Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo
Extremeskins

Time: Helping Christians Reconcile God With Science


PeterMP

Recommended Posts

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1895284,00.html?loomia_si=t0:a16:g2:r1:c0.0867094:b24256172&xid=Loomia

"That's where Francis Collins would like to step in. A renowned geneticist and former director of the Human Genome Project, Collins is also an evangelical Christian who was the keynote speaker at the 2007 National Prayer Breakfast, and he has spent years establishing the compatibility between science and religious belief. And this week he unveiled a new initiative to guide Christians through scientific questions while holding firm to their faith. "

"As he read through the thousands of e-mails he received from readers of his book, the former NIH scientist noticed that there were 25 or so common questions that his mostly Evangelical correspondents raised. How should Christians respond to Darwin? If God created the universe, who or what created God? Does believing in science mean one can't believe in miracles? What is up with Noah's Ark and the flood? The new website offers answers to these vexing questions and, through those responses lays out the BioLogos theory that God chose to create the world by way of evolution. (Collins plans to build on that work by developing a home-schooling curriculum that can serve as an alternative to the literalist creationism materials widely used by many conservative Evangelical parents.)"

There's more at the link. The link for his organization is:

http://www.biologos.org/

And they have some good stuff there:

"Question 25: What does the fossil record show?"

"Until recently, there was no clear connection between sea creatures and land animals. All of the known fossils seemed to be clearly one or the other. But in 1998, scientists found a fossilized fin of just the right age — 370 million years old — with eight digits similar to the five fingers humans have on their hands and distinct humerus, radius and ulna like an early tetrapod, as shown in Figure 1.3

Figure 1: An Illustration of the fossilized fin found in 1998. Its resemblance to a Tetrapod is an indication of gradual evolutionary change from sea creatures to land animals. Source: Image is used by permission from Darrel R. Falk, Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the Worlds between Faith and Biology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 113.

However, the fin was undoubtedly that of a fish, which means this fossil is strong evidence of a transitional form. The fossil’s eight digits are particularly supportive of evolutionary change. With few exceptions, terrestrial vertebrates have no more than five digits on their limbs. The only other exceptions to the five digit rule occur during a narrow time period about 370 million years ago when land animals first appeared on the scene. This is a strong indication the exceptions to the five digit rule are examples of evolutionary, gradual change."

Again, more at the link:

http://biologos.org/questions/fossil-record/

HOPEFULLY (IMO), this will get some traction in the evengelical community, even amongst those that are home schooling.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never understood this manufactured assertion that science and religion contradict each other.

God created science, so you're right.

And I'm talkin true science, not the science that keeps having to correct itself by inaccurate scientists. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never understood this manufactured assertion that science and religion contradict each other.

I agree, although I do understand where it started. It started when some rather vocal Christians (just a few) decided that since the Bible said the Earth was 4,000 years old, so it must be true. Evolution? Bull**** science. Dinosaurs? Never existed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The process of correcting inaccuracies is true science.

In fact, I think a case could be made that the only way science can progress is by finding mistakes.

Suppose you're Einstein. You've got this great new theory.

In order to make people look at your theory, and say "yep, that Einstean guy is right", you have to find an experiment.

And the experiment, in order to make people agree with you has to be of the form "existing science says that, under condition X, Y will occur. But my theory says that Z will occur, instead."

In order for your experiment to prove that Einstein is right, it must prove that Newton is Wrong.

Otherwise, all your experiment proves is that people should keep right on using Newton.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree, although I do understand where it started. It started when some rather vocal Christians (just a few) decided that since the Bible said the Earth was 4,000 years old, so it must be true. Evolution? Bull**** science. Dinosaurs? Never existed.

No no no, dinosaurs and humans coexisted.

:hysterical::hysterical:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1895284,00.html?loomia_si=t0:a16:g2:r1:c0.0867094:b24256172&xid=Loomia

"That's where Francis Collins would like to step in. A renowned geneticist and former director of the Human Genome Project, Collins is also an evangelical Christian who was the keynote speaker at the 2007 National Prayer Breakfast, and he has spent years establishing the compatibility between science and religious belief. And this week he unveiled a new initiative to guide Christians through scientific questions while holding firm to their faith. "

"As he read through the thousands of e-mails he received from readers of his book, the former NIH scientist noticed that there were 25 or so common questions that his mostly Evangelical correspondents raised. How should Christians respond to Darwin? If God created the universe, who or what created God? Does believing in science mean one can't believe in miracles? What is up with Noah's Ark and the flood? The new website offers answers to these vexing questions and, through those responses lays out the BioLogos theory that God chose to create the world by way of evolution. (Collins plans to build on that work by developing a home-schooling curriculum that can serve as an alternative to the literalist creationism materials widely used by many conservative Evangelical parents.)"

There's more at the link. The link for his organization is:

http://www.biologos.org/

And they have some good stuff there:

"Question 25: What does the fossil record show?"

"Until recently, there was no clear connection between sea creatures and land animals. All of the known fossils seemed to be clearly one or the other. But in 1998, scientists found a fossilized fin of just the right age — 370 million years old — with eight digits similar to the five fingers humans have on their hands and distinct humerus, radius and ulna like an early tetrapod, as shown in Figure 1.3

Figure 1: An Illustration of the fossilized fin found in 1998. Its resemblance to a Tetrapod is an indication of gradual evolutionary change from sea creatures to land animals. Source: Image is used by permission from Darrel R. Falk, Coming to Peace with Science: Bridging the Worlds between Faith and Biology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 113.

However, the fin was undoubtedly that of a fish, which means this fossil is strong evidence of a transitional form. The fossil’s eight digits are particularly supportive of evolutionary change. With few exceptions, terrestrial vertebrates have no more than five digits on their limbs. The only other exceptions to the five digit rule occur during a narrow time period about 370 million years ago when land animals first appeared on the scene. This is a strong indication the exceptions to the five digit rule are examples of evolutionary, gradual change."

Again, more at the link:

http://biologos.org/questions/fossil-record/

HOPEFULLY (IMO), this will get some traction in the evengelical community, even amongst those that are home schooling.

Anyone else find it interesting there has been several articles written on religion (specifically Christianity) by the mainstream media since Obama was elected? Most are either trying to downplay religion in the US and/or trying to educate/persuade Christians to believe secular ideologies.

Anyway, why does this need traction? There are already plenty of evangelical christians who have a education in science and/or work in science based jobs. Those who believe in a strict interp of the Bible in regards to creation are in the minority.

Since Time is the "reconcile" mood maybe they can write an article on helping scientists reconcile science with God. I've got a great book they can use. It's called The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World by Paul Davies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The process of correcting inaccuracies is true science.
Science - a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws

Science isn't how we gain truth. Science is truth. What you're talking about is the scientific process. It's a great process we use to understand science, but it isn't science. Through this process, we come up with incorrect conclusions all the time. Those incorrect conclusions were never true, so they were never science.

But your point is well taken - the process is useful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not totally sure what my point is in this post. I have a theory that I'm just tired and that I feel like rebutting a well thought out post for no reason.

Proposed experiment:

Get some sleep. Re-read post in the morning. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyone else find it interesting there has been several articles written on religion (specifically Christianity) by the mainstream media since Obama was elected? Most are either trying to downplay religion in the US and/or trying to educate/persuade Christians to believe secular ideologies.

Anyway, why does this need traction? There are already plenty of evangelical christians who have a education in science and/or work in science based jobs. Those who believe in a strict interp of the Bible in regards to creation are in the minority.

Since Time is the "reconcile" mood maybe they can write an article on helping scientists reconcile science with God. I've got a great book they can use. It's called The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World by Paul Davies.

Collins wrote a book like that in 2006. Time Magazine didn't review it, but the New York Times did, along with a few other books by scientists arguing for evidence of God:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/25/science/25books.html?ei=5088&en=a4954840352b40d7&ex=1311480000&adxnnl=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1236111052-Uk4omgZINUJsQ7G37j7gXw

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree, although I do understand where it started. It started when some rather vocal Christians (just a few) decided that since the Bible said the Earth was 4,000 years old, so it must be true. Evolution? Bull**** science. Dinosaurs? Never existed.

the bible has been around a lot longer than the theory of evolution.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the bible has been around a lot longer than the theory of evolution.

That, um, doesn't suffice as proof or evidence. The Jews deny Jesus as Messiah. They could then say, "well the Torah and the Pentateuch are more ancient than your PUNY New Testament, Gentile!" And they'd be right. About that, at least.

The Epic of Gilgamesh predates the bible and it has a flood story and some other mythical elements that end up copied in the Bible. Sumerian myth is clearly what we should be following.

Buddha predates Jesus and says some of the same stuff, in fact Jesus' particular vision of religion was probably colored by the diffusion of Buddhist thought filtered through Zoroastrians and Greeks.

We can go on with this stuff, you know.

Hey, the Bible predates the germ theory of disease, let's toss out antibiotics!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I read this forum I am oft reminded that the evolution of the human bain is a phenomena less than ideally utilized by a large number of people---guilty of staggering understatement am I.

yoda.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That, um, doesn't suffice as proof or evidence.

True.

The Epic of Gilgamesh predates the bible and it has a flood story and some other mythical elements that end up copied in the Bible.

This claim of "copying" goes way beyond what scholarship can support.

The general theory that Genesis is a rip-off of Mesopotamian sources is a common one in the dark depths of the internet, and addressed in detail here with carefully detailed source citation. I'd just like to quote this:

This allegation -- that the the bible authors appropriated large (or 'controlling') amounts of material from Mesopotamian sources -- comes up with surprising frequency in the popular exchanges of the chat-argument rooms, apparently. This is surprising, since this position hasn't been the 'consensus' position of mainstream Assyriologist scholars in the field--regardless of 'confessional stance!--for over thirty years.

Emphasis mine. For the most part, the evidence cuts against any literary borrowing at all, for reasons that are discussed in that piece.

Of course, as it turns out, the one area that most scholars do agree that some sort of borrowing took place is, in fact, the stories of the floods in the Bible and the Epic of Gilgamesh. This is dealt with in detail here.

However, what is often implied by this is that this borrowing is literary (i.e. "copying"). It turns out that this is not what the scholars in the field mean at all. If I might quote one of my source's quotes:

“The derivative nature of the Biblical Flood narrative or rather the existence of an antecedent Mesopotamian tradition for the early forms of the Biblical story is undeniable. However, the extent to which the later narrative is derived from the earlier tradition remains uncertain. A direct form of literary influence cannot be asserted, as the distinctive features of the respective narratives are too plentiful to allow such an affirmation. All one can say is that the Biblical accounts must have been influenced by the Mesopotamian oral tradition or by a pre-existing series of such orally transmitted traditions.” [HI:IF, 4]

Emphasis mine.

If I might quote Miller (my source), since I'm basically just piggybacking his work:

Now, what is interesting about this assumption of dependence is that it is never asserted to be literary dependence—all scholars agree that the differences in detail and content between Genesis and Mesopotamian precursors are just way too determinative against it. Even while assuming/asserting dependence, authors are quick to point out that this is NOT literary dependence

and

In other words, the further apart the details in two accounts are, the less likely there is ANY literary dependence. And, since we only know about 'traditions' from actual 'texts' ('traditions' being the 'shared elements' or sometimes, 'family resemblances', between a multiplicity of disparate, but commonly-themed, texts), the further apart the details the specific text (the 'alleged borrower') are from the 'shared elements' of divergent-but-shared-theme texts, the less likely there is ANY tradition dependence. This only leaves two options: independent tradition about the same event(s); or independent events altogether.

The article I linked then goes on to demonstrate how the Genesis story could not have borrowed from the Sumerian story, leaving us with the reasonable conclusion that we have two independent accounts of the same event. The Flood. It's far too much to link, but I'll cite a sort of summary (found, oddly enough, in the middle):

The bottom 'borrowing' line is this:

The most probable 'entry point' into Hebrew thought life is via the 3rd millennium interactions between the Patriarchs and Babylonian culture, but there are (a) no flood traditions in OB GE at this point; and (B) there is no evidence of non-flood influence of OB GE on ANYTHING in Hebrew literature.

The next most probable entry point into the Hebrews is through Moses in the libraries of Egypt, but there is no evidence GE was known there, the timeframe is STILL in that 'no flood story version' period, and there is STILL no evidence of it in Moses' lit. [Note: we do know that cuneiform was known by the Egyptian scribes, from the Amarna archives of the 14th century. This archive was mostly letters between nations and city-states of the day, but there is a small cache of Akkadian literary texts, most notably the stories of Adapa and of Nergal and Ereskigal. But there are no flood stories in these either.]

The next possibility is when Israel enters the land and starts interacting with the locals, but by this time cuneiform is not a live force there. It is too late for the newly-created-in-Babylonia “Standard Version” of GE to impact the Land. The original language is 'dead' and the newly created 'classical version' is essentially confined to legacy scholars in Assyria/Babylonia.

The final possibility is during the interaction exchanges under Solomon. His alliances with all the nations around him COULD have opened the door to access (via a translator, though) to the cuneiform SB version, but the kingdoms of Assyria/Babylonia at that time had essentially no contacts southward (they were fighting major challenges form nomadic tribes at the time): “Both kingdoms were in decline for most of the [10th] century, Assyria beginning to recover from about 925, and neither had contacts so far to the west and south because they were harassed by Aramean tribes moving east from the Euphrates.” [OT:AS, 47]. Solomon had explicit links with Egypt and theoretically could have gotten a copy from Egypt, I suppose, but once again, we have no evidence whatsoever that Egypt had a copy [the previous copy in Megiddo did not have a flood tradition], nor that they had translated it from cuneiform to hieroglyphic, nor that the relationship between Egypt and Assyria/Babylonia at the time was conducive to such a thing. Of course, no OTHER aspects of any GE document shows up in Solomonic area literature either.

So, there are decidedly difficult challenges to believing that the SB GE version (with the flood) could have influenced Hebrew literature to begin with.

I think that the Sumerian story is actually a point in favor for the Bible, an external verification, if you will, and there's certainly no grounds for a charge of "copying".

Buddha predates Jesus and says some of the same stuff, in fact Jesus' particular vision of religion was probably colored by the diffusion of Buddhist thought filtered through Zoroastrians and Greeks.

This is even more problematic, for a couple of reasons.

1. Jesus and the early Christians were Jews, and not inclined to influences by what they would have seen as pagan. For this reason (among others), modern scholarship has turned away from the use of older myths (such as Zoroastrianism) to explain the thoughts and actions of Jesus and his followers. As Dr. William Lane Craig writes in Reply to Evan Fales: On the Empty Tomb of Jesus:

Now from D. F. Strauss through Rudolf Bultmann the role of myth in the shaping of the gospels was a question of lively debate in New Testament scholarship. But with the advent of the so–called "Third Quest" of the historical Jesus and what one author has called "the Jewish reclamation of Jesus,"{1} that is, the rediscovery of the Jewishness of Jesus, scholars have come to appreciate that the proper context for understanding Jesus and the gospels is first–century Palestinian Judaism, not pagan mythology. A most informative article on the demise of myth as a useful interpretive category for the gospels is Craig Evans's "Life–of–Jesus Research and the Eclipse of Mythology," in which he chronicles and accounts for the "major shift" away from mythology as a relevant factor in gospel interpretation.{2}

Given that Jesus and the gospels find their natural home in first century, Palestinian Judaism, recourse to pagan mythology to explain them has become otiose. Hence, we find James Dunn, called upon to write the article on "Myth" for the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, questioning even the need for such an entry in the dictionary: "Myth is a term of at best doubtful relevance to the study of Jesus and the Gospels…The fact that 'myth' even appears here as a subject related to the study of Jesus and the Gospels can be attributed almost entirely to the use of the term by two NT scholars"–Strauss and Bultmann.{3} In lamenting that most commentators have no "knowledge of–or at least, they certainly ignore–the tools that modern anthropology has provided for the analysis of myths and myth construction," Fales tacitly recognizes that his views in gospel interpretation would be rejected by the vast majority of NT critics (and not, therefore, simply by "fundamentalists!"). What he does not appreciate is that the construal of the gospels in terms of myth has been tried and found wanting by NT scholarship.

(Editor's note: I had to look it up. "Otiose" means useless. :))

2. Further, the dualistic form of Zoroastrianism that bears a resemblance to Christianity did not arise until over 100 years after Jesus lived, and the main texts of Zoroastrianism date to over 800 years afterward. As a result, any borrowing is much more likely to have gone the other way.

Dr. Edwin Yamauchi, professor emiritius of Ancient History at the University of Miami, Ohio, wrote Jesus, Zoraster, Buddha, Socrates & Muhammad: The Life, Death and Teaching of Jesus Compared with Other Great Religious Figures.

Relevant excerpts (emphases are mine):

From a historian's point of view there are serious disparities in the sources available for reconstructing the lives of Zoroaster, Buddha, Socrates, Muhammad and Jesus. We need to distinguish sharply between first-hand or nearly contemporary sources and later apocryphal and legendary materials.

Zoroaster (628-551 B.C.). We have what appear to be the genuine sayings of Zoroaster in the Gathas of the Avesta. The mass of Zoroastrian texts, however, are in late Pahlavi recensions (ninth century A.D.). Contemporary Old Persian cuneiform inscriptions betray at best only allusions to early Zoroastrianism. Some Greek and Arabic authors also allude to Zoroaster. The Persian national epic, the Shah Namah by Firdausi (c. A.D. 1000), includes traditions of the prophet.

It seems that Zoroaster preached the monotheistic worship of Ahura Mazda, who was the creator of two other spirits - one good, the other evil.18 Classical dualistic Zoroastrianism, which pitted Ahura Mazda against the evil Ahriman, developed in the Sassanian period (A.D. 226-652). Later Zoroastrianism also developed a doctrine of a Saoshyan (Savior) who would raise the dead.

Emphases mine. This postdating of Christianity is not unusual (Mithraism is another religion that has similarities that only crop up after Christianity began to flourish), and is another of the reasons scholars reject myth as useful in explaining the beliefs and actions of Jesus and his followers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyone else find it interesting there has been several articles written on religion (specifically Christianity) by the mainstream media since Obama was elected? Most are either trying to downplay religion in the US and/or trying to educate/persuade Christians to believe secular ideologies.

Anyway, why does this need traction? There are already plenty of evangelical christians who have a education in science and/or work in science based jobs. Those who believe in a strict interp of the Bible in regards to creation are in the minority.

Since Time is the "reconcile" mood maybe they can write an article on helping scientists reconcile science with God. I've got a great book they can use. It's called The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World by Paul Davies.

While in the minority NOW, there is no reason to believe it will always be that way. One thing that is clear from fundamental people of any background is that they don't stop pushing their beliefs, and one ignores them at your own peril.

Is there a difference between reconciling science with God and God with science? In addition, you clearly didn't look at any of the links.

Lastly, I will say that while I understand and appreciate the motivation of those that do attempt to explain/prove God through science (like techboy), but as a practicing Catholic and scientists, I think it is a fundamental error. Invaribally as the science changes, the ideas behind science proving God will have to change, which might undermine the argument. The relam of science deals with what given be shown to be false. It is not possible to demonstrate that the existance of God is false, and hence they are independent.

**EDIT***

I should add I find arguments put forward by Dawkins and the like as useless. The idea that you can use evolutionary biology to disprove God is laughable. I just feel like I see less of that here in terms of threads started and in my personal life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting article PeterMP. Thanks for posting. :)

When I read this forum I am oft reminded that the evolution of the human bain is a phenomena less than ideally utilized by a large number of people---guilty of staggering understatement am I.
:hysterical: :hysterical: :hysterical:
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...