Orthodox Christianity and the Reassessment of Scientific Knowledge

AIOCS’ founder, Doru Costache, will participate in the second international conference of Project Science & Orthodoxy around the World, Orthodox Christianity and the Reassessment of Scientific Knowledge (Athens, 9-10 February 2018). He will offer the paper ‘One Description, Multiple Interpretations: Suggesting a Way out of the Current Impasse’ and will participate in a Round Table alongside John Hedley Brooke, Fr Christopher Knight, and Donald Yerxa.

Abstract of his paper:

Contemporary science offers the only rigorous description of reality. This judgment remains valid despite the concurrent scientific explanations of certain phenomena and the inevitable advancement of the sciences. In this light, the ancient computation of the age of the cosmos to roughly eight thousand years is not an acceptable description of reality. Neither are geocentric cosmography and the flat earth geography. Nor is the old calendar. However, such anachronisms still linger in certain milieus within Orthodoxy, against the backdrop of an opposition to the current representation of reality. The impact of anachronism is double. On the one hand, there is dissension among the Orthodox. Indeed, in contrast to the anachronism cultivated by certain quarters, most Orthodox neither follow the old calendar nor believe in a recently made universe which revolves around a flat earth. On the other hand, the Orthodox worldview is ridiculed by the scientific community. But is there anything noteworthy in the criticisms levelled by the anachronistic milieus at the current scientific representation of reality? I believe that what determines their opposition to contemporary science is not the description itself, but the fact that this description is ideologically fraught—lending substance to agnostic, atheistic, naturalistic, and materialistic agendas. Drawing from a patristic example and several modern Orthodox scholars, I propose that the difference between description and interpretation must be observed, and, consequently, that multiple interpretations of the one scientific description of reality are allowed. Illustrating the convictions of certain groups, the agnostic, atheistic, naturalistic, and materialistic ideologies amount to biased interpretations of science. As such, they cannot monopolise science and all sides should agree that, being pertinent to other groups, theological interpretations of the same science must be likewise permitted. Should the contemporary scientific narrative cease promoting agnosticism, atheism, naturalism, and materialism, allowing instead for a variety of interpretations, including theological, the current description of reality could become readily acceptable to all, including the reluctant Orthodox quarters.

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