Thursday, May 09, 2002

God and Man at Blogdom

No Watermelons Allowed has an interesting discussion on Evolution going on. There are several posts above the linked one, so continue from part one up. J Bowen doesn't say evolution is false, and he doesn't argue from a religious perspective particularly, but he does contest the theory on the scientific merits. It's an interesting argument.

Another interesting argument can be found in a book I have read about, though I have not read it, and am not likely to do so. It is titled "Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief" and you can find it here. The book purports to present a scientific explanation of belief, based on radiographic studies of the brains of people experiencing mystical or religious meditation. Both these arguments raise a troubling subject for me.

Scientific research can be boiled down to this: I looked through the observation device at such and such a time, and observed this or that phenomenon. So far as I can tell, this encompasses all science. Sometimes, the scientist carries it a step further, by stating in advance what he expects to see, in order to test a hypothesis. These hypotheses become explanations of how such phenomena occur.

The troubling part for me is substitution. As the "hows" have gotten increasingly complex and abstract, they have come to resemble they "whys." The more complex a “how” and the more difficult for an ordinary person to understand it, the more it becomes its own rationale. Arthur C. Clarke has noted that any sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic. I would submit that the same is true of sufficiently advanced explanations, as well.

This is a theme that I will return to another time.


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