Engage: Faith and Science

Via the Butler Connection, I learned about this upcoming event:

University of Indianapolis Professor of Biology Dr. John Langdon and former microbiologist/current pastor of Cross and Crown Lutheran Church Rev. Christine Wulff  will discuss the intersection of faith and science at the Center for Faith and Vocation, 4615 Sunset Ave., beginning at 6:30 p.m.Friday, Aug. 23.

Have you had the impression that faith and science are mutually exclusive? That believing in God and taking religion seriously means “checking your brain at the door” and dismissing scientific evidence? Or that being a true scientist means treating religion as a foolish thing of the past?

Our featured speakers will address some of the apparent conflicts between faith and science and how they have navigated these conflicts in their own lives and work; they will also tackle some of the most pressing ethical issues facing the realm of science and dialogue about how different faith perspectives could helpfully weigh in on such matters.

Dr. John Langdon, Professor of Biology and Anthropology at the University of Indianapolis, studies human origins, human biology, and the history of science.  He is the author of four books and numerous academic papers.  Currently a member of Servants of Christ Lutheran Church, he has engaged students and fellow parishioners in issues of bioethics and the relationship between evolution and faith.

Christine Wulff began her vocational journey by working in several laboratories. After obtaining her Bachelors and then doctoral degree from Cornell University in Ithaca NY, Dr. Wulff was an active researcher at the University of Kentucky for over a decade in both the biochemistry and the microbiology departments. By 2011 that same vocational journey led her to complete her Masters of Divinity degree at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC. She now serves as the pastor of Cross and Crown Lutheran Church in Indianapolis.

There will be plenty of time for your questions, too, so be sure to come with whatever issues you think are most important to address!

Space is limited for this FREE event, so register now to be part of the conversation. On-site registration will be available only if the event does not fill up in advance. Food will be provided.

Click through for more information or to register to attend!

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Have you had the impression that faith and science are mutually exclusive?

    -Yes, in the same sense that thinking the Philosopher’s Stone can be created by humans and acceptance of mainstream Chemistry are mutually exclusive.

    That believing in God and taking religion seriously means “checking your brain at the door” and dismissing scientific evidence?

    -Yes.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      It sounds like you really need to attend!

      • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

        Will the discussion be recorded?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Not that I’m aware of, but I will check. If it is and will be available online, I will definitely share it on my blog!

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I am reminded of Sam Harris’s puzzlement over Francis Collins’s religion.

    http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/the-strange-case-of-francis-collins

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I certainly agree that the suggestion that religion and science cannot be in conflict is obviously false. Plenty of people oppose science on the basis of their religious beliefs, or religion on the basis of what they think science proves. But that does not lead to the conclusion that religion and science must by definition conflict.

      • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

        “But that does not lead to the conclusion that religion and science must by definition conflict.”
        I agree, but if religion (such as Christianity with the OT) is true, we should not have conflicts with sciences. But we do.
        Some will say, religion is true, sciences is not. Still acknowledgment of a conflict here.
        Overall, religion and sciences do conflict, it is undeniable, even if they should not.
        Of course, I would be most interested about that conference, but I am afraid that will be full of “spiritual” fuzzy soft apologetic rhetoric.
        Cordially, Bernard

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Unless a religion’s truth consists in the accuracy of the scientific information it offers, then there is no reason why science should not reach conclusions different from what was believed in the past, without it being considered to represent a fundamental conflict. After all, within the New Testament we see the influence of Greek cosmology, which differed from that reflected in the texts the earliest Christians considered scriptural. Yet they did not consider those texts to have been undermined in terms of their religious and cultural importance to them.

          • http://historical-jesus.info/ Bernard Muller

            If religion can be proven false on verifiable items, then what are the guarantees it is true on others?
            What early Christians thought is rather pointless: once you are hooked to a religion, you are likely to ignore any differences with the cosmology of the day.
            Anyway, what early Christians condoned should not be taken as a precedent to justify what present Christians should allow.
            Cordially, Bernard

      • 3SPARTUS8

        Well, that all depends on the definitions. Doesn’t it??? What I know is that there have been a number of scientists who were seriously religious, the most famous being Isaac Newton. But what he and others wrote about the bible and religion amounted to unmitigated nonsense compared to their scientific contributions. In other words, the human mind does indeed have a capacity for “double think,” which is why so many well meaning, well educated people still cling to and rationalize the faith of their more ignorant fathers. Some even go so far as to promote traditional beliefs using what I consider to be pseudoscience.

    • Ignorantia Nescia

      Given the fact that the good man has his own foundation to gently ram some scientific sense into the more conflicted members of Christianity, I doubt that Collins would say there are no conflicts between science and religion, but rather that there is no inherent conflict between science and religion. “There is a conflict between science and religion” is an ambiguous phrase after all. The man himself acknowledges that there are conflicts here: http://www.pewforum.org/2008/04/17/the-evidence-for-belief-an-interview-with-francis-collins/#conflict

      Science only has a beef with religion insofar the latter threatens the working assumption of methodological naturalism, but methodological naturalism does not mean that miracles are completely excluded, just that the workings of the universe are sufficiently unmiraculous. That assumption has been in place among the relevant section of intellectuals since the High Middle Ages. Since orthodox Christianity can work with only a limited number of instances of divine intervention which aren’t observable any more and liberal Christianity with none, it is hard to see why there would be an inherent conflict between either and science. If you seek to argue against Christianity, the routes are philosophy and history, but not science.

      That there is a necessary conflict between science and religion seems therefore a perplexing claim to me at least.

      • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

        “There is a conflict between science and religion” is an ambiguous phrase after all.

        -Agreed, especially if the term “religion” is not defined.

        Science only has a beef with religion insofar the latter threatens the working assumption of methodological naturalism, but methodological naturalism does not mean that miracles are completely excluded, just that the workings of the universe are sufficiently unmiraculous.

        -Extraordinary claims still require extraordinary evidence. “God exists” is an extraordinary claim. “There is a being that thinks without a brain, but is neither omnipotent nor omniscient” is also an extraordinary claim.

  • Guest

    I think you can believe in God and science as .long as you interpret large swathes of the bible metaphorically or as parable. This goes for most other religions too.
    I don’t see why you would bother though. Science explains the world just fine on it’s own, and has improved our lives much more than religion. If all the priests in the world became scientists overnight, humanity would benefit enourmously.

    • 3SPARTUS8

      Well said! The only thing I might add is the fact that, historically speaking, humankind has shown a need for supernatural explanations and for the added comfort of knowing or at least acknowledging a divine parent (i.e., God). This is still a driving force in human existence, both collectively and individually.

      • Guest

        I think the reason for the supernatural explanations is that we need explanations of some sort for everything, we don’t like uncertainty, because not knowing what you’re dealing with can be dangerous. And in the past, people didn’t have the time, money, resources or the level of organisation needed to do science, and so they came up with supernatural explanations instead. But I do think that once you have a scientific explantion for something, you don’t need the supernatural one anymore. No-one thinks that thunder is the sound of Thor’s goats’ hooves anymore, and once we had the germ theory of disease, the idea that demons caused sickness began to die away (although there are still people who hold it).

        As for a devine parent, I don’t really believe in that. I think we evolved very slowly from single-celled life, without anyone steering our course. I have earthly parents and I believe they wanted me, or at least they wanted a second child and I am it, and that’s enough for me. Of course there’s always going to be things in the universe we cannot control, and I understand the temptation to hope that there’s someone in charge.

        • 3SPARTUS8

          In the beginning, whenever that came about, humans required more than
          mere explanations. They needed and wanted the comfort that comes from an
          ability to control their environment to ensure day-to-day survival.
          Ultimately, even though we know more nowadays and even though most of us
          are able to understand and control some things better, we are still
          confronted by the powerful forces of nature, as well as our own
          mortality. Death, dying and disease, just to name a few, are terrifying
          prospects all along life’s pathway, something that makes people feel
          vulnerable and in wont of salvation. To a gambler it’s the equivalent of
          an ace in the hole. Of course, not everyone feels this way, especially
          the young and/or those who have been lucky enough to hold what seems
          like winning hands. Few, however, who suffer great pain, or who curl up
          at night in fox holes, or who otherwise feel the tragic side of human
          existence, are willing to go it alone. Under these circumstances, it is not a mere temptation to hope there’s someone in charge, it’s an inbred and circumstantial need.

  • http://www.thinkpoint.wordpress.com/ SC

    If you think faith and science are mutually exclusive, check this out:

    Confusing faith and science
    Sunday News
    Aug 25, 2013
    By STEVEN W. CORNELL
    Correspondent

    Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/885494_Confusing-faith-and-science.html#ixzz2d0ja1HqL


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X