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The question should also be specific enough that there would not be a large number of sub-questions that would have to be answered first or that might alter the value of the central question. At the same time, if the question were too narrow, then the researcher might find that it ruled out other possibilities that might emerge. The question also must generate data that tests the hypothesis, and a simple yes or no answer would be too simple for a good research question. The question cannot be such that it raises a question that cannot be quantified, for then the data would not lead to a useful answer or one that would be testable by others. The question must also be formulated so that it is clear to other researchers who may want to test the hypothesis as well or replicate the original research, and the question must be formulated so that it is apparent what the hypothesis is and what the variables are.
The essential Christian myth is the story of Jesus, his life, and especially his death and resurrection. There is no proof of these events beyond what is found in the scriptural accounts, and the myth has to be accepted on faith. There are many scientific models that have been tested and are now accepted as fact. One way certain religious groups fail to understand science is when confronting the word "theory," which in general use is viewed as meaning a guess as to the veracity of a model, while in science it means the model itself. The term is used because the model in science is always to be tested, but so long as the theory proves to be true in every valid test, it is accepted as true. In religion, a doctrine is simply accepted and not tested at all, which is why the term "theory" seems so antithetical to truth.
The conflict often comes to the fore over specific theories, notably the theory of evolution in America. Some religious groups are considered fundamentalist because they are so tied to the words in a specific text and refuse any evidence to the contrary. This is seen with reference to scientific evidence of the age of the earth, for instance, cited as some 3.5 billion years altogether, while the fundamentalist insists the earth is only some six thousand years old and that this is revealed by a close reading of the Bible. Clearly, the Model for knowledge is different in the two realms. Evolution takes a great deal of time, so those who say there has not been that much time believe they have countered all claims that evolution is fact. Science may line up a mass of evidence on the other side, but none of that matters when faith in a different myth is all the truth that is accepted.
The scientific model has produced a massive body of knowledge and has been tested again and again. When a theory or model fails a test and has to be modified, science does just that. This may take some time, but it has taken place many times. The most notable such shift was from the Ptolemaic vision of the universe as earth-centered to the Copernican model with the sun at the center of the universe. This also involved a shift in thinking from the religious model in which the earth was central because God made it central to a different vision of Creation and of the place of man in the scheme of things. Some Christians accuse non-believers of placing man over God, but they themselves have long placed man at the center of the universe in a way that science does not. On some topics, the two modals are not clearly delineated or cannot be described as different in absolute terms, while on other issues they can. To a great degree, each can be seen as primarily focusing on different realms of knowledge, the spiritual for religion, the concrete for science. Conflicts develop when the realms intersect or when one model tries to explain the are of expertise for the other model. The two approaches use different types of models, but each uses models to create a particular vision of the world and to explain it to others.
Eliade, Mircea. Myth and Reality (Religious Traditions of the World).
Waveland Press; Reprint edition, 1998.
McGrath, Alister E. Science & Religion: An…[continue]
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