Christianity and the Nature of Science: a Philosophical Investigation

By James P. Moreland

 

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Abstract: A sound approach on what natural science is and on its limits

Difficulty: 3 (academic)

 

Contents

 


Bibliographic Data

 

James P. Moreland. Christianity and the Nature of Science: a Philosophical Investigation. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1989.

ISBN: 0801062497
Pages: 270.
Bibliographies, index

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Contents

 

Acknowledgments..................................9
Introduction...........................................11
1. The definition of Science.....................17
2. Scientific Methodology........................59
3. The Limits of Science..........................103
4. Scientific Realism................................139
5. Alternatives to Scientific Realism.........171
6. The Scientific Status of Creationism....213
Concluding Unscientific Postscript..........247
Select Bibliography.................................251
Index

 


Review by Cornelis van Putten

 

Copyright 1999 Cornelis van Putten , Tilburg, The Netherlands

 

note: this review refers to the 1st edition of the book (1989)

J.P. Moreland, professor of philosophy and apologetics at Biola University explores in his book Christianity and the Nature of Science the relationship between science and theology. In the first part Moreland explores the concept of science and discusses current views about science. In his introduction he states that in his book he is attempting to defend three theses:

1. There is no definition of science, no set of necessary and sufficient conditions for something to count as science, no such thing as the scientific method, that can be used to draw a line of demarcation between science and nonscience. Nothing about science essentially excludes philosophical or theological concepts from entering into its very fabric.

2. Limits to science arise in a number of interesting ways, and these limits are sufficient to do two things: 1) They show that scientism - the view that science alone is a rational approach to the world that secures truth - is false. 2) they waken the epistemic authority of science, depriving it of its claim to dominate or overrule theology and philosophy, the interaction between science and theology or philosophy is a dialogue, not a monologue.

3. Attempts to integrate science and theology, including efforts to resolve apparent conflict between them, should not automatically assume a view of science known as scientific realism. Scientific Realism, roughly defined is the view that successful scientific theories are true or approximately true models of the theory-independent world. Moreland argues for an eclectic model of science, one that uses a realist or anti-realist view of science on a case by case basis as method to integrate science and theology.

Chapter 1&2. He explores theses 1: the definition of science and the methodology. The chapter ends with an example of how theology uses scientific methodology.
Chapter 3 refutes the claims of scientism and shows it to be a very weak world-view.
Chapter 4. Defines scientific realism and considers various objections to it.
Chapter 5. Describes a number or anti-realist views of science and concludes with a brief sketch of an eclectic model of science that could be used to integrate science and theology.
Chapter 6 considers the claim that creation science is not science but religion in disguise. The chapter defends the scientific status of creation science by offering a working characterization of what it is supposed to be and by responding to criticism of its status as a science.
The book ends with a large number of resources that can be used for further research.

Concluding comments

Christianity and the nature of science is a good introduction to the field of philosophy of science from a Christian perspective. The book is not an exhaustive exploration of the philosophy of science but I think it covers the topics of the current discussion - especially the discussion about realism vs anti-realism - in the philosophy of science very well. It is a very readable book, with good suggestions for further study.

 

Copyright 1999 Cornelis van Putten , Tilburg, The Netherlands


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