Re: Separation of science and religion

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Tue, 18 Nov 1997 10:14:11 -0500 (EST)

At 10:05 PM 11/17/97 -0600, Keith B Miller wrote:
>Moorad wrote:
>>If we had a scientific theory that predicted evolution and common
>>descent--that is, answered the question of the origins of man fully--then
>>all the questions that can asked about man would have been answered by such
>>a theory. I do not believe there would be any room for religious
>>ruminations. Therefore, to the extent that the questions you rise are
>>meaningful to us, then to that extent we can disbelief the existence of such
>>a scientific theory of the origin of man.
>Are you saying that scientific description eliminates theological meaning
>or description? Since my conception and fetal development can be
>scientifically described, am I to disbelieve that God knit me together in
>my mother's womb? Since I can describe how rain is generated, am I to
>disbelieve that it is God who brings the rain? An utterly complete
>scientific description of anything does absolutely nothing to remove God's
>hand and involvement, or to remove its theological significance.

The subject matter of theology and science are quite distinct. Of course,
you may have a hybrid theory to explain everything, the physical as well as
the spiritual, but such a theory cannot be written down the way we write
down theories in physics. The statement is that religion, whose subject
matter is the spiritual, when making scientific statements is going outside
its bounds into another discipline, science. The virgin birth is not a
scientific statement. It is a historical event although the whole event
deals with physical occurrences. The only thing science can say is that in
all our observations we have not seen such a thing. However, science can
never say that it did not occur. The scientific method is useless to study
Scripture. Physics, for instance, deals with generalizing historical
events---it does not deal with unique events. Of course, cosmology deals
with a unique event but it is certainly not an experimental science. Can we
say that the present state of affairs is the result of a Big Bang? Maybe, at
best. We can say nothing with absolute certainty. The same is true of
evolutionary theory. That is all I expect people who deal in those fields to
admit and state.

I do not think science will ever answer oncological questions. For instance,
the value of the fine-structure constant is not derivable from any known
physical theory. If such a theory is found, then that theory is not really
answering an ontological question. Science will remain descriptive never
prescriptive. Think about it, a physical theory written with pen on paper
that can predict the existence of the matter which makes up the pen and
paper. Hard to envision. The most science can do is to connect different
phenomena under one umbrella, but it can never bring those phenomena into

Take care,


p.s. I believe as you do that God created all and sustains it. But that is
not science. I find it very hard to develop a physical theory from our
Christian beliefs.