beliefs undergirding science

In another interesting article over at Thinking Faith, Guy Consolmagno posits three things all scientists must ‘believe’. He calls them “three axioms of science that must be taken on faith before you can do science.”

  1. “You have to believe that the physical world actually exists – I am not just a butterfly, dreaming that I am a scientist, in an imaginary universe.”
  2. “You have to believe, ahead of time, that the physical world actually does have rules and regularities – well hidden ones perhaps, but something that eventually you’ll be able to figure out.”
  3. “…you have to believe that the physical universe is worth studying. Think of it… if your religion says that the goal of life is to meditate yourself out of this corrupting universe onto a higher plane, you’re not going to be a physical scientist.”

The article can be found here, (PDF version) or by clicking the link in my RSS for Thinking Faith in the sidebar…

Thoughts?

overlapping magisteria?

My last post touched (if only in passing) on the relationship between two realms: the philosophical/religious and the scientific. Among other things, I was suggesting that there is both a distinction and an inter-play between the two.

We are all –to an extent, of course– both scientists and philosophers. We engage in the stuff of science; for at various levels of skill, we figure out how things work, what makes things tick. We also engage in philosophical reflection; for we all navigate our way through life based on an understanding (either assumed or deeply worked out with much reflection) of what is good, etc.

Continue reading “overlapping magisteria?”

scientific knowing and life-change

Science fascinates me.

I’m not sure which I love more; the answers we’ve got or the remaining questions we hope to answer. Science is such an important thing to support. It has given us so much.

We humans should value science as an invaluable tool in life. But how does this tool work? Are there ways in which we can mis-use the powerful tool of science?

I’m reminded of a quote from the film Jurassic Park. Dr. Ian Malcolm: “Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Continue reading “scientific knowing and life-change”

from abiogenesis to evolution

Many a debate could (and should) be cut short by a simple observation:

On one hand, evolution deals with how life has evolved and/or changed over time, while on the other hand, abiogenesis deals with how life began in the first place.

Theists (more specifically, the young-earth creationist kind) often use the mystery of abiogenesis to attempt to dis-prove, refute or otherwise argue-against evolutionary theory. The quick retort from opponents (both atheists and theists) is that evolution and abiogenesis are not the same thing. To which I would eagerly agree. They are most certainly not.

But… (there’s always a ‘but’, isn’t there?) …are they not quite connected? Continue reading “from abiogenesis to evolution”

the abc’s of tolerance

Tolerance…

The topic of tolerance came up in the comments of my last post, so I thought I’d re-post them here to offer a focussed discussion of them…

This t-word is used in interesting ways. I think it’s used far too loosely. You tolerate things (certain actions or persons whose identity is defined by those same actions) which you don’t agree with or like. If you agree with and/or like some action (or person affiliated with it), then you –by definition, I insist– cannot ‘tolerate’ it. Therefore, it should be obvious that you can only ‘tolerate’ things (or persons) which you disagree with or don’t like. Continue reading “the abc’s of tolerance”

everyday ethics

Today I walked past a man sitting on a bench on the sidewalk. He was –no doubt– simply taking a work break. He was smoking. This happens all the time… Sure, some people probably don’t appreciate the small of cigarette smoke as they walk by, but it’s still no big deal, right?

Then, minutes later, in the Turkish shop I was getting lunch at, a guy lined up behind me. I thought I recognised him. He was wearing sunglasses, so I wasn’t sure. I thought he might have been the new pastor at the Presbyterian church my wife and I were married at (after all, the church was a short walk away). A look at his T-shirt confirmed that it wasn’t… Continue reading “everyday ethics”

embodied souls

soulBody?

…soul?

…or both?

Some hold to the idea that there is no ‘self’ or ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’, so to speak, but rather than we are complex biological organisms with complex biological functions; including complex mental processes which have caused some to imagine that we have a ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’.

At the same time, there are those who hold to the idea that ‘they’ are primarily not their body, but rather their ‘soul‘ or ‘spirit’ or ‘self’. This spiritual entity is said to be the essence of who ‘you’ are, and is often said to be ‘immortal’ or ‘eternal’.

Varying views on this topic are not new. In the ancient world, the two main views we know of were either that humans were endowed with an immortal soul, or that they… well… were not so endowed. Continue reading “embodied souls”

the neurology of self-control

brain mapOf course, I’m not a neurologist. Heck, I haven’t even spent any considerable amount of time browsing Wikipedia entries on neurology…

I have been thinking, however, about life, our brains, choices and the like…

Without delving into how our brains might have developed or evolved into the state they are, I think it’s just fascinating how they work now. As we live life – as we see, hear, things, say things, do things, have things happen to us, touch things, are touched by things, etc., etc. – a correlating ‘network’ of associations, memories, etc. is continually being ‘built’ somehow, somewhere under our hair…

I’ve been thinking about this ‘networking’ process as it relates to the choices we make in life, and what we control and we can’t… Continue reading “the neurology of self-control”

god, multiverses and science

multiverseThe idea that there are other universes than our own (perhaps an infinite number) is quite common today. It is often used to explain how our universe was able to produce and sustain such rich biodiversity that we see on Earth. The idea being that given an infinite number of chances, our ordered and balanced universe is simply eventual. Sometimes, even, this talk is used as evidence that ‘science’ shows (even ‘proves’!) that our universe, after all, is not the result of the action of any kind of Creator.

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the ‘science’ of intelligent design

I must thrive on controversy or something. I’ve got posts on speaking in ‘tongues‘, sexual ethics and now –if those weren’t enough– I’m posting on the evolution/creation debate… Sigh… Where to begin!!??

Where I’ve come from
Since I like honesty, I’ll start with a very short (and therefore un-detailed) review of how I’ve thought in the past, and where I’m at now…
Continue reading “the ‘science’ of intelligent design”