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December 26, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

Various criticisms of the worldview of scientism, skepticism, and neo-atheism

Science is good at a number of things, but it isn’t particularly equipped to study the non-material. Moreover, its not particularly adept at studying one time events in the past. As such, its not up for direct scientific study (in the laboratory sense)–only indirect scientific study. As such our search for the truth mirrors either the historian or the court room.

The question of the historicity of Jesus is one which is more credible than many other historical figures.

Third, I don’t think you can just escape the fundamentals of ethics in the universe. And questions of value are important to the human existence, or else Socrates wouldn’t have been so curious and he and his bretheran (Aristotle, Plato, & perhaps other classics) wouldn’t have been so influential (or famous)

Fourth, you can’t escape the existence of fundamental laws of the universe, for which there is no cause.

I can’t tell you why God evolved over time. Just that he did and its been a good thing.

There’s plenty of evidence for God, its just a question of what counts as evidence and which worldview you are working in. There are tons of scientists who have been incredibly influential who have been Christian. Its not like they forgot logic as they evaluated the claims on both sides–certainly there was a moment of faith. You make decisions based on incomplete evidence every day–and have faith based on one or the other.

Moreover, relationships and ethics transcend (or should transcend) the scientific perspective of both materialism and skepticism.

I guess we fundamentally disagree about the areas science best applies to. My guess is if you did a study that people which apply both intuition and science versus just science to their daily decisions would be evolutionary preferred. I think you ignore that law and history are comparatively better models to study one time events. And metaphysical questions are often best resolved by metaphysics in the same way scientific questions are generally best resolved by science and literary questions resolved by literary methods. But an integration can often be more effective–and helps us transcend the dualist assumptions your argument is wedded to.

In terms of faith (and the money in your pocket) I was primarily referring to interpersonal trust & the daily risks we engage in (both consciously and not consciously). For many people this is also an experiential question–not one necessarily expressly evidenced through experience or evaluated through experience–but proven through experience. And last time I checked experience is one method to address reality–particularly the types of reality we’re talking about.

If you posit the universe is empty and doesn’t care, yes, that is what you are going to see. But why do a wide assortment of tasty foods exist for me to consume which improve nutrition and energy level?

This is a vast oversimplification. The ethics of the Bible coheres to the split between material and real value. Skin and bones value is a mirage. For instance James says:

“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”

Additionally, it doesn’t take into account that the moment of understanding the existential question of death and God–means that everyone has to make a decision in which your soul, if it exists, hangs in the balance.

Further, the historical question of Jesus as well as absent post-hoc conspiracy theory, the apostles had no reason to put their lives on the line for the cause. Also, there was no reason for them to be so transparent and authentic about problems. If they were trying to lie they would have made all the apostles perfect.

Taste is certainly subjective, but I’ve found its pretty universal that people like fruits (at least strawberries, apples, oranges, bananas, raspberries, mangoes, watermelons, etc..). I imagine there are scientific studies which prove that humans (as a group versus just as an individual) like fruits. And to my knowledge there is no evolutionary reason (at least in terms of fruit) which requires that it taste good to us. Certainly, I don’t have A to B proof, but the alternatives don’t really seem to have a cause–why did nutritious fruits emerge from the primorial ooze (or however you choose to express).

Why is their order and not chaos? Why do we have the periodic table of elements and all those elements? Why and how do we have 32 fine tunings in the universe, which if were otherwise would mean that humans couldn’t be here and that the universe would be massively different? And we find more and more complexity…the more scientists investigate. To say thats not a miracle (ie the 1 One Trillion-trillion style probabilities. As I recall one of the calculations is 10 to the 23rd–but I may be remembering it incorrectly).

You are intuitive….and yet you don’t disregard those intuitions out of hand. A person of faith’s intuition are just. God essentially exists in another dimension or that we could “see Him with our own eyes” and the idea that materialist science could find Him is a bit absurd.

To ignore that people of faith have doubt is to miss the point. To say they don’t look at science is equally wrong. They simply look at those issues from a different frame and approach. They find it problematic that a scientific worldview which tends to have a deterministic frame (which eclipses free will far more than the idea of fore-knowledge versus simple A-B causal relationships).

You point out that, “Atheists accept that there are things we simply can not yet know, given our current level of advancement.” I think this seems to suggest (although not necessarily so) that science will switch paradigms somehow (ie perhaps to transcend the materialist). This doesn’t prove anything–but perhaps suggests what the future of science might look like.

Good enough is actually what pragmatists do all the time. Thats partially what Occam’s razor is supposed to be about I suppose as well. (ergo Occam’s razor favors a belief in God). I realize you can re-frame this, so I’m not putting my eggs in the Occam’s razor bucket.

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