind with all this is that there is one basic similarity between the two: both were at some point the basis of the Western worldview. In the Renaissance, religion formed that base; during the Enlightenment, this switched, slowly and somewhat turbulently, to science. To truly compare the two, this needs to be acknowledged (it also implies that at some point we are likely to find another idea that will form that basis, although it is impossible to know what or when that will occur).
At any rate, the comparison here works well enough. You are quite right to note that science in and of itself does not fully satisfy the human spirit, and nor is knowledge of much use without action. But we would argue that we have put knowledge to action in the form of the development of technology. It is not so much inaction as wrong action, even with the best of intentions.
Language and Structure:
As with your previous essays, the structure here is impeccable. Your write well and explain your ideas and observations clearly. Certainly, you understand what is required and this in itself compensates for the shortage of facts and figures as supporting evidence.
An interesting essay!