moral truth

To demonstrate not only the difference between scientific/descriptive knowledge and metaphysical/prescriptive knowledge, but also the greater degree of both accessibility and authority in the latter, consider the following:

There are scientific experiments which everyone knows (accessibility: tick) without question (authority: tick) simply should not (prescriptive: tick) be performed ((and there honestly is no need for me to give examples of such experiments)).

EDIT: lest it need to be said, the previous post makes no claim, of course, for human omniscience in any area.

true feeling

Just watched The Changeling with my wife (‘endured’ would be the term she’d use!), and really enjoyed it.  There are some real gut-wrenching moments in there, which I won’t elaborate on here.

One thing I found interesting was the particular (and familiar) feeling of deep satisfaction and relief I (and my wife – and anyone with a pulse) when the ‘code 12’ women were freed from the mental hospital, and when the lawyer offered to defend her pro bono. It’s just that familiar, deep-seated, very human feeling we all get when the right thing is done – when a horrible injustice is righted.  The opening scene of Amistad, where the slaves on the slave ship break loose and take over the ship, though violent and bloody, also provoked that same feeling – that kind of fist-pumping ‘yeah!’ feeling. Emotions aren’t infallible, and in terms of epistemology I don’t think any source of knowledge is (reason, logic, etc.); but sometimes they (emotions) can be very, very good conductors of Truth.

And I love how immediate, every-day, down-to-earth, and universal these kinds of emotions are.  No philosophy degrees needed here, no deep pondering or reflection, just deep, gut-level ‘knowing’ that – though we don’t know everything – we know that we know that we know ‘this is right’.

‘other’

Definition: Let us take ‘cosmos’ as a term denoting ‘the universe’, the ‘world’, or ‘everything that we see’, etc.

Statement 1: The cosmos was created and is sustained by an ‘other’.

Statement 2: The cosmos is all that there is (and ever has been and ever will be).

Both statements assume the above conceptual definition of ‘cosmos’ (‘everything that we see’), but only statement 2 depends on knowledge of the cosmos that we don’t have, and will never have.  In other words, the theistic statement (1) doesn’t rely upon complete knowledge of the cosmos, but the naturalistic statement (2) seems to. Continue reading “‘other’”

coins have 2 sides

-you can’t say something is ‘evil’ if you’re not already assuming some concept of ‘goodness’

-you can’t say something is ‘poorly designed’ unless you’re assuming what ‘good design’ looks like

-you can’t say something is ‘chaotic’ unless you know what ‘order’ is

-and you don’t have goodness, design or order without some idea of teleology

religion impeding science?

In a 2007 debate with John Lennox (viewable here), Richard Dawkins vocalises his frustration that religion (in his view) ‘stuntifies’ true scientific understanding:

“The scientific enterprise is an active, seeking… an active seeking out of gaps in our knowledge… [a] seeking out of ignorance, so that we can work to plug that ignorance.  But religion teaches us to be satisfied with not really understanding.  Every time one of these difficult questions comes up, science says, ‘Right, let’s roll up our sleeves and work on it.’  Religion says, ‘Oh, god did it.’  ‘We don’t need to work on it, god did it. It’s as simple of that.’ …Religion stuntifies the impulse to understand, because religion gives a facile, easy, apparent explanation… and it prevents the further work on the problem. Continue reading “religion impeding science?”

atheism and explanatory monism

I’ve quite enjoyed reading through “Is Nature Enough: Meaning and Truth in the Age of Science“, by John Haught.  One of the many points he articulates well is what he refers to as “layered explanation”. Continue reading “atheism and explanatory monism”

knowing about knowing

Epistemology is (loosely defined) as the study of knowledge.

As the ending of this very sentence will show, it is circular to assume ( that is, before investigation or a priori ) that you know what it means to know something (i.e. that you know what knowledge is!). Continue reading “knowing about knowing”