Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday morning very bright....

Without any scholarly study to back me up, I can still rather comfortably state that the comments at this blog post:

There’s no evidence that there is God or Gods or whatever, but there’s also no evidence that God is impossible, or in my opinion, unlikely.

I think “God” (and “Gods”) as described by any of the traditional theistic religions—Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism—is extremely implausible. The only kind of God that I consider to be even remotely plausible in light of our knowledge from science and reason is the God of philosophical deism. A kind of distant, uninvolved creator, about which we know nothing.
represent about as serious a discussion of issues in philosophy of religion as I've come across on the web. Which is to say: not even up to the level of freshman dorm room bull sessions at a state college.

Ironically, I heard Alvin Plantinga on NPR this morning. I neither condemn nor congratulate Mr. Plantinga's musings, although I'm not really comfortable with the idea of non-overlapping magisteria (that's another blog post or two). Still, one can scour the 350+ (as of my posting) comments at Crooked Timber and not find one reference to David Hume (who would blast most of the faux empiricism there to bits), Immanuel Kant (ditto), Ludwig Wittgenstein (who would equally eviscerate the faux-positivism stated there), or even Plantinga (who actually makes references, sotto voce, to Godel's incompleteness theorem in his argument).

And yet everyone at Crooked Timber is quite convinced they are wise, knowledgeable, learned, intelligent, insightful, and, oh yes: right. (Not a one of them there has even the most basic understanding of theology, philosophy of religion, or even philosophy. And yet they are as happy in their ignorance of these things as Richard Dawkins.)

These things that pass for knowledge I don't understand.....


  1. Anonymous2:03 PM

    Gould got it quite wrong. Science is a subset of human thought and culture that is defined by its subject matter, the physical universe and not the entire physical universe but only that part of the physical universe that can be successfully subjected to its methods. That's hardly the entirety of human thought and culture, never mind the universe. And the reason that science is so restricted in its subject matter is because it has been discovered that sometimes you can obtain information of enhanced reliability about that part of the physical universe that is the defined subject of science. It is incompetent to deal with anything that falls outside of the ability of the honest application of its methodology.

    Religion, just like the law or history or literature, etc. deals with a different and far wider area of human thought. These disciplines can successfully contain thoughts and ideas that can't be contained in science. But, and most important for this discussion, there is absolutely no restriction on religion or the law or history, etc. containing everything that science can reveal as well as the rest of their content.

    Science is a far smaller and formally restricted subset of knowledge and thought, religion, etc. are far larger subsets of knowledge and are far less formally restricted.

    Religion is free to consult science whenever it is useful and desirable to do so, science can't consult religion, or history , law, etc. except when it can fit into its formal requirements. Scientism and the new atheists have it ass backwards. There's an overlap but it's not the one they like to believe.

    Anthony McCarthy

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