Re: I am not an atheist

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Sun, 16 Nov 1997 17:50:54 -0500 (EST)

At 09:45 PM 11/9/97 +0000, Richard Dimery wrote:
>> At 11:04 AM 11/9/97, Moorad Alexanian wrote:
>> >The subject matter of science is quite distinct from that of theology. I do
>> >not see any overlap. I believe if there is any, it could give rise to bad
>> >science.
>It's very difficult to describe a system of science and religion which has
>absolutely no interaction. I think I'm right in saying that most systems
>of complementarity try to say that the two disciplines are answering
>different questions (why? as opposed to how?), but very few
>interpretations would go so far as to say there can be _no_ overlap. The
>two disciplines _do_ have the same subject matter, surely, insofar as they
>refer to the same world. To have a religion-point-of-view totally distinct
>and incommensurable with a science-point-of-view would make life pretty
>boring for those of us who enjoy talking and thinking about science/faith
>issues - there wouldn't be any!

Roughly speaking theology deals with the spiritual and science with matter
(body and mind). The subject matters are distinct. Of course, man is mind,
body, and spirit and so in order to know what man is we need both science
and theology.

>And on the same wavelength, science may like to think itself value-free
>and morally neutral etc, but I don't think it's really a viable point of
>view either in history or in actual practice. Each of us is influenced by
>the outside world, and by our beliefs; whether it's choosing your
>experiments so that you can get funding, making them appealing to the
>culture; or perhaps just the basic presuppositions that we take into our
>science. If we believe that as a Christian we have to believe that, say,
>electrons are solid physical objects with an absolute position, density,
>etc, any experimental data we see will be judged by how it fits in with
>our presuppositions - eg good data if it agrees, but if it doesn't, then
>there must be a problem with the apparatus, fraudulent experimenters, and
>so on. It's called the experimenter's regress, if you want something to
>look up. So each of us doing science does "bad" science, because it is
>always contaminated by our own presupposition, motives, and expectations.
>Richard Dimery,
>Cambridge, England.

The subject matter of science is value-free. Man, who does science, is not.
Christians can make all sorts of assumptions regarding the nature of matter.
Such assumptions may be inspired by their faith, but have to be stated
within the framework of science. Of course, on the question of origins, then
the main issue is the nature of the question itself. If it is assumed to be
scientific, then our theology has nothing to say about it.