Junaman thread – Empiricism vs. Rationalism – Pt 2

A continuation of Part 1. [link: original thread]

A: You could say that creation vs. evolution is something of a throwback to these ideas, where creationism might relate more to empiricism (God exists because of the testimony of others) and evolution might relate more to rationalism (scientific method).

J: But if empiricism is knowledge gained through experience, then how would testimony of others be empirical? We did not experience god, or experience creationism…

Your second sentence is exactly it – the theist argues that he does experience god. That’s why testimony can be such a powerful influence on others.

“I switched from brand X to brand Y of detergent, and now it works great!”
-> person A watching commercial switches to brand Y.

“God freed me from my sickness and cured my addiction to drugs and alcohol, and here and I stand before you today.”

Whether or not it’s true is another story, proven by the test of time on that person’s character.

J: Where as with evolution, we have witnessed how species have changed and evolved, and hence come up with this theory, which sounds more like empiricism to me.

You’re right, it was an empirical method. The differences are that one is subjective, and the other is arguably objective. But they’re both empirical.

It’s really the only explanation for the new-age religionists out there who’ve claimed they’ve “had an experience with god”.

A: Actually, faith is totally involved in it. Unless you’re a computer engineer or technician who both knows the theory behind the workings of a computer and has built the computer himself out of parts he has made personally, it would be impossible to say that faith wasn’t involved in at least a minute part of the process.

Even so, he must have faith in whomever sold the materials to him to be as stated. So faith becomes a part of the process regardless of theoretical knowledge and prior experience.

J: But why must it be faith? Why can we not just see if it works, and then assume it will from past experience…

It’s faith because it contains doubt, however small or large. If the computer engineer has one speck of doubt as to who the provider of the materials is he’s building the computer with, then it’s faith. It might be small, but it’s still faith.

A: Interesting. I was under the general idea that secularists were under the notion that ideas of god were more the lack of knowledge they possessed, leading them to believe god was the result of natural and sociopolitical phenomena, not to control populations for political ends (although your example has clearly become the norm).

I don’t see where you get your latter sentence unless you’re qualifying it as a hypothesis of your own (drawn on what seems an empiricist bias).

J: I think that last sentence was meant to be more about the belief in god due to lack of knowledge that science, or anything else can offer them…

I think this means you’re critical of subjective empiricism. I can agree with that. But if you’re offering science (or moreso objectivity) as an only method to the gaining of knowledge, I would have to strongly disagree.

A: Hmm. So, your criteria for proof is based entirely on empiricism to determine God’s existence.

Do you think that’s good criteria?

J: I was partially assuming that god existed outside the realm of rational and scientific of thought, and hence the only way to prove him would be through empirical knowledge.

No, absolutely not. You should look up the Age of Enlightenment on Wiki – the majority of theistic argument up to the point of Darwin was based entirely on rationalism.

J: What would be an idea of god based on rationalism?

How about…
“God” is an absolute objectivity. Therefore, whether or not we believe “he” exists has no inkling on “his” actual existence.

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7 thoughts on “Junaman thread – Empiricism vs. Rationalism – Pt 2

  1. Pingback: Junaman thread « Fundamentalist Christianity

  2. Pingback: Junaman thread - Empiricism vs. Rationalism part 3 « Fundamentalist Christianity

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