Summary & Test Questions
SUMMARY OF PREFACE
- Whereas most biology texts are written from a naturalistic worldview perspective, Devotional Biology is written from a Christian theistic worldview perspective.
- worldview ≡ a belief or perspective that affects the way a person understands all things
- naturalism = naturalistic worldview ≡ the belief that physical things are the only things that exist (i.e. rejects non-physical things like God, souls, spirits, good, evil, purpose)
- The Christian theistic (or biblical) worldview believes in one triune God Who defines good and evil, provides purpose, and created both the spirit world (e.g. angels, souls, spirits) and the physical world (e.g. the universe, astronomical objects, the earth, organisms).
- Although there are many alternative world views, because biology is dominated by that of naturalism, Devotional Biology contrasts the Christian theistic worldview with naturalism.
- Whereas most biology texts are written from a reductionistic perspective (=reductionism), Devotional Biology is written from a holistic perspective (=holism).
- Reductionism is a logical consequence of naturalism; holism is a logical consequence of Christian theism.
- Reductionism is the belief that the whole can be fully understood by understanding the component parts and how they fit together (‘the whole is the sum of its parts’). Holism is the belief that there is more to the whole than can be understood from the component parts (i.e. The whole has emergent properties not found in the component parts)
- Reductionistic biology begins with molecules (chemistry) and moves from micro to macro (or from the components of organisms to the interactions among organisms). (Christian) holistic biology begins with God and moves from the macro to micro (or from the interactions among organisms to the parts of organisms).
- Whereas most biology texts are written from a naturalistic evolutionary perspective, Devotional Biology is written from a young-age creation perspective.
- Naturalistic evolution (all physical things come to be by spontaneous or natural change from previously existing physical things) is a logical consequence of naturalism; creation (the physical world was created supernaturally by God) is a logical consequence of Christian theism.
- Young-age creation is a biblically-based claim that the universe was created in six days 6-8000 years ago, in an un-cursed condition (no decay, death, suffering), the universe was cursed shortly thereafter in response to man’s sin, life on earth was judged about a millennium and a half later with a global Flood, and most of the diversity of human languages was created at Babel a couple centuries after that. In contrast, according to naturalistic evolution, life has been developing over billions of years, it has always been subject to decay, death, and suffering, there never was a global flood on this planet, and the diversity of human languages has been developed over thousands of years.
- Devotional Biology argues that biology is better explained by young-age creationism than naturalistic evolution.
- Whereas most biology texts focus on the achievements of biologists and the awesomeness of the biological world, Devotional Biology focuses on the attributes of God and how they are illustrated in the biological world.
- Whereas most biology texts are weak in human responsibility and ethics (a logical consequence of naturalism), Devotional Biology stresses human responsibility and ethical behavior.
ADVANCED DISCUSSION TOPICS
The author of this text met with considerable resistance in both the production of this textbook and in the implementation of the associated course, and the opposition came from believing science professors at Christian colleges. Discuss why this might be. Things to ponder:
- the impact of early education on philosophy of education
- what must be taken out of a science course in order to ‘add’ comments aboutGod
- the comfort of thinking about the world the way someone in another discipline thinks
- the record of past success in the integration of science and theology
- the commonness of this text’s perspective in the church
POTENTIAL TEST QUESTIONS
- Define worldview / naturalism / theism / Christian theism / reductionism / holism / naturalistic evolution / young-age creation / emergent properties.
- Compare and contrast Christian theism and naturalism / holism and reductionism / young-age creationism and naturalistic evolution / ‘micro to macro’ and ‘macro to micro’ approaches to biology / ethics discussion in most textbooks and ethics discussion in this textbook.
- Explain why, of all the world views that exist, the author chose the contrast the worldviews of naturalism and Christian theism.
- Which of the following is logical consequence of naturalism / Christian theism, and explain why it is a logical consequence of that worldview: holism or reductionism / creation or evolution / ethics or lack of ethics
- Which of the following is true of most biology textbooks / this textbook?: naturalism or Christian theism / holism or reductionism / young-age creation or naturalistic evolution / God-centered or scientific achievement-centered / lack of ethics or ethics
- Explain what ‘the whole is the sum of its parts’ / ‘the whole is more than a sum of its parts’ means.