Re: [asa] Krauss's quote of Haldane

From: George Murphy <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>
Date: Tue Jun 30 2009 - 15:53:37 EDT

Theology is an attempt to understand & explicate the Christian faith - the classic phrase is fides quaerens intellectum, "faith in search of understanding." For the atheist to say he/she doesn't need to know anything about theology in order to refute Christianity is equivalent to saying "I don't care what you believe, it's wrong."

Shalom
George
http://home.roadrunner.com/~scitheologyglm

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Campbell" <pleuronaia@gmail.com>
To: "Nucacids" <nucacids@wowway.com>
Cc: <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 3:17 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Krauss's quote of Haldane

>> New Atheists are often proud of the fact that their familiarity with
>> theology is so superficial. For example, philosopher Anthony Grayling
>> rationalizes flippant dismissal of theology as follows:
>>
>> “For example, if one concludes on the basis of rational investigation that
>> one’s character and fate are not determined by the arrangement of the
>> planets, stars and galaxies that can be seen from Earth, then one does not
>> waste time comparing classic tropical astrology with sidereal astrology, or
>> either with the Sarjatak system, or any of the three with any other
>> construction placed on the ancient ignorances of our forefathers about the
>> real nature of the heavenly bodies.”
>>
>
> Dawkins makes the same claim in The God Delusion, except his example
> is that one need not consult with "fairyologists" to determine that
> there are not any fairies in the garden.
>
> There are at least two major errors. First, there is the assumption
> that all religion, etc. is equal in merit to astrology or fairyology.
> Secondly, it is necessary to examine the claims of different sorts of
> astrology, fairyology, or whatever to determine what they actually
> say. Even within many polytheistic systems, I don't think that the
> supposed astrological influences would be attributed directly to the
> thing seen in the sky; rather, particular spiritual beings were
> thought to be associated with the planets, etc. and to have influence
> on events on earth. (Contrast that with the ancient idea that the hot
> "dog days" of summer resulted from the extra heat of Sirius plus the
> sun-a physical effect attributed to the actual thing seen in the sky).
> Thus, any investigation of the physical nature of planets, stars,
> etc. fails to disprove the idea that there are associated spiritual
> influences. Likewise, determining whether there are fairies in the
> garden is dependent upon a definition of fairies and how to detect
> them.
>
> Of course, one can easily show scientifically that the newspaper
> horoscopes are unreliable-simply check if the advice applies any
> better to people born on certain dates than on others, or check if
> people claiming to use the same system get the same results.
>
>>For example, what scientist would disagree with the following change to the first sentence of his quote?
>
> “My practice as a scientist is to be objective.”
>
> Anyone? Anyone?
>
> Okay, so let’s follow through on Haldane’s logic:
>
> My practice as a scientist is to be objective. I should therefore be
> intellectually dishonest if I were not also objective in the affairs
> of the world.
>
> What this means is that if we were to read the various blogs,
> magazine, and newspaper writings of various scientists, and found them
> to be biased in regard to “the affairs of the world,” Haldane's logic
> would have us declare these scientists are intellectually dishonest.
> Are the New Atheists truly willing to expand all aspects of the
> scientific approach into all of their lives? Or has religion been
> singled out for special reason?<
>
> While the question of objectivity applied to other areas is very
> appropriate, the logic has faults. E.g., if you are a chemists with
> credible commitment to safety (not exactly Haldane's forte), your
> practice as a scientist is probably never to ingest anything (unless
> you are a food chemist). This does not mean, however, that you should
> never ingest anything outside of work, either.
>
> --
> Dr. David Campbell
> 425 Scientific Collections
> University of Alabama
> "I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
>
>
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Received on Tue Jun 30 15:54:12 2009

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