I honestly don’t understand what you mean when you bring words like “demonstrably reflect reality” into a debate about which epistemology we should use to study what reality is. This is putting the cart before the horse.
It’s not putting the cart before the horse. As I have explained (several times), epistemologies can be tested. If they are completely untestable we can discard them out of hand. If they are tested and they fail, we can discard them. If we test them and they pass, then we can use them.
Previously, I asked you to define terms like this (i.e. what do you think “facts” are), but you then accused me of playing word games, which is not a dialogic response at all.
I think it is a dialogic response. It’s just frustrating for you because I am not interested in abandoning the original topic for a different topic.
If we want to continue in this discussion, then you have to explain to me what you mean by a “demonstration”…
I have already explained this. I told you what I meant by a demonstration; explanatory power and makes accurate predictions. This was in one of my first posts in this exchange.
…and why your definition of a demonstration is one which everyone has to accept.
Oh you don’t have to accept that as a demonstration of reality at all, if you don’t want to. But you will need to come up with a good explanation of why you won’t accept it. If you’re an epistemological relativist (as you seem to be), them I I guess you don’t care which epistemology is used, as long as it gets the results people want.
There are certain metrics we can use, but they’re not completely model independent.
Finally you agree there are some metrics we can use. So what if they aren’t completely model independent?
I believe in an old Earth and all the mainstream conclusions of physics, but that’s because I accept the starting presuppositions of empirical science: for example, that natural laws and order exist in the world, and that they have always existed in this way (such that we can make inferences about the past). I cannot demonstrate this scientifically nor logically, as Hume famously pointed several hundred years ago.
There are multiple lines of scientific evidence indicating that they have always existed in the past. Remember these are not just funny ideas people invented and then decided to use without actually ever testing them. They are not presuppositions. They are conclusions people arrived at as a result of a lengthy and rigorous application of the scientific method, even in the face if immense resistance from people who did have presuppositions.
These are not just assumptions, or mere presuppositions; they are conclusions which have been tested and shown both persistent resistance to falsification, as well as accurate predictions. They are not presuppositions. This is why scientists don’t concern themselves with Hume when they do science; he can stay in philosophy class, while scientists get on with reality.
In other words, I craft the basic beliefs of my personal epistemology based on a combination of personal intuition and internal consistency.
So you don’t ever actually base your basic beliefs on anything like the scientific method, or any kind of metrics? You just go on gut feelings and hunches?
In principle, there is nothing to prevent me from rejecting the belief that other minds exist, for example. You cannot say that such a position is at odds with “reality”, because that would assume that these minds actually exist in reality.
I can say that it is completely at odds with what we can verifiably observe accurately about the reality of other minds. This being the case, your rejection of other minds would be irrational.
Why does a YEC have to accept your metrics? Because these metrics are “part of reality”? How do you know what is reality?
I have explained this earlier in my post.
Again, if God is part of reality, then the theologian does deal with facts about God.
Please stop changing the subject. The subject is not “whether theologians deal with facts about God”. The subject is “whether theologians are authorities on reality”. What you’re saying sounds like this.
- Theologians study God.
- God is part of reality.
- Therefore theologians are authorities on reality, and consequently the best people to consult on all matters pertaining to reality (scientists go home).
If that’s what you think, walk me through the logic, because that’s logically dislocated (non sequitur). If it isn’t what you think, feel free to correct me.
The theologian might not be an authority on science (that would be best left to scientists), but the theologian is an authority on things relating to God, such as his nature and revelation.
The theologian is an authority on textual and historical sources on which theology is based. The theologian is not an authority on God’s nature, or on God’s revelation. You seem to vastly over-estimate the extent of the theologian’s knowledge. This is how I see it.
- Facts about texts and other historical artifacts. Theologians can become authoritative on these facts with a high degree of certainty.
- Facts about what texts and other historical artifacts were intended to mean by their writers and creators. Theologians can become authoritative on these facts with a relatively high degree of certainty.
- Facts about what texts and other historical artifacts tell us about God. Theologians can become authoritative on these facts with a reasonable degree of certainty.
- Facts about God (not interpretations of texts and other historical artifacts which tell us about God). Theologians are not authoritative on this subject at all. Here we are firmly in the realm of opinion.
If theologians have authoritative knowledge about language, history, etc., what prohibits them from logically reasoning from this knowledge to conclusions about God and His actions in the world? Why would such conclusions constitute mere “opinion”?
Nothing is preventing them from performing such reasoning. But their conclusions remain opinion unless they are verifiable. Some theologians tell us, on the basis of many Bible verses, that God has a physical body, and it’s the same size as ours. No matter how many Bible verses they throw at us, this is nothing more than opinion.
Also I would say many theological conclusions are “falsifiable”, at least no less than conclusions in history or other non-scientific fields are. For example, a theologian argues for the Trinity by interpreting the biblical “data”. If someone finds verses in the Bible which could be interpreted otherwise, that could potentially falsify that conclusion.
Yes. This is why there’s a general scholarly consensus that the Trinity was not known to either the original Hebrews or to the first century Christians, and was instead a theological invention cobbled together after several centuries of theological squabbling and attempting to find a “best fit” between various theologians’ unverifiable opinions about God.
The existence of bad or dogmatic theologians doesn’t destroy the overall legitimacy of theology as an academic enterprise, anymore than the existence of bad scientists and bad science damages the legitimacy of science.
Why do you keep trying to change the subject? The subject is not “whether theology is a legitimate academic exercise”, the subject is “whether theologians are authorities on reality”. If they were, then we could go to them on any subject about reality and they would give us authoritative answers. But they are not.
Additionally, I gave those examples specifically to demonstrate that when theologians try to be authorities on reality, they typically fail dismally. They need to stay in their lane. When YEC theologians try to tell us about the universe and the age of the earth, we know to ignore them because they are speaking from a position of ignorance, not authority.
There are also scientists who are dogmatic and refuse to change their beliefs even in the light of new evidence. Why can’t the sometimes dogmatic, sometimes evolving views of theologians be considered in a similar light?
Secondly, even if there is change, there is a lot of evidence that there are certain things regarded as consensus among theologians. For example, most Christian theologians who accept the Bible as authoritative, divine revelation agree that God is a Trinity. This has been true for at least 1700 years.
And as I mentioned, there’s a general consensus that the Trinity was not what the original Christians believed, and that Christ did not consider himself to be God. So we have a clash of authority; Christ and the first Christians on the one hand, and theologians (supposed “authorities on reality”), on the other hand. Who to believe? People like Christ himself, or several centuries of bickering theologians trying to enforce a belief in theological gibberish?
Theologians to this day cannot agree on how the Trinity is supposed to work, and every time they try they just make more things up. Please do let me know how theologians verify the nature of God’s hypostases, or validate a “Social Trinity” model as opposed to a “Positive Mysterian” view or a “Temporal Parts Monotheism” view. Do they put God under a microscope? Take samples? Do blood tests?
No, but this is a completely irrelevant and baffling question. When I study physics I consult physicists. When I study God I consult theologians. In both cases, I’m trying to study reality.
Thank you. Two points then.
- Theologians are not authorities on reality, or you would not need to consult physicists. You could just consult theologians.
- To use your words, “There is no justification to put this arbitrary differentiation between natural science and theology”. True or false?