Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Big Bang Review

Clark links to a good Farms review article by Hollis Johnson on "The big bang, what does it mean to us?" Here is an excerpt I like

Copan and Craig commit what I call the Aquinas fallacy. Seeing religious beliefs supported through scientific arguments reminds us that Thomas Aquinas used the scientific knowledge of his day, drawn principally from Aristotle, as a framework for his systematic theology. The resulting mixture of biblical teachings and Aristotelian science, often called scholatsticism, was accepted and taught by Roman Catholics for centuries. It is still alive, though its scientific elements have had to be revised. The original acceptance of this doctrine led in the West to the sharp separation of science and religion into two distinct and often competitive enterprises. The Aquinas fallacy consists of assuming that the current science, including both fact and speculation, provides final answers... Science, however, is an ongoing, self-correcting process leading to increased knowledge and understanding, and many wrong ideas are suggested and discarded before a corrected understanding eventually emerges.

Copan and Craig take the standard hot big bang model as a final scientific description of the origin of the universe and use it to establish a doctrine of “creation from nothing.” But the scriptures, I believe, were written with purposes rather different from the attempt to understand and explain the universe. It is essential to realize that both the scientific and the religious canons of knowledge are incomplete, and it would be wrong to assume that either gives definitive answers about the other.

Personally, I take the view that both religion and science are evolving. Trying to fix theological doctrine in the present denies that there is much more to receive and evolve. It also seems to take the narcissistic stance that we presently have everything that ever could be needed. Of course if heaven is a stagnant place this is definitely required. A dynamic after life doesn’t require this.

However the part of the quote I really enjoy is that fallacies occur when a static view is taken on one of the two elements, science or religion. It seems like static views while great for centering one’s life, don’t lead to much progression in comprehension, unless of course connecting dogmatic dots from a limited perspective is the type filler you prefer.

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