Religion and science

Maria Angela Samonte
Mind Map by Maria Angela Samonte, updated more than 1 year ago
Maria Angela Samonte
Created by Maria Angela Samonte about 4 years ago



Resource summary

Religion and science
1 Scientific + philosophical views on the creation of the universe
1.1 cosmology, BBT, Swinburne's design arguments, Columbus + the flat earth myth, NOMA, the anthropic principle
1.2 G hypothesis, an absolute answer, uni.
1.3 how + why oversimplification. E.g. modern accounts of gravity clearly explain why any object w/ a mass is attracted by other objects that have a mass.
1.3.1 Isaac Newton, G plays a role of sustaining the system. deist.
1.4 Western developed countries, stories, Christopher Columbus' voyage to prove that the earth wasn't flat. voyage, opposed by the Spanish monarchy bc of its cost, not bc of any Q, flat. Indeed, educated people from Graeco-Roman times onwards knew, sphere. myth, originates from books written in the 19th C as part of the so-called war of S+R.
1.4.1 Stephen Jay Gould: "entirely fictitious". "Greek knowledge of sphericity never faded"
1.5 facts, unlike religion. Dawkins: "Faith is the great cop out", not "evaluate evidence"
1.5.1 empirical methods. Creator, bc G established the scientific laws that enabled life to evolve. McGrath with McGrath state: "One of the greatest disservices that Dawkins has done to the natural sciences is to portray them as relentlessly... atheistic" -'The Dawkins Delusion'
1.6 John Polkinghorne, 'Belief in God in an Age of Science': science "is far from sufficient to satisfy our human longing to understand and to make sense of the world... Questions of meaning and justice cannot be removed from the human agenda."
1.7 1. nature is singularly indifferent to humans. function on its own, no purpose. cruel. 2. "just plain wrong" "before 1859, all answers to these questions were" -Dawkins, 'The Selfish Gene'
1.8 NOMA = idea, Stephen Jay Gould. Non-overlapping Magisteria. A Magisteria = an area of authority that someone (historically a teacher) has. S+R can co-exist together, different fields of human experience. R for Gould concerns Qs of meaning, purpose, + moral values. S, matters of fact + explanations of why things work as they do.
1.9 Cosmology, field of physics, origins. associated w/ BBT: 15 billion yrs. All the matter that is within the universe originates from the initial expansion of space from a single point of space-time. Astronomers, Redshift in the night sky
1.10 Can, origins, explained
1.10.1 Yes 1. universe is self-explanatory, if we study the universe, come to understand all the processes, caused, exist. exists by necessity. Bertrand Russell: uni was a brute fact, hence there is no explanation for its existence. The chemist Peter Atkins also holds this view, believing that humans will eventually find an all-encompassing explanation of the uni, through science.
1.10.2 No Copleston
2 Creationism + evo
2.1 origins of the problem w/ evo
2.1.1 late 19th + early 20th centuries.
2.1.2 Q: Bible was verbally inspired + revealed truths about G the Creator + the place of humans implied, if not, then its truth cannot be guaranteed: what is the status of the Bible beyond that of any other book? Bible = the basis of the Christian faith, implied, the Christian faith + belief in G isn't true Verbal inspiration = the belief that Holy Scripture is inspired by G. the divine authorship or revelation of the Bible. every word is inspired by G. v typical within fundamentalist + conservative Christianity. every word, inspired, the Bible is inerrant, + contains truths that are directly revealed by G. OR, could mean, author of the scripture was inspired to write by G. writer rather than a typist for a divine dictation varies
2.1.3 particularly from Protestant traditions, responded, evo, fundamentalist approach to Christian belief 'Fundamentals' of Religion were published by Protestant conservative evangelical movements in North America. evo, rejected precisely bc, challenge the notion of G as Creator, since evo accounted for the origin of different animals w/o ref. to G Fundamentalist approaches to scripture claimed, heirs of the Reformation reformers who sought the true meaning of scripture behind the interpretation of the Church's bishops. but fundamentalism was a new movement, adopted the empirical approach of science. Fundamentalists, truth of the Bible, using the empirical method of science. miracles, ref. to the way the world works. seemed to walk on water, san banks just below the water's surface. irony, explaining away the miraculous nature of miracle stories science is a tool, demonstrate the truth of scripture. When science, conflicts w/ religious beliefs in the Bible, the theory is rejected bc it doesn't correspond w/ the truth claims expressed in scripture.
2.1.4 evolved from animals, denying that humans are the unique + superior creation of G, G1-2
2.2 Creationist beliefs + responses to them today
2.2.1 beliefs of conservative, often evangelical, Christian groups. All, groups, evo, rejected. challenges the status of humanity as presented, Bible. The status of the Bible itself isn't in Q, nor is the Q of G being the first cause of the universe (the Victorians had already rejected the cosmology of Genesis in favour of the findings of Galileo + Copernicus). PLACES HUMANS ON THE SAME LEVEL AS ANIMALS - NO LONGER THE DISTINCT PINNACLE OF CREATION
2.2.2 1. scripture = the inerrant (incapable of being wrong) Word of G + verbally inspired by G, thus, literally true. Emphasis, truth of the biblical text as it is written, rather than on interpretations derived from scripture. Thus, Qs, origin, most clearly answered in Genesis. Features of the world, e.g. apparently millennia-old rocks, explained as prematurely aged by G, or product of past catastrophes, e.g. Noah's flood. Fossils =bones of animals that are more recently deceased than archaeology suggests, or, evidence of Noah's flood (then they were formed).
2.2.3 gaps in the fossil record. But, other explanations, e.g. the missing fossils are yet to be discovered, or , conditions, died, specific type for a fossil to be formed (body, rapidly covered by sediments to prevent exposure to the air + rotting, many, found in limestone rocks, which were originally formed under water)
2.2.4 ages of rocks. use of radiometric dating, unreliable method, open to error, rate of decay of an element can change. Scientists: the circumstances in which the rate at which a radioactive element decays can only change in specified + limited circumstances: these don't affect the accuracy of a radiometric dating.
2.2.5 Creationists, empirical. illustrate the truth of the Bible. E.g. emphasis placed upon archaeological findings concerning flooding, e.g. the flooding of the Black Sea basin, caused by the deluge (severe flood) linked to Noah's flood. Sea levels, different (water, trapped as ice in previous ice ages) + catastrophic floods (towns, @ the bottom of what are seas today)
2.2.6 many Creationists, Bible, chronology, earth. James Ussher, creation: 4004 BCE. Other Creationists, Days in G1 rep. periods of thousands of yrs. No doubt, author of Genesis implies, list of ancient patriarchs in Genesis goes back to Adam. Not to say that the no. of years of the Patriarchs' lives, as given in the Bible, necessarily, date when Adam was made.
3 Responses to the creationism + evo controversy
3.1 Why Creationists reject evo: 1. role, Creator, Genesis. 2. status, humans as a distinct life form @ the pinnacle of creation in Genesis. 3. age, counting back the no. of yrs to Adam from the stated life spans of the Patriarchs in the OT or by interpreting the Days of Creation as symbolic periods, time, e.g. 10,000 yrs. 4. geology, explained by flood catastrophes, e.g. G6-9. 5. Animals, descended, Noah, escape. 6. overlooks, design
3.2 1. Richard Dawkins. 2. Keith Ward
3.3 1. Neo-Darwinism: Dawkins, rejecting all claims that G the Creator exists
3.3.1 both, explanatory role, origins, life. Neo-Darwinists: science, replace, bc, empirical. Religion, according to this view, unscientific + irrational.
3.4 2. Keith Ward: evo doesn't have to be interpreted, in conflict. world demonstrates a gradual unfolding design: "drives evolution forward." "a striving to realize the values of beauty, understanding and conscious relationship" -'God, Chance and Necessity'. sustainer + origin, uni.
3.4.1 Ward: "The people who wrote Genesis were not stupid... they didn't mean 'day' literally."
3.5 'The Blind Watchmaker': "Natural selection... has no purpose in mind... It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all... it is the blind watchmaker."
4 Debate concerning 'Intelligent Design' + 'Irreducible Complexity'
4.1 some modern Creationists since the 1980s, strongly in favour of 'Intelligent Design'. was first advanced, many Christians rejected evo, design, couldn't be explained by pure blind chance. However, modern Creationist, complexity, + discoveries (e.g. DNA), or the regularity of the laws of physics, as evidence, designed by an intelligent Creator.
4.2 In particular, supporters of Intelligent Design point to the irreducible complexity of biological systems, e.g. blood-clotting.
4.3 various Creationists point to specified complexity, physical world. e.g. messenger RNA, carry info in, nucleus. The complexity of biological system must have been specified by an intelligent being.
4.4 Intelligent Design supporters, apparent fine-tuned nature, universe. The way the actual physical laws, work together, life, strongly suggests that there must be a designer of the system. E.g. the strong force within physics that holds subatomic particles together wouldn't be formed, no atomic particles + ultimately no life. the physical laws like the strong force are so 'fine-tuned', suggest there must be a designer.
4.5 Stephen Jay Gould: S+R are NOMA, fine-tuned, not necessarily have anything to do w/ religion.
4.6 'ID': its modern meaning, ruling by the supreme Court in America that the teaching of Creationist ideas as science was unconstitutional. key features of ID, all, created by G:
4.6.1 universe = irreducibly complex, so complex, the complexity of these things cannot be explained by the blind process of evo
4.6.2 specified complexity of organisms + the universe. the complexity of the organisms, so great, only possible explanation = it has been 'specified' by G
4.6.3 The physical laws of the universe are just right for life to exist. different, no life + no stars, provide E to sustain life
4.6.4 Often ID is closely linked to Creationism.
4.6.5 claims of ID can't be tested, +, unfalsifiable. w/o need for Creator
5 Religious responses to challenges posed by scientific views, origins, universe, evolution of life
6 Exam Qs
6.1 understand + assess debates concerning these topics
6.2 balanced consideration
6.3 a. Explain how religious people might interpret the theory of evo
6.3.1 breadth of understanding by explaining more than 1 religious approach
6.3.2 a Creationist approach
6.3.3 Ref. different ways,G1-2, interpreted, e.g. myth
6.3.4 Exploring what is meant by Intelligent Design, why, appeal
6.4 b. 'Science removes any need for belief in a God who created the universe.' Discuss.
6.4.1 explore 2-3 ideas
6.4.2 BBT account, why the universe exists. Peter Atkins
6.4.3 analyse, implications of the BBT for belief, Creator, in relation to the problem of 'G of the gaps' religious thinking + the danger of tying religious belief too closely to scientific discovery. Ref. Stephen Jay Gould's concept of NOMA
6.4.4 science, sustainer. Keith Ward or John Polkinghorne, assess ideas
6.4.5 evaluation of Richard Swinburne's interpretations of signs of design in the universe, e.g. fundamental laws of physics, used to suggest that belief in G the Creator, logical, accept modern science
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