Is science compatatable, independent or in conflict with religion?


(Phil) #1

Interesting post on NPR referencing Dr. Collins.
https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2017/12/04/568293013/can-celebrity-scientists-change-the-way-people-think-about-science-and-religion

Do you think celebrity scientists like Collins or celebrity theologians like N.T. Wright affect you and those around you or do you try to concentrate on content rather than appeal to authority?


#2

I think Collins does make a difference within the context of American culture. Over the last 30 years or so there has been a strong correlation between being Christian and being conservative, and part of that conservative political movement is attacking scientists and “liberal universities”. Collins can cut through all of that misinformation. Obviously, he isn’t out to destroy Christianity. He can instantly diffuse one of the main worries that some Christians have towards science. This allows Collins to have more credibility when he speaks of the intersection between Christianity and science.

So I would suspect that Collins being a Christian has more of a positive effect among other Christians than being a famous scientist.


#3

Surely you mean “compatible” and not “compatable.”


(Phil) #4

That might be more palatable.


(George Brooks) #5

@jpm, @beaglelady, @cwhenderson

Aren’t we seeing enough information from all the various sectors of Western society and religious communities that tell us that it is not really about Religion vs. Science?

The conflict is between “Schools of Religion” and Science!

And we can see this very clearly in other aspects:

Is Religion Fundamentally Opposed to Celebrating Birthdays? No. Of course not. Until the Jehovahs Witnesses are founded … and then, all of a sudden, people are asking: Is there a fundamental problem between Religion and Birthdays?

Dumb, right?

Of course there is no fundamental conflict … it is a synthetic conflict … a conflict that has emerged based on the analysis of relevant facts and premises.

We could even say: Is Religion in Conflict with Original Sin? < I’m sure this doesn’t make much sense to many of the readers here.

But if most of the readers were Eastern Orthodox, all of a sudden that ridiculous title would start to look like a workable proposition!

If you were a Buddhist, and the only specific piece of metaphysics you endorsed was karma, would you ask if Religion was in Conflict with Science? You might … only to answer: “there is no conflict”.

The Conflict Scenario is poorly titled; we all know this. So we move to the “Complex Scenario” . . . it is complex … only because the diversity of denominations makes it complex.

Is Religion In Conflict with Free Enterprise? Ha! well, that depends on which denomination, right?

The way many Evangelicals tell it … if you aren’t a capitalist, you must be Satan!


#6

I think you’re right. I think it’s mostly conservative evangelicals who seem to have issues with science. But from what I hear, the ultra-Orthodox Jews are no slouches in this regard!


(George Brooks) #7

I believe you are correct. I had a highschool friend who was Jewish and who just a few years ago published a book jumping on the bandwagon that Darwinism led to Hitler. One of his big points was that C-14 dating techniques can’t prove the age of fossils.

I tried to explain to him why that statement is like saying Animal Husbandry is wrong because nobody wants to marry an animal. Instead, he blocked me.


#9

It’s only a tiny minority of Jewish people who oppose science. But you probably already know that.


(Peter Wolfe) #10

I think another way of looking at this “conflict” is how we decide what is true. I have found myself recently just reflecting on why do I think something is true. This includes: why do I think God exists, why do I puzzle over what the message I read in the Bible is saying, how does Jesus actually make a difference in people lives. Also why have I decided that evolution is a better description of the observed world than what I grew up with - YEC.

Christians say - I believe by faith - while I agree, I suspect that is only a small part of the story. We do not believe without any facts that support belief. The question is what are “facts”, why do I believe them over other “facts”.

I have chosen to believe the “facts” of evolution, why? If you go to AiG you can read many explanations sounding all quite technical of why those “facts” are wrong. If that is my worldview then I would choose those “facts”.

No non-scientist can possible analyze the data in any pure way and make conclusions. Looking at paleontology (fossil records) one has to believe the descriptions (or not). Even genetics, one sees the genome pictures and reads the descriptions about genes and common descent and say OK I believe that description.

I think we form are beliefs and worldviews in a complex manner and changing them is challenging and difficult and time consuming. Who (or what) we choose to belief as “authority” and speaking “facts” has a huge influence on this IMO.

This “conflict” is over where I get my “facts” from and who/what I choose to believe as true.


#11

Some words from one of the early Church fathers:

"Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7] "
–St. Augustine (AD 354-430)


What the Creation Museum is Really About
(George Brooks) #12

@T_aquaticus, what a great quote! Every time I am reminded of these words by St. Augustine, I always wonder if BioLogos shouldn’t be called the Living Word via Augustine"!

Let’s see how organized this paragraph is:

St. Augustine (AD 354-430)

“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold[s] to as being certain from reason and experience.”
^ ^ St. Augustine’s initial premise is that there is natural knowledge that is “certain from reason and experience”!!!

“Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show … vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.”
^ ^ Here, Augustine thinks Christians should discourage letting Christians spout out in contradiction to the reality of natural knowledge - - because it leads to embarassment when a Christian starts spouting nonsense about the world.

“The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.”
^ ^ Augustine worries that non-Christians will likely think the founders of Christianity also held to such mocked positions regarding the natural world!

“If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?”
^ ^ Isn’t this exactly the situation that we here under the BioLogos umbrella encounter daily!

“Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books.”
^ ^ St. Augustine describes the problem with letting Christians ignorant about science create an erroneous impression of what must be believed to accept the Gospel.

"For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7] "
^^Sounds just like what goes on when YEC’s arrive on these webpages, and start to propound that
God made days without the Sun, and that Evolution is impossible!"

What a great refresher course in Natural Philosophy and the logic of setting aside contradictory notions of the world.


#13

As relevant today as when it was written. Thank you.