RE: Integrating science and Christianity

Behnke, James (
Tue, 8 Apr 1997 13:35:53 -0400

>Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 1997 12:09PM
>To: American Scientific Affliation
>Subject: Integrating science and Christianity
>Hello All,
>I am in the process developing my thoughts on how a Christian should
>approach science in practice. One of my concerns is whether it is
>necesary to exclude all supernatural explanations in theorizing and
>hypothesis-testing. For example, can we test a hypothesis of intelligent
>design, say in abiogenesis? What is also bothering me is that if we
>really need to think naturalistically in order to practice science, then
>it creates a tension for us as Christians, because the truth is that the
>universe is subjected to divine intervention, however rare or pervasive
>that may be. I would appreciate comments on this. Thanks!


You have recognized the crux of the discussion about intelligent design,
methodological naturalism and the practice of science. If you look
through the archives, you will find that there has been a massive amount
of discussion on these topics, and I don't think anything has been
resolved. At best, there is a moderate amount of understanding of the
positions of various participants.

>Personally, I have little trouble with the concept that "we
.... need to think naturalistically in order to practice science". I
presented a paper on the subject at the ASA meeting last summer, and got
little objection from those in the audience.

The issue of divine intervention is more problematic. I feel most
comfortable with the view "intervention" implies some sort of autonomy
for the unverse. Since I view the universe as entirely contingent upon
God in all its behaviors, "intervention" is not a concept that I feel
necessary to explain.

I presume that this hasn't really answered your questions very much. I
know that you have a big project in thinking through all this.

Jim Behnke, Asbury College, Wilmore, KY 40390