Conservative Colloquium

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Posts Tagged ‘science’

Conservatism & Science: Why Politics is Not a Science

Posted by Tony Listi on January 1, 2011

Science is conservative in some respects:

  • It generally changes incrementally and gradually as new evidence comes to mind.
  • It tests everything against experience. Results matter, not just theories or intentions.
  • It inherently looks to the past. Past occurences and observations are the foundation of science. Without faith in the past, science could not function.
  • It sees the world as inherently orderly, functioning according to certain reliably consistent laws of nature.

But science is not conservative with respect to the fact that science is fallibilistic. The foundations can and have been uprooted several times. The notion of science as the slow, steady, and conservative accumulation of knowledge was destroyed by a series of revolutions at the biological, cosmic, and atomic levels. Copernicus, Darwin, Einstein, and Heisenberg in partcular were instrumental in proving that science sometimes radically uproots the current paradigm of empirical/scientific knowledge. Strictly speaking, nothing is ever really “settled” in science.

True conservatism does not allow for epistemological revolutions in moral and political philosophy:

Conservatives do not deny the existence of undiscovered truths, but they make a critical assumption, which is that those truths that have already been apprehended are more important to cultivate than those undisclosed ones close to the liberal grasp only in the sense that the fruit was close to Tantalus…. Conservatism is the tacit acknowledgement that all that is finally important in human experience is behind us; that the crucial explorations have been undertaken, and that it is given to man to know what are the great truths that emerged from them. Whatever is to come cannot outweigh the importance to man of what has gone before. (William F. Buckley Jr. in Up from Liberalism)

Marxists and libertarians of almost all varieties think that politics is a science. But it isn’t, strictly speaking.

Conservatism is a more humane political philosophy because it recognizes the reality of human nature and the influences upon it. People are not mere physical material, mere combinations of atoms and molecules, who react in the exact same way to certain external stimuli, whether economic or political. Sure, human nature in general doesn’t change, but culture and nurture mould the raw material human nature. Also, people are individuals and thus sometimes deviate from nature, culture, or nurture by willful choice. No nation is perfectly virtuous, but some nations are more virtuous than others in certain respects. 

Thus, while there are certainly timeless political principles, their direct and pure application will not yield the same results for every single group of people under any and all circumstances. Prudence cannot be dispensed with, and thus politics should be considered an art ultimately. Of course, just because something is an art doesn’t mean that reason should be ignored. Orderly art requires reason, the faculty that creates order.

Moreover, it is actually the notion itself of politics as a science that has been so harmful to American politics. Science became largely about experimentation and knowledge for its own sake or for the sake of power, unhinged from moral considerations. Regressives applied hubristic, reckless, and immoral political experimentation in America, irrationally disregarding experience and time-tested experience (not to mention constitutional law). The consequences have been devastating.

Science in itself has no moral compass. To say that politics is a science is to introduce the element of amorality (or rather immorality) into politics.

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Posted in Conservatism, Political Philosophy, Science and Politics, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Scienceolatry: Science as a Religion and Idol

Posted by Tony Listi on April 26, 2009

Our student newspaper, the Battalion, seems to worship the All-Powerful, Almighty Science, who saves all from death and conservatism (secular sin), especially one staff writer in particular, Mr. Tiruvadi:

“[M]any Americans are just getting sick of sectarian bickering and dogma, turning away from organized religion and instead toward an optimistic humanism that accurately reflects 21st century hopes…. As time went on and pesky scientists were dealt with, the inevitable transition of atheism from the dark arts to an acceptable religious identity accelerated. What we’re seeing now is the natural extension of the spirit that started the science ball rolling centuries ago…. Religion is often associated with vehement opposition to stem cell research, classroom science lessons, individuals exercising their rights and sexual scandals while those that don’t believe are seen as intellectual elitists.”

The irony is that there would be no modern science without the Judeo-Christian tradition. Virtually all other religious traditions, those of the gentiles and pagans, thought of the physical world as permanently divine and thus irrational (for their gods were capricious). Only with the coming of Yahweh, the Creator of the natural world, did humanity powerfully come to see order and reason to the universe, an order which by human reason could be measured, studied, recorded, even manipulated. The story of Galileo has grown into an atheist/agnostic myth over time. There is no real conflict between science/reason and Christianity.  Humanism, divorced from divinely sanctioned morality, must degrade into horrific, totalitarian power-worship over time.

Tiruvadi also writes, “As our excellence in science, arts and business increases we will see a shift in public misconceptions of A&M, fortified by our increasingly knowledgeable faculty and research focus…. In the coming decades we’ll find ourselves deeper into the vanguard of science, a place where our definition of tradition will really be tested and we’ll be confronted with controversial opportunities. For example, will A&M’s participation in stem cell research be an affront to its tradition? If you define A&M’s tradition as wholly steeped in conservatism then yes, we’ll have to forsake our brain just to be a big heart. Will we let misconceptions of the theory of evolution get in the way of how we teach biology? Luckily the integrity of science is still strong at A&M, but growing reactionary views can bring even science dangerously close to conservatism’s guillotine.”

Ironically, the guillotine was the instrument of the “progressive” French Revolution, which also idolized rationality and science and attempted to destroy all signs and symbols of organized religion. How appropriate that those who worshipped rationality would execute their heretics by chopping off the seat of such rationality! “Conservatism’s guillotine” is an oxymoron.

Media Credit: Jordan Bryan

Obama seems to have become Tiruvadi’s Scientist in Chief: “This may very well be the closest we get to a scientific-messiah-president, and that’s good news for every American…. America is still at the vanguard of scientific innovation, with brilliant minds paving the way…. The promise of stem cells as a viable cure in any disease is still up in the air, but as science always says, you don’t know until you know. And now, with a President that doesn’t resort to religion-laden stem cell rhetoric, we might finally know.” Thanks Yogi! Brilliant!

Science says touch your toes…. Touch your head. No, you’re out, I didn’t say “Science says“!

And they call us religious nuts? Who says science can’t be perverted into a religion (scientism) with their own messiah and dogma to go with it?

I could argue with Mr. Tiruvadi ad nauseam. But nothing I could say would be as powerful as three movies: The Island, Gattaca, and Brave New World. As I’m sure he would agree, seeing is believing, no? These are three must-see movies for everyone.

Science has methods and nothing more. It has no ethical standards in and of itself. Ethical standards must be applied to science from without. Science is knowledge and thus power. Power has no ethical standards in and of itself. Power-worship merely takes different forms throughout history. The golden calf, the hammer and sickle, and the swastika have all seemingly been replaced by the glass test tube.

Yet this is precisely what Mr. Tiruvadi and others like him seem to claim: science can do no wrong. They are not willing to engage in a moral debate because science sets the terms of morality, or, even worse, has “determined” that morality is a biological-sociological phenomenon, a delusion of sorts. “There is no good and evil; there is only power and those too weak to seek it.” When does human life begin? Does innocent human life have dignity and thus deserve protection, no matter the stage of its growth and development? These questions are brushed aside as heresy, as challenges to scientismic dogma.

Ironically, science itself tells us when human life begins: conception. Humanity can be scientifically defined, more or less, by genetic material, 46 chromosomes. And life can be defined, more or less, by the presence of cells, especially those which grow and divide. Thus conception is the exact moment at which humanity and life become one and find coexistence. So tell me, which book of the Bible or religious dogma did I just cite? The left abandons reason rather than embracing it.

In contrast, scientism and its acolytes often wish to define human dignity on a sliding scale based on intelligence; the intelligent may thus oppress or even enslave the ungifted and untalented. The mentally disabled, the senile, the comatose, and even the child, within or outside the mother, are thus expendable according to this strict logic.

We have seen communism and fascism, leftist ideologies both, deny human dignity and use the power of the state to commit genocide and enslave human beings. Perhaps the worst is yet to come under neo-pagan scientism, for it promises a power over human beings that not even Hitler or Lenin could have imagined, a miserable totalitarian power that only fictional movies can capture and illustrate…for now.

Posted in Abortion, American Culture, Christianity and Politics, Culture War, Fascism, Government and Politics, Hollywood and the Film Industry, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Political Psychoanalysis, Politics and Religion, Science and Politics, Science and Religion, Socialism, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

A Change of Heart on Evolution vs. Intelligent Design

Posted by Tony Listi on August 11, 2008

Dr. Ken Miller, a Roman Catholic professor of biology at Brown University, examines Intelligent Design as a political phenomenon and addresses two of its key objections: the paucity of intermediate organisms in the fossil record and, more importantly, Michael Behe’s theory of irreducible complexity. He takes these scientific objections to evolution seriously and then scientifically refutes them with specific examples. He does not dismiss such objections merely as “religious” and then end the discussion.

This video of his lecture has changed my view of the ID movement and my thinking on the science behind evolution. I’m more inclined to think evolution is a sound theory now.

It has not changed my belief that science should not be funded by the government nor that there is a hostile, secular, aggressively anti-religious bias within much of the scientific establishment and academia in general.

I am not a creationist and the Christian faith does not compel belief in creationism as literalist Protestants define it.

The natural process of evolution need not contradict the existence of God and his Providence. Thus, neither does it preclude the existence of morality. I mean, what would it say about morality if we really believed a material, natural process could influence its validity at all? That is what liberalism/secularism believes. Creationists make a dangerous misstep since their logic implies this too. Though evolution has certainly been used to justify horrible crimes, so has religion. And we should reject the flawed logic of such criminals that misuse both science and religion.

I am a big fan of Dinesh D’Souza’s biblical argument in defense of evolution:

“We read in Genesis 2:7 that ‘the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.’ Right away we notice something different: the Bible says that the universe was created out of nothing but it does not say that man was created out of nothing. Rather, it says that man was made or shaped from the existing substance of nature. ‘Dust thou art and to dust thou shall return.’ So the Bible is quite consistent with the idea that man is made up of atoms and molecules and shares the same DNA found in earthworms, whales, and monkeys.

It is true, however, that the creation account in Genesis does not prepare us for the discovery that man has about 98 percent of his DNA in common with apes. In his Descent of Man, Darwin writes that ‘man…still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.’ Our resistance to this is not religious; it is because we sense a significant chasm between ourselves and chimpanzees. Of course Darwin is not saying that man is descended from chimpanzees, only that apes and man are descended from a common ancestor. Whatever the merits of this theory, there is no reason to reject it purely on biblical grounds. Christians since medieval times have agreed with Aristotle that man is an animal–a ‘rational animal,’ but still an animal.

What makes man different, according to the Bible, is that God breathed an immaterial soul into him. Thus there is no theological problem in viewing the bodily frame of man as derived from other creatures. The Bible stresses God’s resolution, ‘Let us make man in our image.’ Christians have always understood God as a spiritual rather than a material being. Consequently if man is created in the ‘likeness’ of God, the resemblance is clearly not physical. When Jared Diamond in his book The Third Chimpanzee refers to humans as ‘little more than glorified chimpanzees,’ he is unwittingly making a Christian point. We may have common ancestors with the animals, but we are glorified animals.”

Posted in Christianity and Politics, Culture War, Education, Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design, Government and Politics, Politics and Religion, Science and Politics, Science and Religion, Uncategorized, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Priest-Cosmologist Wins Prize for Universe Research

Posted by Tony Listi on March 13, 2008

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/science/13prize.html?ex=1206072000&en=05f8fd66cce9b0b4&ei=5070&emc=eta1 

The $1.6 million Templeton Prize, the richest award made to an individual by a philanthropic organization, was given Wednesday to Michael Heller, 72, a Roman Catholic priest, cosmologist and philosopher who has spent his life asking, and perhaps more impressively answering, questions like “Does the universe need to have a cause?”

The John Templeton Foundation, which awards grants to encourage scientific discovery on the “big questions” in science and philosophy, commended Professor Heller, who is from Poland, for his extensive writings that have “evoked new and important consideration of some of humankind’s most profound concepts.”

Much of Professor Heller’s career has been dedicated to reconciling the known scientific world with the unknowable dimensions of God.

In doing so, he has argued against a “God of the gaps” strategy for relating science and religion, a view that uses God to explain what science cannot.

Professor Heller said he believed, for example, that the religious objection to teaching evolution “is one of the greatest misunderstandings” because it “introduces a contradiction or opposition between God and chance.”

In a telephone interview, Professor Heller explained his affinity for the two fields: “I always wanted to do the most important things, and what can be more important than science and religion? Science gives us knowledge, and religion gives us meaning. Both are prerequisites of the decent existence.”

Professor Heller said he planned to use his prize to create a center for the study of science and theology at the Pontifical Academy of Theology, in Krakow, Poland, where he is a faculty member.

Professor Heller was born in 1936 in Tarnow, Poland, one of five children in a deeply religious family devoted to intellectual interests. His mother, a schoolteacher, and his father, a mechanical and electrical engineer, fled to Russia in 1939 before the Nazi occupation.

On returning years later to Poland, where Communist authorities sought to oppress intellectuals and priests, Professor Heller found shelter for his work in the Catholic Church. He was ordained at 23, but spent just one year ministering to a parish before he felt compelled to return to academia.

“It was one of the most difficult years of my life,” Professor Heller said. “This confrontation of this highly idealistic approach to life with everyday life is very painful.”

“When I was asked to attend to a dying person,” he said, “I was not prepared for life myself, so I had a difficult time to prepare someone to pass away. When you are confronted with such an immediate fact, you never think about the high goals of your life.”

The prize will be officially awarded in London by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in a private ceremony on May 7 at Buckingham Palace.

(For more information on the Templeton Prize: http://www.templetonprize.org/purpose.html)

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The Christian Roots of Modern Science

Posted by Tony Listi on March 11, 2008

Science has theological roots. This is so because Christianity (or at least Catholicism) has never been hostile to the use of reason. In fact, reason is a gift from God, a spark of the divine, and a reflection of the image and likeness of God in ourselves.

Have you ever wondered why modern science (and the university) arose in Europe rather than in some other part of the world? It is a fact of history that Western philosophical and scientific advancement began well before the secularism of the so-called Enlightenment. The answer is that Europe had Christianity and Christianity embraced reason. Should we be surprised that some of the greatest scientists and philosophers in history have been Christians? No. Pagan religions thought that the natural world was full of spirits or that many gods governed and interfered with the natural world. Thus under both systems, the world was mysterious, unpredictable, capricious, and uncontrollable. This was not good philosophical and paradigmatic soil for science. The Chinese came close with the conception of the Tao, a vast undefinable and impersonal force that ordered the universe. But a belief in order alone is not suffucient for science; one must also believe that human beings can discover and grasp that order. This latter belief was not present among the Chinese, probably because there was no idea of a personal God.

Then came Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which show greater openness to reason. Judaism planted the seeds of reason for the other two religions and for what would become science. The Old Testament reveals that the natural world is a creation of God. Recall that God chastises people for worshipping idols, which were merely nature, His creation. (See also the Book of Wisdom 13:1-4). Nature is governed according to God’s laws (See Job 38:4-5). It is not filled with spirits and God inteferes with this creation only in certain circumstances and for his particular purposes. The notion of the world as the creation of God would be adopted by Christianity and would lay the foundation for the concept of nature as an object of study distinct and separate from the divine. Indeed, the Judeo-Christian concept of a “miracle” would have had no special significance (e.g. as proof of the divine) without the Judeo-Christian paradigm of a naturally ordered material world.

Islam did not develop modern science because the very religion oppressed philosophers whose ideas seemed to challenge the very principles of the religion itself (al-Ghazali vs. Averroes). The Qur’an was the perfect book with perfect knowledge; what need was there of scientific literature? Moreover, the Qur’an portrays Allah as having absolute freedom and sovereignty. Ideas such as goodness, rationality, truth, and anything else do not constrain Allah (Qur’an 5:64).

But Judaism and Islam are primarily religions of law and thus concerned with jurisprudence. Thus reasoned debate and and exploration tend to focus narrowly on legal codes. Christianity, however, is a religion of creed and doctrine. Christians seek to know what are the correct set of beliefs and what is the relationship between God and man. Christian theologians thus have always exercised reason in order to understand the ways of God in a way that most religions do not. Theological argumentation was the pre-cursor of science.

This may have begun most prominently with St. Augustine who attempted to tackle some of the deepest and most difficult theological and philosophical problems in history: free will, the existence of evil, God’s existence and the nature of that existence, God’s relationship to time itself, etc.

St. Thomas Aquinas also wrote reasonably with arguments: “We shall first try to manifest the truth that faith professes and reason investigates, setting forth demonstrative and probable arguments, so that the truth may be confirmed and the adversary convinced.” Faith alone is not enough; reason should demonstrate and confirm the truth.

St. Anselm’s ontological argument for the existence of God is also quite a piece of rational discourse. It was assailed by Kant, only to be defended later by Hegel, both whom are giants in the field of philosophy.

Augustine, Aquinas, and Anselm do NOT appeal to faith, revelation, or the Bible in formulating their arguments. Such things may form the backdrop or even the raw material for rational discourse and examination, but it cannot be claimed that Christianity has rejected reason in favor of blind faith alone.

Scientists today take for granted that their whole enterprise is based on a very Christian and faith based idea: the universe operates according to intelligible laws. The universe has an order to it and we can perceive and understand that order. Nature is mathematical. There is no logical or rational necessity that this should be so. It was Christianity (building upon the tradition of the pre-Socratic Greeks) that advanced the idea of a rational cosmos because it holds that God is rational (Jesus is the Word, the logos, which also means “reason” in Greek).

(The material for this post was drawn from D’Souza’s What’s So Great About Christianity and The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible and Islam.)

Posted in Religion and Theology, Science and Religion, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

God is Reasonable, He is the God of Reason, God is Reason

Posted by Tony Listi on February 18, 2008

Let Protestantism (or certain strains of it) take a step back and reflect (dare I say reason?) before it vilifies Reason as incompatible or in opposition to Faith. Let it remember that Jesus is the Word, the Logos (Greek for “thought,” “rationality,” “reason,” etc.)

“Come now, and let us reason together.” (Isaiah 1:18).

Jesus told us to “love Him” with all our minds, as well as all our heart, strength, and soul. (Mt 22:37; Mk 12:30; Lk 10:27)

He proved His Resurrection “by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3) and appeared to Thomas solely to provide sufficient evidence for him to believe.

Jer 16: 9-11 “Now when you tell this people all these words, they will say to you, ‘For what reason has the LORD declared all this great calamity against us? And what is our iniquity, or what is our sin which we have committed against the LORD our God?’ “Then you are to say to them, ‘It is because your forefathers have forsaken Me,’ declares the LORD, ‘and have followed other gods and served them and bowed down to them; but Me they have forsaken and have not kept My law.”
God gives a reason for his punishment! 

Ezk 36:3 “‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “For good reason they have made you desolate and crushed you from every side, that you would become a possession of the rest of the nations and you have been taken up in the talk and the whispering of the people.”‘”

Jonah 4:4 “The LORD said, ‘Do you have good reason to be angry?'”

Jonah 4:9 “Then God said to Jonah, ‘Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?'”

Malachi 2:13-15 “you cover the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. “Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. ”

The Gospels serve as instruments of Reason:

John 20:31 “has been recorded in order that you may hold the faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this faith you may possess life in his name.”
Scripture is thus offered as evidence and proof that we might believe.

“Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.” (Luke 1:1-4)
The need for eyewitness testimony, investigation, order, and certainty is the demand of Reason.

Jesus, our Lord and God, reasons with us and gives reasons for his teachings (“For this reason”):

Mt 6:25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

Mt 12:27 “For this reason they will be your judges.”

Mt 18:23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.”

Mt 19:5 “and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ?” (See Mk 10:7 as well)

Mt 19:8 “He said to them, ‘Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”

Mt 24:44 “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”

Mk 12:24 “Jesus said to them, ‘Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?'”

Lk 1:35 “The angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.'”

Lk 7:47 “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

Lk 11:49 “For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘ I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute,….”
The Wisdom of God has reasons for its sayings!

Lk 12:22 “And He said to His disciples, ‘For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.'”

Jn 6:65 “And He was saying, ‘For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.'”

Jn 7:22 “For this reason Moses has given you circumcision (not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man.”

Jn 8:47 “He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

Jn 10:17 “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-only to take it up again.” It seems that the Father has reasons for his love!

Jn 12:27 “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.”

Jn 12:39 “For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere….”

Jn 13:11 “For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, ‘Not all of you are clean.'”

Jn 18:37 “Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.'”

Jn 19:11 “Jesus answered, ‘You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.'”

Paul:
Acts 26:23 “that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

Rom 1:26 “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature….” God acts reasonably.

Rom 4:16 “For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law….”

Rom 14:9 “For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.” Christ died reasonably, for a reason.

1 Cor 11:10 “For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.” Paul gives reasons for the precepts he gives.

1 Cor 11:30 “For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.” There is a reasonableness, cause and effect, between impious acts and their consequences.

Eph 5:14 “For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper,And arise from the dead,And Christ will shine on you.'”

Phil 2:9 “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name….”

2 Thes 2:11 “For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie….”

1 Tim 1:16 “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience….”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “every inspired scripture has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, or for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind.”
Refutation requires reason. 

More Scripture:
Heb 2:11 “For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren….”

Heb 2:17 “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”

Heb 9:15 “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance-now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

James 3:12 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” Heavenly and godly wisdom is reasonable!

James 4:5 “Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?” Scripture is reasonable! It has reasons for what it written in it.

1 Peter 3:15 “but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear….” God wants us to be ready with reasons for our faith!

1 Peter 4:6 “For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.”

2 Peter 1:5 “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge….”

2 Peter 2:12 “But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken and destroyed, railing in matters whereof they are ignorant, shall in their destroying surely be destroyed….” The damned are without reason, unreasonable.

1 Jn 3:8 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”

Jude 1:10 “But these rail at whatsoever things they know not: and what they understand naturally, like the creatures without reason, in these things are they destroyed.” Again, the damned are without reason, unreasonable.

Rev 7:14-15 “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them.”

Rev 12:12 “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them….”

BibleGateway search of “reason” turns up 243 hits (http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=reason&searchtype=phrase&version1=31&version2=49&version3=47&version4=8&version5=9&spanbegin=1&spanend=73

Gen 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

Gen 41:32 “The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

Exdous 9:16 “But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.”

Lev 17:5 “The reason is so that the sons of Israel may bring their sacrifices which they were sacrificing in the open field, that they may bring them in to the LORD, at the doorway of the tent of meeting to the priest, and sacrifice them as sacrifices of peace offerings to the LORD.”

Lev 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life.”

Lev 19:17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.”

Num 6:11 “and the priest shall offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, and make atonement for him, because he sinned by reason of the dead body. And he shall consecrate his head that same day”

Num 9:6 “And there were certain men, who were unclean by reason of the dead body of a man, so that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day:”

Num 9:7 “and those men said unto him, We are unclean by reason of the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer the oblation of Jehovah in its appointed season among the children of Israel?”

Num 9:10 “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your generations shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be on a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto Jehovah.”

Job 23:7 “There the upright might reason with him; So should I be delivered for ever from my judge.”

Proverbs 3:30 “Do not accuse a man for no reason– when he has done you no harm.”

Jer 12:1-3 “Righteous art thou, O Jehovah, when I contend with thee; yet would I reason the cause with thee: wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they at ease that deal very treacherously?”

Daniel 4:34 “At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever….”

There are certain things that even an omniscient Being cannot do, because they are nonsensical and impossible, by the nature of things. God’s moral nature works the same way. He is love, and cannot be unloving, by nature (2 Tim 2:13).
Limited comprehension is not the issue. How can we fully (or even very substantially) understand any number of things, such as eternity, omnipresence, the Two Natures of Christ, the Holy Trinity, etc.? We can only have a faint appreciation of them and assent to them, as revealed truths. But Christians believe that Scripture (revelation) doesn’t contradict the laws of logic and right thinking any more than natural laws do. It is all a seamless whole: Reality.

When God destroys nations, that isn’t murder, because God is Creator and Judge, and has the prerogative to give life or take it away. They are judged because of the evil they have done, and so there is no injustice. And if God commands the Israelites to destroy a nation, then they are also acting rightly, since they have received divine guidance.
These actions were not right simply because God arbitrarily willed something that we would usually regard as wrong, but because it was time for the enemies of Israel to be judged by their Judge.

God cannot will something sinful because that contradicts His essence as a perfectly holy Being. To say that He can is blasphemous. The “rules” do indeed apply to God also, just as He is “bound” by the laws of logic. Otherwise we take away His goodness and end up with a “god” that is not the all-loving, all-good, all-wise God of the Bible. That is a radical existentialism or some other man-made religion and not Christianity.

Excerpts from Miracles by C. S. Lewis
“All possible knowledge, then, depends on the validity of reasoning…. Unless human reasoning is valid no science can be true. It follows that no account of the universe can be true unless that account leaves it possible for our thinking to be a real insight…. Thus a strict materialism refutes itself for the reason given long ago by Professor Haldane: ‘If my mental processes are determined wholly by the [random, uncontrolled] motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true…and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.’ (Possible Worlds, p.209) But Naturalism, even if it is not purely materialistic, seems to me to involve the same difficulty, though in a somewhat less obvious form. It discredits our processes of reasoning or at least reduces their credit to such a humble level that it can no longer support Naturalism itself…. Acts of thinking are no doubt events; but they are a very special sort of events. They are ‘about’ something other than themselves and can be true or false. Events in general are not ‘about’ anything and cannot be true or false. [They just happen by cause and effect.] Hence acts of inference can, and must, be considered in two different lights. On the one hand they are subjective events, items in somebody’s psychological history. On the other hand, they are insights into, or knowings of, something other than themselves…. And we cannot possibly reject the second point of view as a subjective illusion without discrediting all of human knowledge. For we can know nothing, beyond our sensations at the moment unless the act of inference is the real insight that it claims to be….”

“Reason is our starting point. There can be no question either of attacking or defending it. If by treating it as a mere phenomenon you put yourself outside it, there is then no way, except by begging the question, of getting inside again…. For him [the Christian], the human mind in the act of knowing is illuminated by the Divine reason. It is set free, in the measure required, from the huge nexus of non-rational causation; free from this to be determined by the truth known….”

“The knowledge of a thing is not one of the things’s parts. In this sense something beyond Nature operates whenever we reason…. We have seen that rational thought is not part of the system of Nature. Within each man there must be an area (however small) of activity which is outside or independent of her. In relation to Nature, rational thought goes on ‘of its own accord’ or exists ‘on its own.’ It does not follow that rational though exists absolutely on its own. It might be independent of Nature by being dependent on something else…. It is only when you are asked to believe in Reason coming from non-reason that you must cry Halt, for, if you don’t, all thought is discredited. It is therefore obvious that sooner or later you must admit a Reason which exists absolutely on its own…. Yet if any thought is valid, such a [eternal self-existent] Reason must exist and must be the source of my own imperfect and intermittent rationality. Human minds, then, are not the only supernatural entities that exist. They do not come from nowhere. Each has come into Nature from Supernature: each has its tap-root in an eternal, self-existent Rational being, whom we call God. Each is an offshoot, or spearhead, or incursion of that Supernatural reality into Nature….

“Reasoning doesn’t ‘happen to’ us: we do it…. The traditional doctrine that I am a creature to whom God has given reason but who is distinct from God seems to me much more philosophical than the theory that what appears to be my thinking is only God’s thinking through me…. It seems much more likely that human thought is not God’s but God-kindled….”

“We are interested in man only because his rationality is the little tell-tale rift in Nature which shows that there is something beyond or behind her….”

“Two views have been held about moral judgments. Some people think that when we make them we are not using our Reason, but are employing some different power. Other people think that we make them by our Reason. I myself hold this second view. That is, I believe that the primary moral principles on which all others depend are rationally perceived. We ‘just see’ that there is no reason why my neighbor’s happiness should be sacrificed to my own, as we ‘just see’ that things which are equal to the same thing are equal to one another. If we cannot prove either axiom, that is not because they are irrational but because they are self-evident and all proofs depend on them. Their intrinsic reasonableness shines by its own light. It is because all morality is based on such self-evident principles that we say to a man, when we would recall him to right conduct, ‘Be reasonable.’… If we are to continue to make moral judgments (and whatever we say we shall in fact continue) then we must believe that the conscience of man is not a product of Nature. It can be valid only as an offshoot of some absolute moral wisdom, a moral wisdom which exists absolutely ‘on its own’ and is not a product of non-moral, non-rational Nature. As the argument of the last chapter led us to acknowledge a supernatural source for rational thought, so the argument of this leads us to acknowledge a supernatural source for our ideas of good and evil…. If, like me, you hold that moral judgment is a kind of Reasoning, then you will say, ‘We now know more about the Divine Reason.'”

“Reason is something more than cerebral biochemistry…. The presence of human rationality in the world is therefore a Miracle….”

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Creation and Genesis-6 Days?

Posted by Tony Listi on December 16, 2007

http://catholic.com/library/Creation_and_Genesis.asp

Fundamentalists often make it a test of Christian orthodoxy to believe that the world was created in six 24-hour days and that no other interpretations of Genesis 1 are possible. They claim that until recently this view of Genesis was the only acceptable one-indeed, the only one there was.

The writings of the Fathers, who were much closer than we are in time and culture to the original audience of Genesis, show that this was not the case. There was wide variation of opinion on how long creation took. Some said only a few days; others argued for a much longer, indefinite period. Those who took the latter view appealed to the fact “that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet. 3:8; cf. Ps. 90:4), that light was created on the first day, but the sun was not created till the fourth day (Gen. 1:3, 16), and that Adam was told he would die the same “day” as he ate of the tree, yet he lived to be 930 years old (Gen. 2:17, 5:5).

Catholics are at liberty to believe that creation took a few days or a much longer period, according to how they see the evidence, and subject to any future judgment of the Church (Pius XII’s 1950 encyclical Humani Generis 36-37). They need not be hostile to modern cosmology. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “[M]any scientific studies . . . have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life forms, and the appearance of man. These studies invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator” (CCC 283). Still, science has its limits (CCC 284, 2293-4). The following quotations from the Fathers show how widely divergent early Christian views were.
Justin Martyr

“For as Adam was told that in the day he ate of the tree he would die, we know that he did not complete a thousand years [Gen. 5:5]. We have perceived, moreover, that the expression ‘The day of the Lord is a thousand years’ [Ps. 90:4] is connected with this subject” (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 81 [A.D. 155]).
Theophilus of Antioch

“On the fourth day the luminaries came into existence. Since God has foreknowledge, he understood the nonsense of the foolish philosophers who were going to say that the things produced on earth come from the stars, so that they might set God aside. In order therefore that the truth might be demonstrated, plants and seeds came into existence before the stars. For what comes into existence later cannot cause what is prior to it” (To Autolycus 2:15 [A.D. 181]).

“All the years from the creation of the world [to Theophilus’ day] amount to a total of 5,698 years and the odd months and days. . . . [I]f even a chronological error has been committed by us, for example, of 50 or 100 or even 200 years, yet [there have] not [been] the thousands and tens of thousands, as Plato and Apollonius and other mendacious authors have hitherto written. And perhaps our knowledge of the whole number of the years is not quite accurate, because the odd months and days are not set down in the sacred books” (ibid., 3:28-29).
Irenaeus

“And there are some, again, who relegate the death of Adam to the thousandth year; for since ‘a day of the Lord is a thousand years,’ he did not overstep the thousand years, but died within them, thus bearing out the sentence of his sin” (Against Heresies 5:23:2 [A.D. 189]).
Clement of Alexandria

“And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist? . . . That, then, we may be taught that the world was originated and not suppose that God made it in time, prophecy adds: ‘This is the book of the generation, also of the things in them, when they were created in the day that God made heaven and earth’ [Gen. 2:4]. For the expression ‘when they were created’ intimates an indefinite and dateless production. But the expression ‘in the day that God made them,’ that is, in and by which God made ‘all things,’ and ‘without which not even one thing was made,’ points out the activity exerted by the Son” (Miscellanies 6:16 [A.D. 208]).
Origen

“For who that has understanding will suppose that the first and second and third day existed without a sun and moon and stars and that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? . . . I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance and not literally” (The Fundamental Doctrines 4:1:16 [A.D. 225]).

“The text said that ‘there was evening and there was morning’; it did not say ‘the first day,’ but said ‘one day.’ It is because there was not yet time before the world existed. But time begins to exist with the following days” (Homilies on Genesis [A.D. 234]).

“And since he [the pagan Celsus] makes the statements about the ‘days of creation’ ground of accusation-as if he understood them clearly and correctly, some of which elapsed before the creation of light and heaven, the sun and moon and stars, and some of them after the creation of these we shall only make this observation, that Moses must have forgotten that he had said a little before ‘that in six days the creation of the world had been finished’ and that in consequence of this act of forgetfulness he subjoins to these words the following: ‘This is the book of the creation of man in the day when God made the heaven and the earth [Gen. 2:4]'” (Against Celsus 6:51 [A.D. 248]).

“And with regard to the creation of the light upon the first day . . . and of the [great] lights and stars upon the fourth . . . we have treated to the best of our ability in our notes upon Genesis, as well as in the foregoing pages, when we found fault with those who, taking the words in their apparent signification, said that the time of six days was occupied in the creation of the world” (ibid., 6:60).

“For he [the pagan Celsus] knows nothing of the day of the Sabbath and rest of God, which follows the completion of the world’s creation, and which lasts during the duration of the world, and in which all those will keep the festival with God who have done all their work in their six days” (ibid., 6:61).
Cyprian

“The first seven days in the divine arrangement contain seven thousand years” (Treatises 11:11 [A.D. 250]).
Victorinus

“God produced the entire mass for the adornment of his majesty in six days. On the seventh day, he consecrated it with a blessing” (On the Creation of the World [A.D. 280]).
Lactantius

“Therefore let the philosophers, who enumerate thousands of ages from the beginning of the world, know that the six-thousandth year is not yet complete. . . . Therefore, since all the works of God were completed in six days, the world must continue in its present state through six ages, that is, six thousand years. For the great day of God is limited by a circle of a thousand years, as the prophet shows, who says, ‘In thy sight, O Lord, a thousand years are as one day [Ps. 90:4]'” (Divine Institutes 7:14 [A.D. 307]).
Basil The Great

“‘And there was evening and morning, one day.’ Why did he say ‘one’ and not ‘first’? . . . He said ‘one’ because he was defining the measure of day and night . . . since twenty-four hours fill up the interval of one day” (The Six Days Work 1:1-2 [A.D. 370]).
Ambrose of Milan

“Scripture established a law that twenty-four hours, including both day and night, should be given the name of day only, as if one were to say the length of one day is twenty-four hours in extent. . . . The nights in this reckoning are considered to be component parts of the days that are counted. Therefore, just as there is a single revolution of time, so there is but one day. There are many who call even a week one day, because it returns to itself, just as one day does, and one might say seven times revolves back on itself” (Hexaemeron [A.D. 393]).
Augustine

“It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation” (The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:19-20 [A.D. 408]).

“With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation” (ibid., 2:9).

“Seven days by our reckoning, after the model of the days of creation, make up a week. By the passage of such weeks time rolls on, and in these weeks one day is constituted by the course of the sun from its rising to its setting; but we must bear in mind that these days indeed recall the days of creation, but without in any way being really similar to them” (ibid., 4:27).

“[A]t least we know that it [the Genesis creation day] is different from the ordinary day with which we are familiar” (ibid., 5:2).

“For in these days [of creation] the morning and evening are counted until, on the sixth day, all things which God then made were finished, and on the seventh the rest of God was mysteriously and sublimely signalized. What kind of days these were is extremely difficult or perhaps impossible for us to conceive, and how much more to say!” (The City of God 11:6 [A.D. 419]).

“We see that our ordinary days have no evening but by the setting [of the sun] and no morning but by the rising of the sun, but the first three days of all were passed without sun, since it is reported to have been made on the fourth day. And first of all, indeed, light was made by the word of God, and God, we read, separated it from the darkness and called the light ‘day’ and the darkness ‘night’; but what kind of light that was, and by what periodic movement it made evening and morning, is beyond the reach of our senses; neither can we understand how it was and yet must unhesitatingly believe it” (ibid., 11:7).

“They [pagans] are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of [man as] many thousands of years, though reckoning by the sacred writings we find that not 6,000 years have yet passed” (ibid., 12:10).
NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

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Taking Science on Faith (NY Times)

Posted by Tony Listi on November 25, 2007

Here at least is an honest rationalist! Finally, somone from within the ranks of science will point out what is completely obvious to one who looks: science is not completely rational and devoid of faithful assumptions. But Davies is not perfect: he dismissively and unjustly underrates the power of “monotheistic religion” to explain the universe. He sees what epistemologists call the “infinite regress” associated with rationality and tries to stop it by creating a circle, a self-regulating universe, a universe which can explain the very laws that regulate itself. He strains to exclude “external agency” which is merely a euphemism for God. It is quite a sight: a stubborn scientist confronted with Design.   

—- 

By PAUL DAVIES
Published: November 24, 2007

SCIENCE, we are repeatedly told, is the most reliable form of knowledge about the world because it is based on testable hypotheses. Religion, by contrast, is based on faith. The term “doubting Thomas” well illustrates the difference. In science, a healthy skepticism is a professional necessity, whereas in religion, having belief without evidence is regarded as a virtue.

The problem with this neat separation into “non-overlapping magisteria,” as Stephen Jay Gould described science and religion, is that science has its own faith-based belief system. All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn’t be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed. When physicists probe to a deeper level of subatomic structure, or astronomers extend the reach of their instruments, they expect to encounter additional elegant mathematical order. And so far this faith has been justified.

The most refined expression of the rational intelligibility of the cosmos is found in the laws of physics, the fundamental rules on which nature runs. The laws of gravitation and electromagnetism, the laws that regulate the world within the atom, the laws of motion – all are expressed as tidy mathematical relationships. But where do these laws come from? And why do they have the form that they do?

When I was a student, the laws of physics were regarded as completely off limits. The job of the scientist, we were told, is to discover the laws and apply them, not inquire into their provenance. The laws were treated as “given” – imprinted on the universe like a maker’s mark at the moment of cosmic birth – and fixed forevermore. Therefore, to be a scientist, you had to have faith that the universe is governed by dependable, immutable, absolute, universal, mathematical laws of an unspecified origin. You’ve got to believe that these laws won’t fail, that we won’t wake up tomorrow to find heat flowing from cold to hot, or the speed of light changing by the hour.

Over the years I have often asked my physicist colleagues why the laws of physics are what they are. The answers vary from “that’s not a scientific question” to “nobody knows.” The favorite reply is, “There is no reason they are what they are – they just are.” The idea that the laws exist reasonlessly is deeply anti-rational. After all, the very essence of a scientific explanation of some phenomenon is that the world is ordered logically and that there are reasons things are as they are. If one traces these reasons all the way down to the bedrock of reality – the laws of physics – only to find that reason then deserts us, it makes a mockery of science.

Can the mighty edifice of physical order we perceive in the world about us ultimately be rooted in reasonless absurdity? If so, then nature is a fiendishly clever bit of trickery: meaninglessness and absurdity somehow masquerading as ingenious order and rationality.

Although scientists have long had an inclination to shrug aside such questions concerning the source of the laws of physics, the mood has now shifted considerably. Part of the reason is the growing acceptance that the emergence of life in the universe, and hence the existence of observers like ourselves, depends rather sensitively on the form of the laws. If the laws of physics were just any old ragbag of rules, life would almost certainly not exist.

A second reason that the laws of physics have now been brought within the scope of scientific inquiry is the realization that what we long regarded as absolute and universal laws might not be truly fundamental at all, but more like local bylaws. They could vary from place to place on a mega-cosmic scale. A God’s-eye view might reveal a vast patchwork quilt of universes, each with its own distinctive set of bylaws. In this “multiverse,” life will arise only in those patches with bio-friendly bylaws, so it is no surprise that we find ourselves in a Goldilocks universe – one that is just right for life. We have selected it by our very existence.

The multiverse theory is increasingly popular, but it doesn’t so much explain the laws of physics as dodge the whole issue. There has to be a physical mechanism to make all those universes and bestow bylaws on them. This process will require its own laws, or meta-laws. Where do they come from? The problem has simply been shifted up a level from the laws of the universe to the meta-laws of the multiverse.

Clearly, then, both religion and science are founded on faith – namely, on belief in the existence of something outside the universe, like an unexplained God or an unexplained set of physical laws, maybe even a huge ensemble of unseen universes, too. For that reason, both monotheistic religion and orthodox science fail to provide a complete account of physical existence.

This shared failing is no surprise, because the very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. Christians envisage God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe, while physicists think of their laws as inhabiting an abstract transcendent realm of perfect mathematical relationships.

And just as Christians claim that the world depends utterly on God for its existence, while the converse is not the case, so physicists declare a similar asymmetry: the universe is governed by eternal laws (or meta-laws), but the laws are completely impervious to what happens in the universe.

It seems to me there is no hope of ever explaining why the physical universe is as it is so long as we are fixated on immutable laws or meta-laws that exist reasonlessly or are imposed by divine providence. The alternative is to regard the laws of physics and the universe they govern as part and parcel of a unitary system, and to be incorporated together within a common explanatory scheme.

In other words, the laws should have an explanation from within the universe and not involve appealing to an external agency. The specifics of that explanation are a matter for future research. But until science comes up with a testable theory of the laws of the universe, its claim to be free of faith is manifestly bogus.

Paul Davies is the director of Beyond, a research center at Arizona State University, and the author of “Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe Is Just Right for Life.”

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Global Cooling: Past Consensus of Media and Alarmist Scientists

Posted by Tony Listi on October 22, 2007

There was scientific consensus about planetary motion before Galileo and Copernicus, there was scientific consensus on racial differences and eugenics in the 20’s and 30’s, etc. There is always scientific consensus before the next revolution comes along.  Let us think twice before declaring the infallibility of science and thus realize science by its own nature revises itself. There is a big difference between the Law of Gravitation and climate change theories. Let us proceed with caution before proceeding with carbon emissions policies that will heavily depress economies and hurt the poor the hardest. 

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