Re: Materialistic Science

Moorad Alexanian (
Wed, 01 Sep 1999 14:20:50 -0400

I do agree that one does not need God to do science, but the meaning of the
word science must preclude a philosophical view that is actually theological
in nature. To say that man is nothing but a machine is not a scientific
statement and as such is not the result of good science. I believe that God
is an integral part of physical reality in the sense that if He is not, then
there is no physical universe. I do not think man can ever understand that


-----Original Message-----
From: George Murphy <>
To: Behnke, James <>
Cc: 'evolution' <>; 'ASA reflector' <>;
Wilbur, Frank <>; Olsen, Larry <>;
Baldridge, Bobby <>
Date: Wednesday, September 01, 1999 12:09 PM
Subject: Re: Materialistic Science

>Behnke, James wrote:
>> One of our English faculty is using Johnson's paperback on Defeating
>> Darwinism in Freshman Composition, so some of us scientists are
>> it.
>> We (the academic community) seem to have decided that good theology is
>> required to do good science. An unbeliever can do it just as well as a
>> believer. See Ted Davis' book on Robert Boyle.
>> Is good theology necessary to do good science? Can an unbeliever do
>> just as well as a believer? (If so, some form of naturalism is part of
>> science.)
>> Johnson and Moreland have pushing the view that says "No" to the above
>> questions. My view is that J and M are wrong. What do others feel? Is
>> study of evolution more naturalistic or materialistic than the study of
>> atoms, molecules and forces?
> I think that posing the question as "Is good theology necessary to do good
>science?" skews the issue. It would be better to ask whether any theology
at all is
>necessary to do good science. Is any reference to God necessary or can
science be done
>_etsi deus non daretur_? I would answer that indeed no reference to God is
needed, and
>that the world can be described though (or, as Torrance would prefer, "as
if") God were
>not given.
> A basis for that claim within Christian theology itself was suggested in a
>fragmentary way by Bonhoeffer in his _Letters and Papers from Prison_ and
developed in a
>quite profound way - though without dealing with science - by Juengel in
his _God as the
>Mystery of the World_. I have tried to work out some implications of this
>science-theology dialogue in several articles. The basis for all this is a
>theology of the crucified - i.e., good theology.
> However, _bad_ theology can definitely be a hindrance to science. E.g., A
>notion that God continually intervenes in the natural order in arbitrary
ways would make
>the development of science difficult but not impossible. Johnson's
theology isn't that
>bad but his assumption that God must "leave his fingerprints all over the
>instead of being the God who hides (Isaiah 45:15) & "empties" (Phil.2:5-11)
himself is
>bad theology which is likely to distort any science which it influences.
>George L. Murphy