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Christian worldview gave rise to science; naturalist assumptions not needed


Profile picture for user Amy K. Hall From Amy K.Hall at Stand to Reason:

Are naturalistic assumptions necessary for doing science? In the video below (or see the transcript here), Stephen Meyer argues that not only is naturalism not necessary, but in fact, it was a Christian worldview that gave rise to modern science. More.

From Transcript:

The first thing to say is that science did not arise because of a set of naturalistic presuppositions. It actually arose because of a conviction that there was a lawful order in nature, that human beings could discern and understand it because they’d been made in the image of the creator of that order, and that also they needed to go investigate. While they might expect that there’s a rational order there (the Greeks believe the same), they also knew the rational order was contingent on the choice of the creator.

This was a product of recovering the doctrine of creation in the late Middle Ages. Since the order in nature is contingent on the act of the Creator, we have to go and look and see what kind of order he put into it. We can’t just simply sit in our armchairs and deduce it from logical first principles.

Hmmm.Would that mean we can’t just conclude that there must be a multiverse, based on no evidence whatever, because the alternative would suggest that our universe was fine-tuned? Awkward.

How Christianity Gave Rise to Modern Science from Crossway on Vimeo.

Hat tip: J. R. Miller

See also: How naturalism rots science from the head down

PaV @ 5
Why didn’t science as we know it start in some other culture? Do you have any thoughts why that might be?
I suspect it was the outcome of a confluence of cultural, social, economic and political conditions that obtained in Europe at that time. What we now think of as science emerged in other cultures and at different times. There were probably a variety of reasons why it did not flourish in those other environments to the extent it did in Europe but to suggest that Christianity alone was both sufficient and necessary is hubris rather than the humility enjoined by the faith. Seversky
Severesky: Why don't you read the book first and then add your comment? Why didn't science as we know it start in some other culture? Do you have any thoughts why that might be? PaV
No one denies that modern science was fostered to some extent in Christian Europe but it is Eurocentric Christian hubris for the faith to try and arrogate to itself the whole responsibility for the enterprise. European Christian scientists have contributed greatly to our knowledge but they were neither the first nor the only people to have noticed we live in an orderly Universe which is susceptible to rational investigation. And you can argue that modern science really began to flourish from the Age of Enlightenment onwards when human thought began to break free of the dogmatic restrictions of past centuries. Seversky
Read Templeton Award winner, Fr. Stanley Jaki's, book "The Savior of Science." It's all you need to know. Science began from the notion that God put into "regular" motion those things we see in heaven. The Heavens are ordered: hence, calculus, Copernicus, Galileo, etc. PaV
I would agree that from a Christian worldview, naturalism and materialism are entirely useless concepts. The rigid and strict segmentation of science, philosophy and theology is not necessary in a Christian culture. Silver Asiatic
Not only was naturalism not necessary for the founding of modern science, it would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be. A few notes to that effect:
Darwin’s Theory vs Falsification – 39:45 minute mark https://youtu.be/8rzw0JkuKuQ?t=2387 Excerpt: Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,, Paper with references for each claim page; Page 37: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pAYmZpUWFEi3hu45FbQZEvGKsZ9GULzh8KM0CpqdePk/edit Thus, although the Darwinian Atheist firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to. It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be. 2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

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