DEAR PLANET, SCIENCE NEEDS CHRISTIANITY AND VICE VERSA

Hi Ian,

I see your posts about all these people who successfully brought their faith and their science together. That’s not where I am. I feel like in my college I have to choose between belief in faith and facts in science, like getting converted to one or the other?  If not how do I them, like making peace between dogs and cats? JUst a little question I know, something impossible for you to do before breakfast.

Max

 

Dear Max, 

Big breakfast at the beach cafe and I can take on the impossible, Max. Here’s my take on the five ways that people see the connections or lack thereof. You will see where I come out.

SCIENCE NEEDS CHRISTIANITY AND VICE VERSA  : FIVE MODELS OF CONNECTION

Edited and added to from wikipedia:

The extent to which science and religion may attempt to understand and describe similar phenomena is sometimes referred to as a part of the demarcation problem.

Science and religion generally pursue knowledge of the universe using different methodologies. It is said that Science acknowledges reason and empirical evidence, while Religions include revelation, faith and sacredness. By this part of the workshop you can also say that Science proceeds upon basic assumptions and frequent inspiration and Religion proceeds by reason, critique and evidence.

Despite these differences, most scientific and technical innovations prior to the Scientific revolution were achieved by societies organized by religious traditions. Much of the scientific method was pioneered first by Islamic scholars, and later by Christians. Hinduism has historically embraced reason and empiricism, holding that science brings legitimate, but incomplete knowledge of the world. Confucian thought has held different views of science over time. Most Buddhists today view science as complementary to their beliefs.

Events in Europe such as the Galileo affair (above), associated with the Scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment, led scholars such as John William Draper to postulate a conflict thesis, holding that religion and science conflict methodologically, factually and politically. This thesis is advanced by contemporary scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Steven Weinberg and Carl Sagan, and proposed by many creationists. While the conflict thesis remains popular for the public, it has lost favor among most contemporary historians of science. Most historians today have moved away from a conflict model, which is based mainly on two historical episodes (Galileo and Darwin) for a “complexity” model, because religious figures were on both sides of each dispute and there was no overall aim by any party involved in discrediting religion.

Many theologians, philosophers and scientists in history have found no conflict between their faith and science. Biologist Stephen Jay Gould, other scientists, and some contemporary theologians hold that religion and science are non-overlapping magisteria, addressing fundamentally separate forms of knowledge and aspects of life. Scientists Francisco Ayala, Kenneth R. Miller and Francis Collins see no necessary conflict between religion and science. Philosopher Alvin Plantinga has argued that there is superficial conflict but deep concord between science and religion, but that there is deep conflict between science and naturalism, in other words an internal philosophical debate that science itself must address. Some theologians or historians of science, including John Lennox, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme and Ken Wilber propose an interconnection between them.

Public acceptance of scientific facts may be influenced by religion; many in the United States reject the idea of evolution by natural selection, especially regarding human beings. Since this is not driven by any need within theology, it must be motivated by some other source of anti-science thinking. Nevertheless, the American National Academy of Sciences has written that “the evidence for evolution can be fully compatible with religious faith,” a view officially endorsed by many religious denominations globally.

IN SUMMARY, I quote Haught, John F. (1995). Science and Religion : From Conflict to Conversation. Paulist Prees. p. 9. ISBN 0809136066.

“…there are at least four distinct ways in which science and religion can be related to each other:

1) Conflict — the conviction that science and religion are fundamentally irreconcilable;

2) Contrast — the claim that there can be no genuine conflict since religion and science are each responding to radically different questions;

3) Contact — an approach that looks for dialogue, interaction and possible “consonance” between science and religion, and especially for ways in which science shapes religious and theological understanding.

4) Confirmation — a somewhat quieter but extremely important perspective that highlights the ways in which, at a very deep level, religion supports and nourishes the entire scientific enterprise.”

Those four views are pretty standard now. We may now add a fifth way that they might inter-connect. It is more down to earth, and I believe presents a confident rethink:

5) Collaboration – in the area of the application of benefit to the widest possible need.

DISCUSS: What are today’s particular pressing needs? ? E.g. Population growth and food production., e.g. Malaria, Water shortages, Politics of climate change.

Christianity has so shaped western culture and science in particular, that its contributions are routinely taken for granted as the inevitable norm or the fruit of reason. A brief glance at non-Christian civilizations will find scientists who are just as brilliant and rational but we also find that science as an enterprise there has been reserved for the rich and powerful. The Indian scholar Vishal Mangalwadi has observed …

Yet India, like Egypt, had “a standstill, a stillbirth, as far as science was concerned.”91 It was not much different from ancient China,… The tendency to omit this connection, whether in education or in the public square, began in the eighteenth century,……words of Kepler: “I am earnest about Faith, and I do not play with it.”94 they were 180 degrees removed from the relativistic cliché of today’s post modernism that says, “What is true for you is not true for me.” To them, truth was one, and God was its Author.
-pg 244

DISCUSS:

· On the great challenges that humanity faces today, how does science tackle these AND how does religion tackle these questions?

· Reflect on this statement as an example. “We need scientists to do research and laboratory development to find a cure for malaria. But it will be the Christian who goes to live in the swamp for years to deliver the medicines. Going further, maybe it will be another type of Christian (scientist or activist) who will lobby for the funding in the first place, or another to make the unlucrative career choice and devote herself to the lifelong research.”

What do you think that statement says about how we combine faith and science in action strategies and thought?

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50 NOBEL LAUREATES AND OTHER GREAT SCIENTISTS WHO BELIEVE IN GOD

Hi Ian,

I see your earlier posts about early science, all those people who started up scientific enquiry. Impressive history. Maybe back them it was easier to see the designer. But since Darwin, it seems to me there is a great decline in people claiming to believe. What’s current situation?

Max

Hi Max,

Yes I think it is harder to believe in twentieth century terms, the hyper-rationalism, materialism, naturalism – all philosophies that flourished together until the nuclear bombs starting go off and people realized that unbridled trust in rational science may not be a simple one-way blessing. It’s like the time when people realized that not all priests were doing the right things – trust crumbled which simply made the situation worse for a while until real remedies came in in the past decade or so. There is another layer to this I have been told by science faculty too. People of faith are ‘not allowed’ to say so. That is, in the name of ‘being secular’ they keep quiet in the public sphere, or for fear of being flamed by a proseltyzing atheist in their department, they keep their heads down. Either way, you wont know their faith as easily these days as used to happen.  The following list makes it clear that where the research is done, the connection between faith and science is still very strong.

(Extracted from the book, 50 NOBEL LAUREATES AND OTHER GREAT SCIENTISTS WHO BELIEVE IN GOD, comprises religious quotations from the most influential scientists in the world.)

In the course of my 11-year research I have studied hundreds of books, articles and letters – primarily those found in the archives of the National Library of Bulgaria (Sofia), Biblioteca Comunale di Milano and the Austrian National Library (Vienna). I have also corresponded with many contemporary Nobel Prize-winning scientists who have shared their personal beliefs about God.
I believe that this book will inspire believers, will give hope to seekers and that it will challenge those who think that religion and contemporary science are in insurmountable conflict.

Tihomir Dimitrov,
tih777dim@yahoo.com

SCIENTISTS

1. ALBERT EINSTEIN, Nobel Laureate in Physics:

1. ¨ “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.” (Einstein, as cited in Clark 1973, 33).

2. ¨ “The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior Reasoning Power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible Universe, forms my idea of God.” (Einstein, as cited in Libby Anfinsen 1995).

___________________________________________________________________________

Clark, Ronald W. 1985. The Life of Ernst Chain: Penicillin and Beyond. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Anfinsen, Libby. 1995. Memorial speech for Christian Anfinsen at Memorial Garden Dedication, Weizmann Institute. November 16. (The Christian Anfinsen Papers. Profiles in Science.) U.S. National Library of Medicine.

PS. A letter written by Einstein to Gutkind was made public recently which appears to indicate that Einstein became an atheist toward the end of his life. The author of this web site contends that such conclusion is not necessarily justified.

Click here for rationale.

2. MAX PLANCK, Nobel Laureate in Physics

1. ¨ In his famous lecture Religion and Science (May 1937) Planck wrote: “Both religion and science need for their activities the belief in God, and moreover God stands for the former in the beginning, and for the latter at the end of the whole thinking. For the former, God represents the basis, for the latter – the crown of any reasoning concerning the world-view.” (Max Planck, Religion und Naturwissenschaft, Leipzig: Johann Ambrosius Barth Verlag, 1958, 27).

2. ¨ “Religion represents a bond of man to God. It consists in reverent awe before a supernatural Might [Macht], to which human life is subordinated and which has in its power our welfare and misery. To remain in permanent contact with this Might and keep it all the time inclined to oneself, is the unending effort and the highest goal of the believing man. Because only in such a way can one feel himself safe before expected and unexpected dangers, which threaten one in his life, and can take part in the highest happiness – inner psychical peace – which can be attained only by means of strong bond to God and unconditional trust to His omnipotence and willingness to help.” (Max Planck 1958, 9).

50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically

50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically

A web-exclusive guide to the Biblical and archaeological evidence

How many people in the Hebrew Bible have been confirmed archaeologically? The surprising number is 50—from Israelite kings to Mesopotamian monarchs, and some lesser figures as well.

In “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible,” in the March/April 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Purdue University scholar Lawrence Mykytiuk writes that “at least 50 people mentioned in the Bible have been identified in the archaeological record. Their names appear in inscriptions written during the period described by the Bible and in most instances during or quite close to the lifetime of the person identified.” The extensive Biblical and archaeological documentation supporting the BAR study is published in a web-exclusive collection of endnotes detailing the Biblical references and inscriptions referring to each of the 50 figures.