Frequent ESN contributor andÂ InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA Graduate & Faculty MinistriesÂ Staff Mark Hansard explores David Humeâ€™s ideas in Part 5 of hisÂ series on faith and reason. As you may remember,Â Part 1Â took aÂ brief look at a Scriptural basis for using reason and logic,Â Part 2Â discussed St. Augustineâ€™s ideas about faith and reason, Part 3Â engaged with the thought of Aquinas, and Part 4 addressed John Locke. Image: Sculpture of David Hume. [Read more…] about Faith and Reason, Part 5: Hume
After heeding the Surgeon Generalâ€™s statutory warning that lives, bridges and sermons are not to demise on the reprise of this theme, shall we visit the premise of charlatanism and test its truth and troth. Charlatans are contextual chameleons who can hold a conversation about any topic without having a deeper insight into definitions or knowing whether or not their claims are based on factual grounds. I am hard pressed to meet a Christian or sober-Âminded secular intellectual who will sanctify this concept. A few years ago, an eminent philosopher wrote a masterful essay On ####; an expression that has been bowdlerized into Bovine Scatology for our more august audience. Harry Frankfurt makes a careful distinction between a liar and a person who specializes in the craft of the second letter of the English Alphabet in juxtaposition with the nineteenth letter in majuscule form. A liar seeks to intentionally mislead, while the person who practices the afore-Âmentioned ineffable craft of which one shall dare not speak, is informally speaking, phony. On a personal note, I have been to a few wine-Âtasting events without knowing the first thing about wine. Obviously, there is an element of phoniness at play here, an appearance of connoisseurship sans savoir or connaitre. Even so, sommeliers and avocation-Âseeking amateurs are not the only ones granted entrance into these nose-Ârubbing spaces of snobbery and shallow conversations. Even a die-Âhard puritan is more inclined to pronounce a dire indictment on the â€˜diabolicalâ€™ art of pressing dead grapes and the attendant â€˜evilâ€™ enzymes involved in fermentation rather than anathematize the innocuous act of gathering for conversation. [Read more…] about An Apologia for Charlatanism â€“ On the art of reading much and knowing little
How do you define science?Â What are its boundaries?Â Does the scientific mind have any space for miracles?
The problem of deciding where to draw the lines around science has vexed generations of philosophers. Like many unsolved issues, it has been given its own name â€” â€œthe demarcation problem.â€ Although one can determine with some degree of consensus what the extremes of the science/non-science continuum are, exactly where the boundary lies is fuzzy. This doesnâ€™t mean, however, that we cannot recognize science when we see it, but rather that a watertight definition is difficult to create. The old fashioned idea (still taught in many schools) that scientific practice follows a well-defined linear process â€” first make an observation, then state a hypothesis, and then test that hypothesis â€” is certainly far too simple –Â Miracles and Science, Part 1 (Ard Louis. BioLogos Forum. 06/25/2010).
In the Miracles and Science Part 2 (7/3/2010), Louis weaves together the tapestry of science (experimental results, interpretations, explanations, etc.) and points out some of the limits of science.Â At least one more post in the series, but you can jump directly to more of the material as it’s drawn from a recently-posted scholarly essay.**
So how do you define science?Â What are its boundaries?Â Does the practice of science (or a scientifically informed perspective) have any space for miracles? Do you frame these questions along similar lines to Louis?Â IfÂ you’re uncomfortable with Louis’ perspective, do you have an alternative to offer?