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March 24, 2016

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Of Course Scripture Teaches Science:

Ignorance of what Science is fuels those who assert that Science is not found in Scripture. Just as ignorance of (described below) the sandwich fuels such unthinking assertions.

Flu vaccine: There is no flue vaccine because the gods play and the people pay. We cannot hope to out-maneuver the gods.

Or, instead:

Scripture

As in......

The Non-Theist’s nonsense:

“What Christian metaphysical assumption is required to make modern science workable and successful? Name me one uniquely Christian metaphysical assumption used in science that if removed, means we cannot do science?”

Christian:

That’s easy:

A) Reason and logic as our primary guide
B) Orderly properties of the universe
C) Intelligibility of the universe (via B)
D) Principle of Sufficient Reason (via A)

The reason both the A-Theist (No-God) and the Theist (God) must defend their respective view is simply that both the Theist and the Non-Theist have beliefs about Actuality's primordial datum, Actuality's irreducible causation(s) which just are beliefs about either God or else god, about reality's rock-bottom. This has an immediate and direct impact upon the fundamentally different conclusions which we make about Man, Mind, and Reality in *any* setting with respect to *any* path from non-being to being. Both the Theist (God) and the A-Theist (No-God) has his own terminus of explanation -- the Christian his God and the Non-Theist his god. Those who claim to be floating in a kind of thoughtless-space utterly void of thoughts about reality’s causal rock-bottom are simply unwilling to defend their own explanatory termini. As such they provide far more noise and static than reason and sense.

Bill T.” commented elsewhere:

“That science flourished in Western culture in a way it did nowhere else is without question. As to why it’s important to look at its growth throughout what is commonly referred to as the Middle Ages and also Christendom. Though we think of modern science as a phenomenon of the late 18th century it has its roots beginning in the middle ages. The people of medieval Europe invented spectacles, the mechanical clock, the windmill, and the blast furnace by themselves. Lenses and cameras, almost all kinds of machinery, and the industrial revolution itself all owe their origins to the forgotten inventors of the Middle Ages. As well as all that, the birth of the modern university in the 1100’s was also part of the accomplishments of that time and place. What made Christendom a particularly fertile place for the origins of modern science was the (intellectual/philosophical/metaphysical) underpinnings provided by Christian thought. The idea that we live in a world that is intelligible seems a commonplace thought. But, if you look at the other world religions at that time they are dominated by an appeal to mystery and intuition. Christianity alone embraced reason and logic as the primary guide to religious truth. The West’s success in the sciences is traceable to its belief in a God of order and reason, who designed a predictable, orderly universe intelligible to the human mind.”

“Unfashionable History: A Review of How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity", by Rodney Stark:

“Americans are becoming increasingly ignorant of how the modern world came to be what it is, says Rodney Stark. A generation ago, most college curricula included a course in Western Civilization that covered Western achievements in art, music, literature, philosophy, and science. Today those courses have all but disappeared on the spurious grounds that the West is but one of many civilizations and that it is ethnocentric and arrogant for Westerners to study it. So Stark is out to educate us, its beneficiaries, in the “remarkably unfashionable” story of our own heritage.

The most important thing to know on this subject is that “modernity is entirely the product of Western Civilization.” By modernity, he means, “that fundamental store of scientific knowledge and procedures, powerful technologies, artistic achievements, political freedoms, economic arrangements, moral sensibilities, and improved standards of living.”

In How the West Won, the Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences at Baylor University goes beyond the old “Western Civ” courses, which usually merely described the rise of the West. Stark tells the neglected story of why these monumental contributions to human good grew out of the West, and not out of Asia or the Islamic world. To explore this panhistoric phenomenon – as a set of explicable effects produced by discernible causes – is not ethnocentric, but is rather, “the only way to develop an informed understanding of how and why the modern world emerged as it did.” In the process, Stark refutes much of the “received wisdom” about Western history. Here are a few examples:

• Dramatic changes in climate, including a four-century-long warming trend followed by a “Little Ice Age” played major beneficial roles in the rise of modernity.
• There were no “Dark Ages.” The Dark Ages myth was made up by “eighteenth-century intellectuals determined to slander Christianity and to celebrate their own sagacity.” In reality, the entire era was one of remarkable progress and innovation.
• The brilliant achievements of the “Scientific Revolution” (which is also a misnomer) were the culmination of centuries of step-by-step progress.
• Europe did not grow rich by exploiting its colonies. Rather, the colonies drained European wealth – even as they became the beneficiaries of European advances.

Throughout, Stark gives primacy to ideas. He does so because it was certain, specific ideas that gave rise to all those desirable societal traits – democracy, science, free enterprise, etc. – that have characterized Western nations and that are now revolutionizing life in the rest of the world.

Ultimately, Stark says, those potent – and truly revolutionary – ideas are the product of Christianity. “The most fundamental key to the rise of Western Civilization has been the dedication of so many of its most brilliant minds to the pursuit of knowledge. Not to illumination. Not to enlightenment. Not to wisdom. But to knowledge. And the basis for this commitment to knowledge was the Christian commitment to theology” – the highly rational discipline of formal reasoning about God, with an emphasis on discovering his nature.

With lively, in-depth narratives, Stark demonstrates how Christian ideas drove everything that is good and desirable about Western modernity. Yes, Western Civilization has seen its failures, limitations, and discontents. Nevertheless, it far surpasses every known alternative, and is, in a very real sense, God’s gift to the world.”

The Sandwich:

The general mindset of Mankind atop the world stage reveals the radical differences of Man’s interpretation of Reality in various mindsets. It's a kind of Sandwich, beginning ages ago in the murky unintelligibility of illusion, of reality as The Big Con, which then morphs into the crisp intellectualism via Christianity’s radical claims about Reality, Man, and God, of mastering and subduing the stuff of Time and Physicality, which then, now, of late via the embrace of ultimate absurdity via our New-Atheist friends is fading once again, backwards, into the murky unintelligibility of illusion, of reality as The Big Con.

In the middle of the Sandwich we find the epicenter of reason and logic within the Christian’s peculiar metaphysics which from the opening pages of Genesis asserts the antithesis of scientism as the Knowledge of Reality itself is, from the very beginning, divided into two distinct paradigms. Those two paradigms are, we find, in the peculiar claims of Man-In-God and of God-In-Man such that God calls Man to Come In and know God, for it pleases the Father to give to you Himself, and, again, such that God commands Man to Go Out and subdue Time and Physicality, for it pleases the Father to give you the world. Such carried the Christian to the crisp intellectual apprehension of truth as he sought to interpret reality through that lens. As such he found reason and logic emerging as his “primary guide to religious truth”. The peculiar posture of rigorous dissection to see and learn of God in and by His creation then, naturally, surfaced atop all the assumptions granted by the Christian’s absurd and radical claim that God – Ultimate Reality – factually loves Man. Therein Man pressed in to gather up this divine gift such that we find Man, then in history’s lines, pressing in to extricate what he boldly presumed awaited him vis-à-vis Christ – that being the genuine knowledge of the Living God and of His Created World, of the Immaterial order and of the material order’s own Time and Physicality in and through what D. Hart describes as,

“…….the luminous medium of intentional and unified consciousness, which defies every reduction to purely physiological causes, but which also clearly corresponds to an essential intelligibility in being itself. We…. encounter the world… finally through our conscious and intentional orientation toward the absolute, in pursuit of a final bliss that beckons to us from within those transcendental desires that constitute the very structure of rational thought, and that open all of reality to us precisely by bearing us on toward ends that lie beyond the totality of physical things.”

The epicenter there which shocked the human mind ages ago served to carry us onward and out of the initial murkiness of reality being The Big Con, just as, that same epicenter which shocks the mind serves to propel some (of late within Philosophical Naturalism / New Atheists, etc.) retrograde or backwards again into reality as The Big Con as the epicenter is itself to be avoided at all costs. The epicenter remains unchanging and fuels both trajectories – the former by offering Sight to those who know they are blind, the later by offering that same Sight to those who don't want to see too much. Prior to the God of love the unintelligibility in question raced from the heart of the gods who played while the people paid. Post-Christian attempts now find that same unintelligibility of The Big Con racing from the heart of reality itself as – again – some among us bring their costly sacrifice as they place atop the altar's flames the stuff of that same crisp intellectualism and watch – eyes wide open – as the fumes of annihilation eliminate their holy sacrifice. Indeed such is quite costly yet in their minds the alternative is to be avoided at any cost.

Prior to the God of love the very attempt to master and subdue the stuff of Time and the stuff of Physicality was an oxymoron – for none could hope to out-maneuver the gods. The God’s played and the people played.

Mastering and subduing the stuff of Time and Physicality is an odd Command to Man there in Scripture. One wonders why God would even bother all those eons ago. God also makes the peculiar move to separate forms of Knowledge – the paradigm to master the world outside, to subdue the stuff of Time and Physicality (on the one hand) and, then (on the other hand) the peculiar affairs of some other form of knowledge – apparently in a separate paradigm than the stuff of Time and Physicality – as the God Who is The-Good carves out the affairs of the Knowledge of The-Good, and of Evil, as somehow the business of some other paradigm. It’s as if True Knowledge cannot “all” be “perceived” by just “one” of the two paradigms which God has set before Man.

As predicted by Scripture there in Eden’s fateful landscape “Science” emerges as that which “just is” that mastering, that subduing, of that world outside, of the stuff of Time and the stuff of Physicality. Just as Scripture predicted as it defined the peculiarities in and around necessarily different paradigms of knowledge.

Prior to the God of love we find (back then) the same murky landscape of The Big Con as we find (of late with some) in the same sort of murky landscape of those who now (of late via Philosophical Naturalism / New Atheist, etc.) leave the God of love behind. And that landscape is nothing less than this: ultimate unintelligibility amidst a self-negating presuppositionalism wrapped around a bizarre flavor of an unintelligible solipsism.

The Epicenter:

Ultimate Reality (God) cares for us. Loves us. Reality is not a Con. Go out and subdue and master the stuff of Time and the stuff of Physicality. For it pleases your Father to give you............. And so too with the other half of Knowledge…… Come in and taste, see, and know, for it pleases the Father to give you…......

Of course, according to Scripture all those eons ago, when it comes to Knowledge, Real Knowledge, there is an ontological seam, a necessary stopping point to the stuff of Time, the stuff of Physicality. According to the God who is love. Hence the (inescapable) absurdity of Scientism emerges there in Scripture’s auspicious definitions about Knowledge, about Subduing – and we find there in Scripture the affirmation of what everybody today knows: the anti-intellectualism of making an End-All and a Be-All of, you know, "……doing-science…..". Everybody knows that “doing-science” simply fails, when pressed, to coherently lay claim to the ontological real estate which sums to the means by which Man’s perception accesses “All Knowledge”.

But all of this is old news for the Christian.

As for the “Sandwich” of [Unintelligibility / Crisp Intellectualism / Unintelligibility] – well that is an interesting slice of observational reality.

Typo:

Should be "The gods played and the people payed."

When looking at this challenge in more detail tonight, we broke down the high-level argument being applied. Consider the following statements:

A: (Suppose) I am God.
B: The Bible has new/novel science.
C: The God of the Bible is real.

The main premise being made is that A implies B. (If I was God, I'd put new/novel science into the Bible.)

The claim being made (which is debatable) is that B is not true.

The correct reasoning would be:

A implies B
B is not true.
Therefore not A.

That is, if I were God I would put new/novel science into the Bible. The Bible doesn't contain new/novel science, therefore I am not God.

But, the reasoning given in the argument is:

A implies B
B is not true
Therefore, not C.

Even if the assumption is true that the Bible contains no new/novel science, the argument is still a non-sequitur. The only thing we can conclude from the argument is that the person doing the reasoning is not God.

The argument being made goes a bit deeper. It claims that by teaching germ theory the Bible could "alleviate a lot of needless suffering". It is illuminating to consider: What has caused more needless suffering in this world, germs or human sin?

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