Define Universe and Give Two Examples: A Comparison of Scientific and Christian Belief

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Barton Dahneke, 2006 - Всего страниц: 661
Description of "Define Universe and Give Two Examples" Limitations in science and religion: This book addresses inherent limitations and their consequences in science and religion in general and physics and Christianity in particular. It also considers philosophy to the extent that philosophy contributes to method in science and religion. Conflict between science and religion: Adoption of science has often motivated rejection of religion. Contention between these two adversarial systems of belief is due to several causes. One cause of confusion and contention is the differing scopes of the two systems. Science considers only objective facts (and thus considers only the material universe). Christianity considers all facts (and thus considers the total universe, primarily nonmaterial). In the skeptical discipline of science, validity of nonobjective facts is suspect. In the comprehensive view of religion, objective facts are too restrictive to provide total-universe understanding. Because of these usually unmentioned differences in considered evidence, scientists tend to regard Christians as naïve in their acceptance of questionable data and Christians tend to regard scientists as blinded by their narrow vision and lack of belief. The matter is further complicated by awful past behavior of supposed Christians and others, overenthusiastic declarations on both sides, and the issue of scientists considering the evidence and deciding versus Christians simply being told what to think and do leading to the (false) conclusion that scientists are independent in their thinking while Christians are not. Recognizing truth: Another cause of confusion and contention is differing bases for recognizing truth: the vital issue of truth criterion. Both scientists and orthodox Christians generally utilize an inadequate truth criterion. Invoking philosophy does not help because the problem of truth criterion is rarely treated in philosophy and in the few instances when it has been addressed it remains unresolved. In science (and philosophy) no adequate truth criterion has yet been identified. Consistency with observation is the traditional scientific test of truth. But observation is always incomplete and scientific results are therefore inherently tentative even when they are rigorously deduced from other scientific results. In Christianity, an adequate truth criterion was used by early Christians and is mentioned in the Bible; but it requires subjective belief in God. Moreover, this Biblical truth criterion is nearly uniformly rejected in present orthodox Christian belief and practice. As a result neither scientists nor traditional, orthodox Christians have a reliable basis for recognizing truth and have in many cases failed to embrace it. No wonder antagonism between scientists and religious believers is so deep, long-lived, and threatening. On vital issues only few on either side knows what they are talking about and the challenge is mutually frustrating. Demonstrating truth: These concepts and their consequences are developed in “Define Universe and Give Two Examples.” The Biblical truth criterion used by early Christians, explained in great detail in a source contemporary with the Bible (the Book of Mormon), is quoted, justified, explained, and illustrated. Using this truth criterion science and Christianity are placed on appropriate foundations. Both win in the sense that their utility and value are understood at a fundamental level so that they can be properly used, each in its own universe, without confusion. Science and religion are addressed together in this book because their comparison provides better understanding of both, understanding beyond what is provided by consideration of either one by itself. New scientific results: As illustrations of scientific methodology (in appendices), new scientific results are derived for the processes of thermal diffusion and thermophoresis and heuristic results are obtained to illustrate utility of mechanism and to indicate a possible mechanism of gravity. Conclusions: (1) While scientific method seems at first glance able to provide truth, our careful examination reveals that science is unable to positively identify truth. Both incomplete lists of possibly-consistent hypotheses and incomplete scope of evidence presently proscribe positive identification of truth by science. Use of other constraints sometimes imposed to identify truth, such as Ockham's razor or aesthetics or symmetry, is not always valid so these constraints provide no generally useful guidance. (2) Science by itself (materialism) is a circular-logic, intellectual trap wherein one forever seeks universal truth – gratified from time-to-time along the way by tentative discovery of a new, tentative fact or concept or tentative confirmation of a tentative theory – but is never able to demonstrate any fact, concept, theory, or law is universally true. Since every method embracing less than a total-universe scope of evidence is fatally flawed in its potential to positively identify truth, the same trap occurs in many other methods as well. Such a trap is reminiscent of Paul's prediction that in the last days (now) men shall be “ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Christ said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (3) To positively identify truth in science and much, if not all, philosophy, an improved truth criterion, direct access to Omniscience, is needed. This access is claimed in some religious systems and these systems indicate that positive identification of truth by direct access to Omniscience is limited to them. In Christian belief, for instance, omniscience required for identifying truth resides in One who we must rely on to know truth. Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” But He invites all to establish a personal relationship with Him. If one's goal is truth or method capable of identifying truth, rather than traditional-method purity, one will seek truth however it may be found. (4) While objective facts and disinterested analysis are tools of science, subjective facts and interested analysis found in other paths to truth are more complete, more satisfying, and more reliable. (And one can develop and utilize values in other methods as I just did.) Other methods that consider subjective facts are more independent. Independence in science means individual-person or -situation independence, i.e., universal, and universal in science invokes the concept of a lowest-common-denominator consensus. But every person is unique and individual in thought, experience, feelings, understanding of meaning, and faith in God or absence thereof. Why limit one's self to a lowest-common-denominator? Herd instinct, following the crowd, relying only on objective facts one's peers ratify in some kind of lowest-common-denominator consensus can hold one back, if one lets them, from discovering truth, obtaining personal, positive proof thereof, and more perfect understanding of purpose and meaning in reality. While a supposed blindness to purpose and to all but superficial (material) meaning occurs in science, another path available for the receiving either instead of or together with science is not limiting.

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Barton Eugene Dahneke was born in San Jose, California, in 1939. He now resides in Palmyra, New York, where he has lived for the past 35 years.

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