Saturday, May 21, 2011

Towards a Christian perspective on academic disciplines

Last Saturday I went to a really helpful and stimulating Simeon Network workshop which included a discussion of "Deconstructing an academic discipline". A key to doing this is to actually being clear on the subject, methodology, values, guiding principles, and foundational assumptions within the discipline. Until these are defined it will be difficult to actually develop a Christian discipline.

However, I wonder whether there is more to the story. Specifically, I would like to distinguish the following:

How is the discipline meant to be practised?
How is the discipline actually practised?
How as a Christian, should I practice it?

For example, everyone will agree that science is about evidence, reason, objectivity, reproducibility of results, developing and testing hypotheses....

But, I believe that is not how it is practised. I would claim that many of the conclusions that I see in scientific papers are actually not justified based on the data that is present.

As I Christian, I am mindful of the sinful nature of humanity and the resulting tendency we have to "believe what we want to believe". Hence, I should have a greater scepticism towards the claims of others and a wariness of my own abilities and commitment to reason. This should double my commitment to way the discipline is meant to be practised.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Ross. I remember those comments. You're right. Need to make sure the distinction between principle and reality is discussed.