Science And The Bible

Creationism, Evolution, and other science issues

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DavidLeon
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Science And The Bible

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Post by DavidLeon »

The clash between science and religion began in the sixth century B.C.E. with the Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras, whose geocentric view of the universe influenced ancient Greeks like Aristotle and Ptolemy. Aristotle's geocentric concept as a philosophy would have an influence in on the powerful Church of Rome. It was adopted by the church due to the scientist Thomas Aquinas (1225-74) who had great respect for Aristotle.

Galileo's heliocentric concept challenged Aquinas' geocentric philosophy, and Galileo had the nerve to suggest that his heliocentric concept was in harmony with Scripture, a direct challenge to the Church itself, and so bringing about the Inquisition in 1633. It was Galileo's figurative, and accurate, interpretation of Scripture against Aquinas' and the Catholic Church's literal and inaccurate interpretation. For being right Galileo stood condemned until 1992 when the Catholic Church officially admitted to their error in their judgment of Galileo.

So the static between religion and science was caused by philosophy and religion wrongly opposed to science and the Bible.

For debate, what significance does modern science bear upon an accurate understanding of the Bible? How important is science to the modern day Bible believer and where is there a conflict between the two?
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Re: Science And The Bible

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David Leon wrote:
Galileo's heliocentric concept challenged Aquinas' geocentric philosophy, and Galileo had the nerve to suggest that his heliocentric concept was in harmony with Scripture, a direct challenge to the Church itself, and so bringing about the Inquisition in 1633. It was Galileo's figurative, and accurate, interpretation of Scripture against Aquinas' and the Catholic Church's literal and inaccurate interpretation. For being right Galileo stood condemned until 1992 when the Catholic Church officially admitted to their error in their judgment of Galileo.
I'm sorry, but the idea that Galileo was at odds with the Church because it held to the Aristotelian view of the sun circling the earth while he purported the Copernican view that the earth circled the sun is largely a myth, one propagated on the Internet, but not found in reliable history textbooks.

First of all, there were as many of his contemporary scientists and philosophers angry with him as there were church officials. Galileo's understanding of the topic was flawed in many respects (for example, he believed the earth to travel in a circle, not an ellipsis) and, therefore, his fellow scientists questioned him and asked for more information, information that was accurate according to what they knew, not according to what Galileo supposed. And, in truth, many of those contemporary scientists were aware of the discoveries often attributed to him. For example, Scheiner made a detailed study of the sunspots earlier than Galileo.

Secondly, the Church’s problem was not that Galileo took the Copernican stance, but that he refused to offer evidence to support the theory when asked. In reality, Pope Urban VIII actually supported Galileo in his writing of his book on the topic. He, like the scientists, was intrigued by the theory and willing to believe it, but he wanted hard evidence. Galileo never bothered to provide it.

Thirdly, Galileo was, by all accounts, an arrogant, obnoxious jerk who antagonized everyone around him. It is thought that he was too proud to acknowledge that he didn't understand the theory fully and, therefore, refused to provide the evidence he was asked for because he simply didn't have it and didn't want to admit it. That would have been fine if he had known enough to shut up about it. But he didn't stop there. He publicly insulted Pope Urban VIII, ridiculing the man for being stupid and not understanding science. It's your basic fallacious ad hominem. You can't argue your argument validly so you attack the one who is asking you to explain it clearly and fully.

Apparently, the pope was every bit as proud as Galileo and, with his pride damaged, responded pettily by using his power to have him brought to Rome for censure. Ultimately, he had Galileo put under house arrest -- not a nasty dank cell as some believe, but actually a very comfortable home. Urban said that, if Galileo couldn't come up with the evidence when asked, then he should renounce the theory altogether.

So the dispute was really between two proud men who squared off against each other for personal reasons, with the pope having the greater power and misusing it badly against Galileo. But Galileo didn't help himself by refusing to cooperate with the request for more evidence and a deeper explanation. So it was never about Christians refusing to believe that the earth revolved around the sun and punishing the scientists for it.

In fact, the whole idea that science and religion were at odds -- and still are -- has always been a myth. Modern science came about because Christians scientists believed that the world was made by an orderly God who gave them the ability to think. They believed this meant that they could apply their intellect to the world around them and figure out how it worked and why things happened the way they did. The great scientists were theists -- Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Robert Boyle, Leibnitz, van Leeuwenhock, Linnaeus, Volta, Ampere, Gregor Mendel, Pasteur, Joule, Lister -- and those are only a few of the names which only take us up to the 20th century. But I don't have time to list any more. Suffice it to say there are lots of Christians currently engaged in scientific pursuits, people like astrophysicist Hugh Ross, nano-technologist Jim Tour, John Polkinghorne, etc.

I recommend James Hannam's Genesis of Science for more on the topic. And here is an article wherein the author pulls no punches about Galileo and Urban VIII:

https://lastedenblog.wordpress.com/2016 ... tific-ass/

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Re: Science And The Bible

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"Science" is the label we apply to a specific method of acquiring knowledge about the reality we experience. As such, science could be thought of as an epistemology. Every epistemology describes criteria (axioms) by which knowledge claims will be justified as true, false, or unknowable. Because an infinite regress of justifications emerges from the requirement that any statement given to justify another statement will itself require a justification, the axiomatic statements which comprise every type of epistemology are otherwise arbitrarily presumed to be true as a pragmatic necessity. For this reason, objecting to a scientific epistemology on the grounds that it cannot justify itself as true is to relinquish the possibility of developing any sort of knowledge base because every other epistemology including a theistic epistemology is equally incapable of resolving such an objection.

When we apply a modern scientific epistemology to many of the extraordinary supernatural claims from the Bible, they are classified as unknowable. More specifically, such claims lack an implicit empirical basis because their possibility can be neither demonstrated nor falsified. As such, we must conclude that there is no scientific justification to affirm a positive belief in those types of claims. However, a scientific epistemology does allow us to identify where other Biblical claims do have an implicit empirical basis. Accordingly, we can know those claims are at least describing something that is scientifically possible. Likewise, using a scientific epistemology, falsifiable Biblical claims can be known as false when they fail the tests designed to disprove them.

Conflicts arise when knowledge claims justified through a scientific epistemology contradict knowledge claims justified through a theistic epistemology. Since both the scientific epistemology and the theistic epistemology are equally capable of justifying knowledge claims through axioms that are arbitrarily exempt from requiring their own justifications, there doesn't appear to be a way to resolve disputes between them. In the end, people invariably choose the epistemology that best help them achieve some desired goal. When the desired goal is to justify belief in the Biblical God, a theistic epistemology is preferred. When the desired goal is to develop a functional knowledge base that informs decisions on the expectation of predictable outcomes, a scientific epistemology is preferred.

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Re: Science And The Bible

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Overcomer wrote: Tue Jun 02, 2020 7:56 pmI'm sorry, but the idea that Galileo was at odds with the Church because it held to the Aristotelian view of the sun circling the earth while he purported the Copernican view that the earth circled the sun is largely a myth, one propagated on the Internet, but not found in reliable history textbooks.
First of all let me thank you for a very informative and articulate response. I appreciate that.

Pretty much the only part of your post I disagree with is the above quote. As I mentioned in the OP there was a conflict. Pope John Paul II formally closed a 13 year investigation into the Church's condemnation of Galileo in 1633. The Vatican officially admitted their error. New York Times You don't seem to object to there being a conflict but give a much more detailed account of the events. I think to say it is "largely a myth, one propagated on the Internet" isn't entirely accurate.
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Re: Science And The Bible

Post #5

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bluegreenearth wrote: Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:11 pm "Science" is the label we apply to a specific method of acquiring knowledge about the reality we experience. As such, science could be thought of as an epistemology. Every epistemology describes criteria (axioms) by which knowledge claims will be justified as true, false, or unknowable. Because an infinite regress of justifications emerges from the requirement that any statement given to justify another statement will itself require a justification, the axiomatic statements which comprise every type of epistemology are otherwise arbitrarily presumed to be true as a pragmatic necessity. For this reason, objecting to a scientific epistemology on the grounds that it cannot justify itself as true is to relinquish the possibility of developing any sort of knowledge base because every other epistemology including a theistic epistemology is equally incapable of resolving such an objection.

When we apply a modern scientific epistemology to many of the extraordinary supernatural claims from the Bible, they are classified as unknowable. More specifically, such claims lack an implicit empirical basis because their possibility can be neither demonstrated nor falsified. As such, we must conclude that there is no scientific justification to affirm a positive belief in those types of claims. However, a scientific epistemology does allow us to identify where other Biblical claims do have an implicit empirical basis. Accordingly, we can know those claims are at least describing something that is scientifically possible. Likewise, using a scientific epistemology, falsifiable Biblical claims can be known as false when they fail the tests designed to disprove them.

Conflicts arise when knowledge claims justified through a scientific epistemology contradict knowledge claims justified through a theistic epistemology. Since both the scientific epistemology and the theistic epistemology are equally capable of justifying knowledge claims through axioms that are arbitrarily exempt from requiring their own justifications, there doesn't appear to be a way to resolve disputes between them. In the end, people invariably choose the epistemology that best help them achieve some desired goal. When the desired goal is to justify belief in the Biblical God, a theistic epistemology is preferred. When the desired goal is to develop a functional knowledge base that informs decisions on the expectation of predictable outcomes, a scientific epistemology is preferred.
Another thoughtful and informative response. Thanks.

The trouble with the Science and Religion debate, other than what you mentioned, from a theistic perspective, is primarily twofold as I see it. That is to say that atheistic Bible critics often throw around the term science and scientifically relevant terms like "peer review," "evidence," etc. as if these terms are particularly relevant to theists. I think they do this due to a desperate need for affirmation of their world view. They know it seems to work because it is irrelevant. Many science minded atheists I've dealt personally with seem to need concrete evidence and "proof" of everything. They seem to take comfort in it without realizing that they can't prove what they had for lunch. It doesn't mean anything to the faithful. Like I said in another post it's like me demanding scriptural support of a scientific theory.

But my biggest problem with atheist who abuse the name of science is when they begin to give their "scientific" interpretation of scripture. Partly because, like any other Bible critic, they are primarily focused on traditional theology. For example, the apostate Christian church adopted the concept of the immortal soul from Greek philosophy, of Socrates. The Bible teaches that the soul is the life, life experiences, the blood of any breathing creature. The theological explanation of the soul is based upon the traditional rather than the Biblical explanation. If you demonstrate this to them they say you're redefining words. The Biblical soul is a great deal more scientifically plausible than the traditional or theological immortal soul from Socrates adopted by the apostate church.

Another example is the cross depicted as your avatar. To the early Christians it was a dungy idol, from Tammuz (Ezekiel 8); the shoot (phallic) thrust in the face of Jehovah. A Roman phallic symbol adopted by the same apostate church after Constantine the Great in 225 C.E., Jesus didn't die on a cross.

A "scientific" explanation of celestial phenomenon in the book of Revelation is that the people were superstitious about things like eclipses when in reality the same exact phrasing was used in the Hebrew scriptures to symbolize great political and social upheaval.

Then you have claims made of the Bible conflicting with science because of misunderstanding on subjects like pi, prenatal influence, refraction, entomology and the biological kind. Maybe I will delve into some of those but there doesn't seem to be much interest in the subject.
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Re: Science And The Bible

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DavidLeon wrote: Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:41 amThe trouble with the Science and Religion debate, other than what you mentioned, from a theistic perspective, is primarily twofold as I see it. That is to say that atheistic Bible critics often throw around the term science and scientifically relevant terms like "peer review," "evidence," etc. as if these terms are particularly relevant to theists. I think they do this due to a desperate need for affirmation of their world view. They know it seems to work because it is irrelevant. Many science minded atheists I've dealt personally with seem to need concrete evidence and "proof" of everything. They seem to take comfort in it without realizing that they can't prove what they had for lunch. It doesn't mean anything to the faithful. Like I said in another post it's like me demanding scriptural support of a scientific theory.
It is my understanding that goal in the scientific process is not to prove anything but to disprove falsifiable hypotheses. The intention to prove a hypothesis would be a failure to mitigate for confirmation bias. Instead, scientists are encouraged to try and disprove their own falsifiable hypotheses and invite others to do so as well. Falsifiable hypotheses that survive every test designed to disprove them are then tentatively accepted as the most reasonable explanation. Granted, many people speak colloquially about science as though it demands concrete proof for everything. However, professional scientists understand that their assigned task is not to prove a falsifiable hypothesis but to design and conduct experiments to try and disprove them. In that sense, I suppose "proof" is attained when a falsifiable hypothesis is unable to be disproved.
DavidLeon wrote: Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:41 amBut my biggest problem with atheist who abuse the name of science is when they begin to give their "scientific" interpretation of scripture. Partly because, like any other Bible critic, they are primarily focused on traditional theology. For example, the apostate Christian church adopted the concept of the immortal soul from Greek philosophy, of Socrates. The Bible teaches that the soul is the life, life experiences, the blood of any breathing creature. The theological explanation of the soul is based upon the traditional rather than the Biblical explanation. If you demonstrate this to them they say you're redefining words. The Biblical soul is a great deal more scientifically plausible than the traditional or theological immortal soul from Socrates adopted by the apostate church.

Another example is the cross depicted as your avatar. To the early Christians it was a dungy idol, from Tammuz (Ezekiel 8); the shoot (phallic) thrust in the face of Jehovah. A Roman phallic symbol adopted by the same apostate church after Constantine the Great in 225 C.E., Jesus didn't die on a cross.

A "scientific" explanation of celestial phenomenon in the book of Revelation is that the people were superstitious about things like eclipses when in reality the same exact phrasing was used in the Hebrew scriptures to symbolize great political and social upheaval.

Then you have claims made of the Bible conflicting with science because of misunderstanding on subjects like pi, prenatal influence, refraction, entomology and the biological kind. Maybe I will delve into some of those but there doesn't seem to be much interest in the subject.
Speaking only for myself as an atheist, I usually ask my interlocutors to clarify how they are using particular terms and phrases when there are multiple interpretations to choose from. The concept of "soul" you referenced is one example and the concept of "faith" is another example where the intended meaning is not always obvious or precisely articulated. Once I understand how the theist is using such terms and phrases, we can usually proceed to have a more productive conversation.

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Re: Science And The Bible

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bluegreenearth wrote: Wed Jun 03, 2020 4:03 pmSpeaking only for myself as an atheist, I usually ask my interlocutors to clarify how they are using particular terms and phrases when there are multiple interpretations to choose from. The concept of "soul" you referenced is one example and the concept of "faith" is another example where the intended meaning is not always obvious or precisely articulated. Once I understand how the theist is using such terms and phrases, we can usually proceed to have a more productive conversation.
Usually when I use the word faith I mean trust based upon knowledge and experience. Quoting Paul, "Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld." (Herews 11:1) You may trust your family, friends, the dollar, the sunrise etc.

It can also mean adherence to to a specific belief system as in "the Christian faith."

Soul is problematic. I think of the term as an inappropriate translation. The pagan concept of a soul, adopted by apostates, is totally different from the pagan meaning but there is no English word to properly translate it. They should have transliterated it. Jewish Publication Society of America, when issuing a new translation of the Torah eventually did that for that reason. The Hebrew word translated soul means "breather" The Greek conveys the idea of the conscious self or personality as center of emotions, desires, and affections.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia says: "Nepes is a term of far greater extension than our 'soul,' signifying life (Ex 21.23; Dt 19.21) and its various vital manifestations: breathing (Gn 35.18; Jb 41.13[21]), blood [Gn 9.4; Dt 12.23; Ps 140(141).8], desire (2 Sm 3.21; Prv 23.2). The soul in the OT means not a part of man, but the whole man - man as a living being. Similarly, in the NT it signifies human life: the life of an individual, conscious subject (Mt 2.20; 6.25; Lk 12.22-23; 14.26; Jn 10.11, 15, 17; 13.37)." - 1967, Vol. XIII, p. 467.

From that I derive my meaning of the "soul." The life, life experiences, of any breathing creature. Mortal. Destructible. It dies. It can be destroyed. (Ezekiel 18:4; Matthew 10:28)
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Re: Science And The Bible

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DavidLeon wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:07 pmUsually when I use the word faith I mean trust based upon knowledge and experience. Quoting Paul, "Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld." (Herews 11:1) You may trust your family, friends, the dollar, the sunrise etc.
I realize this is tangential but do not understand how faith can be equivocated with trust but also be "the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld." Your described usage of the word "faith" seems justifiable given that there are demonstrable reasons why you would trust your family and friends. However, Paul's usage seems to define faith as the epistemic justification for trusting someone or something. I don't follow how faith can serve as the reason to trust someone or something. Would you have an explanation for the difference between the way you use the word "faith' and the way it is defined in Hebrews 11:1?

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Re: Science And The Bible

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bluegreenearth wrote: Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:28 pm
DavidLeon wrote: Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:07 pmUsually when I use the word faith I mean trust based upon knowledge and experience. Quoting Paul, "Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld." (Herews 11:1) You may trust your family, friends, the dollar, the sunrise etc.
I realize this is tangential but do not understand how faith can be equivocated with trust but also be "the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld." Your described usage of the word "faith" seems justifiable given that there are demonstrable reasons why you would trust your family and friends. However, Paul's usage seems to define faith as the epistemic justification for trusting someone or something. I don't follow how faith can serve as the reason to trust someone or something. Would you have an explanation for the difference between the way you use the word "faith' and the way it is defined in Hebrews 11:1?
The New English Bible reads: "Faith . . . makes us certain of realities we do not see." I don't know if that helps. Seems the same to me. I don't think there is a difference between the way I use faith and Hebrews 11:1. If I see a car screeching around a corner and weaving erratically that is the evident demonstration. The car crashing up on the sidewalk is the unseen reality. Faith moves me. Literally.
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Re: Science And The Bible

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DavidLeon wrote: Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:51 pmThe New English Bible reads: "Faith . . . makes us certain of realities we do not see." I don't know if that helps. Seems the same to me. I don't think there is a difference between the way I use faith and Hebrews 11:1. If I see a car screeching around a corner and weaving erratically that is the evident demonstration. The car crashing up on the sidewalk is the unseen reality. Faith moves me. Literally.
Where and how does your analogy with the car apply to the way the word "faith" is used in Hebrews 11:1? What would be the Biblical equivalent to the evidence provided by the car screeching around the corner and weaving erratically?

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