Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
Seeker79
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Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#1

Post by Seeker79 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:25 pm

I am not a christian, although I had been for some 25 years until recently. Although not technically a scientist, I studied evolutionary biology in college, and have continued to stay informed about new developments in the field, as well as the physics behind the origin of life. I am not advocating any particular view about religion or atheism, but I simply can't swallow the scientific reasoning and explanations given in many parts of the website. Once upon a time Christians held their beliefs independent and necessarily unaware of their physical place in the universe, or even on the earth. The more science develops (ideally without any agenda other than for the sake of understanding the natural world and being able to make predictions), the more that religious beliefs are challenged. Those religious leaders who felt threatened by these new findings had one of two choices: either (1) assert that science and religion should be dealt w/ separately, or (2) address science by accepting the findings and appeal to reason, in a way to make the two conflicting disciplines coalesce. The evidence has become so indisputable and overwhelming, the first choice is now essentially unworkable, and the only option seems to be to present the science in a way that serves a conclusion previously constructed absent any scientific evidence. I'm not here to fight, just to try to challenge and be challenged. Any thoughts?

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Re: Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#2

Post by Gabrielman » Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:05 pm

Let me start by saying welcome to the board! :wave:
I would like to point out that a vast majority of collage science is biased. A lot of the time they leave out the facts that are nessacery to doing open minded research. I had a science teacher in highschool who hated that about collage. She was a darwinist, but she wanted to teach the weaknesses of the theory. She wasn't allowed to ofcourse because the gov runs things... well you get that and I won't waste time on it. The point being she said her beliefs were more faith based than based on fact. Evolution is in trouble, and many scientists won't admit it. Try reading "Darwins Black Box" I loved that book. Have you ever seen "Expelled" by Ben Stien? That is a very good and informitive documentry, true as well.
As far as God and science go, I believe God is the ultiment scientist. I am an OEC and there for believe in the big bang, and I believe God caused it to happen. I believe He set things up just right so life would be here, and I won't go into detail on my beliefs right now, but if you would like to know more about them feel free to ask. This is ofcourse one mans opinion. I read the Bible as though it were God telling me of His scientific works. I don't take Genisis literally and I believe that God had it written in a symbolic manner. I mean could you imagine how long the Bible would be if He had it written in scientific detail? It is long already! lol, I believe He uses science though so I have no problem with scientific findings. If evolution were proven, or had at least some decent eviedence behind it, I would believe in theistic evolution. Not sure if any of this helps, but let me find a link on the main site that describes in detail what I believe about Genisis, if you would like of course.
Thanks for the challenge! :D
God bless!
Once I was trapped in a perpetual night, without even a star to light the sky. Now I stand in the glory of the Son, and not even a faint shadow of darkness remains.

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Re: Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#3

Post by jlay » Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:11 pm

Thanks for posting.

Before we really dealve into this I would ask you to please convince me that you used to be a Christian. (follower of Christ)
The more science develops (ideally without any agenda other than for the sake of understanding the natural world and being able to make predictions), the more that religious beliefs are challenged.
I fail to see how this is true. Man appears just as evil today despite all the scientific advances.

The evidence has become so indisputable and overwhelming, the first choice is now essentially unworkable, and the only option seems to be to present the science in a way that serves a conclusion previously constructed absent any scientific evidence.
I would ask you to introduce a specific indisputable evidence and let us address it from there.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#4

Post by Gabrielman » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:38 pm

Seeker79 wrote:The more science develops (ideally without any agenda other than for the sake of understanding the natural world and being able to make predictions), the more that religious beliefs are challenged.
Not true in my case, I see science as a way to fortify my faith. Also archology shows a lot that Christianity is the truth, and that the Bible is accurate. I must also pose my own question to you. We are made of atoms, protons neutrons and electrons, that's it, so why are you alive? Why is are a bunch of atoms alive? They themselves are not alive and if you had all the atoms necessary to make a living orgainism and the know how on how to organize them they would still not be alive.
Just some food for thought! God bless!
http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/day-age.html
Here's that link I promised you, and another that may help...
http://www.godandscience.org/apologetic ... bible.html
Hope you enjoy!
Once I was trapped in a perpetual night, without even a star to light the sky. Now I stand in the glory of the Son, and not even a faint shadow of darkness remains.

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Re: Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#5

Post by Gman » Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:41 pm

Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me... ?

Oh, not this argument again.. Like Darwinian evolution has the monopoly on science? It's not faith based? Please..
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#6

Post by ageofknowledge » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:48 pm

Try reading this:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/080101 ... 56TYW7QMH3

Image

Or if you prefer, pick up the phone and call Reasons To Believe directly and ask to speak to Dr. Fuz Rana or Dr. Hugh Ross. I think you'll be much more satisifed engaging with scientists on your own level rather than a broken down MBA with arthritis like myself. Good luck :)

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Re: Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#7

Post by Seeker79 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:21 am

Before we really dealve into this I would ask you to please convince me that you used to be a Christian. (follower of Christ)
I grew up as a strong catholic up until college, when I became born again in a non-denominational church, and led the christian life. Through my studies and independent reading, I had more questions and answers about my faith, christianity, and God in a general sense. Within 3 years I was teetering on atheism, but now it's appeal seems rather limited.
The more science develops (ideally without any agenda other than for the sake of understanding the natural world and being able to make predictions), the more that religious beliefs are challenged.
I fail to see how this is true. Man appears just as evil today despite all the scientific advances.
I'm not making judgments on science's evil vs. good value, at least not yet. My search is for truth, and science appears to be the most reliable and consistent discipline by which this "truth" can be found. Of course, what is "truth" has always been debatable, but I tend to equate truth with reliability, and the reason and evidence that science provides brings a reliability and a predictability that most adequately satisfies my yearning for truth. Where science seems to falter is providing my sense of purpose in life, which is why want to challenge myself before I unequivocally crown science as my "god".

The evidence has become so indisputable and overwhelming, the first choice is now essentially unworkable, and the only option seems to be to present the science in a way that serves a conclusion previously constructed absent any scientific evidence.
I would ask you to introduce a specific indisputable evidence and let us address it from there.[/quote]

The evidence I speak of is more of a gradual and historic sense. I don't see the bible as scientific; it seems that scientific findings subsequent to the bible's time of origin, such as the earth's physical positioning in the universe (ie, we are not at it's "center"), or the fossil record, are in conflict with much of scripture. 2000 years ago, it was easier to digest much of what is in the bible, because the discipline of science simply was not as advanced. However, science has brought us such broad and nuanced understandings of our physical world today, that in order for christianity to maintain its credibility, it's as if people today are cherrypicking what to take as symbolic vs. what to take literally. If a particular christian decides that subsequent scientific findings have no bearing on spiritual matters, I'd suspect it becomes prohibitively difficult to live in a world that relies on technological advancements borne from the scientific method, and deny science as a way of understanding the world

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Re: Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#8

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:57 am

My search is for truth, and science appears to be the most reliable and consistent discipline by which this "truth" can be found.
A lot of your solution is found here, Seeker.

I want to exaggerate your statement to something you did not say to prove a point. Suppose you had said this:
  • My search is for truth, and science appears to be the only reliable and consistent discipline by which this "truth" can be found.
Do you see the difference? In my version of your sentence, science is the ONLY means by which truth can be known. But there is a problem with this statement. It is self-defeating for this reason: can science scientifically determine that science is the only way truth is knowable? Put differently, is the statement that only science can know truth a scientific statement?

In both cases, the answer is no. The statement is a philosophical statement--a philosophical truth.

It will help you a great degree if you realize that while there is only one Truth, there are different categories of truth. There is scientific truth, philosophical truth, historical truth, mathematical truth, etc. The tools for discovering one are not the tools for discovering another. Suppose, for instance, I ask you to give me a mathematical proof that Rome was one of, if not the, most powerful empires ever established. Could you do it? No. That is a historical question. Or suppose I asked you to give me a scientific proof that the sum of the angels of a triangle equals 180 degrees. Could you do it? No, that is a mathematical truth.

What secularists have done is elevate scientific truth to Absolute Truth and have made all others subservient to it. But we have a problem with that. Is the statement that scientific truth is the perennial form of truth itself a scientific truth? No, it is a philosophical statement. That means, at least, science is subservient to philosophy. And we see that play out in how modern science is interpreted. I hope you realize that the interpretation of scientific finding is more of a philosophical matter than anything else. Let me give you an example--consider the following scenario:

You look under a microscope, and you see nothing of particular interest. You turn away for a moment and look back again to discover that now there is a new organism. Do you immediately assume that a new organism has been created from nothing? Of course not! You could give plenty of reasons for that as well, and I'm sure that they would be good ones. But scientists studying quantum physics come to the conclusion that things just pop into existence all the time!It's a philosophical issue, much like the question of "what brought the universe into existence?" If you are committed to one philosophical position, you cannot give one type of answer, i.e., if you are committed to the idea that God cannot be an answer for anything (which is a philosophical, not scientific, statement), then you are forced to look for a "natural" explanation. But that presupposes a natural explanation is possible. What if one isn't? The question of whether or not natural explanations are the only possibilities is philosophical, not scientific.

Let's take another example. Origin of life research has come to a serious problem. In order for life to have evolved naturally, there had to be what is called a reducing atmosphere--that is, the early earth must have had little to no oxygen. Unfortunately, there is good evidence that there was plenty of oxygen, which makes it scientifically impossible for life to have gotten started on earth. Yet many scientists still support the idea of an early reducing atmosphere. Would you like to guess why? Because they have evidence! Well, that's a good reason, right? So what is that evidence? Namely, that we are here!

What? Well, think about it--if in order to get here, we HAD to have a reducing atmosphere, and if we are here, then it must be true that there was a reducing atmosphere.

Surely you can see that this "science" is built on a philosophical idea--namely, the idea that we had to have evolved. In essence, the assumption of biochemical evolution's truth becomes the primary evidence for biochemical evolution.

If, then, you can make all these distinctions, then your question is not difficult to answer. Scientific truth cannot contradict theological truth. But just because a scientist says something is true--or for that matter, just because a theologian says something is true--doesn't make it true. The question is what philosophical principles are they following to reach that conclusion. Modern science is philosophically committed to naturalism, with which faith CANNOT coexist. But if you remove the philosophical assumption of naturalism, which is not to be confused with science, from science itself, then the two are perfectly capable of coexisting.

Hope that helps!

God bless
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#9

Post by Seeker79 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:39 pm

Firstly, I just want to say that your response is indeed very helpful, and has raised a number of provocative issues (and a couple, I admit, I must further research myself).

If I understand you correctly, you're saying that science in and of itself is not a world view or philosophy through which it alone leads directly to truth, and that naturalism is the common philosophical scope through which many scientists derive their secularist (or other) understandings.
Let's take another example. Origin of life research has come to a serious problem. In order for life to have evolved naturally, there had to be what is called a reducing atmosphere--that is, the early earth must have had little to no oxygen. Unfortunately, there is good evidence that there was plenty of oxygen, which makes it scientifically impossible for life to have gotten started on earth. Yet many scientists still support the idea of an early reducing atmosphere. Would you like to guess why? Because they have evidence! Well, that's a good reason, right? So what is that evidence? Namely, that we are here!
Ok, so you're saying that some scientists make conclusions based on naturalist ideals and derive scenarios, however conflicting, to support these conclusions. I certainly see the difficulty in accepting this as "scientific" reasoning, or any kind of reasoning for that matter. Now, I'm no expert in abiogenesis, but I do know there are numerous examples in history where scientists made conclusions about the world without "hard" evidence, and decades or even centuries later the evidence is developed (let's assume evidence that is generally accepted in the scientific community). One example might be Mendel's exhaustive research being backed by 20th C genetic findings. Now if the evidence is indisputable or otherwise leaves little room for doubt (a characteristic I'm guessing is rare when dealing with determining atmospheric conditions of several billions of years ago) as to the percentages of oxygen necessary for life, I find it entirely conceivable that experts in this field will continue to do work to resolve this paradox. I based this "faith" in science on both the kind of history I mentioned above, as well as my understanding of continued efforts in science to resolve other seemingly insurmountable inconsistencies, in physics, chemistry and particularly in medicine. Certainly, hard evidence, or even well developed theory, is completely subject to subjective interpretation and manipulation in a way that I may not see, and many may not see for years to come. However, science (and dare i say, naturalism), I feel, has been leading us to a progression/improvement of understanding, a progression which, if we assume the truth of biblical scripture, would necessarily vindicate the bible's viability. While we can argue ad nauseum as to whether the bible's truths have been vindicated, I think there's no disputing that the complexities of our natural world as developed by science seem at least incongruous with the bible in terms of breadth and depth of our universe.

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Re: Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#10

Post by warhoop » Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:12 pm

Seeker79 wrote:...I think there's no disputing that the complexities of our natural world as developed by science seem at least incongruous with the bible in terms of breadth and depth of our universe.
I think that depends on what you think the bible says about the natural world. Origins of life, physical laws, etc., when taken in its entirety, not much ink is given to these things.

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Re: Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#11

Post by jlay » Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:22 pm

I grew up as a strong catholic up until college, when I became born again in a non-denominational church, and led the christian life. Through my studies and independent reading, I had more questions and answers about my faith, christianity, and God in a general sense. Within 3 years I was teetering on atheism, but now it's appeal seems rather limited
Can one be, "born again" apart from a true knowledge of God? This would appear to be in conflict with your current position. Religious belief is not being born again.

One can not "live a Christian life" apart from the Holy Spirit. If they could, then Jesus would have not had to die on the cross. If you were, "living the christian life," were you filled with the Holy Spirit, or were you instead following a religious prescription, which you believed to be "the Christian life?" My suspicion is either you were never really born again, or you are denying the proofs of God in your life. Although you are welcome to share more in regards to your "born again" experience.
The evidence I speak of is more of a gradual and historic sense. I don't see the bible as scientific; it seems that scientific findings subsequent to the bible's time of origin, such as the earth's physical positioning in the universe (ie, we are not at it's "center"), or the fossil record, are in conflict with much of scripture.
OK, the bible is not a scientific book, nor does it claim to be a scientific book.
Does the Bible claim the earth to be in the center of the universe? chapter and verse please.
Personally, I haven't been everywhere in the universe to know whether or not we are at the center. I understand, by faith in science, that it (the universe) is quite a large place. The Bible does suggest this as well.

What specific fossil finds are in conflict with scripture. I wasn't aware of commentary in the bible regarding fossils.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#12

Post by touchingcloth » Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:38 pm

Science can tolerate faith, as long as people don't try to impose their faith upon science. For example the Genesis myth is completely incompatible with science, and there are some who believe that the account of Genesis is literally true. When such people try and replace proper science, with their statements of faith, then they cannot coexist.

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Re: Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#13

Post by Gman » Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:19 pm

touchingcloth wrote:Science can tolerate faith, as long as people don't try to impose their faith upon science. For example the Genesis myth is completely incompatible with science, and there are some who believe that the account of Genesis is literally true. When such people try and replace proper science, with their statements of faith, then they cannot coexist.
And what about the Darwinian myth? It is not science... When such people try and replace proper science with their statements of faith such as Darwinism, then they cannot coexist.

Actually religion and science must conflict. Science and religion deal with the same thing. Human life. But they try to understand it under different types of considerations. One physical or natural and the other spiritual. And that is why they conflict because that are trying to come to an understanding of the same thing, human life, from two different points of view. People try to divide them where they don't interfere, but you can't do that.
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#14

Post by touchingcloth » Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:00 pm

Gman wrote: And what about the Darwinian myth? It is not science...
Care to elaborate on that?

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Re: Can science and faith really coexist? Please convince me...

#15

Post by topic » Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:31 am

touchingcloth wrote:Science can tolerate faith, as long as people don't try to impose their faith upon science. For example the Genesis myth is completely incompatible with science, and there are some who believe that the account of Genesis is literally true. When such people try and replace proper science, with their statements of faith, then they cannot coexist.
touchincloth you keep stating your mantra, yet you never replied to my questions to you on the other thread -WHY, and i did address the evolution and bible views,! Also your statement, "Science can tolerate faith, as long as people don't try to impose their faith upon science."Cannot the same be said "Faith can torelate science as long as people don't try to impse their science upon faith".
Gman wrote:Science and religion deal with the same thing. Human life.
Which science are you refering too and in what context of study ?

SEEKER 79
would you care to inform me of your observation and reflection on morals with referance to Science. Your opening question puts values on Biology,Cosmology,Archeology, Paleontology and of coarse Historical Anthropology. Where does science speak of morals in an arbitrary (in the adjective context) capacity,especially within the evolutionary scale ?


If weight is put on evolution as being an absolute(which they pout - which it cannot as there is so much revisionism within its studies) how can it therefore be claimed as viable "beyond reasonable doubt"?This is not to say that the evidance is not viable, however to speculate that this then infers that God did not and does not exist, is actually unscientific.

Points in case of Revisionism -
(1) big bang theory. In the 1970's this theory was still problematic and infact was still regarded as a “hypothesis” (Patrick Moore, The Amateur Astronomer (8th edition 1974), page 206. ISBN o 7188 1815 6 ) and (Alan Isaacs & E.B.Uvarov, The Penguin Dictionary of Science,( 5th edition 1979, page 124.) Now it is the "current theory of solid foundation".
(2) Dinosaurs - Will not go into overly detailed or this would be a large writting.
In the 1970's science perpetuated that all and I do mean all, Dinosaurs where cold blooded (ectothermic). Both species where cold blooded which explained why they survived for so long. Then the herbivores became warm blooded (endothermic) while the carnivores remained cold blooded. Then it changed again. Now the carnivores are also warm blooded because if they weren't they couldn't survive against the herbivores who would be far too active for the carnivores to sustain themselves.I will not even attempt to go into how the differances of thought reflect to the sustainability of the species has differed.
The Scientific community has other issues. The famous Brontosaurus did not actually exist. It was the bones of more than one dinosaur. The Apatosaurus (body) and Camarasaurus (head) which was known for nearly a century yet even up to 1980 this name was being used in Museums, books and other places of education.
(3) in the Science Daily (Apr. 28, 2009) — The enduringly popular theory that the Chicxulub crater holds the clue to the demise of the dinosaurs, along with some 65 percent of all species 65 million years ago, is challenged in a paper to be published in the Journal of the Geological Society on April 27, 2009.The newest research, led by Gerta Keller of Princeton University in New Jersey, and Thierry Adatte of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, uses evidence from Mexico to suggest that the Chicxulub impact predates the K-T boundary by as much as 300,000 years.
http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/arch ... section=to

Now revisionism is used in all the sciences but within evolutionary sciences it is used without reservation. By definition one has to be clear that revisionsims is far removed from "denialism".

i do need to clarify that i am without reservation a supporter of science and what it stands for. Many narrow minded Christians should look at the science methadology and ascribe to it. However my personal belief that to put FULL FAITH or BELIEF in science is unfounded due to its often used revisionism,espcieally in the context of being an absolute.


For myself the bible does not do this. The cannons and tenants of the bible are held in truth. What was then in the morals of man are no differant than they are today. This substance is without question. When as an observation you look at a subject in isolation ( as science also does for this is how theories develop ), if one looks at the bible in the same context, there is no contradiction. God is God and is never changing (an absolute). Christ is the climactic result of the constant. Science in no way comes close to these same assertions or under the same scrutiny.

Even the Huxly want to be Dawkins has stated that when it comes to the spiritual, science is not to be found, although as his arrogance will not permit him to give over to his assermation, he then tries to quantify this by saying that if science ever found God he would not therfore be supernatural, go figure lol

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