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Religion And Science Can Coexist, Scientists Say In New Survey...Should We Be Surprised?

Think Christianly: Religion And Science Can Coexist, Scientists Say In New Survey...Should We Be Surprised?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Religion And Science Can Coexist, Scientists Say In New Survey...Should We Be Surprised?

Are science and faith really in conflict? Huffington Post writer Jaweed Kaleem has posted an interesting article discussing a new survey that has been released on how scientists view religion. Here's a portion of the article:

"A majority of scientists say religion and science don't always conflict, according to new survey results released by Rice University.

The study, conducted over five years through in-depth interviews with scientists at universities whose fields range from biology and chemistry to social sciences like political science and economics, dispels the widely held notion that religion and science are incompatible.

“When it comes to questions about the meaning of life, ways of understanding reality, origins of Earth and how life developed on it, many have seenreligion and science as being at odds and even in irreconcilable conflict,” said Rice sociologist Elaine Ecklund. Yet, a majority of the scientists Ecklund and her colleagues interviewed saw both religion and science as “valid avenues of knowledge” she said.

Ecklund and her team interviewed 275 tenured and tenure-track faculty members from 21 research universities in the United States. Only 15 percent of respondents said religion and science were always in conflict, while 15 percent said the two were never in conflict. The majority, 70 percent, said religion and science are only sometimes in conflict....(read the rest)

Science is not the issue; worldviews and philosophies are the issue. Everybody works with the same facts. What makes all the difference is which interpretations are allowed to compete (in principle), what counts as knowledge (only scientism?), and which worldview best explains all the relevant data. (Notice again that these are all philosophical questions and not scientific ones.)

As Sean McDowell and I point out in our book, Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists, Naturalism is a scientifically oriented worldview that denies the existence of God and the soul. Richard Dawkins put it this way: “An atheist in this sense of philosophical naturalist is somebody who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking be- hind the observable universe, no soul that outlasts the body and no miracles—except in the sense of natural phenomena that we don’t understand yet.”

Theism holds that there is a personal creator and sustainer of the universe who is omnipotent, omniscient, essentially good, omnipresent, and eternal. Christianity believes that the Creator has revealed himself to humankind in the person of Jesus Christ, a member of the Trinity, who was resurrected from the dead in confirmation of his deity. Thus, Christians believe in the supernatural world, including God, the soul, angels, and miracles.

There is no inherent conflict between Christianity and science. Defining these two worldviews shows us the root problem: naturalism and theism are at odds, not science and Christianity. Naturalism is intrinsically atheistic because it sees nothing outside the natural or material world. Here is what’s interesting about the foundational beliefs of naturalists: naturalists place enormous trust in nature’s order and their powers of reason, but their worldview ultimately undermines any basis for such confidence. Science is only possible if the world is ordered and if we can trust our senses and reason.

You can learn more about the history of the relationship between science and Christianity by reading The Soul of Science.

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