In the philosophy of science, one of the big questions is what criteria are used to distinguish the scientific from the non-scientific. One prominent view, often attributed to Karl Popper, is that falsifiability is the key characteristic of scientific claims. I’m not going to explore that the topic directly here. My interest is not in labeling particular claims as “scientific” or “non-scientific” in a technical sense, but in exploring in more general terms the perceived conflicts between reason and faith in the search for truth.
I often hear non-believers (and many believers too) speak of statements of faith as if they are completely divorced from or immune from the process of reason or the consideration of evidence. From this perspective, Continue reading “Is Christianity falsifiable?”
Religion and science are often presented as being in conflict, causing many people to feel that they have to choose one or the other. The conflict is often described in terms of a historical narrative, which I will paraphrase briefly here in my own words (not following any specific author, but drawing from the observations of various people I’ve spoken with over the years who think this way):
First, there was ancient man, who was ignorant and believed in all sorts of local gods living on places like Mount Olympus, or inhabiting stone or wooden idols. He couldn’t explain anything, and saw miracles and supernatural events everywhere.
The Norse, for example, attributed thunder and lightning to the actions of Thor. Over time, the wiser among men, through reason and observation of a common-sense but not scientific sort, concluded that there were no gods actually living on Olympus and the stone and wooden idols in fact were powerless and lifeless. Yet the still couldn’t explain most of what they saw, so they attributed Continue reading “Is religion always losing ground to science?”