Posts Tagged ‘oxford’

MindAndCosmosBookCan everything that exists, stars, planets, love, hope etc, be explained in terms of atoms & neurons in your brain?

Mind & Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False (Oxford, 2012)

This book, published by a respected atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel of New York University simply states that the evidence doesn’t add up. This perspective from a non-theist is obviously what makes it more interesting. He doesn’t try to guess at what the ultimate cause & explanation of everything might be, but rejects the “consensus view” as utterly feebly supported.

Quote:

I believe there are independent empirical reasons to be sceptical about the truth of reductionism in biology. Physico-chemical reductionism in biology is the orthodox view, and any resistance to it is regarded as not only scientifically but politically incorrect. But for a long time I have found the materialist account of how we and our fellow organisms came to exist hard to believe, including the standard version of how the evolutionary process works. The more details we learn about the chemical basis of life and the intricacy of the genetic code, the more unbelievable the standard historical account becomes. … It is prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection. We are expected to abandon this naive response not in favour of a fully worked out physical/chemical explanation but in favour of an alternative that is really a schema for explanation, supported by some examples. (pp. 5-6)

My scepticism is not based on religious belief, or on a belief in any definite alternative. It is just a belief that the available scientific evidence, in spite of the consensus of scientific opinion, does not in this matter rationally require us to subordinate the incredulity of common sense. That is especially true with regard to the origin of life.  … I realize that such doubts will strike many people as outrageous, but that is because almost everyone in our secular culture has been browbeaten into regarding the reductive research program as sacrosanct, on the ground that anything else would not be science. (p. 7)

I have argued patiently against the prevailing form of naturalism, a reductive materialism that purports to capture life and mind through its neo-Darwinian extension. . . . I find this view antecedently unbelievable – a heroic triumph of ideological theory over common sense. . . . I would be willing to bet that the present right-thinking consensus will come to seem laughable in a generation or two. (p. 128)

 

Audio: A lecture touching on all these elements by John Lennox.

Bertrand Russell (British mathematician & philosopher) described a common materialist position when he said:

“Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be attainable by scientific methods, and what science cannot discover, mankind cannot know.”

Note, however, that this statement is extreme Scientism and that it is logically incoherent in itself. It is not a statement of science but an article of blind faith. Thus by its own assertion we cannot know if it is true. Note the use of the term “blind faith” because it likely describes a belief held in spite of evidence.

John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Oxford, observes that Scientism even denies the validity of any non-scientific fields such as philosophy, ethics, literature, poetry, art and music. He also said:

“Science can tell you that if you add strychnine to someone’s drink, it will kill her, but it cannot tell you whether it is morally right or wrong to put strychnine in your grandmother’s tea in order to get your hands on her property.”

It is, as obviously true to most people, possible to have such knowledge of right and wrong, even though it is clearly beyond the scope of science.