Re: [asa] Empiricism, Faith and Science

From: Bill Hamilton <>
Date: Sat Sep 16 2006 - 09:21:03 EDT

--- wrote:

> 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.

Agreed. However, this does not mean that we shut the "other" out from life
itself. There are plenty of entities in life that are either difficult or
impossible to examine empirically that we nevertheless accept and live with.
Examples include the love relationship between man and wife, the beauty of a
sunset, the effect certain scents have on us, the subtle seasonings in certain
foods, etc. Life without these would be very dull.

With regard to David's characterization:

   isn't the philosophical underpinning a belief that there really is no
"empirical" knowledge of religious

Truth in the realm of human affairs frequently comes to us in the form of
testimony. When a jury hears the testimony of a witness the jurors must decide
whether they believe the testimony is credible. If it is, they accept it. In
many cases the testimony may be the only information they have to base a
decison on. It's similar with Christianity. You have the testimony of Scripture
and Christians. From the point of view of a Dawkins, that isn't credible
evidence, but if Dawkins has ever sat on a jury he has had to evaluate
testimony just like the Christian sitting next to him.

Bill Hamilton
William E. Hamilton, Jr., Ph.D.
248.652.4148 (home) 248.821.8156 (mobile)
"...If God is for us, who is against us?" Rom 8:31

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Received on Sat Sep 16 09:21:45 2006

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