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Separating faith and reason

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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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Here is a book review of Michael Ruse’s Science and Spirituality, which he argues that the core of Christianity is consistent with contemporary scientific conclusions. The reviewer’s interesting conclusion:

My own suspicion is that it is not so easy to divide the spheres of faith and reason. It takes considerable faith, for example, to believe that the very same laws of nature apply throughout reality and that those laws are remotely accessible to the human mind (a problem Ruse insists that “the Victorians” would not have noticed — forgetting that Charles Darwin did, as Alvin Plantinga has pointed out). It also takes faith, and considerable devotion, to believe that reality is worth knowing, and that it’s therefore worth struggling to discover a coherent, unified theory of everything (which we certainly don’t have now). Without those dogmas, “science” only names a compendium of sometimes useful techniques and partial hypotheses which we have no reason to expect to be coherent or of any more general interest than stamp collecting. The question must then be: what sort of universe must we think this is if those dogmas are to be believable? And the answer, perhaps, is that Christian theism provides a more plausible metaphysics than currently fashionable materialism. Science and Religion, by Ruse’s account, are not at war, only because they have different fields and methods. But perhaps they are not at war because Science depends upon Religion, and rebellion will lead in the end to its disintegration.


1 Comment

  1. Sandi says:

    Agreed. I like the general direction of this argument. Although I do not think that theism necessarily precludes materialism (or vice versa) but rather they too, like faith and science, are ultimately reconcilable. While christian scripture tends to distinguish spirit and matter, likewise science continues to distinguish energy and matter for meaningful reasons even though it is long known that energy and matter are relatively the same thing. Why? I think it is because the distinctions remain so interesting, important, worth understanding and articulating; worth “distinguishing”, despite their ultimatly unified nature.

    Also, I think science will only “disintegrate” in the sense that as a more comprehensive world view transcends and includes all disciplines, those disciplines will merely persist/exist superficially at that point (much the way that biology can be explaned in terms of chemistry and chemistry can be explained in terms of physics yet we still retain each discipline for obvious and useful reasons), as means to a common end–or is it the beginning that is common,or both hmmm…


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