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Posts Tagged ‘convenience’

Remember how we discussed how the God vs. Science debate seems to be simply a question of convenience (albeit psychological) rather than a question of truth? Well, recently blogger Star Larvae had an interesting email exchange that highlighted this:

People I encounter who have an interest in speculative cosmology, or whatever we might call our endeavor, tend toward extremes of scientific rigidity or New Age wooliness. At least, that is my observation. I try to keep my thoughts on these matters somewhere in the middle. The scientific types tend to be preoccupied with establishing scientific credentials for their ideas. While I have bolstered my speculations with scientific references, where I am able, I have grown less concerned with receiving blessings from science. My project is philosophical, theological, political, psychological and has many other dimensions, including the scientific. I don’t feel a compunction to position all other dimensions subordinate to the scientific. I think that humankind can be served by conceptual breakthroughs in philosophy, theology, etc., as much as by breakthroughs in science. (Of course science has a certain privileged veto power, and if any idea I propose is scientifically disproven, I will have to abandon or reformulate that idea.)

The context of this exchange was that Star Larvae was denied membership in an online forum that dealt with evolution and scientific development of man, simply because Star Larvae’s work left an opening to consider theological arguments.

I also notice either an outright rejection of God or a tendency to avoid the God question altogether in many science forums–and I think this is as limiting as the outright rejection of science and reason by religious discourse. This can be called “theophobia” and this kind of compartamentalized thinking is not conducive to critical thought and truth-seeking.

I do agree with Star Larvae that the scientific method is a robust one–and is used as the backbone of critical thought. To cement the point, in statistical inference there are two general kinds of errors: Type 1: rejecting a statement when in fact it is true, Type 2: failing to reject a statement when in fact it false. These two errors result from a failure to appreciate evidence, or even a lack of sufficient evidence. However outright blind rejection of possibilities without adequate evidence is NOT scientific by any definition.

The lesson we keep harping: face all possibilities squarely and in light of not just existing evidence, but potential evidence. And more than this: be brave enough to make an assertion and a judgment, and be willing to change your assertion as more possibilities emerge. Static thinking and passive thinking have no place in critical thought.

Between settling for convenience and pursuing truth, choose truth.

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