Michael Polanyi on Science as Personal Knowledge

Conventional wisdom would like us to believe that science has triumphed over Christianity because science relies on objective knowledge while Christianity relies on blind faith based on ecclesiastical authority. In solving the recalcitrant problems of life, educated people should rely on the cool and dispassionate judgment of the scientist based on careful research in the laboratory instead of the authoritative pontification of the priest from the pulpit. As Bertrand Russell wrote, “The triumphs of science are due to the substitution of observance and inference for authority. Every attempt to revive authority in intellectual matters is a retrograde step.”

According to critics, Christianity relies on myths without factual foundations to impress emotionally vulnerable believers who accept myths according to the shifting impulses of the heart. In contrast, science relies on rigorous and detached analysis to offer reliable and objective knowledge of reality. The proponents of “strong scientism” argue that something is true, rationally justified, or known if and only if it is a scientific claim that has been successfully tested with a proper application of scientific methodology. To be sure, the confidence of scientism has recently become more tempered as a result of scientists themselves failing to gain consensus on the fundamental theories of physics and cosmology. What has emerged is a more modest “weak scientism” which acknowledges that there could be truths known through other means. Nevertheless, “weak scientism” continues to insist that knowledge gained outside of science is certainly less robust and that science remains the ultimate authority in the quest for knowledge. Continue reading “Michael Polanyi on Science as Personal Knowledge”

Knowing God With the Heart of Love

𝕾𝖔𝖒𝖊 𝖙𝖍𝖊𝖔𝖗𝖎𝖊𝖘 𝖆𝖗𝖊 𝖘𝖕𝖑𝖊𝖓𝖉𝖎𝖉 𝖆𝖓𝖉 𝖘𝖔𝖕𝖍𝖎𝖘𝖙𝖎𝖈𝖆𝖙𝖊𝖉 𝖇𝖚𝖙 𝖘𝖔 𝖔𝖇𝖛𝖎𝖔𝖚𝖘𝖑𝖞 𝖔𝖚𝖙 𝖔𝖋 𝖙𝖔𝖚𝖈𝖍 𝖜𝖎𝖙𝖍 𝖗𝖊𝖆𝖑𝖎𝖙𝖞 𝖙𝖍𝖆𝖙 𝖔𝖓𝖑𝖞 𝖈𝖑𝖊𝖛𝖊𝖗 𝖕𝖊𝖔𝖕𝖑𝖊 𝖈𝖆𝖓 𝖇𝖊𝖑𝖎𝖊𝖛𝖊 𝖎𝖓 𝖙𝖍𝖊𝖒. “𝕿𝖍𝖊 𝖊𝖞𝖊 𝖔𝖋 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝖜𝖎𝖘𝖊 𝖒𝖆𝖓 𝖘𝖊𝖊𝖘 𝖜𝖍𝖆𝖙 𝖎𝖘 𝖙𝖍𝖊𝖗𝖊, 𝖇𝖚𝖙 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝖒𝖎𝖓𝖉 𝖔𝖋 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝖈𝖔𝖓𝖈𝖊𝖎𝖙𝖊𝖉 𝖈𝖔𝖒𝖕𝖔𝖘𝖊𝖘 𝖍𝖞𝖕𝖔𝖙𝖍𝖊𝖘𝖊𝖘.” 𝕵𝖔𝖍𝖆𝖓𝖓 𝕿𝖔𝖇𝖎𝖆𝖘 𝕭𝖊𝖈𝖐 (𝟏𝟖𝟎𝟒-𝟏𝟖𝟕𝟖)

“Love must first open the door of the heart so that it may be persuaded of the truth of God’s grace and glory.”

Mine is just a feeble echo of a much wiser, spirited & courageous man – “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑳𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒍𝒆 𝑷𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒄𝒆 Continue reading “Knowing God With the Heart of Love”

A Solution to the Logical Problem (Alleged Contradiction) of Evil

The Claim of Contradiction According to John Mackie (The Miracle of Theism. OUP 1982) the theist accepts a group or set of three propositions; this set is inconsistent. The propositions are (1) God is omnipotent (2) God is wholly good and (3) Evil exists. Call this set A; the claim is that A is an … Continue reading “A Solution to the Logical Problem (Alleged Contradiction) of Evil”

The Claim of Contradiction
According to John Mackie (The Miracle of Theism. OUP 1982) the theist accepts a group or set of three propositions; this set is inconsistent. The propositions are

(1) God is omnipotent
(2) God is wholly good
and
(3) Evil exists.

Call this set A; the claim is that A is an inconsistent set. But what is it for a set to be inconsistent or contradictory? Continue reading “A Solution to the Logical Problem (Alleged Contradiction) of Evil”

The Problem of Evil and the Best of All Possible Worlds in Leibniz’s Theodicy

The Problem of Evil and the Best of All Possible Worlds in Leibniz’s Theodicy The problem of evil is arguably the most intractable problem facing the theist. The first challenge for the theist is the logical problem of evil which says that the set of propositions comprising the following – (1) An omnipotent God creates … Continue reading “The Problem of Evil and the Best of All Possible Worlds in Leibniz’s Theodicy”

The Problem of Evil and the Best of All Possible Worlds in Leibniz’s Theodicy
The problem of evil is arguably the most intractable problem facing the theist. The first challenge for the theist is the logical problem of evil which says that the set of propositions comprising the following – (1) An omnipotent God creates this world, (2) God is perfectly good, (3) This world is not perfectly good, i.e. evil exists – is an inconsistent set. Holding to any two of these propositions requires dropping the third to avoid the problem of contradiction. For example, that evil exists demands either God is good but not omnipotent (since he fails to prevent evil) or that God is omnipotent but not truly good (since he allows evil despite having the power to prevent it). Continue reading “The Problem of Evil and the Best of All Possible Worlds in Leibniz’s Theodicy”

Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God, Contingency and Principle of Sufficient Reason. Preliminary Thoughts.

I. Kalam Cosmological Argument Without doubt the most well known argument for the existence for God today is the Kalam cosmological argument which features prominently in many debates between William Craig and atheistic thinkers.  The Kalam cosmological argument in its simplest form goes as follows: 1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. 2. The … Continue reading “Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God, Contingency and Principle of Sufficient Reason. Preliminary Thoughts.”

I. Kalam Cosmological Argument

Without doubt the most well known argument for the existence for God today is the Kalam cosmological argument which features prominently in many debates between William Craig and atheistic thinkers.  The Kalam cosmological argument in its simplest form goes as follows:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

2. The universe begins to exist.

3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

This is a strong argument precisely because it is logically tight (an unassailable modus ponens). Continue reading “Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God, Contingency and Principle of Sufficient Reason. Preliminary Thoughts.”

Postmodernity and the Crisis of Truth

Anthony Thiselton links Postmodernity to the crisis of truth. To this one would naturally ask the question, “Why a crisis of truth�?? Is the linkage a matter or causality, that is, to suggest that Postmodernity is the cause of the crisis, or is the linkage merely descriptive? In the latter case, Postmodernity would be a description of a general condition of society where people in general and intellectuals in particular have lost confidence in attaining consensus regarding matters of truth.

What are the contours of the contemporary crisis of truth? One cannot help but be struck by the proliferation of theories spinning across the various disciplines of Western academia. Such proliferation is accompanied by intense disputes with no obvious winner. There is no evidence that the competing theories will be subsumed under an overarching, unifying framework. The resulting fragmentation of knowledge leads to doubts about the viability of the academic enterprise in securing certain or indubitable knowledge

A few years ago, I was asked to respond to a paper written by Anthony Thiselton at a conference on postmodernity. Thiselton subsequently published his paper, but it doesn’t seem like there is any chance that my paper will be published. I might as well share it with my readers and friends before the topic (or at least what I wrote) becomes irredeemably out of date:

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POSTMODERNITY AND THE CRISIS OF TRUTH
A Response to Anthony Thiselton
POSTMODERNITY ON LOCAL TERMS
Anthony Thiselton’s paper has an obvious polemical thrust. As such, it is easier to determine what Thiselton rejects rather than what he affirms concerning the matters of theory of truth. He mounts a strong critique of the pragmatic version of Postmodernity exemplified by Richard Rorty. In this regard, I share much in common with Thiselton. As such, it would be more useful for me to attempt a critical appropriation rather than a critique of his paper. By critical appropriation I mean the need to identify and analyze the dynamics of Postmodernity. By appropriation I mean my intention to relocate the discussion of Thiselton’s paper from an evidently Western context to an Asian one. Continue reading “Postmodernity and the Crisis of Truth”

Limits to Logical Analysis in Doctrinal Debates

Only a handful of critics go beyond merely asserting the charge of incoherence of the Trinity and provide logical arguments to support their claim of incoherence. . . In any case, the task of logical demonstration is not so straightforward. Note that we assume that the propositions are clear and unambiguous. For example, we assume that the particular statement P or Q adequately and accurately and precisely represents essential aspects of God. But the fact is, we do not have any clear account of human nature that has gained consensus, let alone an account of divine nature. In reality, propositions P and Q are read differently (though implicitly) by different protagonists in logical debates.

Only a handful of critics go beyond merely asserting the charge of incoherence of the Trinity and provide logical arguments to support their claim of incoherence.

In general, a logical demonstration of incoherence may include the following steps: Given propositions P and Q, one may demonstrate a contradiction between these two propositions by positing another proposition R (which is presumably true) such that Q and R taken together will lead to a fresh proposition S which clearly contradicts P. Conversely, one may claim that P and Q are coherent if S is evidently coherent with P. For examples of such an exercise, I refer to my earlier articles

In any case, the task of logical demonstration is not so straightforward. Note that we assume that the propositions are clear and unambiguous. For example, we assume that the particular statement P or Q adequately and accurately and precisely represents essential aspects of God. But the fact is, we do not have any clear account of human nature that has gained consensus, let alone an account of divine nature. In reality, propositions P and Q are read differently (though implicitly) by different protagonists in logical debates. Continue reading “Limits to Logical Analysis in Doctrinal Debates”