Foundations

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There is, ultimately, only two sources of truth. Either we base truth on the precepts of mankind, or we base it on something far superior to mankind, something supernatural.

To ancient man, the philosophy of reason and logic were curiosities. They believed that there was only the truth beyond themselves, and that supernatural forces were at work everywhere at all times.

To ancient Hebrews and Christians, they believed the same except the nature of that supernatural force was defined as being of a human-like quality, albeit perfected in every way. They believed that God, the creator and lord of all creation, governed the motion and seasons of all things according to the laws he wrote, which laws he himself bound himself to.

This is what I believe. And this is why I enjoy math and physics and science so much. It is because by peering into the smallest detail of the way things are and the way things work, I learn more about the mind and intent of my Creator. I feel a certain closeness as I understand more about what secrets nature holds from us, and what blindness we have allowed ourselves to be overcome by simply due to our ignorance.

There is another philosophy, ultimately, in my mind, an absurd one. It starts with nothing and from nothing proclaims that nature cannot have supernatural events. It also claims that unless something can be sensed and repeated, it cannot be true. This is what is called “naturalism” and “materialism”, two philosophies of which I only agree in part. (More is explained here.)

To be honest, I can’t understand why people cling to these two philosophies. They are so defeatist in practice, and turn the bright and interesting aspects of science (exploring the nature of something far superior to ourselves) into something mundane and ultimately meaningless. Whereas I feel compelled to seek after knowledge (science) by increasing my understanding of the Almighty by witnessing his works and trying to comprehend them, the naturalist and materialist is doing something without purpose or meaning.

But more importantly, I fail to see how people can argue that there is no God from these philosophies. Of course, if your founding doctrine is that there is no God, then of course you are going to conclude that there is no God. But that hardly proves anything except that you are adept at circular reasoning. What has fascinated me are the proposed arguments that, based on naturalist and materialist worldviews, purport to contradict the very assumptions made from the beginning, showing that the original assumptions contradict nature herself.

How important it is that we choose the right foundations! If we cannot lay our foundation right, what more can we hope for? Indeed, as the proverbs state, the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge. And later in the same book, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom being applying our knowledge well, it is important that we base both on God.

One accusation hurled towards the Christian scientist is that we explain things as “God wanted it that way”. Indeed, this is true, but the very next questions we ask are:

  • What is “that way”, specifically?
  • Why does God want it that way?
  • What other ways could exist and why don’t we see these in nature?

These are all questions that all scientists should be thinking of always. Indeed, the pattern I have seen is to first define things carefully, then define the observed processes carefully, then to question what other processes could occur and why those did not. This is, indeed, the very way that entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics was discovered.

Naturalists and materialists don’t want to have this debate with Christian scientists. Instead, they label us as backwards thinking and retarded. Despite the fact that these ideas, not naturalism and materialism, are the foundation of modern science, they continue to persist because of their war with God.

Don’t count me part of that. I don’t believe science and God are separate in any way except in the imagination of fools.

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2 Responses to “Foundations”

  1. tensor Says:

    It also claims that unless something can be sensed and repeated, it cannot be true.

    Well, to be considered a valid result, a scientific experiment must be reproducible (e.g. “cold fusion” was not reproducible), or an observation must continue to be valid (every fossil discovered comports with the evolutionary record; no “rabbits in the Pre-Cambrian [period]”). Otherwise, the claimed result is considered an error in observation or analysis.

    … the naturalist and materialist is doing something without purpose or meaning.

    I’m pretty sure there are atheist astronomers, who wonder at the night sky, without believing there’s an invisible fairy up there. They don’t consider their observations and discoveries to lack purpose or meaning.

    But more importantly, I fail to see how people can argue that there is no God from these philosophies.

    We don’t. We just say those hypotheses which includes god(s) adds nothing of value to our scientific investigations.

    Of course, if your founding doctrine is that there is no God, then of course you are going to conclude that there is no God.

    A conclusion which works equally well with the word “no” deleted from each clause.

    But that hardly proves anything except that you are adept at circular reasoning.

    Correct. (Especially with the word “no” repeatedly removed.)

    What has fascinated me are the proposed arguments that, based on naturalist and materialist worldviews, purport to contradict the very assumptions made from the beginning, showing that the original assumptions contradict nature herself.

    Examples of which include…?

    … the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge.

    No, observations, hypothesis, data collection, and analysis are. There’s no need for a god.

    … fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

    It’s wiser to keep your heretical heliocentric model to yourself, if the earth-centered Christians will burn you alive for publishing it, yes.

    One accusation hurled towards the Christian scientist is that we explain things as “God wanted it that way”.

    That “explanation” doesn’t actually explain anything.

    What is “that way”, specifically?
    Why does God want it that way?
    What other ways could exist and why don’t we see these in nature?

    The first and last are valuable scientific questions. The second is an attempt to read the mind of an invisible, disembodied entity which may or may not exist. It’s hard to see any scientific value in that effort.

    These are all questions that all scientists should be thinking of always.

    Imagine a dialog between Dr. Atheist and Dr. Believer, both biochemical researchers:

    A: While we’ve had trouble, so far, finding a vaccine for HIV, or cure for AIDS, I’ve identified an exciting new possibility for one.

    B: Our long frustration with either path, combined with my firm (Jewish, Christian, Muslim) beliefs, bring me to the conclusion that the Almighty is punishing homosexuals for violating His laws, and if we run continue to run counter to His Will, we waste our time. We will not examine the possibility of which you speak.

    Luckily, Dr. A. can find alternate funding — oops, it involved creating new stem cell lines. Oh well; god’s ways are strange, and his will beneficial. Mostly.

    This is, indeed, the very way that entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics was discovered.

    Well, it was the discovery that engineers couldn’t raise the efficiencies of their heat engines very far.

    Naturalists and materialists don’t want to have this debate with Christian scientists.

    Well, mostly because it doesn’t add any value to our scientific work. We can still argue on our spare time!

    Instead, they label us as backwards thinking and retarded.

    Richard Dawkins has a much larger vocabulary than that, I assure you.

    Despite the fact that these ideas, not naturalism and materialism, are the foundation of modern science, they continue to persist because of their war with God.

    Luckily, the conflict between pronoun and antecedent rages constantly.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      an observation must continue to be valid (every fossil discovered comports with the evolutionary record; no “rabbits in the Pre-Cambrian [period]“)

      Have you noticed that the definitions of geological time involve circular reasoning as well? For instance, if you were to find a rabbit in the Pre-Cambrian, then you must not have been looking at the Pre-Cambrian and maybe the entire definition needs to be revisited.

      They don’t consider their observations and discoveries to lack purpose or meaning.

      So can you explain why, then, with an Atheist belief system? What is the purpose of life?

      We just say those hypotheses which includes god(s) adds nothing of value to our scientific investigations.

      Which is an incorrect argument. Your “gods” are logic and reason. There is no logical and reasonable explanation for these things, only assumptions of supernatural properties of the universe. To what end?

      My God is also logic and reason, embodied in flesh with infinite compassion, intelligence, wisdom, and justice. I combine all of these “positive” attributes into one supernatural, supernal quantity, which demands my worship and obedience if I intend to enjoy happiness.

      The results are similar. I believe the universe has universal laws that can be discovered through observation, logic and reason. I also believe that similar principles, which should also be testable, can be discovered by simply asking the Source, which you believe to be deaf and dumb. My Source isn’t deaf and dumb, but living and loving. The knowledge I am able to obtain includes things that aren’t always testable, or for which I cannot, at this time, imagine a test for. Most of this knowledge is personal in that it may or may not apply to others, but it certainly applies to me.

      Do you see why arguing that believing in a “sky fairy” doesn’t indeed make me inferior, but rather inclusive and even possibly superior? Occam’s razor is a nice idea, but it is only a general rule of thumb and isn’t always correct.

      A conclusion which works equally well with the word “no” deleted from each clause.

      True, which is why God is above reason and logic. You can’t argue logically either way. Perhaps you can do an argument of absurdity, proving that a fundamental belief in one way will lead to absurd results. For instance, if I argued that a belief in no God leads people to do what they like because there are no universal morals, and leads to things like the Great Leap Forward, the Holodomor, and the Holocaust, then I can argue that believing in no God is not a good idea.

      No, observations, hypothesis, data collection, and analysis are. There’s no need for a god.

      See, you can probably say, “In order to test hypotheses, observe, collect, and analyze data you don’t need to believe in a God.” But I don’t see how you can do such without a belief in anything (most basically, that the universe is logical and reasonable), nor can I see any motivation to do so (to what end do we research science?)

      However, my belief in God compels me to learn and discover, which discoveries are usually made through the scientific method.

      It’s wiser to keep your heretical heliocentric model to yourself, if the earth-centered Christians will burn you alive for publishing it, yes.

      Christians are not the only group of people guilty of killing the heretic or keeping scientific advancements from being widely adopted. Christianity is, however, the first religion that actively encourages people to learn more about the real universe even if it means abandoning incorrect folklore about what the religion was thought to be. Jesus did start off by preaching against the Pharisees who had established themselves as the authority rather than God and his word. Jesus did teach us that “by their fruits ye shall know them”, which is the beginnings of the scientific method. He also taught that if you want to understand something, you must do it yourself. These are pillars of the religion, pillars which allowed scientists to question the dogma that was preached.

      Your scenario between Dr. A and Dr. B is entirely fictional. Find one doctor who would say what Dr. B said, that we shouldn’t try to find a cure for a disease because it was the punishment for sin. Christians believe that all disease is punishment for sin, at the very least, the Original Sin. Christians also believe that we need to reach out to the sinner, for, as Christ taught, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” We also teach that Christ took upon himself not only all the sin of the world, but all pain and suffering, and even death.

      By the way, we have already found a cure for most diseases. The secret is to not catch it in the first place. AIDS/HIV could all but be eliminated if we simply told people what causes transmission of it and encouraged them not to engage in those activities.

      Beyond that, I hardly find how killing one life is the way to find a cure for another. Sure, we can do experiments like the Japanese and Germans did during WWII. Heck, you can even do those experiments on redneck Christians from West Virginia, if it will make you happy to see them suffer. But at some point, ethically, you have to ask, “When does killing one life to save another no longer justify the means?” Do you feel comfortable sleeping at night if you were the one who would be creating life just to treat it like a slave to science? If you can justify killing one person to save two, what about one-for-one? Or two-for-one? What is the correct ratio? Is it okay as long as the child is unborn, or created in a lab? What if it is mere seconds after birth? Or a whole year? What if we simple create children in a lab, but never allow them to gain full consciousness–can we treat them like slaves to science?

      You don’t have to be a Christian to see the ethical problems of the above. You do have to be a liberal democrat drunk on propaganda to ignore all the important issues I’ve just mentioned.

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