I stumbled across this video a couple of months ago, and I was captivated by the civility of this conversation, and the counter-cultural perspectives of both of these scholars. The video features a conversation hosted by The Veritas Forum between Princeton philosopher Hans Halvorson (a Christian) and NYU professor Matthew Stanley (a Buddhist). It's amazing how different the scholarly conversation is from the popular media narrative when it comes to faith and science. For those who wanted to engage the intersection of faith and science at a deeper level, I strongly recommend viewing the whole video. A short transcripted excerpt of Dr. Halvorson's remarks appear below, which gives a taste of what to expect in the full video. -BK
Excerpt of remarks by Halvorson (starts at about 23:45 in the video):
"Among religious believers who have some views on philosophy of science, I have a minority view maybe about this. Let me say it in a simple way first and then nuance it a little bit. I think—this is going to sound paradoxical at first, then I’ll explain—I think naturalism in science is a religious way of doing science, in fact a Christian way of doing science. Now I’ll dissolve this paradox for you because, what in the world could I mean by that? First of all, I’m just following here in the footsteps of the early Christian scientists, in the late middle ages, who said, “Look, God created the universe, and God could have created the universe however he wanted to and so how can we know about the universe? Well, the only thing we can do is go out and do experiments and look. And that’s the only way we can figure out what the universe is like.” Notice that that actually is what we now call naturalism, the idea of de-personifying nature, taking the spirits, the gods, out of physical reality and saying there is a creator that lives outside of this that made it, and studying that thing that depends on the creator. Nowadays, people forget what the original philosophical foundation was for this maneuver. We now call it “naturalism.” The funny thing is what it originally should have been called is a creationism-type view, the idea that this is a creation that we’re looking at. I actually think all the great stuff that’s happening in science these days, with the way it’s "naturalistic," owes to its religious heritage. Now the fact that it can keep on going without people being aware of that, well, it’s a bit sad, I think. But I actually don’t think that there is, in a philosophically coherent way, a naturalist foundation for science. I think there’s just this view of physical reality as being de-personified. And I think that view originally came from a religious origin."
Note: Video and excerpt are published with permission from The Veritas Forum and Hans Halvorson.