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May 29, 2014

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I'm not altogether sure what the point of these posts about scientists from history is meant to be. Would I be mistaken in thinking that it's to show that they were eminent scientists, very intelligent and yet they were also Christians who believed in Creationism? Yet you would be hard pressed to find people in Western Civilisation in that timeframe who didn't believe in some form of Creator-led Design (theist or deist) because that was the only game in town back then.

He and other learned men of the 18th Century no doubt also believed that bloodletting could cure diseases and phrenology was a good indicator of a person's character. We now know better. Would you put these men forward as examples of why it's ok for us to still believe in those pseudosciences?

I would be fairly sure that if we could go back in time and show these scientists the information we now have and explain to them the massive developments we have made in understanding our origins they would be fascinated and only too delighted to update their thinking because they were men of science and they understood that dogma has no place in science.

Indeed, all these posts about old scientist Christians suggest that religion itself is out-dated, along with blood-letting and phrenology. Knowledge makes progress, after all. Isn't it time we updated our ideas about God too?

Melinda posts all sorts of things about historical modern Christians, not just scientists. Anyway, what you all are really saying when you talk about 'science' is not science. You are talking about the philosophy of Epicureanism. Epicureanism is the belief that the God/Gods do not interfere with reality (like Deism, atheism, agnosticism, etc.). Atheism is really just a branch of Epicureanism for the most part. If there are posts about scientists that are Christians, it is to show largely that an Epicurean framework is not necessary to obtain scientific logic or produce good science (which apparently is what a lot of scientists these days seem to think). We can pull out some pretty strong examples of scientists that do not operate under the presumed Epicurean framework that live today. What you call 'outdated' is really just as dated as creational monotheism. Epicureanism has been around since the Greeks and is really nothing new. The foundations of modern science were laid long before the swing towards Epicurean ideology happened in science (right around the time that Darwin's grandfather founded a science university with Epicurean ideals).

Jberr,

Agreed, the point as I understand it is so many atheists (and others) today see faith and science as antithetical/mutually exclusive/ne'er the twain shall meet, when here are all of these Christian men and women making the fundamental discoveries we still rely on today, and it was actually the Christian worldview they held that drove them to desire to and strive to understand the world around them.

I think you hit the nail on the head that "progress" and "moving forward" are really talking about a worldview that dates to pre-Christian times, and has more to do with a philosophy than with science.

If someone’s faith is uprooted by today's approach to science, it is just part of the guarantee that “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.”Mt 15:13

It's entirely possible that God uses this mechanism as a means of separating the wheat from the chaff. A mechanism that only a true and deep rooted faith will survive.

To find out more about vertebrate paleontology, read Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin or watch the tv series.

There's probably no need to buy anything. If your library doesn't have these, then check inter-library loan. It's awesome tv.

RonH

"To find out more about vertebrate paleontology, read Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin or watch the tv series."

Nah, thanks anyway...not into science fiction.

Brad B,

It's not science fiction.
What made you think it was?

"What made you think it was?"

Unfounded assumptions of course....wasn't it you only several weeks ago that said [my paraphrase] scientists can only give us models...that they reflect reality is of no consequence, there is no implied notion that what the models say is reality. Are you now saying that it is reality? If it isn't reality, it's fiction, and until science can provide foundation for its assumptions it remains forever subjugate to philosophical scrutiny...Shubin and others dont want to bother...I think Jberr makes this point about modern science quite well just a few posts above.

RonH,

In one breath we're told of our Mind's sightline being no more than the stuff of neural maps which are no more than the stuff of reflex and not at all - for all we know - informative of the stuff of "the world outside". In the next breath we're told - quite confidently - all about what is true out there in the real world.

All the world really is a stage - and the naturalist goes on living - speaking - as if we reason, as if we see, as if ought exists, and so on in every conceivable vector.

Naturalism's metanarrative just is false starts, blind axiom, circular deaths and ontological incoherence. So much so that the Naturalists - running into the problem of Cosmology's geography of Cosmic Intent - are now telling us that the stuff of "Cause and Effect" is itself illusion - or a hologram - or some such something - that there can be - at bottom - no such reality as "cause and effect" (else Cosmic Intent must exist somewhere, somehow....).

The "truth" is that cause and effect isn't real.

Except for the cause of pressure/selection and the effect of genomic twists.... that - we're assured - is the truth of the world outside.

Naturalism is a hopeless Metanarrative forever chasing its own tail - wholly inept compared to the robust explanatory power of the Metanarrative housed within the Anselmian Necessary Being.

Brad B,

You say science is science fiction.

But, the OP seems to admire George Cuvier for launching modern vertebrate paleontology.


Hi RonH, not science in the strict sense, but science done without restraint...going beyond the limitations that scientific investigation naturally has. Shubin does this...big surprise.

Brad B,

Do you know the story of Shubin's finding of Tiktaalik?

It's why I suggest the book.

He used evolutionary theory to predict where Tiktaalik or something like it would be found.

Then he went and looked.

It was there and he found it.

Did he somehow exceed 'the natural limitations that scientific investigation has'?

RonH,

There is no such reality as cause/effect.

Therefore there is no God.

And no evolution, either.

" Yet you would be hard pressed to find people in Western Civilisation in that timeframe who didn't believe in some form of Creator-led Design (theist or deist) because that was the only game in town back then."

Really?????

How exactly did you come to that conclusion? I think that if you looked, there were many atheists around at this time.

" they understood that dogma has no place in science."

I'm still waiting for a scientific proof of materialism, rather than dogmatic assertion.

"I think that if you looked, there were many atheists around at this time."

Indeed, my claim was not that you would find none, just that you wouldn't find many and less as you go further back in time. I wasn't aware that this was a controversial statement, isn't Melinda's series a demonstration of this very thing: that many great scientists through history were believers. My question is "So what? Does the fact that they were great thinkers and scientists mean they were correct to believe in a God, after all they also believed other things which have since proven to be incorrect."

"I'm still waiting for a scientific proof of materialism, rather than dogmatic assertion."

What are you looking for as proof? The material world exists, I'm presuming you accept that (if you don't I'm afraid we'd have to shake (make believe?) hands and walk away!). So what more? Do you want me to try to give you proof of a negative? That there is nothing else? I'm sorry but that is impossible, it is you who must prove to me that there is something more.

"My question is "So what? Does the fact that they were great thinkers and scientists mean they were correct to believe in a God, after all they also believed other things which have since proven to be incorrect." - Then the claims of current scientists not being believers are out as in a couple of hundred years they will likely be seen as believing false things.

"What are you looking for as proof? The material world exists, I'm presuming you accept that (if you don't I'm afraid we'd have to shake (make believe?) hands and walk away!). So what more? Do you want me to try to give you proof of a negative? That there is nothing else? I'm sorry but that is impossible, it is you who must prove to me that there is something more"
That's fine, but still no reason for me to take it seriously. The claim of materialism IS that there is nothing else. If you can't show it, frankly, I put it as realistic as Ancient Aliens. For me to accept it, I need more than being told I have to prove you wrong.

" Do you want me to try to give you proof of a negative?"


If you make a truth claim worded as a negative, yes. If you can't prove it, don't claim it. That seems to be the expectation in the other direction.

@Gordie: "Then the claims of current scientists not being believers are out as in a couple of hundred years they will likely be seen as believing false things."

Yes, I couldn't agree more, that's why arguments from authority are not ultimately reliable and why I questioned this series of posts. What's more, if it is not found in a couple of hundred years that scientists of today were wrong in their conclusions then that would show that humankind had stagnated and no progress had been made so I certainly hope that doesn't happen.

"That's fine, but still no reason for me to take it seriously. The claim of materialism IS that there is nothing else. If you can't show it, frankly, I put it as realistic as Ancient Aliens."

This may be where we have to declare an impasse. My only claim is that I don't know of any sufficient evidence that there is anything beyond this material world that we live in so I have no basis for belief in such. You seem to be asking for some kind of empirical evidence of the non existence of the supernatural. I don't even know what that could be. Could you suggest something?

@TC: "If you make a truth claim worded as a negative, yes. If you can't prove it, don't claim it. That seems to be the expectation in the other direction."

We are in agreement TC, that is why I have made no such claim. I am Agnostic about the supernatural.

Don't worry.

You probably won't have to wait long before someone claim materialism is a fact. It is inevitable.

I am an amaterialist, myself.

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