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February 7, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Further dialogs on the scientism, scientific reductionism, hyper-rationality versus Christian integration

Jesus is unobjectionable. Similarities to Ghandi not withstanding…..Jesus started a movement that is a million times bigger than Ghandi. His legacy is significantly larger. Also, the Jesus movement advocates a much fuller system of character and virtue than just non-violence. Read the Gospels. Read the Pslams. Read the Proverbs.

Ghandi is a lovely person. Please don’t conflate the lives of Jesus on the one hand and Ghandi. Its not science….its not rationality….its just a fundamental misunderstanding of history and of legacy.

You can refer to my posts on the historicity of Jesus for answers. The historical record is pretty impressive.

Answering the ethics claim:

1) Motive/Reason/Heart for an ethical system is an emotional connection.

2) Conditionality. When the utilitarian calculation switches. Integrity is being there even when the utilitarian and consequentialist.

3) Gut check: if you want utilitarian friends (aka that stay around for the pleasure or experience) or friends with emotion and backbone (I will take the later, thank you….you’re certainly free to choose)

4) Real world scenario. Utilitarian Pleasure versus Rule Based System. The utilitarian pleasure is often going to win out.

5) There’s something different when people focus on an issue. Thats science and motivation and focus. Grad school means you care about your education. A weekly visit to the library says something about the kind of person you are. Christians going to church once a week, while not a save all–just being there is insufficient, but they care about character. (admittedly this is a slight overgeneralization….but all labeling and generality at this level is going to have that challenge)

Open minded versus close minded: the reductionist says there is no more beyond science….that science explains everything. We know thats not true…because there wouldn’t be a purpose to science tomorrow. At a minimum, I think any person who has studied anything has realized there is an asymptope with respect to knowledge discovery of knowledge. Science represents a pre-mature closure on the dimensionality and depth of the universe—it represents a pre-mature closure on purpose–it represents a pre-mature closure on the possibility and wonder of the human experience.

The sociology of knowledge says we’re always a filter away–group or individual or both away from knowledge of the world. Phenomenological accounts also echo this concern. This certainly creates problems for a science that considers itself to be 100% objective. (I should be clear–I’m not saying its a fools errand…just that we should acknowledge the task for what it is). It says that perfect rationality is a myth–and illusion.

Is there literally a future date where literally university research departments will close up because there is nothing left to discover about the universe and humanity? Will we ever say…thats all there is….there no need to discover more?

There are at least 3 parts of the discovery process:
1) Idea creation
2) Idea connection
3) Testing ideas (this is the only truly scientific part–and its not exclusively rationalist)

But lets look at this from a broader perspective–ten parts of the scientific process involve what by reductionist terms are non-rational and therefore non-scientific processes:
1) Motivation (emotion driven)
2) Emotional needs of the scientist
3) Personality of the scientist (likes and dislikes)
4) History and story of the scientist (in the way that relates to personality)
5) Perspective
6) Ethics (not strictly a mathematical or test tube formula–more virtue and relational driven)
7) Personal Relationships (and collaboration)
8) Innovation (speculation, dreaming, inferences to achieve disruptive innovation)
9) Conclusions and reflections. While not strictly emotional–these are gut feelings and inferences. These also help drive better science and they create better science in the future.
10) Subjective feelings and experiences from the perspective of the scientist

Lets be honest with ourselves, you’re not Spock. You’re not Spock. You’re not Data. Let that sink in. While your brain does have some similarities to a computer….it is not a computer. It doesn’t have a brain making decisions and interacting with the world who has emotional needs…..the difference between you and spock is the evidence that humans and the human experience is more than robotic.

The faith versus science dicotomy
The faith versus reason dicotomy is a false one–one contrived to sell you an ideology…but thats another story)
Integration is the answer–and integration which takes

I don’t know how much you’ve studied history, but there was a part of our history known as the Romantic period. Lets be clear, the Romantics probably got some things wrong….but the Enlightenment wasn’t perfect….thats the reason we have the rise of Post-modernism and Perspectivalism now. But its important to recognize there are parts of the Romantic period that it did get right–and to miss that is to miss one of the key lessons of history. You can feel free to ignore it–but the Romantics really did understand much of the human experience (for instance passion & motivation & the subjective). In fact, if the subjective wasn’t important–there wouldn’t be a need for psychology to exist as a field–as incomplete as its solutions are.

The largest irony here is the science says that religion is actually beneficial to emotional health. So, you may have decent emotional health now….but science says that you will have better emotional health with religion. So….at some level I’m suggesting there is a cognitive dissonance.

Who do you want to be. You can be Spock-esque….with human emotion….and with giving and loving tendencies like Jesus. I would suggest thats the optimum mix in terms of a fuller-human life.


There’s no requisite reason. A designer–God is the best explanation.

Literally some of our information systems in organic living systems are folder in a folder type organization.
Stephen C. Meyer – Research (I know he’s talked about it and done research on it–I don’t think it shows up on this page)

The planets are mathematically precisely/proportionately distanced from the sun (despite the occassional peculiar orbit). Explosions don’t yield results with such order and precision.

In nature, order doesn’t arrive out of chaos….entropy is happens in both living and non-living systems. The degree of order in the universe suggest something else had to intervene to establish and maintain certain order and design–a framework or blueprint.

Fibonacci’s sequence is a precise ordering…..and it shows up across disciplines in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
If thats not the fingerprint of the handiwork of a Designer, I don’t know what is.

And the mechanistic viewpoint of science takes out the choice, responsibility, vitality, energy, purpose, and meaning in the universe. As a philosophical system–its going in the wrong direction–its anti-thetical to the purpose of finding philosophical truth. Its only in a framework that assumes it will eliminate….exactly what its supposed to be looking for. Its like instead of using a hammer and a nail….its like using a hammer to do micro-scopic art….only to smash it in a million pieces. Thinking that system or framework–as mechanistic as it is will help yield truth….much less higher truths violates Einsteins (at least quoted aphorism) about repeating the same mistakes of the past again and again.

Viewing human live and human experience through this narrow lense is a akin to getting close up on an impressionist painting and commenting on 2 gray dots and suggesting thats sad–while missing the whole larger picture. Or taking one picture of a Frank Gehry object and suggesting you’ve taken it in. The object is far more dynamic and interesting and intriguing than just one perspective….one framework.

Life is subjective and objective. Life is micro and macro. Life is top-down and bottom-up. Science only sees the subjective.


Can we trust the Bibles history?
1) At the most relevant parts (Jesus, the Flood, Moses, etc…). Yes.

2) I find that those who aren’t fans of faith find miniscule differences (often taken out of context) and blow them out of proportion. I would suggest most objections fall into this category.

3) The historicity of Jesus is mostly agreed on by historians

4) Even Bart E. agrees Jesus was a historical figure.

5) Matthews genaeology {although I put more of my eggs just in the Jesus’ historicity basket]

Can we trust the Bibles ethics?
1) You just said science supports it. And basically its core tenets.

2) You can’t argue much with the life of Jesus as noble and good. We established this a while back.

3) The Psalms and Proverbs are generally quite good.

4) Aristotle and every virtue ethicist ever pretty much agrees.

5) Well, the US Constitution came from it and our legal framework came from it. And we’ve done pretty well with it as a nation. If there was a failure it was a temptation or idol-based one, not a values one. The alternatives are far worse.

6) Also, much of its self-evident truth–of sorts. That merely the playing out of scenarios in your head is sufficient to prove that freedom is better than its opposite. I don’t need a science experiment, a lab coat, or a half-a-million dollar budget to prove that to be true. I hope you could accept that as just true–based on your own sense experience with the world and your own cognitive reasoning tools.

Mental health and faith:
1) You don’t cite any evidence. I think both frameworks require cognitive dissonance. I would argue a atheist or reductionist alone framework or worldview requires more dissonance. And to be fair…..the reductionist framework just shaves off the cognitive dissonance rather than deal with it–that just sweeps it under the rug. Its still there.

2) Meta- studies of the wealth of (ie the wealth of science concludes with me)

3) For good measure, I will add that the University of Pennsylvania Psychology department headed by Seligman points to the value of spirituality and religious practice.


1) Definition. Science is the move from fact-based inference to more credible fact. (not actual fact given. I’m pretty much just reapply what you said elsewhere about it not being considered fact……I’m using “fact-based” to describe the framework–not that it is a fact).

2) Self-correcting framework is irrelevant. Its only when its being used for what its supposed to be used for. Remember, science has had a pretty bloody past when it got ethically out of line. That self-correcting framework–is only for repeatable experiments–not everything.

3) I don’t understand the move from philosophy to the absolute. But I do know that both are incredibly loaded terms. The philosophy part–isn’t about ethics–its about the theories of science. Perhaps a “meta-science” or philosophy of science. And its tools in philosophy (if they do exist) are likewise limited in scope to its strengths.

4) I’ve kinda dealt with this one elsewhere (aka before)

Similarities to Ghandi & History comparison:
1) Lets be honest–this is a silly argument. Its a red herring at best.

2) I’ll deal with the history argument to. Its pretty easy–the year distinction you make in the first paragraph is the core reason there is less historical data. Thats history 101 or at least the nature of how history works 101.

3) I made size & scope arguments–neither of which were answer. If I had a data visualization of the size of the movements–it would be like Jupiter next to the Earth or like a Basketball next to a golf ball. Not even close. Also, I’m pretty much the only one that can provide numbers (see also wikipedia). And thats multiplied over history based on some kind of geometric growth formula. Non-violence was the core of Ghandi’s movement. How many Ghandians live within your city? How many Christians? Case closed.

4) As a side note, Ghandi made his argument based on spiritual reasons. Or at the least, if Ghandi hadn’t been spiritual–there probably wouldn’t have been a movement. While he got his spirituality a little skewed–it certainly shows the import of spiritual values.

Asperger’s Syndrome:

1) I’m sorry. I’m sure there are strengths you have too. I have at least one person, but perhaps two or more who are close to me who also experience characteristics of aspergers. So to some extent I can empathize. When I was younger in high school I had very rudimentary understanding of friendship, love, and relationships. Its only been time and trying to soak in the experience from others that have helped me along the process. The home is different from the court room or the laboratory. It has a different function–it honors different values. There are certainly ground rules in each that are consistent across both–but the depth of relationship and community is ideally different.
I would suggest though that certainly not everyone has Aspergers and our intent as a society probably wouldn’t be to replicate the lack of emotions–or perhaps more properly the lack of understanding of particular emotions or expression of those emotions.

2) Relationships change everything. Love changes everything. My cousin just had a baby–and we had coffee recently. And it turned his life upside down–in a good way. It shifts what you find to be meaningful and important in life.

3) I would suggest that an integration of both spheres is important. I’m not a psychologist or a neuroscientist. But optimizing our brain–just makes sense. Particularly because there is scientific value in both sides.

4) To be fair…the media doesn’t help in this regard. Most of the expressions of emotion I saw to be “emotional” were on soap operas. I didn’t realize that emotions could be meaningful and were meaningful–and that its more healthy to deal with emotions and to be open about emotions than to attempt to cover them up or hide them. Its been a long journey of sorts for me. Its about expressing your identity–and becoming closer mentally–such that your lives and values integrate like the DNA double-helix.

5) I certainly wish you encouragement, resilience, and an open heart as you journey to discover a broader and more meaningful human emotional experience. I’m sure you have the wonder and curiosity to help amplify those. Its like a voyage to the center of your heart–going where no man has gone before.


Ducking and covering when you are losing an argument……isn’t a way to win discussions….but a way to lose them….a bit like conceeding those arguments.

I think Freudian logic proves the positive goodness of the super-ego over the ego and ID–or at least the super-ego harnessing the other two.

Freud would have potentially serious problems with most of the atheist philosophers in history. He probably would suggest that the loss of a father or a poor father-son relationship led to their work against our heavenly father. But like most of Freud…thats just speculation on my part.
(I don’t have their histories….so I won’t comment on them either way)

It all gets back to that “from this vantage point” Exactly. You take one picture….and say it sums up everything….Game over. Why not show more pictures from Astronomy textbooks? Why did the editor not choose to show those? How about the Hubble pictures? I realize those weren’t out at the time…but their visually astounding. Its unmistakable from seeing them–that an artist……not random chaos and not chance…..are at play. Those–those are evidences of the fingerprints of God.

I can’t see humans in this picture–they are too small–just proves we are unique. It doesn’t prove anything about our value–because its just one snapshot. If it does “prove” something about our value….it suggests. In one sense, we matter….because we matter to other humans. The other problem with his logic is that it results in valuing plants and humans alike. That should send off red flags and alarm bells in your head–that scientists lack of understanding of value of human life and human potential–would mean they would roll back the constitution–because they don’t get it–they don’t get the self-evident truth of our value. Not getting that self-evident not only is not rational….its downright suicidal.

Intuition does more harm than good–probably isn’t paying attention to the fact that ALL our decisions involve intuition and emotion. I made the point earlier. I also pointed out how science was a radical impossibility–100% impossible at 10 different stages–so 10 times over without intuition. The probably isn’t what Dawkins and the New Atheists tell you….its what they won’t and don’t. Reflect and think about that for about 10 minutes. You’ve been entirely silent on that topic.

God isn’t really on trial. He’s bigger than us. We’re the ones that have to live good lives here and now. And those were pretty much taken out of context. Also, I don’t think it takes into account the distinction between the Old Testament and the New Testament–you have to look at them historically and as an evolution from what came before. Remember, Jesus as the ultimate standard for human ethics….as well as our only hope for forgiveness, grace, and eternal life–is critical to getting the larger point–the larger message.

Don’t get lost in the details–and the syllogisms. It all comes down to the person and history of Jesus. The message of the Bible is there–and that pretty much went undenied.

You have to get past the hasty generalizations of that comedians short rant. There were all kinds of assumed arguments that didn’t amount to a hill of beans. If you can’t see that–and you’re manipulated by that–clearly you’ve allowed you critical thinking and logical skills to realize when you’re being manipulated and controled–by a comedian no less. Thats a shameful portrayal. Jesus stands as the difference from all of that. Second, you can test magic, but you can’t put God in the test tube. However, the order and universals in nature. Every science experiment ever performed points to an ordered universe and to a God who designed it that way. Fibonaccis sequence… an amazing display of the handiwork of God at play.

The amazing, wonderous, and curious displays of galaxies which dot the heavens with majestic and awestruck. Looking up in the heavens is a spiritual experience. Looking through a micro-scope at an ameba or anything else fasinating….is a spiritual experience of sorts.

Scientists want you to believe magic that happened at the Big Bang–that it magically all worked out for us. That we hit the cosmic lotto–the 1 in 1,000 trillion lotto. But thats just silly and they don’t have much evidence for how the universe & creatures would magically self-organize to create.

Energy and conciousness is at the heart of the universe. At least thats what Quantum Mechanics says. And purpose and meaning are there–if you just look. If there wasn’t meaning and purpose in the universe–people wouldn’t keep living–because they would be literally purposeless. We know for magic to occur–a Designer has to be there. Something out of nothing is not the norm of science–it contravenes every norm of science. The notion of the Big Bang giving rise to humanity and the universe–is fundamentally anti-science.

I should apologize a bit for a little bit of frustration….which is the disconnect that seems to result from the worldview which doesn’t see humans as important or deserving dignity and respect. A scientistic worldview–a reductionist worldview does exactly that….it reduces…..everything….it reduces human values….it cuts off human potential… cuts off human choice….it cuts off human responsibility. It turns us into objects–objects that don’t care or incapable of caring. It creates analogies of us to rats…..we’re more than rats. Thats a huge cognitive dissonance.

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