Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    Christian Response to "Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy" Article

    Science is not a monument of received Truth but something that people do to look for truth.

    That endeavor, which has transformed the world in the last few centuries, does indeed teach values. Those values, among others, are honesty, doubt, respect for evidence, openness, accountability and tolerance and indeed hunger for opposing points of view. These are the unabashedly pragmatic working principles that guide the buzzing, testing, poking, probing, argumentative, gossiping, gadgety, joking, dreaming and tendentious cloud of activity...

    Nobody appeared in a cloud of smoke and taught scientists these virtues. This behavior simply evolved because it worked.

    It requires no metaphysical commitment to a God or any conception of human origin or nature to join in this game, just the hypothesis that nature can be interrogated and that nature is the final arbiter. Jews, Catholics, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists and Hindus have all been working side by side building the Large Hadron Collider and its detectors these last few years.

    Quote taken from: Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy

    1. The author fails to recognize that some scientists must borrow presuppositions from other worldviews and act inconsistently with their own to participate in science that is meaningful.
    2. The author while suggesting "it requires no metaphysical commitment to a God or any conception of human origin or nature" fails to provide a basis for why one can assume (1) that nature can be interrogated and (2) that nature is the final arbiter. (i.e., he suggests presuppositions can be made without commitments of any kind)
    3. The author suggests value based behavior evolved simply because it worked, ... but to define something as having worked involves making a value judgment.
    4. The author in suggesting the quest of truth "teaches values" fails to recognize presuppostions (/values) introduced to the quest or used in determining the evaluation of truth. For example, the quest for truth does not prove whether tolerance or intolerance is better. Without knowing absolute truth or presuming one end is better than another, one cannot make such a determination.
    5. The author by suggesting that virtues evolve takes from them by relegating them to subjective.

    This is nothing more than post-modern thinking applied to the realm of science.
    I'm sure it's not the last we will see of it!

    MOST IMPORTANT to see is that the author acknowledges HIS WORLDVIEW POSITION does NOT KNOW TRUTH... but is only along the ride which is "looking" for truth.

    James Sire's words on postmoderism are well to be received, when he states "the center holding us in place has vanished. Our age, which more & more is coming to be called postmodern, finds itself afloat in a pluralism of perspectives, a plethora of philosophical possibilities, but with no dominant notion of where to go or how to get there. A near future of cultural anarchy seems inevitable."

    While some scientists may think a weight holding them down has now been lifted, just wait until future decisions in regard to values, direction & limitations have to be made... and scientists find themselves on opposite ends of the spectrum (or without any standard) when it comes to what should and should not be done. It's clear "the quest for truth" will not provide the answer for them (when it comes to those values, etc.), and once again science will not have all the answers for man that some now think it one day will, but again, the issue of metaphysics and the truth and provision of God will come into play and once again prove to be the only source that provides a combination of meaning, purpose, truth, satisfaction and comfort. How dim is the mind of man who has not and cannot learn from the lessons of history or the fundamentals of metaphysical foundations. It's going to be up to Christian theologians and scientists to bring these issues to light, or else we'll have to endure decades if not more before the world comes to see the insufficiencies of its hope and is faced with either looking to the truth of Christian worldview or trying to find another means of trying to circumvent and disregard that which is truth.

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