Comments about ‘Michael Gerson: Why the theological resistance to science that's intuitively consistent with Christian theology?’

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Published: Thursday, April 24 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

It is best for religions to incorporate science into their theology. It is very damaging for religions to "disprove" basic scientific principles using junk science or scriptural arguments. It only damages their credibility.

I have friends and family who make the ridiculous claim that the earth is old 6000 years old. This can easily be debunked by looking at locations where tree ring dating can go back 10,000 years!

I had religious biology teachers at the "U", and I don't see any BYU science professors arguing that creation "science" or "young earth" geology be taught at BYU.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Tiny creatures,
Living in tiny little tidal pools,
can not imagine the concept of an Ocean.

So with their tiny brains,
they deny it exists,
explain things with magic,
and to appease their insecurities,
they tell others that THEY are wrong.

I'm lucky --
My religion teaches me otherwise,
but some of it's members are stuck in the pool.

Science tells me how,
Religion tells me why.

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

Two problems exist; False science and false religions. True religion and true science are completely compatible. My religion teaches me that I don't have to believe anything that is not true. That's why I embrace it!

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

FOX News has done a wonderful job selling theological resistance to science that's intuitively consistent with Christian theology.

salt lake city, utah

Nice try Michael but no cigar.

You can't say on the one hand that science is the only way to understand the physical universe and then do a slight of hand and imply we humans are not part of that physical universe because we are not to be understood by science alone.

That's simply picking an choosing what science you want to believe the very thing your article is arguing against.

One of the major problems with choosing a view of humanity other than the scientific one is which one. There are conflicting religious views all claiming authority for their view. Culture and training make that choice for most of us. Science is the only view that is not tainted with prejudice.

Bountiful, UT

Science and progress of mankind go hand in hand, with religion usually playing catchup, facing dwindling numbers of adherents.

Galileo backed the idea that the sun revolves around the sun, not vice versa, and was imprisoned for life, with the Catholic church apologizing 500 years later.

In the information age, things have accelerated. Those who think the Earth is 6000 years old might as well believe in a flat Earth, too, and avoid getting on airplanes. They are proof that dinosaurs live among us.

The current debate includes same sex attraction, with religions playing catchup and being left behind again, trying to keep things together as younger generations teeter on leaving the club because of something that appears obvious, were it not for religions trying to control everything.

Hayden, ID

@ There you go again. I watch Fox News and cannot think of one example of them "selling theological resistance to science". Can you please provide one example?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

RE: "In order to accept the scientific method, they must abandon the beliefs of their community"....

I don't agree with their assumption that you must abandon your religious beliefs to accept the scientific explanation for the creation of our universe.

I've always thought however our universe was created... it was by natural means. Meaning scientifically explainable means. More advanced science than we can understand... but "Science" none the less.

When God said "Let there be light"... I never assumed he just flipped a light switch on.

I assume that he used science, physics, chemistry, nuclear physics, etc, and in a very advanced knowledge of science to it's very core... he coordinated the big bang to result in our universe (and countless other universes out there).

To him... our understanding of Science... is like an infants.

Expecting us to understand how he did it (scientifically) would be like expecting a baby who can't even talk yet to understand how an airplane was built, or how nuclear fission works.

But science in no way forces me to abandon my faith.

Salt Lake City, UT

Strong personal emotions, even when popular and shared within your community, are not evidence of truth.

If the concept of honesty and humility matter at all to you, then you have to look at the evidence the universe puts in front of you and let the objective evidence speak for itself, even when (in fact, _especially_ when) that evidence contradicts your personal beliefs.

These are objectively established facts for which there is no more controversy than the direction a rock falls when released from a height:

The universe is ~14 billion years old.
The Earth is ~4.5 billion years old.
Humans and chimpanzees have >98% the same DNA because both species share a distant (millions of years ago) common genetic ancestor.

That's all established reality.

If you want to imagine that the universe began as a thought in the mind of a supernatural creator, fine, go ahead. But if you want to imagine an inscrutable, capricious, supernatural being who controls the weather, decides which sick child lives and which sick child dies, who wins the lottery and who loses everything in an earthquake, then you're embracing an endless, dishonest, and above all, a losing battle with reality.

Steve C. Warren

Re: the idea of a universe that began in a flash that flung stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies across the vast canvas of space is, to put it mildly, compatible with Jewish and Christian belief: "Let there be light."

Michael Gerson makes a good point. In fact, the concept of an instant creation shows up often in the scriptures. A few examples: 1. "I am the same which spake, and the world was made" (D&C 38:3) 2. "Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. . . . for he commanded, and they were created." (Psalms 148:3,5) 3. "Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was . . . " Jacob 4: 9)

On the other hand, the accounts of the Creation in Genesis, Moses, Abraham and in LDS temple films contradict one another on key points and simply aren't very credible.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

@Steve C. Warren


I might add --
The word "Abracadabra" is aramaic for "by my words, I create"
it is derived from Hebrew - 'ebra kidebra' which translates: "it came to pass as it was spoken."
and Hebrew for;
Ab(Father), Ben(Son) and Ruach A Cadsch(HolySpirit).

In scriptures -- we learn All things were created by God's "word".
John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word...and the Word was God.
And God SAID _____,

Words are sounds,
Sounds are vibrations.
Vibrations are energy,
and Modern String theory derives that ALL matter is vibrating energy.

If you want to get even deeper, think about this --

Singularity is also 100% compatiable with our Religous belief of "Becoming ONE with God".

200 word limit,
Some religous folks will not listen or believe anything I have to say anyway,
they take things literally,
so there is no evolution, no space time continuum, no blackholes, no whiteholes, the earth is flat, the center of the univers, only 6,000 years old, and the flood covered the earth 35,000 feet deeper than it is now.

I don't use Scriptures for science books.
I don't use Science for Salvation.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

IF God is who I believe he is... he understands science to the point that he can control natural forces and the universe in ways we can't comprehend in our current mortal state.

Even smart people like Stephen Hawking are infantile compared to his understanding of science. No mortal (in our short lives) even if we dedicate our whole short life to learning everything the science we understand to this point and beyond... could even approach his level of understanding of sciences we haven't even discovered yet.


How long has God been studying and using science and natural forces... Eternity???

So I would assume he knows more than we do. Even the smartest of us are still "children", to him. And our understanding of science is like that of a child, when compared to his.


I believe that after this life, not only do we have an eternity to learn more about science... but our minds will also be "quickened"... meaning we can understand things that our mortal brains are not equipped to understand in our current state...

May be silly... but that's what I believe...

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

So -- we have discovered common ground.

Now - let me show you were I come from on some of our other arguements.

1. Do you believe we will use magic or Science to create our own worlds?
a. I think we will use Science -- needing to learn about climates, heat, old, pressures, fluid dynamics, atmospheric layers, humidity, dew points, etc.

2. Just like fmailies and getting along with others,
Eco-systems and balance in nature is our #2 list of things to learn, know, and do here.

3. Polluting, emitting un-natural substances and skewing the fragile balancee in the enviroment will lead to our own GLORY or Destruction.

4. This is OUR Celestial Kingdom, we either make it our break it ourselves --no magic pixie-dust to clean it up.

5. Understanding God's laws is more than just 10 commandments.

This Earth is a Temple -- aka, root word, Template.
Patterned after others where we used to live.

We will [terra-form] others in the Future.
no until AFTER we learn how to tend, take care, and are found worthy of the one we already have.

We've been commanded.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Those who reject theology and accept science only are more like those who lived in the "dark ages" than they might want to think. Back then, the common view was that the sun orbited the earth. Now, those who reject God want to take His place. They want our thoughts to orbit their thoughts. They think that because they can "think" that their thoughts are more profound than the thoughts of their Creator, our Father in Heaven.

It's time to get over ourselves. Just because we have begun to gain a rudimentary understanding of a small part of science, does not mean that we have become experts.

Our Creator is omniscient. He knows EVERYTHING. He is not limited to know only what we know. You would think that "scientists" would respect pure knowledge, but they want everything to revolve around their way of thinking. The word for that is "luddite".

Virginia Beach, VA

" . . . a recent poll found that a majority of Americans is "not too" or "not at all" confident that "the universe began 13.8 billion years ago with a big bang."

I doubt that most scientists would bet on that time frame being accurate to within a billion years. That conclusion results from measuring a specific phenomenon. But who knows what other undiscovered phenomena might exist that could eventually measure the age of the universe more accurately.

Scientists don't pretend to know exactly when the universe began. The 13.8 billion year number is a best estimate based on available technology. Forty years ago, available measuring technology suggested the age of the universe to be closer to 5 billion years.

And then of course, there's the whole matter of what makes up the universe and the time-space continuum. Can we even conceive of time and space or anything or nothing before the Universe with its time and space ever existed?

Yes, I'm not surprised that reasonable people would doubt such a specific claim regarding the origin of everything. In fact, it seems overly-presumptuous of mere mortal humans to even make such a claim.

I doubt it too.

Sensible Scientist
Rexburg, ID

There is a simple dividing line that has been well known for hundreds of years: Science is concerned with the tangible, the testable (by experiment), the observable, while Religion is concerned with the supernatural (not tangible or physically testable).

There cannot be conflict when this dividing line is adhered to.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@LDS Liberal,
We have more common ground than you think.

But my beliefs are not based on hopes that anybody else agrees, or that anybody who judges me or my beliefs thinks I'm correct enough, or "worthy" enough (as you put it).

My opinion is MY opinion. Whether you agree or think it's worthy or not. I put it out there for what it's worth (which is ZERO to some people). But I don't care if they agree, or think I'm worthy.


I noticed you were able to spin back into the usual "I'm right, your wrong" rhetoric towards the end. But this isn't about politics, or your environmental judge-mentalism soap-box...

IMO We aren't here to judge each other, or to validate each other. Just to share.


I don't know the age of the components of this globe. I know it doesn't matter for my eternal salvation... or it would be revealed.

The 6000 year thing is a red-herring. God doesn't see time the way we do. Who said 6000 years? And in who's reckoning of "time"? Gods? That's "tradition", not "Doctrine" IMO.

Salt Lake City, UT

GaryO: "I doubt that most scientists would bet on that time frame being accurate to within a billion years. That conclusion results from measuring a specific phenomenon. But who knows what other undiscovered phenomena might exist that could eventually measure the age of the universe more accurately."

Your doubts are unsupported by any real evidence. What the many independently validated lines of objective evidence _do_ show is that the universe began 13.8 billion years ago, +/- ~50 million years.

As a kid I remember reading that the age of the universe as 10-20 billion years. In college it was estimated at 12-18 billion years. Later, the estimate was put right around 15 billion. The error bars are shrinking, not getting bigger.

But suppose that somehow you're right and the current estimate is off by 3 billion years, meaning the universe was 10 or 17 billion years old. How does that in any way change the fact that a belief in a 6,000 year old universe is the equivalent of claiming that the driving distance between SLC and Miami is 6 feet?


Scientific discoveries never caused me to doubt the religion of my youth - history books did.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

I have no problem with people who view science as the "practice of revealing God's laws", but the minute you try to refute the observations of science solely on the basis of religion, IMHO, you are skating on thin ice.

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