Re: truth and science

Garry DeWeese (deweese@ucsu.Colorado.EDU)
Wed, 4 Jun 1997 20:47:32 -0600 (MDT)

Sorry for the delay in responding.

On Fri, 30 May 1997, John P. McKiness wrote:

> Garry, I would agree with you if I have been equating "truths of faith" with
> "truths of reason" as Averroes did. That to me is a heresy, however I can
> not determine in my messages to Glenn where I said that. My communication
> skills must be worse than I thought.
But this is just what Averroes did not do. Truths of faith and truths of
reason were discontinuous, not equated.

> I must point out though that "quite similar" to does not equal Averroes,
> whose position you continued to discuss.
I was allowing you some wiggle room ;).

> I'll reiterate, there are two forms of knowledge (not "truth"): the
> knowledge that comes from God by revelation and the knowledge that comes
> from human observation and thought processes.
But if knowledge is true (or as philosophers like to say, justified true
belief), then if there are two forms of knowledge, either the concept of
truth involved is the same or it isn't. In your posts you seem to argue
that the concept of truth is different; I maintain that the concept of
truth must be the same, but it might be that the method of justification
is different.

> Revelational Knowledge (if that term is suitable) is beyond
> question because God defines truth. God is both the standard by which
> everything is judged and the judge. I partially agree with Thomas Aquinas
> in that "all truth is God's truth" because all truth comes from Him.
Agreed. But how do you know what is "revelational knowledge"? It depends
on rational processes, I think, unless you resort to a "burning in the
bosom" which places such knowledge claims above rational inquiry.


> I believe that when we require Scripture to agree with our geological and
> paleoanthropological propositions we are guilty of equating the two
> "truths" as in Averroes. To me that is what harmonization does, whether it
> is "young earth creationists" playing their games with Scripture and
> science or those like Glenn who say that if Scripture conflicts with geology
> God is the liar.
No--by requiring that propositions about geology derived from Scripture
not contradict propositions about gelolgy derived from and justified by
geological science, we are directly opposing Averroism and maintaining the
unity of truth. To do otherwise is to split off "truths of faith" (or, in
your terms, "revelational knowledge") from the realm of rational
discourse. But again the question: How do you know the truths of faith
if not by using your rationality? (Note: Even deciding how to interpret
the statements of Scripture involves a long, complicated, but often tacit
rational process!)

> The only contact I have had with Averroes' writings was about 20 years
> ago, I didn't like his equality of truth then and I still don't -- he, like
> many western philosophers, have equated reason (and the reasonings of their
> favorite Greek philosopher) with the Ideals,
Averroes was an Aristotelian, not a Platonist.

> and from my point of view Glenn
> seems to be following them in his drive to harmonize scripture with science.
I don't see this at all. (Even though I disagree with Glenn's
conclusions, I respect his methodology.)
> Concerning the last paragraph above, I would say that only propositions
> which He makes are true. Propositions we make approach reality, are an
> approximation of reality, but fall far short of truth. Only God's
> statements "correspond to reality of what is."
So when I say that gold has atomic weight of 79, or that 7+5 = 12, those
are only approximate statements? Granted, God knows the truth of these
propositions in *all* their instances, while I only know a paltry few.
But nevertheless, they are not approximations!

Garry DeWeese