Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Robert Marks, answering a facet of the War between Science and [Christian] Religion thesis


Video, well worth watching:

[youtube hdNNNJMZJ_c]

(–> also cf the audio by John Lennox here. The Worldviews 101 here on may also be of help.)

Full presentation (v. fat download). PDF, with notes.


The New Atheism claims being a scientist and a Christian is like being a vegan butcher. But both today and in history, many scientists,

Mathematicians and engineers are motivated in their work by the uncovering of precise orderliness, underlying simplicity, and inherent beauty of God’s creations. Many not only study the creation., but have pursued the identity of the creator and have found Him in the foundational tenets of Christianity. Some of these scientists are:

o Isaac Newton – the father of classical physics and co-creator
of calculus
o Michael Faraday – the founder of electrical engineering
o Blaise Pascal – mathematician extraordinaire and inventor of
the first computer
o Leonhard Euler – the most prolific mathematician of all time
o George Washington Carver -the “father of the peanut”
o Louis Pasteur – the father of microbiology
o Thomas Bayes – the founder of statistical inference
o James Clerk Maxwell- the formulator of electromagnetics
o Francis Collins – Director of the Human Genome Project
o and on and on . . .

I think we need to also compare Lewontin:

. . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . .   the problem is to get them [hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [[–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . . 

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, thatwe are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute[[–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.  [ “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Bold emphasis and notes added.  If you wish to dismiss this as “quote-mined” . . . an implication of calculated or at least willful dishonesty, kindly cf the wider cite and notes here.]

. . . and, seminal ID thinker, Philip Johnson in reply:

For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
. . . .   The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

There are some very serious things the new atheists, rationalists and fellow travellers have to answer for. END

RB, Thanks for onward comment. From here I can view the vid as embedded; your challenge is likely one of those oddities with the Internet and software. So it is. And yes the Reformation did contribute materially to the advance of the human race; though many do not wish to acknowledge such today. KF kairosfocus
kairosfocus. I watched the vid on youtube as I could not on this thread for some reason. YES money makes money. The ways and means of how the common people rose in smarts was with schooling and publishers etc. You can track these things. Yes protestantism emphasized the individual however it still simply motivated the common people , for many reasons, and thus led to a higher curve in smarts and morals. So the more protestant the more the curve. The english world was most protestant as indicated by the most protestant deniominations and trouble. I see the rise in mankind, after Gods blessing, as coming from simply nicer snarter percentages in populations. this from the true faith. After that its all humanity picking it up. Its about people and not scientific concepts or methodology.. God blessed mankind by this way I think. Robert Byers
RB, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Marks, I find, is always very interesting and insightful. You may find the PDF useful as a read if the vid is not convenient. Also, while Protestants did play a big part in the Sci revolution, the Catholic parts of Europe did too, and its roots run deep into the 1100's or so. I think on the popular IQ boost side, the Protestant Reformation's emphasis on each individual accessing the Bible motivated widespread literacy, reasoning and debate thus some measure of reasoning as a mass phenomenon. Don't underestimate the impact of publishers having a broad market for Bibles, hymnals etc, and primary school level textbooks, leading to a broad base of teachers and clerics as well as a general rise in literacy. Tracts, broadsheets and later newspapers, popular magazines and cheap books made a difference. KF kairosfocus
Good talk for the parts I watched. I would correct one point. its not that christianity made the new science or scientific methodology that made Europe prevail in such things. Rather Puritan/evangelical Protestant Christianity simply motivated the common people and so the intellectual and moral curve was raised. So the more of these people the better that nation was in science etc progress. The true faith simply made a IQ curve that led to better sciency results. its all about motivation leading to intelligence. its not that Protestantism created science etc. just smarted up a greater percentage of the common people relative to other peoples. then it went from there to here. Robert Byers
Marks is always a thoughtful and well researched speaker. So is Lennox. kairosfocus

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