Models for the Interaction of Science & Religion

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    Alexander, Denis R.

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    Models for Relating Science and Religion

    "Interactions between science and religion are varied and complex, both historically and today. Models can be useful for making sense of the data. This paper compares four of the major types of model that have been proposed to describe science-religion interactions, highlighting their respective strengths and weaknesses. It is concluded that the model of ‘complementarity’ is most fruitful in the task of relating scientific and religious knowledge."
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    Brand, Leonard R.

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    A Biblical Perspective on the Philosophy of Science

    "Science is a continuing search that makes progress but never reaches absolute truth. This leaves open the door to suggest that religious factors can legitimately interface with science, if the interaction is done carefully, to avoid hidden pitfalls. Many in science follow the philosophy of naturalism, which does not allow any explanations that require or imply supernatural causes at any time in history. Others suggest that religion can, in varying ways, contribute to the scientific process in very constructive ways. Three models of the relationship between religion and science are described, which differ in their view of the nature of theology and how it should or should not interact with science."
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    Carroll, William E.

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    Creation, Evolution, and Thomas Aquinas

    "Aquinas' firm adherence to the truth of Scripture without falling into the trap of literalistic readings of the text offers valuable correction for exegesis of the Bible which concludes that one must choose between the literal interpretation of the Bible and modern science. For Aquinas, the literal meaning of the Bible is what God, its ultimate author, intends the words to mean. The literal sense of the text includes metaphors, similes, and other figures of speech useful to accommodate the truth of the Bible to the understanding of its readers...Aquinas, following the lead of Augustine, thinks that the natural sciences serve as a kind of veto in biblical interpretation. Augustine observed that when discussing passages of the Bible that refer, or seem to refer, to natural phenomena one should defer to the authority of the sciences, when available, to show what the text cannot mean."
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    Cerovac, Kresimir

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    Complementarity of Faith and Science

    "Religion and science are constitutive elements of culture. Science, with its experiments and logic, tries to understand the order or structure of the universe. Religion, with its theological inspiration and reflection, tries to understand the purpose or meaning of the universe...Without complementary cooperation between science and faith, faith is in constant danger that its efforts, because of eventual one-sided religious understandings, are wrongly directed – towards 'spirit' but to the detriment of body. Similarly, science is in constant danger that its efforts, because of eventual one-sided scientistic understanding, are also wrongly directed – towards 'body' but to the detriment of spirit. The most important topic in this work will be: faith as protection against dehumanization of science and science as protection against mystifications in faith."
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    Clayton, Philip

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    On God and Physics: The Contemporary Dialogue Between Religion and Science in the West

    "In much of modern Western philosophy the assumption has been that science is incompatible with belief in God. This belief became more widespread of the first half of the twentieth century for reasons that included the epistemology of positivism, the prestige accorded to scientists and their work, and the inability to distinguish between metaphysical and methodological naturalism...In this paper I briefly summarize what has been referred to as “the worldview of science”: the assumptions that (allegedly) lead to metaphysical naturalism. I then summarize some of the responses that Western philosophers of religion have made to this challenge, including my own defense of the compatibility of theism with scientific methods and results."
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    Clayton, Philip

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    Religious Voices Count: The New Openness to Spiritual Questions in the Sciences

    "In these few pages, I’ve attempted to take on the challenge raised by a number of participants at this conference: to show why a post-foundationalist theory of knowledge and new developments in the self-understanding of science encourages constructive religious thought. As many at the conference argued in their papers, religion can contribute to a worldview that synthesizes the best that science has to offer with the best religion has to offer. Sometimes the contribution of religion is ethical: it affects how we live. Sometimes its interior, adding inner insight and power. And sometimes it’s theological or metaphysical: it assists one in formulating a religious worldview adequate to the science of our day. It’s this theological dimension that I’ve focused on here. In particular, I sought to show how one particular model—emergentist panentheism—can integrate the scientific and religious poles of human experience."
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    Clouser, Roy

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    Replies to the Comments of Le Morvan, Halvorson, and Ratzsch on “Prospects for Theistic Science”

    "To be sure, the view I have proposed in 'Prospects for Theistic Science' is very different from those held by most theists. It is not the scholastic tradition that concedes from the outset that most theories are religiously neutral, nor is it the view that theories can only be impacted by belief in God if specific biblical teachings are included in them. Instead it extends to theories the biblical teachings that: (1) only God has independent self-existence while all else depends on God, and (2) no truth can be religiously neutral."
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    Clouser, Roy A.

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    On the General Relation of Religion, Metaphysics, and Science

    "The three relata of my title connect in so many ways that vary from thinker to thinker and from time to time that I must emphasize at the outset the word general. In other words this paper should be understood as proposing an overview of the three which subsumes all the specific ways they do or could relate.1 Understood in this way, I think the question has been most often answered by focusing on the relation of religious belief on the one hand, to theory making-both in metaphysics and the sciences-on the other. Taken in this sense, I know of only four basic proposals (and their permutations) about the nature of the relation, and I will begin by reviewing those which are the most widely accepted of them."
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    Clouser, Roy A.

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    Prospects for Theistic Science

    "Among theists, the most popular view of the engagement between religion and science (henceforth the S/R relation) is a minimalist one. They see the role of religious belief to science as primarily negative such that any theory can be acceptable to a theist so long as it doesn't outright contradict any revealed truth of Faith...A lesser number of theists take religious belief to have a thicker engagement with science than merely acting as a negative, external, check for falsehood. For them religious belief can supply content to theories as well...In what follows I write as a theist who agrees with the thicker-engagement position, but who finds all its presently popular versions to be deficient."
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    Day, Allan J.

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    Science and Christian Faith—Conceptions and Misconceptions

    "It is widely believed, by many in the secular world and not a few in the church, that science and Christian belief represent mutually incompatible views of reality; that they are strange bedfellows. The inappropriateness of this approach to science and Christian faith is considered in this paper. It is asserted that science and faith are complementary approaches to reality, representing two sides of the same coin—asking different questions."
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    Halvorson, Hans

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    Comments on Clouser’s Claims for Theistic Science

    "In 'Prospects for Theistic Science,' Roy Clouser sketches a framework for the relationship between religious and scientific beliefs. In particular, he develops— building on previous work1—a neo-Calvinist view, according to which religious belief is a presupposition of, and is relevant to, any other body of beliefs. Clouser’s proposal holds out the promise for a more systematic approach to questions about science and religion. Nonetheless, there remain a few issues on which one might press for clarification."
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    Hammond, Jeff

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    Overlapping the Magisteria – Challenges for Christians in the Sciences

    "The challenge within science to the Christian Faith comes primarily in two forms. The first seeks to thoroughly discredit religion as a meaningless phenomena, void of all truth and ripe for extinction. This ideology, referred to in this paper as 'The Active Supremacy of Science,' uses positivist arguments to promote science as the ultimate truth, using quasiscientific arguments to discredit all other fields and methods of inquiry. The second challenge is the purported existence of a simple fact-value dichotomy separating the worlds of science and religion, which I call 'The Passive Supremacy of Science.'...In this paper, I will present a new typology of truth claims which allows a more complete understanding of the conflict between science and the Christian Faith."
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    Hick, Johns

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    Science/Religion

    "...[T]here is a philosophy which a large majority of those working in the physical sciences today take for granted...The accepted terms today are 'naturalism' and 'physicalism', meaning the belief that the physical universe constitutes the totality of reality. On this view there is nothing beyond the physical, no trans- or meta- or supraphysical or suprasensory reality such as the religions affirm. And so the entirety of reality is, at least in principle, fully describable and understandable by the empirical sciences. This is so widely taken for granted today that it is often equated with Science or with the scientific point of view. But I am going to argue that on the contrary naturalism is not 'scientific truth' but a philosophy which most but by no means all scientists hold; and that it is, when ardently believed, or unquestioningly taken for granted, a faith position - as much so as religious faith."
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    Hutchinson, Ian

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    Science: Christian and Natural

    "My conversion as an undergraduate was founded on a conviction that the Christian faith made intellectual sense of the world, of history, and of personal experience. For me, despite the expectation of my secular friends, there was no inherent contradiction between a thorough Christian commitment and the pursuit of natural science. That harmony of thought is something I have sought and treasured through my professional life and in my service of God, though it always has not been easily maintained. In large measure, my early convictions have been borne out, not just because I have found that God’s truth and scientific truth are compatible, but because it is hardly an overstatement to say that science is a Christian pursuit. The giants of science have been predominantly people of faith. The philosophical roots of science sink deep into the fertile soil of the Christian world view. And many essential traits of the personal practice of science—truthfulness, objectivity, openness, thoughtfulness—are echoes of spiritual values."
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    Johnson, William L.

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    Science and Religion at a Crossroads: An Educational Perspective

    "This article's thesis is that religion and science are ultimately about the same thing, that they affect one another, and that people in the two fields therefore need to communicate. The authors begin by discussing the importance of ethical transformations to a life of love and character, arguing that the development of a technological society does not free us from ethical demands. They then move to advocating dialogue about the shared truths of science and religion. Wanting both, and positing that the former is a foundation for the latter, the authors state that Einstein's famous logian cannot be ignored: 'The situation may be expressed by an image: Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'."
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    Kennett, Roger H.

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    Science & Christianity

    "The topic of Science and Christianity is extensive and has many individual and social implications. Ultimately the question of how Christianity and science relate, condenses to one of epistemology. How do Christian theology and science interact and compare as ways of knowing? How have perceptions of these processes of knowing developed and interacted historically? How did the warfare 'myth' develop and gain prominence and what are more recent interpretations of how science developed from its infancy in the ancient world? What are the theological implications of recent developments in cosmology, physics and biology, particularly neurobiology? The most that can be done here is to touch upon these varied aspects of the topic, introduce important questions and concepts, and direct the readers to useful sources that cover each in more detail."
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    Koons, Robert C.

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    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict

    "It is widely held that the belief in supernatural entities, like God and the soul, is incompatible with a modern, scientific viewpoint...I will argue that, contrary to the popular view, the past success of science supports the truth of theism, and that the future success of science will depend on the perseverance of theistic conviction."
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    Lipton, Peter

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    Science and Religion: The Immersion Solution

    "This essay focuses on the cognitive tension between science and religion, in particular on the contradictions between some of the claims of current science and some of the claims in religious texts. My aim is to suggest how some work in the philosophy of science may help to manage this tension. Thus I will attempt to apply some work in the philosophy of science to the philosophy of religion, following the traditional gambit of trying to stretch the little one does understand to cover what one does not understand."
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    McGrath, Alister E.

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    On Writing a Scientific Theology: A Response to Ross H. McKenzie

    Alister McGrath responds to an important recent critique of his exploration of the dialogue between science and theology by the noted Australian theoretical physicist Ross McKenzie. The criticisms concerned relate to the use made of modern physics, the engagement with postmodernism, an evangelical perspective on theology, and fidelity to the thought of T. F. Torrance. A response is offered to these concerns, noting particularly the extended and more developed discussion of these issues in A Scientific Theology (2001–2003).
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    McKenzie, Ross H.

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    Foundations of the Dialogue between the Physical Sciences and Theology

    A theoretical physicist gives an appreciative but critical review of recent work by Alister McGrath on the dialogue between science and theology. Some of the important areas of dialogue that have been identified include the explicability and rationality of the physical world, the “fine-tuning” of the universe, and the faith involved in going from “inference to the best explanation.” Realist perspectives are important (and controversial) in both physical science and theology. An important idea, advanced by Torrance, is the parallel between the constraints imposed by physical reality and revelation, independent of the observer and “common sense.” Some concerns are raised about McGrath’s treatment of modern physics, the role of postmodernism, the evangelical perspective, and the fidelity to the agenda of Thomas Torrance. Finally, some words of exhortation are given to all writing on the relationship between science and theology."
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    Menuge, Angus J. L.

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    Interpreting the Book of Nature

    "In this essay, I will trace the history of the idea that nature is a book from early Greek science, through the Middle Ages and Reformation, and culminating in the rise and critique of natural theology. First we will try to understand how science ever got started: What prompted some people to stand back from their busy lives to open the book of nature in the first place? Next we will draw on the recent work of Peter Harrison, in which he argues persuasively that the Reformation provided the crucial hermeneutical change that overcame scholasticism and made modern science possible. Then we move to the great controversy between natural theology and its critics. This we will consider as fundamentally a drama about rival hermeneutics and the proper limits of theological and scientific interpretation. We will attempt to show that sound hermeneutics are vital to understanding the interplay between science and religion."
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    Moreland, J. P.

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    Complementarity, Agency Theory, and the God-of-the-Gaps

    "There has been a growing debate about the proper way to integrate science and theology. On the one side are those who accept a complementarity view of integration and claim that science must presuppose methodological naturalism. On the other side are those who accept some form of theistic science. Central to this debate is the nature of divine and human action and the existence of gaps in the natural causal fabric due to such action that could, in principle, enter into the use of scientific methodology. In this article, I side with the second group. To justify this position, I first state the complementarity view and its implications for the nature of human personhood, second, explain libertarian agency in contrast to compatibilist models of action, and third, show why 'gaps' are part of divine and human agency and illustrate ways that such a model of agency for certain divine acts could be relevant to the practice of science."
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    Moreland, J.P.

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    Is Science a Threat or Help to Faith?

    "...[T]here are several aspects to the integration of science and theology, and theistic science is a legitimate part of such integration. Theology doesn't need science to be rational. There is nothing wrong in principle, however, with bringing one's theology into the practice of science. Intellectual bullying aside, it is time for Christians to rethink these matters and allow theistic science to be a part of how they love God with their minds."
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    Murphy, George L.

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    Reading God’s Two Books

    "The metaphor of God’s 'two books' has often been used in discussions about the possibility of knowledge of God.1 The idea is that there are two sources for such knowledge, the book of God’s works— nature—and the book of God’s words—the Bible...I have often been critical of ways in which natural theology has been used in the science- theology dialogue. My purpose here, however, is not simply to reject the two books concept. It is rather to ask some questions about it, point out its limitations, and suggest some cautions about its use."
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    Padgett, Alan G.

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    Pt. 1 - Religion and Science in Christian Perspective

    “This essay was published in a collection of papers from the first conference on US-Sino Philosophy and Religious Studies (PekingI), sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, and of Religious Studies at Peking University, and now co-sponsored by the Society of Christian Philosophers in the US. The conference was arranged by Mel Stewart and Zhang Zhi-gang, who also edited the volume. My chapter discusses the nature and relationship between religion and science, arguing that science cannot replace religion.”
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    Padgett, Alan G.

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    Pt. 2 - Ethical Values through Religious Studies: Beyond the Western Myth of "Scientific" Neutrality

    "This second paper was published in Chinese, in East & West: Religious Ethics and Other Essays, eds. Zhang Zhigang and Melville Stewart [Beijing, China: Central Compilation & Translation Press, 1997]. Now available in English, with the same editors, under the title, The Symposium of Chinese-American Philosophy and Religious Studies, vol. III (Bethesda, MD: International Scholars Publ, 2000. I argue that there is no neutral, value-free approach to religious studies, and conclude with advocating some common values in the quest for religious knowledge."
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    Padgett, Alan G.

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    Pt. 3 - On the Very Idea of Theological Knowledge: A Comparison of Theology and Science

    "This third essay for China on religion and science was presented to the Fourth Peking Symposium in Philosophy & Religious Studies (1998.). Publication of an abstract only, in Chinese, is in a volume edited by Mel Stewart and Zhao Dunhua, from Peking University Press (2000)."
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    Padgett, Alan G.

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    The Mutuality of Theology and Science: An Example from Time and Thermodynamics

    "This essays summarizes my 'mutuality model' for the relationship between religion and science. It also explores the idea of explanation in theology, and discusses the support that theology and science can give one another, in the creation of a Christian worldview. The essay was printed in Christian Scholar’s Review 26 (1996), 12-35."
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    Padgett, Alan G.

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    Dialectical Realism in Theology and Science

    "The recent and welcome growth of interest in the religion and science dialogue has created a large literature of books, articles, lectures, conference, and even new positions in major universities. The religion and science dialogue has important issues on its agenda that are constructive and substantial, which are not part of philosophy. But philosophy...can help to create an inter-disciplinary framework or space in which the dialogue takes places. Some of the differences between various voices in this discussion are at bottom philosophical differences, rather than religious or scientific ones...I agree with Wentzel van Huyssteen and Nancey Murphy, who in recent lectures are calling for a post-foundational or postmodern epistemology, which should help create a philosophical space in which there can continue a fruitful dialogue and exchange between theology and the special sciences."
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    Payne, Peter E.

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    Science and Christianity: Worldviews in Conflict?

    “Christians ought not to think that the advance of science is a threat to their faith. Indeed the wonderful accomplishments of the scientific enterprise ought to be seen as revealing how exquisitely God has ordered the universe that he has created.”
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    Peters, Ted

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    Eight Models of Relating Science and Faith

    "Like two cultural Titans thrashing with one another, cutting edge science and traditional religion wrestle with one another while most of us watch and tremble. Science harbors no sentiment for what has gone on before; it takes no prisoners. Religion protects or even coddles traditional meanings, trying to prevent its own erasure from human history. The warfare is fought at the level of culture. A culture war is going on, and few among us can avoid conscription into one or another army. Yet, when we ask—just what are they fighting about?—the intellectual core of the issues seems to change shape. Curiously, everyone in the struggle holds science in high regard. No one would wish that science lose. All have an investment in the victory of scientific knowing over ignorance. For Christians, healthy science is an expression of healthy faith. Christians believe that all paths to truth lead to the true God. This investment in truth becomes faith’s investment in the best science."
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    Ratzsch, Del

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    On Reducing Nearly Everything to Reductionism

    "Let me begin by endorsing my friend Roy Clouser’s commitment to “thick” conceptions of science/religion engagement. That seems right, and I am with him there and on a variety of other points as well. However, I have reservations concerning a number of Clouser’s other contentions, and in what follows will focus on some of those."
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    Russell, Robert John

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    Eschatology and Scientific Cosmology: From Conflict to Interaction

    "Tonight’s lecture is part of a much larger research project with which I am currently engaged. The general goal is to advance the field of theology and science by placing them in a mutual and creative interactive process in which each benefits from the insights and discoveries of the other while respecting the differences between them. A secondary goal is to construct ever stronger responses to those voices which claim that theology and science are in total conflict or those which claim that they are in total isolation."
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    Seybold, Kevin S.

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    The Untidiness of Integration: John Stapylton Habgood

    "The foundation for any kind of dialogue between theology and science, according to Habgood in Faith and Uncertainty, is trust in each other’s basic integrity and a willingness to work together.3 There is, of course, a long history of just that kind of trust. It is in this tradition that his approach to science and religion is to be found...Both science and religion are searching for truth, and both use similar forms of language in their attempts to describe that truth."
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    Suppe, John

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    Thoughts on the Epistemology of Christianity in Light of Science

    "Science and religion are commonly considered antithetical. The scientific enterprise leads to rational knowledge that is the acme of human knowing, whereas religious knowledge is viewed as dogma and faith without a rational basis. This assessment has of course been quite strong in intellectual circles over the last few centuries, but it seems to be breaking down somewhat as we move into the 'post-modern era'. For example it has become widely appreciated that science has some strongly intuitive elements that might be characterized as a kind of faith. Nevertheless, scientific knowledge is still generally held to be the epitome of rationally based knowledge. In contrast, I believe there are some significant parallels between Christian and scientific knowing that lie at the very core of contingent epistemology. Specifically, observation and interaction are fundamental to both Christian and scientific knowledge."
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    Tang, Alfred

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    Science and Theology: An Integrative Approach

    "Science and Theology are two complementary disciplines. By 'theology,' I am usually referring to philosophical theology in the context of this thesis. Theology provides the metaphysical framework for science. Science lays the ontological foundation for natural theology. The heart of theology is the doctrine of the Trinity. Nature is a representation of the triune Godhead. To reflect reality accurately, scientific theories must be modeled after the Trinity. Eternity and the Trinity are complementary concepts. Eternity is the synthesis of time and timelessness in which triunity is a necessary condition to resolve its theoretical difficulties. In agreement with Christian orthodoxy, the Trinity essentially refers to three divine Persons as one God. The concept of the Trinity can be used as a metaphysical basis for the construction of an avant-garde version of the Grand Unification Theory."
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    Tanzella-Nitti, G.

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    The Two Books Prior to the Scientific Revolution

    "The relationship between the revelation of God through nature and through Scripture is here studied, by focusing on the metaphor of 'the Two Books' as it was used from the Fathers of the Church up to the seventeenth century. According to the majority of the Fathers, the book of nature is as universal as the book of Scripture, and the content of each is to some extent equivalent..."
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    Tkacz, Michael W.

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    Faith, Reason & Science: The View from the Catholic Tradition

    "Both science and faith concern the same factual reality: the reality of creation and its creator. Both science and faith arise out of the same human capacity for knowing factual reality: the human intellect. Both science and faith are addressing the same questions: What is real? Why does it exist and work the way it does? How and why is it good? Distinct sciences rationally study their proper objects, but these objects are all part of the same reality. What is valuable and spiritually meaningful is the truth and the truth is what is known when we scientifically know the facts about reality."
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    Townes, Charles

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    The Convergence of Science and Religion

    "Science and religion are often viewed as necessarily separate aspects of our beliefs and understanding. But I see religion as an attempt to understand the purpose of our universe and science as an attempt to understand its nature and characteristics, so that the two are necessarily closely related. The so-called anthropic principle for the physical constants and recent discoveries in cosmology such as the 'Big Bang' are at least suggestive of such a relationship. We furthermore try to understand each of these fields with all our human resources: intuition, observations, logic, and esthetics, with science and religion having different emphasis on these resources yet nevertheless using all of them. Science has undergone revolutions in the post, which have rather completely changed our views, and yet science of the past has often maintained an important validity. It still faces many inconsistencies, and we must be open to new changes with deeper understanding and yet the continued validity of present science as an approximate model. Can we expect similar changes and deepening of our human understanding of religion? I discuss the parallelism and increasingly strong interaction of science and religion, which I visualize, along with the possibility of their ultimately merging into a more unified understanding of both the purpose and the nature of our universe."
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    Wallace, Alan

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    The Intersubjective Worlds of Science and Religion

    "Science is often characterized as providing objective knowledge of the world as it exists independently of consciousness, whereas the humanities in general, and religion in particular, pertain to human experience. In this way, science is commonly viewed as being 'objective,' whereas religion is 'subjective.' In contrast to this popular idea, in this paper I shall argue that both scientific and religious truths cover a spectrum in terms of their invariance across multiple cognitive frames of reference. A highly objective truth, for instance, is one that is invariant across a wide range of cognitive frames of reference, including different modes of observation and different types of conceptual frameworks. A highly subjective truth, on the other hand, is one that is valid only for a very limited range of cognitive frames of reference. Following this model of intersubjective frames of reference, the validity of a truth-claim is tested, not in reference to some purely objective realm of existence, independent of all modes of inquiry, but in reference to multiple modes of perceptual and conceptual knowledge. With this criterion of truth, both scientific and religious modes of knowledge are seen to be inextricably embedded in human experience. Moreover, following this model, human consciousness--so long omitted from the scientific worldview--is seen to play a central role in both the natural world of science as well as the world of religious truths."
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    Wason, Paul K.

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    Clearing the Ground for a Meeting of Science and the Christian Faith: Five Characteristic Errors That Make the Healthy Challenge of Differing Perspectives Seem Like Open Warfare

    "We need to maintain humility about how well we really understand the physical world and its workings, how well we understand the Bible and how well we understand our own subjective experience. But in principle, faith, propositional theology, and science share the goal of understanding the way the world is. Many people today believe these different sources of knowledge are in such conflict that we simply cannot continue to acknowledge that they are, in fact, all valid sources of knowledge. I disagree, and after summarizing the current problem, I briefly review five characteristic errors of thought which make the conflict seem much worse that it really is. If it happens that the world really exists, it bears certain characteristics and not others, and we will need both science and theology, working together, if we are to improve our understanding of this one world."