Re: Separation of science and religion

George Murphy (
Sun, 23 Nov 1997 20:06:46 -0500

Moorad Alexanian wrote:

> > OK - precisely _because_ science can, within its own sphere,
> >explain the world _etsi deus non daretur_. But operating from a
> >standpoint of faith, one believes the true God to be the creator & sees
> >support for that in what science shows about the world.
> > George Murphy
> Actually when I use the term science, I have often experimental science in
> mind. The ability to do experimental science indicates a steadiness in
> nature which Christian ascribe to God. Atheists do not ascribe it to anyone.
> So far it seems that God has not interfered with our successful ability to
> do experimental science. He can, if He wills it so, intervene in such a
> fashion that that steadiness can be replaced by a chaos which the human
> brain cannot disentangle, witness the difficult with any theory of
> turbulence. Humans can then by their scientific studies play happily in a
> sandbox providing scientific answering to true scientific questions which do
> not deal with the issue of who created the box, the sand and us. However,
> when the question comes up about such issues then science is helpless. It
> can only deal with such questions by usurping the subject matter from
> philosophy and religion. Clearly we can be fooled about the true nature of
> the question of origins since that scientific game can be played at
> infinitum without ever finding a true, satisfying solution.
I had assumed that we were talking about experimental natural
science - though not "experimental" in the sense of "theory-free",
because there is no such thing.
To a great extent I agree with your words - but not your music!
The analogy of the sandbox suggests a rather condeecending attitude
toward the physical world. But that world is God's creation which God
found "very good", the world with which God personally identifies in the
Incarnation, & the world in which we are are able to live as adults &
_not_ children precisely because we can understand it.
Yes, science is unable to deal with the questions of who created
"the box", why the laws of physics which we find apply, &c. But I'm not
sure that "helpless" is quite accurate. While science has to turn to
some kind of religion in order to answer such questions & can't supply
the answers itself, it still can hold on to what it has found within its
proper realm & insist that the religious answer be coherent with it.
That would mean, e.g., that a scientist should reject a gnostic
explanation that the material world is evil, for that is hardly
consistent with the "beautiful equations" (Dirac) which describe it.
George Murphy