That is, when scientists try to make general theories about something they strip the phenomenon of all its "unnecessary" qualities and properties and only look at the relevant ones. For example, if I want to come up with a general theory of projectile motion, I don't have much need for information about what my projectile is made of or how much it costs or what color it is. Very often, I won't even care what shape my projectile is (I'll just assume it to be a point-mass). All I'll be concerned about is the initial velocity of the projectile, it's mass, the force of gravity at my experiment location, its initial angle of motion, and the height it falls. In all likelihood, I'll make a further abstraction of the motion into vertical and horizontal components of motion and look at those separately. And I haven't even begun to mention things like the legal properties of the projectile (maybe it's a hollow-point bullet and not legal in some places) or the biological properties of the projectile (maybe it's a human cannonball).
Abstraction is a vital and necessary part of doing science. But it can be a problem if we forget that abstractions are being made and we end up mistaking the abstraction for the reality.
Ben Myers at Faith and philosophy has a post on 10 theses on B. B. Warfield; the first of which is: 'It is fashionable to disparage B.B. Warfield without having actually read his work'!
The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion are organising a short course on 'Science and religion in schools' 30 March - 1 April.
The post-charismatic Roby Mac has a fascinating post with some relevant warnings on 're-monking the church'.
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