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Name: holt
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993

What argument would you use to convince a student that has a deep religious background that the faith they have in G-d and the creation story is different than the faith that a scientist has in his/her equipment? Is the theory for the scientific method a more valid way of believing in a topic like the creation of life, than the biblical version?

It is not a matter of faith. The scientist is attempting to create a consistent explanation of how nature works that allows predictions and correlations of data that are currently not known. The emphasis is on how nature works, not on why or who made nature to work the way it does. It is possible, and indeed the case that several scientists are religious, but the creation of scientific knowledge does not conflict with religious truth of who and why unless the religion tries to describe how in a way that conflicts with reality. Any time that the religious belief attempts to construct a description of the way in which nature works without testing it, (ie., without doing science) then it has stopped being religion and tried as science. At that point it must meet the same standards of testing and assessment and it stops being religion. Some of the past conflicts between science and religion were cases where religion tried to extend its description beyond the who and why, into the how without checking reality. The student should be able to have any belief about who and why, but any belief about how needs to stand the test of direct comparison with nature itself.


The previous answer is really great! However, to make any inroads will take time! I have taught evolution at the high school level in a parochial school with some fundamentalists pressure from staff and still got students to think about sound scientific principles. Some are so wrapped into the dogma you cannot reach them and it is best not to over exert. But here are a few things that might help: Most biblical scholars believe the first few chapters in Genesis to be figurative, not literal - up to the time of Abraham. This is known as "higher criticism" and is fueled in part by the early discovery of the dead sea scrolls. A super video to study and show these students is a 1989 NOVA called "G-d, Darwin, and The Dinosaurs" which is distributed by Coronet/MTI at 800-621-2131

Lou Harnisch

On a very basic semantic level, science and religion are two different paradigms (ways of thinking about the world) that usually do not have a lot to do with each other. However having faith in these paradigms is probably fairly similar. That is not to say that I could agree with the idea that one can replace one with the other. Having faith is a philosophical question (believing in something). One way of approaching the question is to be specific about defining the semantics involved. Religions are paradigms about things like god, afterlife and what is a better way of living one's life. Science is a paradigm that deals with how one explores and explains phenomena in the concrete world. As mentioned, the problems arise when one attempts to explain the other. In a conflicted area such as evolution it might help to unfocus from an argument about truth. Instead it might be better to focus on the evidence for evolution and how the theory of evolution interprets that evidence, then perhaps to acknowledge how creationism interprets that evidence. A student, then required to know the facts as mentioned, but does not necessarily have to choose against what might feel like one's faith.


For the last response from psych, the last two sentences: The problem is that fundamentalist creationism forces their people to make that decision. "You believe this way or your faith is flawed" approach. Sometimes evolutionists can be just as forceful and dogmatic too. I like Psych's approach a lot!

Lou Harnisch

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