Joined: Sep. 2014
KF is back with just a “few notes”. 1252 words worth.
September 19, 2021 at 5:39 am
F/N: I pause to come by, I think a few notes will perhaps help:
1] This thread long since drifted from the OP focus, “Lutheran religious studies prof asks, Is methodological naturalism racist?” . . . on creation of a hostile climate for Afro-Americans in a sub discipline otherwise attractive to them.
2] Methodological naturalism is arguably a question-begging imposition and ideological distortion of science away from seeking truth about the observable world informed by empirical evidence and reasoning reviewed by the community, into a priori imposition of evolutionary materialism as say Lewontin admitted.
3] That imposition leads to polarisation with the culture and with groups in it who are inclined to theism, so can indeed impose an institutional barrier to minorities inclined to theism.
4] However, the bigger issue is ideological captivity of science to evolutionary materialistic scientism used to further take the wider culture captive to radical secularist humanism and linked dubious policies and marches of folly and chaos.
5] Given known rhetorical patterns, it is unsurprising that the thread was rapidly diverted to more or less typical rhetoric targetting the heritage of Christendom, the Christian Faith and its main source documentation, the Bible. In particular, God is a moral monster and oh the documentation is dubious and the like.
6] As some of those raising such are long term objectors, they know these go beyond the proper focus of UD, and that if one genuinely seeks serious answers such can be found in other web venues where that is focal and backed by people with relevant advanced qualifications. So, the question of toxic, tainting distraction arises, implying that the original point from OP is on target but inconvenient.
7] Of course, repeated distraction of a leading blog on the design inference into debates on Bible etc opens the rhetorical inference that oh see this ID stuff is just Creationism dressed up in a cheap tuxedo etc. Thus there is intent to pose a dilemma, allow hostile accusations and tainting to pass unanswered or find oneself tainted as leading a fraudulent pseudoscientific agit prop campaign.
8] As those who tried to entrap Jesus over a woman caught in the act of adultery [where was the man?] soon discovered, this sort of entrapping, toxic false dilemma is a destructive fallacy that points rather to those who play such rhetorical cards.
9] Shortly before my ongoing life crisis, I had to address much the same tactic here at UD. The first thing is that as our weak argument correctives clearly and adequately document, the design inference stands on its own empirical merits, independent of any particular religious tradition or movement such as Biblical Creationism, old or young earth. Those who habitually resort to these tactics do so in the teeth of readily accessible correction and so are promoters of polarising falsehoods. Such must be corrected.
10] In outline, start with the known centrality of complex coded 4-state digital algorithmic information in the heart of the living cell. Language applied to computation using astonishing molecular nanotechnologies. There is no other empirically warranted source of such computational information but intelligently directed deeply knowledgeable contrivance and configuration. The inference to design is well warranted for the world of life from the cell on up.
11] Set that in the context of an observed cosmos — the only actually observed cosmos — that credibly began some 14 BYA, and which shows considerable fine tuning that supports C-chem, aqueous medium, cell based life. Start with the fine tuning to get to the element abundance pattern and related physics, chemistry, galactic and circumstellar habitable zones etc for such life. Cosmological design is a warranted empirically grounded inference. With again no reference to any particular traditions or movements.
12] Further to this, we can readily see that ciceronian first duties of reason are inescapable first principles of our morally governed rationality: to truth, to right reason, to prudence [including warrant], to sound conscience, to neighbour, so to fairness and justice, etc. The attempted objector will find himself unable to avoid appealing to what he would overthrow, and one attempting to prove will find herself similarly appealing to such duties at every step. These are start-points of rationality, indicating that moral government is foundational to a world with creatures such as we are.
13] So, it is highly reasonable to hold that the required necessary being root of a contingent cosmos and of whatever wider reality might be, is the inherently good and utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being. One worthy of loyalty and of the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good that accords with our evident, morally governed nature. Again, independent of particular religious traditions, indeed at core this is Plato and Cicero speaking with many others. It is reasonable to be an ethical theist, and sciences should not build in barriers to such.
14] But then, what of the Dawkins indictment and the like?
Dawkins, The God Delusion: “The God of the Old Testament [= The God of Israel . . . ] is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully . . . ” [Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Great Britain: Bantam Press, 2006, 31. Kindly, see links and remarks in response at the just linked.]
15] This of course, comes from the same man who indicts those he targets as “ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked,” while failing to understand not only the blinding nature of out of control rage and vituperation, but that to argue on the binding nature of moral obligation one must have an adequate foundation for such binding moral obligation. After centuries of debates, it remains that there is only one such, the God of ethical theism. So, the commenters above are quite right to point out this fatal flaw in atheistical appeals to anti-God arguments from evil.
16] And that is before we note that 50 years ago now, Plantinga broke the back of the deductive argument from evil by showing that the theistic set is coherent. That’s why that argument and linked inductive arguments have lost much of their persuasive force. At least, with the reasonable and reasonably informed.
17] Next, there are considerable responses to the Dawkins accusation and the like that are readily accessible, if one is perplexed and seeks genuine answers. A 101 start is here on. (Where, we should note that the culture agenda target is to try to shame and silence those who adhere to the heritage of our Judaeo-Christian roots, opening the way to aggressive, essentially amoral secularisation and the nihilistic principle that might and manipulation make ‘right,’ ‘rights,’ ‘truth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘knowledge,’ ‘science,’ ‘history’ [= victory propaganda], ‘policy,’ ‘law,’ etc. Those caught up in this tide of accusation should be aware of what it leads to.)
18] As a start, try Copan here and in his writings. There are many others who have seriously tacked these themes such as William Lane Craig, e.g. here.
Coming back, it is clear that methodological naturalism as an imposition is not a legitimate epistemological principle of science, so it is unsurprising that it has pernicious effects. Going beyond, the distractions and associated accusations and false dilemmas have answers and we need to be aware of where some would take our civilisation. I doubt that many want to end up there.
Edited by Lou FCD on Sep. 20 2021,03:43