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More Philosophical Ignorance

Knowledge of all types takes time and effort to understand.  More than that, it helps to take a moment to study epistemology to understand why we believe what we believe.

And if people had a basic understanding of epistemology, then stuff like this could be avoided:

I’ve discussed Monica’s ignorance before (on both tweets and longer posts 1 | 2| 3).  We have some more ignorance right here, and more proof that it is not substance that brings you followers and friends.  Having good traffic ratings, subscribers, fans, friends, and followers is a reflection of marketing skill.

Now, on with the real point of this post: Monica fails to make two important distinctions, and that is why her tweet fails.  The first distinction is between methodological naturalism and metaphysical naturalism.  This is a mistake most atheists make.  The second is a distinction between what science is best equipped to answer, and what metaphysics is best equipped to answer.  Of course, making the first mistake means that she won’t even consider metaphysics as a way to answer anything, so the second mistake is inevitable.

Methodological naturalism means the scientist carries a presumption that an effect will have a cause within the system it appears.  For example, if I win the  lottery, I assume that I was just the lucky recipient of a fortunate combination of statistical laws and probability–someone had to win, right?  I don’t assume that God granted me the money, though (to qualify) I would seek his will in what I did with the money.  Others, however, don’t make the same assumptions.

Metaphysical naturalism is a bit contradictory.  The metaphysical naturalist doesn’t believe in anything outside the system.  In other words, the system is all that there is, so all causes by definition will be found in the system.  Metaphysical naturalism is contradictory because it denies metaphysics, while remaining a valid metaphysical position.

Now that we have that out of the way, we can see why this is so ignorant.  The subjects Monica mentions provide real knowledge on how something occurs.  Evolution demonstrates how life changes over the years.  Astronomy provides insight into the motion of stars and planets.

None of these, however, provide an answer to why these things occur.  Evolutionists, the honest ones, admit that evolution only explains what happens to life when it’s already here.  It never speculates on an origin.

Astronomy can chart a star’s motion through the sky and provide us with an understanding of the size of the universe and our general location in it, but it can’t tell us where any of it came from.

That brings us to the second, and related mistake.  Science answers how, which is why the scientist must necessarily be a methodological naturalist.  A metaphysical naturalist precludes even asking why something is, because there is no why by definition.  The first scientists were Christians, and were not scientists despite being Christians as is so often claimed.  They were scientists because they were Christians–they wanted to figure out how the world worked, figuring (correctly) that religion has already established why.  Indeed, only theology is capable of establishing why.

 

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About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on June 8, 2011, in Apologetics, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Theology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. How many ways can you possibly show your OWN ignorance?

    ” Evolutionists, the honest ones, admit that evolution only explains what happens to life when it’s already here. It never speculates on an origin.”

    EVOLUTION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ORIGIN OF LIFE. Do you need that to be repeated? Why don’t you people grasp this? What do you mean scientists “admit” that evolution does not explain origin of life? They also “admit” that evolution does not explain gravity. Nobody would claim that evolution answers the origin of life because the origin of life is an issue COMPLETELY SEPARATE from evolution. How can you pretend you’re qualified to write an essay related to science when you don’t even grasp its basics?

    “Indeed, only theology is capable of establishing why.”

    No, only theology can create the concept of “God” to fill in the gaps of scientific knowledge, until a gap is scientifically explained, then that’s crossed off the list of gaps that are attributed to “God.” Theology is one big “God of the Gaps” fallacy that loses more gaps by the day.

    ” The subjects Monica mentions provide real knowledge on *how* something occurs [Not *why*]. ”

    Theists claim they know how those things occur, too: God created them. Monica is not addressing the question “Why” because it is simply an assumption by theists that there even *is* an answer to “why.” Just because you can ask the question doesn’t mean it has an answer.

    • “Just because you can ask the question doesn’t mean it has an answer.”

      Word.

    • How many ways can you possibly show your OWN ignorance?

      I’m more interested in seeing how many ways you can possibly show your lack of reading comprehension. Let’s look in to see.

      ” Evolutionists, the honest ones, admit that evolution only explains what happens to life when it’s already here. It never speculates on an origin.”

      EVOLUTION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ORIGIN OF LIFE.

      Correct. I just said that. It has nothing to do with the origin of life. I said evolution only explains what happens when life is already here. Some people, however, co-opt the theory and try to explain the origin of life with small, gradual steps. First a molecule, then a few more join it, eventually you have a functioning cell. But that’s a problem, because, as you’ve just got done yelling, evolution has nothing to do with origins.

      Do you need that to be repeated?

      No.

      Why don’t you people grasp this?

      I do grasp that. I just said it. I just said that evolution can’t be used to explain the origin of life. It also can’t be used to explain the origin of life. Or the origin of life. Or how life came to be. Or how life began. Or how life got here in the first place. Do you need me to explain it a different way? I could type slower.

      What do you mean scientists “admit” that evolution does not explain origin of life?

      That they actually use words, either verbal or in writing, to say that evolution doesn’t explain the origin of life. I’ve had numerous people, even ideological opponents, tell me that my writing is very clear and concise. I’ve always gotten excellent grades on essays in English class, and very high marks in journalism, composition, and communications courses in college. What am I not explaining properly?

      They also “admit” that evolution does not explain gravity.

      Good for them?

      Nobody would claim that evolution answers the origin of life because the origin of life is an issue COMPLETELY SEPARATE from evolution.

      I know. I’ve already said that. Back in first grade, when the teacher divided the class into reading groups with thinly disguised names indicating the speed and comprehension of the members, by chance were you a member of the Box of Rocks group?

      How can you pretend you’re qualified to write an essay related to science when you don’t even grasp its basics?

      I’m not pretending to be qualified to write an essay on science. The focus of my essay is philosophy, not science. I touch on science in the article. These things are not the same. They’re as related as evolution and origin of life.

      “Indeed, only theology is capable of establishing why.”
      No, only theology can create the concept of “God” to fill in the gaps of scientific knowledge, until a gap is scientifically explained, then that’s crossed off the list of gaps that are attributed to “God.” Theology is one big “God of the Gaps” fallacy that loses more gaps by the day.

      No, you fail. Go home.

      ” The subjects Monica mentions provide real knowledge on *how* something occurs [Not *why*]. ”
      Theists claim they know how those things occur, too: God created them.

      Nope. I know of no theists that I would even remotely take seriously that would say “God did it, that’s how it happened!”

      And, if your reading comprehension was rated higher than “simian,” you would have seen that in my essay, I addressed that very objection. The first scientists were Christians, and did not become scientists despite their Christian theism, but because of their Christian theism. They already knew why (God). But they wanted to know how. So they took a position of methodological naturalism and started testing.

      Oh, and for the record, Zeus was the personification of thunder and lighting. Not the explanation in absence of a working scientific theory. “God of the gaps” is a huge FAIL on the part of people who use it.

      Monica is not addressing the question “Why” because it is simply an assumption by theists that there even *is* an answer to “why.” Just because you can ask the question doesn’t mean it has an answer.

      Monica was not addressing the question of why because it would never occur to her to ask it as a metaphysical naturalist. You’re taking the long way around saying that. You assume there is no answer to be had and accuse me of making unfounded assumptions in the process. I don’t assume that an answer is eminent, but I’m at least searching for the answer.

      • Cory, as one who claim others have a reading problem, let’s rehash what you actually said: ” Evolutionists, the honest ones, admit that evolution only explains what happens to life when it’s already here. It never speculates on an origin.”

        And here’s the part that people object to; “admit.”

        If you truly know about evolution, you know that there’s nothing in it for scientist to admit, as they have never claimed evolution has any connection to the concept of the origin of life to begin with, which is the field of abiogenesis. We, who protest your straw-man argument, know that there is evolution, and then there’s abiogenesis, and we don’t have to admit that evolution doesn’t speculate to the origin of life, because it doesn’t do that, and because we nor anyone claim it to be so to begin with, you’re making a straw-man do things we don’t do, and then put fire to him. Adding “the honest ones” on top just makes you look like an arsehole that tries to score points by correcting behavior that doesn’t happen.

        I hope that clears up this confusion.

      • You make a charge and then back off from it when I call you out on it.

        You KNOW I was focusing on how you said, ” Evolutionists, the honest ones, admit that evolution only explains what happens to life when it’s already here. ”

        You are implying here that Evolution is used as a way to cover up the question of the origin of life, and the *honest* ones will “admit” that it doesn’t.

        This is loaded language, and by backing off of it and saying, “Oh I was just saying that evolution does not explain the origin of life, that’s all!” Is being purposely dishonest.

        I used the “gravity” example to illustrate that it’s not “admitting” something. It’s not claiming it to begin with. Nobody “admits” that evolution doesn’t explain the origin of life in the same way nobody “admits” that evolution doesn’t explain the origin of life; they don’t need to, because that’s not what evolution is about. You plainly did not see the analogy I was making and replied with the snarky, “Um, good for them?” Because it went right over your head.

        And during this retreat from the loaded statement you made, you actually have the nerve to try to play it off like *I’m* the one who lacked understanding of what you were saying.

        No wonder you people are less respected every day.

      • Typo on the last part, I meant:

        I used the “gravity” example to illustrate that it’s not “admitting” something. It’s not claiming it to begin with. Nobody “admits” that evolution doesn’t explain the origin of life in the same way nobody “admits” that evolution doesn’t explain gravity; they don’t need to, because that’s not what evolution is about.

  2. I’m just shaking my head here at your tone and venom spewing forth an attack on someone’s perceived ignorance (aren’t you the guys who claim Atheists are so arrogant and shrill? Here, have a mirror), when all you’re doing is attacking a straw-man and displaying your own ignorance in these things. There’s absolutely no need to distinguish between methodological naturalism and metaphysical naturalism in a tweet, an essay, full-length book, speech or a conversation to make the simple claims she does; these things explain reality. The only people who demand the distinction are people who are not happy with the fact that these things explain reality, looking for loopholes, or try the old metaphysical trick to peddle an argument from epistemology. (And frankly, how dare *any* person who don’t understand epistemology claim epistemological superiority which is clearly rooted on ontology? The mind boggles!)

    There’s been times in the past when you seem a lot more level-headed, but here you fail big time. I could go on and on at almost everything you say in this post, but for the lack of time and patience, here’s a few choice parcels ;

    “Knowledge of all types takes time and effort to understand.”

    No, it doesn’t. Walking bare-foot over class requires amazingly little time and effort to know – empirically! – not to do that. Your linguistic brush is far broader than it should be if you claim to understand basic philosophy.

    “Metaphysical naturalism is a bit contradictory. The metaphysical naturalist doesn’t believe in anything outside the system.”

    No, you’re wrong again. This is 1) you not understanding metaphysical naturalism, and 2) you attacking some imaginary constraint you don’t want to accept.

    “Astronomy can chart a star’s motion through the sky and provide us with an understanding of the size of the universe and our general location in it, but it can’t tell us where any of it came from.”

    An argument from ontology would point you to the fact that this is how we came about the knowledge of the Big Bang, quantum states of the universe (positive gravity energy counters out mass of the universe, etc.) and the red-shift origins and direction of the universe, how it began and how it probably will end. Your argument is just not very sharp; knowledge in science is a string of connected pieces of evidence and further knowledge, and trying to make everything black and white is not going to make you understand much, if anything. The understanding of something – almost anything! – will lead to understanding of something else. There is no finite knowledge in science, only in religion.

    “Science answers how, which is why the scientist must necessarily be a methodological naturalist.”

    No, scientists practice science, of all the things that entail (including feeling love and hate, being human, speculation, theories, prodding, eating dinner, thinking about an old friend, collect evidence, test hypothesis, make love, have an argument with his son over what time he needs to be home, write paper, publish, be wrong, be right, etc), and are not bound what you want them to be. Science has many tools that tries its hardest to remove the human traits and biases from the scientific knowledge, and scientists accept *that*, not “methodological naturalism.”

    This whole “science can’t answer why” nonsense is a fallacy committed by people who don’t understand the difference between a scientist and science. (Look up “god of the gaps” to get a good grasp on the evolution of this particular point; scientists are humans who are looking for the why as well, but use how to get there.)

    “The first scientists were Christians, and were not scientists despite being Christians as is so often claimed”

    And what have you got to back up that assertion? I’ll claim it again; people become scientists regardless of their religious belief, driven purely by a need to know more, to find out more. What info have you got to the contrary?

    “Indeed, only theology is capable of establishing why.”

    Hahahaha. 🙂 Good one. No, what you really mean is “Indeed, only theology is capable of establishing a religious-framed, dogma-based why.” Theology is making the impossible seem plausible in the light of contradictory evidence, and is not something anyone should be proud of (not to mention the implications for just how loud and clear your god’s message in the bible really is, needing an army of theologians to explain and ponder and postulate and theorize and channel and project and often just make up stuff in order to make sense of the bible and often to try not to look too embarrassed about what it actually says …)

    • I’m just shaking my head here at your tone and venom spewing forth an attack on someone’s perceived ignorance (aren’t you the guys who claim Atheists are so arrogant and shrill? Here, have a mirror), when all you’re doing is attacking a straw-man and displaying your own ignorance in these things.

      My tone and venom are generally proportionate to the intelligence level of the argument. I re-read my post, however, and failed to see any venom or scathing tone in the post itself (my reply to Doc, however, is a totally different story). If the argument is dumb, then I can get a bit mean (ask Doc). Where is it written that Christians have to be nice all of the time? We can still call a spade a spade; if something is stupid, then we can call it such. Maybe I get carried away with lampooning the individual who makes a dumb argument sometimes, but so be it then. I’m not perfect, and I’m the first one to admit that. That’s why I need Jesus.

      There’s absolutely no need to distinguish between methodological naturalism and metaphysical naturalism in a tweet, an essay, full-length book, speech or a conversation to make the simple claims she does; these things explain reality.

      Wrong. The tweet is ignorant because theists are not lazy and we do not just punt everything we don’t know to God. We simply leave God as a possible explanation for things, especially things that appear to have no naturalistic explanation. Examples: the universe itself (Stephen Hawking notwithstanding—he hasn’t proved that the aseity of the universe), life, consciousness, and intelligence. None of these things have natural explanations, or has science finally explained how I can create an original thought and I missed the memo?

      Read what J.K. Rowling has to say on the origin of Harry Potter:

      It was after a weekend’s flat-hunting, when I was travelling back to London on my own on a crowded train, that the idea for Harry Potter simply fell into my head.

      I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. To my immense frustration, I didn’t have a functioning pen with me, and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one. I think, now, that this was probably a good thing, because I simply sat and thought, for four (delayed train) hours, and all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn’t know he was a wizard became more and more real to me. I think that perhaps if I had had to slow down the ideas so that I could capture them on paper I might have stifled some of them (although sometimes I do wonder, idly, how much of what I imagined on that journey I had forgotten by the time I actually got my hands on a pen). (source)

      As a person who has also dabbled in fiction, I can attest to the accuracy of that. The ideas just occur to me. Then, I develop and write them out. Outline. It takes a lot of work, but the initial inspiration usually comes in a flash, and I can start writing something that night, or even two minutes from then. What science can ever explain how I can just construct a story?

      Stephen King likened it to plagiarizing from some unseen idea bank. The author steals the idea from some cosmic place, which means he can never really make it his own. I don’t see how there could ever be a scientific explanation for Stephen King having a flash of inspiration, working with it, and then churning out Carrie, or The Dark Half, or the story collection Four Past Midnight.

      The only people who demand the distinction are people who are not happy with the fact that these things explain reality, looking for loopholes, or try the old metaphysical trick to peddle an argument from epistemology. (And frankly, how dare *any* person who don’t understand epistemology claim epistemological superiority which is clearly rooted on ontology? The mind boggles!)

      I’m not unhappy that evolution and astronomy explain how reality works. As a philosopher, I’m more interested in why reality works the way it does. How is absolutely inconsequential. The point of my entire rant is that the metaphysical naturalist precludes even asking the question “why” by eliminating the supernatural on a mere definition rather than investigating it. That’s the lazy part to me.

      “Knowledge of all types takes time and effort to understand.”

      No, it doesn’t. Walking bare-foot over class requires amazingly little time and effort to know – empirically! – not to do that. Your linguistic brush is far broader than it should be if you claim to understand basic philosophy.

      Speaking of linguistics, “knowledge of all types” is very different from “all knowledge.” I certainly concede that it’s easier to understand somethings than other things, but many things take time to understand properly. The sciences Monica mentions are a few examples. Philosophy is another example. You are taking this as more broad than my intent.

      “Metaphysical naturalism is a bit contradictory. The metaphysical naturalist doesn’t believe in anything outside the system.”

      No, you’re wrong again. This is 1) you not understanding metaphysical naturalism, and 2) you attacking some imaginary constraint you don’t want to accept.

      Actually, I’m not misunderstanding metaphysical naturalism at all. Wikipedia (not the best source, but the quickest one) says:

      Metaphysical naturalism, or ontological naturalism, is a philosophical worldview and belief system that holds that there is nothing but natural things, forces, and causes of the kind studied by the natural sciences, i.e., those required to understand our physical environment and having mechanical properties amenable to mathematical modeling. Metaphysical naturalism holds that all concepts related to consciousness or to the mind refer to entities which are reducible to or supervene on natural things, forces and causes. More specifically, it rejects the objective existence of any supernatural thing, force or cause, such as occur in humanity’s various religions, as well as any form of teleology. It sees all “supernatural” things as explainable in purely natural terms. It is not merely a view about what science currently studies, but also about what science might discover in the future. Metaphysical naturalism is a monistic and not a dualistic view of reality.

      Sounds like what I’m saying. Philosophybasics.com defines metaphysical naturism as follows:

      Naturalism is the belief that nature is all that exists, and that all things supernatural (including gods, spirits, souls and non-natural values) therefore do not exist. It is often called Metaphysical Naturalism or Philosophical Naturalism or Ontological Naturalism to distinguish it from Methodological Naturalism. . . .

      It holds that any mental properties that exist (and hence any mental powers or beings) are causally derived from, and ontologically dependent on, systems of non-mental properties, powers or things (i.e. all minds, and all the contents and powers and effects of minds, are entirely constructed from or caused by natural phenomena). Some naturalistic beliefs claim that what is commonly called supernatural is, in fact, part of the natural world.

      Later in the same article, we read that there is a clear distinction between metaphysical naturalism and methodological naturalism:

      Metaphysical Naturalism is the belief (as described in detail above) that nature is all that exists, and that all things supernatural (including gods, spirits, souls and non-natural values) therefore do not exist.

      Methodological Naturalism is the assumption that observable events in nature are explained only by natural causes, without assuming either the existence or non-existence of the supernatural, and so considers supernatural explanations for such events to be outside science. It holds that the scientific method (hypothesize, predict, test, repeat) is the only effective way to investigate reality, and that such empirical methods will only ascertain natural facts, whether supernatural facts exist or not.

      So how was what I said incompatible with that definition?

      As to your second point, I am not attacking anything imaginary. These distinction most certainly exist. It is you, the metaphysical naturalist, who doesn’t want them to exist. As hard as you fight to rid even the possibility of anything supernatural existing, it is clearly your side that seeks to suppress any voice of reason from my side. In a future post, I’m going to respond to that ludicrous video that I’ve seen a few times that purportedly shows the guy who believes in the supernatural to be ignorant and close-minded. That’s ridiculous.

      “Astronomy can chart a star’s motion through the sky and provide us with an understanding of the size of the universe and our general location in it, but it can’t tell us where any of it came from.”

      An argument from ontology would point you to the fact that this is how we came about the knowledge of the Big Bang, quantum states of the universe (positive gravity energy counters out mass of the universe, etc.) and the red-shift origins and direction of the universe, how it began and how it probably will end. Your argument is just not very sharp; knowledge in science is a string of connected pieces of evidence and further knowledge, and trying to make everything black and white is not going to make you understand much, if anything. The understanding of something – almost anything! – will lead to understanding of something else. There is no finite knowledge in science, only in religion.

      I don’t have a clue what you’re tying to say with your jab on religion. But here’s where I think you’re wrong with the rest of what you’re saying here: the Big Bang, quantum states, and red shift can tell us things like what happened at the moment time began, how the universe consists, and how old the universe might be. None of these pieces of evidence can explain why any of this is in motion. That is where theology comes into play.

      “Science answers how, which is why the scientist must necessarily be a methodological naturalist.”

      No, scientists practice science, of all the things that entail (including feeling love and hate, being human, speculation, theories, prodding, eating dinner, thinking about an old friend, collect evidence, test hypothesis, make love, have an argument with his son over what time he needs to be home, write paper, publish, be wrong, be right, etc), and are not bound what you want them to be. Science has many tools that tries its hardest to remove the human traits and biases from the scientific knowledge, and scientists accept *that*, not “methodological naturalism.”

      I’m not discussing this because it is a complete red herring. I’m starting to think you don’t understand the distinction I’m making despite claiming that I don’t.

      This whole “science can’t answer why” nonsense is a fallacy committed by people who don’t understand the difference between a scientist and science. (Look up “god of the gaps” to get a good grasp on the evolution of this particular point; scientists are humans who are looking for the why as well, but use how to get there.)

      Some scientists probably are pondering the why, but philosophy gets them there, not science. Science can inform or shed light on philosophical musings, but will never actually provide a why answer. God of the gaps covers “how”–we don’t know how DNA got there, so God did it! But that’s not what I’m saying here at all. I’m saying that we can know how DNA got here through science, but we won’t know why without philosophy or theology.

      “The first scientists were Christians, and were not scientists despite being Christians as is so often claimed”

      And what have you got to back up that assertion? I’ll claim it again; people become scientists regardless of their religious belief, driven purely by a need to know more, to find out more. What info have you got to the contrary?

      That’s what I’m saying, but I’m also adding that theism gives us more cause to expect the sort of testable regularity that goes along with science.

      You can find a pretty good article on that notion right here.James Hannam’s blog is dedicated to debunking myths about the Middle Ages, especially the myth that the Church is anti-science. A longer, more involved primer on this would be The Victory of Reason by Rodney Stark. Here’s a post from a Christian lamenting the hostility between Christians and atheists over science; both use science to support their respective positions and it gets ugly. That’s not necessary.

      So the old canards that scientists are scientists despite their religious background, the Catholic Church suppressed science in the Middle Ages, and faith is antithetical to reason are just bogus. There are plenty of reasonable religious people who aren’t reasonable despite religion, but reasonable and religious. Strange to many atheists, I know. But it is true. And church history is filled with such folks.

      “Indeed, only theology is capable of establishing why.”

      Hahahaha. 🙂 Good one. No, what you really mean is “Indeed, only theology is capable of establishing a religious-framed, dogma-based why.” Theology is making the impossible seem plausible in the light of contradictory evidence, and is not something anyone should be proud of (not to mention the implications for just how loud and clear your god’s message in the bible really is, needing an army of theologians to explain and ponder and postulate and theorize and channel and project and often just make up stuff in order to make sense of the bible and often to try not to look too embarrassed about what it actually says …)

      Don’t tell me what I mean. And your rumination on theology is totally misguided. Theology is gaining knowledge about God, which we do through the study of nature and Scripture.

      Perspicuity of Scripture is a central tenet of Christianity, and (as both Indy David and I have been attempting to explain to Boz) Scripture is abundantly clear. I know this because even the dimmest atheist can turn on the TV and realize that televangelists like Joel Osteen and TD Jakes are full of it. How? Because even the atheist, allegedly unable to grasp Scripture (Ehp 4:18), can still—based on Scripture!–see that these people are selling something different than what the Bible says. I’m betting you, or any atheist in this thread could refute Paula White using the Bible.

      My point is that even non-Christians can make the same arguments, virtually unaided, against heretics like Fred Phelps that I can. Why? Perspicuity of Scripture—it’s clear. Why Won’t God Heal Amputees was able to cobble together a Standard Model of God from the Bible that I found little to disagree with. Why? Because Scripture is clear.

      Christians agree far more often than we disagree. We may get to those same conclusions by different ways, but the point is we do get there.

      But so what? Does disunity necessarily disqualify from truth? Science isn’t unified at all, and changes quite frequently everything it says. Is fast food harmful or good for you? Scientific studies that support both can be found. Is Ida the missing link in human evolution? A best selling book said yes, but a panel of other scientists soon concluded no. What about global warming? I’ve seen both sides argued convincingly.

      What’s the point? That scientists argue methods and conclusions can’t be used to know objective truth. Yet, when theologians argue methods and conclusions about the Bible, it somehow becomes proof that theology is nonsense. What a fantastic double standard!

      If we mutually respected one another and left the questions each is equipped to answer in the domain it is meant to stay (science = how; theology = why) there would be far less problems in this area. Problem is that scientists are trying to venture into areas that theology is better equipped to answer, and our fighting it is caricatured as our “knowing” that science will disprove God and wreck our faith. Nope. We just know that science cannot answer questions of why we are humans with the faculties we have, and moreover it can’t tell us a moral use of these faculties. Science has its place. But so does theology. One will never unseat the other.

  3. ” the implications for just how loud and clear your god’s message in the bible really is, needing an army of theologians to explain and ponder and postulate and theorize and channel and project and often just make up stuff in order to make sense of the bible”

    Exactly this. What kind of God would rely on an ancient text that he knows (if he is truly omniscient) will be doubted, misinterpreted, and only followed properly by a fraction of believers (since only one religion, or none, would be right; whichever one follows his exact message exactly as he intended) and argued for centuries by people who clai to know the truth and disagree among each other on the message’s details?

    This would either be a sadistic god (sending to hell all those who innocently believe in a different interpretation of his message) or an incompetent god (relying on an unsuccessful game plan if he wants to keep believers).

    Of course, the easy answer is that it’s all BS.

  4. After many errors and have already been taken up by the commenters above, just one small thing that made me laugh:

    “The first scientists were Christians […]”

    Didn’t know that there were Christians in South America 9000 years ago. Or who were those first scientists you are speaking of? Names? The list of scientists that lived long before Christianity was introduced into this world is rather long……

    “and did not become scientists despite their Christian theism, but because of their Christian theism”

    Claiming to know the reasons why people became scientists? Did you know them personally? I could also claim they became scientists because they realised that their theism can’t answer questions satisfactorily anymore. Since we both don’t know them personally and can ask them, I guess we have to settle for “Some scientists were also Christians”. And it is already known that some had problems with combining these two worlds (e.g. Darwin)…..

    • Okay, I’ll admit that I misspoke on “the first scientists were Christians.” I should have been more specific. The scientists who laid the foundation for modern science were Christians, and I don’t think many of them had difficulty combining the two views.

      Darwin certainly could be an example of someone who did. But, by your own admission, neither of us have the ability to know for certain how many had difficulty with it. By citing an example, I can’t help but feel you’re trying to leave the lingering suggestion that most had difficulty. But, if I can’t know for sure, than citing any examples won’t help you either.

  5. I got here with two minutes to spare.
    As Galileo (cant spell) said, the Bible teaches you how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go. Going to heaven takes a hell of a lot of study and application – not a soft option!

  6. Cory Tucholski said: “I’ve discussed Monica’s ignorance before”.

    I recommend you avoid personally insulting others.

  7. Great post and discussion here, Cory. Evolution has claimed in the past to study origins. Self-organization, for example, is one hypothesis advanced to explain the origin of life from an evolutionary perspective.

    Methodological naturalism is a practice in self-affirmation. I wrote about it on my site here: http://jwwartick.com/2010/07/23/mn-self-affirmation/

    The key point that I think we’re both trying to make is that if one is a methodological naturalist, one has no way to get “outside” of naturalism and show that it is the correct philosophical stance.

    • Exactly, J.W.! Same point that was made in “Philosophical Naturalism and Methodological Naturalism: Strange Bedfellows” by Stephen C. Dilley (Philosophia Christi, vol. 12 #1, 2010), which I know you read because you spoke of it here .

      The most frequent criticism of my point seems a bit misplaced; that there is no difference between the two forms of naturalism. One Twitter user replied to this by saying I was trying out my new word of the day toilet paper (no joke). The difference most assuredly does exist, waving it off isn’t going to make it go away.

      • May I remind you both that none of you two can step outside of the natural world to confirm any of your claims? And that, in fact, you don’t need go outside the boundaries of scientific epistemology in order for *any* philosophy to be correct. And who in their right mind could claim a model of thought for correct, anyway?

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