The Instigator
sensibletheism909
Pro (for)
Tied
5 Points
The Contender
ADT_Clone
Con (against)
Tied
5 Points

Resolved; Christianity was a positive influence in the development of modern science

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/8/2012 Category: Science
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,013 times Debate No: 24647
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (12)
Votes (2)

 

sensibletheism909

Pro

1st round acceptenc
2nd round opening arguments
3rd round 1st rebuttals
4th round 2nd rebuttals
5th no new arguments, closing statements

This is not a debate about whether or not Christianity is committed to creationism, or geocentrism or direct teleology in general. This is a debate about the nature of the historical impact of Christianity on the development of science. I must show a positive relationship historically between Christianity and the development of science. My opponent must show that the relationship is either balanced between negative and positive influences or that Christianity has more often than not stifled science, rather than promoted it. If either myself or my opponent fails to meet their burden, we will have lost the debate.
ADT_Clone

Con

I accept your debate and debate structure. To clarify my stance, I am debating that there is no strictly positive relationship between Christianity and the development of science. Alternatively, I could also debate a lack of a relationship between Christianity and the development of science. The stance that I will take will depend on the arguments present and my research into the topic, but my intuition thinks the former will be my stance.


Definitions

Development: 1. the act or process of developing; growth; progress: child development;economic development.
2.a significant consequence or event: recent developments in the field of science. [1]

Christianity: When referring to Christianity, to avoid bias references will be drawn from any chapter of the Bible, from the old or new testament. The burden of proof is on you to give reasons why my interpretations are incorrect if I make them.

influence: the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behaviour, opinions, etc., of others: He used family influence to get the contract. [2]

relationship: a connection, association, or involvement. [3]


References
(1) http://dictionary.reference.com...;
(2) http://dictionary.reference.com...;
(3) http://dictionary.reference.com...;
Debate Round No. 1
sensibletheism909

Pro

I would first like to thank my opponent for being willing to debate this interesting topic. I also accept his terms and definitions. So without further ado lets begin.

For the sake of simplicity I will put my argument into 2 parts; first I'll dispose of some historical examples many skeptics use to show a conflict between Christianity and science, and then I'll proceed to show some historical evidence which supports the view that Christianity actually aided in the development of science.

Getting rid of the misconceptions;

Did Christianity cause the dark ages?
No, although the rise of Christianity could have played a role in destabilizing Rome, there is no evidence that Christians actively sought Rome's demise. The fall of Rome was of course more to do with economic collapse and invasion from the Goths and the Huns. The Goths, although many were Christian did not attack Rome in some crusade against pagan technology. The Visigoths did so because of a famine which broke out in Rome and elsewhere, causing a shortage of food, and so the Visigoths revolted.[1] The Ostrogoths were attacked by the Eastern Empire in 535 a.d [2]. Before these points the Goths were largely non-christian and attacked Rome in hopes of wealth and because of pressure from the Huns.

What about Alexandria?

Did not Christians burn the library of Alexandria to the ground because of the heresy of their pagan ways? There are actually three accused culprits of this disaster; Julias Ceaser, Patriarch Theophilis, and Caliph Omar of Damascus. It is unclear who is responsible for the libraries destruction, but there is reason to doubt the Christian Theophilis was responsible. There are numerous accounts of the library no longer existing by the time Theophilis would have held his position[3]. He couldn't have destroyed something which wasn't there to begin with.

Did the church persecute Galileo for his scientific findings?

Well the church did persecute Galileo, but not because of his discoveries. Rather it was because of a book he published wherein, the Pope felt as if Galileo was mocking him, and so he had him arrested [4]. It was an embarrassing act on the Pope's part no doubt, but it wasn't a clash of science vs. Christianity.

A positive case for a positive relationship;

Many major scientific discoveries were made by Christians;

Isaac Newton; developed theories of light and gravitation, and invented calculus. He wrote more on theology than he did on science.
Blaise Pascal; Invented the mechanical calculator, made numerous contributions to the fields of mathematics and chemistry. Helped develop modern probability theory used in social sciences. He is well known for his passionate Christian beliefs.
Galileo; The first to use a telescope to view the stars, proved that planets orbited the sun. Was also known to be a pious Roman Catholic.
Micheal Faraday; Discovered electric fields, did work in magnetism and electricity. He did science because he thought God had created everything with order and structure.
Robert Boyle; Called the father of modern chemistry, was well known for his piety and his commitment to his faith.
Lord Kelvin; developed the first 2 laws of thermodynamics. His views of God inspired his discoveries.
Francis Collins; head of the human genome project. Devout Christian and author of "The Language of God".
[5]
There are many more examples of scientists who were passionate Christians but this is a good start. Note that these examples were most definitely not closet atheists or agnostics, they were deeply involved in their religious beliefs. For a more extensive list see; http://www.tektonics.org...
Traditionally held Christian beliefs fostered science;

Christians throughout history have held firmly to the belief that God is rational, and that in being rational He created a rational universe. Thus they expected that nature was rationally intelligible.

Christians have also traditionally held that humans are created in the image of this rational God. An implication of this is that we as humans must be rational, and we are rational we should be able to discover things about the rationally intelligible universe.

Eastern philosophies throughout history have held to cyclic views of the universe, meaning that nothing is truly progressing, but rather everything is repeating itself over and over again. An implication of this is that progression in understanding of nature is impossible. In contrast to this view, Christianity teaches that humanity can improve, and that there is a progression to an inevitable end.

these doctrines among many others support the thesis that Christianity nurtured science more than it hindered it. [6]

Supporting Quotes;
"Although popular images of controversy continue to exemplify the supposed hostility of Christianity to new scientific theories, studies have shown that Christianity has often nurtured and encouraged scientific endeavour, while at other times the two have co-existed without either tension or attempts at harmonization. If Galileo and the Scopes trial come to mind as examples of conflict, they were the exceptions rather than the rule." -Gary Ferngren; historian of science at Oregon University

"hitherto we have explained the phenomena of the heavens and the cause of this power. . . . To us it is enough that gravity does really exist, and act according to the laws which we have explained, and abundantly serves to account for all the motions of the celestial bodies." -Isaac Newton

"it is a matter of record that science never developed anywhere except where there was Christian influence." -David Siemens, P.H.D. in philosophy from Claremont Graduate school

1.http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://www.bede.org.uk...
4. http://www.bede.org.uk...
5. http://www.harding.edu...
6. http://www.ldolphin.org...
ADT_Clone

Con

I will now present my opening arguments only.

Pre) Relationships in terms of statistics

Relationships are profound in statistics, and serve a basis for making inferences on observations. "(in statistics) a relationship between variables that may be negative (inverse), positive, or curvilinear. Correlation is measured and expressed by using numeric scales." [1] In other words, if as I age, I grow taller, there is a positive correlation or relationship between my age and my height.

In statistics, there is a difference between causation and relationship. A can have a relationship with B, but A may not cause B. For example, retirement would have a relationship with memory loss, however obviously retirement is not the cause of this.

In general, if a relationship also implies causation or if A has more of a direct impact on B than say C does, it is generally considered that A has a stronger relationship. Hence, I will be showing not only a negative relationship, but that my relationship is stronger than the Pros'.

1) The negative relationship between Christianity and the development of science

It is often the method of the Pro to idolise certain prominent figures in science who happen to be Christian. Not only is this a weak relationship, but it is also cherry picking. To show that there is a true positive relationship, you must consider all Christians over the entire development of science.

In an address from Pope Benedict XVI in 2006, a prominent spokesperson for Christianity, he stated that "Modern scientific reason quite simply has to accept the rational structure of matter and the correspondence between our spirit and the prevailing rational structures of nature as a given, on which its methodology has to be based." [2] However spiritual influence "structures of nature" do not have a place in science as science can already explain these structures. He also stated that condoms were not the solution to combating AIDS. [3] This is a direct contradiction of scientific research, and as a spokes person for Christianity in both situations, he influenced a negative stance towards science.

The presence of education brought to society through Christianity is another major element of this negative relationship. Throughout history, the Church was often responsible for education, teaching little children the words of the Bible. This included concepts such as creationism, disease being caused by evil spirits and other supernatural explanations for scientific facts. To emphasise this, a museum exists that personifies these ideas. [4] With this sort of influence on the Christian population, comprising of a lenient figure of 1.3 billion followers[5], it is evident there is a negative relationship between Christianity and the development of science.

2) Christianity follows on from scientific development

Conveniently, not a single scientific fact in recorded history has been found through any direct practice of Christianity(Bible, praying etc). However, it is said the Bible is consistent with scientific facts. How can these two contradictory statements both be true? There are two ways they can be true:

  1. Of the billions of people who have been exposed to Christianity, not a single one found scientific facts through religion
  2. The interpretation of Christianity changed as science developed

The second is more likely, and can be seen throughout history. In a paper, it was stated that development was "obscured" and that it was only revealed late twentieth century, causing many theologians to abandon traditional doctrine. [6] This lined up nicely with the scientific theories that preceded this change of thought. Another example is Galileo. The church didn't agree with heliocentrism, and specifically Cardinal Bellarmine prevented him from realising it as a physical possibility. [7] Yet some five hundred years later, it is common scientific knowledge and it aligns with Christian teachings.

To elaborate further, there are various fundamentalist stories in the Bible, such as Adam and Eve, Mary's virgin birth, the great flood, Noah's Ark and many other contradictions to science. [8] These were all prominent beliefs in the past, and were firmly planted in Christian teachings. However, as science proved each of these beliefs incorrect, the interpretation of these turned from fact into metaphor.

If the ideals and beliefs of the very core of Christianity were changed in response to science, how can we claim that a positive relationship exists? Clearly the development of science occurred before Christianity had anything to do with it.

3) General examples of a negative relationship

The Bubonic Plague was a disease which was prominent in the 15th century, killing two thirds of human beings it infected.[9] The doctors practice at the time involved methods such as moving the infected away from unsanitary conditions, which provided benefits to the patients. However, followers of Christianity held the belief that it was caused by Gods wraith and that people were "infected with evil". As a prevention, they carved a symbol of the cross on the front door of the infected.[10] This ignorance to treating the disease caused approximately 25 million deaths[11] and was extremely negative on the development of science towards more effective treatments for disease.

The other example is Creationism. In our modern day, creationism is a diminishing idea which contrasts all scientific evidence present. When Darwin raised his idea of "Natural Selection", there was knock back from the Christian community, which is a clear sign of a negative relation to the development of science. As we know today, natural selection is an integral theory to our understanding of evolution. However, creationism and the stories of the Bible are still taught at Sunday schools, public/private schools and in churches. How does this assist the development of science?

Summary

To summarise, I raised three valid points that show a negative relationship between Christianity and the development of science. There is a difference between a weak and strong relationship, with the positive relationship between Christianity and science an example of a weak one, whereas, due to the population of Christians in society, the negative relationship is a strong one. I also demonstrated that Christianity merely followed on from development of science, consequently making it impossible for Christianity to have a direct relationship. Finally, I presented examples throughout history which validate this negative relationship.

In conclusion, there has been no tangible scientific development that occurred directly as a consequence of the ideals and teachings of Christianity. Coupled with the beliefs imbued on a majority of Christian society, there is a general negative relationship between Christianity and the development of science. As Albert Einstein once said: "God doesn't play dice with the world"[12]. How wrong he was.

References

(1) http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...
(2) http://www.vatican.va...
(3) http://www.abc.net.au...
(4) http://creationmuseum.org...
(5) http://www.nationmaster.com...
(6) KRETZMANN, NORMAN (01/09/1997). "Creation without Creationism". Midwest studies in philosophy , 21 (1), p. 118.
(7) Galileo: Decisive Innovator, Michael Sharratt, p126-31
(8) http://christianity.about.com...
(9) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(10) ”How a mysterious disease laid low Europe’s masses” by Charles L. Mee jr. Smithsonian, pages 66-78.
(11) "Distinct Clones of Yersinia pestis Caused the Black Death". PLoS Pathogens 6 (10): e1001134.
(12) Einstein and the Poet: In Search of the Cosmic Man, William Hermanns; Albert Einstein

Debate Round No. 2
sensibletheism909

Pro

I thank my opponent for his rigorous argumentation. A few things I'd like to emphasize; I agree with my opponents views on causation and correlation, a relationship does not entail causation. My point is that if Christian scientists did science because they viewed science as being possible because of their religious beliefs, then there is a positive correlation between Christianity and the development of science. Of course if on balance the correlation is not positive, then the overall relationship between Christianity and the development of science. So I'll address my opponents points in the same format he posted them;

1) The negative relationship between Christianity and the development of science.

In this section, my opponent argues that because Christianity makes claims that are in the realm of science, and must hold those claims as true, regardless of what science says. However in the case of Genesis 1 and 2 this is hardly
the case. Christians as far back as Augustine have interpreted these passages in many different ways.[1] As to his quote from the Pope, I don't see how that is anti-science. What he is saying is that science presupposes a rationally intelligible nature. He is arguing that science only makes sense in a Christian metaphysical framework. How is that anti-science? As to the Pope saying that condoms are not a good way to eliminate aids. He is concerned that the use of condoms is not ethical, not that data supporting the effectiveness of condoms is not accurate. In any case many Christians reject both of his claims. Christians are not committed to hold these positions.

A final point I want to make here is that even if it is true that Christians believed that diseases were caused by demons, this is not enough to show that in this instance Christianity hindered science. My opponent must also show that such Christians were not open to natural causes for such diseases. Of course this cuts both ways. My opponent is correct that I have not established a satisfactory connection between the scientists I mentioned and their Christian beliefs, an error which I plan to correct. but when it comes to Christian beliefs about the cause of diseases, I'm not certain that Christians unanimously believed this. Darrel W. Amundsen, professor at Western Washington University and recognized expert in ancient medieval history, argues in his book, "Medicine, Society, and Faith in the Ancient Medieval Worlds" that sickness was attributed as much to natural causes as they were to demonic possession. Darrel rights, "...Because it is so common to assume that in the early Middle Ages demonic causality was accepted for most disease, and certainly for mental illness, such natural causes as despair, fear, sudden seizure, and "unknown reasons" may surprise us. Such explanations, however, occur with some frequency..." [2]

2) Christianity follows on from scientific development

My opponents first point here perplexes me. He states, "not a single scientific fact in recorded history has been found through any direct practice of Christianity." If I understand my opponent correctly, he seems to be suggesting that in order for Christianity to have a positive relationship with science, it must produce scientific facts. This is absurd, as it would require that Christianity be a science. I'm arguing that Christianity has supported the development of the sciences.

My opponent then proceeds to argue that Christianity has retreated in the face of science. But even if this is true, it in no way negates my contention that Christianity nurtured science more than it inhibited it. For the question is not if Christianity is consistent with what science discovers, but whether or not Christianity has supported the methods of science. Thus my opponent needs to show that these retreats manifested themselves as hindrances of the development of scientific methods and discovery. And yet again this sword cuts both ways, I need to show that the Christian beliefs I mentioned manifested themselves as supporting the development of science (which I will).

3) General examples of a negative relationship;

Creationism- We are indeed seeing a conflict between science and a type of Christianity, but I do not think that it is a conflict between science and Christianity itself. Many Christians today and throughout history have interpreted Genesis in a multitude of ways. And a good argument can be made that much of the book of Genesis is poetic in nature.[3]

Bubonic plague- I'm not sure how this is supposed to be an example of Christians impeding science. It may be an example of a false hypothesis, that demons were making people sick, but again, my opponent needs to show that Christians were not open to competing natural hypotheses, and/or saw such hypotheses as heretical.

4) Improving my positive case;

I am going to be shifting the focus from isolated scientists to the church and its leaders. The first thing I want to point out is that the church actually created the first universities. Part of the reason they did so was to educate theologians in order for them to teach effectively and to continue to research and discover things about difficult topics. This lead to different fields and even students getting doctorates in fields such as medicine and law. This is important because it means churches formed universities for religious reasons. Universities, which no doubt have influenced the growth and development of science in a positive way.[4]

Furthermore throughout the middle ages a massive effort was undertaken by numerous scholars to use reason to defend Christian doctrines against heresy. This crucial step led to developments in mathematics by Buridan and Oresmes, advances in astronomy by Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo. These developments fertilized the seeds of modern science [5,6,7] (I may expand this argument in my next response).

Lastly I would like to emphasize the massive number of scientists who were Christian throughout history this site; http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk..., lists hundreds of them, and many, if not most, viewed their science as being deeply rooted in their theology. I can't go through all of them but I'd encourage the readers to look into it.

Supporting quotes;
"When with bold telescopes I survey the old and newly discovered stars and planets when with excellent microscopes I discern the unimitable subtility of nature's curious workmanship; and when, in a word, by the help of anatomical knives, and the light of chemical furnaces, I study the book of nature I find myself oftentimes reduced to exclaim with the Psalmist, How manifold are Thy works, O Lord! in wisdom hast Thou made them all!" - Robert Boyle

"Geometry existed before the creation; is co-eternal with the mind of God; is God himself ... Where there is matter there is geometry. ... geometry provided God with a model for the Creation and was implanted into man, together with God's own likeness - and not merely conveyed to his mind through the eyes. ... It is absolutely necessary that the work of such a Creator be of the greatest beauty..."- Johannes Kepler

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://gratefultothedead.wordpress.com...
3. , if that doesn't show up go to; http://www.sumtercatholic.org...
4. http://jameshannam.com...
5. http://ethesis.helsinki.fi...
6. http://www.bede.org.uk...
7. http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk...
ADT_Clone

Con

I will be responding to my opponents opening arguments. I will firstly dismiss two of his arguments, then focus on discussing the final argument.

Argument 1 – Misconceptions

I am simply dismissing this argument as the Pro has made an assumption to what I will be arguing before I argued it. Since I never used any of these arguments, I do not see the need to defend them.

Argument 3 – Traditionally held Christian beliefs fostered science

Pro claims that due to the beliefs of Christianity, they view humans as rational and beings who have the ability to discover things about a rationally intelligible universe. He also states that cyclic views stifle the development of science, whilst linear thinking from Christianity promotes it.

Firstly, by making the assumption that everything is rational reduces the scope of the development of science in the Christian view. By ignoring any irrational facts, Christians are simply ignoring elements of science. This is clearly seen through certain Christian beliefs, such as creationism, geocentric views and the belief that God started the universe. These beliefs are indeed rational and linear, however conflict with the current research in science, such as the big bang theory, multi-verse theory, quantum mechanics and natural selection, which are cyclic in nature. These conflict with the Christian based “rational” view of the universe. Hence, displaying a negative relationship to the development of science.

Secondly, by accepting a rational universe, by the Pro’s definition it is assumed Christians accept linear views of the universe as opposed to cyclic views, as mentioned previously. The consequence of cyclic views is the concept of “cause and effect” [1]; the idea that everything has a cause. This promotes theories such as the big bang theory, in which the universe is in a cyclic process of creation and destruction; cause and effect. The linear view does not promote this, and clearly observations such as the big bang theory do not promote a rational universe. Therefore, traditionally held Christian beliefs do not foster science [2].

Argument 2 - Many major scientific discoveries were made by Christians

A weak relationship
I would first like to discuss the difference between a weak relationship and a strong relationship.

A strong relationship is one that implies more of a cause than merely a consequence. A positive relationship is one where “an increase in one variable is related to an increase in the other, and a decrease in one variable is related to a decrease in the other” [3]. For Christianity to have a positive relationship with the development of science, not only must the development of science increase as Christianity increases, but must also decrease as Christianity decreases. A strong relationship is one where this is almost certain, whereas a weak relationship is one where this is vague.

To say that “many major scientific discoveries were made by Christians” is a weak relationship. To show a strong relationship, it must be shown(in this context) that as Christianity grows, more scientific discoveries are being made. Whilst over the last few years Christianity has remained stable in population, there has been a drop in Christianity in Europe and the North Americas, with a drop of 10% and 19% since 1910 respectfully. Considering Europe and the North Americas are the major scientific hubs, and considering that the development of science has escalated over the last century, doesn’t this contradict with a positive relationship between Christianity and the development/discoveries of science?

Furthermore, I would like to discuss the type of relationship the Pro is asserting. As stated earlier, the relationship between scientific discoveries and the fact that they were made by Christians is a weak relationship. Not only is this because of what I discussed above, but also partly because there is less of a cause in a weak relationship. The fact that Christian scientists make discoveries does not imply that it was their Christian faith that caused them. Considering the drop in church attendance[5] it can be assumed that many people who identify themselves as Christian do not follow many of the Christian practices. This leads to the weak relationship that I identified above.

Inaccurate religious beliefs
I would also like to argue against the religious beliefs of some of the scientists the Pro mentioned in relation to their scientific developments.

Firstly, you attempted to tie Isaac Newton’s scientific discoveries to his writings on theology. You are correct that Isaac Newton wrote about Bible hermeneutics and occult studies. Bible hermeneutics concerns the interpretation of the Bible, and occult studies is a study “of a natural not understood, as physical qualities” [6]. These do not directly relate to Christianity, and in fact occult studies relate more to his work around gravity than any Christian beliefs. Furthermore, many of his ideas actually conflict with the traditional Christian God. In recent times, he has been described as a heretic [7]. There is no solid evidence that his developments in science were affected by his Christian beliefs, implying that this wasn’t a cause.

Secondly, you claim that Blaise Pascal, a prominent mathematician was “well known for his passionate Christian beliefs”. This is incorrect. Around 1946, Pascal’s father become very ill, and it was around this time that he adopted some religious beliefs. However, approximately five years after this, he abandoned these beliefs, as he was not drawn to God [8]. Most if not all of his major discoveries occurred after he relinquished his beliefs, in fact implying a negative relationship between Christian faith and scientific discoveries.

Just by considering these two scientists you mentioned, I think the audience can safely assume the information on the other five may not be accurate, especially considering a lack of sources to back up your claims. Also, considering the weak relationship and lack of causality between Christian beliefs and scientific discoveries, this argument should be considered debunked, leaving the Pro with no strong arguments to base his case on.

Summary

In summary, I have rebutted the Pro’s three weak arguments, and have presented more evidence and a stronger case against a positive relationship. The Pro simply cherry picked many of his examples, not reflecting the true population in his arguments. I have identified this and given strong reason through the discussion of relationships and causality. In contrast, my arguments towards a negative relationship reflect the more general population of Christianity and science.

The Pro’s argument of rationality in fact contrasts modern science and his argument on a relationship between Christian scientists holding Christian beliefs and their scientific discovers is weak, without evidence and inaccurate.

My initial arguments still stand, and the Pro’s rebuttal does little to knock them down. In my next round, I will be responding to the Pro’s initial rebuttal and show that my arguments still stand strong. It will be the Pro’s responsibility in the next round to revitalise his arguments and show that the statements I have made in this rebuttal are incorrect.


References

(1) http://www.passingphase.co.nz...

(2) http://dictionary.reference.com...

(3) Research Methods and Statistics: A Critical Thinking Approach, Sherri L. Jackson, p144

(4) http://pewresearch.org...

(5) http://en.wikipedia.org...

(6) http://dictionary.reference.com...

(7) http://www.isaac-newton.org...

(8) Richard H. Popkin, Paul Edwards (ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1967 edition, s.v. "Pascal, Blaise.", vol. 6, p. 52–55, New York: Macmillan

Debate Round No. 3
sensibletheism909

Pro

Argument 3 - Traditionally held Christian beliefs fostered science

Most of my opponents first point I've already addressed, except for his concerns over geocentrism. But I would like to make a few comments. Firstly, I'm quite perplexed as to how exactly the Big Bang theory conflicts with the Christian doctrine that God created the universe. There is no explicit conflict between these two ideas. The Big Bang Theory only explains what happened when the universe began to exist. It doesn't explain where the universe came from or why anything exists rather than nothing [1]. The multi-verse theory is only one theory as to where the universe came from, if one rejects that theory one is not anti-science. Quantum mechanics and evolution are not cyclic in nature they can be cyclic, but they aren't cyclic necessarily. History has shown us that evolution has produced more and more complex organisms not a cycle from a peak of complexity to a peak of simplicity. Thus here I see no conflict between Christian doctrine and science. But what about geocentrism? Well for one thing Geocentrism was not and is not an infallible dogma of the Catholic church [2]. The church held to geocentrism because they held to Aristotelian physics. And because they Aristotle taught that heavier objects sink and lighter objects float, and Christians at the time thought that the Earth was heavier than all of the other planets, they reasoned that the earth didn't move, while the lighter planets were guided around the earth in a perfect circle [3]. Thus, ironically it was a commitment to Greek ideas that created a stumbling block for the development of science more than it was biblical Christianity.

It seems my opponent thinks that if one is to support the Big Bang Theory, one has to accept cyclic theories of the universes creation. In other words, that the universe cam into and went out of existence over and over again throughout an infinite past. This is simply absurd such cyclic theories are only one of many different theories (such as the multi-verse theory) and the Big Bang Theory does not require one to accept a cyclic universe.

Argument 2 - Many major scientific discoveries were made by Christians

My opponent claims that to show a strong relationship between Christianity and science one must show that as Christianity grows science will grow with it, and as Christianity declines science will decline. I have two points regarding this objection; 1 this would only be true if Christianity were the only factor influencing science, which is something I'm not claiming. To say Christianity is conducive to science is not to say that other world-views or ideas are not conducive to science. There is no doubt, for example, that many atheists have a zeal for science, so its plausible to suggest a positive correlation between science and atheism. 2 all I am saying is that Christianity has influenced science in positive ways more than it has influenced it in negative ways, thus I am not saying that no matter what Christianity will influence science positively. What this entails is that the relationship between various ideas and world-views and science is complex, and that to establish a strong relationship between Christianity and science does not require me to show that Christianity is the only cause of science, or that science is the necessary result of Christianity. All I must show is that, on balance, Christianity has pushed science forward, rather than held it back.

Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal

For the sake of brevity I'll grant your points about Isaac Newton, although I'd like to stress this in no way compromises my main point. Instead I'll give another example; Francis Bacon. Bacon was a philosopher and a very solid Christian. He is quoted as saying; "God has placed no limits to the exercise of the intellect he has given us, on this side of the grave" [4]. There is no doubt that Bacon's works revolutionized the way nature was studied. He was one of the first philosophers to critique Aristotle's physics. Bacon thought that the proper way to analyze nature was to study it not think about it. He believed that because God had created the universe, it should be lawful and organized; "...the force implanted by God in these first particles, form the multiplication thereof of all the variety of things proceeds and is made up..."[5,3]. Thus there is little doubt that Bacon was motivated by his Christian theism to do promote the advancement of learning, and as such, the advancement of science.

Now my opponent moves on to Blaise Pascal, and here I must admit my opponent did his homework. Pascal was a great Christian thinker, but there is no connection between his Christianity and the science he preformed. So I'll give a more solid example, and again I stress that conceding this does not constitute conceding the debate, not even close. Enter St. Albertus Magnus, a great inspiration of Thomas Aquinas and a leader in all of the natural sciences of his time. Albert was an prolific writer of theology and science, he viewed the purpose of science as uncovering the things which nature can bring about, and he wanted to use science to defend the doctrines of Christianity. He is quoted as saying, "In studying nature we have not to inquire how God the Creator may, as He freely wills, use His creatures to work miracles and thereby show forth His power: we have rather to inquire what Nature with its immanent causes can naturally bring to pass"[6]. Again there is little doubt that this extremely influential scholar of the middle ages saw a crucial importance in studying nature because of his Christian faith.

Conclusion;

I look forward to my opponents response, and again am thankful for his well-thought out arguments. However, I don't think my opponents approach to refuting my arguments thus far is a good one. He has refuted some of my points, but Con has failed to establish a solid argument of his own. Furthermore, with more fleshed out arguments on my part I'm not certain how Con will respond.

1. http://www.letu.edu...
2. http://socrates58.blogspot.com...
3. http://www.leaderu.com...
4. http://www.brainyquote.com...
5. http://plato.stanford.edu...
6. http://www.newadvent.org...
ADT_Clone

Con

Defence of Opening Arguments


1) The negative relationship between Christianity and the development of science.

The argument I have made on the negative relationship between Christianity and the development of science still stands, and I will refute my opponents claims.

In my opening argument, I made the claim that Pro was simply cherry picking scientists who happened to follow Christianity. Pro did not respond to this, and judging by the first part of the response did not understand this. He then went on to argue that the words of the Pope were not a hindrance to the development of science. This is incorrect. In the source I provided, the Pope stated that science must accept that there is a correspondence between a spirit and rational structure in nature. [1] This statement places the constraint of a supernatural spirit onto science, which negatively effects its development. Science should be free of such constraints, and by imparting this ideology onto Christianity, the Pope promotes the negative relationship.

To correct the Pro, who stated that the Pope said “science presupposes a rational intelligible nature”, the Pope actually stated that science rejects this rationally intelligible nature. For him to refute this(as you claimed that “many Christians reject both of his claims”) would contradict with his OWN third argument that Christian beliefs promote a rationally intelligible universe.

Secondly, Pro argued that I must show Christians were not open to natural causes for such diseases. Pro does not refute that Christians could have believed that diseases were caused by demons. This fact is acknowledged by his own source. [2] If this is a fact, then it is safe to assume that a majority of Christian doctors would have held the same beliefs, and would have treated the patient in accordance with this belief, as was stated in my bubonic plague example [3]. As the Pro stated, there were most likely doctors who treated illness with natural causes in mind. But if these doctors believed in Christianity, and their Christian beliefs influenced their scientific practices, then they would have treated the causes as demonic possession. If this was not the case, Christianity wouldn’t have had an influence on the development of scientific medicine, hence holding my argument as valid.

2) Christianity follows on from scientific development

The Pro is incorrect in his interpretation of my words, which I will elaborate on.

The most obvious factor in a positive relationship between Christianity and the development of science would be scientific facts derived straight from Christian beliefs. Otherwise, Christian beliefs may have nothing to do with science. I argued that not a single scientific fact in history came from Christian beliefs. Pro stated that he is only arguing that Christianity supports the development of science. Supporting is a much weaker relationship. It is a lot harder to find a direct link between Christians who support the development of science and their beliefs. Hence Pro has degraded their argument for a positive relationship into a much weaker argument.

To address the Pro’s claim that Christianity only supported science, I would like to raise that if Christianity was really supportive of science, they would have kept up with its development rather than retreating in the face of it, which the Pro has not opposed. I showed however that this was the case [4,5], and that Christianity did abandon their views only after scientific theories were well established. The core of Christianity consistently changed after the development of science. Christianity has only supported the sciences after the evidence had become so apparent that their support no longer had an effect on its development; science had already developed

Hence, my original argument holds that Christianity simply followed on from scientific development, not only strengthening my argument for a negative relationship but also weakening the Pro’s already weak argument for a positive relationship.

3) General examples of a negative relationship

I will cover the Pro’s two points briefly.

Firstly, the Pro may be able to show that in this modern day Genesis is interpreted as poetry, however that does not prove that Genesis was not taken literally over the past two millennium. In fact, considering the New Testament(which excluded Genesis) was not in existence until the 4th century [6], 400 years were spent at least relying on this Christian belief rather than developing science.

Secondly, since I already explained the Bubonic Plague case earlier in this round, so will not readdress it here.


Response to Pro’s “improvements”


I would like to cover the Pro’s fourth argument, round three in this section.

Teachings of early Universities

Pro claims that teachings in early, Christian funded Universities had a positive relationship on the development of science. However, at the stage of Christian funded universities, science was not taught. Instead, readings of two main set texts, Aristotle and the Bible, were debated. [7] It wasn’t until later on that further teachings were taught. The following subjects were available in the early, Christian founded universities: “Medicine, Civil and Canon Law or Theology” [8]. Only one of these which can be considered a science, which I have shown that in the medieval period, probably wasn’t true to the real science of medicine we know today.

It wasn’t until Aristotle that science really started to develop. It just so happened, according to Pro’s source, that this was the time that universities were separated from church and state. [9] So in fact the early universities with Christian influence did not form a positive relationship to science, hence rendering Pro’s argument void.

Theology lead to the development of science

Pro’s argument that the study of theology caused the development of modern science is simply incorrect. This is shown in his own sources, specifically sources [10] and [11].

Science in Theology” focuses on three examples, all centered on Roger Roseth’s thoughts. The first example attempts to make a weak case that mathematical infinite came from theology and God’s infinite, but the term infinite was not defined until the mathematical definition, making God irrelevant.

The second was a thought experiment derived from mathematical limits. The author states that “the genre of the sophisma, then, was thus one of the analytical tools Roseth applied to the theoretical question at hand, and consequently the thought experiment from physics became part of the methodology in theology.” [10].

Pro’s second source states that Pythagoras’s ideas on science impacted on Christian thinking. It also states that Thomas Aquinas was responsible for Aristotle’s ideas; claimed to be greatly religious, to be absorbed into Christian thinking [11]. My opponents own sources conflict with his remark that Christian developments fertilised the seeds of modern science. In fact, it seems it was the opposite way around; science fertilised the seeds of Christian beliefs.

This destroys my opponents improvement for a positive case.


References


(1) http://www.vatican.va...

(2) Medicine, Society, and Faith in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds, DW Amundsen – 1996

(3) ”How a mysterious disease laid low Europe’s masses” by Charles L. Mee jr. Smithsonian, pages 66-78.

(4) KRETZMANN, NORMAN (01/09/1997). "Creation without Creationism". Midwest studies in philosophy , 21 (1), p. 118.

(5) Galileo: Decisive Innovator, Michael Sharratt, p126-31

(6) http://en.wikipedia.org...

(7) http://www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk...

(8) http://jameshannam.com...

(9) http://www.bede.org.uk...

(10) http://ethesis.helsinki.fi...

(11) http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk...

Debate Round No. 4
sensibletheism909

Pro

1) The Negative Relationship Between Christianity and the Development of Science.

Actually I did respond to Con's first claim. I pointed out direct links between scientists drive to do science and their Christian beliefs. Even if the Pope did in fact say that 1) it doesn't show that such a belief negatively effected science, and 2) it wouldn't limit science as it is making a claim which science could never prove nor disprove; i.e. that the supernatural exists. Now here my opponent claims that Pope Benedict the XVI actually said that science rejects a rationally intelligible nature. I'm not sure where he stated this, I read through the article he posted and couldn't find a single reference to such an idea, so if Con would be kind enough to point it out I would be grateful. But if Con is referring to the statement he quoted, there he does literally say that science presupposes the rational structure in nature. This doesn't mean there is no rationality in nature, simply that science must presuppose it in order to be effective, if nature were irrational, science would be useless.

The fact that Christians believed demons caused diseases was not so much a hindrance on the development of science as a method, but the progress of scientific discovery. What I am arguing is, Christianity played a crucial role in how we do science today. That is where guys like Francis Bacon come in. The problem with saying that a scientific progress was hindered because of a false hypothesis is that they only way science can progress is through eliminating false hypotheses. I suppose one could say that this particular hypothesis was held for too long, but even then, that could easily be explained by the fact that the scientific method hadn't been developed yet.

2) Christianity Follows on From Scientific Development

My position purports, not a weaker relationship, but a stronger one. As I pointed out, I'm not arguing that Christianity simply sped up scientific progress, but rather allowed it to occur by aiding the development of the scientific method.

The fact that Christians abandoned geocentrism in the face of the scientific evidence is a testament to their devotion to science, not an example of Christianities inconsistency with science. This is why I pointed out that 1. the Catholic church did not hold to geocentrism infallibly, which means they were willing to abandon such a position, and 2. the reason they held to geocentrism was more to do with their philosophical commitment to the teachings of Aristotle than it was the Bible. Thus the mere fact that Christians abandoned this position is not enough to suggest that Christianity is anti-science, my opponent must do more than this.

3) General examples of a Negative Relationship

Here I'm confused, Con says, "the New Testament (which excluded Genesis) was not in existence until the 4th century, 400 years were spent at least relying on this Christian belief rather than developing science." I think I'm going to need some clarification here. For one thing, of course the New Testament excludes Genesis, but more importantly, the New testament did exist before the 4th century, the writings simply hadn't been compiled nor completely agreed to be scripture. So perhaps my opponent is arguing that because the church wasn't developing science during the first few centuries of its existence, that this somehow counts against its relationship with science. This is odd, its like saying because the Greeks were so caught up with ethics and metaphysics that they had a negative relationship with science. Yet no one would claim that the Greeks had contributed nothing to science, indeed, their devotion to reason seemed to help the development of science a great deal. As to Con's point about Genesis being interpreted literally throughout history, the sources I have given in this debate clearly point out that quite a few infamous Christian and Jewish theologians throughout history have interpreted Genesis 1-11 in non-literal ways, such as Augustine or Philo.[1,2] Thus taking Genesis as non-literal today is not in any way a retreat from traditional Christian doctrines.

Teachings of Early Universities

Again my opponent fails to understand what exactly I'm pointing out here. I realize that early universities didn't teach natural sciences, they were too committed to Aristotle's and Plato's philosophies to see any worth in observing and analyzing the natural world in the way science does today. The point was that the church established the first universities encouraged learning for the sake of defending the faith, and these universities throughout the middle ages made small steps toward breaking free of Aristotle's grasp. Even if it was inadvertent, the church laid the seeds for what would later become modern science.

I'm not sure what my opponent means when he states; "It wasn't until Aristotle that science started to develop." Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who thought nature should be studied through intuition and that there was no reason to explain phenomena in the universe because he thought everything was the way it was because it had to be that way. These are two points made in many of the sources I posted.[3] What's more, according to my sources even after the church relinquished control of the universities, it still supported them.[4]

Theology lead to the development of science

The first two arguments here, I didn't make, so I don't feel I need to defend them. Again I'm perplexed why my opponent says; "Thomas Aquinas was responsible for Aristotle's ideas." Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who lived thousands of years before Aquinas. Aquinas was influenced greatly by Aristotle. Perhaps my opponent is arguing that Aquinas changed many of the ideas of Aristotle, which is true, but how this establishes that science changed Christianity and not the other way around, I do not know.

Conclusion;

I would like to thank my opponent for taking the time and effort to debate me, it has been an interesting debate indeed. Nevertheless my opponent has failed to address the majority of my points. Con mistakenly dismissed my points about Francis Bacon and St. Albertus Magnus as cherry picking, despite both figures clearly being motivated to make their discoveries about how to do science by their religious beliefs. My opponent also misrepresented the point I was making about universities. Con also failed to show a negative relationship between Christianity and science, the fact that Christians held to false ideas about nature is not enough to show that Christianity, on balance, has impeded the development of science rather than supported it. My opponent must show that Christians were not open to new ideas for his argument to work. This is because for science to progress, there must be the elimination of false ideas. Thus it is not surprising at all that Christians changed their positions on some issues because of their discoveries in science. This shows that science influenced Christianity, but it doesn't show that Christianity did not influence science. Clearly Christianity played a crucial role in establishing the thinking behind how science should be done. Thus I urge readers to vote pro.

1. http://www.evidencetobelieve.net...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://www.bede.org.uk...
4. http://jameshannam.com...
ADT_Clone

Con

Cyclic vs. Linear Thinking


The Pro in his round 4 rebuttal claimed that the Big Bang Theory did not conflict with the Christian doctrine. In saying this, I assume he is referring to his linear, rational form of thinking that Christianity employs. Yes, the Big Bang Theory can be compatible with Christian doctrine, but that is not the topic of discussion. The discussion regards whether these theories are compatible with linear Christian thinking.

Pro claims that evolution, planet formation and the Big Bang Theory all fit with a linear thinking, and the reason because of this? It all comes back to the cause, the cause of God. This is indeed linear thinking, and you can in fact trace each of these theories back in a linear fashion that ends at a point, which you say is God. However, this can ONLY apply to the Big Bang Theory.

You can claim that God caused the formation of planets and created Earth, and that this can be traced back through linear thinking to a beginning. However, this beginning would have to had caused the big bang, therefore it is irrelevant at the level of planet formation, which can be naturally a cyclic thought process. The same argument applies to evolution. You can say God caused the big bang which eventually caused evolution, and that this was discovered through linear thinking. But all that was discovered is the start of the big bang, evolution is still a process which requires cyclic thinking.

To use linear thinking as an argument, the Pro, who admits this point, must make the assumption that his theory of the big bang where God caused it must be correct. However, he admitted himself that this is just a theory, and we don’t know which theory is correct, and stated that it is not necessarily cyclic thinking. Though if his one theory that shows linear thinking is not proved, how can he say that linear thinking has influenced the development of science.

All the evidence we have demonstrates scientific processes which required cyclic thinking: evolution, planet formation, weather systems, quantum mechanics and so on. Hence, by assuming a form of linear thinking from the Christian viewpoint, this causes a negative relationship with the development of science.



Summary of Opponents Arguments


Before I conclude this debate, I would like to outline my opponents arguments:

1. Scientist A and scientist B are both Christians, and so are many more, so Christianity had a positive relationship with the development of science.

2. The universe is rational, so we can learn something about it. This was due to Christian linear thinking, therefore since Christian allows us to learn something about the universe, it has a positive relationship with the development of science.

These arguments are weak and do not display a general case for Christianity being in a positive relationship with the development of science. Along with this, many of these arguments were criticised and debunked. I brought forward evidence which stated some of the scientists my opponent mentioned weren’t actually influenced by their Christian beliefs. The Pro presented little evidence to show that these scientists indeed had Christian beliefs which directly influenced their science, he merely quoted websites which did not provide valid evidence. Hence, the voters should consider the strength of the Pro’s arguments before making their decision.



Conclusion


To conclude, I would like to discuss some statistics from a series of polls and surveys taken in America. In 2009, it was found that the belief of a God in the science community was half as likely when compared to the general public of America. In 2009, 87% of scientists surveyed accepted Darwin’s theory of evolution, whilst only 32% of the general public accepted this theory. 20% of the general public believe that evolution was directed by some supreme being and 31% believe that humans and other forms of life have simply existed since the beginning of time. [1]

There is quite a strong relationship between these opinions and the belief in a God. Considering a majority of American’s believe in the Christian god, couldn’t this be considered as a negative relationship between Christianity and the development of science?

Furthermore, it was found that 64% of people would believe their religious beliefs rather than a contradictory scientific discovery. [1] If this is not proof of a negative relationship, I don’t know what is. This clearly shows that the fact people believe in religion blocks the development of science in society. We can see this in our modern day with stem cell research and theories of creation.

In conclusion, in the knowledge of my previous argument and all other previous arguments, I have shown that not only does Christianity not have a positive relationship, but it appears to have quite a strong negative relationship with the development of science. I have presented evidence and statistics which support my arguments, and have cross examined and found contradictions in much of the Pro’s sources.

If you believe that my arguments are stronger, vote for Con. If you believe that my opponents arguments are stronger, vote for Pro. I will end this debate with a famous quote from Albert Einstein that I believe sums up how Christian beliefs prevented the development of science. Albert Einstein did not believe in quantum mechanics, and this is what he said:

"God doesn't play dice with the world" [2]



References


(1) http://pewresearch.org...

(2) Einstein and the Poet: In Search of the Cosmic Man, William Hermanns; Albert Einstein

Debate Round No. 5
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by devient.genie 4 years ago
devient.genie
Thanks for the kick start christianity.Now take your lunacy and your holy binky and go night night.

Let the big kids in science take care of things now :)

IntellectualHonesty 7:2--Science is always discovering new and exciting information that continues to make it clear, the mystery of nature is far too beautiful for a temper tantrum flood boy who can convict you of thought crime and is admittingly jealous :)
Posted by sensibletheism909 5 years ago
sensibletheism909
Do you have any sources to support your assertions, or did you just hear all of that on the history channel? The point of voting on these debates is to take the arguments given and then assess who made a better argument, not just throw in your own arguments and say the guy you agree with won.

Actually that isn't a bad argument I was proposing that as an explanation for why science developed in Western Europe and not anywhere else. Christianity doesn't say people are worthless, Christianity teaches that everyone is created in the image of God and so we are of limitless worth, but that our actions condemn us. And no the Big Bang does not say that the universe was always existing as a singularity, in fact the Big Bang doesn't say anything but thats beside the point. The theory that the universe was a singularity for eternity past and then expanded out at some finite time in the past is a completely separate theory to the Big Bang Theory.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 5 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
I could keep going but I think you are getting the picture mind you. Even evolution is just slowly Getting accepted with Catholism. They are much more flexible and adaptive to a changing world. But Americian Chritianity is geting more extreme .;
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 5 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
The Fool: Christainity tells us we are worlthless sinning humans. and we need to be saved.
Big bang say the universe was always existencing in singlular. It just expanded at a certain at what we call 0 time but its only relative to the expanstion.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 5 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
The fool: Con job was easier because its so popular. I am well verses in my history of science and philosophy. Pro wasnt' able to answer back well cons arguments. at all.

WTF?
Eastern philosophies throughout history have held to cyclic views of the universe, meaning that nothing is truly progressing, but rather everything is repeating itself over and over again. An implication of this is that progression in understanding of nature is impossible. In contrast to this view, Christianity teaches that humanity can improve, and that there is a progression to an inevitable end.

The Fool: sorry pro this was an awfull argumnt.
Posted by The_Fool_on_the_hill 5 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
The Fool: I admit tough sell for Pro. Pro had a lot of non necessary connected argument. But Christianity has always been a problem for science. It many many years after a scienfic theory becomes popular that Christianity get forced into having to agree and rearranged interpretation. The sourced was given to Con, because of false information provided by pro. Galileo was definitly condembed for science not just making the POPE(LIES!) lool the fool. The Papacy agreed that he could write the book as long as he left out the scientific argument. So he tried to hide it in dialogue,The church only appologized for if 10 years ago. Every scientific notion depended on going against the church. Even descartes had to retract work because he was worried to have the same fate. The inquisition was in effect you could get burned at the stage alive for Heritical believes. YOu could never say you were not Christian. There are not many explicit athiest in the enlightenment because It would destroy your career even later. You couldnt publish and you would be socially punshishment. So they are very poor sources. Being Christian and doing science, doesnt mean Christianity was a positive effect. For the entire education was christianity with aristolte before that. and if they conflicted Aristotle was always considered wrong. We have lost at lease a thousand years on the progress of humanity because of Chrisanity.
Posted by YYW 5 years ago
YYW
This looks like a very cool debate. If I have time, I'll read it before the voting period expires.
Posted by sensibletheism909 5 years ago
sensibletheism909
the video at the top is supposed to be reference 3, sorry about the confusion.
Posted by sensibletheism909 5 years ago
sensibletheism909
no restrictions, its the entire 2000 year span.
Posted by bencbartlett 5 years ago
bencbartlett
Is there any limit as to the time frame of Christianity impacting science? Say, in the dark ages, or in the 20th century? Or is it the entire 2000-year span?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by AnalyticArizonan 5 years ago
AnalyticArizonan
sensibletheism909ADT_CloneTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro was able to adequately show that there was a positive relationship between science, the medieval church, and later Protestant thinkers.
Vote Placed by The_Fool_on_the_hill 5 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
sensibletheism909ADT_CloneTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Read comments