Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Scientific Progress vs. Religious Progress?

This graph, in case you were wondering, shows us how not to think rationally about religion and history. 

My response:

"What the graph shows is how little progress there has been in philosophy and general clear thinking among people who espouse scientism over the past 100 years.

"Science is a means of discovering facts and patterns of facts, comparable in that sense to history, mathematics, the Law, Wikipedia, gossip, and opening the window shades. These are the activities to which it should properly be compared.

"Religion is best understood as the set of "ultimate concerns" that people espouse. Ultimate concerns include views of reality that rely on different means of finding things out -- including all those listed above -- also existential commitment to truth of some sort, even if it's just the purported truth that "I've only got one life to live, so I'm going for the gusto!"

"So in that case, what ought to be compared is not "religion" with "science," but different religions -- Christianity, Pure Land Buddhism, Secular Humanism, Marxism-Leninism, Objectivism, Hedonism, Nihilism, etc -- with one another.

"And then, of course, there is the issue of cherry-picking and mockery as a substitute for genuine historical reasoning."  (Click on the "History" icon below for my attempts here.) 


Crude said...


Pardon the off-topic post, but I'm curious. Have you ever read The Irrational Atheist by Vox Day?

Granted, Vox can be off-putting to people because of his other views, and he's not an orthodox Christian. But I think you'd appreciate it if only because of the historical arguments he makes.

It's also a legitimately free PDF he's released online, so no cost is involved.

David B Marshall said...

I do find him off-putting. And I tend to go for more established scholars and original sources. But I'll take a look, I'm sure it's lively.

Crude said...

Well, the advantage here is that he thoroughly cites his sources for his conclusions. If nothing else, he'd be a good lead for buttressing your other arguments.

David B Marshall said...

Crude: Thanks for the suggestion. I've just posted a review on Amazon.

Zillion said...

Can I get that picture in better resolution to use?


David B Marshall said...

Sorry, that's all I have.