Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.
"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
For more than two thousand years, philosophy has defined metaphysics as the study of what is literally real. The weight of that tradition is so great that it is hardly likely to change in the face of empirical evidence against the tradition itself. Nevertheless that evidence, which comes from cognitive science, exists and raises deep questions not only about the project of philosophical metaphysics but also about the nature of philosophy itself.
Throughout most of our history, philosophy has seen itself as being independent of empirical investigation. It is that aspect of philosophy that is called into question by results in cognitive science. Through the study of the cognitive unconscious, cognitive science has given us a radically new view of how we conceptualize our experience and how we think.
Cognitive science-the empirical study of the mind-calls upon us to create a new, empirically responsible philosophy, a philosophy consistent with empirical discoveries about the nature of mind. This is not just old-fashioned philosophy “naturalized”-making minor adjustments, but basically keeping the old philosophical superstructure.
A serious appreciation of cognitive science requires us to rethink philosophy from the beginning, in a way that would put it more in touch with the reality of how we think. It would be based on a detailed understanding of the cognitive unconscious, the hidden hand that shapes our conscious thought, our moral values, our plans, and our actions.
Unless we know our cognitive unconscious fully and intimately, we can neither know ourselves nor truly understand the basis of our moral judgments, our conscious deliberations, and our philosophy.
Philosophy may be the father of science, but that doesn’t mean it’s better or even equivalent to science in terms of reliability and precision and accuracy etc.
Science may even employ some philosophy, but it’s obviously not the same. There are differences. Most notably: Facts and Testing. Science is the improved child of philosophy, just as other areas of human thought have advanced and improved over hundreds and thousands of years, while still borrowing from their tradition of development.
Given this sudden influx of theosophic Christians, I think it’s time to coin the word philosophism or perhaps theosophism. If scientism is partly the belief that science is superior to other disciplines, philosophism is partly the belief that philosophy is superior to other disciplines; theosophism would be the belief that philosophy isn’t only superior but that it’s only meaningful in light of Christian theology. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard the sentiment being expressed by anon. I first heard it from a pretentious wannabe William Lane Craig. Philosophy is truth-focused, but it can’t arrive at truth without empirical evidence. Like I said in a recent reply, you can argue that all swans are white till you’re blue in the face, but black swans in Australia thwart your argument. If your premises aren’t grounded in evidence, your conclusion is likely false. Empirical evidence, which is associated with but not limited to science, is the backbone of an effective argument. Without such evidence, the argument is at best conjecture and at worst false.
The supernatural is superfluous. Mathmetician Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827) was giving a copy of his work Mécanique Céleste (Celestial Mechanics) to Napoleon, who had been informed that it made no mention of god, and Napoleon asked Laplace “they tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never even mentioned its Creator.” and Laplace responded “I had no need of that hypothesis.”
The reason we don’t need anything on top of the natural empirical model is because it can only be some ill defined conjecture. All supernatural models are models of nothing. Where scientific models attempt to explain the data we have. Supernatural/theological models attempt to explain the absence of data, or sometimes data that is just asserted to be missing; a missing link (pun intended). If naturalism is doing a connect-the-dots (data points), supernaturalism is the little freehand doodle in the margin of the page, free to take any arbitrary form you like.