Tuesday, April 26, 2011
John Polkinghorne on Science and Theology
Just making notes for my own reference.
Polkinghorne is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a priest and theologian, and winner of the Templeton Prize.
Q. How does he compare and contrast physics and theology?
A. He takes a 'critical realist' view of both. So, both disciplines are dealing with truth. (That's the 'realist' bit, and it's a faith stance.) Both are integrating a way of knowing things: the scientific method is powerful but limited only to that knowledge which can be measured and repeated. Theology deals with a wider range of human inputs and experiences but (I would emphasize, though Polkinhorne doesn't) especially I-thou knowing, relational knowing, which is different kind of knowing from the I-it knowing of science.
Both science and theology posit unobservable things. Physics has confined quarks, never seen but assumed to exist; theology has an invisible God. Each is an invisible keystone in an arch of more accessible knowledge. Postulating the invisible helps us make sense of the visible.
Both science and theology can inform and shape each other, bringing as they do different aspects of the totality of human knowing.