Re: [asa] Where does TE differ from NOMA? (was: Re: Schools and NOMA)

From: Keith Miller <>
Date: Sun Oct 25 2009 - 19:08:26 EDT

Merv wrote:

> ... similarly, our understanding of

> > reality derived from outside of science impacts how we understand and
> > interpret our scientific conclusions.
> I lifted this one statement (re-pasted above) out of your post, Keith.
> This is
> what ID people seem to keep insisting they want to hear TEs explain. The
> mantra
> is something like "show us how a TE's faith affects their science." While
> I
> many not be a strong ID person myself, I'm still interested in how you
> would
> respond.

Sorry for the delay in responding, I have been distracted with other things
for the last few days.

Others have responded to this general question before, but I will try to
state my view as clearly as I can. Firstly the proper categories would be
theology and science, rather than faith and science.

Theology does not dictate to science the content of it theoretical
constructions. The scriptural revelation, and the revelation of the person
of Christ, do not speak to us of the history and operation of the physical
universe in scientific terms. They speak to us about these (as well as
human history, and our individual life stories) in relational terms. What
we can learn of the physical creation through science must be seen within
that larger relational context. Christian theology provides a framework
within which to understand and apply scientific knowledge. Theology also
provides the larger theological/philosophical framework within which science
itself is given legitimacy. As I have written previously on many occasions,
MN is a thoroughly Christian perspective on the nature and limiations of
science. MN is not a concession to science, but a theologically informed
understanding of its limitations.

I like the comments made recently by Murray on this thread. I extract one
quote from one of Murray's posts below --

"I would particularly affirm the idea that our rational for practicing
science, and even our scientific method, can be readily informed by
Christian theology, but when it comes to truth claims about the natural
order itself, then these should be grounded in the study of the natural
order rather than theology itself. And, note, that I think that later is NOT
something dictated to Christian theology by science, rather I think it is
something permitted to science by Christian theology."

To further respond to the question Merv asked, I would state that theology
provides a context within which to grapple with the ethical and moral
dimensions of scientific research and application. Theology speaks to all
of the important questions related to scientific practice. What scientific
research should we pursue? How many resources should be devoted to these
pursuits. How should scientific knowledge used? Are there certain research
programs, and certain applications that are off limits. Our theology will
have a direct impact on answers to these questions. Science is a communal
endeavor -- and is dependent on relationships between individuals,
institutions, and governments. As I stated above, these relational aspects
are the very focus of theology.

Below is a list of some questions that need to be asked with regard to
scientific research or its application:

Does it empower people or control them?
Does it broaden the gap between the rich and poor, or narrow it?
Does it meet needs or generate wants?
Does it value life or demean it?
Does it heal or endanger health?
Does it respect people's dignity as God's image bearers?
Does it appropriately use resources -- is it sustainable?
Does it preserve and care for the creation?
Does it restore and heal what has been broken?
What is its potential for evil?

(see Keith B., and Ruth Douglas Miller, 2008, "Staying on the Road Less
Traveled: Fulfilling a Vocation in Science," PSCF vol 60, no. 2, p.115-117)

None of these questions can be answered from within science, but theology
has much to say.


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Received on Sun Oct 25 19:09:19 2009

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