Flashcards in CHRISTIANITY AND SCIENCE: Evidence and reason in Science, discoveries Deck (16)
What were the two approaches to knowledge in the 17th century?
Empiricism- sense experience
Rationalism- processes of human thought e.g. Descartes’ approach
What are the two processes involved in gaining knowledge?
Deductive approach- if one proposition is true, others may be deduced from it
Inductive approach- drawing conclusions from observation and testing (making hypotheses). The inductive process can only yield a high degree of probability
What is scientism?
The view that discovering scientific laws offers the only route to knowledge
What is deism?
If physical laws can explain everything, there is little scope for belief in a personal God
An ordered universe suggests an intelligent designer. This led to deism- belief in an intelligent but impersonal creator. Polkinghorne points out that the Christian God is personal though
What is existentialism?
Humans create their own personal reality
The world isn't fixed; it can be shaped
Kierkegaard, the earliest Christian existentialist, saw faith as personal commitment, unrelated to scientific facts
Christianity is concerned with existential questions rather than scientific questions
Why was Charles Darwin's On The Origin of Species controversial?
It suggested that natural selection could explain the appearance of design by God- idea of a designer God unnecessary
What is the theory of natural selection?
Members of a species that survive to adulthood breed and pass on specific characteristics for better survival
Over time the characteristics of a species are gradually modified in favour of those that help the species survive
No purpose in the survival of species
Religious response to the theory of evolution: Christians today
Natural selection is the mechanism by which God works
Rahner argued that humans are made wholly by evolution and wholly by God
Evolution works by the natural laws and processes of science. These laws are the design principles by which the universe works. God is the author of these laws
What do scientists think about how the universe began?
The Big Bang expansion
The universe started about 13.8 billion years ago
The present universe expanded out in a sudden burst of energy and heat from space-time singularity
Christian response to the Big Bang
For most, the Big Bang theory suggests that the universe had a beginning, and this is how God created the universe. The Catholic Church endorses this view
What is quantum theory?
Matter is made up of complex arrangements of nuclear forces, binding together particles
Particles' behaviour is random. Therefore, quantum theory can't predict the action of individual particles
Religious response to quantum theory: God perhaps works in the world by influencing events at the quantum level
Niels Bohr- uncertainty was built into the nature
Polkinghorne argues that God influences events at the quantum level. When we get to events at our level of experience, events are no longer random- God brings order from disorder
God can act in the world undetected so our moral freedom is preserved
Religious response to quantum theory: Quantum physics perhaps shows that we have some degree of free will
There is a niche for free will in the brain's quantum processes
Religious implication of quantum theory: The 'Many Worlds' interpretation of quantum physics
Wave particle duality implies that there are many possible states of a measured system. Some physicists claim they all exist simultaneously in parallel universes
Different universes appear to be created automatically through different choices- God didn't create the multiverse
What does Neuroscience show?
Emotions and thoughts, and sensory experience are related to particular parts of the brain