Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Back Again, Sane thing

So i posted yesterday, and i still stand by it, but now I'm also going to quote a large section from a book I'm reading. I really liked what it says, more than what i said (because this dude has much more experience than me). This extract is from The Myths of Science edited by Kirsten Birkett, pages 114 - 117. At this point, Birkett is writing about Darwin and the Fundamentalists, in particular, Charles Hodge:
"Darwinism aside, [Hodge] wished to discuss why it was that scientists and
religious thinkers, as two classes, were so commonly perceived to be in
conflict. It was not because science and religion were in conflict; as we have [not haha]
seen, in Hodge's opinion the two could not be in conflict because both
revealed truth. Yet it was evident that, however misplaced it might be in his
view, there was an antagonism between scientists as a class and religious believers
as a class. Why?

Firstly, Hodge pointed out that the two groups adopt different
rules of evidence. Scientific 'knowledge' was restricted to the facts of
nature or the external world. Science, in common usage, was the ordered
knowledge of the phenomena which we recognise through the senses. This means
that a conviction resting on any other grounds was not science. "Darwin admits
that the contrivances in nature May be accounted for by assuming that they are due
to design on the part of God. But, her says, that would not be

This was all very well; but it was illegitimate to assume that therefore the only valid
convictions are those based on sense data. Yet sadly, Hodge said, scientists
often let themselves fall into this very trap:
"It is inevitable that minds addicted to scientific investigation should receive a
strong bias to undervalue any other kind of evidence except that of the
senses...The tendency...of a mind addicted to the consideration
of one kind of evidence to become more or less insensible to to her kinds of proof
in undeniable."

As religion does not rest on the testimony of the sense, such people
therefore ignore its evidence; even though the evidence is still there, and
still just as reliable in its own sphere.

The second reason Hodge gives for why scientists fall into conflict with
theologians was the failure to make the due distinction between facts
and the explanation of those facts or the theories deduced from
them...Facts were beyond question. They were revelation from God, 'peices of
truth' so to speak, and so Christians would and had change their views when
necessary before the facts (e.g. geocentric/heliocentric). However Hodge
combined with this high opinion of fact a fairly cautious appraisal of human
ability to infer correctly from fact. In other words, the willingness of
Christians to change their views in face of the facts ought to satisfy
scientific men, Hodge insisted,; but instead, men of science want Christians to
bow to their explanations and inferences too...It is rather unreaosnable, Hodge
complained, that Chrssitians are called upon to change thier faith with every
new scientific discovery."
After all my thinking and reading the last two days, I've decided that I am just a bit sick and tired of the christianity verses science debate. I mean, it's all very well and good that the people in this book can discredit scientifically the things that the some scientists have said, but the more i read, especially in the 5th chapter (one quoted), the more i am convinced that the more we try and convince them scientifically the more we are scorned and vice versa. As James Orr says, well theologians can't realy intrude in on them. Page 129 of the above book:

The theologian may be to blame when he rashly or dogmatically intrudes into
the domain of science; on the other hand, it is not his place to be silent when
the scientist makes bold inroads into his domain, and, in the name of
science, would sweep away spirtitual facts which stand on their own grounds of
evidence as securely as facts of external nature.

Basically, as i heard recently, they are either going to believe or not and if they've got the mindset, the world view, that god doesn't exist, they will keep scorning those that try to 'prove' it, no matter how scientifically or logically they argue. You see what I mean? And really, the debates that christians get focused on today don't matter as much as losing sight of their salvation, do they? I mean, it's important to know your position on issues that seem to contend with biblical authority, but convincing others shouldn't consume all your time. It's nto noecessarily the best way to promote the gospel. But yes, I just relaised a moment ago how frustrating this whole thing is.

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