Thursday, August 12, 2010

Quote of the Day: "Far From Hindering The Development of Science"

J.P. MorelandImage via Wikipedia

Christianity, far from hindering the development of science, actually provided the womb for its birth and development.” -- J. P. Moreland

I've heard J.P. speak. Does a wonderful talk on the pitfalls of relativism and  how he once challenged a moral relativist -- he stole his stereo!

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Hræfn said...

And yet Moreland 'hinders science' as part of the anti-science propaganda mill known as the Discovery Institute. This would suggest a certain bias, that might affect his credibility with most of the scientific community.

As a matter of interest, what are Moreland's qualifications in the History of Science that might raise his claim above mere partisan polemics?

Hræfn said...

A Christian critique of Moreland's views (and those of his fellow travellers) can be found in 'Special Creationism in Designer Clothing:A Response to The Creation Hypothesis', by Howard J. Van Till, Professor of Physics, Calvin College, in Science in Christian Perspective, the journal of the American Scientific Affiliation.

I think this quote is relevant to the "Far From Hindering The Development of Science" issue:

"Part of the difficulty in these matters is generated by the
ambiguity that follows from the failure, very common in anti-evolution
literature, to distinguish two very different meanings for the word naturalistic.
One meaning, I shall call it naturalistic (narrow), is very limited in
scope and simply refers to the idea that the physical behavior of some
particular material system can be described in terms of the
capacities of its interacting components and the interaction of the system with
its physical environment. Therefore there is a naturalistic (narrow)
theory of planetary motion, or of star formation, or of earthquakes, or of cell
behavior, or of photosynthesis, or of the development of a zygote into a mature

So understood, naturalistic (narrow) speaks only to
the idea of the functional integrity of a material system as it acts and
interacts in time. No stance regarding the ontological origin of its existence
is either specified or implied. Nor is the ultimate source of its capacities for
behaving as it does, or its purpose in the larger context of all reality, or its
relation to divine action or intention. Defined in this way, naturalistic
has no elements or connotations that would be in any way
objectionable in principle to Christian belief.

The other definition, which I shall call Naturalistic
, is far more expansive in scope. It not only includes all of the
elements of naturalistic (narrow), but it also superimposes the strong
metaphysical stipulations that neither the existence nor the behavioral
capacities of material systems derive from any divine source (thereby making a
Creator unnecessary) and that the behavior of material systems can in no way
serve in the attainment of any divine purpose or intention. So defined, Naturalistic
is essentially identical to materialistic and is, therefore,
absolutely irreconcilable with Christian theism. Any critique of methodological
that fails to honor the distinction between the broad and the
narrow meanings of naturalistic is, I believe, sure to generate more heat
than light, more hostility than learning.

(Emphasis on the final sentence is my own.)

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"