[asa] Empiricism, Faith and Science

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Wed Sep 13 2006 - 19:18:56 EDT

I'm wondering how the TE's here respond to reasoning like this, from a book
review in the Times Literary Supplement
). Why doesn't the TE acceptance of a "strong" methodological naturalism
lead to this:

Regardless of what they say to placate the faithful, most scientists
probably know in their hearts that science and religion are incompatible
ways of viewing the world. Supernatural forces and events, essential aspects
of most religions, play no role in science, not because we exclude them
deliberately, but because they have never been a useful way to understand
nature. Scientific "truths" are empirically supported observations agreed on
by different observers. Religious "truths," on the other hand, are personal,
unverifiable and contested by those of different faiths. Science is
nonsectarian: those who disagree on scientific issues do not blow each other
up. Science encourages doubt; most religions quash it.

But religion is not completely separable from science. Virtually all
religions make improbable claims that are in principle empirically testable,
and thus within the domain of science: Mary, in Catholic teaching, was
bodily taken to heaven, while Muhammad rode up on a white horse; and Jesus
(born of a virgin) came back from the dead. None of these claims has been
corroborated, and while science would never accept them as true without
evidence, religion does. A mind that accepts both science and religion is
thus a mind in conflict

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Received on Wed Sep 13 19:19:35 2006

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