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April 15, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

Another quick rant against reductive materialism, neo-atheism, hyper-rationality, and the worldview of scientism

Here’s the challenge: “If you can present credible, objective, verifiable evidence that your god (a supernatural entity associated with a religion) actually exists, I’ll immediately stop being atheist and join your religion.”

Here is the rational evidence and proof:

Objective and verifiable:
1) Multiple New Testament Testimonies
2) Backed up by Historians
3) Integrated with the Old Testament Prophesies
4) Reasons given for Creation by design versus Big bang chaos, including the Penrose number and fine tuning, along with the fact we exist in the first place or that the initial bang happened in the first place.
5) Science, the university, the passion for reason, and the core of modern day ethics (Golden rule, relational ethics, and the family have origins in the Bible)
6) The best books on leadership were written by Christians or people influenced by the Christian tradition.

Christianity just makes more sense. Why?
1) The Christian worldview coheres better than the worldview of scientism, which believes in determinism and lack of free choice
2) The Christian worldview coheres better than the worldview of scientism, because it possits a world that lacks both meaning and purpose (ergo no reason to be here, no reason to do anything).
3) Scientism unnecessarily sets up false either/or scenarios (aka false dilemmas).
4) Reduction to physics and chemistry guts what makes us human–its looking for answers in the wrong place. Thats counter-intutive and irrational itself.

Faith Integrates the either/or, which is the superior option:
Faith integrates with science rather than opposes it.
Faith integrates with wisdom, intuition, and emotion rather than opposes it.
Abductive reason & faith are both necessary for the scientific enterprise and for innovation (imagination & brainstorming and trust & relationships in the lab). Eliminating those forms of knowledge or eliminating them as effective reasons for actions fundamentally cuts down human choice (and would cause science to sit at an absolute standstill in terms of discovery)
Faith integrates with brain science (neuroscience & the human condition) because its an integration of reason & emotion. It acknowledges those integrations rather than falsely trying to turn us into robots, animals, or Spocks.
Ultimately, the New-atheism would turn the clock back on all the discoveries of Christians (to whatever extent those Christians were inspired by their Christianity when the going got tough or to whatever extent their Christianity inspired their work from a thinking model–and we’re talking about groups of the most fundamental science and some of our most famous Nobel prize winners). We pretty much wouldn’t have modern computers & other innovations without these discoveries at their present stage–because their work is trans-disciplinary. Nathan Ketsdever’s answer to Science: Who are some notable scientists that believe in the existence of God? (this post probably cites about 200 major scientists including all the links–as well as a number of Nobel Prize winners)

Faith answers where science is fundamentally unable to due to its limits and focus. Asking science to play philosophy effectively is like–you have to have a mediator or sorts that sees things at a different level.

Science even (subtly) acknowledges that it really doesn’t and can’t answer the meaning question (its just not humble to say those words out loud). You have athetists now who realize that science isn’t enough to provide meaning (being anti- and skeptical isn’t exactly a prescription for progress). There are some times when a frame of hope, optimism, and faith are required….there are times when skepticism about certain issues (including skepticism itself are required).

In terms of Christianity. Its core wisdom–its core truths are fundamental. Certainly the notion of testing everything is incredibly utilitarian–but it fundamentally can answer instrinsic question or much about the real lived experience of our interior lives–where things are certainly messy–but vitally, vitally important to who we are as humans–and ironically can’t even answer the questions about abductive reasoning which form the core for innovation and risk-taking in society.

People think when they throw off the principles of ethics they might get a better world somehow–but I fail to see how thats true (given the absolute failure of relativism) along with the primary need for human rights and for justice. And a utilitarian, consequentialist ethic has been throughly thrashed as irrational in anything but public policy. You’ve got to have love and nurturing–so-called feminine virtues….which science hasn’t always been kind to (which is why it took till almost 2000 for work around emotional intelligence to emerge).

Conclusion: A Call for the Future:
Most scientists are probably humble enough to realize that we vitally need an integration of emotion and reason to live human lives–to borrow from the intuitive and imaginative as a fundamental pre-condition to achieve innovation, discovery, and progress. It wasn’t cold rationality that caused JFK to set in motion our trip to the moon…..nor was it cold rationality that cause Steve Jobs to take a leap of faith at multiple times in his career to venture forth and be different (by the way, in the Think Different ads, I think you’ll notice that the people in the video played on both sides of the brain. In fact, Saatchi and Saatchi probably weren’t cold and calculating either–my guess is they were a bit on the creative side. It was the value, purpose, mission, and story that put Apple at the fore-front. It was the creative design fused with engineering which made them the best company of all time. For those who follow the worldview of scientism to abandon those who push society forward with their
1) risk taking
2) innovation & creativity & brain storming
3) leadership and relations with emotional intelligence
4) inspiring & encouraging & uplifting
5) dealing ethically
6) providing accountability via ethics and emotion
7) creating a virtuous society rather than a chaotic one
8) purpose, meaning, and personality

Its only by integrating our universities….(subject-wise….and end up with T-shaped people like IDEO & the Stanford D-school believes in)
Its only by integrating out minds…..(rationality& emotion)
Its only by integrating our teams……(that we get multi-dimentional teams & multi-perspective teams)
Its only by breaking down the barriers between the sciences and everything else–that the free flow of information & the hegelian dialectic & progress can really take place.

PS. This essay brought to you by the left and right sides of my brain.

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