Re: The Thomas Trap

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Fri, 20 Nov 1998 09:45:24 -0500 (EST)

At 09:11 AM 11/20/98 -0500, George Murphy wrote:
>Moorad Alexanian wrote:

>> It is true that without presuppositions, humans cannot reason. There is
>> something in the nature of man that makes it a thinking machine. Citing the
>> way we do science is a good way of illustrating that machine but it goes
>> beyond science. Humans are also "detectors" of the nonphysical--read
>> spiritual. The spiritual realm is totally foreign to a truly mechanical,
>> thinking machine. The spiritual realm can never be detected by scientific
>> measuring devices. [All the data of science can be gathered by real,
>> nonthinking machines.] Kant indicated that the notions of space and time
>> are a priori in the human. I believe there are such spiritual notions which
>> are inherent to man also.
> An interesting analogy. Torrance has cited it to, but to the opposite effect.
>Kant thought that Euclidean geometry was an a priori notion & that we have
to see the
>world as Euclidean. The development of non-Euclidean geometries &
Einstein's use of
>them to gain greater understanding of the physical world showed that Kant
was wrong - &
>not only about Euclid. We must try to understand the world in the way in
which it
>actually is given to us, not in terms of presuppositions formed before we
look at the
> & the point Torrance has made is that the same is true of God and God's
>relationship with the world. A notion of God based on a supposed natural or
>inherent knowledge of God is likely to be as misleading as an a priori
assumption of
>Euclidean geometry. We must instead try to understand God in accord with
the way in
>which God actually gives himself to us, in the historical revelation which
culminates in
>Jesus Christ. Thus "natural theology" is not an independent preparation
for proper
>Christian theology, but should be seen explicitly as a _part_ of proper
>George L. Murphy

The issue is not what you think as being correct a priori, the issue is that
you have to have a priori notions even before you make presuppositions. To
say that space is Euclidean is to go beyond the mere a priori notion of
space and time. For instance, try to explain to a non-human alien what is
love, what is hate. No amount of scientific knowledge of the human and the
alien can convey what love is, for instance, unless the alien, like a human,
has the notion of love in his nature. What does being created in the image
of God means? Spiritual nature of man that is what I understand. Aliens may
not have been created in the image of God, therefore, they would have no
notion of God whatsoever, no matter how "smart" they are.