Re: "Heretics in the Laboratory"--Newsweek (9/16/96)

Steven Schimmrich (
Tue, 8 Oct 1996 07:57:04 -0500 (CDT)

Neil Haave ( wrote, in response to my post, that:

>> Let's be even clearer with our terms. I would argue that all Christians
>> are creationists since all Christians should believe that "In the
>> beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth." I am a creationist. I
>> am not, however, by any stretch of the imagination a young-earth
>> creationist. Sometimes I get the feeling, reading Gould and others, that
>> it's OK to believe in God (if you're not too bright) but don't believe that
>> God actually did anything or interfered in any way with the physical
>> universe -- a point of view I'm very uncomfortable with as a Christian.
> Interesting... It is a problem. How do we reconcile our unfolding
> understanding of the natural universe with the existence of supernatural
> God? To separate the two realms of knowledge is artificial, but I have
> no idea how to do science any other way or how to incorporate spiritual
> knowledge with experiential knowledge.

I don't either -- that's why I like to tell people that I accept evolution
as the best *naturalistic* model we have for the development of the diversity
of life on earth through time. The problem is that many people equate
"naturalistic" with "all there is" and propose evolution as the best
explanation period.

I guess I resolve it all for myself right now by treating science and
religion as two entirely different ways of knowledge but I'm not entirely
happy with this either.

I also have found that the strongest proponents of doing away with
methodological naturalism in science tend to be nonscientists (like the
laywer Phillip Johnson and the philosopher James Moreland, for example).

>> But, as a Christian, I'm also uncomfortable with leaving God totally out
>> of the picture when attempting to explain the orgin of the universe and of
>> life. I don't have an answer to the problem but I disagree with those who
>> hold that science MUST be naturalistic AND then say that science can answer
>> all these questions.
> Yup! They want to limit God yet make science unlimited. Again, how
> do we reconcile the different ways that humans are able to know and
> understand?

I'm certainly not smart enough to answer that question :).

> Thanks for clarifying the issues with me.

Thanks for an interesting discussion.

- Steve.

      Steven H. Schimmrich           KB9LCG  
      Department of Geology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
         245 Natural History Building, Urbana, IL 61801  (217) 244-1246     Fides quaerens intellectum