RE: PBS: Can We Believe in Both Science and Religion?

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Sat Sep 04 2004 - 11:15:22 EDT

In the order of things it is better to define science first. To begin with it is best to define science in a totally reductive way by equating science with the study of the physical aspect of reality---the subject matter being data that can be collected, in principle, by purely physical devices. Let us see how far that definition of science takes it before we expand its definition to include what we can now consider to be the nonphysical aspect of reality. Note that there is a historical element to religion that cannot be reasoned out no matter how smart one is. The historical fact that Jesus is Who He claims to be is, for instance, essential to the Christian faith.


From: Steve Bishop []
Sent: Sat 9/4/2004 4:26 AM
To: Alexanian, Moorad;;
Subject: RE: PBS: Can We Believe in Both Science and Religion?

The problem of science and religion it seems to me is one of defining
'religion'. There is no consensus.

I like the way that Roy Clouser in his Myth of Religious Neutrality
(University of Notre Dame Press, 1991, pp. 21-22):

A religious belief is any belief in something or other as divine...
'Divine' means having the status of not depending on anything else.

Hence, a religion is a worldview or ideology that attributes the status or
nature of divinity to something or someone; it does not necessarily have a
cultic dimension.

I have attempted to develop a typology for science and religion (Evangelical
Quarterly LXII (1) (Jan 2000)):

A: 'science replaces religion'. (Dawkins, Atkins, ...)
B: 'religion replaces science'. (Extreme creationsists, ...)
C: 'science shapes religion'. (De Chardin, Paul Davies, Thomas Berry,..)
D: 'religion shapes science'. (Cloiuser, Dooyeweerd, Wolterstorff, ..)
E: 'science and religion are independent'. (Gould, Donald MacKay, ...)
F: 'science and religion in dialogue'. (Polkinghorne)

In the article I attempted to show that all the positions collapse to the
religion shapes science position.

To use a metaphor, religion is the roots of a tree and the sciences
(history, theology, physics, ..) are the branches.

If anyone would like a copy of the paper, I'd be happy to e-mail one (state
whether you'd like it as rtf or Word).



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Received on Sat Sep 4 11:32:17 2004

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