Friday Roundup

For all those who believe neuroscience is on the brink of telling us all there is to know about the brain/consciousness…ummm…there’s been a slight set-back…

On not being duped.  Here indeed (make sure you watch the “best” man’s speech) is the fundamentalist sensibility, an odd literalism, a wooden, surface view of everything.  It is a mile wide and only an inch deep.  It’s a weird preoccupation with a peripheral surface aspect of a subject but only in a way that completely misses the point of that subject.

From the link:
“In New Atheism we witness something similar going on with regards to peoples religion. The New Atheist prides himself on not being duped by silly religious fantasies. But for this very reason he misunderstands what is happening in religion. He is like a person who hears a grandparent say, “my grandchild is the most beautiful kid in the world,” and laughingly responds, “of course she isn’t, that is an utterly ridiculous thing to say.” The individual is right, and for this very reason they make a fundamental error. The grandparent has let herself be duped, but this means that she is successfully inscribed into the symbolic world and is able to navigate it.
The Enlightened New Atheist sits back and laughs at those unenlightened naïve believers who say things like, “my religion is the most beautiful religion in the world.” Yet he does not realise that it is precisely in them not being a fool that they become utterly foolish.
Of course fundamentalism is also a type of structural psychosis in which the individual claims to inhabit a non-symbolic space. They are like the grandparent who literally means her grandchild is the most beautiful kid in the world.
The response is not for the besotted grandparent to say, “my child is average looking,” – the equivalent of a non-committal agnosticism – but to fully affirm the claim that her grandchild is the most beautiful child in the world without needing some ground for the claim.”

A much more complex reading of the Enlightenment here.  The consensus in certain quarters has it as the enemy or counter to religion.
“The consensus is powerful but mistaken. The real Enlightenment was as religious as anything that came before it – a time of spiritual awakening as well as criticism and doubt. Indeed, faith and doubt were two sides of the same coin.”

Is there a problem for divine action or intervention in the world according to “science”?  Only for those who hold a philosophical faith-based view of causal closure, which is not “science”.  See here (two parts)

“What we should think of special divine action, therefore, doesn’t depend on current science. The sensible religious believer is not obliged to trim her sails to the current scientific breeze on this topic, revising her belief on the topic every time science changes its mind. But where Christian or theistic belief and current science can fit nicely together, so much the better. Who knows what the future will bring? But we can say at least the following: at this point, given this evidence, this is how things look. And that’s as much as can be said for any scientific theory.
We noted that many theologians, philosophers and scientists object to the thought that God acts specially in the world. At least some of their objections have to do with science: special divine action, they say, goes contrary, somehow, to science. As we’ve seen, however, none of these objections is even remotely cogent; there is nothing in current or classical science inconsistent with special divine action in the world.
Therefore, we have found no conflict between Christian or theistic belief and current science.”

This looks like a good book.

From the editorial reviews:
“Atheists often cite religious opposition to evolution as a reason for their unbelief. This wonderful collection of essays by Bible-believing Christians demonstrates how unnecessary it is to oppose evolution in the name of faith. What is striking about the authors in this volume is the sheer range and diversity of their own spiritual journeys in coming to terms with science. It is my prayer that evolution might cease to be seen as a threat to faith on the part of some Christians rather than as an integral aspect of God’s created order for which the Christian can rightly give praise.” (Denis R. Alexander, emeritus director, The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Friday Roundup

  1. Burk says:

    Hi, Darrell-

    I appreciate the recognition, per the second link, that religious / religions occupy a symbolic space, and should not get messed up with unnecessary rheification / fundamentalism. But then you turn around and support divine action in the world, and “coming to terms” with science / evolution. What gives? If you are serious about the symbological space, you would not expect any manifestation of these symbols and myths in reality. They exist imaginatively, outside the world, leaving science as an autonomous, consistent space that does not have to be brought to “terms” with any symbological space that may derive from inspiration, scriptures, etc. They end up being completely separate magisteria, as it were, and it would be illogical to expect any traffic between them.


  2. Darrell says:


    I think the second link is going to the experiential aspects of religion—the claims that people make as to what their experiences have meant to them and so on.

    Those other links go to the claim that “science” either rules out or proves God cannot intervene or act as to the physical world; or that evolution somehow rules out God creating and sustaining life. The point is that “science” does neither; those assertions are philosophical interpretations of the science.

    That is my take anyway.


Comments are closed.