Why Christianity is the Worldview that Best Supports Science


(Dale Cutler) #1

(John Harshman) #2

Don’t see it at all. I don’t suppose you would like to defend the claims made in that article?


(Dale Cutler) #3

Why don’t you just delineate the particulars that are problematic, or is it every one of them?


(John Harshman) #4

Yes, I think so.


#5

Just on the face of it, how can christianity support science the best when there are christians who reject scientific theories because of their religious beliefs? At least in the US, I would hazard a guess that the group that distrusts scientists the most are evangelicals. We could also point to the whole Galileo affair. There are certainly christians who support and accept science, but it certainly isn’t universal.

At least in my opinion, a much more interesting question is why science came to prominence in western Europe in the 17th century. I think it is more a question of economics and scholarship than religious belief.


(Dale Cutler) #6

Is there a problem here (the first body paragraph)?:

//First, science (at least as it is currently practiced)[1] may tell us about the material world, but this does not mean that the material world is all that exists or that there is no God. To assert that science has shown there is no God is like a blind man declaring that light doesn’t exist because he cannot see it. If God is not matter, trying to find him using a method that only measures matter could never possibly succeed. Science may be excellent at discovering some facts about the universe, but that does not mean it is the source of all the facts.//


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #7

Science is neutral on the question on whether the is a God or not.


(Dale Cutler) #8

Of course, but people, including many scientists, demand scientific evidence for his existence.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #9

And of course they can demand it but science moves ahead under MN.


(Dale Cutler) #10

And many of its practitioners are PNs.


(Dale Cutler) #11

What kind of evidence would influence a PN to become theistic? Many have, of course. Other PNs will only accept ‘scientific’ evidence, which is silly, as we just discussed.


The Current Status of Ewert's Dependency Graph of Life
(Retired Professor & Minister.) #12

As always, it depends on one’s definitions of Christianity and Christians—as well as whether you actually meant fundamentalist Christians when you used the word evangelicals.

When we talk about what “Christianity” fosters, as we talking about Christian philosophy? Christian cultures in general? Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant and evangelical Protestant grad schools? Or are we referring to what average Christians with no training in science happen to think about science?

Frankly, I have no ideas how the statistics would work out—because I’ve not seen large scale surveys. What is definitely the case is that the media tends to focus on various ill-defined people groups, and we easily extrapolate from there to the most convenient labels. For example, I’ve found many people assume that Young Earth Creationists are a much larger percentage of American Christians than is actually the case.

Very true. I doubt if anyone would claim that any people group holds science support as a universal. (I recall an article a few years ago—which I can’t seem to find now—written by an atheist complaining about how many atheists are into various kinds of pseudoscience and “woo”, such as healing crystals, “body detoxifying”, wearing magnets to cure arthritis, and rejecting vaccines as too dangerous.)

The Atlantic had an interesting article on how our generalizations and hunches may not fit the realities, though it looked at the West in general:

Reality is usually much more complex than our generalizations. Meanwhile, quantifying linkages of scientific progress (and scientific declines) to particular philosophies, religions, economics, politics, etc. is extremely difficult. For example, Neil deGrasse Tyson and the late Carl Sagan liked to blame Islam for the decline of the Arab Golden Age of science but most every historian I’ve known places religion as a fourth or fifth place factor in that decline. (Nevertheless, denouncing Islamic religion is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser when Tyson speaks at skeptics’ conferences. Sometimes the actual facts don’t really matter. It’s a human foible and no particular people group has a monopoly on ignoring the evidence.)


(Dale Cutler) #13

And speaking of atheists being religious…

Atheism is a religion* in an academic sense and in a practical one, too. The etymology of “religion” shares a root with ligament, ligature and ligand, denoting a binding. An atheist is bound to her worldview, which frontloads into her thinking and excludes the existence of God. Atheists that are philosophical naturalists have an implicit, unwritten dogma in their religion/worldview that tells them to refuse to accept anything as evidence which suggests that anything other than the four dimensions of our spacetime might exist. Similarly, an agnostic is bound to the rejection of the knowability of God or his existence. That frontloads into their thinking and everything is interpreted from those perspectives. That would be confirmation bias.

We continue to confirm our existing worldviews according to our confirmation biases then, unless something, maybe radical, changes them. Everyone who is conscious has a worldview and a faith, even if that faith is only in themselves and their ability to reason.

*"[Geertz’s definition] suggests that every group–and every individual–may have a religion, even if no one in that group believes in a god or an afterlife or any of the more familiar trappings of organized religion. Every group has a religion because every group has some overall framework that all its members share in common, to make sense out of life and guide behavior."
IraChernus-GeertzSummary


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #14

Atheism is a religion like not golfing is a sport.


(Dale Cutler) #15

Maybe you read neither of the articles? Multiple parallels are demonstrated.


(John Mercer) #16

None are as parallel as Patrick’s simile is.

Again, Dale, when you put so much emphasis on your misrepresentations of what other people believe, you’ve got the problem.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #17

Atheism is the absence of a belief in any God.


(Retired Professor & Minister.) #18

The word religion has many definitions so I won’t insist that everyone use the standard academic lexicon denotation. Nevertheless, I will repeat what I’ve posted many times before: In religious studies, a religion is a system of devotion to that which one considers transcendent. Thus, to have a religion, an atheist would need to venerate something that is transcendent, that is, outside of the matter-energy universe and worthy of special devotion. Now it is true that there are some atheists who practice religions which recognize the transcendent (such as some types of atheist Hindus.) Yet that simply serves as another reminder that there is no one “atheism worldview” and no atheism religion per se. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in a deity or deities.


(John Harshman) #19

Several.

The problem with God isn’t that it’s immaterial but that that it’s not a well-formed hypothesis. Nobody is willing to say what it entails, and it can’t be investigated.

Of course science doesn’t only measure matter, so no problem. Science measures, or can investigate, anything that’s open to empirical observation. God presumably can’t be observed directly, but again, no problem. Most things can’t be observed directly, but are known only by their observable effects. If God has observable effects, God can be investigated by science.

What other source do you propose? How do we know that source, whatever it may be, is reliable?

Note that so far there is nothing at all about the subject of the title.


(Retired Professor & Minister.) #20

Your post brought this interesting article to mind:

The author is an atheist who studies the intersection of science and religion.