Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher


Faith, reason and paradigm shifts

posted by Rod Dreher

Writing in The Guardian, Mark Vernon comments on a recent Cambridge University lecture delivered by the major philosopher and Templeton Prize winner Charles Taylor, who spoke about religion and science. Taylor reportedly said that in the conventional understanding of faith and reason, reason was superior to faith because it was based on logic, and testable hypotheses. Science was a matter of applied reason, and thus superior to religion as a way of knowing.

Further, science’s success carries political implications, for it seems that the rational can be disengaged from the specifics of culture, ethnicity and religion. A physicist in Sante Fe can communicate easily and directly with a physicist in Shanghai. From that observation, which is undoubtedly true, comes the dream of a brighter tomorrow: if only humanity could approach all its problems in the same way – deferring only to evidence and reason – then perhaps it could solve its problems too, or at least a fair number of them. Moreover, if people would only drop their appeals to revelation – which conflict, are irrational, and have a marked tendency towards violence – then perhaps the world would become a more peaceful place. That’s the promise. Who’d deny its appeal?
Unless, Taylor continued, it’s an illusion. For when you examine the way science actually works you see that there’s a third factor at play. Philosophers of science call it by different names. Colloquially, it’s the hunch or the eureka moment. More technically, it has to do with an elusive force named intuition. But take, for the sake of the argument, one of the best known attempts to understand what really happens in scientific reasoning, that put forward by Thomas Kuhn.
It’s because of him we have the phrase “paradigm shift” – those breaks between the science of Aristotle and Copernicus, or between that of Newton and Einstein. What happens, he thought, is that there is no procedural appeal to reason in these moments, no patient weighing of the evidence. Instead, there is a rupture, a revelation. Science finds itself teleported to a new world, in which even the questions it asked before now look foolish.
What analysis of this kind suggests is that the reasonableness of science is partially true, during periods of what Kuhn called normal science, when puzzles are proposed and solved. However, during paradigm shifts, that evaporates. Science enters a period of flux and uncertainty until a new paradigm is settled. Intellectual wars break out too. Scientists stop talking to one another. They label opponents “heretics”. Then rational discourse breaks out once more – until the next shift.

Taylor’s lecture, at least as reported by Vernon, is too interesting to be summed up here, but it reaches the conclusion that scientific advancement wouldn’t be possible if scientists worked on the basis of pure science alone — that they need the kind of revelations that come via flashes of insight and intuition. And in this, way, “the neat distinction between science and religion unravels.”
Do read the whole thing.
UPDATE: On his blog, Mark Vernon has a bit more to say about the Taylor lecture, including things Taylor said that he (Vernon) couldn’t work into his Guardian piece. For example:

To understand something you have to love it, because understanding is never a completely disengaged stance but springs from inspiration.



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John E - Agn Stoic

posted February 5, 2010 at 12:06 pm


You have got to be kidding.
Religious revelations such as Joseph Smith’s revelation of the Mormon Doctrine and scriptures is being compared to the development of a new model of how the universe, such as quantum mechanics?



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Crustacean

posted February 5, 2010 at 12:09 pm


The scary thing is that what Taylor has to say here will come as news to some.
If anything makes me shiver in my shell it’s that.
It’s what I imagine the world would like after a lobotomy.



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Crustacean

posted February 5, 2010 at 12:11 pm


That should read:
“It’s what I imagine the world would *look* like after a lobotomy.”



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Franklin Jennings

posted February 5, 2010 at 12:13 pm


“Religious revelations such as Joseph Smith’s revelation of the Mormon Doctrine and scriptures is being compared to the development of a new model of how the universe, such as quantum mechanics?”
Sure, is there some reason you imply they are wholly incomparable?
Would you mind sharing it?



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Your Name

posted February 5, 2010 at 12:18 pm


Not to mention that Quantum mechanics did not derive so much from intuition and hypothesis as it did from mundane work taking measurements. It wasn’t really science, so much as grunt work.
Joseph Smith might be comparable to Newton, or Einstien in soem respects, but Quantum Mechanics is probably better compared to the development of the technology that supplied the great Medieval cathedrals.



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John E - Agn Stoic

posted February 5, 2010 at 12:30 pm


Sure, is there some reason you imply they are wholly incomparable?
Yes, there is – In the case of quantum mechanics, there was unexplained phenomena known to the physicists of the day that suggested the then-current explanations were incomplete. Quantum mechanics explained those phenomena and made testable predictions that could be verified.
Whereas Joseph Smith came up with a story about using magic seeing stones to translate golden plates that later disappeared. His story was not verifiable and required that others take it on faith with no proof.



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Charles Cosimano

posted February 5, 2010 at 1:04 pm


Science depends on verification. One may have an inspiration, but the inspiration comes from the work and the results have to be ultimately verifiable. In that sense science remains supremely rational in both practice and result and Taylor is full of hot air.



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MH

posted February 5, 2010 at 1:39 pm


John E and Your Name, they’re also forgetting that the reason Einstein had his eureka moment were the mundane measurements taken by people like Michelson and Morley, or Heinrich Hertz. They produced answers in conflict with expected results, so Einstein’s new path was forced on him by the results of the previous grunt work.
Newton even said the famous “Standing on the shoulders of giants” quote because a similar phenomena was in play with his discoveries.
So a eureka moment doesn’t seem anything like a revelation from God moment.



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John E - Agn Stoic

posted February 5, 2010 at 2:07 pm


So a eureka moment doesn’t seem anything like a revelation from God moment.
Exactly – and that is even leaving aside the question of whether or not any particular religious figure – I’ll not name names here – really had a revelation or made up his whole story as a means of bilking the gullible.



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Lindsey Abelard

posted February 5, 2010 at 2:14 pm


Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
This is as true for everything else as it is for cold fusion.



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MargaretE

posted February 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm


“To understand something you have to love it, because understanding is never a completely disengaged stance but springs from inspiration.”
Much wisdom there. And it seems applicable to… well, everything.



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kieranesq

posted February 5, 2010 at 2:47 pm


Bernard Lonergan explains all of this in Insight: A Study of Human Understanding. Knowldge generally, and not just scientific knowledge, is based on four steps: attention to the data or experience; questioning the data; insight — the eureka moment, which comes as a gift; and judgment, meaning verification of the insight.



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Saint Andeol

posted February 5, 2010 at 3:12 pm


are we ever going to stop with the whole “faith and science aren’t that different” stuff? they’re two separate beasts, used for completely different purposes.
yeah, yeah, science might at times require “leaps of faith”, but after that there’s either a new type of television or there isn’t. either the nuclear bomb works or it doesn’t. if the nuke goes off, then obviously our “theories” and “leaps of faith” about the nature of atomics are in some way correct.
by the same token, a lost soul doesn’t go to a lab to find meaning in their existence. explaining to someone who lost their family in a tragedy the nature of neuroreceptors and the chemical cause of sadness isn’t going to help them overcome their grief.



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Franklin Jennings

posted February 5, 2010 at 3:27 pm


John E,
It’s always a curious thing to see a man explain why X cannot be done by doing X.
Obviously you are wrong in asserting they are incomparable, as you just compared them.



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Cecelia

posted February 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm


I just do not get the attempts to validate or legitimize religious belief by claiming it is like empiricism or that scientific methods are like religious ways of knowing. There is no empiricist on the planet who is convinced by these arguements – they seem to impress only those who are religious. Religion is valid/legitimate on its own terms – while there may be some points that are comparable between religious belief and science – they are ultimately based on different understandings of how we come to know. Religion is faith – science doesn’t do faith.
I think you may be misunderstanding Kuhn’s work – paradigm shift occur in science not because of eureka moments – they occur because the reigning theory of a specific scientific discipline is no longer impervious to criticism. Once the dominant theory is revealed – through the accumulation of evidence – to not explain what it claims to explain – scientists seek a new theory. As they seek that new theory they have eureka moments which may lead to the new reigning theory. One could have a zillion eureka moments but they would not lead to a paradigm shift unless the reigning paradigm had been empirically demonstrated to be false.
Nice to see a mention of Bernard Lonergan. His work on knowing is I think a more compelling challenge to strict empiricism.



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Fake Fan Base

posted February 5, 2010 at 5:47 pm


Both science and religion are ways to understand the world.
Creation doesn’t demand the verifiable by method rule of science and anyway the existence of life and the universe appear to be counter intuitive.
Scientists are unlikely to go to war with each other because of their particular paradigms although they might try harmonising theories for better explanatory force. God fearing folk might go to war and the basis of a world view from seemingly simple arguments – gays help to destroy the institution of marriage as god would have intended it. An equivalent in science would be Eysenck’s similar subtle view about IQ as a basis for segregation. (In the both case its not science or religion per se but a lack of humanistic moral reflection). A kind of modern well meaning Benedictine Option might ensue whose real motivation might be segregation and apartheid.
The common denominator in the faith in science/god, is a kind of folk method. To say that science is the same as religion ignores man the mediator.



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Jillian

posted February 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm


“A Secular Age”, which I read two years ago, ends with Taylor saying he finds the Argument From Morality persuasive. As best I remember I learned some interesting things from the tome, mostly about the culture of the age of Pietism, but it’s very perceptible that Taylor becomes increasingly uncomfortable and less persuasive and loses sharpness of insights and conclusions as he approaches and gets into the twentieth century. He doesn’t like where the evidence leads and skews and hedges and evades accordingly. I gave the book away.
The book, the Argument From Morality, and explicitly this attempt to claim that the core of scientific thinking fits a religious category, all point to the same intellectual defect. Taylor just can’t hold himself to rigor in what is termed abductive reasoning, specifically such reasoning to conclusions incompatible with ones he is emotionally invested in. Apparently he can’t even convince himself that abductive reasoning is real.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning
I do enjoy Taylor’s idea that what thousands of mostly agnostics and atheists do in the lab every day is religious revelation. I’m not sure that’s very good for organized religion, though. (And as I read Underhill, actual mystical revelations tend to consist of changes in psychological insight, not material information.) Furthermore, the Argument From Morality supposes that human beings can’t, and don’t, actually do abductive reasoning.
I’m afraid Charles Taylor is not going to win a whole lot of respect from actual scientists.



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John E. - Agn Stoic

posted February 5, 2010 at 7:20 pm


Obviously you are wrong in asserting they are incomparable, as you just compared them.
I contrasted them.



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Karl G

posted February 5, 2010 at 10:00 pm


The fundamental mistake made here is mistaking science, a process, with the ideas that are fed into that process.
The conflicts and shifts of perspective described are inherent to the way human thought processes work- they have nothing to do with the fundamentals of science itself. It may or may not be a perfect system, but both its flaws and merits are overshadowed by the limited scope of how people’s minds work. (This goes for any flavor of theology as well, really. We see everything through the filter of our own perceptions.)
Inspirations and eureka moments aren’t triumphs over any inherent limits of science; they do little to change the actual process; they simply represent humans overcoming their own preconceptions and limitations so see new ways to apply it.



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JayR

posted February 5, 2010 at 10:41 pm


And in this, way, “the neat distinction between science and religion unravels.”
This is silly. As Karl G mentioned above, science is a process, not a result. As is religion. And the two are not incompatible, but are quite different.
When Einstein had his insights, that wasn’t the end of the story. He and his contemporaries and successors didn’t say “OK, that’s the way it is.” Instead, they figured out ways to model and experimentally verify these ideas. It was the modeling and the experimentation that confirmed the ideas. To compare the intuition at the beginning to religious thinking ignores everything in science that follows, which is to say that which makes it science.



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godisaheretic

posted February 5, 2010 at 11:04 pm


Wow!
“To understand something you have to love it, because understanding is never a completely disengaged stance but springs from inspiration.”
well…
I’m sure I was inspired when I came to the understanding that all Religions are human inventions and there is no good solid evidence for the existence of any God invented along with those Religions.
Wow!!
Inspiration is so cool!!!
and…
yes, I certainly do “love” to understand this.
It’s better to know than not to know,
even if it means knowing that there is no purpose to eternal life.
Oh well.
inspiration faith hope love joy peace to all…



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Quiddity

posted February 6, 2010 at 2:11 am


The Copernican revolution was not cemented because of a “procedural appeal to reason”, which is a red herring.
It was cemented with the introduction of more accurate measurements of the solar system, and more important, the introduction of the telescope which, for instance, showed the phases of Venus. That was, as with all scientific “paradigm shifts”, based on empiricism.
BTW, I have little regard for Kuhn, who tries to reduce science to a social phenomenon (and which humanities professors love as a result).



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MargaretE

posted February 6, 2010 at 7:34 am


“I’m sure I was inspired when I came to the understanding that all Religions are human inventions and there is no good solid evidence for the existence of any God invented along with those Religions.
Wow!! Inspiration is so cool!!! and… yes, I certainly do “love” to understand this.”
godisaheretic
February 5, 2010 11:04 PM
godisheretic, I think you’re missing the point. It’s not your own “understanding” of a thing that you must love… it’s the thing itself. The understanding of the thing springs FROM that love (through inspiration). And clearly, you do not love religion! In fact, you spend quite a bit of time writing “poetry” about how silly and bogus it is. I don’t know if you ever looked at religion through the eyes of love (i.e. with an open, appreciative heart), but if you once did, you don’t now. I hate to break it to you, but it takes very little “inspiration” to espouse the theory that all religions are human inventions, ergo there is no God. In fact, plenty of uninspired people share your belief, so it’s not even very shocking. Certainly not on this blog, anyway. But your little poems are fun, so carry on.



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Franklin Jennings

posted February 6, 2010 at 9:26 am


Invest in a decent dictionary, John E.
In order to write your contrast, you had to “examine (them) in order to note similarities and differences”.
These kinds of simple errors make the position that ‘there is no metaphysical inspiration in science’ look like just another dogma somebody has to hold, or risk ritual impurity.



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michael

posted February 6, 2010 at 11:26 am


Add another contrast: scientific theories can and will be revised when contrasting evidence is provided. As a kid I had a book from the 1950’s that was dismissive about the theory of continental drift/plate tectonics. Today that is the standard model, because of evidence.
Clueless fundamentalists talk about ‘orthodoxy’ or ‘presuppositions’ in science, as that term is meant in religion, as a way of dismissing science. “Ah well, scientists have their orthodoxy, I have mine”. But fundamentalist orthodoxy is impervious to new information. 200 years of biblical scholarship paints a new picture about the development of the Bible, but fundamentalists decide to pretend it’s still 1500.



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Crustacean

posted February 6, 2010 at 12:27 pm


John E.,
I’m guessing you’ll probably still be following this thread, so I wanted to use this space politely to say “thank-you-but-no-thank-you” to your invitation to join you and the others at what — from the vantage point here on Rod’s site — could itself be called “The Other Blog.”
I decline the invitation mostly because I simply don’t have either the interest or the time to engage in any more conversation elsewhere of the sort they I engage in from time to time here — and by elsewhere I mean not only on your particular blog but on any other.
Let me also add — in terms of attracting more non-left-liberal voices over to The Other Blog — that one obstacle you may face in doing so is what strikes me as the redundancy between the The Other Blog and this one.
The comment boxes over here are already more or less the kind of left-liberal rhetorical playground that The Other Blog merely represents an expansion of or a duplication of.
I, for one, don’t have to go over to The Other Blog to be regarded as a “ranting” “maniac” with a personality-disorder — I already get more of that kind of response over here than I want.
At the risk of sounding chivalrous, the main thing that turned me off at The Other Blog were some disparaging remarks about Erin Manning that I stumbled across.
It’s one thing to pillory me — I invite that kind of treatment to a certain extent or at least go into these discussions prepared to take my share — but it’s another thing to subject Erin Manning to all that, Erin Manning who conducts herself more civilly than anyone else who posts here and who posts in the most substantive, articulate, and well-reasoned way.
My point is that The Other Blog needs to offer something that these comment boxes do not in order to attract more non-left-liberals over there — and offering just one more corner in which to stand with a dunce’s cap and a “kick me” sign on doesn’t count.



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Your Name

posted February 6, 2010 at 1:33 pm


Come over to the other side where men are freer, Crusty.



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Gup20

posted February 6, 2010 at 3:38 pm


Have any of you ever read what Dr. Jason Lisle (PhD Astrophysics) has to say about logic and reason?
According to Dr. Lisle, a person can only justify logic and reason by borrowing from the Christian worldview – that possibility of logic and reason is destroyed without borrowing from a Biblical worldview.
http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v2/n1/atheism-irrational
One of the greatest scientists in History, Sir Isaac Newton, actually was a creationist, and wrote more books on theology than he did on scientific matters. Newton believed that his faith in God made science possible. Newton wrote regarding his scientific discoveries on planetary motion:
‘This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. … This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called “Lord God” ??????????? [pantokratòr], or “Universal Ruler”. … The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect.’
‘Opposition to godliness is atheism in profession and idolatry in practice. Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors.”



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Crustacean

posted February 6, 2010 at 4:09 pm


Your Name,
“Freer” to do everything but love Jesus, Mama, and the U.S.A.
Again, thank-you-but-no-thank-you.



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Gup20

posted February 6, 2010 at 4:26 pm


Michael – you say “Add another contrast: scientific theories can and will be revised when contrasting evidence is provided. … Clueless fundamentalists talk about ‘orthodoxy’ or ‘presuppositions’ in science, as that term is meant in religion, as a way of dismissing science. “Ah well, scientists have their orthodoxy, I have mine”. But fundamentalist orthodoxy is impervious to new information.”
I would point out that science would not be possible without one absolute presumption – that there are laws of nature that do not change. The very basis of scientific study is that of experiment and observation. If one could not assume unchangeable laws of nature, experimentation would be useless. Moreover, that the laws of logic and reason are absolute and unchanging.
The Christian worldview can account for unchanging laws of nature – that nature reflects it’s creator:
Mal 3:6 For I [am] the LORD, I change not;
Hbr 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
The Christian scientist can account for unchangeable laws of nature. He reasons that if there be a law, there must be a lawgiver, and there must be a law enforcer. He reasons that because there is an unchangeable law giver, the laws of nature are reliable and unchanging. He reasons that two experiments under the same conditions can produce the same results.



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Your Name

posted February 6, 2010 at 4:54 pm


One of the greatest scientists in History, Sir Isaac Newton, actually was a creationist, and wrote more books on theology than he did on scientific matters.
Yes, Newton was a creationist. During his heyday, there was no real alternative. He also wrote numerous books on numerology. Your point being?



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Hector

posted February 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm


Gup20,
For the record, Isaac Newton wasn’t a Christian (at least not in the sense most of us mean when we use that term). Like Milton (often called, mistakenly, a Christian poet) he subscribed to Arianism, which held that Christ was a created being, inferior to God the Father. Christians generally hold to the Nicene Creed, which was codified specifically to reject Arianism, and which considers Christ “begotten of the Father before all the worlds, God from God, Light from Light, Very God from Very God”.



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TTT

posted February 6, 2010 at 5:10 pm


Is Taylor’s point really that when science makes a great leap forward, it must not have been based on empirical observations of evidence?
That’s rather like listening to two singers and deciding that the better of them must have been channeling God instead of just, well, singing, isn’t it?



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Gup20

posted February 6, 2010 at 5:51 pm


YOUR NAME, you said: “Yes, Newton was a creationist. During his heyday, there was no real alternative. He also wrote numerous books on numerology. Your point being?”
The point being that faith and science are not mutually exclusive. Faith does not hinder science, and in fact, without faith (in the unchanging laws of nature, for example), science wouldn’t be possible. Newton demonstrated that – more than being compatible, faith is necessary for science.
As Dr. Jason Lisle says, even a person without faith must (unwittingly) borrow from the Christian worldview to justify logic and reason.
HECTOR: What sort or denomination of Christian Newton was has no relevance on the point at hand, which is that faith and science are not mutually exclusive as Taylor suggests. Newton had great faith, and made enormous new scientific strides — more so than many in history have ever accomplished. Therefore I think Taylor’s notions are demonstrably false.
I think Dr. Lisle is correct in that logic and reason are beholden to faith, therefore faith is superior.



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Hector

posted February 6, 2010 at 6:15 pm


Gup20,
My point was simply that Newton was very, very far from being an orthodox Christian, and in fact would have been executed for Arianism if he had lived a century earlier. If you’re interested in looking for seriously Christian scientists, someone like Maxwell or Faraday (or in our day, someone like the late Sir John Eccles) would be a better bet.



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sigaliris

posted February 6, 2010 at 7:52 pm


To understand something you have to love it, because understanding is never a completely disengaged stance but springs from inspiration.
This seems like an overly general statement that is not well considered. You can’t understand anything you don’t love? Seriously? Did Oppenheimer love the atomic bomb? He certainly understood it much better than I do. Did Dr. Salk love the polio virus? Does this mean that Republicans can never understand President Obama, because they do not love him? Hmm . . . I’d be willing to agree with that one. Would it be impossible for Milton Friedman to understand communism? This list of questions could go on and on.
This is also another in a long line of false dichotomies. “Disengaged stance” vs. “Inspiration.” Why are those the only two alternatives? How about understanding something by means of close observation and rational analysis? To that, you can of course add empathy, and emotional or aesthetic appreciation, if you like. These are the kinds of tools I use for understanding the people and things around me. I’ve never been a big fan of the “disengaged stance”–whatever that means–but inspiration has not been much help to me, either. I would say that Taylor has not thought this through adequately. Lots of things sound nice in a lecture that are not very practical once you take them home.



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Jan Hus

posted February 7, 2010 at 2:15 am


It makes me smile when I read comments, which breezily dismiss Taylor (one of the most influential, respected, and insightful philosophers of the last 30 years or so) as if the man wrote a series of blog posts, rather than penetrating works of philosophy.
If you think you can easily dismiss Taylor, you’ve either not read him, or you’ve misunderstood him.



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MH

posted February 7, 2010 at 7:07 am


Jan Hus, your statement seems a bit like an argument from authority.
Which raises an interesting question. How do philosophers prove their points in a way that makes them generally accepted? As an outsider it doesn’t seem like they have a way to do this, so they keep fighting the same battles. This makes philosophy different from science or math and more similar to religion.



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Franklin Evans

posted February 7, 2010 at 9:15 am


Humanity’s neverending quest for truth, Truth, and Absolute Truth:
Religion’s answer is to delegate (surrender, pick your level of deific authority) all unanswerables to Deity.
Science’s answer is to delegate all unanswerables to the future. Indeed, science does religion one better (more, standard of measurement of your choice) by asserting that no matter how well the answerable is answered today, there is always a non-zero probability that the answer will be supplanted, modified or improved tomorrow.
So, when people insist that science is like religion, try to remember this little lesson. My ego and pride would love to lay claim to it, but alas I learned it myself the hard way, which would explain why I tend to have little sympathy for those who see all the evidence of it around them but continue to avoid it.



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MH

posted February 7, 2010 at 9:45 am


Franklin Evans, science and math are culturally neutral, so all human cultures share the same science and math. Also science only aspires to have pragmatic knowledge about realty, not ultimate knowledge of reality.
This is not true for religion or philosophy which vary from culture to culture. Religions also make ultimate claims about the nature of reality and our relationship to it.
I was a science major and I’m not religious. However, if I were religious I would be somewhat insulted having my religion compared to science. Science is a human designed construct to study reality for pragmatic ends, while the other is supposed to guide people with their relationship with the ultimate.
So they seem really different to me.



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sigaliris

posted February 7, 2010 at 9:49 am


That’s a good point, Jan Hus. Perhaps if I fully understood what Charles Taylor means by the words “inspiration” and “disengaged stance,” I’d find more value in that one sentence. As it is, though, I can’t see how objecting to a philosopher based on one sentence is any more arbitrary than doting on him based on one sentence. You’re right that most of us here don’t have enough information to discuss his thought one way or the other. In fact, I’m objecting not so much to the philosopher himself–since, as you rightly point out, I don’t have enough understanding to do that–but to the way in which he’s being used here. “Here” being a blog rather than a philosophy seminar, alas. And here on this blog, whole nations, cultures and movements have been dismissed arbitrarily, and books and movies condemned without a viewing. So what’s one mere man in the face of all that? ; )
If you’ve read Taylor’s work, I’d be really interested if you could say more about what he means by inspiration, intuition, and revelation. I wish I could read the lecture itself, because I cannot help but suspect that Taylor is being misrepresented by Vernon, and we are forced to consider his ideas third-hand. I hope so. Because anyone who thinks that “revelation,” when defined as infusion of knowledge from a supernatural source, plays a part in the scientific process is just getting it wrong.



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kadzimiel

posted February 7, 2010 at 11:19 am


Gup20
February 6, 2010 5:51 PM
YOUR NAME, you said: “Yes, Newton was a creationist. During his heyday, there was no real alternative. He also wrote numerous books on numerology. Your point being?”
The point being that faith and science are not mutually exclusive. Faith does not hinder science, and in fact, without faith (in the unchanging laws of nature, for example), science wouldn’t be possible. Newton demonstrated that – more than being compatible, faith is necessary for science.
This is a pretty obvious example of a dubious claim being extended far beyond what logic can bear. Even if one concedes that, in the case of Newton, faith did not impede science (a false claim, but we’ll come to that later), it certainly doesn’t prove that faith tout court does not hinder science tout court. Do we really have to go through the list of scientists and men of reason who were hindered, imprisoned, murdered by the religious and religion? Coming back to Newton – he wasted years on theological ramblings that no-one now reads or takes seriously. Think of the time he lost. Faith certainly did hinder science in his case.
As Dr. Jason Lisle says, even a person without faith must (unwittingly) borrow from the Christian worldview to justify logic and reason.
Sorry, but this is simply preposterous. Aristotle lived three centuries before Jesus bar Joseph, and he created the first formal system of logic perfectly happily. If Jason Lisle thought for two minutes about history, philosophy and the Western tradition, he would hang his head for shame after writing such egregious tripe.
HECTOR: What sort or denomination of Christian Newton was has no relevance on the point at hand, which is that faith and science are not mutually exclusive as Taylor suggests. Newton had great faith, and made enormous new scientific strides — more so than many in history have ever accomplished. Therefore I think Taylor’s notions are demonstrably false
This is simply confused reasoning. You haven’t shown a meaningful relationship between faith and science i.e. that faith generates good science. Instead, you’ve established that they might co-exist in the same person. Following your argument, Newton kept a cat, therefore keeping cats is good for science, and therefore all current cat-owners are on the brink of discovering the calculus. Strange, isn’t it, that so many cat-owners have so far failed to become Newton redivivus?



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Your Name

posted February 7, 2010 at 12:52 pm


“Coming back to Newton – he wasted years on theological ramblings that no-one now reads or takes seriously. Think of the time he lost. Faith certainly did hinder science in his case.”
First, let me correct myself. The books were on alchemy, not numerology. Regarding the above quote, I note that Newton in his later years suffered mental deteroriation from mercury poisoning.



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New_Ideas

posted February 7, 2010 at 1:57 pm


Science is the formal method of using reason. Reason is the organization of percepts into concepts in accordance with the laws of logic. Logic is the method of non-contradictory identification. Therefore, any non-sceince is the method of non-identfication i.e. of fantasy or non-reality. There is no “middle of the road” possible. See “Atlas Shrugged” for more details.



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Gup20

posted February 7, 2010 at 11:41 pm


KADZIMIEL said: “Coming back to Newton – he wasted years on theological ramblings that no-one now reads or takes seriously. Think of the time he lost.”
In Newton’s system of physics, God is essential to the nature and absoluteness of space. In Principia he stated, “The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion on an intelligent and powerful Being.” This demonstrates his philosophies of nature flowed out of his faith. His faith was the source of his science, not a hindrance to it.
In fact, the Bible describes “science and the study of nature” as a God-ordained commandment:
Gen 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
In fact, this is the first commandment God gives man in the Bible – to have dominion over all of His creation.
KADZIMIEL said: “Sorry, but this is simply preposterous. Aristotle lived three centuries before Jesus bar Joseph, and he created the first formal system of logic perfectly happily. If Jason Lisle thought for two minutes about history, philosophy and the Western tradition, he would hang his head for shame after writing such egregious tripe.”
Your statements demonstrate your ignorance of the Bible and Christianity.
Jesus the Son of God said: “Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. ”
According to the Bible, the world was created about 6000 years ago. The Bible lists Jesus Christ, the son of God made flesh – called “The Word” – as being the creator of the world:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
So properly understood, Christianity goes back to the first day of the universe. Christianity isn’t a “new religion” – it was the original religion. God himself preached the gospel to Abraham – the first Christian, which is why Abraham is called the “father of those who believe (in Jesus Christ)” (Gen 15-17, Gal 3-4, Rom 4). The term “christian” wasn’t coined until after Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Until then, they were simply called “believers” (just as Abraham was called a believer):
Gen 15:5 And [God] brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
According to the Bible – which is the entire basis for the christian faith – as long as there have been human beings there have been those who believed in the God of the Bible.
When Jesus said he didn’t come to destroy the law or the prophets (the Jewish Torah and holy books), but rather he came to fulfill them, he was telling them that all of those books were talking about HIM. He was the subject …the long awaited Messiah. He was the one all the prophets had been prophesying about for thousands of years. In fact, every single Christian doctrine is founded in Genesis, which is part of the Jewish Law – the Torah.



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kadzimiel

posted February 8, 2010 at 12:49 am


Gup, you really don’t understand logic, do you? You’ve just produced the most witless excuse for an argument that I’ve seen in years. Have you ever heard of circular reasoning? As for citing the Torah and the texts after it that belong to a Jewish heresy, there are scads of old books out there that claim to be true, and are just as irrelevant.



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Gup20

posted February 8, 2010 at 3:59 pm


Kadzimiel, I probably don’t have to remind you that ad hominem isn’t a valid form of argument either.
A circular argument is one in which a premise tacitly includes the conclusion. And that is not the case here. The argument is a modus tollens (i.e., denying the consequent), which is perfectly valid:
1. If the Bible were not true, then laws of logic would not be meaningful.
2. Laws of logic are meaningful.
3. Therefore, the Bible is true.
Since the argument is valid, the only way to refute it would be to disprove one of the premises—most people might attempt to refute premise #1. However, no one has been able to do this.



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Jillian

posted February 8, 2010 at 4:12 pm

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