Richard Dawkins: Advocate of Science or Self-Refuting Scientism? – Response to Dawkins, Part III

In his book River Out of Eden, Richard Dawkins writes: “Scientific beliefs are supported by evidence, and they get results.  Myths and faiths are not and do not.”[1] This is akin to what Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin asserts:  the “social and intellectual apparatus, Science, [is] the only begetter of truth.”[2] Such comments remind me of the kangaroo in Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who.  She insists that Horton’s conviction—that life can exist on a tiny speck of dust—is delusional.  Exasperated, she exclaims: “If you can’t see, hear, or feel something, it doesn’t exist!”

Those making such claims are not simply studying the natural world or natural phenomena (science).[3] Rather, they are advocating a philosophical worldview known as scientism.  Scientism comes in different hues, but Dawkins’ brand of scientism assumes that only science gives us knowledge.  Dawkins takes for granted that science is the study of all reality—not merely the study of nature, which would leave open the possibility of a non-natural realm, say, to explain the universe’s beginning.  (After all, shouldn’t science be open-minded to allowing the causes of events in the natural world to, now and then, have non-natural/supernatural causes?  To insist otherwise would betray a naturalistic commitment about material reality and a refusal to consider anything else.)  When skeptics demand of theists to “prove God/the soul/miracles/whatever scientifically,” they are taking a scientistic stance, not a scientific one.

One big problem here:  Dawkins’ belief that only science can give us knowledge turns out to be incoherent and self-contradictory:  How can we scientifically prove that all knowledge must be scientifically provable? We can’t validate science by appealing to science.  This position isn’t the result of scientific observation, but a driving philosophical assumption.

Thankfully, Richard Lewontin and Berkeley philosopher John Searle come clean on the matter.  They forthrightly acknowledge that what commonly poses as “science” is really a philosophical starting-point about the nature of reality—namely, materialism:

  • Lewontin: “we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes 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, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”[4]
  • Searle:  “There is a sense in which materialism is the religion of our time, at least among most of the professional experts in the fields of philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, and other disciplines that study the mind. Like most traditional religions, it is accepted without question and it provides the framework within which other questions can be posed, addressed, and answered.”[5]


Again, the belief that science alone gives us knowledge is a philosophical statement, not a scientific one.  This is no longer science, but the scientistic worldview of naturalism, which affirms that nature is all there is and that only science can give us knowledge.  As the late astronomer Carl Sagan put it:  “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”[6] Dawkins, like Sagan, speaks more as an amateur metaphysician than as a scientist.

Furthermore, such a stance ignores the historical fact modern science was shaped by a biblical worldview.  Taken for granted were God’s existence, human rationality, the general predictability of nature, and the match-up between human minds and an understandable world. In fact.  As physicist and best-selling science writer Paul Davies observes: “Science began as an outgrowth of theology, and all scientists, whether atheists or theists…accept an essentially theological worldview.”[7] Newton, Copernicus, (yes!) Galileo, Faraday, Boyle, and many other science greats were inspired by a biblical worldview as they studied nature. These remarkable observers of nature operated in the spirit of Psalm 111:2: “Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them “

Dawkins’ view is ultimately a metaphysical outlook masking as science. Unfortunately for him, such a worldview ends up leading to all kinds of counterintuitive positions.  We looked at Dawkins’ self-refuting determinism in Part I of this series. We’ll look at several more in future posts.

[1] Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York:  BasicBooks, 1995), 33.

[2] Richard Lewontin, “Billions and Billions of Demons,” New York Review of Books, 9 Jan. 1997, 28-32.

[3] Though challenging to define, we could say that science, roughly speaking, is the attempted objective study of the natural world/natural phenomena whose theories and explanations do not normally depart from the natural realm. I follow Del Ratzsch, Philosophy of Science (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 15.

[4] Lewontin, “Billions and Billions of Demons,” 28, 31.

[5] John R. Searle, Mind: A Brief Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 48.

[6] Carl Sagan, Cosmos (New York: Random House, 1980), 4.

[7] Paul Davies, Are We Alone? (New York: Basic, 1995), 96.

51 Responses to “Richard Dawkins: Advocate of Science or Self-Refuting Scientism? – Response to Dawkins, Part III”

  1. Funny… while logical positivism is a dead philosophical movement (due to the self-referentially absurd nature of it), it seems to be alive and well in the scientism of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris etc.

  2. The problem isn’t that he is ruling out supernatural causes, but all metaphysical or teleological explainations, while at the same time refusing to accept the fact that science is a branch of metaphysics (an outgrowth of emperical epistiemiology). People who push for scientism claim that science is completely seperate from philosophy, even though they are wrong.

  3. Hate to defend Dawkins, however this post is inaccurate and sets up a straw man. We do christianity no service by arguing against such. Dawkins has stated numerous times that he does not know, nor can he know, if there is a God, though he believes it highly unlikely. He does not say, or mean to imply, that there is absolutely no God or truth outside of science.

    He simply means that there is no way of knowing objectively if there is any truth or God outside of science. Science deals with natural things, God is supernatural therefore Science has nothing to say on the matter. Dawkins point is correct. There is no objective truth outside of science. Faith, like it or not, is subjective.

  4. Anselm, is your statment of “there is no objective truth outside of science” and objective truth claim?

  5. There is no objective truth outside of science. Faith, like it or not, is subjective.

    Deductive reasoning is more objective than science, yet it is not science.

    Logical defences of theism are as objective as science.

  6. Anselm, not so!

    Just think of his book title, “The God Delusion.” Is this not clearly a statement of atheism? Dawkins himself says that Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. Surely Dawkins considers himself an intellectually fulflilled atheist! He IS one of the “new atheists”!

    Lots of atheists will offer a probability argument rather than a strictly deductive argument, concluding that “God (most likely) does not exist.” Dawkins’ leaving open the possibility that he could be wrong about God doesn’t render him a non-atheist any more than my saying that it’s logically possible (say, due to an illusion) that I could be wrong about God renders me a non-theist.

  7. The problem here is that the quote cited does not uphold the position that you are arguing against. It is, as Anselm said, a straw man. Let me try to put it simply:

    Here is the quote you cited: “Scientific beliefs are supported by evidence, and they get results. Myths and faiths are not and do not.”

    Dawkins doesn’t say that the material world is all that exists, but rather that materialistic science (methodological naturalism) gets results where religions and myths have failed. He’s making a statement about the utility of science, not ontology. Now the fact that this method has consistently provided explanations for nearly every phenomenon for which God has ever been invoked probably does contribute to the naturalistic worldview that Dawkins undoubtedly holds, not to mention that the failure of religious books to correctly describe the physical world casts doubt on their ability to describe an invisible one, but all of this is outside scope of the quote you selected.

  8. This epistemological approach reflects Dawkins’ much-touted ontology—one which I’ve taken for granted and have already touched on in this Dawkins series. As he puts it in *River Out of Eden*, ours is “a world of selfish genes and electrons.” As philosopher Peter Williams observes, ““Dawkins’ atheism, no less than the theism he opposes, is built upon Positivism’s grave.”

  9. I wouldn’t contest that Dawkins is a hard materialist. No doubt he is. But I wonder if you haven’t got it backwards. Surely his materialism is the outworking of his life’s work as a scientist, not the other way around. In other words, scientists tend to be materialists because they see that materialistic science (and we both agree that science must be materialistic in method) does a masterful job of explaining nearly every observable phenomenon without appealing to invisible, immaterial, incorporeal or unmeasurable agents. If supernatural agents have no measurable effects or explanatory power, why should we suppose that they exist? Materialism as a philosophy is not a necessary conclusion from the exercise of materialistic methodology, but it is an extremely compelling one. Besides, if Dawkins and others disbelieved in God simply because the presupposed that he could not exist, why would they even bother putting forth arguments against his existence?

  10. Of course Dawkins is an atheist, militant at that and by his own admission I never suggested otherwise.

    However, this does not falsify his statement where he states that Science is objective and faiths are not. Faiths are by definitions…..well faiths, thereby subjective. Science is not faith based despite what so many of my more conservative brethren may believe.

    When Dawkins says “Evidence” he is not suggesting there is no type of evidence for christianity, rather he is stating that there is no objective evidence for the supernatural claims of a religion. Which is true, nor can their be. Put overly simplistically, we have evidence but it’s not objective, its subjective. Being subjective doesn’t make it false, it just means it can not be proven. We do call it “faith” after all.

    P.S. I have actually read Dawkins God Delusion and have heard him speak a number of times. I also work with evolutionary theories (i.e. facts;-)) daily.

  11. There is a fundamental difference between saying scientific methodology is a appropriate methodology for arriving at truth (something no one questions) and that it is the only methodology for arriving at truth. There are many questions that cannot be resolved scientifically such as whether God created the universe or George Washington crossed the Delaware. It is excluding all other possible objective approaches to truth if they do not fall under scientific methodology that is circular reasoning.

  12. Anselm, going with your definition of “objective evidence”, may I inqure? Do we have such evidence for numbers? If so, what are the physical properties of the number 8?

    We know numbers exist. Moreover, the very “objective evidence” used by people such as Dawkins (and any other scientist for that matter) is measured, formulated, predicted etc by the use of what? Numbers. Yet numbers cannot be shown to exist through physical observation of them.

    Then of course we have reason and logic etc. These things cannot be verified empirically. Yet, to what does the scientist appeal when analyzing data?

    Do you have your kind of objective evidence for numbers, logic or reason, Anselm? If not, why should I believe they exist? Why should these things be used in scientific pursuit? How can any findings from such pursuits be trustworthy?

    All this to say, that not everything we know to be true about reality can be verified emprically.

    And it doesn’t have to be.

  13. When Dawkins says “Evidence” he is not suggesting there is no type of evidence for christianity, rather he is stating that there is no objective evidence for the supernatural claims of a religion

    Which is why he is wrong. The cosmological argument, the teleological argument and the moral argument are objective, yet they are non-scientific but philosophical evidences for theism.

  14. Good one, Carrie!

    I bow to the philosophers and metaphysicists here and freely admit that I haven’t read anything Dawkins has written in years (life is too short to read Dawkins — catchy phrase that; perhaps a song?) but it does seem that he still sticks to his bait-and-siwtch tactics. When he’s mystifying the uninitated, he is a rabid atheist but when nailed to the proverbial wall by a philosopher, he suddenly changes coats and becomes an agnostic (and there is a great difference between the two).

    Dr. Dawkins, be thee either fish or fowl and face thy foeman (or foe-woman) in thine true colors!

  15. Many times I have heard Christians and non- Christians try to scientifically explain the Creation. This is impossible because it was not a scientific event. So science can never explain it. It was a SUPERNATURAL one time event by the word of Jesus Christ. Those who base their view of God by what science can prove will be tempted to unbelief.

    Gods ways are unfathomable and therefore cannot be explained by human wisdom.

  16. I dislike being in the unenviable position of defending a militant atheist but I suppose it is better that you hear the faultiness of the arguments being made, from me (and mike for that matter) than from someone on the outside.

    I think everyone is hung up on the word “objective” and “subjective.” For example, as mentioned, the teleological and the cosmological argument, these are the very definition of subjectivity. They prove “objectively” nothing. Think about it for a moment what do they prove? What is the counter argument? Google with an open mind and you will seem them destroyed rather convincingly.

    As far as numbers are concerned, numbers are a concept, an explanation of that which we can test objectively so in the sense that 8 has a definite agreed upon meaning it is objective. Math is a science from the perspective of Dawkins.
    We are better off realising we are calling people to faith, not to science, and stopped pretending to be scientist.

  17. Anselm you are the one making the claim there is no objective truth outside of science and that faith is subjective. That we are responding in kind should not alarm you.

    You said that numbers are an explanation of that which we can test objectively. So because we use numbers to verify empirical data that in turn makes numbers empirically verifiable? Isn’t that slightly circular.

    And if we determine the objectivey of something by its use then the cosmological and teleological arguements are perfectly objective. They are both used as an explanation of that which we can test objectively, so going with your definition of objective we should actually embrace such arguments.

    Perhaps you should “Google” logical positivism with an open mind. Once you do, maybe you can share your findings with us.

  18. And Ishmael yea it would be a good song ….

    Life’s too short to read Dawkins
    Not a lot said but a whole lotta talkin’…

  19. Carrie,

    I mean no ill towards you, I’m trying to help you make a better case, but insisting on the arguments you and Paul seem to be advocating is hubris and a good atheist will take you to task on them. We are getting way off subject but the point that Faith isn’t objective is strikingly obvious in the very definition of the words. I’m not sure why this isn’t immediately clear. Faith may be based on some things which may be true (objectively even, such as “the world exist”), but the object of faith (i.e God) is still a subjective belief (i.e. therefore God created it). If Faith were objective then no faith is necessary. The instance Faith becomes objective is the instance there is no faith.

    BTW The teleological argument is the single worst argument for God ever constructed. It has been so soundly and “objectively” (scientifically) refuted that it sets christians up to unnecessary scorn. It’s a horrible argument for God, and a great argument for Atheist.

  20. Mike B., I think you might actually have it backwards; historically speaking, the movement of logical positivism was an intentional suppression of metaphysics.

    Anselm, is the bodily resurrection of Jesus factual or subjective? I would also like to know how you define “faith.” this word is commonly abused, and it appears that you are perpetuating the abuse!

    On the design argument, have you read Robin Collins’ work at all? I would like to know why you think his argument misguided.

  21. Mike B’s post was brilliant more so because of the minuscule space he wrote it in.

    Resurrection is subjective (and clearly so). It can not be proven objectively. If you can prove it objectively I would certainly like to hear how, so would Dawkins. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen just that it cannot be proven objectively. Which is why we emphasize “faith and hope” not “logic and reason.” (this is also not to say christians are illogical or unreasonable).

    No I haven’t read Robin Collins but here is my challenge to you on that, post anything from the book dealing with the design argument and I can almost guarantee it can be refuted, objectively. Now whether you will accept it as being refuted is another thing, but the design arguments have been thoroughly discredited so many times it’s sort of like writing books still trying to prove a “flat earth.”

  22. Perhaps I can summarize the principles in play here: 1.) Empirical observation is the only means by which human beings have access to facts about the material world. 2.) Human beings do not have access to any facts about any non-material world. Therefore, empirical knowledge is the only knowledge that human beings can have about anything. That’s what we’re talking about in a nutshell.

    Now, Christian theologians would deny the second principle and say that we do have access to facts about a non-material world through divine revelation. If you think you have a good reason to believe that, then you can deny logical positivism. If you don’t think you have a good reason to believe that, then you have good reason to ascribe to it.

    My point is that most hard-materialists, including Dawkins, have reasons a-posteriori for holding their philosophy. He doesn’t assume that only science gives us knowledge. He argues such, and then stands on that philosophy.

  23. Anselm,

    I don’t take anything you have said to be malicious. But in all that you have said, you have merely restated your assertions over and over.

    You haven’t sufficiently addressed the problems surrounding your own claims of “objective” truth. You merely make the same assertions about what is “objective”. Which is exactly what someone like Dawkins does. That is not how one logically and soundly argues a position.

    Critiquing arguments isn’t refuting them. Saying “this argument is awful and is of no benefit to Christians” doesn’t disprove the argument. Anymore than saying “philosophy is dead” (ala Hakwings) proves philosophy is of no use (or better put, fundamentally necessary) in these discussions.

    Bare assertions are not arguments regardless of how loudly and repeatedly they are made.

    And you are also arguing from your own working definition of “faith” as Paul has pointed out. The faith you speak of is not the historic Christian understanding of what…

  24. Mike B, you are saying human beings do not have facts about the immaterial world? If what you are saying is true (and it is not) then it would mean we have at least one fact about the immaterial world – i.e. we do not have facts about it.

    But honestly, what do you think reason and logic are? Do you think there is some sort of physical substance, some sort of “stuff” of which they are made?

    We know numbers, and reason, and logic exist. In that alone we have access to the immaterial. We access the immaterial everytime we cross the street … “either there is a bus about to hit us if we cross at that moment, or there is not a bus about to hit us if we cross at that moment.”

    When you, Mike and you, Anselm, and Richard Dawkins for that matter, can demonstrate the physical properties of logic and reason, I will then entertain logical positivism as viable. Until then, I will agree with those who have gone before, and keep the coffin lid closed.

  25. Recall that I stated that one could google (or look up the definitions of faith and objective in a dictionary) and find hundreds of websites refuting the arguments. This should be sufficient considering I can only post 1000 characters and anyone who cared had ready access to the information

    Speaking of googling. I googled robin Collins. I saw nothing unique or even slightly original in his arguments all his arguments have been debunked long ago. What new argument does he bring?

  26. Anselm,

    I will just leave it at this.

    Since you are suggesting that only things we can believe to be objectively true are things which can be empirically verified, you will have to demonstrate to me the physical properties of logic and reason.

    Until you do, I reckon I’ll have to assume you are using neither.


  27. Anselm, you didn’t quite answer my question: you are pitting facts against faith, and so I want to know what you mean by “faith” because I am quite confident that this is not at all the orthodox Christian definition.

    Rather than rehearsing Collins’ work, let me reveal my suspicions: no matter how complex a life-permitting/-producing universe is, for you there just never could be any conditions that would point to a designer rather to than strictly naturalistic processes. Am I right?

  28. Calvin says faith is (and I agree), “A firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence towards us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” Notice how totally subjective his statement is. What is the basis of faith?

    Do we have reason to have faith, yes of course, but it is not empirical objective reasons and arguing that we do actually destroys faith.

    To your last statement, seriously think about what I am saying,if God can be found in a test tube then God ceases to be God! It is logically impossible to prove supernatural using natural mechanisms. Science has nothing to say about supernaturalism, nothing.

  29. Anselm – I am curious about your view of history. Can you prove that Abraham Lincoln was murdered at the end of the Civil war by scientific means? How about the winter at Valley Forge with the Continental Army? How about Pascal developing the calculcus? (for which he should be cursed actually!). On what basis do you believe these events? Can you find any of them in a test tube, under a microscope or verified through any of the your five senses? Or do you just subjectively believe they happened?
    The evidence for these events is just the same as it is for the resurrection. Singular events mark history by the millions – only an apriori committment (think Hume here) could rule out one event while allowing the same kind of evidence to pass for knowledge in other cases.

  30. “Science is not separate from society but rather is a part of society. Naturalism in its philosophical form says that nothing beyond nature is real. This amounts to atheism. Naturalism in science has guided many scientists to limit themselves to material causes to explain the natural world. This is also called methodological naturalism. ” quoted from evidence for God by Dembski and Licona. I agree with those above that it becomes a circular argument, sort of like the trouble science has with something coming from nothing.

  31. Anselm,

    To base faith purely on subjectivity makes it nonsense. In the realm of the purely subjective how do you know if you are experiencing God, Zeus, Satan, or the pepperoni pizza you ate last night. To hold to this view not only opens the way for all atheists and agnostics to scoff (I did when I was one), but opens the way for whatever beliefs however wild just because someone happens to experience them.

  32. Materialism/naturalism a la Dawkins also fails miserably to account for or explain qualia and consciousness. This alone shows the inadequacy atheistic naturalism.

  33. In response to Carrie:

    First. The statement “We know nothing about any immaterial worlds,” is not a fact about immaterial worlds. It is a fact about knowledge we do or do not have in our own world.

    Second. Numbers are symbols that represent quantities and measurements. Just because mathematics works just as well with imaginary quantities and abstractions as it does with real objects does not mean that “numbers” somehow have some sort of immaterial existence.

    The same goes for logic, which demonstrates how propositions can be derived from one another. Just because the rules of logic can be applied with symbols and abstractions as well as real propositions does not mean that logic somehow has an immaterial existence.

    This kind of Platonic idealism is a few thousand years out of date, I am afraid.

  34. Mike B.,

    Numbers are abstract concepts free from material existence. Just because they can be used to represent quantities and measurements just as well a abstract concepts does not mean that they only have a solid physical existence.

    The same goes for logic, which demonstrates how propositions can be derived from one another. Just because the rules of logic can be applied with real propositions does not mean that logic somehow does not have an immaterial existence over symbols and abstractions.

    This kind of logical positivism is a few decades out of date, I am afraid.

  35. John. I don’t think that your reversal of my statements is correct, but let me see if I can try to focus the discussion a bit better. Regardless of the outcome of this disagreement, what you mean when you say that numbers “exist” is probably not the same thing that you mean when you say that things like gods or spirits “exist.”

    What I understood Carrie to be proposing was a kind of Platonic idealism, in which numbers and logic have an actual, ethereal existence “out there” in the realm of forms and ideals. I’m not by any means an expert on the philosophy of mathematics, and there may be people out there who find it helpful to think of numbers in this way, but in terms of proposing the existence of an “immaterial world” in which not only things like numbers and logic, but also things like spirits and gods and frankly anything else you could imagine could somehow be lurking “out there,” I don’t think this thinking is useful at all.

  36. “I’m not by any means an expert on the philosophy of mathematics…”

    Neither am I, to be frank. I have a bachelor degree in the subject, though, and I can tell you every single class I have ever taken didn’t even teach numbers this way but assumed it from the beginning that numbers and theorems are not strictly a part of the natural world, even if they influence the natural world.

    If you don’t think the idea is useful, take it up with Roger Penrose.

    What I can tell you is that when Heisenberg reformulated quantum mechanics in terms of noncommuting operators, he didn’t get to make up what rules the operators got to behave. The rules were given to him and he found a way of expressing them. In so doing, he rederived matrix algebra, a subject known to pure mathematicians a hundred years prior. He didn’t discover a different matrix algebra, but the same one and in fact the only one.

    Math works for a reason, and it ain’t ‘cuz we’re clever like that.

  37. I’m sorry to double dip (please don’t ban me!), but I wanted to emphasize, most of modern mathematical exploration and progress is taking place in the abstract fields. Abstract math is math without any reference to the physical world whatsoever, and a very large section of mathematical thought is abstract thought. It doesn’t originate in “how many apples?” questions and doesn’t end with telling us something like “how many apples?”, either. Entire fields, like differential geometry and abstract algebra, were developed and solidified before the first physicist even thought of using them to describe some situation somewhere else to describe a phenomenon – likely before the first physicist heard of them.

    Abstract mathematicians don’t even care about apples, and in fact get kind of offended when their abstractions are lowered to the level of application. And they’re the ones who make most of the breakthroughs these days.

  38. Thanks John. You’re comments are educational and I don’t really have anything in particular to contest. Yes mathematics has taken on a very abstract life of its own (even if it did start with our ancestors beans, or some such thing), and some mathematicians may find it practical to think of numbers as actual “objects.” But this does absolutely nothing to redeem “metaphysics” as a philosophical discipline. To bring this back to a relevant conclusion, I believe Christians are quite right to claim that the only access that human beings can have to whatever realm (and frankly, the Bible never says its an immaterial realm either) in which God may exist would have to be by means of divine revelation. Most evangelical theologians are, in fact, positivists in this respect, just allowing for a singular exception. The kind of “existence” that a mathematician may attribute to numbers really has absolutely no connection to this issue. It is a non-sequitur as far as I can tell, which was…

  39. Hey Mike,

    Thank you! I am thankful myself to the authors for raising so many issues that end up being immediately pertinent to my field of study.

    I don’t think anyone was advocating Platonic realism, or I hope not. Platonism is incompatible with Biblical theology and is one of those worldly philosophies that St. Paul condemns. The point I was getting at isn’t that there’s an immaterial world where you can find the number “2” sitting on a shelf, but that “2” exists apart from the physical world of atoms and apples for us to count.

    Like you wouldn’t say that linear algebra was all just hypothesis until Heisenberg showed it applied to quantum mechanics, or view quantum mechanics as a “validation” of linear algebra, but rather as an application of something that was mathematically handed to us “from heaven” (which is the term used all the time in physics textbooks).

    So if there were no universe at all, there would still be only two distinct groups…

  40. Obviously I can’t possibly answer all the questions that have been posed to me. Let me conclude by simply saying that we need to stand ready to give everyman an answer. However it’s not just any answer that we need to give but a good well founded answer.
    Frankly, to much of what is being sold as “answers” is little more than a “hand patting it’s own back.” We need real honesty and integrity to acknowledge that many of our arguments are subjective and even out right wrong (ex. teleological). Continuing to insist on using them is like continuing to use muskets in a day of B2s.
    Convincing people of Christ is not a matter of well honed philosophical arguments but a matter showing Christ in the way we live, in a real non-hypothetical, tangible world. Wasting time on philosphical subjective reasoning is more about making us feel good, than us doing good. One person sums it up well:

    A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. Charles Darwin

  41. Mike B,

    Yes it is a fact about the immaterial world. You are attempting to make a truth claim about the immaterial world – “we know nothing about it”. That is knowing at least “one thing” about it, even if the “fact” is we lack knowledge of it.

    And no, I am not advocating that there is some form of logic “out there” and that we are only privy to the particulars of it.

    Mike I am saying that everything that does exist can not be demonstrated through empirical observation to exist.

    In regards to numbers, you merely stated they correspond to things in reality… measurement etc. Well measurement is a concept as well. So in essence you are saying one concept corresponds to another concept.

    The whole point of my bringing numbers, and logic, and reason to the discussion was to demonstrate that while they do exist they can not be demonstrated to exist through sense based observation.

    The point of that is to say that not everything that does exist …

  42. … can be or needs to be verified through empirical means in order to have a warranted belief in them.

    Scientism demands for such. Scientism demands that in order to believe something to be “objectively true” as Anselm referened, it is necessary to be able to observe it empirically.

    That’s the point of my entire exchange here Mike B. I assure you I am not out pushing some sort of Platonic (or Neo-Platonic) agenda…

  43. I should have read your replies John Lollard … you sufficently answered the charge of Platonism raised against my comments here.

    Good onya!

  44. Larry J Hooge June 17, 2011 at 9:22 am

    More please. Loving it.

  45. I believe it was Billy Graham who explained faith in terms of the tightrope walker (was it across Niagara Falls?). When the tightrope walker went across and back, he asked who believed he could carry someone across and back in a wheelbarrow. Many raised their hands. When he asked for a volunteer to get in the wheelbarrow, only one person raised his hand.

    Science is objective. It is studying the tightrope walker and concluding that the tightrope walker is capable of doing something. Even if our objective believe is a belief in God’s existence (such as Satan has), it is not really faith.

    Faith is subjective. What will the subject do with what he or she believes about the object he or she is examining? No evidence will make the person get in the wheelbarrow. It still comes down to his or her own decision to act on what he or she believes and/or wants to do.

    I can objectively study a chair and determine the weight in can hold, and my weight. Subjectively, I decide…

  46. … to sit.

  47. Patricia Parker March 14, 2013 at 9:17 am

    To say that the creation was not scientific is a misnomer and must be addressed , of course it is scientific..God is the greatest scientist. .. Many people get so hung up on evolutionist thinking that they in my view miss the purpose of creation. The universe was in existence for millennia but the earth was created for a reason namely for an new species called Man. So starting from that standpoint why? The bible has all the answers if we really look, unfortunately too much tradition has been implemented into being truth that the true understanding has been veiled time to get back to the garden and the real truth . Enough of the delusions of those not wishing to be answerable to a greater power than they so they perpetrate their own …. Well there is money in not believing ..books seminars etc. and also the relief of not being accountable to anyone but themselves.

  48. Carlos Barajas July 26, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Science is the search for absolute truth, throughout time and in different cultures mankind has worshiped the sun, the moon, the sea, even rain etcetera, (you get my point), and science has come to understand and explain all those things and phenomenon’s, the further science advances the more we understand the universe around us and we can explain more of it, and something that used to seem supernatural to us just ends up to be something that is well just plain natural, Dawkins main point is that there is a scientific method and there’s a non scientific method to analyze the world around us, science works, non scientific methods don’t, all of you reading this post on a computer that was created by science are witness to that, the fact that science has not yet to explain all of the universe is great, that means we still have a lot to learn.


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