Science and Christianity Dave Scott and Daphne Brenner
Science vs. Religion: Myth or Melee? The nature of interaction between the two disciplines is still debated today. Science is the paradigm of truth and rationality. Religion has yet to be proven irrational or a matter of private, subjective opinion.
The Debate about Scientific Realism The majority of modern scientists embrace realism. Most debates between Creationists and evolutionists assume scientific realism. There are three main schools of thought regarding scientific realism.
Rational Realism Scientific theories are true or approximately true. A mature scientific theory makes existence claims. Rationality is an objective notion and conceptual relativism is false. A scientific theory will embody certain epistemic virtues.
Rational Realism The aim of science is a literally true picture of the world.
Rational Nonrealism Science is rational in an objective, nonrelativist sense. Theoretical terms do not refer to the real world. The real world lies beyond what our senses tell us. Science gives inaccurate descriptions.
Phenomenalism Scientific knowledge is about what we can perceive with our senses. That which cannot be perceived cannot be supposed to exist within scientific theories. Theoretical terms do not represent entities that exist. Laws of nature and theories are nothing but records of past experiences which can be used to anticipate future experience.
Operationism Theoretical terms are shorthand devices for laboratory operations. Theoretical entities do not really exist. The laws of science are not true descriptions of the underlying structure of the world. These things are just sets of lab operations and recorded numbers in a lab notebook.
Pragmatism Science merely aims to find theories that work, not truer and truer ones about the world. There are two types of problems: empirical and conceptual. Theories which solve problems will embody certain epistemic virtues which might not be true.
Constructive Empiricism Science aims to give empirically adequate theories. Acceptance of a theory involves a belief only that it is empirically adequate. That which is accepted might not be real.
Nonrational Nonrealism There is no objective sense in which science is rational. There are no givens. Rival theories or paradigms cannot be compared. Science is simply rules arbitrarily drafted by scientists.
The Limits of Science The validation of science is a philosophical issue, not a scientific one. Science assumes that the senses are reliable and give accurate information about the physical world and not merely successive sense impressions.
Presuppositions of Science Perception: Perceptual realism or representative dualism. The mind is rational and the universe can be understood. Uniformity of nature must be assumed to justify induction. Assumes the existence of universals.
Presuppositions of Science Assumes that the laws of logic are true and that truth exists. Assumes certain moral, epistemic, and methodological values. The existence of boundary conditions. The general characteristics of science are repeatability, observability, and empirical testability.
Science and Theology are Compatible Both disciplines speak about the origin of the cosmos, man and life in general. They describe the same reality using different methods Complementary view: How? What? + Who? Why? Theology asserts that God acts directly and indirectly The Christian worldview is most congruent with science
Ex nihilo creation Inadequacy of macroevolutionary theory plants and animals created within fixed limits “Man ain’t no. monkey!” Catastrophism in geology Young Earth Creation Science: Outlined
Scientific Validity of Creation Science Supernatural terms (God) can function within theories describing the natural Biblical roots do not disqualify truth Makes predictions No less open to revision than modern evolutionary science
Support for a Literal Genesis Account Yom- Hebrew word -“Day” –In Mosaic books, a numerical adjective always means a literal 24 hours –In OT, 97% of its 1900 uses, it is literal Chronological order usually the backbone of Biblical narrative Genesis 1&2 set the tone for a historical narrative
Flaws in Macroevolutionary Theory Myth of the Prebiotic Soup Limited Genetic Potential Problems in the fossil record 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says “A chance of 1 in 10 to the 40,000th power”
Closing Statements Science is not infallible Religion is not irrational Christian theology is integrable with science Creation science is scientific Darwinian science is not proven fact