Theology in a Nutshell

by Luke Muehlhauser on September 15, 2011 in Funny

(Maybe this sums up metaphysics, too.)

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas September 15, 2011 at 5:44 am

So if there is no scientific answer to some question, then either there just is no answer to that question or you have to “make up” some silly answer to it. Either way, metaphysical questions aren´t legitimate.

I´d love to hear some justification for this kind of attitude. Naturalized epistemologists often assert this, but rarely argue for it. This is a shame, since the very position of naturalized epistemology itself is a philosophical – not a scientific – assertion, and hence, it seems self-referentially incoherent.

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PDH September 15, 2011 at 7:40 am

Thomas wrote,

So if there is no scientific answer to some question, then either there just is no answer to that question or you have to “make up” some silly answer to it. Either way, metaphysical questions aren´t legitimate.

I wouldn’t argue for the position you

Let me be clear that science is not a full-blown epistemology, only a (very important) part of one.

However, just because we can’t hold all of our beliefs to the standards of science, doesn’t mean that we should have no standards.

My belief that I’m communicating with you now is not a scientific belief, however it seems to me to be a rational one. Because most of our beliefs are of this sort, it is clear that we can not get by with science alone.

What is needed, therefore, is an account of epistemology that could be used more generally. Life would be almost impossible if we did not have some way of determining which things to believe in and which things not to believe in. If there was no way at all to tell whether the statement ‘I am sending this message to another human being’ is more likely to be true than ‘I am sending this message to the Flying Spaghetti Monster,’ we would all be in a fix. Without getting into long-standing arguments that have been discussed here ad nauseam, I will simply say that I subscribe to Bayesian Epistemology and leave it at that.

So I agree with the basic sentiment that just because science doesn’t provide a definitive answer to some question it hardly follows that theology does. I would further agree that most of the time theology does not provide very good answers to such questions and that some (not all but some) of those questions are likely to be illegitimate questions for one reason or another.

But it is wrong to say that if something is outside the domain of science that there is therefore nothing that can be said about it one way or the other. I think the cartoonist’s confusion likely stems from the fact that he/she doesn’t distinguish between science and epistemology and therefore ignores important philosophical issues.

Having said that, we should recognise that there is a much greater amount of information entropy on many such issues than there is on issues that are amenable to scientific investigation and where possible we should try to settle arguments with experiment. More evidence is rarely a bad thing.

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PDH September 15, 2011 at 7:42 am

Oops. First line should read ‘I wouldn’t argue for that position, no.’

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Simon September 15, 2011 at 8:44 am

I get the gist of what this cartoonist is saying but I think the dialog is a bit flawed. Science certainly does not refuse to ‘make stuff up’. The difference between science and theology is that the stuff scientists make up is only accepted as true once (and for as long as) it is found to be consistent with empirical evidence.

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Have you seen me? September 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I miss Yud….

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joseph September 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Possible stoopid question #3377:

I’ve just read my first two books on metaphysics, and got the distinct impression that it’s totally useless, next to meaningless drivel that I did well to avoid, as no viewpoint can be adequately falsified, all can be considered equivalent and none can satisfactorally define their own terms.

Any recommended reading material, or is it just circular discussion that goes nowhere?

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Martin September 18, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Joseph,

I’ve just read my first two books on metaphysics, and got the distinct impression that it’s totally useless, next to meaningless drivel that I did well to avoid, as no viewpoint can be adequately falsified, all can be considered equivalent and none can satisfactorally define their own terms.

The problem is you can’t escape it. In fact, your statement here: “metaphysics is unfalsifiable drivel” is, unfortunately for you, a metaphysical statement and not a scientific one.

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Leon September 18, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Being able to just make stuff up is what gives mathematicians their edge.

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joseph September 19, 2011 at 6:51 am

@Martin
Yes, I know, the very thought I can’t avoid such folly is enough to make me want to end it all.

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Long Island September 20, 2011 at 5:59 am

Guestimating my inner sense lead me to this site. I thank whom-ever written and shared information it is an eye opener and makes one think. I was a victim of infliction after a few series within the past four years especially within this past year. I have read the bible and had _> Past Tense) landed into a nightmare, I logged every emotion, hurts, angers and all, questions, etc.

Tell me what kind of GOD electrically zaps you in your personal private areas cause no-where in the bible does it state this. What kind of GOD burns a persons flesh for four years on and off?

Thought GOD is an All Loving GOD, he is suppose to allow you to see faults and flaws, never suppose to be infliction not a way to teach a person to change.

Thought GOD is suppose to heal, been through 3 full baptisms and my hearing has not been restored, does make a person think…

Then one learns part of it is a HOAX, NOW WHAT DOES THIS SAY!!!!!

They claim: Jesus is GOD, God the father, son and holy spirit, but yet Jesus prays to the father then next praying to God. Now does this make sense.

Now, I’m suppose to pray to a GOD and obey commands when he is not physically here to enlighten me himself and per he was here he’d be as old as the bible or even older.
Bible has witchcraft and sorcery in it, so what does this say?

I’m suppose to obey a god who burnt my skin, electric zaps in private areas, now does this make sense???? Being a female and never heard of anyone else being zapped in a males private parts kind of tells you a BIG Something!!!! No one deserves this, this is not god not in my book.

Polotics won’t even get into, we all know corruption very and truly well.

Thought we were all supppose to turn back to god for the better, not to be beat up some more, this is not a god at all. Someone (s) trying to portray god and thats not a nice thing to do.

Read bible and taken me to some not so nice areas, visioned jesus on a cross in a circle of fire from below the ground, now after reading bible, jesus is suppose to above, after searching information read glimpses of talmud or talmudic bible and states jews say jesus being incremented to h-ll. Question is I didn’t read the talmud, so when all this began to open who was playing a game or the game.

I agree totally agree God is not suppose to be a vengeful god, nor jealous nor inflicts pain for pleasure.

Nor provokes fear only to create miracles that the fear was provoked from the start not god to me.

There is the Zohar, Talmudic and Torah and Bible.

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