"Reconciling" science and theism. A perspective from a non scientist


(Dale Cutler) #101

“Anyone who chooses to believe in a Universal Creator is standing on ground as solid as a scientist who denies Creative Purpose as First Cause. Because of the laws these same scientists have discovered, there is absolutely no way to tell what made it happen. Whatever you choose is an act of pure faith.” - Stephen Hawking

It is not an act of pure faith to recognize that God exists and is the Creator. There is plenty of evidence, and big bang cosmology is just the beginning, literally and figuratively.

(Neil Rickert) #102

I don’t agree with Hawking (as quoted). But then I don’t deny creative purpose as first cause. I also don’t admit it. I just remain undecided for now.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #103

Undecided or agnostic?

(Neil Rickert) #104

I’m not sure that there’s an important difference. I’m undecided because I suspect that it is unknowable. And that’s the agnostic position.

(Dale Cutler) #105

Epistemologically speaking, it is not unknowable, but it does take faith (as does the agnostic position). It is, however, unprovable, in a materialistic sense.


That would apply to every single belief. Anyone who chooses to believe in Leprechauns that cause mold to grow in refrigerators is on as solid a footing as someone who claims they don’t exist.

How is that evidence?


How does it take faith to say “I don’t know”?

(Dale Cutler) #108

I didn’t say that that was the other evidence.

(Dale Cutler) #109

It takes faith to say that it is unknowable.

(Dale Cutler) #110

That the universe had a beginning is evidence that there is something outside of the material universe of time and space, matter and energy.

You can be disrespectful and call it the green moldy spaghetti monster, if you like, but it would still be disrespectful.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #111

Dale, “I don’t know” and “It is unknowable” are two very different claims. I don’t know the proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem—but I would never claim that that proof is unknowable. Also, there are unknowns which can be proven to be unknowable.

I happened to give a mathematical example but my observation is not restricted to mathematics.

(Dale Cutler) #112

That was my point exactly.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #113

The word know in English has a very wide semantic domain. That is, the word has many definition entries in the Oxford English Lexicon and the many different ways which English speakers use it has no doubt added to the ambiguities and talking past one another in this thread and others.

Many Christians even use know in a faith context with a sense of certainty that most non-Christians here would find illogical and baffling. Many non-theists (as well as others) would also consider knowing to require either an empirical foundation or a logical-mathematical proof as justification.

Are the words faith and knowing antonyms? It depends on who you ask. (Unfortunately, Richard Dawkins favorite amateur definition of faith as “something for which one has no evidence” is far from reflective of the Biblical usage of the word faith, for which the underlying Greek word is PISTIS.)


It doesn’t take faith to say “I don’t know”.


How is that evidence for a deity?

Just pointing out the inanity of expecting people to disprove an unfalsifiable belief.

(Dale Cutler) #116

I never said it did, nor did I imply it.

(Dale Cutler) #117

It is evidence for the existence of something immaterial outside of the material universe. And pretty much by definition, God is immaterial and not constrained by the universe. Denying it as evidence is a matter of choice, not reality.

(Dale Cutler) #118

It is also inane to say that the existence of God is unknowable (a statement of faith).


How do you even know that it is immaterial? Why couldn’t something material be the cause of a new universe?


I never said that God was unknowable, if God exists.