Me, too, James.
I haven’t had a chance to read all the replies in the thread, so, I’m probably repeating what other said. Sorry, if that’s the case. Here’s what I found, though:
you can tell the social physicists because they look at your shoes
I hate stereotypes. I’m breaking out, before the author even gets to his topic.
But many scientists are very quick to dismiss Christianity as being non-scientific or irrational or as simply irrelevant now that we have science to explain the world.
Maybe. One would have to ask first, rather than going in with THIS assumption.
I find speaking with scientists about Jesus a challenge
Only scientists? The author is miles and miles ahead of me.
I found this One method: ask questions section particularly problematic, and potentially, intellectually dishonest.
Let’s look at the discussion about technique:
Have you ever stopped and reflected on why Jesus asks these questions?
Yes, yes I have. Hopefully most of us have, and most of us understand Jesus’s purpose in asking these questions. His technique was used to demonstrate the hypocrisy and wrong thinking hidden in the questions of the specialists in the Law. Jesus used them to expose them to themselves as well as their listeners, not because he was curious.
Is this the technique that is being promoted in this article? One needs a pretty high opinion of one’s insights to feel qualified to use this method for these reasons, or it comes from much longer background of discussions (since none of us has the insight of the Son of God), where one has become aware of fallacious thinking.
Scientists are naturally curious people, it’s part of why we are scientists…And so asking questions shows we are not abandoning our scientific selves whenever we start thinking about Jesus.
I’m really not sure what this means in this context. We can be curious about aspects of another person that are none of our business. Or if we’re relying on our “scientific selves” are we looking at the other person as a an object of study? Some examples might be helpful (or damning).
Asking questions shows we care about what they think and why they think it.
This is sometimes the case, particularly when practiced by a person who actually DOES care about the other person. When practiced as a way to get a foot in the door, or as a weaponize the answers from the “object of study,” that door will close quickly, and for good reason.
If someone wants to talk about Jesus with a person, and intends to use questions to demonstrate they actually care about the other person, they had better be in this for the long haul, and be prepared to be changed themselves by the way the relationship goes. Otherwise, you’re just selling something.
Ask about underlying assumptions
Um. Sure. “Tell me all about your underlying assumptions, (so I can demonstrate how wrong you are about everything).”
Even if any of us is able to immediately identify our underlying assumptions and biases, I just don’t see this working as the author intended. If you try it, be prepared for the tables to be turned.
assuming that if we do everything the same then we should get the same number. This is not something science proves happens, its something science has to assume.
Ok. I understand “prove” gives some people a rash. But this claim seems like nonsense to me.
Don’t y’all attempt to carefully develop and precisely describe methods for a reason? Like to eliminate noise? Like so someone else can repeat it to see if the same results are possible, as well as to determine what prevents the results from being the same?
Christians expect there to be laws of nature because we believe in a law-giver.
Why does anyone need to mention this, much less me?!
There is a difference between prescriptive and descriptive laws (and dictionaries, and literature, and ethnographies, and…)
No one “breaks” the laws of nature and goes to court for the infraction. The things that are called “Laws of Nature” are descriptions of consistent behaviors of nature. Period.
The law that was given was prescriptive, telling how OT Jewish people should live and conduct themselves.
There is no “should” in the laws of nature.
I won’t even touch the ID implications of this section of the article. Y’all see it loud and clear.
Science also depends on scientists wanting to do science. The whole scientific enterprise would come to a complete halt if no one wanted to do science. So why do you do it?
This is probably the most interesting and useful question in the article. If its used, because the questioner actually values it knowing for the sake of knowing the person better. Personally, I love to hear people talk about what they like or find interesting in their work. Even when I don’t understand the details. People who love their work are usually able to articulate it well enough that an outsider can grasp the basics. And their enthusiasm. “How did you get interested in this?” “How has your interest in your field changed over time?” “What factors effected that change?” “Where do you see your interests going next?”
Those are great, relationship-building questions, but also completely non-judgmental and open-ended.
Asking questions about the underlying motives of scientists can really help show that science needs not just philosophical ideas but also to move people to become scientists, people with emotions and desires.
And the point is? All of the scientists I’ve known would be able to explain their emotional connection to their interest in science (unless of course it was a purely pragmatic path to survival). Few of the scientists I’ve known are Christians.
the Christian story just naturally provides us with a fantastic motivation to do science.
And non-christian scientists lack fantastic motivation to do science? This strikes me as entirely self-centered (in the worst way).
Ultimately science needs a bigger story that it can fit into, a story that explains its assumptions but also a story that gives reasons to do it.
Whatever my view on the reality or unreality of “The Big Story” the author never manages to connect this statement to the needs of the scientists he wants to witness to (talk with about Jesus).
Overall the article strikes me as preaching to the choir. It works for insiders, who are not self-critical.
Turn it around and see how convincing any of this would be to a Christian being confronted by a Muslim? You’d need to adjust some things, but is there an apologetic there really?