The fallacy of science

I came across Clark’s analysis of the problem of science many years ago in college.    I got a lot of liberal Baptists upset and uncomfortable with just one argument.  It looked like I was attacking their gods. I was using one of their gods (“logic”) to kill another of their gods (“science”).  It was awkward.  I subsequently forgot about Clark’s argument until recently.

As Gary Crampton writes,

All scientific experiments commit the fallacy of asserting the consequent.In syllogistic form this is expressed as: “If p, then q. q; therefore, p.” Bertrand Russell, certainly no friend of Christianity, stated it this way:

All inductive arguments in the last resort reduce themselves to the following form: “If this is true, that is true: now that is true, therefore this is true.” This argument is, of course, formally fallacious. Suppose I were to say: “If bread is a stone and stones are nourishing, then this bread will nourish me; now this bread does nourish me; therefore it is a stone, and stones are nourishing.” If I were to advance such an argument, I should certainly be thought foolish, yet it would not be fundamentally different from the argument upon which all scientific laws are based.

So when theologians bend over backwards to please the unbelieving scientific community, they are abandoning their commitment to logic in order to do so.

Is KALLISTOS Ware secretly a Thomist?

Somewhere on the Internet or in Itunes is a series of talks Metr. Ware did on Salvation in Christ.   At the very end of the talks is the Q and A.   While it wasn’t related to the theme, one of the members of the audience asked about evolution and Darwin.  Ware’s answer is very revealing, both of his own theology and relating to the recent Protestant converts’ use of Ware’s material.

In short, he answered that there is no contradiction between faith and science because they talk about two different forms of knowledge.  Faith talks about God-stuff and science talks about science stuff (which usually means, “real stuff”).   Whether he is right or not, I ca’nt help but point out this is old-school Christian Century liberalism, or at least the two-storeyed universe that critics of Thomism liked to point out.   And he thinks this is a good thing.

As many others have noted, the most Protestant people on the planet are the Protestant converts to Orthodoxy (compare Hyperdox Herman to Cradle Christopher).  To their credit, these Protestant converts are very conservative in worldview and theology.   They also endorse Ware, whose theological foundations are very liberal, even if he tweaks his conclusions to be very conservative.

Some thoughts on absolute monarchy

I saw a picture on Facebook of Gustavus III of Sweden.  Below it was some caption that absolute monarchy was a purely Protestant phenomenon and should be hated and feared by all Catholics. This is part of the larger Catholic narrative that Europe was one glorious peace-place until Luther.  But let’s think about it for the moment:

Yes, there were absolute monarchs in Europe who were Protestant, but there weren’t that many and their actions, while perhaps heavy-handed at times, were no worse than the (then) current British Parliament or Washington D.C. today.  Some absolute monarchs like Frederick of Prussia were quite benevolent and allowed peace and stability in their country to a degree not found elsewhere.  On the other hand, there were other absolute monarchs in Europe who were Romanist, or closet Romanists (the Stuarts in England) who were quite brutal and butchered Protestants by the thousands.


A surprising inference from dyotheletism

Cyrillian Christology says that the hypostasis is the acting subject.  In other words, persons, not natures act.  This safeguards against Nestorianism, and rightly so.

We have a tension in modern Christology, though.  Moderns speak of natures as self-actualizing subjects.   According to McCormack, the 6th Ecumenical Council moved away from some themes in Chalcedon by positing two wills.   While Cyrillians would still say that yes, there are two wills in one nature, but it is still the Person doing the willing.  But which nature is being willed?  Or, which will is currently employed?  The problem is that the one divine person is doing the action, yet it also appears that sometimes not all of the divine person is involved in the action.
This refutes neither Cyrillian Christology or dyotheletism, but it is a tension that moderns have rightly pointed out.

Retractare: New Perspective on Paul

For the past ten years I was sympathetic to, if not openly defending, the New Perspective on Paul as an alternative reading to Luther and Calvin on Galatians and Romans.  I have since rejected this view for the following reasons:

  1. As E. P. Sanders’ own work makes clear (in conjunction with some bloggers at C2C) held to the “merit of the fathers” idea.  This is hard-core semi-Pelagianism.  If so, then the anti-semi pelagian reading of Romans and Galatians is closer to the mark.
  2. The argument that “works of the law” = “ethnic boundary markers” is interesting.  If that is true, though, then how can Paul’s preaching of justification be construed as antinominianism, of which he was clearly charged?   Very few people will infer licentious immorality from the proposition “you can eat shrimp now.”
  3. While I like N.T. Wright’s reading that Jesus was the end of Israel’s exile, this makes sense only within Israel.  As the apostles moved outside the Levant, this message moves to the background.