Thursday, September 20, 2012

Should theologians talk about science?

As a scientist it can be "interesting" at times to see what some theologians write about science, both in general or specific aspects of science. Sometimes they seem to struggle to distinguish between what is mainstream science, what is idle speculation, and what is plain wrong. This is understandable.

I am reading through the chapters on the environment in Jurgen Moltmann's Ethics of Hope. I was disappointed to see that he begins his discussion with the Gaia Theory of the Earth, due to James Lovelock, as if this is some well established part of scientific knowledge. Just reading the abstract of this 2003 scientific paper The Gaia Hypothesis: Conjectures and Refutations one can see that there are significant problems with Gaia.

There are many reasons why Christians should be concerned about the environment. Indeed, Moltmann has some nice discussion about some of the relevant Biblical texts. However, invoking contentious "scientific" speculations does not help the case.

There is a simple antidote to the problem with theologians and pastors mis-speaking about science. It is to check first with a range of scientists that what one has written or plans to say is actually accurate or appropriate.

No comments:

Post a Comment