Christianity and the Nature of Science.

Reading “Christianity and the Nature of Science.” By JP Moreland.
Enjoying learning how philosophy relates to science.

The philosophical presuppositions of science, he points out, are: (My thoughts in parentheses).

(1) The existence of a theory-independent, external world;

(This world we live in, exists independent of our theories about it. They are mere descriptions and observations how we see the world operating. If the laws/statements we make about it, we would be able to make perfect predictions about how nature operates, but such is not the case.)

(2) the orderly nature of the external world;

(If nature were not ordered, but were random and chaotic, it would be unintelligible and not available for our rational minds to study and make ordered statements about.)

(3) the knowability of the external world.

(There is a world independent of our minds and we are capable of knowing, even in part, its truths.)

(4) the existence of truth.

(This seems self explanatory, but if there weren’t truths to be discovered, any quest for truth would be futile. Science must be properly recognized as a human pursuit of truth.)

(5) the laws of logic.

(Logic being, the rules and principles for determining intelligibility and drawing proper inferences, including deductive, inductive and adductive. These rules are normative and tell us what we ought to think and infer. Appropriate rules are derived from a specific set of principles which are true propositions, that refer to relations among concepts and meanings.

Logic is a necessary precondition for the scientist to stand in a subject/object relation to their experiment and to make intelligible statements about it. )

(6) the reliability of our cognitive and sensory faculties to serve as truth gatherers and as source of justified true beliefs in our intellectual environment.

(Our senses have, according to some, been given to us by a blind random process of evolution, which hardly provides justification for our rational minds and senses, which did not evolve for truth, but for survival.)

(7) the adequacy of language to describe the world.

(This seems pretty obvious, but how do we know our language is capable of making accurate statements about the world, without begging the question?! Our language is based off of concepts we have of the world and our words are references to certain ideas and entities. If our language did not have, or was not capable of referencing objects in reality, it would not be capable of expressing, or containing human knowledge.)

(8) the existence of values used in science (e.g., “test theories fairly and report test results honestly”);

(This is a branch of philosophy, known as “ethics”. How is knowledge to be treated, or reported? Truth gathering/reporting. Does one remain committed to a pet theory and play with the numbers, so their theory holds, or are their procedures and outcomes accurately reported to the scientific community. If one wishes to be truly objective in science, the retention of embarrassing material is crucial, or material disfavourable to their pet theory.)

(9) the uniformity of nature and induction;

(If nature were not uniform, experiments, that involve repeatability, could not be performed and no conclusions could be reached. )

(10) the existence of numbers.

(Are there the existence of numbers or abstract entities, such as numbers? Are they universals, like colours? Without numbers, and their reality, experiments and data could not be quantified.)

Recognizing that science has presuppositions, and knowing what they are, I believe, is important as recognizing it as a human pursuit. Knowledge is not pursuing us, we are seeking to acquire it and express it validly.


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