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Can belief in science and miracles co-exist? Scholars respond
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A philosophy professor is pushing back against the notion that science and religion contradict one another or that the two simply can't co-exist. - photo by Billy Hallowell
A philosophy professor is pushing back against the notion that science and religion contradict one another or that the two simply can't co-exist.

Brandon Schmidly, a philosophy professor at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, specifically rebutted a response given in a Pew Research Center study after a respondent said, "I'm a scientist now, and I don't believe in miracles."

Schmidly told The Christian Post that the idea espoused in and through the statement is problematic, stating that any claim that the two contradict one another or that religion isn't a "worthy discipline" is "not a scientific claim, it's a philosophical claim."

"It's a claim about a relationship of two concepts that cannot be put under a microscope or tested with a Bunsen burner," the professor told the outlet. "So, it's that inference that is a faulty one that leads to this faulty conclusion that if you start to trust in science you can't believe in miracles."

Scientist Michael Tenneson also spoke to The Christian Post, challenging the claim that, while science is predicated upon evidence, religion is not.

"I frequently make the case that conclusions about theology and faith are made in the same kinds of ways that we make decisions about science," said Tenneson, who also teaches at Evangel University. "In other words, theological doctrine is also derived from evidence."

Speaking of the Judeo-Christian tradition, he said there's a firm record that includes historical documents, personal experience and archaeological evidence that he believes corroborates the Old Testament and New Testament.

"Everybody uses evidence to make decisions whether we realize it or not, and everyone has presuppositions whether they realize or not," he said. "And the first bet to decide on a truth claim has to be an examination of our biases and how those are going to alter our interpretation of the data.

Reactions from Schmidly and Tenneson came after the release of a new survey from The Pew Research Center that explored the reason many of the "nones" those people who are atheists, agnostics or simply unaffiliated with a particular religious group "left religion behind."

According to Pew, 78 percent of "nones" were once affiliated with a religion before leaving the labels behind upon reaching adulthood. The polling firm asked why these people abandoned their religious identities, finding that "science" was often cited among respondents.

"About half of current religious 'nones' who were raised in a religion (49 percent) indicate that a lack of belief led them to move away from religion," the report reads. "This includes many respondents who mention 'science' as the reason they do not believe in religious teachings, including one who said 'Im a scientist now, and I dont believe in miracles.'"

Some respondents also pointed to what they see as a "lack of evidence," among other factors leading them away from a particular religious label.

Disagreements between scientists and the faithful are nothing new. Just consider the ongoing public debates between creationist Christian leader Ken Ham and scientist Bill Nye. The two recently clashed after a little girl asked them whether God created human beings, though their most famous face-off came in 2014 when they came together for a public debate over evolution.

But while some embrace the notion that science and religion simply can't co-exist, a study released last year that explored the views of scientists across the globe found that belief in God isn't as rare among scientists as some might assume.

"More than half of scientists in India, Italy, Taiwan and Turkey self-identify as religious," Elaine Howard Ecklund of Rice University's Religion and Public Life Program told Phys.org. "And it's striking that approximately twice as many 'convinced atheists' exist in the general population of Hong Kong, for example, (55 percent) compared with the scientific community in this region (26 percent)."

You can read more about that research here.

Also, consider that former Christian pastor Elijah Stephens is working on an untitled documentary about the relationship between science and miracles a project that he told The Blaze back in May will take an objective look at the issue.

If Gods real and doing stuff today I want to know about it I wanted to find objective evidence, he said at the time. You can claim someones been healed, but what do the medical records say and would a doctor really validate it?

Find out more about his film project here.
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