Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Priori Bias

One last quote from Richard Lewontin in his review of Carl Sagan's book, The Demon-Haunted World. (see last two blog posts) This section comes at the end his discussion on the problems science has when it comes up against the common sense of the general public, who cannot on their own "retrace the intellectual paths that lead to scientific conclusions about nature," (such as the fact that cheese is made of mostly space, and everything living evolved from ancient slime molds in a muddy soup) and must therefore take what the "experts" say on faith. This part just reached out and smacked me between the eyes, for he openly admits to scientific bias against God.

"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."

And if you cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door, you have just shot yourself in your own foot when it comes to ever perceiving real truth. Particularly when it comes to truth that is outside the bounds of materialism. Like say, the nature of the one who created it all, who is outside of time and space. Who is spirit and who cannot be seen.

And yet, whose "invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made..."