Allan Ramsay, Portrait of David Hume, 1766. Hume’s our man. He was skeptical as hell but never got all defensive about it. Image source: Wikimedia Commons For the life of me, I don’t know why I care so much about atheists and atheism. Off the top of my head, I can think of two possible [...]
Fr. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan of the New Mexico Province. He was the founder of the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1971, and the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1986, where he presently serves as Founding Director. Image source: Silence in the City Since I last posted [...]
Angry at God. A frame from Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi‘s beautiful graphic novel about the author’s life as a child and teen. She grew up in a communist family in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Image courtesy of Marjane Satrapi and Pantheon Books Is Keith Parsons angry at God? Probably not. The well-known philosopher and blogger [...]
Some years ago, Richard Dawkins wrote an article for the Humanist. The essay addresses the question, Is Science a Religion? His answer is No, and we here at psnt.net agree with him.
There is a sense in which science can play an ultimate organizing role in someone’s view of the world. But this does not make it a religion. As a Christian, I can accept science in a certain way that I can’t accept, say, Islam.
Dawkins understands one thing many of his detractors do not: Accepting the scientific account of the world does not require religious faith. It does require believing some things that are not strictly proven in the mathematical sense, but “believing some things that are not strictly proven in the mathematical sense” is not the definition of religious faith.
This brings up a major point, a point often lost in popular accounts of science. That point is: Science is not about true and false. Perhaps some laypeople think in these terms. The press often does. Science is about (1) what works, and (2) what is probable. But scientists think in terms of probabilities of truth, not in terms of truth itself. As a scientist, Dawkins knows this. He also knows that there are varying degrees of probability. And at some point, probabilities get high enough to become, for practical purposes, truths. But the distinction remains, and all good scientists know it. This is a hallmark of science: It bears its assumptions in mind.
This jolly fellow is Maximus the Confessor (c. 580-662), a Christian monk, theologian, and scholar. He was the first to write serious commentaries on the work of Pseudo-Dionysius, who himself (whoever he was) was perhaps the first true advocate of what has come to be called negative, or apophatic, theology. In negative theology, one builds [...]
Raphael Sanzio da Urbino, Study for St. Paul Preaching in Athens, 1515. Source: raphaelsanzio.org. This work shows St. Paul atop the Aeropagus in Athens, defending Christianity to a bunch of cranky philosophers I must apologize. Twice. Just last week I began my third and final year of seminary. Which means I’ve been reading all kinds [...]
Lisa Perrin, The Triumph of Reason, graphite on paper, 2009. Used by permission of the artist. Perrin writes on her site: “Yes, that is Charles Darwin riding a unicorn as a symbol of ‘The triumph of reason over fantasy and fallacy.’ You might also note the finches with various beak sizes, the slain dragon (the [...]