Post by silverdream on Nov 15, 2003 16:46:01 GMT -5
The Great Debate: Religion and Science
Good day m'dears,
There hasn't been much posted in this section in a while, and I thought I would...restart it, or I hope to anyway. Wasn't sure whether to put it in debates or Theology, but as it is both and debating doesn't seem to have any problem with posts, lets put it in here.
This debate has been going on in various forms for hundreds of years: In our modern world where science can explain away much of religion, is religion actually needed anymore?
It is not only restricted to this area. All thoughts, opinions, proofs, feelings, etc on both religion and science, and their relation, are welcome.
For the moment I will leave with an analytical essay I found on the web--http://www.grmi.org/renewal/Richard_Riss/evidences2/10sci.html--read it well:
HAS SCIENCE DISPROVED THE BIBLE? H. H. Price has stated that "a Deity who intervened miraculously and suspended natural law could never be accepted by Science."1 In his reply to Professor Price, C. S. Lewis observed that you cannot discover a railway accident by studying railway timetables:
To discover a regularity is by definition not to discover its interruptions, even if they occur. You cannot discover a railway accident from studying Bradshaw [Bradshaw's Railway Guide]: only by being there when it happens or hearing about it afterwards from someone who was. . . . But surely this does not mean that a student of Bradshaw is logically forced to deny the possibility of railway accidents.2 Many people believe that it is unscientific to believe the Bible. If this is true, however, then the following people were unscientific: Isaac Newton, Johann Kepler, Robert Boyle, Lord Kelvin, Louis Pasteur, Matthew Maury, Michael Faraday, Clerk Maxwell, John Ray, and Carolus Linnaeus. All of these great scientists believed the Bible, including the miracles recorded within it. In fact, they were creationists, as were almost all scientists before the time of Charles Darwin, whose Origin of Species was not published until 1859.
Has the Darwinians revolution changed all of that? No, there is nothing intrinsically unscientific about Sir Isaac Newton's world view, according to which all of the miracles of the Bible took place, including the creation of the universe by God ex nihilo. However, with the acceptance of the Darwinian theories, there was an acceptance of a new world view. Ernst Mayr, Agassiz Professor Zoology at Harvard University, wrote as follows in the prestigious British journal, Nature:
The Darwinian revolution was not merely the replacement of one scientific theory by another, as had been the scientific revolutions in the physical sciences, but rather the replacement of a world view, in which the supernatural was accepted as a normal and relevant explanatory principle, but a new world view in which there was no room for supernatural forces.3 According to Mayr, the implication of Darwin's thesis was that "it is unscientific to believe in supernatural causation."4 If Mayr is correct, then the "scientific" world view, according to which there is no supernatural causation, is relatively new to science.
Science itself was built upon the foundation of a Biblical world view. The great historian of science, Stanley L. Jaki, asks in his book, Science and Creation,5 why it is that the development of science took place in Europe between 1250 and 1650 and not in any of the great civilizations of antiquity, even though many of them had long periods of relative stability, and were able to develop technology to a considerable degree. Jaki surveys the civilizations of ancient Babylon, Egypt, China, the Hindus, the Incas, the Aztecs, and the Mayas, in an attempt to determine what kept them from developing a true science.
Scientific research requires certain basic beliefs about order and rationality. Jaki concludes that the elements needed for the birth of science came into existence through the Judaeo- Christian belief in an omnipotent God, creator and sustainer of all things. Within such a world view it becomes meaningful to attempt to understand nature, and this is the fundamental reason why science developed as it did in the Middle Ages in Christian Europe, culminating in the brilliant achievements of the seventeenth century.6 Christianity's objective view of truth made possible the rise of modern science. Jaki writes:
The scientific quest found fertile soil only when this faith in a personal, rational Creator had truly permeated a whole culture, beginning with the centuries of the High Middle Ages. It was that faith which provided, in sufficient measure, confidence in the rationality of the universe, trust in progress, and appreciation of the quantitative method, all indispensable ingredients of the scientific quest. . . . The future of man rests with that judgment which holds the universe to be the handiwork of a Creator and Lawgiver. To this belief, science owes its very birth and life.7
Science will not flourish in a world view which excludes a creator and orderer of the universe. If there is no order in the universe, there can be no science, because the very purpose of science is to study that order. It the presupposition of materialism persists, we can be certain that science as a field will progressively become an unfruitful area of endeavor.
"All speech is vain and empty unless it be accompanied by action." --Demosthenes
Yes it is possible for science to break down a religion & find "resonable" explanations to every merical in the bible. But we must as ourselves a question. Where did the universe come from in the first place? Something cannot be created with out nothing. You cannot just have a universe some how it has to be made out of something. It's hard to grasp for me, but God seems to be the only explanation I can think of. He existed before anything else so he made a universe, & then earth & so on...
This may not make any sense I'm sorry if it doesn't, but that is the best I can do to explain it. I'm not a good theologist though the subject fasinates me. I find it amusing that people try & make the bible a Jest of some sort, how can a person open up a bible & believe the words to be false? When in fact it is one of the oldest books every to be writen & the most read? If the bible is a frawed then why has it lasted so long? It is fatuous to try & denie every word in the text, especialy when the people who do this really have no understanding of it. Where they there in the great flood? Where they alive where Abraham first heard God? The three religions Christianity, Judeism, & Muslim all began from Abraham so to deny the bible is to denie an even larger percent of people then just christians. I believe that to argue the bible would be a foolish hackneyed & I hope those people blessed with an ex officio soon come to realise this.
This is my rambling statement, hope it's not to confusing
Hurrah, Inwe! It must be sweet. I was at the Easter Vigil Mass a few weeks ago and it was lovely to see the Baptisms, Confirmations, and First Communions! And just last Saturday a group of little children received their First Communion. I confess I was in tears, it was so beautiful. People cry at weddings, I suppose, so why should someone be ashamed to cry at a First Communion? I'm not ashamed.
Now, Inwe, I have to agree with what you said. In short, just because God chose to create a reasonable universe doesn't mean He doesn't exist, right?
Science can't explain religion away. It can explain how the universe was created, of course, and consider that perhaps God just created it the way they say it was created. But religion isn't just how the universe was created... oh no, indeed not! Science cannot explain how a person is able to have long, loving talks with their guardian angel, nor is it able to explain the fire of love around one's heart when one receives Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Science can't explain that. It can't explain how the King of Kings comes to us in the form of bread and how He comes into our hearts. My Catholic Faith is centered around this, the Eucharist, and science can't explain that away.
There! Hopefully I've offended nobody, but Silver said that anything was welcome!
Well, this thread is quite old, but I thought I'd provide my (opposing) position.
First off, I would like to point out that the evolution/old earth idea is not a <i>belief</i>, it's a scientific theory based on observations of our universe. It too, like The Holy Bible, is widely accepted. It, however, is not a belief. A belief is based on faith -- the trust in a God that you cannot see, hear, or observe (and hasn't spoken to us for a couple thousands of years).
That said, I will attempt to give you my answer of your question. For me, I don't need religion. I don't know of any religions that give an acceptable explanation of the world, one that coincides with our scientific observations. However, I feel that for many people religion is a necessary institution that provides them comfort, stability, and reassurance. On a larger scale, religion is a source of morality and social integrity. I forget who, but some great philosopher once said that you cannot have morality without religion. Though I don't agree entirely, religion is certainly a source of morality. I think that instead of throwing out religion entirely we need to rethink the current religions. For instance, I believe I'm correct in saying that many Catholics view the Bible as mostly stories and not word-for-word truths. We have to remember that the Bible has been translated many times and that there are many metaphors. I was reading the Bible with a friend recently and I was amazed that they were able to say unflinchingly that some parts of the Bible don't apply anymore and that this or that is a metaphor while Genesis is a word-for-word truth. It just didn't make sense to me.
Now in reply to Inwe's post, she said posed questions such as "were you there at the flood/creation/etc." Not being able to prove a claim does not make it possible to automatically prove that it is true. That's like shooting a model rocket on a cloudy day and saying that you've just launched it into orbit, then when someone asks you to prove it you say, "you didn't see it land did you?"
In reply to C.S. Lewis' letter, I think that's just a bunch of mumbo jumbo that doesn't really get at the essence of science. The basis of science isn't the "rationality and order" of a supreme creator, it is our observations of natural phenomena. Newton didn't need to believe that his laws of motion came from a creator. Whether or not a creator is present, an object moving at constant velocity will continue at that velocity unless acted upon by a net force; acceleration is proportional to mass; and for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. These are universal truths of nature and not necessarily of a God.
I think Nuru has it mostly right. If both the belief that there is a God and the theory of an old earth are correct, then by default it must mean that God created the universe in the way described by science. The truth is, we will never know the answer, unless of course Christianity is correct and there is a Heaven and Hell. If instead we just die and completely cease to exist in any fashion (as I believe) then we still won't know.
PS - I consider myself atheist, although most of what I have presented is agnostic. It isn't hard for me to disprove the existance of God, but relating my ideas to devout Christians is hard, therefore I often find it easier to make agnostic arguments. I personally feel that science should be viewed as agnostic to the existance of God. There are many good scientists that believe in God as well as many that are agnostic and many that are entirely atheistic. To me, it is not hard to rationalize what the Bible says to what science says, you just have to go beyond the literal interpretation of the words.
N Sprangers, what an enjoyable post yours was! I just must step in for a moment and defend the good names of Catholics.
...many Catholics view the Bible as mostly stories and not word-for-word truths.
If so it would sadly be the fault of the individual Catholic. I know how seriously other kinds of Christians take the Holy Scripture, and Catholics take it just as seriously. That is, the Catholic religion takes it seriously. The individuals might have some odd ideas, in the same way that the Catholic religion believes in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament but individual Catholics may or may not. In short, Catholics should believe the words of the Bible are Truth, as that is where (particularly the New Testament) our religion comes from, and it is merely a sorry thing if there is a Catholic who looks upon it as story.
I suppose this doesn't have anything to do with the actual topic, however. I'll go back to subject.
...I was amazed that they were able to say unflinchingly that some parts of the Bible don't apply anymore...
Everything from Old Testament still applies. In a recent homily our priest explained how in the New Testament when Jesus came and preached He didn't make up a new set of rules. He taught everyone by the old set of rules, but clearly defined and fulfilled. That is why members of my family are fond of calling themselves the New-and-Upgraded-Jews, because Christians follow the same rules as Jews, the rules that God set out in the Old Testament, but the difference is that the Jews follow them as the Old Testament defined them and Christians follow them in the fulfilled way that Jesus presented.
Sometimes it's rather frightening to read the Bible with a friend. I personally turn to the saints named Doctors of the Church and read what they say about the Bible, because they won't confuse you with metaphors and outdated things.
These are universal truths of nature and not necessarily of a God.[/quote
Or perhaps these universal truths of nature are necessarily of God and He created the laws of gravity whether it is realized by all people or not...
The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man. -- G.K. Chesterton
Post by ElberethVarda on Jun 13, 2004 13:08:36 GMT -5
indeed, sience and religion are two opposites
Not if you really think about it. I was just reading a very interesting article. A man who lives in Australia found a fossil or a pleosauras, or a ocean-dwelling, air-breathing dinosaur. He called a museum and they sent a gruop of pailenentologists over to look at it. Amazingly enough, the ground was so loosely packed that they were able to uncover it completely within only 30 minutes. Upon doing so, they discovered that the fossil was almost completely whole, which was odd. If it had simply died in the ocean, it would have decomposd before it had a chance to be buried, and the bones would have been scattered. The only way the skeleton could have been almost completely whole was if it had been buried within a matter of minutes.