Archive for ‘Science and Religion’

March 4th, 2014

God, Man, the World and Ontological Relations

by Max Andrews

God created both us and our world in such a way that there is a certain fit or match between the world and our cognitive faculties.  This is the adequation of the intellect to reality (adequation intellectus ad rem).  The main premise to adequation intellectus ad rem is that there is an onto-relationship between our cognitive or intellectual faculties and reality that enables us to know something about the world, God, and ourselves.[1]  This immanent rationality inherent to reality is not God, but it does cry aloud for God if only because the immanent rationality in nature does not provide us with any explanation of itself.[2]

In reality all entities are ontologically connected or interrelated in the field in which they are found.  If this is true then the relation is the most significant thing to know regarding an object.  Thus, to know entities as they actually are is to know what they are in their relation “webs”.  Thomas Torrance termed this as onto-relations, which points more to the entity or reality, as it is what it is as a result of its constitutive relations.[3]

March 3rd, 2014

The Problem of Bad “Biblical” Rhetoric

by Max Andrews

If we are pursuing truth then there are many means to discovering what the truth is [about God, reality, etc.]. It’s incredibly naïve to dismiss something because it is not in a preferred category. If we are pursing truth then it would be a category error to dismiss a challenging viewpoint simply because of categorically dismissiveness. Throwing words around like unbiblical, sub-biblical, and non-biblcal are rhetorical devices used in a debate when both parties (or more) believe that they are defending a biblical position. You may believe that something is one of the aforementioned categories but to continuously bring it up is quite the rhetorical effort, and I admit, probably effective to the listeners and debaters, but it doesn’t help and it’s simply annoying. The same thing goes for the claim of “meaningful exegesis” (some people may recognize that line). The two parties in the debate sincerely believe they are doing meaningful exegesis but it simply rhetoric and places the person categorically below the other one by trumpeting their position as being [the only] biblical position. It’s like political public opinion. If you repeat something long enough, be it true or not true, they’re going to start believing it (analogically speaking, the audience or listeners).

November 20th, 2013

When Asked if I was Surprised to Find Evidence for a Young Earth

by Max Andrews

Several years ago I was taking a [required] course that teaches creationism. I have a few comments about the course I’ll keep to myself [as in it shouldn't be in the university] but I think most readers know where I stand on university and academia issues and standards. I was asked the question, “Is it surprising that scientific evidence supports a young earth perspective?”

My response is simply that this is a loaded question.  I don’t think I can say there’s no evidence for a young earth; however, I find the record of nature to support the proposition that the universe is old (billions of years) by overwhelming evidence.  There is hardly any evidence for a young earth, if indeed there is any at all.

September 8th, 2013

New Study Suggesting that Near Death Experiences are Electrical Surges in the Brain Doesn’t Explain Everything

by Max Andrews

Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 1.33.32 AMThe recent paper “The Surge of Neurophysiological Coherence and Connectivity in the Dying Brain” published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences argued that Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are a result of heightened states of consciousness just before death.

The research doesn’t explain all the data and assumes naturalism in its hypothesis.

The authors reasoned “that if NDE stems from brain activity, neural correlates of consciousness should be identifiable in humans or animals after cessation of cerebral blood flow” (p. 1). This begs the questions in favor of naturalistic mechanisms involved in NDEs. What this hypothesis does demonstrate is the physical correlation between the experiences and the physical mechanisms involved.

July 31st, 2013

Q&A 30: Does Ken Ham Preach Heresy?

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion:

Max:

My final e-mail about YE matters:

I wrote the following to the elders I correspond with at [a church]*. They replied that heresy was probably too strong a word to apply to Ken Ham. I’m not sure I’m persuaded.

June 9th, 2013

The Philosophy of Science Directory

by Max Andrews

This is a compilation of posts, which focus on the philosophy of science. These posts will cover a broad spectrum within the philosophy of science ranging from multiverse scenarios, scientific theory, epistemology, and metaphysics.

  1. MA Philosophy Thesis: “The Fine-Tuning of Nomic Behavior in Multiverse Scenarios”
  2. Natural Law and Scientific Explanation
  3. Science and Efficient Causation
  4. Which Comes First, Philosophy or Science?
  5. The Postulates of Special Relativity
  6. There’s No Such Thing as Creation Science–There’s Just Science
  7. Time Travel and Bilking Arguments
  8. “It’s Just a Theory”–What’s a Scientific Theory?
  9. Exceptions to a Finite Universe
  10. Teleology in Science
  11. Duhemian Science
  12. The Relationship Between Philosophy and Science
  13. The History of the Multiverse and the Philosophy of Science
  14. Where’s the Line of Demarcation Between Science and Pseudoscience?
  15. Miracles and the Modern Worldview
  16. Mass-Density Link Simpliciter
  17. Scientific Nihilism
  18. Q&A 10: The Problem of Defining Science
  19. Q&A 6: Scientism and Inference to the Best Explanation
  20. The Quantum Universe and the Universal Wave Function
  21. The History and Macro-Ontology of the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics
    read more »

February 14th, 2013

Max Tegmark on Religion and Science

by Max Andrews

The bulk of my graduate research is focused on the work and thought of Max Tegmark, an MIT astrophysicist/cosmologist, who’s responsible for a tremendous contribution to multiverse models. In honor of Charles Darwin’s 204th birthday he did an article for the Huffington Post, “Celebrating Darwin: Religion and Science are Closer Than You Think.” There are some very interesting survey results regarding faith and conflict between evolution and big bang cosmology.

So is there a conflict between science and religion? The religious organizations representing most Americans clearly don’t think so. Interestingly, the science organizations representing most American scientists don’t think so either: For example, the American Association for the Advancement of Science states that science and religion “live together quite comfortably, including in the minds of many scientists.” This shows that the main divide in the U.S. origins debate isn’t between science and religion, but between a small fundamentalist minority and mainstream religious communities who embrace science.

January 10th, 2013

Michael Ruse on Creation Science

by Max Andrews

ruseMichael Ruse classifies creation science as pseudoscience. Additionally, what makes creation science so unattractive is that it is completely void of the possibility of being falsifiable unless the antecedent conditions (the interpretation) have been falsified.  This makes the issue of accounting for anomalies so absurd that creation science doesn’t really account for anomalies; rather, it produces extreme ad hoc explanations to account for contradictions to its theory.   There’s a distinction between anomalies and refutations.   Refutations are falsifiers.  Additionally, scientific theories are true regardless of any religious understanding.  Religious belief, like I mentioned earlier, begs the question on certain scientific matters.  Religious belief, when used as a hermeneutic for interpreting scientific data and developing scientific theories, is also a controversial methodology.  Its appeal to method isn’t necessarily objective (as close to objectivity can be) and is not commonly accepted (though not to be used as an argumentum ad populum).

September 16th, 2012

The Case for Day-Age Creation

by Max Andrews

By Hugh Ross

No one approaches the Bible completely free of bias. Mine was a secularist’s assumption that this book, like other texts considered “sacred,” would be easy to dismiss as a culturally important yet humanly crafted document. I did not disbelieve in a Being beyond the universe. I had studied enough to see growing evidence for the universe’s transcendent beginning and, thus, the reality of a transcendent Beginner. I felt no compelling need, however, to find the Bible either true or false.

Some may consider my early attraction to astronomy as a bias, but I see no basis for discounting a researcher’s truth filters — such as the rules of logic and evidence — as if they are inappropriate study tools. So this is where I started. I could not have imagined where my inquiry would lead.

From where I stand today, with full confidence in the truth of Scripture and high regard for the prolific scientific enterprise that sprang from widespread access to the Bible, I cannot help but wonder if something other than exegetical difficulties is fueling the creation controversy. The push to choose either a high view of the Bible or a high view of nature’s record seems to come from a sense of vulnerability — an apprehension that discoverable facts might somehow, someday clash irreconcilably with biblical theology. And then what? I simply do not see that danger as real. God’s constancy and consistency of character, observed in both Scripture and nature, takes it away.

August 21st, 2012

The Magis Center for Reason and Faith

by Max Andrews

A reader of the blog recently contacted me about the Magis Center for Reason and Faith. I’ve since added it to the Resources page. A few years ago I was able to listen to Fr. Robert Spitzer give a presentation on the fine-tuning of physics. (I don’t remember if you can see me in the video but I’m in the house right.) There’s a wonderful resource, the Physics FAQ, which I’ve linked below.

The Magis Center of Reason and Faith is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to explaining the consistency between science and spirituality in contemporary physics. In the past ten years, implications of transcendence in physics, philosophy of mathematics, and metaphysics have become more pronounced. Indeed, no other decade in history has revealed more or better evidence for God. So what is this evidence?