Saturday, January 28, 2012

Are Science and Faith in CONFLICT?

There is an oft-repeated mantra that there is some type of fundamental conflict between theism and natural science.

They posit that there must be forever a "wall of separation" betwixt "faith" and "science".

But does that statement stand up to scrutiny?

Most of the evangelists of this logically-invalid "separation gospel" rely on anecdotal and emotionally-charged arguments, devoid of a true grasp of the historical development of modern science and the scientific method.

They usually appeal to worn-out and tired examples of supposed obstruction by "faith", which typically have nothing to do with a conflict between Creation and science, but rather between religious interpretation and scientific theory.

Usually the only example they can give is Galileo and the Catholic Church.

Concerning the historically-documented fact that modern science emerged from a Christianized West, Ian H. Hutchinson (Head of Department of Nuclear Energy, Plasma Science and Fusion Center and Department of Nuclear Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) observes:

 "...the question arises, why did modern science grow up almost entirely in the West, where Christian thinking held sway? There were civilizations of comparable stability, prosperity, and in many cases technology, in China, Japan, and India. Why did they not develop science? It is acknowledged that arabic countries around the end of the first millenium were more advanced in mathematics, and their libraries kept safe eventually for Christendom much of the Greek wisdom of the ancients. Why did not their learning blossom into the science we now know? More particularly, if Andrew White's portrait of history, that the church dogmatically opposed all the "dangerous innovations" of science, and thereby stunted scientific development for hundreds of years, why didn't science rapidly evolve in these other cultures?"

Science and "faith" are in conflict? Absurd. Even a simple perusal of a short list of some of the greatest minds in the development of modern science reveal that these thinkers were theists, and most were Christians. Nearly every major branch of science was founded by a theist, usually a Christian theist.

Dr. Loren Eiseley, Professor of Anthropology, a science history writer and EVOLUTIONIST, admitted that the birth of modern science was mainly due to the creationist convictions of its founders:

"It is the CHRISTIAN world which finally gave birth in a clear articulated fashion to the experimental method of science itself ... It began its discoveries and made use of its method in the faith, not the knowledge, that it was dealing with a rational universe controlled by a Creator who did not act upon whim nor inference with the forces He had set in operation. The experimental method succeeded beyond man's wildest dreams but the faith that brought it into being owes something to the Christian conception of the nature of God. It is surely one of the curious paradoxes of history that science, which professionally has little to do with faith, owes its origins to an act of faith that the universe can be rationally interpreted, and that science today is sustained by that assumption."

Let's consider this simple list of theists/Christians, and their scientific contributions:

Nicholas Copernicus--Astronomy
Sir Francis Bacon--Scientific Method
Johannes Kepler--Light theory/Planetary motion
Galileo Galilei--Heliocentrism/Dynamics
Rene Descartes--Mathematics/Scientific method
Blaise Pascal--Mathematics/Physics/Probability theory
Isaac Newton--Physics
Robert Boyle--Gas theory/Chemistry
Michael Faraday--Electrical theory/Magnetism
Gregor Mendel--Biology/Genetics
William Thomson Kelvin--Physics
Max Planck--Quantum theory/Physics
Albert Einstein--Mathematics/Physics
Neils Bohr--Atomic theory
Louis Pasteur--Medicine/Germ theory
Werner Heisenberg--Quantum theory
Erwin Schrodinger--Wave mechanics
Enrico Fermi--Atomic theory
Anton van Leeuwenhoek--Microscope
Theodosius Dobzhansky--Modern synthesis

Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, Director of the Human Genome Project,  Member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.

"I think there's a common assumption that you cannot both be a rigorous, show-me-the-data scientist and a person who believes in a personal God. I would like to say that from my perspective that assumption is incorrect; that, in fact, these two areas are entirely compatible and not only can exist within the same person, but can exist in a very synthetic way, and not in a compartmentalized way. I have no reason to see a discordance between what I know as a scientist who spends all day studying the genome of humans and what I believe as somebody who pays a lot of attention to what the Bible has taught me about God and about Jesus Christ. Those are entirely compatible views."

Dr. Arthur E. Wilder-Smith, Ph.D. (Physical Organic Chemistry), Dr. es Science (Chemotherapy), D. Sc.(Natural Sciences), a former Oxford atheist, made this observation concerning the larger issue of accounting for the complexity of life without the logically-mandated appeal to an intelligent designer:

"The Evolutionary model says that it is not necessary to assume the existence of anything, besides matter and energy, to produce life. That proposition is unscientific. We know perfectly well that if you leave matter to itself, it does not organize itself - in spite of all the efforts in recent years to prove that it does."
Most of the challenges against including larger issues of logic and reasoning into scientific discussions, especially concerning origin theory, are based upon a flawed premise. Their objections are founded upon a baseless fear of religious dogma superimposed atop scientific discovery.

While there may be some who desire to do this, just as there are secularists who desire to expunge all free inquiry into Creation thinking, this is not the primary aim of the modern intelligent design movement. As one philosopher noted:

"You never judge a philosophy by it's abuse." 

Intelligent design is not an attempt to force religion or religious views upon an unwilling populace, but rather the desire to be honest intellectually concerning the findings of modern investigation into the foundational issue of ultimate origins.

The larger discussion of the question of origins and origin theory must, by necessity, rely upon deductive and inductive logic, and must obey the same principles that guide modern investigation, including the Law of Cause and Effect, Thermodynamics, Hyper-inflation ("Big Bang") Cosmology, and Information Theory (DNA).

It is within these fundamental laws and principles that a model of Intelligent Design is not only inferred, it is logically mandated.

To deny this conclusion of sound logic betrays either an ignorance of modern scientific discovery, or more likely reveals an irrational and emotional bias against allowing "a divine foot in the door."

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