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What we’re about—NOT!. “Reconciling Faith and Science”: why needed? About faith and science, Americans believe: –54%: “They’re often in conflict” –40%:

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Presentation on theme: "What we’re about—NOT!. “Reconciling Faith and Science”: why needed? About faith and science, Americans believe: –54%: “They’re often in conflict” –40%:"— Presentation transcript:

1 What we’re about—NOT!

2 “Reconciling Faith and Science”: why needed? About faith and science, Americans believe: –54%: “They’re often in conflict” –40%: “They’re mostly compatible.” –5%: “I’m not gonna say.” Let’s build some understanding!

3 Science and Faith: two toolsets for making sense of the universe. They have different –Fundamental assumptions –Processes –Limitations & Strengths –Issues they can address

4 Goals of this series Clarify distinctions between F & S Replace conflict with understanding and reasoned, civil discourse Present some of the scientific evidence embedded in creation (the natural world) NOT to –change your belief system –provide you ammunition to change someone else’s belief system

5 Rules of Engagement Ask about what you want to learn, rather than telling what everyone else needs to learn. Start no win/lose arguments. Listen, without interrupting. No personal attacks (not politics!) If anger or defensiveness crop up, pray and refocus.

6 Fundamental Assumptions Science –The rules (laws of nature) don’t change and won’t be twiddled by supernatural intervention. –Valid evidence: things observed and measured. Faith –There is a reality beyond the physical. –There is a supernatural power that intervenes in nature and human lives. –Valid evidence includes supernatural things (intuition, inspiration, holy scripture…)

7 Applications Science –Explaining how things work –Extrapolating past processes/events –Predicting future processes/events Faith –Who’s in charge? (existence, nature of God) –Purpose (of humans, the universe) –Good & evil –Life beyond the physical

8 How Science seeks truth Does not “prove things right”! Proposes explanation (hypothesis) from observations, tries to prove it wrong. Hypotheses left standing are “provisional truth.” “Laws”: explanations that always seem to work. “Theories”: reliable, and explain many different things.

9 Limitations of Science Assumes unchanging natural laws, has no tools for the supernatural, so says nothing about –Existence or nature of God. –Miracles (= coincidences) –Purpose –Good or evil Proves nothing(!) –Advances by disproving and discarding false ideas.

10 Strengths of Science Objectivity Reproducibility Self-correction Progression Prediction

11 How Faith seeks Truth Proposes explanation for experiences. Looks for consistency with various kinds of evidence. Seeks confirmation via prayer, revelation… May use experiments, usually to confirm rather than to reject hypotheses.

12 Limitations of Faith Not objective Not reproducible Not self-correcting Not progressive Not predictive

13 Strengths of Faith “Ultimate Questions” (that science can’t touch) can be addressed. Truth can be found, and false conclusions rejected, by supernatural revelation. Access to truth is not limited by education, experience, or intellect.

14 (Science/Faith Gedankenexperiment): The Perfect “Theory of Origins” “Everything was created 30 seconds ago, exactly as you perceive it.” Is it true? Is it useful? Is it scientific? Supportable with scientific evidence?

15 Which is the right tool to understand the universe? Science? Faith? Both? If we fight over which is right, who wins?

16 Issues for “Bible- believing” Christians For our own faith: –Why is there so much physical evidence that apparently doesn’t jibe with Genesis account(s)? –Does God contradict Himself in nature and scripture? –Does the physical evidence tell us how God worked then, or now, or both?

17 Issues for “Bible- believing” Christians For others’ faith (evangelism) –If knowledge of the scientific evidence will lead to rejection of the gospel, what’s to be done? –If the scientific evidence is another way in which God reveals His greatness, what then?

18 Issues for (Christian) scientists What about apparent scripture/science discrepancies? How do we deal with “miracles”? Do we acknowledge the limits of the discipline? –How should we deal with proposed explanations that science has no tools to test? –Since we can’t distinguish between “miracle” and “coincidence,” how shall we respond to the remarkable?

19 This has been the foundation. Now let’s go on together to build understanding!


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