Faith and Science

Gain Insights from Experts in the Fields of Philosophy, Biology, Cosmology, and Theology

In partnership with Ratio Christi

Course Introduction

Course Description

Ratio Christi offers a full series in Apologetics Training for Faith and Science and has partnered with the Discovery Institute and a number of thought leaders to create a series of videos for training Christians to tackle difficult questions. This Christian worldview training course is designed for Christians of all walks of life.

The series of videos trains Christians on biblical worldview, theology, and philosophy. You don’t have to get an advanced degree to understand how faith and science coexist. In this apologetics training for faith and science, experts in the fields of philosophy, biology, cosmology, and theology will help you understand topics crucial for apologetics.

Resource curated for The Gospel Coalition by Nick Harsh.

Lesson 1: The Problem of Science and Faith

President of Ratio Christi, Dr. Corey Miller, is an accomplished professor, philosopher, and apologist. He has struggled with the perception that faith and science are incompatible. In this lesson, Corey lays the philosophical foundation for the marriage of faith and reason. Christian apologetics utilizes science, history, and philosophy to give an account for our faith in Christ.

Lesson 2 & 3: Are Christianity and Science at War?

Belief in the supernatural creation of the cosmos gave humanity solid conceptual ground for expecting to discover mathematically elegant natural laws issued from the maximally rational lawgiver. Religious believers were correct in their expectation, an awkward truth about history for dogmatic materialists.

What do Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, and Carl Sagan have in common? These famous popularizers of science have all spread stories to suggest that science and religion have been at war with each other for centuries—that religion is anti-science. There’s just one problem: these stories are pure myth. The popular stories Michael Newton Keas debunks in his book Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion amount to little more than religion bashing—especially Christianity bashing. In exposing these myths, Keas shows that the real history is much more interesting than the common narrative of religion at war with science.

Lesson 4: God and the Origin of the Universe

In this section of the course, Discovery Institute philosopher of science Stephen Meyer discusses how the scientific idea of the “Big Bang” has helped build a bridge between faith and modern science by providing evidence that the universe had a beginning and by suggesting that the universe’s cause must stand outside of time and space.

Lesson 5: The Privileged Planet

In this section of the course, philosopher and theologian Jay Richards explores the exquisite fine-tuning that makes life possible and how our planet seems to have been intelligently designed for scientific discovery. Both features of nature point to a growing harmony between physics, astronomy, cosmology, and the Christian faith.

Lesson 6: The Mystery of the Origin of Life

In this section of the course, chemist James Tour of Rice University critiques efforts to develop materialistic explanations for the origin of the first life, showing how major challenges to such explanations have yet to be overcome. Additional resources, such as an article and lecture by Stephen Meyer, go further and argue that the best scientific explanation for the origin of the first life is purposeful design, a finding which has positive implications for theism.

Lesson 7: Darwin’s Doubt

In this section of the course, Discovery Institute philosopher of science Stephen Meyer explains the scientific and worldview controversies arising from Darwin’s theory of evolution, using as a case study the mystery in the history of life known as the “Cambrian Explosion,” and he goes on to explore how—contrary to Darwin—biology provides powerful evidence of intelligent design.

Lesson 8: Science, Faith, and Origins

The history of science and philosophy of science help us to grasp what science is and how it relates to religion, especially in controversies over origins. Scholars in these fields have identified at least a dozen major theory virtues: traits of a theory that make it likely true. As an example of theory evaluation, we will focus on a prominent argument for Darwinism and against intelligent design: junk DNA. This is the idea that the majority of human DNA is “junk” that does not code for proteins or have any other function. Does the notion of junk DNA have the traits of a reliable theory? Evaluating this case will help you think critically about all theories of origins.

Study Questions
  • Why is it important to consider the track record of a theory over time (diachronic theory virtues) when evaluating whether to accept a theory?
  • Consider the extent to which the twelve major traits of good scientific theories (listed and explained here) also characterize good theories in disciplines such as theology, history, and the social sciences.
  • How might the church cultivate harmonious fellowship in the face of differing theories of biological origins among Christians, while also promoting careful evaluative thinking?
  • Consider the extent to which the twelve major traits of good scientific theories (listed and explained here) also characterize good theories in disciplines such as theology, history, and the social sciences.
Recommended Books

Lesson 9: Science and Faith

Dr. Erica Carlson illuminates the beauty of uniting science and faith and understanding the awesomeness of the universe under the sovereignty of God. This final lesson in the Science and Faith series encourages you to take a practical approach to everything you’ve learned in previous lessons.