Templeton: How Science and Religion Help Each Other

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It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a John Templeton to enter the kingdom.

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On balance Coyne didn’t seem overly negative. I’m also skeptical of productive integration seeing how often the effort failed.

I’m skeptical of productive integration because there seems to be nothing of value that religion can provide to science.

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That seems overly broad. It seems to ignore history to say this. Kepler, Boyle, and Bacon were deeply influenced by theology. There does seem to be ways for productive interaction, though often it is not.

Were they influenced in productive ways? Is this the claim that Christianity (sometimes Protestant Christianity) invented science?

Kekule thought of the structure of benzene in a dream. Do we need someone to start making grants for the productive integration of dreams into science?

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I’m saying, broadly right now in interest of time, that history shows positive and negative interactions. We know doctrine of the fall was important in forming modern science after the Copernican revolution for example. Bacon is an important at read here because he is sensitive to the negative ways religion percerts science, but he is also using theology to articulate a grand vision for science that ends up being taken up by scientists at that time. I think we have to acknowledge there are bad and good ways to do this.

@TedDavis?

And today is February 15, 2019. It is 11 am in New Jersey. The weather is fair and mild. The market is up.

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Meaning what, exactly, Neil? I can’t connect those particular dots.

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Here’s a very accurate, well written piece on Bacon and God: Francis Bacon's God - The New Atlantis

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Without having a clear idea of what “integration” involves, I would also be very skeptical that religion provides anything to science. However, there are multiple ways to “integrate” them, one of which (that of Bacon) is presented in the article I just linked.

My own view as an historian of science and also as a Christian scholar who engages efforts to “integrate” Christianity and science today–those are the two main biases I would bring to this particular topic–is based on the fact (IMO) that even modern science is not entirely divorced from philosophical/metaphysical assumptions and preferences. IMO, Christian beliefs intersect with several of those assumptions, and historically Christian scientists and theologians have constructed multiple metaphysical/theological frameworks within which to place both scientific knowledge and the scientific enterprise itself. In fact I’m currently writing a book about this very topic, intended for a range of readers who aren’t experts in the history of science or science, and for both religious believers and others. Obviously I can’t even being to summarize a book that is mostly still unwritten. Nor do I have time to write several paragraphs about the overall perspective I will present. However, I can at least point folks to this piece about Polkinghorne that provides a few key notions I would endorse:
Searching for Motivated Belief: Introducing John Polkinghorne, parts 1 and 2.

Let me add that in April I will be speaking to a group of atheists in Kansas City, on the topic, “Why Christianity is Good for Science.” Lots of history and philosophy of science in that one. Here’s a link to an earlier version of this same talk, which I’ve also done at Oregon State and Virginia Tech:

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Group of atheists? Or a group of scientists? Who is the sponsor of this event?

It’s an informal meet-up group, consisting mainly of religious skeptics but one of the organizers is a Christian friend of mine. Here’s their facebook page: Provocateurs and Peacemakers - Home | Facebook

As I understand it, the group is very friendly to people who don’t agree with them about ultimate questions. I’m not the type of person who enjoys shouting matches, Patrick, so I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t believe people would actually listen to me and engage in lively but respectful conversation. That’s the type of interaction I always relish.

When I did a version of the talk at Oregon State, one of the groups that organized it was their branch of secular student alliance. Afterwards, their president thanked me warmly, congratulated me on making an intelligent argument (the event was a debate with a secular humanist minister), told me to “keep that f#$5%ing s@#* up,” and gave me his card–one of these:

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What do I do to get one of those?

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Maybe @Patrick can help you, Djordje, but I don’t have an extra one to spare.

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Love Jesus… :slight_smile:

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You and I probably live in a bit different worlds, but here are some things that come to mind here:

  • I had a student (potential physics major) ask me last Friday why a person would want study science? In my world a good theology of science can help motivate people to enter into a lifelong study of science. There are many Christian students who are currently deciding whether science, medicine, technology, etc. are “worth” pursuing. There is such a perception that science is a faith-killer that many don’t see the point. Note, I’m not saying this is the fault of secularism or atheists, I’m just looking at “how do we get more young people to go into science careers?” Being able to develop a more coherent and integrated picture of the world may help.
  • I think Genealogical Adam is a great example of what they’re talking about. From the link: “this project investigates the much more positive thesis that scientific and religious explanations can work together in mutually enriching ways”. It is sometimes hard for people to distinguish science from theology in GA but it really is about a mutually enriching view of human origins. This sort of “productive integration” relies more on taking two different (independent?) views of a subject to make a more coherent and powerful thesis. It allows people of faith to approach some new science and perhaps gives scientists a better appreciation for the concerns of faith communities.
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I agree that the GAE is a great example of productive exchange. If that is what they are getting at they are on the something. Maybe some one should reach out to them? (@Jordan?)

Apparently, by first killing their faith. Then science being a faith-killer won’t be a problem.

I can see how GA would enrich theology, but I can’t see how it would enrich science.

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It has increased many peoples undrrstanding of the science ancetsry, including scientists. It also deweaponizes evolution so we can better engage society with what we are finding. These are both important from a purely scientific point of view.