Biology

Weeks56ScienceandReligionGlossary

RELIGION AND SCIENCE: IMPORTANT TERMSConflict thesis—The thesis that science and religion have experienced a long history of conflict or warfare.[1] Also known as the “military metaphor” for or the “warfare model” of the relationship between science and religion.[2]Natural Philosophy—The name for science in the ancient, medieval, and early modern periods; the branch of philosophy that sought to gain knowledge of physical reality and the material causes of things.[3]Scientific Revolution—The period from the 1500s through the 1700s, when medieval natural philosophy was transformed into early modern science.[4]Modern Scientific Method—Elements in modern scientific method include the notions1. that all hypotheses, theories, or truth-claims must be tested empirically;2. that the testing must be public, open to criticism by opponents;3. that there is no point at which the testing has been completed once and for all;4. that all scientific truth-claims are therefore tentative, at least in principle.Scientism—The idea that any question that can be answered at all can best be answered by science; a view that denies that science has limits.[5]Fideism—A view that denies that there is a legitimate place for science and reason within the content of religious faith and denies that religious faith has limits.Epistemology—The branch of philosophy that studies the nature and limits of knowledge, and the justification of belief.[6]The God of the Gaps—the mistake of using God as an explanation of what is currently scientific unknown; using God as an explanation when there are empirical “gaps” in in our knowledge. This is not scientifically or theologically a valid move. The Anthropic Principle—“The assertion that the physical constants of the early universe were delicately balanced or ‘fine-tuned’: if they had even slightly different values, carbon-based life and our presence as intelligent observers would not have been possible.”[7] Theory—“a coherent statement that provides an explanation for certain phenomena. It is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, crafted by pulling together observed facts and known laws and interpreting them with an insightful hypothesis.”  Thus, one should say not that one “believes” in evolution, but that one “accepts it as demonstrated.”The Big Bang Theory—“In 1929, Edwin Hubble, examining the ‘red shift’ of light from distant nebulae [interstellar clouds of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases], formulated Hubble’s Law: the velocity of recession of a nebula is proportional to its distance from us. Space itself, not just object in space, is everywhere expanding. Extrapolating backward in time, the universe seems to be expanding from a common origin about fifteen billion years ago.”[8]Biblical Fundamentalism—“An approach to biblical interpretation that asserts the Bible is without error; every word must be taken in its ‘natural sense.’ Such an approach dismisses historical and literary approaches to interpreting the Bible.”[9]The Historical-Critical Method of Biblical Interpretation—“A methodology used to interpret the Bible that came into wide use in the 19thcentury. This method recognizes the Bible as not only inspired by God but also as a collection of ancient documents composed by numerous human beings over millennia. This method applies historical, literary, and philological analysis to the biblical text to establish what it meant in order to ask what the text can mean to believers today.”[10]Myth—“From the Greek word mythos or ‘story.’ When used in connection with biblical stories, it connotes stories that are created to express the deepest truths of what it means to be a human being, such as the stories found in Gn 1 and Gn 2-3.”[11]Creationism—“All theists accept the doctrine of creation, but the term ‘creationism’ today usually refers to the beliefs of biblical literalists who reject evolutionary biology.”[12]“Young earth creationists”—6,000 years ago God made the earth in 6 literal calendar days“Old earth creationists”—Earth-history is 4.5 billion years long, but every species exists because of God’s “special creation” rather than through natural processes Adam and Eve were created perfectly in the Garden of Eden.“Scientific Creationism”—“The biblical creation stories give us a more reliable scientific explanation than we can get from Darwinian biology.” They take the Bible to be scientifically authoritative because if it is literally inerrant, it cannot contradict science. Darwinism and creationism are two different scientific theories.Intelligent Design—“the argument that the structures, features, organs, and biochemical pathways that we find in living cells are so complex that they could not have been produced by natural processes such as evolution and that they would require the intervention of an intelligent designer outside of nature to bring them into existence.”  This idea is rejected by most scientists. It is an argument used by many creationists.[1]Joshua Moritz, Science and Religion: Beyond Warfare and Toward Understanding, p. 292[2]Colin A. Russell, “The Conflict of Science and Religion” in Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction, ed. by Gary B. Ferngren, p. 3.[3]Moritz, p. 295.[4]Moritz, p. 296.[5]Moritz, p. 296.[6]Moritz, p. 293.[7]Ian Barbour, Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues, p. 357.[8]Ian Barbour, Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues, p. 195.[9]Kathleen Birge, et al. Genesis, Evolution, and the Search for a Reasoned Faith, p. 38.[10]Birge, et al., p. 38.[11]Birge, et al., p. 39.[12]John F. Haught, Responses to 101 Questions on God and Evolution, p. 71

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