Thursday, March 11, 2010

Distinguishing science and philosophy

Tim Keller, Minister at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City has written a helpful and balanced article, Creation, Evolution, and Christian Lay People. [Thanks to Nathan Campbell for bringing it to my attention]. I recommend reading it all but here are a few snippets:

Question#2: If biological evolution is true—does that mean that we are just animals driven by our genes, and everything about us can be explained by natural selection?

Answer: No. Belief in evolution as a biological process is not the same as belief in evolution as a world- view.

Keller makes an important distinction between evolution as a biological process (EBP) and the grand theory of evolution (GTE). He states:

I have seen Christians in a Bible study on Genesis 1-2 read the following quote and become confused:

"If 'evolution' is...elevated to the status of a world-view of the way things are, then there is direct conflict with biblical faith. But if 'evolution' remains at the level of scientific biological hypothesis, it would seem that there is little reason for conflict between the implications of Christian belief in the Creator and the scientific explorations of the way which--at the level of biology--God has gone about his creating processes."

Atkinson [the writer] is saying that you can believe in EBP and not GTE. I have seen intelligent, educated laypeople really struggle with the distinction Atkinson has made. Nevertheless, this is exactly the distinction they must make, or they will never grant the importance of EBP.

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