Science and faith coexist

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Most of what letter writer Jeff Miller wrote (“Example shows prayer fails,” Dec. 4) was not based on facts about the church, but on common misconceptions.

Many people try to quote scripture out of context. The Bible should be read in chapters or books at a time. Matthew 21:21 says, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt ... ,” but if we read the verse before, Jesus says that one must have faith. However, just like Gil Ward said in his Dec. 5 letter, “God does not answer empty prayers.” Separated by sin, we have to repent and believe to restore our relationship with God, and then wait for His perfect timing.

Further, Mr. Miller wrote that Christians don’t “embrace science, scientific fact, critical thinking and common sense.” Georges Lemaître, a Belgian physicist and Roman Catholic priest, first postulated what later came to be known as the “Big Bang” theory. It basically says that all the mass of the universe was concentrated into a single point, wherein the fabric of time and space came into existence. This theory often is misunderstood by Christians. Science shows that this is how the universe came into being, but they don’t know what initiated it – what outside force “pushed the button,” so to speak, to start it. Christians believe that God was this impetus – the Creator of the Universe. This theory does not in any way discredit holy Scripture, for “God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

I am a physics major at Augusta State University, a devout Catholic and an ecumenist, and I find Mr. Miller’s statement about science in the Christian faith completely absurd and offensive. The Catholic Church supports science 100 percent because of its truth and facts. I pray that Mr. Miller realizes that faith is the reason we pray; faith is the reason we believe.

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Bruno
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Bruno 12/12/12 - 01:15 pm
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Read more SFB

Galileo, while a major astronomer and physicist of his time, never discovered or proved that the earth moves around the sun. The heliocentric concept had been around for at least 2,000 years - Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC) and Ptolemy (c. 90 AD - c. 168 AD) both worked to refute it. The particular theory promoted by Galileo was developed by a Catholic priest by the name of Nicholas Copernicus (1473 - 1543), who was years dead by the time of Galileo's birth in 1564. Copernicus' manuscript, published just before he died, had been circulated among scholarly circles for years and had intrigued Pope Leo X (r. 1513-1521) enough to interest him in their advancement. Although it seemed to contradict Scripture and could not be proven by scientific technology, the Church raised little objection to the Copernican sun-centered hypothesis as long as it was not represented as undisputed fact.
Galileo's problem was that he attempted to combine the concept of a heliocentric system with theology. It wasn't his scientific theory that got him in trouble with the clergy but rather his stepping into the theological realm.

Personally I think that those who hold an either/or position in relation to science and religion are just as ignorant as their opposition.

effete elitist liberal
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effete elitist liberal 12/12/12 - 01:40 pm
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Not so Humble Angela

Your position (my positing a scientific theory for what caused the Big Bang is no less presumptive than someone else positing a religious one) is of course logical, but it is not persuasive. You disregard most of recorded history, which has seen a whole range of phenomena-lighting and thunder, floods, the origin of species, the origin of life, illness, cures-which were at one time given spiritual causes, now given natural ones. [I pass by the position taken by so-called enlightened Christians to the effect that God works through the natural causes now identified,
a cop out if I ever heard one.] At any point in this long history of the advance of science, believers have in effect had to say "well, OK, but all that other stuff is still caused by God." Of course slowly the other stuff" came to be accepted as having natural causes too. So your position in 2012 seems to be that "OK, most all phenomena once believed to have spiritual causes do seem now more convincingly explained by science, except one: what caused the Big Bang. THAT was caused by God."
I doubt you will see the problem with this sort of ahisortical "logic,"
but that is just what it is. And oh, the idea that a spiritual being causes thunder and lightning? That's called MYTHOLOGY.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 12/12/12 - 01:50 pm
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EEL....just where have I
Unpublished

EEL....just where have I "disregarded most of recorded history?" Please provide quotes where I have done so, or kindly stop making up what you want me to have said.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 12/12/12 - 02:21 pm
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Why is it that when someone

Why is it that when someone disagrees with another poster they have to act immature and make fun of another poster's name. Why can they not address the poster like an adult, state their opinion or facts, and leave it at that.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 12/12/12 - 02:39 pm
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During Darwin's time even

During Darwin's time even scientist who accepted evolution saw some life as changing and others as likely created. That of course fell sway to evidence. But you can scientifically explain all the plagues of Moses evoked on Egypt but you can't explain the temporal sequence of events which is beyond coincidence since Moses stated it would happen and then it happened. There are numerous people (even of secular minds) who have experienced supernatural events-now that doesn't mean it is real nor it can be explained-but humans keep findin' these "supernatural" phenomena. There is evidence that chronic pot usage is associated with schizophrenia but given the thousands of years of its use and small percentage of people who are affected it is a difficult argument to make in cause and effect. Even evidence in science that supports something may not be meaningful. Coffee is bad and will cause cancer in some studies and it can increase your life span in others. Vitamin usage seems protective and healthy in some literature but causes cancer in others. Which is it????? Low salt diets are just a deadly as high salt diets. People seek extremes.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 12/12/12 - 02:46 pm
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Any good science doesn't

Any good science doesn't provide answers but more questions. Faith seeks the absolutes people see in physical laws but fail to see in the biological world (always an exception to the rule) and it forces a selfish mammal to become something other than a mammal called homo sapiens to a "special" creature (in the image of a god no less) that practices altruism.

effete elitist liberal
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effete elitist liberal 12/12/12 - 02:47 pm
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Humble

You disregard most of history by failing to account for the fact that it is science which inexorably has pushed back the domain of religion as an explanation for physical phenomena, not the other way around. You and your co-religionists cling to your belief that religion explains the pre-Big Bang time only in a the absence of a scientific explanation. You disregard history, which shows religion "defending" a smaller and smaller
part of the worlds of nature and time. You don't have much territory left, I'm afraid.

burninater
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burninater 12/12/12 - 02:54 pm
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Bizkit, the OT was written

Bizkit, the OT was written well after the plagues in Egypt. This is the only record of what Moses may have said, and when, relative to the occurrence or non-occurrence of the plagues.

Many similar folktales exist across cultures, in which historical events are combined into a single series of events and attributed to the actions of a revered historical leader. This does not become prima facie evidence that such stories are literal truth.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 12/12/12 - 03:31 pm
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I agree Burn. Many of the

I agree Burn. Many of the stories of snakes and serpents, floods, etc. are common myths but what powerful myths they are to be so universal-I believe many predate modern man leaving Sub-Sahara Africa and dominating the planet. Other hominids demonstrate spirituality and the evidence indicates humans were no different. Science doesn't address the same issues of the faiths-different domains of non-overlappin' majesteria as Gould would argue. The stories don't have to be literal or more to a message-like the flood likely coincides with the mass extinction of most of humanity (less than 1000 humans survived) that produced a founder effect in our geneology. There was a Science article a few years back examining myths and the likely real events that produced myths. How we communicate (differences in language, etc) to explain events is problematic and likely creates some confusion. I think it is obvious that science and faith coexists-plenty of people of science who are people of faith-so that is a false argument from the gitgo. Their faith serves a purpose which isn't related to their scientific beliefs. One doesn't prove or disprove the other because science can't address one and the other really has no business translating a bible to address issues that it wasn't intended. The bible is filled with examples of evolution. The geneology of everyone in it and descent from a common ancestor-Adam and Eve is what science has done too just a molecular mitochondrial Eve and Y chromosome Adam-both find the origin of man in subsahara africa. The bible really refers to mankind plural first and then addresses Adam and Eve later but the message is lost in the metaphor-all mankind has a common ancestor-theological or biological Adam and Eve. Both support the out of Africa hypothesis. The stories of the bible deal with issues of humanity-hate, love, spirit and soul. Things that don't exists by science-just the delusions of a hominid mammal. Different domains.

burninater
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burninater 12/12/12 - 03:55 pm
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I think it is obvious that

I think it is obvious that science and faith coexists-plenty of people of science who are people of faith-so that is a false argument from the gitgo.

--------

Agreed, Bizkit.

Yes there are religious folk who believe the Bible is literally true, and for whom science must be false in that it contradicts this literal truth. And yes there are atheists who insist that even the unknown must preclude God, absent any evidence that this must be so.

However, I think it needs to be recognized that the pro-science stance of the Catholic church is not necessarily indicative of the positions of many American Protestant denominations of Christianity. It was not Benedict XVI that termed evolution "lies straight from the pit of Hell", but a sitting U.S. Congressman.

Bizkit
34390
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Bizkit 12/12/12 - 04:47 pm
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Burn from what I've read a

Burn from what I've read a significant number of physicians have issue with evolution. Further even other science disciplines, other than biology, have a similar trend. Tells me biological scientist are doin' a crappy job conveying this info-although many christians I've talked to often don't have an issue with natural selection and microevolution but question macro-events. Physicist have done a great job conveying relativity and even people have heard of string theory and such. I'm surprised that other science fields especially physicist having this hesitance. I think people get caught up with the gene-centric view which really doesn't explain all evolution.

Bizkit
34390
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Bizkit 12/12/12 - 04:53 pm
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Science and faiths serve

Science and faiths serve different domains. Like sex and an organism. Science can explain the physiological, biochemical, and anatomical responses but the "human experience" of it (descriptions aren't very scientific hee,hee) would be the spiritual domain that faiths serve with dealing with the human experience and how this behavior drives numerous other ones.

burninater
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burninater 12/12/12 - 05:49 pm
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Bizkit, I think "significant

Bizkit, I think "significant number" is probably relative, dependent on one's personal feelings on the matter. The most recent poll I'm aware of that tries to measure this is Pew Research's 2009 poll, that found 97% of scientists believe life has evolved over time, with 87% attributing it as "due to natural processes such as natural selection".

http://www.people-press.org/2009/07/09/section-5-evolution-climate-chang...

I'm not so convinced that the non-scientific community's significant lack of understanding of evolution can be entirely lain at biologists' feet. I cannot think of a single other scientific theory that has such a massive propaganda machine of mis- and dis-information leveled at it as evolution.

harley_52
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harley_52 12/12/12 - 06:26 pm
4
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I'm not sure whether....

....it's more a matter of naivete, or intellectual arrogance to assume you know all the answers as to what is, or what isn't, Gods role in deciding and/or directing the way things have developed in this world and how they will end.

Personally, I think it is pretty foolish to assume everything that we know (and believe we can "explain") has all happened through some sort of accident, or because of some phenomenon that we have observed and learned, and have somehow convinced ourselves we understand completely.

Is it an accident, or did somebody decide there would be such things as electricity and gravity? And since we can observe them, does that mean we understand them and/or can explain them with any specificity?

harley_52
25117
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harley_52 12/12/12 - 06:43 pm
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"The most recent poll I'm aware of .....

....that tries to measure this is Pew Research's 2009 poll, that found 97% of scientists believe life has evolved over time, with 87% attributing it as "due to natural processes such as natural selection". "

So what?

Are you suggesting science has become a matter of opinion rather than a matter of provable fact?

OpenCurtain
10049
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OpenCurtain 12/12/12 - 07:45 pm
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1st it was the Missing link, so called because it is missing

A BIG Chunk of the Theory they can't seem to find. Maybe because it is genetically judged to take about 10,000+ generations of evolution to achieve, but the theory tries to explain it happened in less than a few 1000 generations.

Then we have the Big Bang Theory... OK so who lit the fuse or pulled the trigger?

Now they claim to have found a GOD Particle. What next?

Who knows what science will come up with next in its QUEST to provide there is no GOD. The Problem for them is 2 fold.

1st it is all THEORY. They leave even more UNANSWERED questions as they try to answer.

2nd They work to prove something does not exist, that 4 Billion people on this Earth think does, in 1 way or the other.
As science peals back the layers, I feel the more we will understand there is a GOD.

I myself, long ago adopted Einstein's belief.

"Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."

oldredneckman96
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oldredneckman96 12/12/12 - 08:08 pm
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Science and Religion
Unpublished

Sure, science and religion can get along; look at the Church of Scientology. If you don’t believe it go ask a Mormon. My faith just gets stronger every time science make a new discovery. Just make sure of what it is you put your faith in.

burninater
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burninater 12/12/12 - 11:36 pm
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So what?Are you suggesting

So what?

Are you suggesting science has become a matter of opinion rather than a matter of provable fact?
-------
So what?

Sorry, couldn't resist -- it adds SO much to civil dialogue.

As to the question about what I may or may not be suggesting: No. I'm suggesting that the idea that a "significant number" of physicians have issue with evolution would appear to be a matter of opinion, not a provable fact.

The larger issue of "provable fact" is an entirely different one. If observable and repeatable phenomena are considered features of provable fact, then religion falls one hundred percent in the opinion column. If unsubstantiated proclamations are considered features of provable fact, then science is the thing that exists in the realm of opinion.

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 12/13/12 - 07:19 am
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EEL...show me a quote where I
Unpublished

EEL...show me a quote where I disregarded ANYTHING. You are simply assuming you know what I think.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 12/13/12 - 09:31 am
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Not opinion Burn. Note this

Not opinion Burn. Note this evolution website:http://www.evolutionnews.org/2005/05/poll_60_percent_of_doctors_reject_darwin000937.html
Course I've seen other polls that say only 43 percent have issue with evolution.

sconservative
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sconservative 12/13/12 - 12:53 pm
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Big Bang and selective destruction of dinosaurs

Opinions/ideas like Big Bang and selective destruction of dinosaurs are not scientific theories. They can be neither observed, tested or disproved. These are the Secular Humanist ideas since the Bible and global flood are rejected.

KasparHauser
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KasparHauser 12/15/12 - 11:48 am
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Another Appeal to "Authority"
Unpublished

Oh good, another "physics major" thinks his actually socially-derived "belief" superior just because he struts and frets the stage better than ASU business majors.

Here's a clue, newbie:

Occams Razor. It works throughout Nature. No need to posit a Jebus in the Sky unnecessarily if it's even more inexplicable than the Big Bang's singularity. You've only added mess to the whiteboard for no purpose. And, I wouldn't believe all the PhD ASTROphysicists (who would think your views quaint) appreciate your putting words into their mouths like "they don't know what pushed the button". There was no "button" and there was no "outside" just like there's no mysterious gravity but merely deformation of space-time. Or, are you ASU's own Archimedes Plutonium?

Here's a question for the student: Why and when was Galileo put on The List, and when was he removed? So much for your religion's true interest in science.

Oh, and I got my degree from a most religious (i.e., Papal bull type, not a third tier community college like O'Reilly's) university that trumps your merely being an RC, so evidently my word is better?

Finally, the idea of nonoverlapping magesteria, as proposed by Gould and others, which separate Life into a Science and Religion realm is just an attempt by scientist to play nice with others. As science progresses, and the God of the Gaps gets consigned to a narrower and narrower row house, it becomes painfully evident that all the 'mystery' in human existence is mere biochemistry and neurological complexity/degeneration.

If there is something beyond human existence, it certainly will be like the Tao which cannot be Tao'ed, or the I WILL be what I WILL be. It won't be the comic book illustrations preacher folk use to lure in the rubes and fill the collection plates.

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