Why Christians should be the biggest defenders of science

nigelTheBold
atheist
nigelTheBold's picture
Posts: 1868
Joined: 2008-01-25
User is offlineOffline
Why Christians should be the biggest defenders of science

So, I got snookered into visiting the blog of a gent named Tom Estes, called "Hard Truth" (no URL for you, Tom). I followed his link from Pharyngula, as he was trying to defend Ken Ham. Y'know, the Creation Museum (which is about as museumy as a wax museum), "If science contradicts the Bible, then science is wrong" -- that Ken Ham.

Aaaaanyway, the comments are much more interesting than Tom Estes himself. As one bloke pointed out in the comments, "Why are the atheist posts often humorous, but the Christians are never funny at all?" Actually, Tom doesn't engage much in the comments, and actively deletes links to some other Christian sites.

It occurred to me, during all this exchange, that Tom and Ken and all those folks who use the Bible to trump science are wrong.

Not just wrong in the "denying reality" sense (although that plays into it), but wrong in that they are denying god's greatest work!

Let's assume that god exists, and he is the god of the Christian Bible. So, with that assumption in mind, I will now capitalize God, and He, and other random Words associated with Him, in the Christian style.

Let me put on my Christian Apologetics hat.

----------------------------------------------

Man is corrupt.

He is not simply corrupt in action and in sin, but in thought as well. Since the fall, man is subject to poor thinking, and is often deceived by his own senses and thoughts. I believe even atheists must agree that man is not entirely logical, though they would attribute it to evolution, and not the fall.

The Bible, the Word of God, must be interpreted by the corrupt mind of man. If not, why do we need pastors and preachers and men of the cloth? The Bible, the Word of God, is corruptible in translation. If not, why do people prefer one translation over another? Why do modern Bibles differ from the most ancient? The Bible is open to interpretation. If it wasn't, why are there so many different Christian denominations, each with their own practices and distinct beliefs?

Man is corrupt, and man interprets the Bible, as best we can.

God, on the other hand, is Perfect. He is perfect in Action, perfect in Words, and perfect in Works. He does not deceive.

His Works are perfect. They contain no contradiction, no falsehoods. His Works are evident by their very Perfection. His Works reflect His Mind, His Being, just as paintings reflect the thoughts and mind of the painter, and novels reflect the thoughts of the author.

God's greatest Creation is the universe, our own reality. As God's greatest Work, it contains no falsehoods, for God is not a deceiver. It contains no contradictions, for God is Perfect, and His Works are Perfect.

As His Greatest Work, the universe, our very reality, is His most indelible Word. The universe reflects the Mind of God, as it is His Conception and His Creation. The universe is God at His loudest, at His clearest.

How, then, can one take the Bible over the other Word of God, the universe, our reality?

Man must also interpret reality. However, man has also discovered a tool to help blunt the corrupt and incorrect thinking, to help overcome bias and preconception. This tool is science.

Science is both a way of thinking, and a way of observing. The entire purpose of science is to reduce man's flaws in thinking, in observation. It helps clear away opinion and bias, and encourages cooperation among seekers -- even seekers who do not initially agree.

Science is not just consensus. Science is a mill, where opposing ideas are grist, ground through the millstones of objective observations.

Observations of God's greatest Creation, the universe, our reality.

Given this, Christians should be the first to champion the study of God's Truest and most Lasting Word. Christians should be the first to defend the honest and unbiased application of science, even if it contradicts their own interpretation of the Bible. Christians should be the harshest critics, the finest of the millstones; but they should also be the first to embrace the ideas that survive the mill.

These ideas, these theories, are our best guess at the Mind of God, based on our understanding of His greatest Work. How could anyone choose a particular interpretation of the Bible over God's greatest Word?

----------------------------------------------

Okay, apologetics hat off.

Christians, are there any flaws here? Is this thinking irrational? Is there some reason to prefer the Bible over god's other words, the universe itself? Is there some reason to assume that science is not the best method for exploring the workings of the universe? Am I way off base assuming Christians would like to know a little bit more about the mind of god?

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


JeremyHenson
JeremyHenson's picture
Posts: 12
Joined: 2009-08-11
User is offlineOffline
That's some pretty

That's some pretty impressive apologetics, sir. Smiling

There are Christians who follow this line of thinking, too. They're not the loud ones, of course.

I tend to accept that ancient writers and storytellers used a lot of exaggeration, personification and allegory to make their points. It isn't critical to my faith in God that the people writing about him had all the details right (or that they were translated accurately). I mean, the very first thing in scripture is two different creation stories. Shouldn't this tell us something?

So yeah, I agree learning about God through as broad a scope as possible is better.


totus_tuus
Theist
totus_tuus's picture
Posts: 516
Joined: 2007-04-23
User is offlineOffline
Well done.  There's only

Well done.  There's only one correction I would make.  That is that science and Scriptures are both equally valid methods of revelation about God.  One concerns the working of His Creation, the other His working in the history of Man.  I would point out that this point of view of science as a source of Divine Revelation is not new.  Rather it can be found directly as far back as St Augustine and is implicit in the Scriptures themselves.

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


nigelTheBold
atheist
nigelTheBold's picture
Posts: 1868
Joined: 2008-01-25
User is offlineOffline
totus_tuus wrote:Well

totus_tuus wrote:

Well done.  There's only one correction I would make.  That is that science and Scriptures are both equally valid methods of revelation about God.  One concerns the working of His Creation, the other His working in the history of Man.  I would point out that this point of view of science as a source of Divine Revelation is not new.  Rather it can be found directly as far back as St Augustine and is implicit in the Scriptures themselves.

Thanks!

No, I know my apologetics are not unique. I have read St. Augustine, and though I do not agree with everything (being an atheist myself and all), I appreciate his reasoning.

The problem for me is when Biblical interpretation and the evidence of reality (as discovered through the mostly-objective means of science) come into conflict. This is not directed to those Christians who agree that the universe represents god's creation, but to those who believe that the Bible trumps the evidence of god's creation.

It's a strange position to be in, honestly. I am an atheist, so I don't believe in god; therefore, it's strange for me to proclaim that the universe is god's work. But, I try to put myself in the position of a Christian, or anyone who believes that the universe is the direct work of god, and I can only conclude that the one true way to god is through his work.

I like the distinction betwen the History of Creation, and the History of Man. My only concern is, what happens when the Bible (the History of Man) directly contradicts observed reality?

I guess my point is, no inquiry is beyond our ability to observe and contemplate. As long as our observational bias is accounted for, and our contemplation objective, we may apply the basics of science. If that comes into conflict with the Bible, I can only assume the interpretation of the Bible is incorrect.

That's just me play-acting as a Christian, of course. That's all this exercise is. Me projecting myself as a Christian.

Thanks, totus_tuus. I really appreciate your feedback.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


totus_tuus
Theist
totus_tuus's picture
Posts: 516
Joined: 2007-04-23
User is offlineOffline
You're quite welcome for the

You're quite welcome for the response.  I think your analysis very nearly sums up my views on the matter.  I think it was Augustine (it may have been Thomas Aquinas) who actually wrote that where science and Scriptures seem to conflict we must rethink our interpretation of the Scripture.

You may wanna be careful with the projection exercises.  You're pretty convincing.  LOL!

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


Balkoth
Posts: 118
Joined: 2008-11-25
User is offlineOffline
Probably because a lot of

Probably because a lot of current atheists are former Christians and we went through mental gymnastics to try to retain our faith.  Funny how I know far more about the Bible and stuff like what Nigel/Aquinas wrote than most Christians I know.


Lord_of_Rock
Posts: 79
Joined: 2009-08-13
User is offlineOffline
nigelTheBold

nigelTheBold wrote:

Christians, are there any flaws here? Is this thinking irrational? Is there some reason to prefer the Bible over god's other words, the universe itself? Is there some reason to assume that science is not the best method for exploring the workings of the universe? Am I way off base assuming Christians would like to know a little bit more about the mind of god?

It's mostly Calvinists who endorse sola scriptura, or the belief that the Word of God can only come from scripture alone.  This is mostly what gives way to Christians rejecting evolution, Big Bang Theory, or abiogenesis.

The RCC adopts a more liberal view of scriptures and essentially agrees with you that the Bible, while inerrant, is inevitably filtered through the fallible mind of men and therefore the inerrancy of the Bible is trivial.  Plus, sola scriptura itself does not appear in the scriptures, so it is self-refuting.  Therefore, a reading of the Bible must be supplemented with other things, such as tradition. 

Believe it or not, Pope John Paul (and Pope Pius) actually endorsed evolution.  Keep in mind, he was considered to be the vicar of God by Roman Catholics (and consequently, the anti-Christ by Calvinists).  Here is what Pope John Paul had to say on evolution:

"Today, almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory."

http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jp02tc.htm

 

 

 

 

 


ClockCat
ClockCat's picture
Posts: 2265
Joined: 2009-03-26
User is offlineOffline
:o

Balkoth wrote:

Probably because a lot of current atheists are former Christians and we went through mental gymnastics to try to retain our faith.  Funny how I know far more about the Bible and stuff like what Nigel/Aquinas wrote than most Christians I know.

Theism is why we can't have nice things.


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5487
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
That was pretty much the

That was pretty much the stance I take, and the reason I got into science in the first place.

 

 

 


Jeffrick
High Level DonorRational VIP!SuperfanGold Member
Jeffrick's picture
Posts: 2399
Joined: 2008-03-25
User is offlineOffline
back / front

      The Captain is back (and front)   RUN FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter"

If man was formed from dirt, why is there still dirt?


cervello_marcio
Superfan
cervello_marcio's picture
Posts: 210
Joined: 2009-05-19
User is offlineOffline
 thanks for supplying eager

 thanks for supplying eager theist trolls with copypasta, dick Laughing out loud

just kidding, that was pretty interesting.

"Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, show me the steep and thorny way to heaven. Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine, himself the primrose path of dalliance treads. And recks not his own rede."


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
Cpt_pineapple wrote:That was

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

That was pretty much the stance I take, and the reason I got into science in the first place.

 

Wow. That was the most personally-referencing comment you've ever made. I guess camp was fun ... or something.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


KSMB
Scientist
KSMB's picture
Posts: 702
Joined: 2006-08-03
User is offlineOffline
nigelTheBold wrote:So, I got

nigelTheBold wrote:
So, I got snookered into visiting the blog of a gent named Tom Estes, called "Hard Truth" (no URL for you, Tom). I followed his link from Pharyngula, as he was trying to defend Ken Ham. Y'know, the Creation Museum (which is about as museumy as a wax museum), "If science contradicts the Bible, then science is wrong" -- that Ken Ham.

 

Aaaaanyway, the comments are much more interesting than Tom Estes himself. As one bloke pointed out in the comments, "Why are the atheist posts often humorous, but the Christians are never funny at all?" Actually, Tom doesn't engage much in the comments, and actively deletes links to some other Christian sites.

Hey nigelTheBold, congratulations on being one of the two token atheists he allows on the blog now, after he declared it "an almost atheist free zone". Your patience with that lunatic and his lunatic flock is truly amazing, especially since he has his own definitions of things like rational, logic, science, christian, and above all, hateful.


nigelTheBold
atheist
nigelTheBold's picture
Posts: 1868
Joined: 2008-01-25
User is offlineOffline
KSMB wrote:Hey nigelTheBold,

KSMB wrote:
Hey nigelTheBold, congratulations on being one of the two token atheists he allows on the blog now, after he declared it "an almost atheist free zone". Your patience with that lunatic and his lunatic flock is truly amazing, especially since he has his own definitions of things like rational, logic, science, christian, and above all, hateful.

Yeah. I think my patience has worn out, though, so I bailed. At least, I haen't been visiting for a while. I thought maybe I could at least get some insight into the thinking of YECs who use science to try to support their claims.

I think I did.

My insight: They have no clue what science is. They think it's consensus on opinions, and if they can only get enough people on their side, their ravings will become science. That's how they can talk about all the "bias" in science, about how scientists black-ball YEC scientists (though lots of creationist scientists do good work; just not when they let their creationism bias influence their work).

I would like to harness the power of delusion. That should solve the energy crisis, anyway.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5487
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
Jeffrick wrote:     

Jeffrick wrote:

      The Captain is back (and front)   RUN FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Yeah and this is pretty much what I've been doing while I was gone.

 

 


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
Cpt_pineapple wrote:Yeah and

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Yeah and this is pretty much what I've been doing while I was gone.

"This"? Did I miss something?

 

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5487
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
HisWillness

HisWillness wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Yeah and this is pretty much what I've been doing while I was gone.

"This"? Did I miss something?

 

 

Learning, and trying to avoid personally referencing comments.

 

 

 

 


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Learning, and trying to avoid personally referencing comments.

Well yeah, that's your MO. I was shocked you said anything personal. But I'll shut up now. You can always do an topic like you said.

(You know trading is slow when I want to hear about someone's summer camp. Trading is sooooo slow right now.)

 

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


Presuppositionalist
Theist
Presuppositionalist's picture
Posts: 344
Joined: 2007-05-21
User is offlineOffline
Quote: Given this,

Quote:
Given this, Christians should be the first to champion the study of God's Truest and most Lasting Word. Christians should be the first to defend the honest and unbiased application of science, even if it contradicts their own interpretation of the Bible. Christians should be the harshest critics, the finest of the millstones; but they should also be the first to embrace the ideas that survive the mill.

These ideas, these theories, are our best guess at the Mind of God, based on our understanding of His greatest Work. How could anyone choose a particular interpretation of the Bible over God's greatest Word?

But some of what you call science contradicts EVERY translation of the Bible, and every honest interpretation. Science claims, for example, that life arose without divine intervention.

Q: Why didn't you address (post x) that I made in response to you nine minutes ago???

A: Because I have (a) a job, (b) familial obligations, (c) social obligations, and (d) probably a lot of other atheists responded to the same post you did, since I am practically the token Christian on this site now. Be patient, please.


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:
But some of what you call science contradicts EVERY translation of the Bible, [u]and every honest interpretation[u]. Science claims, for example, that life arose without divine intervention.

 

OK, I emphasized part of that to show that you just pulled a “No True Scotsman” fallacy. Although that is minor it is worth pointing out.

 

In any case, why insist that the bible must be read in some specific way that goes against the general marketplace of ideas? The counterpoint to your assertion is that the bible claims that life could not have started without some form of divine action.

 

If you want to hold that idea, that is fine. I am not aware of any mainstream scientist who makes the claim that god pushed certain amino acids together in the distant past and from that, life was inevitable. Although, to be strictly accurate, that would not tell us anything useful in the domain of science. What we are interested in is the fact that those amino acids came together in the right way and matters progressed from there.

 

Realistically, the “invisible hand of god” argument could just as easily be invoked to say that stuff does not fall because of gravity but rather because the invisible hand of god pushes stuff towards the center of the earth. Again, if that is your cup of tea, fine but it doesn't say anything much worth serious scientific inquiry.

 

More to the point, how can you explain all of those great pictures that we have from the Hubble telescope? Try ass I might, I can't find an interpretation of Genesis 1:6-8 that allows for anything apart from an infinite expanse of water up in the sky. However, if we go in the general direction that Nigel is heading, then I can see asserting a claim that the heavens are far more magnificent than the authors of the bible had imagined. Here, the Hubble pictures reveal that god is, if anything far more imaginative that he is normally given credit for.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


butterbattle
ModeratorSuperfan
butterbattle's picture
Posts: 3716
Joined: 2008-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

But some of what you call science contradicts EVERY translation of the Bible, and every honest interpretation. Science claims, for example, that life arose without divine intervention.

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/science/long.html

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that MOST of what we "call" science contradicts every translation of the Bible and every common interpretation.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


totus_tuus
Theist
totus_tuus's picture
Posts: 516
Joined: 2007-04-23
User is offlineOffline
Presuppositionalist

Presuppositionalist wrote:

But some of what you call science contradicts EVERY translation of the Bible, and every honest interpretation. Science claims, for example, that life arose without divine intervention.

That's because the Bible isn't a science text.  Further, science hasn't the competence to make claims about God.

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


Answers in Gene...
High Level Donor
Answers in Gene Simmons's picture
Posts: 4214
Joined: 2008-11-11
User is offlineOffline
Well, to my direct

Well, to my direct knowledge, science has not made any claims regarding the secret invisible man in the sky.

 

On the other hand, religion has claims that the earth is flat and that the sky is an infinite expanse of water. That and the claim that scripture must be followed exactly on all matters.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


HisWillness
atheistRational VIP!
HisWillness's picture
Posts: 4100
Joined: 2008-02-21
User is offlineOffline
totus_tuus wrote:Further,

totus_tuus wrote:
Further, science hasn't the competence to make claims about God.

The competence? You mean the hypothesis to make claims about God. There's no reason for science to make any claims about God because God is an untestable quantity. It's not a matter of competence.

 

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


Luminon
SuperfanTheist
Luminon's picture
Posts: 2455
Joined: 2008-02-17
User is offlineOffline
This is some very nice

This is some very nice apologetics. It has just one flaw I'd point out - why the hell only Bible should be considered? What about Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam or Judaism? (and specially their inner circles) With enough of work, we will discover, that all current global religions have the same origin, though they are independent. If people across the ages and lands discovered the same things independently, then it must mean a lot. The same thing practically works with science, but quickly.

Of course, all religions can't be compared to all others, for example, Mayan or Dogon religions are rather mysticized legends of ancient astronauts and their superior technology. This is partially likely for Egyptian religion and even for a bit of Old Testament and other texts. (see Zecharia Sitchin) Comparing them to more introspective religions (like Buddhism) without a proper discrimination would not be wise. It needs some global understanding of it all.

 

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.