Thursday, July 02, 2009

My own understanding on the relation between Science and Theology

NOMA (non-overlapping magisteria) is one way, though a blurred one. Having read a bit of Gould's Rock of Ages, and understanding that people like Dawkins (NOMA risks metaphysical non-naturalism) and Francis Collins (NOMA risks 'overcompartmentalization') have issues with NOMA, I personally think that the relation between both magisteria need to be further explained.

No doubt NOMA is the best candidate, yet it is still very unclear where are the peripheral boundaries where both magisteria really do influence each other, instead of just merely having dialog.

My own tentative and undeveloped thought is that both magisteria need to be nuancedly bound. On the magisteria of the physical and natural sciences, we need a critical naturalism (sort of Roy Bhaskar's work) to refrain it from attempts to make naturalism into metaphysics (like Dawkins), while acknowledging a place for naturalistic assumption in scientific studies.

As on the theology's side, I find T.F. Torrance's scientific way helpful for theological discourse and discovery to be investigation made 'a posteriori' instead of the opposite (which further developed by Alister McGrath).

Both these frameworks chastise both sides from crossing the border, from over-lapping each other uncritically which is often destructive rather than constructive. Where as places for overlaps are the spaces provided by this chastisement. The ground where neither metaphysical naturalism nor a priori theology dictates. A new horizon for collision, integration, and discovery.

1 comment:

Steven Sim said...

dual-magisterias is an old idea, from aquinas to galileo...the latter who called them book of nature and book of scripture.

I found them to be helpful in terms of sci & religious interaction (just like different social spheres in pluralistic society - Kam Weng), but you are right, they do not solve the overall problem of dialogues esp. frm a Reformed view of god's sovereignty over all realms.

Steven Sim