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Michael Egnor: Materialist science is like driving with the parking brake on

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Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor did a recent podcast with Arjuna Das at Theology Unleashed, “where Eastern theology meets Western skepticism.” In this section, they talk about how we can know that the mind is real and how materialist philosophy has just plain gone bad:


Neuroscientist Michael Egnor explains:

Materialism and atheism are intellectually vacant, vapid, ways of looking at the world and the fact that they are believed by a fair number of leading scientists is an enormous indictment of the scientific profession …

None of the good philosophy being done today is being done by any materialist. That is that whatever good philosophy is being done, and there is some, is being done by people who at least in part reject materialism. The good part of their philosophy is the part that rejects materialism. (00:30:55)

Michael Egnor, “How we can know mental states are real?” at Mind Matters News

Takehome: Mental states are always “about” something; physical states are not “about” anything

Here is a partial transcript and notes for the twenty to thirty-one minute mark:

Why neurosurgeon Mike Egnor stopped being a materialist atheist. He found that materialism is just not working out in science. Most propositions in basic science are based on mathematics and mathematics is not a material thing.

and

How science points to meaning in life. The earliest philosopher of science, Aristotle, pioneered a way of understanding it. Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor talks about the four causes of the events in our world, from the material to the mind.

You may also wish to read: Why the universe itself can’t be the most fundamental thing. Atheist biology professor Jerry Coyne is mistaken in dismissing my observation that proofs of God’s existence follow the same logical structure as any other scientific theory. (Michael Egnor)

15 Replies to “Michael Egnor: Materialist science is like driving with the parking brake on

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    As News notes in her link, “All science begins with philosophical assumptions.,,,”

    Note: Arjuna Das is, if anything, politely understating the case. In a rather ill-advised move in their 2010 book The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow dismissed philosophy. Popular science figure Neil deGrasse Tyson has called it “distracting”) and popular physicst Larry Krauss has said, “science progresses and philosophy doesn’t.” All science begins with philosophical assumptions.,,,

    And it is not just that “All science begins with philosophical assumptions” in general, it is also that “all science begins with Judeo-Christian presuppositions” in particular.

    But first, and as far as philosophy in general is concerned, modern science began as a quote-unquote “Anti-Aristotelian movement”.
    As Cornelius Hunter noted in his book “Science’s Blind Spot”, Francis Bacon, the father of empirical science, came to despise Aristotelian philosophy that was Rationalistic, emphasizing how Nature must work based on imagination, not experiments.

    Naturalism: A Review/Essay of “SCIENCE’S BLIND SPOT” by Cornelius G. Hunter (2007)
    H.J.”Spencer – 16 July 2020
    2 ORIGINS”OF”SCIENCE
    2.1 MODERN”SCIENCE
    “Few people realize how shallow is the history of modern science that arose with Galileo, around 1600 who bravely chose to challenge the 2000 year-old ideas of Aristotle that had dominated educated opinion. Only one generation later, two powerful intellects joined in the Anti-Aristotelian movement; they were Francis Bacon (1561-1626) and René Descartes (1596-1650). Both were Christians and lived flamboyant lives but their thinking was very different. Ironically, both have planted successful seeds in the human enterprise that exploded into modern science. These differences reflected their national and religious cultures. Bacon was exposed to the new Protestant thinking that had been welcomed in the pragmatic (empirical) British tradition, so he emphasized the economic value of science. Descartes was trying to survive in the violent world of France that was still trying to decide whether to keep Catholicism or switch. Intellectualism was still very influential in (rationalist) French education under the powerful impact of the Anti-Protestant Jesuit order. Although Descartes saw himself as a scientist, his scientific theories failed to attract long-term attention but his contributions in mathematics and philosophy are still present today. The thinking (and writings) of these two thinkers have both influenced science: Bacon can be credited with the experimental basis of science (emphasizing data), while Descartes encouraged speculative (hypothetical) theoretical ideas.
    2.1.1 FRANCIS BACON
    ,,, Bacon did attend Trinity College, Cambridge (Newton’s alma Mater), where he studied medieval sciences and came to despise Aristotelian philosophy that was Rationalistic, emphasizing how Nature must work based on imagination, not experiments. Bacon believed that general principles (axioms) ought to emerge in the final stages of investigation of Nature, not in the starting position (as in Geometry). Bacon did see his inductive method as generating scientific knowledge arising from sensory (empirical) observations but felt that this was no means sufficient to produce unique interpretations or gain all knowledge: in particular, he argued that scientific considerations should not become the basis for religion (his new Church of England: the English state-promoted religion). Bacon was sensitive to the power that religious ideas have over the minds of many people. For Bacon, science was not religion’s rival but its faithful servant.,,,
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343022211_Naturalism_ReviewEssay_of_SCIENCE%27S_BLIND_SPOT_by_Cornelius_G_Hunter_2007

    As Henry F. Schaefer succinctly put it, “The emergence of modern science was associated with a disdain for the rationalism of Greek philosophers who pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.”

    “The emergence of modern science was associated with a disdain for the rationalism of Greek philosophers who pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.”
    – Henry F. Schaefer III – Making Sense of Faith and Science – 23:30 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/C7Py_qeFW4s?t=1415

    In short, it was only when Francis Bacon championed ‘inductive reasoning’, over and above the ‘deductive reasoning’ of the ancient Greeks, a form of reasoning where repeated experimentation played a central role in ones reasoning to a general truth, (instead of ‘deductively’ reasoning down from a presupposed truth), that the scientific method was born.

    And in an article that was, ironically, supplied to me by someone who is very hostile towards Christianity, (and who was therefore trying to distance Christianity from the origin of modern science), we, (never-the-less), find that, “Baconian induction dominated experimental science for the next two hundred years. It was the scientific method that produced countless laws in mechanics, chemistry, electromechanics, even economics,,,,”

    The History of Induction
    Excerpt: The philosopher most responsible for making Socratic mainstream was Francis Bacon. His Novum Organum book II (1626) became what Aristotle’s Topics book V was in antiquity, viz., the main handbook on how to perform a good induction, that is, on how to identify a formal cause (or “Form,” in Bacon’s term).
    Baconian induction dominated experimental science for the next two hundred years. It was the scientific method that produced countless laws in mechanics, chemistry, electromechanics, even economics, from Hooke and Boyle to Darwin, (corrective note, Darwin was castigated for forsaking the inductive method), and Say.
    https://www.johnmccaskey.com/history-of-induction/

    And indeed, repeated experimentation, ever since it was first set forth by Francis Bacon, has been the cornerstone of the scientific method. And has indeed been very, very, fruitful for man in gaining accurate knowledge of the universe in that repeated experiments lead to more “exacting, and illuminating”, conclusions than is possible with the quote-unquote, “educated guesses” that follow from Aristotle’s deductive form of reasoning.

    Francis Bacon, 1561–1626
    Excerpt: Called the father of empiricism, Sir Francis Bacon is credited with establishing and popularizing the “scientific method” of inquiry into natural phenomena. In stark contrast to deductive reasoning, which had dominated science since the days of Aristotle, Bacon introduced inductive methodology—testing and refining hypotheses by observing, measuring, and experimenting. An Aristotelian might logically deduce that water is necessary for life by arguing that its lack causes death. Aren’t deserts arid and lifeless? But that is really an educated guess, limited to the subjective experience of the observer and not based on any objective facts gathered about the observed. A Baconian would want to test the hypothesis by experimenting with water deprivation under different conditions, using various forms of life. The results of those experiments would lead to more exacting, and illuminating, conclusions about life’s dependency on water.
    https://lib-dbserver.princeton.edu/visual_materials/maps/websites/thematic-maps/bacon/bacon.html

    “Bottom up” inductive reasoning is, practically speaking, a completely different form of reasoning than the ‘top down’ deductive reasoning of the ancient Greeks in which they “pronounced on how the world should behave, with insufficient attention to how the world in fact did behave.”

    Deductive vs. Inductive reasoning – top-down vs. bottom-up – graph
    https://i2.wp.com/images.slideplayer.com/28/9351128/slides/slide_2.jpg

    Inductive reasoning
    Inductive reasoning is a method of reasoning in which the premises are viewed as supplying some evidence, but not full assurance, of the truth of the conclusion.[1] It is also described as a method where one’s experiences and observations, including what are learned from others, are synthesized to come up with a general truth.[2] Many dictionaries define inductive reasoning as the derivation of general principles from specific observations (arguing from specific to general), although there are many inductive arguments that do not have that form.[3]
    Inductive reasoning is distinct from deductive reasoning. While, if the premises are correct, the conclusion of a deductive argument is certain, the truth of the conclusion of an inductive argument is probable, based upon the evidence given.[4]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related interest to the Darwin vs. ID debate: Charles Darwin was heavily chastised by no less than Adam Sedgwick for failing to use the inductive method of Bacon.

    Specifically, Adam Sedgwick was nothing less than scathing of Darwin for deserting, “after a start in that tram-road of all solid physical truth – the true method of induction, and started us in machinery as wild, I think, as Bishop Wilkins’s locomotive that was to sail with us to the moon.”

    Adam Sedgwick also called Darwin out for being deceptive in exactly what form of reasoning he was using in his book. Specifically, Sedgwick scolded Darwin that “Many of your wide conclusions are based upon assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved, why then express them in the language and arrangement of philosophical induction?”

    From Adam Sedgwick – 24 November 1859
    Cambridge
    My dear Darwin,
    Excerpt: I have read your book with more pain than pleasure. Parts of it I admired greatly, parts I laughed at till my sides were almost sore; other parts I read with absolute sorrow, because I think them utterly false and grievously mischievous. You have deserted – after a start in that tram-road of all solid physical truth – the true method of induction, and started us in machinery as wild, I think, as Bishop Wilkins’s locomotive that was to sail with us to the moon. Many of your wide conclusions are based upon assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved, why then express them in the language and arrangement of philosophical induction?-
    As to your grand principle – natural selection – what is it but a secondary consequence of supposed, or known, primary facts. Development is a better word because more close to the cause of the fact.”,,,
    ,,, (your conclusions are not) “ever likely to be found any where but in the fertile womb of man’s imagination.”
    Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) – one of the founders of modern geology. – The Spectator, 1860
    https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2548.xml

    OUCH!

    And it was not as if Darwin himself was ignorant of the fact that he had failed to follow Bacon’s inductive methodology when he wrote his book.

    Charles Darwin himself, two years prior to the publication of his book, honestly confessed to a friend that “What you hint at generally is very very true, that my work will be grievously hypothetical & large parts by no means worthy of being called inductive; my commonest error being probably induction from too few facts.”

    Charles Darwin to Asa Gray – 29 November 1857
    My dear Gray,
    ,,, What you hint at generally is very very true, that my work will be grievously hypothetical & large parts by no means worthy of being called inductive; my commonest error being probably induction from too few facts.
    https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2176.xml

    But leaving the fact that Darwin’s theory is not even based on the scientific method, (i.e. inductive reasoning), in the first place, aside for now, we find that Bacon’s primary motivation for championing “Anti-Aristotelian” inductive reasoning was because of Bacon’s implicit Christian presuppositions about the ‘fall of man’.

    Specifically, Bacon’s primary motivation for championing the inductive method over and above the deductive method was that, “It was the rather low regard for the fallen human mind, besieged as it were by sin, that drove Francis Bacon, the “Father” of the Scientific Method, to formulate a new epistemology in his Great Instauration.”

    Bacon’s “Enchanted Glass” – Emily Morales – December 2019
    Excerpt: It was the rather low regard for the fallen human mind, besieged as it were by sin, that drove Francis Bacon, the “Father” of the Scientific Method, to formulate a new epistemology in his Great Instauration. In this brilliant man of faith’s view, the Adamic fall left an indelible mark on the human intellect, such that in its total depravity and persistent infirmity it could not be trusted to generate knowledge that was in any way free from bias, wrong presuppositions, or contradictions.
    Bacon called these incapacitating mental infirmities “idols of the mind,” maintaining that they inhibited the entrance of truth1. Mincing no words, he opined,
    “For the mind of man is far from the nature of a clear and equal glass, wherein the beams of things should reflect according to their true incidence; nay, it is rather like an enchanted glass, full of superstition and imposture, if it be not delivered and reduced.”2
    – F. Bacon
    Historians of science have argued that Bacon’s cynical view of the mind was informed largely by his theology3. Bacon acknowledged, as many of the other Reformers in his day, that the Fall not only imbued humanity with a proclivity to act immorally, but also the penchant to misinterpret things as they really appear, cleaving to falsehood. Unduly influenced by education and culture, our thoughts “. . . minister to us infinite errors and vain opinions, if they be not recalled to examination2.” For the philosopher and statesman Bacon, the enchanted glass—that lens by which the corrupted human mind interprets the world—distorts reality by reflecting a story of nature that is not true, but rather malformed.
    Recognizing then, the limitations of the human mind for revealing truth by mere logic and deductive reasoning, Bacon posited an altogether different means for knowledge acquisition: experimentation3—repeated experimentation—within the context of a scientific community (natural philosophers in his day). Bacon’s inductive methodology facilitated an explosion in knowledge of the natural world and accompanying technological advancement:
    https://salvomag.com/post/bacons-enchanted-glass
    3. Harrison, P. (2007). The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science. Cambridge University Press.

    And to go even further, and via Morales’ citation of the Cambridge University Press book, “The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science” – Peter Harrison – 2007, we find this,,, “the approaches to the study of nature that emerged in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were directly informed by theological discussions about the Fall of Man and the extent to which the mind and the senses had been damaged by that primeval event.”

    The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science
    Description: Peter Harrison provides an account of the religious foundations of scientific knowledge. He shows how the approaches to the study of nature that emerged in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were directly informed by theological discussions about the Fall of Man and the extent to which the mind and the senses had been damaged by that primeval event. Scientific methods, he suggests, were originally devised as techniques for ameliorating the cognitive damage wrought by human sin. At its inception, modern science was conceptualized as a means of recapturing the knowledge of nature that Adam had once possessed. Contrary to a widespread view that sees science emerging in conflict with religion, Harrison argues that theological considerations were of vital importance in the framing of the scientific method.
    https://www.amazon.com/Fall-Man-Foundations-Science/dp/0521117291
    Peter Harrison is a former Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford and is presently Research Professor and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland.

    In short, Christian presuppositions about the ‘fallen condition of man’ directly informed, and/or directly influenced, the rise of the scientific method, i.e. inductive reasoning, itself.

    That is certainly a far cry from the oft repeated false claim from atheists that science is at war with religion.

    One final note, besides the Christian presupposition about the ‘fallen condition of man’ playing a central role in the founding of modern science, and via Stephen Meyer’s new book “Return of the God hypothesis”, we also find that two other Christian presuppositions played a central role also. i.e. The “contingency of nature” and the “intelligibility of nature” also played central roles in the founding of modern science in Medieval Christian Europe,,,

    “Science in its modern form arose in the Western civilization alone, among all the cultures of the world”, because only the Christian West possessed the necessary “intellectual presuppositions”.
    – Ian Barbour
    Presupposition 1: The contingency of nature
    “In 1277, the Etienne Tempier, the bishop of Paris, writing with support of Pope John XXI, condemned “necessarian theology” and 219 separate theses influenced by Greek philosophy about what God could and couldn’t do.”,,
    “The order in nature could have been otherwise (therefore) the job of the natural philosopher, (i.e. scientist), was not to ask what God must have done but (to ask) what God actually did.”
    Presupposition 2: The intelligibility of nature
    “Modern science was inspired by the conviction that the universe is the product of a rational mind who designed it to be understood and who (also) designed the human mind to understand it.” (i.e. human exceptionalism),
    “God created us in his own image so that we could share in his own thoughts”
    – Johannes Kepler
    Presupposition 3: Human Fallibility
    “Humans are vulnerable to self-deception, flights of fancy, and jumping to conclusions.”, (i.e. original sin), Scientists must therefore employ “systematic experimental methods.”
    – Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design and The Return of the God Hypothesis – Hoover Institution
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_8PPO-cAlA

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    Test all things; hold fast what is good.

    Of supplemental note to the Christian presuppositions about the ‘contingency and intelligibility’ of the universe and the rise of modern science,

    The War against the War Between Science and Faith Revisited – July 2010
    Excerpt: …as Whitehead pointed out, it is no coincidence that science sprang, not from Ionian metaphysics, not from the Brahmin-Buddhist-Taoist East, not from the Egyptian-Mayan astrological South, but from the heart of the Christian West, that although Galileo fell out with the Church, he would hardly have taken so much trouble studying Jupiter and dropping objects from towers if the reality and value and order of things had not first been conferred by belief in the Incarnation. (Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos),,,
    Jaki notes that before Christ the Jews never formed a very large community (priv. comm.). In later times, the Jews lacked the Christian notion that Jesus was the monogenes or unigenitus, the only-begotten of God. Pantheists like the Greeks tended to identify the monogenes or unigenitus with the universe itself, or with the heavens. Jaki writes: Herein lies the tremendous difference between Christian monotheism on the one hand and Jewish and Muslim monotheism on the other. This explains also the fact that it is almost natural for a Jewish or Muslim intellectual to become a pa(n)theist. About the former Spinoza and Einstein are well-known examples. As to the Muslims, it should be enough to think of the Averroists. With this in mind one can also hope to understand why the Muslims, who for five hundred years had studied Aristotle’s works and produced many commentaries on them failed to make a breakthrough. The latter came in medieval Christian context and just about within a hundred years from the availability of Aristotle’s works in Latin,,
    If science suffered only stillbirths in ancient cultures, how did it come to its unique viable birth? The beginning of science as a fully fledged enterprise took place in relation to two important definitions of the Magisterium of the Church. The first was the definition at the Fourth Lateran Council in the year 1215, that the universe was created out of nothing at the beginning of time. The second magisterial statement was at the local level, enunciated by Bishop Stephen Tempier of Paris who, on March 7, 1277, condemned 219 Aristotelian propositions, so outlawing the deterministic and necessitarian views of creation.
    These statements of the teaching authority of the Church expressed an atmosphere in which faith in God had penetrated the medieval culture and given rise to philosophical consequences. The cosmos was seen as contingent in its existence and thus dependent on a divine choice which called it into being; the universe is also contingent in its nature and so God was free to create this particular form of world among an infinity of other possibilities. Thus the cosmos cannot be a necessary form of existence; and so it has to be approached by a posteriori investigation. The universe is also rational and so a coherent discourse can be made about it. Indeed the contingency and rationality of the cosmos are like two pillars supporting the Christian vision of the cosmos.
    http://www.scifiwright.com/201.....revisited/

  3. 3
    polistra says:

    Science does not begin with philosophical assumptions. Science begins with a desire to solve a problem or improve life. Science is HALTED by philosophical assumptions.

  4. 4

    Polistra@3: Even using your framework it is easy to see that science begins with philosophical assumptions. For scientists to solve a problem they must begin with at least two philosophical assumptions: (1) that there is a problem, and (2) that the problem can be solved by science. The same is true for improving a life.

    Also, the words “problem” and “improve” are themselves dependent on philosophical assumptions. One groups idea of a problem (e.g. cancer) might be another groups idea of a solution to a problem (e.g. cancer is nature’s way of controlling overpopulation).

    There are so many examples that could be used to prove the point. This should be an easy concept to grasp… even for atheists (just kidding).

  5. 5
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BA77

    Excellent overview of how Protestant theology affected the development of science. In my view – affected in many ways for the better, but also laid the foundation for much that was considerably worse.

    Francis Bacon, the father of empirical science, came to despise Aristotelian philosophy that was Rationalistic, emphasizing how Nature must work based on imagination, not experiments.

    That doesn’t seem to be a fair critique of Aristotle, but even more, that centuries later Aquinas had already modified and refined Aristotelianism to include some empirical validation of results. However, Bacon’s view led to more extreme positions, and ultimately is the foundation of materialism, where everything has to be verified by empirical experiment. Obviously, philosophical truths cannot be subject to that. So “rationalism” is a necessary part of science. Rejecting Aristotle led to the skepticism about reality that is the foundation of modern atheism today. This was not intended by the Protestant reformers but it is a part of Protestant theology. For Aquinas (following Aristotle) in the Catholic view, ideas are in the mind of God and are truly real. The Protestant view moved to subjectivism and Descartes eventually believed that reality was in the human mind alone (thus Berkeley and idealism – and WJ Murray’s views here that we deal with). Because in the Protestant view, religious truths are subjective – every person can interpret God’s Word from the authority of his own mind and soul, without reference to external authority. So, it fits with skepticism.

    Eric Holloway wrote a few years back that ID is a bridge between Bacon and Aquinas:

    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/eric-holloway-id-as-a-bridge-between-francis-bacon-and-thomas-aquinas/

    Interesting idea. It’s easy to go too far one way or the other. Too much dependence on Reason alone and denial of science. Or, too much dependence on empiricism alone and denial of Reason, Logic and Truth (Darwin’s view).

    Cornelius Hunter (who I admire and who has benefited me and others greatly), I would consider a hard-core Protestant of the old school (maybe Calvinist of some sort) and he has that edge about him sometimes. That sort of thing makes people think that ID is a Protestant view (denial of some of Aristotle’s causality), but it’s not really that way.
    I think Stephen Meyer has figured out how to reconcile the Catholic and Protestant views, not sure about that, but Meyer was brought up as a Catholic so he retains those ideas and merges them into ID instead of excluding them. Bill Dembski was Catholic also and he brings that philosophy (to a lesser extent) into ID.

    Bottom line, despising Aristotle is only going to lead to big problems down the line since realist philosophy is a solid foundation upon which classical theism rests and is a firm defense against atheism. That is, one does not need to accept Aristotle as literally and 100% correct (as early Muslims did, treating his work like the Koran), but using a purifying approach like Aquinas, extract the timeless truths from Aristotle and apply them to modern scientific and philosophical thinking.
    It’s not either-or but both-and.
    We benefit from Francis Bacon’s innovations (and from Descartes, etc) but can reject their worldview based on idealism.

  6. 6
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Even more on the difference between Protestant and Catholic views – the idea of Total Depravity in the Protestant view is spelled out:

    He shows how the approaches to the study of nature that emerged in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were directly informed by theological discussions about the Fall of Man …
    “For the mind of man is far from the nature of a clear and equal glass, wherein the beams of things should reflect according to their true incidence; nay, it is rather like an enchanted glass, full of superstition and imposture, if it be not delivered and reduced.”2
    – F. Bacon
    Historians of science have argued that Bacon’s cynical view of the mind was informed largely by his theology3. Bacon acknowledged, as many of the other Reformers in his day, that the Fall not only imbued humanity with a proclivity to act immorally, but also the penchant to misinterpret things as they really appear, cleaving to falsehood.

    In the Catholic view, the fall of man is healed and restored to clarity and fullness by Baptism and the Sacraments (Eucharist and Confession) so that man lives a life of grace. In the Protestant view, not so. As above, man is depraved and grace just covers this up, but man has a proclivity to “cling to falsehood”.

    But as we argue all the time, skepticism cuts both ways.
    “Man clings to falsehood, is depraved and cannot be trusted to understand”.
    We can substitute “Francis Bacon” for “Man” in the above sentence and see where the problem is.
    Are we going to listen to a teacher who cannot be trusted to understand the truth without having everything validated by empirical experiment (or even after validation, he still might be too depraved to understand)?

    This is the problem with the Total Depravity doctrine (aside from theological history against it).

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Thanks SA. I agree with you that it was the synthesis between both Catholic and Protestant beliefs that eventually led to the founding of modern science. Would Catholicism have eventually gotten there all by itself? One wonders. Undeniably though, Protestant beliefs played a very important role in the ‘final push’, via Bacon, to bring modern science into the world.

    And given the current ‘scientific climate’ where many scientists are given to flights of fancy and imagination, with scant attention being paid to actual experimental testing, it is hard to argue against Bacon’s thesis that the mind of man is “full of superstition and imposture”

    At least that is how the current scientific climate strikes me.

    But then again, maybe I have just been debating ‘story telling’ Darwinists way too long 🙂

  8. 8
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BA77

    And given the current ‘scientific climate’ where many scientists are given to flights of fancy and imagination, with scant attention being paid to actual experimental testing, it is hard to argue against Bacon’s thesis that the mind of man is “full of superstition and imposture”

    True. The human mind was created by God to seek out the truth and adhere to it (and share it). What Thomistic philosophy will say is not that we understand reality by imagination, but that the principles of reason and truth (principles of logic) are in the mind. So we sort out fact from fiction using the mind – supported by empirical evidence, yes. But probably what Francis Bacon was concerned about was that philosophers were just creating a world of imagination and then proving everything from that alone – exactly like Darwinists who create an imaginary story and then fit all of the observations into that. Yes, Bacon contributed a lot to getting at evidence-based science.
    On your question, I would say (as a Catholic) that God permitted the Protestant Reformation because some aspects of it were necessary – so, we can wonder if Catholicism would have developed on its own. Catholicism has benefited from many aspects of Protestantism so I would look at that as a good thing. “That they may all be one” – was Jesus’ hope, so eventually if the various Christian groups learn and develop from each other, this may come about.
    I view ID as one very good step in that direction – bringing together many faith traditions, not only Christian.

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    In my view, God is irrelevant to science. Modern science may well have been fostered in Christian Europe and influenced by Christian theology.
    God may well have been important to those scientists who believe in Him for various reasons but He has no bearing on the science itself. Atheists have been able to practice science just fine without God. They have no need of that hypothesis. In fact, this whole emphasis on science and European Christianity sounds a lot like the Eurocentric hubris you’re alleging against Darwin and his contemporaries

  10. 10
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    God may well have been important to those scientists who believe in Him for various reasons but He has no bearing on the science itself.

    He has a lot of bearing on science, since God is the ultimate cause of things, He built logic and order into the cosmos, and created the universe for a reason and purpose, and gave human beings the ability, desire and goal to be able to understand, study and learn about Him, through studying the universe. None of this is a given – it all comes from theology.

    Atheists have been able to practice science just fine without God.

    Well, not really. Atheists are using the Christian worldview entirely. We don’t have an atheistic worldview to measure by. The atheistic worldview is purposeless and meaningless. For atheism, there is no reason for lawlike behavior in the universe – everything could or should have been chaos. In atheism, there is no reason to study and learn about the universe, because there is no God as the One who created it. Most importantly, there is no reason for rationality itself, no reason for truth. But this is a contradiction since atheists adhere to truth and reason.
    Since Christianity believes that God is the source of rationality and reasonable thinking, then we adhere to that. But an “atheistic science” which is purposeless and determined by chemical processes is not rational in itself. It has no reason to exist, no purpose to fulfill. It ends in death, and has no intrinsic value beyond any non-living thing. It’s absurd and nihilistic by its own philosophical nature – thus, it kills the meaning of science. There’s no good or bad, no moral value to truth versus falsehood, only what supports survival, which is a temporary state.
    For Christianity, we learn about God because our destiny is towards God – towards union of mind and heart with Him. Thus, study of science has meaning since it is one of the languages God uses to communicate about Himself to us.
    That’s a huge difference for science and that’s why Christianity was the foundation for the exploration of the world. Because God created the world out of His love and put evidence of His own being into it. The beauty we find in scientific observations is a faint reflection of the immense beauty of God Himself.

  11. 11
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Dumbest thought ever : Reason appeared by chance from dumb chemicals appeared by chance from physical laws appeared by chance in an universe appeared by chance.
    PS:E A very good point of Egnor (maybe best ) is the existence of INTENTIONALITY “law”. Without our projection of intentionality on the nature we can’t do science. We can understand and predict intentionality studying a plane or a cell but if we study the effects of a tornado/bomb/earthquake on a city we understand nothing because randomness is unintelligible.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    SA at 10,,, that was almost poetic. Beautifully written and expressed.

  13. 13
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Thanks, BA. I hope it can help Sev, even a little.
    Returning the compliment – I think your posts here, day in and day out, affect people in a very good way, even if they don’t admit it or continue to oppose you. When so many times your detailed posts are met with silence, that means the point is taken in and the atheist knows there’s no way to counter it. You’re planting the seeds – someone else may harvest it without you knowing, at least in this life.

  14. 14
    groovamos says:

    IPOTakehome: Mental states are always “about” something; physical states are not “about” anything
    Really? What about states of consciousness? Are they different from mental states? I can readily think about states of consciousness in an ordinary state of consciousness. In this way I can engage in debate or discussion regarding such. In non-ordinary states of consciousness, which are available to everyone including Egnor, I don’t experience any inclination to ponder states of consciousness. Since I bring up two distinct scenarios, which would you think fits the cut and dry takehome of “mental state”. Both? Why? To me they are drastically different and it seems that to shoehorn both is kind of a cop out. Meaning the takeaway as offered is a bit simplistic.

  15. 15
    Silver Asiatic says:

    groovamos

    In non-ordinary states of consciousness, which are available to everyone including Egnor, I don’t experience any inclination to ponder states of consciousness.

    When scholars summarize ideas, themes or conclusions – they’re talking about the ordinary state of affairs. Pointing to exceptions (“non ordinary”) is not the right way to argue against an overall summary view. For Egnor, he’s talking about conscious awareness, and thus as a mental state, it is about something. He’s not talking about being drugged, hallucinating or having brain damage. But even in dream states, consciousness is about something.

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