Science, the (Sometimes Unruly) Child of Biblical Faith

Bertolt Brecht’s “Galileo” and that deeply misleading staple of high school English courses, “Inherit the Wind,” have thoroughly confused our … Continued

Bertolt Brecht’s “Galileo” and that deeply misleading staple of high school English courses, “Inherit the Wind,” have thoroughly confused our understanding of the relationship between biblical faith and the emergence of modern science. To clear the cobwebs, ask yourself a question: Why did the scientific method, which assumes that the natural world is rationally knowable, arise in the West, and not elsewhere? Other cultures had made important advances in mathematics and technology, but it was the West that invented the scientific method. Why?

I suggest it was because the West is the civilizational product of the fruitful interaction of Athens, Jerusalem, and Rome: Greek reason, biblical faith, and Roman law. The first two are of particular importance for our question. A culture convinced that God made the world through his “Reason,” his “Word” (or “Logos”), is a culture that knows the world to be knowable; that intuits a divine mandate to understand what God has wrought; and that can devise methods for getting at the truth of things in the natural order. That is what Copernicus and Galileo, both believing Catholics, did — they tried to get at the truth of things, which they believed God had written into the created order. The human task was to figure out the code, so to speak.

So an alliance-for-humanity between science and biblical religion is in fact a matter of re-connecting a parent and its child, not of introducing two utterly different species to each other. Whether E.O. Wilson’s kind of alliance is the kind needed is another question. But that there is no inherent conflict between the truths revealed by science and the truths about creation and his intentions in creating revealed by the God of the Bible is the simple fact of the matter.

No matter how much some scientists and some believers may deny it.

Written by

  • Norrie Hoyt

    “… it was the West that invented the scientific method. Why?”I suggest it was because the West is the civilizational product of the fruitful interaction of Athens, Jerusalem, and Rome: Greek reason, biblical faith, and Roman law.”Two-thirds right, which is perhaps not bad for George Weigel. Greek reason and Roman law, yes; biblical faith, no.Biblical faith rejected science from the get-go, persecuted it through the centuries, and wilfully misinterprets and misconstrues its findings even today.

  • Terry

    An excellent cover of Giordano Bruno can be found on Wikipedia. A young genius with an prodigious memory, cosmologist, priest and eventually a convert to pantheism. He preached a heliocentric solar system and infinite universe with myriad life forms and was influenced to a certain degree by the above mentioned Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus early on, but also by the hermetical/magical works of Hermes Trismogestes known as the Emerald Tablets. Bruno was burned at the stake in 1600Quick to condemn and long to repent …. should be the motto of the Catholic church for it’s own behavior.

  • Robert B.

    Norrie –I’m surprised at you. You usually show a far more nuanced understanding of topics like this. I understand the frustration that you feel regarding the Biblical literalists, but don’t try to paint all churches in that light (especially when an unbiased look at the history of science proves otherwise).Terry –Do you know why Bruno believed in a heliocentric universe? It wasn’t because of the science behind it, but because of the pantheism you mentioned. So he was correct out of blind luck rather than scientific knowledge. Plus, Bruno was excommunicated for far more that just his devotion to heliocentrism.Does anyone here the rotation of the earth was actually empirically proven? (Hint: it’s the title of a really good Umberto Eco novel…)

  • Hewitt

    The idea that Christianity gave rise to science in Europe is an historical canard pushed by Christians anxious to let some of science’s credibility rub off on them. Consider Wiegel’s argument: “A culture convinced that God made the world through his ‘Reason,’ his ‘Word’ (or ‘Logos’), is a culture that knows the world to be knowable.” This from a religion that professes at the same time that “God works in mysterious ways”? Every religion has this bipolar view of God; there is nothing unique about Christianity. What set off science in Europe was a rediscovery of Greek science thanks to Christianity’s encounters with Islam and the Islamic conquest of Constantinople, forcing Europe out into the world. Figuring out how God’s world works is an enterprise divorced from God. And if the facts discovered conflict with faith, then you had better hide the facts before the Christians try and kill you.To claim that evolution is consistent with God is true only if one assumes the God of the Deists, a watchmaker God who made it all but does not otherwise get involved; that is, a God indistinguishable from no God. If one assumes an involved God, then there would be evidence of his intervention, certainly in the evolutionary record. But there is no evidence. An involved God is inconsistent with evolution, science, fact, and reason. For all of that, an alliance between science and creation-care Christians is both possible and fruitful. People can agree on goals even if their motivations in pursuing those goals conflict.

  • Robert B.

    Hewitt –May I recommend that you read the book *Aristotle’s Children* by Richard Rubenstein? The Catholic Church’s focus on the relationship between reason and faith is no “historical canard pushed by Christians”, but an actual reality.Oh, and by the way, by the time of the conquest of Constantinople, Aristotle had been available in Europe for almost three centuries. Islam stopped reading Aristotle about the same time that the West rediscovered him.It’s a shame that actual canards like “the medieval Church though the earth was flat” are taken as gospel truth. The truth is a lot more complex (not to mention interesting…)

  • Mr Mark

    No comment from me…except to say that I can’t believe I bothered to read another article by George Weigel.

  • Terry

    Robert B – not that this is really worthy of debate, but from what I’m seeing Bruno was ordered to stand trial for heresy because he questioned the divinity of Jesus after reading works by Erasmus.He just talked to damn much for his own good and fled, leading quite an adventurous life in the process. In fact, he preached Copernican theory but this was not well received given the age he lived in – clearly his heliocentric ideas were not by accident, but by preference. He was simply a man whose thinking and ideas were far in advance of his age and of those men who were in charge of life and death – significantly, the Catholic Church hierarchy, and that being Cardinal Bellarmine (the great Inquisitor) and Pope Clement.In any event, we know what happened to those who dared cross theological swords with the Church in regard to Church doctrine (see the Cathars of the 12th century for example – yep, the whole bunch burned at the stake). In fact, the Inquisition (being led by the the Dominicans and St. Dominic himself in the 12th century) just went on and on and on, and the Church continued burning heretics right and left right up to and including Bruno in 1600. Did the religous homicide stop then? By no means – after the Reformation the Protestants took up the gauntlet and continued the rich tradition of murdering dissenters wherever and whenever necessary. Giordano Bruno has not been forgotten – a society named in his honor recently presented an award for the advancement of science to none other than Richard Dawkins.Robert – I don’t know what your position on religion and the Catholic Church might be – however, it is historically clear that the Church has seen fit to malign countless numbers that didn’t agree with the prevailing sanctioned view of truth – and curiously, in much the same fashion that early Christian believers were persecuted by those pagan Romans. And to take that simile yet another step, the way that Israel sees fit to persecute the Palistinians today. Whose hands are clean??

  • Paganplace

    Ask Archimedes and Thales and Hypatia and all them. 🙂 Trying to give Biblical religion credit for science cause we have had some, often in spite of it, ….is like giving Christianity credit for the artistic Renaissance as if it weren’t literally a ‘rebirth’ of something it’d once done its level best to destroy.

  • Casey

    I agree with Mr Weigel. Judaism, and it’s off-shoots Christianty and Islam, largely took the superantural out of the physical and everyday world and focused all of it into one God. (I say “largely”. You can read a book of ancient coptic Christian spells or a journal of one the Mayflower puritans to see exceptions). It was stressed that this God was constant and unchaning.

  • Hewitt

    Robert B.:I have read a fair amount already on the theory that Christianity gave rise to science, though not Mr. Rubinstein’s book. The arguments for Christianity all left me with the same thought: So what is the logical path from Christianity to science? Advocates can state their conclusion in a variety of clever ways, but they can never get beyond hand waving as their justification. With equal justice I could argue that Christianity lead directly to the automobile. It’s a woolly argument. On Aristotle, your timing is right, but your implication is wrong. The Catholic church adopted, preserved, and calcified Aristotle. Greek science and more importantly scientific thinking was reintroduced to Europe during the crusades and by the Moors in Spain. Islamic science stopped when the Islamic fundamentalists won. May I recommend to you, The Years of Rice and Salt

  • Mary Cunningham

    Well, the bikini wouldn’t have been invented, that’s for sure…and no high fashion, heels, or hats. But all is not lost…there’d be harems: women and young boys.

  • rm-rf

    Funny, I love how Wiegel ignores history to try and associate science with christianity – first there was the Greeks, then the Romans and then the church and then 1200 years later… voila! science – see? without the church there would be no science! never mind the (1400 years?) stagnation of scientific thought ever since it was snuffed out by various authoritanian regiems and most notably by the Catholic church – never mind the whole Galileo thing, just over hyped in high-school history classes, banned books? never mind… burning heritics… never happened. He should write for Conservipedia!

  • Henry james

    Is Weigel Ignorant of History or Just DuplicitousRM-RF’s plainspoken post raises this unavoidable question. I am a person of good faith, so I think that Weigel actually *believes* the nonsense thatt he has posted here about the positive correlation between Christianity and Science.But it is a Whopper.

  • ted chittenden

    After reading George Weigel’s statement on this topic, I am reminded of these lines from the second verse of the 1967 rock song “For What It’s Worth,” by Buffalo Springfield:”Young people speaking their mindsLook! The ancient Greeks didn’t practice science as we know it today. Aristotle and Plato were basically philosophers, and while they observed much, they didn’t always get it right. For examples, I am reminded of three specific Aristotelian views that were much later proven wrong:1. The natural state of objects is at rest.While the Greek philosophers were fairly good observers of human behavior, they neither had the tools nor the values to actually be good scientists.As I noted in the comments under Father Reese’s response to this question, modern science as we know it really didn’t appear until 1275 when Roger Bacon proved that only through repeated experiments with the same results could science be certain. And while several priests and monks have done much to further science (Copernicus during the 1300’s and the monk who began modern genetics with his experiments with peaplants during the mid 19th century), these people faced stiff opposition from their superiors to their work.I think that religion and science can be allies only in limited areas where both are in agreement. The insistence upon dogma and judgment by religion versus open-mindedness and free experimentation by scientists makes any broad alliance problematic for both.

  • Mary Cunningham

    Norrie Hoyt,The Reformation was sparked by Roman decadence. This is not a new historical theme.But I’m on sabbatical. No need to answer stupid stuff.

  • Gerry

    Casey,no, it does not make Aristotle an idiot. But it does not make the sun revolve around the earth either, as Aristotle may have believed.Religion always lagged behind truth for centuries until it was no longer tenable to maintain obvious nonsense.It is again lagging behind for centuries (Galileo vindicated in 1992!), even for millenia, if ignorants “believe” that god stopped the sun for a while to give Joshua more time to kill the inhabitants of Jericho, or that Jesus sent the “evil spirit” into a herd of pigs. Under normal present day conditions, genuine believers in such absurdities would be in an insane asylum – unless, of course, they can claim it is their religious “faith”. What conclusion can we draw from this?

  • Campbellite

    I have to agree with Weigel that it was the congruence of Greek thought, Roman organization, and Jewish (pre christian) theology that gave rise to *European* scientific method, but…Other sciences and technologies have also been invented outside Europe.China, Indus Valley, ancient Meso American civilizations also had their own systems of understanding the way the world works and creating technology. Just because we don’t recognize the systems, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. As an example, the Inca had a system of … writing, for want of a better word … that consisted of specifically spun, dyed, knotted, and handled threads, which their Literati used to record and read information. Sadly, they were all (or nearly all) destroyed by the Conquistadores. (Read 1491 for more info.)Before the West pats itself on the back as the only inventor of science, perhaps we should study the rest of the word first?

  • bushbasher

    If Christianity wants to take so much of the credit for the development of scientific method, would someone like to explain why it took 1500 years from the start of Christian dominance?

  • BGone

    Campbellite:One of the mistakes we make is attributing scientific progress to Europeans alone. The Chinese made steel a thousands years before Europeans. Then there’s gun powder, and spaghetti.Religion, Buddhism combined with cast system culture turned China into a third world country. Look at the pain and suffering it’s taking to pull them back out.All “civilizations” that have come and gone are earmarked with religion taking over the society, a high priest of some kind or other becoming a dictator or a silent one, like the pope until the reformation. Europeans escaped by the skin of their teeth.Will we manage to break the evangelical strangle hold on our government? Will religion dictate to science next? Already is dictating the terms and conditions of scientific progress using the power of government controlled by religion, stem cell research? What’s next? Is it already too late? You’d be surprised how many people think it’s too late. When good people do nothing…

  • Terry

    Norrie – I know you’re quite an admirer of the Cathars as am I – a remarkable group of people that were among the many ‘heretics’ systematically purged by the Church. A famous quote emerging from the Albigensian Crusade as ordered by Pope Innocent III sometime early in the 13th century is still heard around the world in numerous variations, and is worth telling again – the Pope had sent both the Cistercians and Dominicans against the Cathars in France – the city of Beziers was at one point surrounded and Crusaders laid seige to the city based on a rumor that Cathars might be hiding among the residents. When the Crusade’s spiritual leader the Abbot Arnold-Amaury was asked how to proceed, he retorted infamously, ‘kill them all and God will sort out his own’ …. which of course they did. Approximately 20,000 men, women and children were dispatched. Pope Innocent III lauded the action, saying that God had permitted the faithful to earn their salvation even though they had been exterminated.For this and other crimes against humanity, Catholics will have to get used to the idea that if there really is a hell of eternal damnation for the unrepentant sinner, many formerly glorified Church heros, Popes, and numerous saintly co-conspiritors are burning there as we speak for engaging in mass murder throughout the ages. But don’t despair. If you’re of a Buddhist turn of mind, you know they’ll eventually get another trial run at being human….just not any time soon.Your posts are exceptional as always.

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Mary Cunningham,Much “stupid stuff” contains truth.From “Terence, This is Stupid Stuff” by A. E. Housman:”And malt does more than Milton* can*or the R.C. Church.Regards.

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Terry,It’s good to hear from someone who also thinks that the Cathars were an extraordinary, wonderful people.Perhaps it says something about the nature of this world that they were exterminated, along with their culture.I’ve read that what little we know of the Cathars’ beliefs comes mostly from the transcripts kept by the inquisitors of their heresy trials, because the inquisitors burned virtually all of the Cathars’ writings along with the Cathars themselves.It seems to me that these terrible happenings might well be evidence that the Cathars’ “Ignorant Demiurge” really did create the material world that they and we were born into.The quotation from the siege of Beziers is extraordinary and very revealing of the nature of the Papacy in action, isn’t it?I agree with your penultimate paragraph, about the near-term fate of the Catholic murderers (if you can call a span of many millions of earth years, “near-term”).I’ve read that when Tibetan Buddhists have decided to take their own lives in the face of Chinese oppression, they say they’re “taking four”, meaning that they know their next incarnation will be as an animal, a devastating retrogression on the path to enlightenment, since incarnation as a human being is the most favorable for making progress toward enlightenment, and incarnation as a human being is also very rare, precious, and difficult to attain.I imagine, as you suggest, that it will be almost literally forever in earth time for the instigators and killers of the Albigensian Crusade to reach even the four-legged animal stage again.It’s encouraging to find someone here who shares values and attitudes with me.And thanks for your kind words.Best wishes.

  • Terry

    Begone – Then again, I’m not so certain that the atheist Mao tse tung’s method of exterminating upwards of 100 million Chinese was any way to extricate China from the stranglehold of religion.Yes, they’re still feeling the pain – of the imposition of tyrannical rule and military despotism. And as we just discussed on the last thread, China with their new mindset had no problem overrunning Tibet, slaughtering and imprisoning the Tibetan people, and imposing that same military stranglehold that worked so well in China. Mao left a powerful impression. Still, I doubt if they’ve fully expunged the Buddhist faith of the Tibetan people. I think you implied on the previous thread that Tibet might just be better off economically by virtue of their current relationship with China -now in the midst of an booming industrial revolution and a rapidly growing consumer economy – and as exports go, we’re their best customer.I have a feeling that given the choice, Tibet would prefer the restoration of their own national sovereignty and native culture, including free expression of all the ‘superstition’ of their Buddhist and Bon traditions. As you mention, China was once an inventive culture with a genius for practical thinking, as well as one rich in the spiritual traditions of Taoism and Buddhism that probably peaked 1000 years ago. Obviously they’re still practical thinkers. Personally I feel that holding China up as an example of a ‘better’ world now that religion has been beaten back, shows more hubris than you might have intended.all the best –

  • Henry James

    Weigel Makes Ludicrous ConnectionIt is certainly true that the scientific method developed AFTER the Catholic Church was established.However, rather than saying that Christianity fostered its development, one should rather say that the scientific method developed IN SPITE of the authoritarianism, aversion to exploration, and devotion to dogma of the Catholic Church. (Protestantism really emerged too late to have much influence).Another Canard: Newton was a devout Catholic-like believer.Aside from the fact that it is irrelevent whether he (or Einstein) was or not,both Newton and Einstein believed in a “God” who created the universe and its lawsThe first absentee father, we might say.The Church is dedicated to dogma: Science is dedicated to questioning dogma.Could there be a greater disjuntion between approaches to truth? Norrie may have been a BIT overbroad, but his conclusion that for Weigel to get two out of three right, while getting the third wildly wrong, is right on the money.

  • Norrie Hoyt

    M.C.,You wrote in response to the question, “What if the Europeans had nearly all died out in an early plague?”: “But all is not lost…there’d be harems: women and young boys.”As in the medieval Vatican? Regards.

  • Terry

    Begone – One wonders which social experiment killed more in the long run – feudalism or communism?? Certainly feudalism endured for centuries compared to less than a century for communism. Not that I’m advocating a return to feudalism but I’d wager communism under Stalin and Mao out-massacred the worst of feudal tyrants, including all the Popes of the Inquisition combined. Feudal lords of ancient China couldn’t hold a candle…..Anyway, it’s a moot argument. The past is the past – unless it’s still the present. India as a social democracy is ultimately more likely to be the frontrunner in terms of driving the world economy 25 years from now as compared to China(my humble opinion). That’s based on an optomistic prediction that life as we know it (without major nuclear events and with manageable natural catasrophes) will prevail for another generation. I need to find my copy of Nostradamus to see if I’m on solid ground here – but maybe not.all the best –

  • Terry

    Mr. Mark – Actually no, I don’t and was about to make an ammendment but you beat me to it. As a typical totalitarian dictator Mao’s orientation was as a cult personality with no regard or concern for philisophical positions incorporating either religion or atheism. My position is that authoritarian heads of government attack and persecute religion as ‘elitist’ because religion is a cultural universal in human society, and it’s activities and influence detract from their program of total domination and shifts the focus away from their cult of one. They tend to keep the picture hangers and statue builders pretty busy. In a sense, these political personality cults might even be construed as a form of civil religion, but that’s a whole different discussion. They’re always lethal to freethinkers and dissenters.I think people should disregard any connection between dictators and atheism as such, because it has the smell of a red herring.all the best –

  • BGone

    Terry:Absolutely so, Stalin killed a lot of people and I expect Mao did a few too. How many were not communists? How many were Americans? 50 thousand in Korea? Nearly got Pat Robertson. The Germans and Japanese knocked off a few Americans too so I understand.Have you noticed all the killing in Iraq? You’re not suggesting the US government is like the old USSR, Imperial Japan or Nazi Germany?Here’s a thought. How about 5 million Chinese troops in Iraq to restore order, their way? You know, bulldoze those, “churches, temples, synagogues and mosques.” And, make preaching and teaching form literary hoaxes a crime, you know, declaring it to be the old fashioned con game that’s unlawful if every state in the union and territories too. They have a trillion dollars, green US money and growing. Should be money well spent from their point of view. Religion is their enemy too just like ours.Did you know the money spent/to be spent in Iraq is enough to keep social security going for about 75 years? How much money does the Vatican take out of the country every year?Oh yeah, science and religion, really good bed fellows.

  • Moody

    JESUS(A.S.) IN ISLAM:Jesus (Isa) A.S. in Islam, and his Second Coming BUT WHEN THE COMFORTER IS COME, WHOM I WILL SEND UNTO YOU FROM THE FATHER, EVEN THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, WHICH PROCEEDETH FROM THE FATHER, HE SHALL TESTIFY OF ME, AND HE ALSO SHALL BEAR WITNESS, BECAUSE YE HAVE BEEN WITH ME FROM THE BEGINNING. I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. How be it when he, the spirit of Truth will come, he will guide you into all truth, FOR HE SHALL SPEAK NOT OF HIMSELF, BUT WHATSOEVER HE SHALL HEAR, that he shall speak, AND HE WILL SHOW YOU THINGS TO COME. He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and he shall show it unto you.

  • Moody

    HOLY BIBLE:To all fella’s no offense and with all due respect, in Bible word trinity is not even mentioned. Even name BIBLE is not mentioned inside book. In Roman Latin language Bible means book. The closest explanation saying that Holly Ghost, Spirit and Father is one is taken out/removed from the Bible in its latest versions/new additions explained by more than 50 High Priests of Church that it was not mentioned in the most ancient scripts and was a concoction, addition, fabrication in the translations.I’m not claiming any thing, I’m just QUOTING references, if you know the difference between two?About Bible and TRINITY you can see your self,As there are countless FALSE Hadith also in circulation, AS PROPOGANDA ACTIVIITES against Islam.by Present day Media and AS PREVIOUS MESSAGES GIVEN TO HUMANS WERE EITHER MUNIPULATED OR HIDED. AS ONE IS UNABLE TO SEPARATE RIGHT FROM WRONG.Allah didn’t asure guarding Hadith.

  • Homesower

    I am one of those biblical literalists you all seem to fear. I’ve got news for you. We aren’t against science. We just find it interesting that many people who proclaim the scientific method fall back on faith when they can’t prove their theories.Your average evolutionary scientist takes God out of the picture and then goes looking at the data to see how evolution works. They start with the assumption, but if anything in nature suggests a creator they ignore it and fall back on a assumption. They have their theory, but they can’t make it work. They can’t prove their theory but they insist on calling it a fact. Why? Because to label it only a theory leaves open the possibility that they thing they assumed was wrong. They revert to faith in their assumptions.When pressed they insist its right because its science after all, and certainly superior to faith. How can they say its science if they haven’t been able to prove it? Well, they say, its because that’s what scientists believe. That sounds like faith. No, faith is what those other people believe who don’t accept evolution. Its not faith to believe in evolution? Of course not, its science. What makes it science? Scientists believe it. But there are scientists who don’t. Those aren’t real scientists. They have started with the assumption that their is a creator.SO – Why is it faith to start with the assumption there is a creator, but science to start with the assumption that there isn’t a creator?

  • Mr Mark

    TERRY writes:Question for Terry: do you honestly believe that Mao would have done things any differently than he did if he averred having religious faith, any religious faith? That religious belief would have moderated his actions in the slightest?If you believe that, then you don’t give evil the credit it deserves.

  • Terry

    Thank you Henry – you devil you! Since Ireland is my spiritual and ancestral birthplace I hope to make it there in this lifetime. I may have to take a boat because flying these days is worse than getting beaten with a rubber hose, as the saying goes. I have a certain fondness for the aged Catholic churches of my childhood and am certain Ireland has many worthy of a visit – not to mention pubs full of Guiness, but that’s not the religion we’re discussing here….lest it be the Celtic in us all! Best, Terry

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Henry James,”The Marriage of Mary and Terry”(let’s get rid of Joseph)”*******************************Henry, you’ve undoubtedly heard this before and know that Robert Frost beat you to it:After completing his talk at Amherst College, a minister of religion asked Frost how religion had influenced his poetry.Frost replied: “Mary had a little lamb.Regards.

  • Henry James

    Norriehe was consistent in creating his Country Wit persona, weren’t he?best

  • Norrie Hoyt

    Mary Cunningham,Like Henry James and, I’m sure, many others, I thoroughly enjoyed your last post about history and the R.C. Church. My family found it delightful too.Did I really say all those things? I’m not even sure I knew them.And who’s Clovis? Did he have cloven hooves? You make him sound as if he did.For new readers of these posts: Mary C. makes it sound as if I put my Antichrist costume on every Halloween and keep it ready in the closet for quick use during the rest of the year.She used to call me an atheist, but I objected and may finally have persuaded her to think of me as an agnostic Buddhist sympathizer. Of course Buddhists are atheists so she may still think of me that way.AN IRISH CONUNDRUM AND FAMILY PARTY:Mary Cunningham has Irish Roman Catholic forebears.My wife has Catholic Irish ancestors who somehow got mixed up with,or intermarried with, Scots-Irish Protestants, and her whole line evolved into staunch Protestants and has remained such.I have Scottish ancestors whom Cromwell planted into Ulster and who became Northern Ireland Protestants. I think at least one of them was a member of The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.Terry evidently has an Irish Catholic heritage.So are we all one big happy family carrying on humorous banter, or are we still fighting the religious wars of Ireland? I don’t know.Anyway you all have my best wishes, even Mary C.

  • Chaotician

    Good Grief, Charlie Brown! Hoisted by their own Petard to the canard! The Christians invented Science? What were those Greeks doing before the good Jesus showed up? Not to mention the Chinese, the Egyptians, the Indians, the Japanese, the Aztecs, the ….History would show that Christians were opposed to the basic idea of Science, their God revealed all truths to his priests! The Christian nations were good at one thing, inventing new and better ways to kill and torture their enemies and often their own! That tradition continues, George and his merry band of Christians have depleted Uranium ammunition, rockets, and bombs which keep on killing for several million years, new and more clever nuclear weapons, MOABs, intelligence mines, cluster bombs, biological defense weapons(?), remote controlled weapons, Smart(?) bombs, you name it and by God, we are willing to use them too…to protect our way of life (60% of the world’s resources for consumption; converting the world’s natural wealth to zeros in a computer bank statement, etc.).Yep, Christians have a lot of claim on the advancement of scientific understand, yes sur’e.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Bgone,How did you get so brainwashed in “satanism”??

  • The_Archon

    “But that there is no inherent conflict between the truths revealed by science and the truths about creation and his intentions in creating revealed by the God of the Bible is the simple fact of the matter.”Egads, do you actually realize you’re insane, or do you somehow deny it? I’m not trying to insult you, you really do appear to be insane. A simple 6th grade reading of the definition of science would show you why.Why are there dozens of religious authors on this site trying desperately to tie religion to science? Give it up, there is no room in science for superstition, talking snakes and donkeys, zombies, magic trees… Mr. Weigel is a lunatic.

  • Mary Cunningham

    European History according to lawyer Hoyt(with special emphasis on Catholic atrocities)Ch I: Rome and other ancient happeningsIn the beginning were the Romans and they were happy polytheists and did lots of GOOD THINGS and were really tolerant of other religions until they became CATHOLICS and then they turned BAD and prosecuted innocent Christians—oh wait! they didn’t become Catholics right away..OK they became Catholics when Constantine converted and THEN they became WICKED and made all those peace-loving Roman pagans become ROMAN CATHOLICS, and we all know where that leads. Then Rome fell to the nice pagan barbarians in AD450 or so, no that’s not right a lot of the barbarians were Christians already…Anyway, the wicked CATHOLIC CHURCH made nice peaceful warlords like Clovis convert and then he turned into a warlord—oh wait! he already was a warlord, well a more effective warlord—and then Patrick converted those nice, peaceful Celts—well, they liked a bit of head hunting and a wee bit of human sacrifice but not too much– and also killed all the snakes in Ireland! The last is a true mark of how wicked Catholicsm was because what did the snakes ever do to Catholics?(To be continued.)Norrie’s Sources: wikipedia, Henry James, Mr Mark and Terry…the latter three well known as European historians.

  • Paganplace

    Well, I wouldn’t apologize too hard, Norrie… in many ways Christianity’s influence on science has everything to do with *destroying darn near everything but Aristotle,* who, at least in the forms we’ve had pass through history, was taken as being useful for advocating things like a unitary authority to the universe, the idea of reason outweighing observation, (good as he was at reason, he decided things like ‘Mice are filthy, dirt is filthy, therefore vermin spontaneously generate from filth,’) And things like, ‘Heavier objects fall faster,’ something Galileo nearly got barbecued for saying, ‘No, dude, lookit this!’ Christianity’s basic… *enshrining* of Aristotle and company, while destroying other schools of thought that not only knew the Earth wasn’t flat, but calculated her circumference to within a few hundred miles of error from shadows…May have *shaped* the development of a certain *kind* of science, but also basically made Aristotle (with the exception of the mysteriously-nearly-completely- ‘lost’ Poetics) ….a sort of subsidiary ‘revealed truth’ that also held science *back* for more than a thousand thousand crucial years, doubly-suffering for the *loss* of the understandings of millenia before, which, though some has been rediscovered since, was simply made *inaccessible* to even the most sincere scholars. As I said before, crediting Christianity for inventing science is like crediting it for inventing *art* just cause it presided over the Renaissance. In art, really, the Renaissance is widely-credited with having begun with someone daring to paint Pagan Gods, even if the Church held some of the purse-strings.

  • Tim Mac

    “Why did the scientific method, which assumes that the natural world is rationally knowable, arise in the West, and not elsewhere?”The fundamental underpinning of this question is the inaccurate assumption that scientific method arose exclusively in the West. It did not. The Chinese developed the scientific method independently of the West centuries earlier. The Greeks developed the scientific method before the birth of Christ and independent of Judaism. Muslim scientific advancement outstripped the backwards Christians for centuries. The Abrahamic religions have routinely been anti-science throughout their histories- faith being more valued than facts.Mr. Weigel’s argument is crippled by his fundamental errors of assumption. This is the inevitable consequence of the circular “logic” that theology must utilize in order to predetermine the desired outcome and then reason backwards to the necessary assumptions.

  • Henry James

    Tim MacYou got that right.Circular “logic” is the stock and trade of Relilgious “Intellectuals.”You should see the “mental gymnastics” my fellow Mormons have to employ to explain the myriad of contradictions and messy facts in their theology and Mythology about Joseph Smith.

  • BGone

    Concerned The Christian Now Liberated:Bgone,How did you get so brainwashed in “satanism”??You looking for a lecture on the difference between Lucifer and Satan?Read this Then go to I don’t advise worship of any kind or of anything because God cannot be identified, (pagans gods maybe). It would be OK to worship God but every time man cries God Devil shows up.However, Satan worship is better than what Jews, Christians and Muslims do, worshop Lucifer. Getting on Satan’s good side won’t really help, like praying to the Virgin Mary. Don’t forget that Satan is the angel of God that gives the “test of soul.” Now if one could get Satan to overlook a few sins then maybe one could “skate” into heaven. Don’t count on it. Getting in Lucifer’s good “hot” side is automatic and done by all of faith.I believe in God and all those supernatural beings. Don’t you?

  • BGone

    Mary Cunningham:Incomplete! You left out the fact that Rome fell less than 100 years after becoming a “Christian Nation.” That’s probably not significant in todays world where only “born agains” are qualified to hold public office.

  • Terry

    Mary C – Greeting! There were no snakes in post-glacial Ireland, so what Patrick expunged were the pagan Druids and their divine symbol of the snakeNo doubt Patrick (a Gaul) was a popular figure and generated certain myths. He was alleged to have taught the concept of the Trinity by employing the 3 leaf clover in order to overcome competition from the more prevelant Arian Christian (non-trinitarian) view of that day (mid-5th century). Well of course the trinitarians won out there, but how about a 4 leaf clover as a symbol of the cross, or perhaps the ancient Egyptian Ankh?Now there’s a symbol – signifying everything from immortality to fertility, divinity, and the cosmic creation – but alas, the Ankh is a pagan and neo-pagan symbol. Still, the cross means the same thing in a round about way, doesn’t it? Human symbology may change hands, but as Carl Jung pointed out, as part and parcel of the human psyche religious symbols have universal meaning – despite alterations in form and context. And anyway, the Irish have always had a love/hate relationship with the Catholic church….interesting to note that the roots movement is strong in Ireland, with the preservation and use of Gaelic in a number of contexts (music is the one I know best) – and honoring the ancient Celtic traditions and symbols (the Celtic knot is everywhere). I gather St. Patrick has to share the limelight with his pagan predecessors these days?? Love those Druids! all the best —-

  • John Griffith (Bright)

    @ HomeownerWhile it gets tiring to see posts like yours come up again and again, ad nauseum, it is good to know that as a self-professed Biblical literalist you actually have genuine questions and are ready to learn. There are answers to the questions you have posed. I shall make my best attempt at satisfing your bewilderment.I don’t know what an average evolutionary scientist looks like to you, but, God is not taken out of the picture because he was never in it in the first place.Positing a divine agent in evolution violates Occam’s Razor. If you are not familiar with Occam’s Razor it simply states that one should prefer the simpler explanation. Any explanation that involves a divine agent adds an additional layer of complexity that is uneccessary therefore we should not prefer that explanation over a simpler natural one.You seem to be suggesting that empirical evidence for God’s hand in the evolution of our species exists but scientists are ignoring it. If you have evidence not possessed by the rest of us, by all means share it with us and cite your sources. If I had to guess, I would say that you are referring to such things as “irreducible complexity,” Anselm’s Ontological argument and the finely-tuned universe. These arguments have been dealt with in many scientific texts and discussions: Dawkins’ and Stengers’ books immediately come to mind, as well as any basic introductory philosophy text because they are, of course, non-scientific arguments.You are confused about the difference between a fact and a theory. Allow me to explain. A theory cannot be a fact, and vice versa. Theories are plural while facts are singular. The theory of evolution is composed of many individual facts — empirical evidence. When a hypothesis has been tested over and over and has stood up to rigorous scrutiny, and when all of the evidence overwhelmingly supports it, a hypothesis then becomes a theory. Thus, a theory cannot be a fact and a theory states the highest level of scientific confidence in its accuracy as is possible to achieve.If you’re still not convinced, I encourage you to seek out a trained scientist — you can find the answers to your questions there.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Bgone,Your website still has not been upgraded i.e. it currently has no citations and appears to have been created by a satan aka a demon of the demented.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Bgone,Be Gone With You and your “ugly wingie talking flying fictional thingies” and take your demented webpages with you!!!! If there is a God, it is akin to the Singularity!!! and by definition has no ugly or pretty wingie thingies flying about!!

  • Henry James

    The Marriage of Mary and Terry(let’s get rid of Joseph)You two have risen to new heights of literary inventiveness, says America’s greatest literary critic.I think the two of you should get married and write books together. Your dialectic might make you even more engaging. Kind of like James Carville and Mary Matalin.Seriously, very engaging posts from both of you.Mary: I am going to submit yours to Wikipedia.

  • The bottom line…

    Religion: based on ancient (or more recent, in the case of communism) writings and a fervent BELIEF (it is no more than that) that they reveal truth. Pointing to scripture as proof (a la Moody and Homesower) is a completely worthless exercise. This really is not debatable.Science: based on observation, questioning, experimentation, and provisional conclusion. Repeat enough times in enough controlled ways, and the conclusions bear enough weight to become a theory. (and I mean “theory” in the proper scientific context. That is, a large set of data and a contextual framework that present overwhelming evidence for a general truth, even if not every tiny detail is yet understood.)Can scientists and theists work together for the common good? In my experience, yes, as long as they focus on shared goals, and not on shared motivations. Theists – don’t try to convert your scientific partners during the project. I realize you see this as a responsibility, but knock off the preaching for a while (that includes prayers for success of the project, etc.). You’ll only lose your partners.Scientists – realize that if the theists are working with you on a goal of actual significance (ie global warming, fighting hunger, etc.), their heart is in the right place, even if their rationale may seem a bit twisted. Again, don’t debate motivation. Debate only how to achieve the project’s goals. Sometimes, the bottom line in mutual respect is simply deciding that certain topics will not be discussed in the course of a professional relationship.

  • BGone

    Concerned The Christian Now Liberated:I’m sure you meant to say, “Even though religions have been upgraded many time, they currently have no citations and appears to have been created by a devil aka a demon of the demented.” Since I know, have faith you don’t like to appear to be an ignorant ass, not even know as little as Satan is spelled with a capital S and is not a demon and be uneducateable…Correct! And the Devil, (see how respectful of faith I am spelling Devil with a capital D) is identified, And, there are OFFICIAL Roman Catholic Church pictures for the illiterates to muse. I wonder if “George Weigel [is] a Catholic theologian and Senior Fellow of Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington” would like to deny those pictures are official or add that they are actually photographs taken at the time of the actions illustrated? I thought not. Crooks never testify for the prosecution.

  • Mary Cunningham

    Hate to disappoint the Bright-Uns but Catholics, Orthodox and the fast disappearing body of mainline Protestants have no problems with the theory of evolution.PS Evidence: A quick count of the above 67 posts showed Christians outnumbered by the (self-proclaimed) good, great, bright and beautiful–are you all so modest?–by about, oh, 7 or 8 to 1. Conclusion:”On Faith” has to be renamed. How about No Faith (or at least not much)

  • Casey

    Gerry,Sorry for the delay in responding.I was making 2 points in my previous points;The major point I’m less sure about than I was before. I made the point that the Abrahamic faiths opened the door to sceintific inquiry. But some other commenters reminded us that other civilizations also achieved some level of progress on these fronts. (chinese, mayan, aztec.) With the Mayans and Aztecs, a big part of the motiviation for their astronomical observations were religios, So Christianity wasn’t unique in this. Also, “dark ages” in Europe should remind me that “progress” isn’t assured. As a card-carrying member of the Religious Right, I’d like to think that Christianity was somehow special, but I’m forced to wonder what other factors are involved in which civilizations thrive scientifically.Gerry, you responded to the second, more minor point I made, which had to do with the tone of some of the previous posts. I believe one the few constants in humanity is the desire to feel superior (morally, intellectually, etc.) Aristotle is a historical figure much admired by people both religious and secular. Yet, as you pointed out, much if not most of what he believed about the natural world was wrong, just as wrong as those held by many of “religious zealots” of yesteryear and today. If we could talk to our descendents who will live 1500 years from now, how will we answer them when they ask “how could believe such things as the big bang, superstrings, dark matter, or whatever it is that will be disproven? “oh but we’re different. we weren’t like “those people”, you know, the religious ones. We were just wrong scientifically.” If they have the same attitude many of us have, they won’t notice the difference. After all, Aristotle was just as wrong as Bishop so-and-so from the dark ages.Sorry for the length of the post. One of these days, I’ll learn to say the things I want more succinctly.

  • BGone

    rm-rf:No doubt, “I love the talk about Hitler and Stalin as if they are natural products of atheism and science.”Stalin was given a bit of Jesuit education, mother dreamed of him becoming one of them. It seems to have ‘taken’ given the inquisitions as a tool to measure the results.This applies to both Hitler and Stalin and all ‘chicken hawks’ as well. Suppose everyone goes on to a ‘next’ world upon their death here in this world. Think about what happened when Hitler and Stalin entered that next world. Is death final? Ancient warriors had nightmares when their victims appeared live and well in their dreams.Hell is the psychological defense against retaliation by the victims in the next world. War is the situation where two or more groups of people take license to send each other to an early hell. I guess the question is which one of the Hitler, Stalin pair needed hell to be real the most.Take hell away and religion doesn’t have much appeal. Mr Wiegel had the gun of hell held to his head while he was too young to do any serious thinking. Now it’s a permanent fixture making him a puppet that dances to the pope’s tune. He’s caught between a rock and a hard spot with no way out. Pitiful. Having someone in his condition making policy is absurd, results as one would expect.

  • Cayambe, Philo, CA-USA

    Science is a broad term, covering a variety of different disciplines. The foundations of Technical Science as we know it today belong almost exclusively to the Greeks. Archimedes was the greatest of all physicists and mathematicians of all time, including modern times. Christianity played no part. The world had to wait for Newton and Leibniz to rediscover the integral calculus Archimedes invented in the Greek/Roman heyday. Aristotle might “only” have been a mere philosopher, but his gift for classifying things in useful ways, for analysis of them, has been informing the scientific method for the centuries since. Finally…….we should not forget the Chinese, who preceded even the Greeks in certain areas.

  • BGone

    Concerned The Christian Now Liberated:Nostradamus a hoaxer? Next thing I suppose you’ll say Joseph Smith was a hoaxer. And the Oracle of Delphi, Samuel the “seer” were they hoaxers too? Sure they were. Warning: noticing Muhammad was a hoaxer can be hazardous to your health. Yeah, sure, no flying wingie things. Atheists!

  • Proof there is a God

    Scientists say all began as a teacup size blob of highly compressed matter that always was and always will be and it explodes and expanded.The Bible says God always was and always will be and created everything from nothing.God’s number one characteristic is durability, can’t prove there is no God. Therefore God is a teacup size blob of highly compressed matter that got really mad about nothing at all and exploded.Science and religion have all that in common darling and absolutely nothing else.

  • Pam

    May I suggest a book for anyone who thinks that science is a Western invention – or even arose from the golden age of Grecian thought?Read Dick Teresi’s “Lost Discoveries – the Multicultural Roots of Modern Science from the Babylonians to the Maya.”I think you’ll find it eye opening.Here’s the publisher’s synopsis:”In the tradition of Daniel Boorstin, the co-founder of Omni delivers an original work of history that demonstrates why modern science rests on a foundation built by ancient and medieval non-European societies.Lost Discoveries explores the mostly unheralded scientific breakthroughs from the ancient world – Babylonians, Egyptians, Indians, Africans, New World, and Oceanic tribes, among others, and from the non-European medieval world. By example, the Egyptians developed the concept of the lowest common denominator and the Indians developed the use of zero and negative numbers. The Chinese observed, reported, and dated eclipses between 1400 and 1200 B.C. The Chinese also set the stage for later Hindu scholars, who refined the concept of particles and the void. Five thousand years ago, Sumerians were able to assert that the earth was circular. Islamic scientists fixed problems in Ptolemy’s geocentric cosmology. The Quechuan Indians of Peru were the first to vulcanize rubber.This first comprehensive, authoritative, popularly written, multicultural history of science fills in a crucial gap in the history of science.”

  • Civic Humanist

    Proof there is a God wrote: “Scientists say all began as a teacup size blob of highly compressed matter that always was and always will be and it explodes and expanded. The Bible says God always was and always will be and created everything from nothing. God’s number one characteristic is durability, can’t prove there is no God. Therefore God is a teacup size blob of highly compressed matter that got really mad about nothing at all and exploded. Science and religion have all that in common darling and absolutely nothing else.”Hopefully thou art being whimsically ironic like the “god” that “got really mad about nothing at all and exploded.”Logical – Rational – Fallacy: From “can’t prove there is no God” it does not logically / rationally follow that “there is a god”, let alone that “God exists”!Proof: Self-evident Premises + Rules of Logic – – – – -> Indubitable ConclusionSelf-evident Premise: No human – by definition – is God.Self-evident Premise: God – by definition – is non-finite in its comprehension of what was, what is, what will be, what could be, & what could not be.Hence: The “proof” that “god exists” is that being’s own self-evident self-knowledge!Hence: Humans – not being God – are – by definition – finite in their comprehension of what was, what is, what will be, what could be, & what could not be.Hence: No human can comprehend what God could be notwithstanding whether or not God is.Hence: No human can produce – except accidentally – a “proof” that God exists.Moreover: Even if such a proof is produced, no human could or would know that that is indeed the “proof” being sought.QED!

  • rm-rf

    I love the talk about Hitler and Stalin as if they are natural products of atheism and science. The posters who imply this clearly agree with Weigels non-existant logic… i.e. that Christiantiy naturally leads to science, and by the same fallacious resoning Hitler and Stalin are by products of scientific/atheistic thinking – by that reasoning I guess Christanianity also naturally leads to Nazism becuase you know of course Germany was a Judeo Christian country (however the anti-semitism in Nazi Germany can be traced to Christian roots) – I guess it also “naturally” leads to communism as Germany and Russia are Judeo Christian nations. Weigel need learn some critical thinking skills. Just becuase something shows up in the same place as something you like or dislike does not mean they have the same cause – well duh…

  • BGone

    Civic Humanist:I see you’re denying the divinity of Hirohito, all Roman emperors, Alexander the great, (something) to say nothing of the original Christs, Pharaohs. See God is an office held by men who by and only by definition exist. It’s my understanding that God is the best job there is which explains why there are so many Gods floating around today. They call themselves ministers and attempt to disguise their positions by claiming their power is really in supernatural being(s) managing to fool only the foolish.Billy Graham + saves = XGod is an office held by Billy Graham, the “higher power” GWB consulted before he attacked Iraq. But Billy is not the only higher power the president consulted. See I expect “PROOF GOD EXISTS” was just funning the evangelicals.

  • James Milner

    John Griffith(bright);Excellent essay,full of sense,common and scientific.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Bgone,So you believe in “ugly wingie talking fictional flying thingies”? But not in God?

  • Civic Humanist

    BGone:LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLll