Re: [asa] Empiricism, Faith and Science

From: <>
Date: Fri Sep 15 2006 - 22:42:50 EDT

David wrote:

> But isn't this [old school positivism form of] epistemology implicit in a
> TE position that promotes a rigid methodological naturalism? Even though the
> TE's MN is couched in pragmatic terms, isn't the philosophical underpinning a
> belief that there really is no "empirical" knowledge of religious truths?

I also don't quite know what you mean by "rigid". Maybe that
all things that happen in the world can be explained only by
physical processes? I mainly see no reason to assume that
"physical" (in the sense of "matter interacting with matter")
is all there is.

Even granting the atheists who seize on infinite time to
get a quantum fluctuation just right so we arrive at
our present universe, we must also grant infinite time for
these other things too. So rejecting everything but matter
is mostly chauvinism, probably hubris and, as an argument,
little more than a ruse.
The main reason why science shuns this "other" is because we
have no way to set up controlled experiments to examine it.
We don't know what "it" is, let alone whether (or even if)
we can probe it with anything we can make in a completely
controlable way. However, it would appear that (at least for
the most part), if this "other" does exist and interacts with the
world, it tends to interact in a non-coercive way. So one would
expect that most things can be explained by a physical process
having taken place. But whether God was in any way involved with
it, this we cannot determine (at least) with our current understanding
and means of probing things physically.

It does push into the matter of faith, but this has always been
an issue from the very beginning and is not likely to change
in the future either. We see God's action in the world through
the eyes of faith, but certainly, because of this, there is
reason to also doubt, and that would be consistent with the
tendency of God to interact non-coercively with the world. So
he who wishes to ignore God can easily chose to do so.

Intuition is an important part of science, so turning to one's "feeling"
is not, in of itself, wrong --- even when you are unsuccessful at
finding a way to work it into a successful experiment. So, if you
ask me for proof, I would have to be silent, but I see no reason to
deny everything I cannot prove it.

So "empirical" in the sense of "experimental" knowledge of
religious truths is basically ruled out in this picture
because we have no means whereby to achieve interaction
with it, except possibly at a very personal level and at a time of
God's own unknown chosing.

By Grace we proceed,

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Received on Fri Sep 15 22:43:41 2006

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