Posts Tagged ‘science’

The attempt to find an interpretive worldview?

September 17, 2009

The object of philosophy…is not to help people, but to discover truth. I want to know qua philosopher what the universe is like.

It is the business of philosophy…to seek to understand the understand the nature of the universe as a whole, not, as do the sciences, some special department of it, but the whole bag of tricks to which the moral feelings of the Puritan, the herd instinct of the man in the street, the religious consciousness of the saint, the aesthetic enjoyment of the artist, the history of the human race and its contemporary follies, no less than the latest discoveries of science contribute. Reflecting upon this mass of data, the philosopher seeks to interpret it. he looks for a clue to guied him through the labyrinth, for a system wherewith to classify, or a purpose in terms of which to make meaningful.

C.E.M. Joad, British philosopher

Naturalism in Liberal Theology

September 7, 2009

This closedness (of the universe) means that the continuum of historical happenings cannot be rent by the interference of supernatural, transcendent powers and that therefore there is no ‘miracle’ in this sense of the word.

[Rudolf Bultmann, Kerygma and Myth: A Theological Debate, ed.Hans WernerBartsch, trans. Reginald H. Fuller, (London: Billing and Sons, 1954), p. 292.]

1. This viewpoint is passé, or should be.

2. It’s another reminder not to be wedded to the spirit of the age because his thinking, though ‘cutting edge’ and trendy then, is very much ‘widowed’ now.

… modern man acknowledges as reality only such phenomena or events as are comprehensible within the framework of the rational order of the universe. He does not acknowledge miracles because they do not fit this lawful order.

[Rudolf Bultmann, Jesus Christ and Mythology, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958), p. 37.]

Laws of Nature are observed regularities only

September 7, 2009

(a false assumption is that) the so-called ‘laws of nature’ state what must always necessarily occur. They are regarded as ontological entities which determine the course of nature on the supposition that ‘an observed regularity in events is somehow also an observed immutable necessity’ (H.H. Farmer). laws of nature, however, are mental concepts, not ontological entities. They are generalizations made on the basis of the observation of certain regularities in the events which have happened hitherto in the phenomenal world.

R.Abba, Nature and Authority of the Bible, p.156

The futility of running from God

September 7, 2009

…the only creature that can prove anything cannot prove its own insignificance without depriving the proof of any proof-value. Any radical depreciation of man involves an equally radical depreciation of the scientific thinking which supplies the supposed evidence. (T.E. Jessop)

In other words, if you reduce man to a beast, If the brain secretes thought as the liver secretes bile, then all his theories – including this one – are worthless

R.Abba, nature and Authority of the Bible, p.109

Rejecting God’s revelation and starting with reason, man is left undermining the very possibility of any knowledge at all. Faith in the God of Scripture is the precondition of any knowledge

Liberalism – a thick plate-glass window between God and the world

September 5, 2009

…the mischief was begun when the working hypotheses of natural science were allowed to become the dogmas of theology. At that moment God’s revelation of Himself gives way to man’s thought about God…The effect of this is to establish a thick plate-glass window between God and the world. The eye of faith can see through the window and observe that there is a God and that He appears to be benevolently disposed towards men; but nothing more substantial than signals of paternal affection and filial trust and obedience can get through.

What we are left with in religion is the view held by all the more or less gifted people who have reflected on the divine nature…The presuppositions of liberalism could only allow conviction; and so conviction must do duty for revelation. The plate-glass window set up between heaven and earth is soundproof…Christianity was being gently and gradually transformed into humanism and humanism when it is full grown brings forth totalitarianism.

T.W.Manson, The Failure of Liberalism to Interpret the Bible as the Word of God, in R.Abba, Nature and Authority of the Bible, p.56-58

Why should humans imagine the universe is intelligible?

September 3, 2009

It is the most persistent and greatest adventure in human history, this search to understand the universe, how it works, and where it came from. It is difficult to imagine that a handful of residents of a small planet circling an insignificant star in a small galaxy have as their aim a complete understanding of the entire universe, a small speck of creation truly believing it is capable of comprehending the whole…

(Murray Gell-Mann)

whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me

September 3, 2009

I know not what I may seem to the world, but as to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

Isaac Newton

No science doth make known the first principles whereon it buildeth

September 3, 2009

Because we maintain, that in Scripture we are taught all things necessary unto salvation ; hereupon very childishly it is by some demanded, what Scripture can teach us the sacred authority of the Scripture, upon the knowledge whereof our whole faith and salvation dependeth ? As though there were any kind of science in the world which leadeth men unto knowledge, without presupposing a number of things already known. ; but they are always either taken as plain and manifest in themselves, or as proved and granted already, some former knowledge having made them evident.

Richard Hooker, Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity,  Book 3, ch.8

Optimistic Humanism

August 28, 2009
These things shall be ! A loftier race
Than e'er the world hath known shall rise
With flame of freedom in their souls
And light of science in their eyes.

They shall be gentle, brave, and strong,
To spill no drop of blood, but dare
All that may plant man's lordship firm
On earth and fire and sea and air.

Nation with nation, land with land,
Inarmed shall live as comrades free ;
In every heart and brain shall throb
The pulse of one fraternity.

Man shall love man with heart as pure
And fervent as the young-eyed joys
Who chaunt their heavenly songs before
God's face with undiscordant noise.

New arts shall bloom of loftier mould,
And mightier music thrill the skies,
And every life shall be a song,
When all the earth is paradise.

These things -- they are no dream -- shall be
For happier men when we are gone :
Those golden days for them shall dawn,
Transcending aught we gaze upon.

J Addington Symond, Hymn (excerpt)

Symond was an advocate of pederasty, which makes stanza 4 ambiguous.

The (old?) school hymn for Tapton Secondary Modern, Sheffield was adapted from this and is as below.

These things shall be! A loftier race
Than e’er the world hath known, shall rise,
With flame of freedom in their souls
And light of science in their eyes.

They shall be simple in their homes
And splendid in their public ways,
Filling the mansions of the state
With music and with hymns of praise.

Nation with nation, land with land,
Inarmed shall live as comrades free;
In every heart and brain shall throb
The pulse of one fraternity.

New arts shall bloom of loftier mould,
And mightier music thrill the skies,
And every life shall be a song,
When all the earth is paradise.

Science: the Possible and the Moral

August 22, 2009

We can now do what we want, and the only question is what do we want? At the end of our progress we stand where Adam and Eve once stood; and all we are faced with now is the moral question.

Max Frisch, in, Charles Handy, the Hungry Spirit, p.72