Atheism Intelligent Design Religion Science

Believing in God and science at the same time

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Wow! What a radical idea. Isaac Newton would’ve had a fit. Oh wait.

From Prager U:

Does belief in God get in the way of science? The idea that science and religion are inevitably in conflict is a popular way of thinking today. But the history of science tells a different story.

But now, just asking: Have new atheists made any difference to the practice of science? Why are they even associated with science in particular?

You may also wish to read: How did new atheism,/a> become the “godlessness that failed”?

15 Replies to “Believing in God and science at the same time

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Meyer misses the first part of the story. Modern science didn’t “start”. It evolved from pagan Greek science. Who evolved it? Muslims in Arabia and Persia. They were doing science and math and medicine to determine God’s purpose, and to help people swing with God’s purpose. Kepler and Brahe picked up their work, copying their instruments and their attitude.

  2. 2
    BobRyan says:

    Numerous scientist believe in God today, just as they have for thousands of years. Einstein believed in God and he accomplished wonderful things.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Polistra states

    “Meyer misses the first part of the story. Modern science didn’t “start”. It evolved from pagan Greek science. Who evolved it? Muslims in Arabia and Persia. They were doing science and math and medicine to determine God’s purpose, and to help people swing with God’s purpose. Kepler and Brahe picked up their work, copying their instruments and their attitude.”

    Well, there are two fallacies within Polistra’s statement.

    First, Polistra is repeating Islamic, (even repeating atheistic), propaganda when he claimed that modern science ‘evolved’ within Islamic culture.

    Science and Islam: A Reply to “1001 Inventions and the Library of Secrets”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCtjXpLyvxA

    In fact, the relatively minor contributions of individual Muslims to modern science was due, far more, to the fact that Islam “invaded the Christian Middle East, Christian North Africa and Christian Spain, and expropriated the culture and work of Christians and Jews and pagans in the conquered lands.” Moreover, when the conquered, “lands became wholly Islamic, science became wholly dead.”

    “Did Christianity (and Other Religions) Promote the Rise Of Science?” – Michael Egnor – October 24, 2013
    Excerpt: Neither the Greeks nor Islam produced modern theoretical science. The Greeks produced sublime philosophy and mathematics, but no theoretical science. They excelled in mathematics but never applied mathematical models to the systematic study of nature.
    Islam produced no real theoretical science. It invaded the Christian Middle East, Christian North Africa and Christian Spain, and expropriated the culture and work of Christians and Jews and pagans in the conquered lands. Centralized government and fresh availability of booty fostered a modest bit of science produced by the conquered locals — the vast majority of whom were not Muslim for centuries.
    It took several centuries before most of the conquered peoples under the Islamic boot converted to Islam — Islamic rulers coveted the dhimmi taxes and were not quick to force conversion — and when Islamic lands became wholly Islamic, science became wholly dead.?
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....78281.html

    Shoot, to prove that Islamic culture was, and still is, antagonistic to the rise and practice of modern science, I have to go no further than to point to what is currently happening in Afghanistan at this present time.

    Journals Dismayed at Taliban Treatment of Scientists – December 20, 2021
    Excerpt: ‘I don’t want to die.’ Afghan researchers fear for their safety—and the future of science (Science Magazine, August 20, 2021). Richard Stone says, “Scholars overseas are trying to help colleagues wanting to flee their country after Taliban takeover.” The AAAS reporter tells horror stories of Taliban actions against scientists (“I don’t want to die”) and quotes local authorities admitting that the Taliban are ‘antiscience,’
    https://crev.info/2021/12/taliban-treatment-of-scientists/

    Moreover, there is a fatal presupposition within Islamic monotheism that prevented the discovery of the laws of nature. Namely, within Islamic monotheism God is held to be capricious in His actions instead of being completely trustworthy in His actions as He is held to be completely trustworthy within Christianity.

    In fact, one of the names of God in Islam is “Capricious”

    Allah’s Capricious Nature
    I was standing in the second biggest mosque in the world in front of the biggest wall of the one hundred names of God under the biggest chandelier of its kind standing on the biggest handwoven carpet (this is all the ways they describe it when you are there). And my friend Mike was there explaining them to me. He was just pointing out name after name written in Arabic. And he said, “That one up there is usually translated capricious, which means God is free; he can do anything he wants.”
    https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/muslims-vs-christians-on-the-sovereignty-of-god

    ca·pri·cious
    given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behavior.

    And this ‘capricious’ presupposition about God’s nature played an instrumental role in preventing the discovery of the laws of nature.

    In fact, such laws of nature were considered “blasphemy” to the Islamic conception of a ‘capricious’ God.

    As the following article states, “in Islam, Allah is capricious, doing whatever he pleases. “Consequently, there soon arose a major theological bloc within Islam that condemned all efforts to formulate natural laws as blasphemy insofar as they denied Allah’s freedom to act.”

    Islam and Science – Jul 6, 2010
    Excerpt: Indeed, many scholars argue that Islam in fact impeded the development of modern science, and that it was essentially Christianity which helped to give rise to it.,,,
    Stark notes that Islam certainly did seek to pass on earlier Greek learning. Indeed, classical Greek manuscripts did reach Christian Europe through Islam.
    But, “it is also true that possession of all of this ‘enlightenment’ did not prompt much intellectual progress within Islam, let alone eventuate in Islamic science. Instead, as the devout Muslim historian Caesar E. Farah explained: …‘[Muslim philosophy chose to] enlarge Aristotle rather than to innovate. It chose the course of eclecticism, seeking to assimilate rather than to generate, with a conscious striving to adapt the results of Greek thinking to Muslim philosophical conceptions’.”
    Stark explains that in Islam, Allah is capricious, doing whatever he pleases. “Consequently, there soon arose a major theological bloc within Islam that condemned all efforts to formulate natural laws as blasphemy insofar as they denied Allah’s freedom to act.”
    This is in contrast to the Christian concept of God. For example, Descartes “justified his search for natural ‘laws’ on grounds that such laws must exist because God is perfect and therefore ‘acts in a manner as constant and immutable as possible,’ except for the rare occurrence of miracles.”
    As Stanley Jaki wrote, the “Muslim notion of the Creator was not adequately rational to inspire an effective distaste for various types of pantheistic, cyclic, animistic, and magical world pictures which freely made their way into the Rasa’il [encyclopaedia of knowledge].”
    The result, says Stark, “was to freeze Islamic learning and stifle all possibility of the rise of Islamic science, and for the same reasons that Greek learning stagnated of itself: fundamental assumptions antithetical to science.” He continues, “As a result of all this, Islamic scholars achieved significant progress only in terms of specific knowledge, such as certain aspects of astronomy and medicine, that did not necessitate any general theoretical basis. And, as time passed, even this sort of progress ceased.”,,,
    As Ibn Warraq states, “Arabs did not play a great part in the original development of Islamic science.” He quotes Ibn Khaldun: “It is strange that most of the learned among the Muslims who have excelled in the religious or intellectual sciences are non-Arabs with rare exceptions; and even those savants who claimed Arabian descent spoke a foreign language, grew up in foreign lands, and studied under foreign masters.”
    Indeed, not only on the scientific front, but on the broader cultural front, a lot of hype about Islam’s Golden Age needs to be carefully reconsidered. As Spencer argues, “Islam was not the foundation of much significant cultural or scientific development at all. It is undeniably that there was a great cultural and scientific flowering in the Islamic world in the Middle Ages, but there is no indication that any of this flowering actually came as a result of Islam itself. In fact, there is considerable evidence that it did not come from Islam, but from the non-Muslims who served their Muslim masters in various capacities.”
    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2010/07/06/islam-and-science/

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    The second fallacy within Polistra’s statement concerns his specific claim that “Modern science didn’t “start”. It evolved from pagan Greek science.”

    Yet, directly contrary to this oft repeated false claim from secularists, modern science, (particularly the scientific method itself, as it was first championed by Francis Bacon), arose as a, quote-unquote, ‘anti-Aristolean’ movement.

    Naturalism: A Review/Essay of “SCIENCE’S BLIND SPOT” by Cornelius G. Hunter (2007)
    H.J.”Spencer – 16 July 2020
    2 ORIGINS”OF”SCIENCE
    2.1 MODERN”SCIENCE
    “Few people realize how shallow is the history of modern science that arose with Galileo, around 1600 who bravely chose to challenge the 2000 year-old ideas of Aristotle that had dominated educated opinion. Only one generation later, two powerful intellects joined in the Anti-Aristotelian movement; they were Francis Bacon (1561-1626) and René Descartes (1596-1650). Both were Christians and lived flamboyant lives but their thinking was very different. Ironically, both have planted successful seeds in the human enterprise that exploded into modern science. These differences reflected their national and religious cultures. Bacon was exposed to the new Protestant thinking that had been welcomed in the pragmatic (empirical) British tradition, so he emphasized the economic value of science. Descartes was trying to survive in the violent world of France that was still trying to decide whether to keep Catholicism or switch. Intellectualism was still very influential in (rationalist) French education under the powerful impact of the Anti-Protestant Jesuit order. Although Descartes saw himself as a scientist, his scientific theories failed to attract long-term attention but his contributions in mathematics and philosophy are still present today. The thinking (and writings) of these two thinkers have both influenced science: Bacon can be credited with the experimental basis of science (emphasizing data), while Descartes encouraged speculative (hypothetical) theoretical ideas.
    2.1.1 FRANCIS BACON
    ,,, Bacon did attend Trinity College, Cambridge (Newton’s alma Mater), where he studied medieval sciences and came to despise Aristotelian philosophy that was Rationalistic, emphasizing how Nature must work based on imagination, not experiments. Bacon believed that general principles (axioms) ought to emerge in the final stages of investigation of Nature, not in the starting position (as in Geometry). Bacon did see his inductive method as generating scientific knowledge arising from sensory (empirical) observations but felt that this was no means sufficient to produce unique interpretations or gain all knowledge: in particular, he argued that scientific considerations should not become the basis for religion (his new Church of England: the English state-promoted religion). Bacon was sensitive to the power that religious ideas have over the minds of many people. For Bacon, science was not religion’s rival but its faithful servant.,,,
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343022211_Naturalism_ReviewEssay_of_SCIENCE%27S_BLIND_SPOT_by_Cornelius_G_Hunter_2007

    As Henry F. Schaefer succinctly put it, “The emergence of modern science was associated with a disdain for the rationalism of Greek philosophers who pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.”

    “The emergence of modern science was associated with a disdain for the rationalism of Greek philosophers who pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.”
    – Henry F. Schaefer III – Making Sense of Faith and Science – 23:30 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/C7Py_qeFW4s?t=1415

    In short, it was only when Francis Bacon championed ‘inductive reasoning’, over and above the ‘deductive reasoning’ of the ancient Greeks, (an ‘inductive’ form of reasoning where repeated experimentation played a central role in reasoning “up” to a general truth, instead of ‘deductively’ reasoning “down” from a presupposed truth), that the scientific method itself was born.

    “Bottom up” inductive reasoning, (where one’s assumptions about the universe are only held provisionally, and are subject to falsification by experimentation), is, practically speaking, a completely different form of reasoning than the ‘top down’ deductive reasoning of the ancient Greeks in which they “pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.”

    Deductive vs. Inductive reasoning – top-down vs. bottom-up – graph
    https://i2.wp.com/images.slideplayer.com/28/9351128/slides/slide_2.jpg

    Inductive reasoning
    Excerpt: Inductive reasoning is a method of reasoning in which the premises are viewed as supplying some evidence, but not full assurance, of the truth of the conclusion.[1] It is also described as a method where one’s experiences and observations, including what are learned from others, are synthesized to come up with a general truth.[2] Many dictionaries define inductive reasoning as the derivation of general principles from specific observations (arguing from specific to general), although there are many inductive arguments that do not have that form.[3]
    Inductive reasoning is distinct from deductive reasoning. While, if the premises are correct, the conclusion of a deductive argument is certain, the truth of the conclusion of an inductive argument is probable, based upon the evidence given.[4]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning

    And ‘bottom up’ inductive reasoning has indeed been very, very, fruitful for man in gaining accurate knowledge of the universe in that repeated experiments lead to more “exacting, and illuminating”, conclusions than is possible with the quote-unquote, “educated guesses” that followed from Aristotle’s ‘top-down’ deductive form of reasoning.

    Francis Bacon, 1561–1626
    Excerpt: Called the father of empiricism, Sir Francis Bacon is credited with establishing and popularizing the “scientific method” of inquiry into natural phenomena. In stark contrast to deductive reasoning, which had dominated science since the days of Aristotle, Bacon introduced inductive methodology—testing and refining hypotheses by observing, measuring, and experimenting. An Aristotelian might logically deduce that water is necessary for life by arguing that its lack causes death. Aren’t deserts arid and lifeless? But that is really an educated guess, limited to the subjective experience of the observer and not based on any objective facts gathered about the observed. A Baconian would want to test the hypothesis by experimenting with water deprivation under different conditions, using various forms of life. The results of those experiments would lead to more exacting, and illuminating, conclusions about life’s dependency on water.
    https://lib-dbserver.princeton.edu/visual_materials/maps/websites/thematic-maps/bacon/bacon.html

    Thus in conclusion, directly contrary to what Polistra and other secularists may falsely, and repeatedly, try to claim, modern science, particularly the scientific method itself, was not an outgrowth which quote-unquote ‘evolved’ from Greek philosophy, but modern empirical science was, in fact, basically a complete repudiation, even a complete overturning, of the ‘top-down’ deductive form of reasoning from the ancient Greek philosophers that had, more or less, dominated Christian scholastic thinking for hundreds of years up until that time.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    Test all things; hold fast to that which is good.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Of supplemental note is this recent post:

    December 2021 – ,,, Darwin’s theory, or more specifically Atheistic Naturalism, undermines all three of the necessary presuppositions, (1.Contingency, 2.Rationality, and 3. Francis Bacon’s “systematic experimental methods’), that lay behind the founding or modern science in Medieval Christian Europe, and that are still, very much, necessary for us to even practice science in a rationally coherent manner in the first place.
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/science-is-no-more-a-road-to-truth-than-is-art-or-religion/#comment-742809

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    There is no conflict. There is only one Truth.

    There are two courses by The Great Courses on this topic, actually several more but the two most relevant

    Science before 1700

    History of Science: Antiquity to 1700

    https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/history-of-science-antiquity-to-1700

    And

    Science and Religion

    https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/science-and-religion

    Both by Lawrence Principe.

    The problem comes because there are so many religions but only one science. The one truth will not have any problem with one or certain religions and science.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Jerry: “The one truth will not have any problem with one or certain religions and science.”

    Funny, I’ve always thought that ‘one truth’ meant ‘one truth’, and that that ‘one truth’, (as is revealed by modern science?), should, and would, discriminate between the various ‘truth claims’ made by the different religions of the world?

    Jerry, since you are making a fairly radical claim in regards to science having no problem with any of the truth claims made by any particular religion, perhaps you should drop a note to Dr. Stephen Meyer since he, in his recent book, “Return of the God Hypothesis”, and via the method of ‘multiple competing hypothesis’, (and when Dr. Meyer compared the various religions of the world to Judeo-Christian Theism), found that the various religions of the world, (i.e. specifically pantheism, deism, atheism), were deficient in explaining the scientific evidence that we now have in hand when compared to Judeo-Christian Theism

    Of related note:

    Jesus Christ as the correct “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vpn2Vu8–eE

    December 2021 – When scrutinizing some of the many fascinating details of the Shroud of Turin, we find that both General Relativity, i.e. gravity, and Quantum Mechanics were both dealt with in Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/in-time-for-american-thanksgiving-stephen-meyer-on-the-frailty-of-scientific-atheism/#comment-741600

    John 14:6
    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    “If you were to take Mohammed out of Islam, and Buddha out of Buddhism, and Confucius out of Confucianism you would still have a faith system that was relatively in tact. However, taking Christ out of Christianity sinks the whole faith completely. This is because Jesus centred the faith on himself. He said, “This is what it means to have eternal life: to know God the Father and Jesus Christ whom the Father sent” (John 17:3). “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Buddha, before dying, said in effect, “I am still seeking for the truth.” Mohammed said in effect, “I point you to the truth.” Jesus said, “I am the truth.” Jesus claimed to not only give the truth, but to be the very personal embodiment of it.”
    http://commonground.co.za/?res.....way-to-god

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    Jerry, since you are making a fairly radical claim in regards to science having no problem with any of the truth claims made by any particular religion,

    Never said that.

    So maybe you should retract your comment.

    Aside: Meyer is not arguing for a specific religion. He just says that science blossomed under Christianity. Then there is the issue, which Christianity? There are several thousand versions.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Jerry, before I retract my statement, would you be kind enough to clarify exactly what you meant by, “The one truth will not have any problem with one or certain religions and science.”???

    As to you trying to, (once again), distance modern science from its Christian foundation, and saying that there are “several thousand versions” of Christianity, I am speaking of the ‘specific’ version of Christianity where it is held that, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  10. 10
    jerry says:

    The one truth will not have any problem with one or certain religions and science

    I put the phrase “certain” so as not to offend some readers here. It certainly was not referring to all religions.

    I did not want to get into a debate over what is the “true religion.” That would imply there is just one. There may be just one but this certainly does not mean all are true or that various religions do not contain some or a lot of truth.

    I have several times said that if ID wins the day, the real food fight will begin.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Jerry, well since you admitted you phrased your statement in such a way “so as not to offend some readers here”, perhaps you can also see why I see no need to retract my comment in regards to what I thought you actually meant?

  12. 12
    ScuzzaMan says:

    Why are they even associated with science in particular?

    Demonstrably superior public relations.

    (I think it was Bernays who invented the term, explicitly to distance his work in the public mind from propaganda, which it was. In other words, public relations is the propaganda term for propaganda.)

  13. 13
    chuckdarwin says:

    Without Judeo-Christianity the world would be “much more primitive morally and scientifically. “
    What unmitigated nonsense…

  14. 14
    ram says:

    Bacon was a helluva guy, a true genius, no doubt about it. I am a big fan. And not just because of his championing induction. What drove him to his concept of greater-truth-through-induction was a psychological question, “why do people believe the things they do?” He realized that people tend to be seriously cognitively biased about confirming evidence. I suggest anyone seriously interested in Natural Philosophy (what they called “science” back then) read everything he wrote and all the major biographies.

    As for him being a “Christian”, well, yes he was. And he was also steeped in Rosicrucian/Kabbalistic thought (Jewish mysticism) and hobnobbed in RC circles. His fingerprints are all over the Rosicrucian Manifestos among other things. His New Atlantis posits a new world (North America) society run by Rosicrucians. IMO, his name (and history) should be as much of a household name as Albert Einstein.

    Hail Sir Francis Bacon and the Great Instauration!

    –Ram

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Theology and science in the thought of Francis Bacon
    Steven Matthews – 2013
    Abstract
    This study re-evaluates the religious beliefs of Francis Bacon and the role which his theology played in the development of his program for the reform of learning and the natural sciences, the Great Instauration. Bacon’s Instauration writings are saturated with theological statements and Biblical references which inform and explain his program, yet this aspect of his writings has received little attention. Previous considerations of Bacon’s religion have been drawn from a fairly short list of his published writings. Consequently, Bacon has been portrayed as everything from an atheist to a Puritan; scholarly consensus is lacking. This book argues that by considering the historical context of Bacon’s society, and his conversion from Puritanism to anti-Calvinism as a young man, his own theology can be brought into clearer focus, and his philosophy more properly understood. After leaving his mother’s household, Bacon underwent a transformation of belief which led him away from his mother’s Calvinism and toward the writings of the ancient Church Fathers, particularly Irenaeus of Lyon. Bacon’s theology increasingly came to reflect the theological interests of his friend and editor Lancelot Andrewes. The patristic turn of Bacon’s belief in the last two decades of the reign of Elizabeth significantly affected the development of his philosophical program which was produced in the first two decades of the Stuart era. This study then examines the theology present in the Instauration writings themselves and concludes with a consideration of the effect which Bacon’s theology had on the subsequent direction of empirical science and natural theology in the English context. In so doing it not only offers a new perspective on Bacon, but will serve as a contribution toward a better understanding of the religious context of, and motivations behind, empirical science in early modern England.
    https://experts.umn.edu/en/publications/theology-and-science-in-the-thought-of-francis-bacon

    IRENAEUS OF LYONS
    Irenaeus was born sometime around AD 130 and grew up in Asia Minor under the ministry of Polycarp in Smyrna, who was himself a disciple of the apostle John according to tradition. Irenaeus recounts his memories of sitting under Polycarp’s teaching, hearing the accounts of the apostles to the life of Jesus. These experiences only strengthened his conviction of the apostolic nature of the Christian faith.
    Later, Irenaeus made his way to Rome and was influenced by the teaching of Justin Martyr as he sought to confront the many heresies there. From Rome, he eventually made his way to the western province of Gaul and settled in the capital of Lugdunum, which is modern-day Lyons. Living among the Celts in a provincial city, Irenaeus was far from the refinement and civilization Rome, and he lamented the influence of the barbarous Celts on him and his own lack of training in rhetoric or composition. However, Christianity had grown vibrant in Gaul, so that when persecution broke out in 177, many brave believers from Gaul went to their deaths and their heroic testimonies went out to churches across the Roman empire. Prior to the persecutions, Irenaeus had been sent as part of a delegation to Rome, and upon his return to Lugdunum, Irenaeus was chosen to be the bishop where he would serve for the rest of his life.
    Irenaeus’ writings reveal that a significant aspect of his ministry was defending the faith against false teachers.,,,
    https://www.historicaltheology.org/irenaeus-of-lyon/

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