Two folks agreed with me that philosophers and theologians seek “truth,” while scientists seek knowledge. (See below)
#1 Ed Babinski recently pointed out that science is not a search for truth, it is a search for knowledge. Philosophy and theology deal with the search for “truth.” Iʼve always considered scientific knowledge the “truth,” but as it is always subject to change due to further discovery, I think Edʼs distinction is better.
#2 I see how much attention you pay to me! Iʼve been saying that for years! *sniff*
Although I phrase it differently. Iʼd say that science is about the search for useful ideas, where “useful” is defined as meaning that the ideas allow us to say things about the world that are objectively verifiable (at least in principle) in a particularly scientific way. There are many cases where ideas are kept in science even after they are known to be false in some sense, just because they remain useful. Consider the current state of physics where relativity and QM contradict each other, but nonetheless accurately predict phenomena at different scales. Both are wrong in that both predict things that donʼt happen at other scales, but both are astoundingly correct at the scales they were “designed” for. One day, someone will come up with one or more better theories that donʼt suffer from those problems and weʼll move on to them, but until then, they remain useful.
Edward: Miracles are not “scientific” explanations, they are by definition “miraculous” explanations. The phrase, “Itʼs a miracle” explains all and nothing at the same time, adding not a whit to the sum of human explanatory knowledge. Think of it this way, a scientist transported before the throne of God would want to ask God Scientific questions and would not be satisfied with the answer, “It was a miracle.” For instance, a scientist would like to know HOW God performed each miracle, like how He
- turned dirt into living matter,
- made the earth bring forth fruit trees,
- separated the light from the darkness, and the waters above from the waters below
- By what interconnected steps, either mentally or physical did such ideas come into Godʼs head and/or arrive at completion?
- What is the exact nature of the mental or physical connections that exist in the seeming “tree of life” that God created? And why those connections rather than others? (By “others” I mean, for instance, horses with birdʼs wings, which apparently sparked into the heads of human beings who created the Pegasus myth.)
- How can you tell the difference between a “deceptively natural mutation” and a “truely supernatural mutation?”
- Why take tens of millions of years to create a succession of species and at the same time let so many cousins of that species simply grow extinct in the process?
- Why create the less specialized animals before the more specialized in the cases for instance of whales and birds?
- Why could not an omnipotent being create things wholly specialized, fully realized, all at once, instead of playing round with say, unicellular forms for two billion years before creating the first simply multi-cellular forms? If the environment was not conducive to multi-cellular life and introducing it too soon would allow many species of it to die out, why not miraculously change the environment sooner?
- Or conversely, since the geological record is host to a vast number of extinctions, maybe that means that God DID create many species “too soon?” Many species died before man or sin ever appeared on earth. Why were they created at all, only to suffer and die eons before man was born?
- And finally, there are the questions of the meaning of what God wrote, i.e., historical-critical questions, again driven by a “scientific” kind of curiosity. Though not “scientific” questions per say, they are obvious literary questions that no one who has studied ancient creation tales can ignore.
- Why did God couch his language in six-day creationist terms, even citing the six “days of creation” as the basis of the “rest on the seventh” of both God and man on the sabbath? (Sounds like literal days to make such a connection.)
- Why did God couch his language in terms of animals being created directly from the earth if that was not so?
- and all heavenly bodies “made and set” above the earth only after the earth had been created, instead of before the earth was created, if that order was not so?
- and all the “days” of creation revolving around things created just for the earth or on the earth, thus making the whole creation account sound quite “geocentric” (earth-centered), i.e., to being the account with “mornings/evenings” created on “day” one, allegedly earth-mornings and earth-evenings and the first day on earth, which is geocentric. Then to have the earthʼs land and sky created on day two, to have the earthʼs plants and fruit trees created on day three, the sun, moon (literal Hebrew “great lamps”) created just to light the earth on day four, then earth animals, and finally man, created from the earth. Thus, the whole creation account, every single “day” and “night” is firmly centered on things created for the earth or on it, the rest of the cosmos is practically ignored except for how it shines on the earth. The acts of creation are furthermore all measured in six “earth days” i.e., by earthʼs “evenings and mornings,” etc. How much more geocentric can you get?
Ancient church fathers like Ambrose argued based on Genesis and Job that the light of dawn was separate from the later light shed by the rising sun which merely adds to the lumination of each morningʼs light. Ambrose argued that way because mornings and evenings were created before the sun in Genesis, and because Job mentions “storehouses of light and darkness,” therefore “morning light” was separate from the light shed by the two “great lamps” — the sun and moon that were simply “made and set” above the earth after the earth itself and itʼs mornings and evening had already been established.
I have plenty of doubts. I have so many that I am neither an atheist nor a Christian. However, of one thing I feel fairly certain, if a being exists that is all-compassionate and all-wise, I cannot believe that such a being would cast me into a lake of fire for the commonsense questions I have concerning the Bible and history and science. In fact, an all-compassionate, all-wise being would know of the shortness of manʼs lifespan, what little time any of us has for study, and would likewise know of the pains and difficulties and desires and frustrations, physically and psychologically, and communicatively, that every member of our species faces each day, along with the uncertainties, the multitude of religions and denominations, and surely would not cap that all off with eternal hellfire.
A Jewish saying I read, goes, “Time and God are the best teachers.”
If time and God are the best teachers, then I cannot but hope for all.