Saturday, May 30, 2009

Science and Religion: Friends not Foes

Is science on the verge of extinguishing religion through the vanquishing of faith with an army of facts? Paul Ewart, a visiting Oxford scientist at the University of Otago (Dunedin, NZ), argues the contrary. His piece, published in the Otago Daily Times, includes this:

"Christianity's claim that "human rationality is a gift from God" is a profound metaphysical statement that Prof Blakemore misunderstands completely.

Astonishingly, he claims that recent research in brain science has shown that free will and conscious intentions, including sin, are illusions created by brain function.

So our thinking is nothing but physics and chemistry in the brain.

This is scientifically doubtful and metaphysically nonsense.

Martin Heisenberg, also a biological scientist, points out the scientific flaws in such claims in his article "Is free will an illusion?" in the science journal Nature (May 14, 2009).

The problem of rationality was recognised by J. B. S. Haldane, the great evolutionary biologist, who admitted that if thinking were just the motion of atoms in our brains we have no reason to believe our thinking to be true, and no reason to believe our brains to be made up of atoms.

As C. S. Lewis pointed out, the materialist cuts off the branch he is sitting on.

I would add that the validity of our reason cannot be established by an argument based on evolution alone.

If reason is in doubt you can't use reason to defend it.

The existence of rationality points beyond itself to an underlying rational principle or Logos of the whole universe.

There are no knockdown proofs one way or other to the "God Question".

Christianity, however, makes far more sense than atheism.

First, it makes sense of our rationality - its source is ultimately God.

Second, it makes sense of morality - God provides the ultimate reference of what is good.

Third, it makes sense historically.

The life, death and resurrection of Jesus is evidence that he was the Logos, the Word made flesh i.e.

God expressing Himself in human form.

Fourth, it makes sense of my personal experience of God's forgiveness, an experience shared by millions of men and women in transformed lives down the ages.

Such evidence can't be lightly dismissed.

The great danger in reducing spiritual and moral values to illusions is that moral warnings may be ignored when it's politically expedient.

Witness the horrors of Communist and Nazi tyrannies of the last century."

No comments: