CHRISTIANITY AND SCIENCE: Science's challenges to Christianity Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in CHRISTIANITY AND SCIENCE: Science's challenges to Christianity Deck (14)
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1

What is the God of the gaps argument?

As scientific knowledge increases, there is less scope for God to be used as an explanation for what we don't understand- God retreats into the gaps in our knowledge
Using God to fill the gaps in our scientific knowledge means God becomes an explanatory hypothesis, part of the scientific explanation
Eventually there will be no gaps left in scientific knowledge for God to fill, so God will become scientifically untenable

2

Name an example of the God of the gaps

It was believed that God moved the planets in their orbits
Now we know that planetary behaviour is governed by gravity

3

Flew's parable of the gardener for the God of the gaps argument

Belief in God is unscientific because:
No scientific/empirical test ever reveals the gardener, but Science is based on evidence and reason
The first explorer maintains his belief in the gardener
Every time Christians fail to detect the existence of God, they qualify what is meant by God until nothing is left

4

Religious responses to the God of the gaps: Tillich

Argued that God should be described as Being-itself rather than a being
If God is a being among others, there is less room for him
God is not just a being in the world but the means by which the whole world exists, so a gap for God is mistaken

5

Religious responses to the God of the gaps: Polkinghorne

God intervenes at the quantum level because such activity there would be undetectable for humans
Everything in the universe is affected by what happens at the quantum levels, so God is active in the world and there is no gap to fill

6

19th century Christian responses to Darwin's theory of evolution: Church of England scientific representatives

Claimed it turned humans into beasts
David Livingstone- he could see no struggle for existence in the plains of Africa
Evolution challenges the idea that humans were created in God's image

7

19th century Christian responses to Darwin's theory of evolution: Liberal Anglicans

Evolution was the way God designed the world
Hick- God produced humanity by evolution so we could remain at an epistemic distance from God

8

19th century Christian responses to Darwin's theory of evolution: Interventionist approach

Natural selection isn't needed because God intervenes directly

9

Contemporary responses to the Big Bang theory: Provides evidence that the universe had a beginning

In Genesis, God creates light- metaphor for the light stream from the Big Bang
Something which has a beginning naturally seems to require something to begin it- if the universe was caused, there must have been a First Cause

10

Contemporary responses to the Big Bang theory: Fine tuning

The cosmological constants all have to be correct to an impossible narrow configuration
God has fine tuned the constants
BUT there may be a colossal number of universes which began with a Big Bang- many universes so some must be ordered by chance

11

Contemporary responses to the Big Bang theory: The Catholic Church

Official position of the Catholic Church given when in 1951 it was declared that the Big Bang theory doesn't conflict with the Catholic idea of creation
It was caused by the will of God

12

Contemporary responses to the Big Bang theory: Young earth creationism

The earth was created in six 24 hour days
Species weren't created by evolution

13

Contemporary responses to the Big Bang theory: Old Earth creationism

The universe is 13.8 billion years old
God created species uniquely
BUT 'yom' doesn't mean creative epoch

14

Contemporary responses to the Big Bang theory: intelligent design

Certain features of the universe are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process like natural selection
Behe claims that many biological systems are 'irreducibly complex' at the molecular level. Irreducible complexity can't be produced by successive modifications
Claims to be science