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Friday, October 01, 2010

Science relies on objective knowledge; religion on subjective faith

There is at least a grain of truth in the title of this post, I believe. But perhaps things aren't quite that simple.

Karl Giberson, a scientist with solid credentials, as well as a writer with considerable background in philosophy and Christianity, argues that at least some of those who make such claims (among them, the so-called New Atheists) are not being fair. Some scientific truths are well known, and generally accepted, but some aren't, at least not yet. Giberson gives examples.

He also says that:
Science purchases its great success by choosing easy problems and thus will always provide a clearer model for thinking than, say theology, or literary criticism, or sociology, or aesthetics. But it does suggest that we should not be exclaiming about how much clearer our understanding of penicillin is than our understanding of the Incarnation.
In other words, no wonder science has achieved objective agreement on lots of things -- it deals with simpler questions!

Thanks for reading. Read Giberson's essay -- it's brief.

7 comments:

Pete DeSanto said...

Coyne has a response up at WEIT. The best comment I have read so far is:

"The funniest line was 'Science purchases its great success by choosing easy problems.'

The truth is that religion purchases its great success by choosing easy answers!"

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Pete.

I'll try to find that.

Martin LaBar said...

Coyne's reply to Giberson is here.

Michael David Rawlings, a.k.a. "Bluemoon" said...

This is all wrong, at least as far as Judeo-Christianity is concerned. According to the Bible true knowledge is existentially objective, not subjective at all. You simply do not understand the course of religious conversion as expounded by the Bible, from ontological universals to epistemological truths.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Michael David Rawlings.

Looking at your comment, which, I believe, I agree with, I think that my post has the wrong title, and, as I understand it, the idea in that title is what you are objecting to. I don't see the idea that true knowledge of God is subjective in the post at all. I'm not going to change it, at this point, but, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have used that title.

Michael David Rawlings, a.k.a. "Bluemoon" said...

Dear Lord!

Martin, disregard my post. Your title is just fine and had nothing to do with my comment. Yesterday, I had two sites open simultaneously, both addressing essentially the same argument. My comment was intended to be posted on the other site to which it would have applied, not yours.

LOL!

However, if your interested, you might want to follow the on-going discussion I’m having with an Objectivist at yet another site.

In the meantime, I stumbled upon your blog, which looks interesting. I think I’d like to follow it. Check mine out as well if you like.


The discussion: http://bahnsenburner.blogspot.com/2012/11/my-discussion-with-michael-rawlings.html

Sorry about the confusion.

Martin LaBar said...

No problem. I'll take most any non-spam comment, gladly.