Most of what is important to Christians doesn’t involve correct knowledge of the physical world. It’s primarily ethics and understanding how God is interacting with us. This last part includes knowing what our fate after death may be and also learning about God’s character—crucially, that God is good and therefore worthy of our trust and worship. However, it is on this point that questions about material reality are relevant to faith.
These are my top 10 loser arguments against science that we frequently encounter in our faith community:
The attack against methodological naturalism, which is done to confuse science with natural philosophy.
The lawyer’s trick of dichotomizing science into historical science and ordinary science and claiming that only the latter is reliable.
The loony conspiracy theory that scientists have banded together to deceive us for the purpose of promoting atheism, Marxism, liberalism, etc.
The frequently asserted claim by kook SDAs that they are more knowledgeable than scientists about science.
The frequently asserted claims by kook SDAs that climate science, COVID-19, and evolution science are hoaxes.
The losing argument that the philosophical idea of Intelligent Design constitutes science.
The losing argument that “creation science” should be substituted for mainstream peer-reviewed science.
The lazy and dismissive refusal to learn science is probably the traditional folk SDA’s most popular end run around science.
Implications that popular social and political controversies regarding evolution science, COVID-19 and the vaccines, and climate science connote and reflect alleged scientific controversies, which in reality do not exist.
Rank and grotesque lying about certain scientific findings.
I also have a list of the top 10 loser arguments against the Genesis account of creation that I can also share, perhaps in another comment.
I never understood this argument. It implies that 6,000 years or so of pain and suffering is just fine but 5 billion years is not. Well, if 6,000 years is OK, where do you draw the line? 10,000 years? 1 million years? Is there some sort of tipping point where good becomes cruel?
Also, have these people read their bible? Is the god who drowned everyone on earth but one family a good god? Is the god that repeatedly commanded the Israelites to commit genocide a good god?
Stepping up a notch or two, what exactly constitutes good, when applied to a god? Is it really your own personal sense of morality (hint, yours a whole lot different than the sense of morality of anyone in bible times).
Yes perhaps, but personally none of the resulting whining seems persuasive to me. I much prefer the more nuanced statement from the Roman Catholic Church:
Catholics are at liberty to believe that creation took a few days or a much longer period, according to how they see the evidence, and subject to any future judgment of the Church (Pius XII’s 1950 encyclical Humani Generis 36–37). They need not be hostile to modern cosmology. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “[M]any scientific studies . . . have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life forms, and the appearance of man. These studies invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator” (CCC 283).
This is a trap. I think by “The traditional interpretation”, you mean YEC. But in reality the push for a literal reading of Genesis is a recent innovation that was spurred by Darwin’s findings. Traditionally, many Christian theologians from as early as the 300’s saw Genesis as an origin story - which is what it is, not as literal history - which it is not.
Fundamentalists often make it a test of Christian orthodoxy to believe that the world was created in six 24-hour days and that no other interpretations of Genesis 1 are possible. They claim that until recently this view of Genesis was the only acceptable one—indeed, the only one there was.
The writings of the Fathers, who were much closer than we are in time and culture to the original audience of Genesis, show that this was not the case. There was wide variation of opinion on how long creation took. Some said only a few days; others argued for a much longer, indefinite period.
Here’s Augustine, in the 400’s:
“It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation” - The Literal Interpretation of Genesis* 1:19–20 [A.D. 408].
This approach only serves to paint it’s proponents into a corner. It demands that once someone realises that YEC is neither biblically not scientifically sounds, they must also reject Sabbath as valid as well.
If Genesis is read as a model to explain creation (rather than a diary of events) and the Sabbath-ending creation week as a mnemonic, this imagined problem ceases to exist
I always thought that the earth is young because all systems are dependent on all the other systems, from the molecular level to plants and animals all the way to the millions of systems working toaster in the universe. Nothing can exist without everything else existing as well
To reply to your point about God drowning everyone in the flood. Since God let’s us all make are own decisions because love does not force. Everyone since eve decided to do their own thing which is not only self destructive, but also their decisions destroys everything around them as they let Satan help them make their decisions. So God has to destroy big parts of the people since they were already destoying themselves and the whole earth and God was left with no other option but to put them down a little early to save humanity as a whole, just like Jesus laid down his life as well so we can live for ever not just few more years humanity was in danger of being extinct, God had to take drastic measures
The Bible does not say, that the whole universe was created in six days. It says that the earth and its environment (solar system,ect) was created in six days and that is how He established our weekly cycle.
I spent the last hour or so trying to get a handle on Paul Feyerabend - Wikipedia which Goldstein references. It’s complex, heavy duty reading, but fundamentally, Feyerabend has had a long and wild philosophical journey, where he has developed a multitude of different philosophies of science, many influenced by the humanistic as well as Marxistic approaches. He evolves toward a much more plurastic, creative and flexible approach to “the scientific method” and many of this thoughts are now more broadly accepted in modern science. It’s a fascinating story, but it in no way supports Goldsteins arguments, where he argues that this evolution of methods and philosophy of science as a “proof” that no one knows what the scientific method is, and therefore discredits any science that he doesn’t agree with. Another end run called a “cheap pot shot”…which perhaps now I also am guilty of.
I didn’t spend that long on Feyerabend, and have exerted even less effort on Goldstein, but I did come across this quote on Wikipedia:
Feyerabend argues that science does not deserve its privileged status in western society.
This idea comports well with Phillip Goff’s book “Galileo’s Error” where the author claims all science is fundamentally flawed-or is, at the very least inherently myopic-because it does not and cannot take into account what may be the most important commodity of the cosmos, i.e., consciousness.
Without this component science, at least in my opinion, has become the hopelessly materialistic evil monster Feyerabend (and perhaps Goldstein?) warn about; merely another fundamentally flawed religion of sorts, where human sensory perceptions and purportedly objective intellect-without any regard for unquantifiable “things” like emotions, intuition, subjectivity, etc.-are believed to be the final arbiter of all that is goodness and truth.