Basic Definitions of Key Terms in The Great Debate
1. Agnosticism - without knowledge or neutral about the truth of a matter, especially in relation to the question of the existence of God.
2. Atheism - without belief in god(s) OR the assertion god(s) do not exist.
3. Christian - any person seeking to live according to the example set by Jesus in his life and in conformity to the teachings of Jesus either as a contemporary of him, or the Apostles or Apostolic teachings or as revealed in the Gospels and the NT that, in their context have application to all humans.
4. Empirical - based upon or verifiable by experience or observation.
5. Epistemology – theories of knowledge (how we know what we think we know is true).
7. Energy - the ability or capacity to do work. (?)
8. Evidence - the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid (OED)
7. Evolution (biological) - the change in allele frequencies within a population over time.
9. Fact - a proposition confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent to its truth. (talkorigins.com)
10. Faith - confident trust in a person, thing, or idea OR belief in the absence of, or contrary to the evidence (blind faith).
11. God - (minimal definition) The personal or sentient creator of the universe and life within it.
12. Intelligent Design - the scientific hypothesis that certain features of the Universe and of living systems are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than by mindless natural processes
13. Knowledge - justified true belief.
14. Material - composed of particles. (?)
15. Metaphysical – beyond the physical.
16. Methodological naturalism - a methodological principle within the context of scientific inquiry; i.e., all hypotheses and events are to be explained and tested by reference to natural causes and events
17. Miracle - a temporary exception to the laws of nature to show that God is working.
18. Natural - of a non-sentient universe, with all its properties and behavioral principles.
19. Nothing - the complete absence of any something or complete non-existence (in science more and more becoming used for empty space).
20. Objective - things true or false independent of the opinions of sentient beings
21. Ontology – the study of what is, that which is reality.
22. Philosophical Materialism - the belief and assertion that all that exists is the material world.
23. Philosophical Naturalism - the belief and assertion that all that exists is the natural world and natural explanations in that world.
24. Physical - non-abstract things that can, at least in principle, be mathematically described (?)
25. Scientific Hypothesis - an educated guess, based on observation.
26. Scientific Theory - summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. A theory is valid as long as there is no evidence to dispute it.
27. Scientific Law - A law generalizes a body of observations. At the time it is made, no exceptions have been found to a law. Scientific laws explain things, but they do not describe them.
28. Supernatural - anything involving sentient beings and powers beyond nature, or anything purely mental or derivative from the purely mental
29. Theism - belief in, or assertion of the existence of God or gods.
30. Theological Non-Cognitivism - the belief that the word 'God' and other theological terms do not express coherent, understandable meanings. (Ignostic)
31. Truth - correspondence or conformity to reality.
32. Universe - the whole of contiguous physical reality or the entire connected space time region.
Corrections, amendments and additions welcomed.