Saturday, 1 March 2014

Bible and Science: Scientific Facts and Theories

There's a lot of conflicting information about both science and the Bible. It will help us find the most useful information if we distinguish between two different fundamental ideas. Firstly we need to think about observable facts. Then we need to think about theories.

Observable facts
Frontispiece of the Rudolphine Tables: Tabulae...
Frontispiece of the Rudolphine Tables: Tabulae Rudolphinae: quibus astronomicae ... by Johannes Kepler (1571–1630). Call number QB41 .K43 1627. Image ID: libr0310, Treasures of the NOAA Library Collection, Photographer: Archival Photograph by Mr. Steve Nicklas, NOS, NGS. Secondary source: NOAA Central Library, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), USA http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/library/libr0310.htm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


An observable fact is something that can be proved beyond doubt. These observable facts are tangible, measurable and repeatable. They can be felt through our senses and can be experienced first hand if necessary. Gravity is a good example of an observable fact. We all experience the effects of gravity every day of our lives. Whenever we drop anything it always falls to the ground. Whenever we throw a ball into the air it always falls back to us. Scientists have done experiments and understand gravity enough to launch rockets into space and put satellites into orbit around the earth. So gravity is real and it can be experienced and measured. It is an observable fact.

Theories

A scientist then creates a theory about something he wants to look at in a little more detail. This will be based on a set of assumptions. This theory should be the best explanation of the observable facts. He could, for example, have a theory that gravity acts upwards. It would be obvious to anyone that this does not fit the observable facts. Such a claim would be ignored.

But sometimes we have no way of knowing whether the assumptions used in a theory are right. This is often the case when considering what happened in the past. We can't do experiments to test the theory and check the assumption

So it is important that we know what can be proved and what is only a theory that we can't prove.

We want to look quickly at a couple of examples where theories which lacked vital facts were trusted. The consequences were terrible.



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  1. Are Science and the Bible Compatible?
  2. Science and the Bible—Do They Really Contradict Each Other?
  3. The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)
  4. Bible containing scientific information
  5. The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)
  6. Reconciling Science and Religion
  7. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  8. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  9. Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs
  10. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  11. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  12. Ian Barbour connecting science and religion
  13. Why think there’s a God? (1): Something from Nothing
  14. Why think there is a God? (2) Goldilocks Effect
  15. Book Review: Ann Gauger, Douglas Axe & Casey Luskin, Science & Human Origins. Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2012.124pp.
  16. Science and Religion Harmonized (Once and For All…)
  17. How to falsify a religion using scientific or historical evidence
  18. Thomas Aquinas on Wisdom by Robert M. Woods
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