There is a book by Kirsten Birkett called Unnatural Enemies: An Introduction to Science and Christianity.

The big idea of the book is that the perceived conflict between science and Christianity has been amplified by atheists (such as Thomas Huxley). The implication of this is that Christians commit a logical fallacy when they hold Scientific and Christian views (particularly of origins) in conflict. (ie that Christians have gotten sucked into a non-Christian agenda).

My question is can we start a question with the assumption that Science and Christianity are unnatural enemies when asking a question? It appears mentions of Science when asking about Christian doctrine are shot down for being opinion based or 'not about Christian doctrine'.


Most assumptions are valid in questions, as long as they're made explicitly. Those assumptions should generally be taken to be valid for the purpose of that question. This is part of what we call scoping. However, if you're asking a question about X, you probably shouldn't make X one of your assumptions: that can lead to an unnaturally constrained and hard-to-answer question.

(I think I'm making sense here; I may be wrong.)

  • You are making perfect sense. I would give 5 upvotes if I could.
    – fгedsbend
    Jan 16 '14 at 20:55

The relationship between Christianity (or some flavour thereof) and science is a perfectly good frame for a question. There are many interesting, on-topic, answerable questions about history, philosophy, doctrine, individual personalities, Scripture, and so forth. Some questions will shade more into the territory of general philosophy, and we have a specific close reason for when this happens. Likewise, there are lots of questions about science that don't relate to Christianity in any specific way.

On origins, if a question does not specifically engage Christian doctrine or history, then it's not on-topic. After all, many people believe in "intelligent design" without being Christians; and many Christian believers try to justify it in purely scientific terms, without reference to the faith. It's a belief held by some Christians, but also some Muslims, some atheists (though the designer for them may be ancient aliens or something), and so on. So I don't think that intelligent design is on-topic unless the question relates to its Christian aspects - for example, by looking at particular Bible texts, asking for official denominational views, or wanting to know about the history of the belief within Christian circles. If the question is just about the pentadactyl limb, or something, then it's not a Christianity question, because the answer would not draw on any knowledge of or experience with Christianity.

Your question "https://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/24793/what-the-value-of-the-evidence-for-macroevolution" stems from an interest in the relationship between science and Christianity, but the question itself is about biology. The actual question - as opposed to the background material - is asking readers to explain the evidence for "macro"-evolution / speciation. The four subquestions are about how the theory of evolution is formulated, and about specific historical evidence for speciation. This is squarely about biology and not Christianity.

You might consider revising the question, to ask about Christian creationist approaches to speciation - say, how their interpretation of the "kinds" in Genesis relates to modern biological taxonomy and to observations of new species being formed. Or, if the "unnatural enemies" concept is what you're interested in, you could ask about that directly.

  • 2
    But if I ask the same question about a different piece of evidence, ie "What is the value of this evidence for Noah's ark claim?" then it is a valid site question? I don't see the distinction. Both are about the book of Genesis.
    – hawkeye
    Jan 16 '14 at 5:31
  • @hawkeye Perhaps you should open another meta question. "Is it on-topic to ask about the validity of certain christian claims?" I'm not sure we have had many questions like that.
    – fгedsbend
    Jan 16 '14 at 20:57
  • 2
    @hawkeye The analogy is that Noah's ark is on-topic, but shipbuilding is not (unless there is religious context).
    – James T
    Jan 17 '14 at 1:53

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