- The certainty of uncertainty…or, mystery is okay…
- A good start, but so much more needs to be done…
- I will ask the same question again: Have modernity and naturalism provided the philosophical foundation for the present ecological and economic crisis? And is this where the supposed “irrational” becomes rational?
“This is especially important for an animal like us. We have the means and tools to carve up the planet any way we like. Pure economic rationality can’t be trusted to tell us that this is not a good idea. In fact, recent history has shown that it will just tell us to carve it up faster. What Percy Blythe Shelley called the “the unmitigated exercise of the calculating faculty” will always see forests as materials, oceans as resources, soldiers as quantities. From the rational perspective, everything is potentially a thing that can be used. Only sacred boundaries that tell us in advance that some things are off-limits can keep us from steamrolling the earth. So it might not be Jesus or Muhammad who averts the ecological catastrophe that’s barreling down on us. But it will be sacred commitments – irrational axioms, turning wide swathes of reality into sacred cows.”
- Interesting, this sounds like something I keep pointing out but it’s coming from an atheist:
“This time it seems the boot is on the other foot, with religion finding no coherent answer to the trenchant arguments of scientific atheists such as Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins. To follow their logic, it would seem that there should be neither religious scientists nor believers who value the principles of science.”
“In fact, the ‘war’ is greatly exaggerated. Scientists and religionists seldom cross paths, let alone swords. Many believers are also scientific rationalists and many scientists are also believers.”
“…Or they [scientists who are atheists] may argue that religious belief needs to be understood in terms of evolutionary biology. These endeavours might one day lay bare religious belief in terms of biology, and therefore ultimately in the materialist terms of chemistry and physics. But what would we really understand the better for having gone down this road?”
“You get more straightforward answers if you simply ask the scientists themselves. Some turn to religion because they believe science has shown the universe – through the numerical values of the fundamental constants of physics, the position of our planet, and so on – to be ideally suited for our existence.”
Wait, you mean one could infer God or the spiritual from the same science and physical evidence available to all of us! What! Who Knew?
“More interesting are those scientists, who often start out as religious sceptics, but who find that science offers no adequate explanation of phenomena such as beauty, truth and love. Theirs is not a choice for faith, against reason, but an attempt to reconcile the two. For influential figures such as the Hungarian chemist and philosopher Michael Polanyi or John Polkinghorne, a theoretical physicist later ordained as an Anglican priest, science and religion reveal different facets of the same reality. What we know is inevitably personal to us, they argue. This is the case even for scientific theories and mathematical axioms, since our conviction that they are true because they are seen to work is also personally apprehended. Scientific belief therefore finds itself on level terms with religious belief.”
Bernard, is any of this more palatable coming from an atheist?
- It’s about time…