Science, Religion, and Ambiguity

Of course, the most obvious and clear connection between all of the works is the progress of science, and how it conflicts with previously revered religious thought. Father and Son describe the resistance to this form of thought, even among the educated. In many ways, science and religion conflict directly, and one must be the “universal truth”. Perhaps the greatest and most groundbreaking example of this conflict comes in the form of Darwin’s On the Origin Of Species, where core tenets of religion were burned in favor of the new doctrine of scientific progress. The influences of science and religion often do cross, as described in Father and Son. The geography of the Earth conflicts with biblical writings in a concrete and quantifiable sense.

Yet, the existence of science and religion within the same realm is very possible. This is through the rise of another school of thought from this era, agnosticism. While agnosticism denies the concept of faith, it relies upon a strong principle that God cannot be proven or disproven. Areas of science reign supreme when they overlap with areas of faith, yet these discrepancies do not totally write off religion as a whole. The existence of science and religion within the Victorian Era opened up a culture of ambiguity.

Another connection that could be made here is back to many of the supernatural themes within Victorian Literature. Wuthering Heights leaves the supernatural nature of Catherine and Heathcliff to be ambiguous, up to the reader to decide if they truly are supernatural in nature. The reader is given no definitive proof if Catherine’s spirit truly does return, or if it is simply in the mind of the narrator.

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