Item description for Science & Its Limits: The Natural Sciences in Christian Perspective by Del Ratzsch...
Overview Science, especially naturalistic science, has come under fire of late. No longer does it command the near univeratl respect it once held. From the right has come a fresh attack on Darwinism and arguments for intellegent design. From the left postmodern theorists have attacked the very notion of objective truth claims scientific or otherwise. Into the fray Del Ratzsch breaths a breath of calm. He asks, "What is science? What can it tell? What can't it tell us? What challenges does it offer to the Christian faith? How should a Christian respond?" Originally published under the title Philosophy of Science, the revised volume surveys how views of science have developed and changed over time, especially since the Kuhnian revolution of the 1960's. Now updated to reflect current discussions of intellegent design and postmodern views of science, Science and Its Limits offers readers a thoughtful perspective on contemporary trends and useful advice on how to approach faith and science issues.
Publishers Description Science, especially naturalistic science, has come under fire of late. No longer does it command the near universal respect it once held. From the right has come a fresh attack on Darwinism and arguments for intelligent design. From the left postmodern theorists have attacked the very notion of objective truth claims, scientific or otherwise. Into the fray Del Ratzsch breathes a breath of calm. He asks, What is science? What can it tell us? What can't it tell us? What challenges does it offer to Christian faith? How should a Christian respond? Originally published under the titlePhilosophy of Science, this revised volume surveys how views of science have developed and changed over time, especially since the Kuhnian revolution of the 1960s. Now updated to reflect current discussions of intelligent design and postmodern views of science, Science & Its Limits offers readers a thoughtful perspective on contemporary trends and useful advice on how to approach faith and science issues.
Citations And Professional Reviews Science & Its Limits: The Natural Sciences in Christian Perspective by Del Ratzsch has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Books & Culture - 08/01/2000 page 30
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Studio: InterVarsity Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.2" Width: 5.7" Height: 0.57" Weight: 0.54 lbs.
Release Date Feb 12, 2000
Publisher IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN 0830815805 ISBN13 9780830815807
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More About Del Ratzsch
Del Ratzsch earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Massachusetts. He is professor of philosophy at Calvin College and author of The Philosophy of Science (published by InterVarsity Press in the Contours of Christian Philosophy series), as well as several other books. Much of Ratzsch's work over the last seventeen years at Calvin College has sought to relate science and religion (and more recently creation and evolution) in a way that is philosophically informed, scientifically defensible and theologically meaningful. Although Ratzsch is optimistic that design theory can avoid past mistakes in the creation-evolution controversy, he stresses that fundamental clarifying work remains to be done in this area.
Del Ratzsch has published or released items in the following series...
Contours of Christian Philosophy Contours of Christian Philo
Reviews - What do customers think about Science & Its Limits: The Natural Sciences in Christian Perspective?
philosophy of science 101, for anyone, from a christian view Jan 29, 2003
I came across the book as a deliberate study of the problems involved in the debate over creation evolution in the conservative christian community. It lived up to its expectations as an introductory study of the philosophy of science from a christian prespective. Del Ratzsch is a very competent philosopher, book is well written and strives for a balance not often seen it this field, i am sad to discover. He ends the books with the idea of "speak the truth in love", remarkably there are several reviews here on this site concerning this book that apparently don't think this a principle to follow. again sadly.
as an example of a balanced passage: page 124 "the second reservation is that different parts of science operate in different ways, on different levels and must answer to different demands. consider the principle of the uniformity of nature. historically the underpinning of that principle is philosophical. it is not empirically testable-indeed, what test results might mean it itself determined in part in a context already defined by that very principle"
it certainly deserves a place in any thinking christian's bookshelf. it is not very doctrinaire and would be an asset to anyone interested in the topic of the philo of science, especially anyone who wants view conditioned by a particular perspective deeply involved in western culture.
Problems reconciling Del's conclusions with the Bible Jun 15, 2001
Unfortunately, Mr. Ratzsch's interpretations raise far more problems than they attempt to solve (as will be documented below).
I do not believe that those who adhere to some form of theistic evolution (God used evolution to create everything) or progressive creation (God intervened at various points in the process of evolution) fully realize that their position violates clear concepts revealed in the Bible--indeed much that is foundational to the very Gospel itself.
Concept violated: the goodness of God
The Bible says 'God is good' and in Genesis 1:31 God described his just finished creation as 'very good'. How do you understand the goodness of God if He used evolution, 'nature red in tooth and claw', to 'create' everything?
Concept violated: Adam's sin brought death and decay, the basis of the Gospel
According to the evolutionist's (and progressive creationist's) understanding, fossils (which show death, disease and bloodshed) were formed before people appeared on earth. Doesn't that mean that you can't believe the Bible when it says that everything is in 'bondage to decay' because of Adam's sin (Romans 8)? In the evolutionary view, hasn't the 'bondage to decay' always been there? And if death and suffering did not arise with Adam's sin and the resulting curse, how can Jesus' suffering and physical death pay the penalty for sin and give us eternal life, as the Bible clearly says (e.g. 1 Corinthians 15:22, "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive")?
Concept violated: the divine inspiration of the whole Bible
If the Genesis accounts of Creation, the Fall, the origin of nations, the Flood and the Tower of Babel - the first 11 chapters - are not historical, although they are written as historical narrative and understood by Jesus to be so, what other unfashionable parts of the Bible do you discard? The biblical account of creation in Genesis seems very specific with six days of creative activity, each having an evening and a morning. According to the evolutionary sequence, the biblical order of creation is all wrong. Do you think God should have inspired an account more in keeping with the evolutionary order, the truth as you see it, if indeed He did use evolution or followed the evolutionary pattern in creating everything?
Concept violated: the straightforward understanding of the Word of God
If the Genesis account does not mean what it plainly says, but must be 'interpreted' to fit an evolutionary world, how are we to understand the rest of the Bible? How are we to know that the historical accounts of Jesus' life, death and resurrection should not also be 'reinterpreted'? Indeed, can we know anything for sure if the Bible can be so flexible?
Concept violated: the creation is supposed to show the hand of God clearly
Dr Niles Eldredge, well-known evolutionist, said:
'Darwin . . . taught us that we can understand life's history in purely naturalistic terms, without recourse to the supernatural or divine.' [Niles Eldredge, "Time Frames - the Rethinking of Darwinian Evolution and the Theory of Punctuated Equilibrium", 1986, Heinemann, London, p. 13.]
Is it not philosophically inconsistent to marry God (theism) with evolution (naturalism)? If God 'created' using evolution which makes Him unnecessary, how can God's 'eternal power and divine nature' be 'clearly seen' in creation, as Romans 1:20 says? Evolution has no purpose, no direction, no goal. The God of the Bible is all about purpose. How do you reconcile the purposelessness of evolution with the purposes of God? What does God have to do in an evolutionary world? Is not God an 'unnecessary hypothesis'?
Concept violated: the need of restoration for the creation
If God created over millions of years involving death, the existing earth is not ruined by sin, but is as it always has been - as God supposedly intended it to be. So why then should He want to destroy it and create a new heavens and earth (2 Peter 3 and other places)?
Starting to get the picture of where Mr. Ratzsch's compromising theology leads?
See the Answers in Genesis website for volumnes of eye-opening information.
Books I would strongly encourage one to read instead: "Icons of Evolution" by Jonathan Wells, "Bones of Contention" by Marvin Lubenow, "Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No!" by Duane Gish, "In Six Days: Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation" by John F. Aston, "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis" by Michael Denton, "Astronomy and the Bible" by Donald B. DeYoung, "Refuting Evolution" by Jonathan Sarfati, "The Answers Book" by Ham/Snelling/Wieland, and "The Young Earth" by John Morris.
You thought you knew what science is? Apr 30, 2000
Think twice. Excellent primer on epistemology by a Christian philosopher. In a field (science and faith) where carricatures, misunderstandings, and insults are too frequent, Del Ratzsch brings a welcome sound of nuance, respect and depth. In a clear and accessible way, the author first reviews the various theories that have been developed over time to describe the relationship between science and reality. In a very interesting section, he then outlines the present work in progress of philosophers of science fraying their way between positivism and post-modern relativism. He points there to several questions that we can ask ourselves about our interpretation of scientific observations. In a section that could have been more developed, Del Ratzsch then discusses several options that Christians can choose to link biblical and scientific interpretations in their quest for a coherent understanding of our world. In a welcomed last chapter, he reminds them that unloving and simplistic Bible slamming and accusations are not among these options. A must read.