Category: Series: Of Science and Faith

Of Science and Faith: Revelation, The Concurrence of Faith

by Jim Pemberton

Up to this point, I have made a case for faith based on reason. In this article, I want go back to a section of a previous article that talks about how reason is based on faith. This is the article where I discussed the limitations of the scientific method. The section comprises the first half of the article and is entitled Unprovable Presuppositions.

Of Science and Faith

We all rely on unprovable presuppositions. It’s unavoidable. This is why it is all too easy for one camp to level at the other the charge of circular reasoning. Continue reading

Of Science and Faith: Revelation, The Certainty of Faith

by Jim Pemberton

So what of the foundation for knowledge between the non-theist and the theist, particularly the Christian? (I acknowledge a difference between other theists and Christians because Christianity has a particularly compelling apologetic for revelation. I won’t discuss that here, however.) So I’ll start this article with a recap of some of the earlier material and use it to jump off into a comparison between Christian and non-theistic epistemology, or to say, “how we each know what we claim to know.”

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Of Science and Faith: Series Intermission

by Jim Pemberton

Between a full time job, final exams, and Christmas, I have been indisposed of late and plan to resume the series shortly after Christmas to finish this series. In the meantime, Brett Kunkle of Stand to Reason has recently concluded a short series on a tangential topic, “How Science and Religion Converge Rather Than Conflict”. It’s worth a read: Continue reading

Of Science and Faith: The Scientific Method, Limitations

by Jim Pemberton

In the previous article I stated the scientific method in probably its simplest terms. I also stated it in probably its best light. In this article I will turn the tide and discuss some of its limitations. I’m sure I won’t be able to state them all here. However, I do want to establish two categories for understanding the epistemological limitations to the scientific method.

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Of Science and Faith: The Scientific Method, A Positive Look

by Jim Pemberton

We often hear about how science is based in reason, but we aren’t often taught precisely how this works. We know something of the scientific method, but we don’t know how it relates to logic. We only have some sense that it does. We have come to the part of this series on Science and Faith where I will discuss how the scientific method is based on deductive logic in general.

Of Science and Faith

There’s no need in this series to handle all the various forms that the scientific method takes, so this will only be a general discussion. It will involve the common steps and how each works together to produce a reasonable conclusion. Continue reading

Of Science and Faith: Deductive Logic

by Jim Pemberton

In discussing science and faith, the word “reason” is often bandied about without much to say as to what it actually is. Those with any education in philosophy know of the three laws of logic and how to construct syllogisms. That excludes most of the world. So in one short blog article, I intend to lay it out as simply as possible. The reason is that you can’t understand the scientific method without understanding how syllogisms work. Unfortunately, many scientists, while they know how to use the scientific method, don’t understand how it works logically. That’s the reason for discussing it. Hopefully by the end of the next article you will have at least an inkling on how it works and have a leg up on most scientists.

Of Science and Faith

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Of Science and Faith: Natural Theology

In the last article we discussed faith based on reason from the teaching of Augustine. It follows as to ask what the relation is between faith and reason. For this we will jump ahead in time from Augustine to Thomas Aquinas.

Of Science and Faith

As it is, I’m not generally a Thomist. That is, I don’t generally follow the teaching of Thomas Aquinas. However, he brought up a concept that is helpful for us to think about in answering our question. Continue reading

Of Science and Faith: Faith and Reason

Augustine’s Two Streams of Faith

Scholarly analyses of Augustine tend to differ widely. These can be distilled down to two significant streams of thought.

Of Science and Faith

The first is a famous quote of his, “Crede, ut intelligas.”1 It is an admonition to “believe, so that you may understand.” This may sound similar to the famous philosophical proposition, “I think, therefore I am,” made by philosopher René Descartes. This is in line with Augustine’s thinking that more directly serves to demonstrate him as a predecessor to Descartes when he wrote, “Si… fallor, sum” (“If I am mistaken, I am”)2. But I mention the first statement for a reason that will become clear soon. The point is that in this analysis of his thought Augustine pointed forward to Descartes. This was the direction of his philosophical thought.

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Of Science and Faith: Revelation

In the first article, I talked about the idea that we need to ask how we know something that we claim to know. In the last article, I talked about how Christians believe that there is more than one kind of substance. So to combine the two, we as Christians need to answer the question how we know that this is true. I also observed that monists, particularly the naturalists today, need to be able to answer the question how they know that there is no other substance than that which we experience.

Of Science and Faith

For both of us, in order to answer the question, we need to have information from other kinds of substance. This poses a problem for naturalists since they don’t believe that there is another substance. This assumption requires two things: Continue reading

Of Science and Faith: Substance

In this series I am discussing a few key philosophical categories. Last time, I discussed epistemology. At the end of that discussion I brought up the idea that God is of a different stuff than the created world.

Of Science and Faith

The philosophical idea of different stuff is often called substance. Substance is that of which things are made. I’m not talking about the periodic table elements… per se. All of the elements that we are familiar with are of the same substance: matter. Inasmuch as matter can be converted to energy, energy is of the same substance as matter. But we have to ask ourselves if this is the only kind of substance that exists.

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Of Science and Faith: How Do We Know?

Introduction

It was said by theologians in the Middle Ages that philosophy is the handmaiden of theology. It is recognized that philosophy generated religious movements and Christian theology, in particular, was forged on the anvil of clashing philosophical movement. While we are admonished by Paul not to be swayed by the philosophies of men (Col 2:8), it is precisely in observing where people have been led astray with philosophy that we have learned what the scriptures do not mean.

In this light, it is helpful to understand philosophy so as not to be held captive by it. And it is in the study of philosophy that we learn that there are helpful categories for helping us understand the Bible correctly. In this series, I will talk about the central categories that help give us a foundation for understanding. Then I will discuss at least one of the philosophical systems that are leading people astray today.

Of Science and Faith

How Do We Know?

Perhaps the most foundational area of philosophical thought is epistemology. The word epistemology literally means the “study of knowledge” and it deals with theories of how we know things. Epistemology is the answer to the question, “How do you know?” Continue reading