Our Existence

Courtesy of Stockvault.net

On another blog, there’s been an ongoing discussion between some atheists and a Christian related to our “existence;” that is, our “beingness” — why we are here, why we are alive and living on this planet. Some would describe it as a discussion related to Ontology: The metaphysical study of the nature of being and existence; that is, study based on hypothesis or theory rather than experiment.

As would be expected, there is a rather significant difference of opinion between the two factions.

The atheists naturally consider science as the most important element of our existence because it IS based on experiments. They assert it is the discipline of science that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions, not only about ourselves, but also about the universe we live in. They further contend it is science that has allowed us to survive, as well as improving our lifestyle in the process.

The Christian naturally downplays this perspective and repeatedly accuses his detractors of believing in “scientism,” which has been defined by some as “a scientific method that has no (or few) limits, can successfully be applied to almost all aspects of life, and provides an explanation for everything.” It has even been referred to as a RELIGION and that its followers worship science, its rituals, and its results! The following from Wikipedia is notable:

According to Discovery Institute scientism is an effort to use the methods of science to explain and control every part of human life, in other words, the misguided effort to apply science to areas outside its proper bounds.

Moreover, the blog owner believes philosophy (the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics) plays just as important a role defining our existence as the discipline of science.

He emphasized his perspective by offering the following quote on his blog by Stephen Barr, author, and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware. I find it very telling …

“There’s a misconception that’s actually at the root of the science-religion tension. Many people think that nature and God are in competition, that if something has a natural explanation that God had nothing to do with it. And, if God did something, it’s supernatural, so it’s an either-or. And, so the more science can explain naturally the less there is for God to explain. But that’s a complete misconception because God is the author of nature.

(Emphasis added)

I close this post with a quote from the referenced blog owner: Science cannot prove that we have a complete picture of reality.

Considering the preceding discourse, what are your thoughts?

Reblog: Other Ways of Knowing

Steve has written what I consider an EXCELLENT post related to “scientism” — a word that is often flung around on some Christian blogs.

So now you know …

Class Warfare Blog

In the on-going conflict between science and religion that either doesn’t exist (because the two are compatible) or shouldn’t exist (because the two are incompatible), science types, like me, are accused of scientism, the thrusting of science into areas of human discourse where it doesn’t belong and, more specifically, stepping on religion’s toes. How dare, the critics say, science tell us anything about morality or aesthetics or … religion?

There are, they say, “other ways of knowing” than science. With regard to religion, specifically. they mention: faith, dogma, scripture, personal experience, and revelation.

So, let’s look at this.

First, what we call science is what originally was called “natural philosophy,” which was a branch of philosophy, just like ethics, politics, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, and aesthetics. When the scientific method was devised to make studying the natural world more effective, many of the categories of nature (chemistry—the study of the…

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