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LIES, DAMNED LIES, SCIENCE, AND THEOLOGY St John’s College, Durham 10 th January 2013 Led by the Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham Why everyone needs to learn.

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Presentation on theme: "LIES, DAMNED LIES, SCIENCE, AND THEOLOGY St John’s College, Durham 10 th January 2013 Led by the Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham Why everyone needs to learn."— Presentation transcript:

1 LIES, DAMNED LIES, SCIENCE, AND THEOLOGY St John’s College, Durham 10 th January 2013 Led by the Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham Why everyone needs to learn the truth about science and religion

2 ‘There are Lies, there are Damned Lies, and there are Statistics’

3 What’s the issue? A deeper exploration of the problem Why does it matter? Who cares? What can we do about it? Ideas for action LIES, DAMNED LIES, SCIENCE, AND THEOLOGY

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7 ‘Since the beginning of history a deep rift has existed between science and religion’ ‘Outspoken scientists like Copernicus were murdered by the Church for revealing scientific truths’ And in the Da Vinci Code, Langdon says, ‘Unbiased science could not possibly be performed by a person who possessed faith in God’

8 ‘Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the strangled snakes besides that of Hercules; and history records that whereas science and orthodoxy have been fairly opposed, the latter has been forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and crushed if not annihilated, scotched; if not slain.’

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10 ‘Science is a truly modern form of knowing, while theology represents a pre-modern throwback; Science is useful, whereas theology promotes a disengagement from reality; Science is value-free, whereas theology is compromised by personal commitment; Science is open to falsification and renewal, whereas theology is dogmatically entrenched; Science is based upon empirical data, whereas theology is a matter of pure speculation; In short, science seeks after objective truth, whereas theology deals only in subjective meaning.’

11 ‘..we are concerned about what the war over evolution might be doing to our young people in our schools and in our churches. Our fear is that they might begin to identify their Christian faith with anti-Darwinism and, worse, antiscience.’ Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett

12 How often does a sermon on prayer really explore our understanding of divine action in the world? We can be left with a God who arbitrarily intervenes if we ask persistently enough. How is our understanding of humanity as made ‘in the image of God’ affected by theories of evolution and our genetic similarities to other species? What happens to our view of Resurrection and Eschatology in the light of cosmological theories about the future of the universe? How do we see the doctrine of the Fall in the light of evolutionary history?

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14 And so does theology!

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17 Why does this matter? - the question of ‘truth’ claims

18 ‘A society which loses confidence in the very possibility of truth ultimately disintegrates. St Augustine called humanity “the community of truth”. It is the only basis upon which we may belong to each other.’ Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, former head of the Dominicans

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22 ‘...scientific realism is something much more subtle and interesting than just naive objectivity of the kind that an Enlightenment belief in access to clear and certain ideas might have encouraged one to expect.’ Revd Professor John Polkinghorne

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24 ‘Theology is reflection on transpersonal encounter with the sacred reality of God.’ Revd Prof John Polkinghorne

25 Theistic and naturalistic understandings of reality Cosmology and creation, including the ‘fine-tuning’ phenomenon God’s relationship with the world including not only beginnings but also accounts of divine action Evolution, so-called ‘intelligent design’ and the role of chance and purpose in the universe Neuroscience and what it means to be human. Brains, minds and consciousness The implications of quantum mechanics and chaos theory

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31 ‘It is an art to write for a general American audience which averages a seventh grade reading level. It genuinely distresses some academics that politicians today speak many school grades below George Washington’s Farewell Address....To speechwriters that means, don’t write sentences [that are]complex. You can’t give your boss a speech saying, “It’s got all your ideas, but 40% of your audience won’t know what you are talking about”. Luckily English is a rich language. Without losing nuance you can say a lot with simple words... and simple sentences.’ Robert Lehrman New York Times, 11 November 2012

32 ‘Just because my bathroom scales cannot tell me that I am thinking does not mean I do not think.’ Professor Bob Russell

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38 ‘I hold a passionate belief in the unity of knowledge. Therefore, I believe that one must look beyond the insights achieved by the individual disciplines of enquiry, such as science and theology, to seek an integrated account of the whole of reality.’ Revd Prof John Polkinghorne

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