J.R Dickens has already been introduced here. In this post, I look at his post in which he talks about the value of science. He is welcome to defend his post here or show that he has been misrepresented.
He starts with the same argument that in the last post I endeavored to show was erroneous, that is, the claim that Atheism is a religion and even though he says the post stirred controversy, he seems to me, to not have picked anything from the controversy or he would have revised this line of Atheism being a religion.
This scientist openly admits that nothing in the realm of science requires such an assumption—he chooses his atheistic view of the universe as an article of faith.
How this is an article of faith beats me, maybe you my fine readers know something I don’t know and could weigh in on this matter. In the previous post, I did show the scientist is not making this view of the universe as a matter of faith but this is what she has observed. Humboldt, Laplace, Darwin and any naturalists you can think of were not making statements of faith but were making conclusions after several years of observation. Dickens has to present when this position has been a question of faith[sic] for the Atheist!
The reason is simple: in a post-Christian culture, science is rapidly being elevated to the status of ultimate truth—where it bears directly on our understanding of meaning and morality.
Here Dickens is spreading several falsehoods in one paragraph. First, we are not in a post christian culture. The religious control many aspects of our lives, they are busy with how they want the laws to be framed, who should marry who and so on. I would allow him however to show me where there is a post christian culture [ am aware that most parts of Europe are atheistic or secular but even in these places, the religious still have a say]. The second lie concerns ultimate truth, science does not make such a claim for itself. All the scientist is willing to admit is that the knowledge we have is provisional and gives the best explanation of phenomena as we have been able to observe. On the question of meaning, which is a philosophical question, all science says if am not mistaken is to talk of some meaning or purpose is to imply intent on a super natural being we have no evidence of its or their existence.Science has a say in morality.
science tells us nothing at all for sure. Science is neither the only source of knowledge, nor is it the most important one. Consequently, it cannot be viewed as independently authoritative.
Tell me, any of you agree that science tells us nothing? To make such a claim without providing other sources of knowledge is to be naive and besides no one says science is the only source of knowledge. As I had indicated in the previous post, his definition of science must be the narrowest I have encountered. Nobody denies that there are sources of knowledge but all these sources, to the best of my knowledge, to arrive at any useful knowledge employ the scientific method to arrive at their conclusions.
Of all the things that technology can do to improve our lives, there is nothing it can do for our moral improvement. In fact, as technology advances, we see the fallen nature of man devising ways to exploit technology for evil purposes.
Technology of course is impersonal. It doesn’t care this way or that so you don’t expect your computer to teach you how to behave but we can use technology to understand why a certain person acts in the way they do and when does this impulse occur. This knowledge of how the brain works, which will be acquired through the use of technology, would allow us to modify our penal codes and this to me is a great achievement. To imply that man is fallen is to use the theological line of fall of man in genesis after eating the metaphorical fruit [I don’t think there are theologians who take the Adam/Eve story literally anymore].
One person uses his computer to write a thought-provoking blog article; another uses his computer as a platform for electronic crime.
Each person acts according to their own nature. No one deserves any merit for writing a thought-provoking blog or solving a mathematical problem and I also say no one deserves condemnation for creating a computer virus [I will be mad if someone infected my computer with a damn virus though] for she will have acted according to her nature.
Evil intentions reside in the heart of man, not inside the machine. By making this point up front, we’re setting the stage to show that the scientific method cannot be used to make moral judgments. Knowledge of a moral nature must come from another source.
I can tell from a mile away where we are headed with this and that is the Divine Command Theory, William Craig’s favorite argument for morality. I will, however, give Dickens the benefit of doubt to tell us where he thinks knowledge of moral nature must come from. The scientific study of morality together with studies in human psychology, culture and other social sciences which in some way employ the scientific method will be crucial in solving the problems associated with morality. I can say here that religion is not going to solve the question and since we already know Dickens is an apologist for the christian brand of theism, he is far from likely to argue for the science of morality but will attempt to show us that his sect can give us a guide on how to make moral judgments.
When and if he does that, you will know.