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Creation and Dinosaurs - Page 11

post #201 of 269
I've just read the whole thread, and in general it is extraordinarily thoughtful and respectful. Thank you all!
post #202 of 269
bluegoat - what you said makes total sense to me. and i do understand the distinction between a scientific argument and a metaphysical one. for me personally i think it is reasonable to conclude that there is something...whether or not that something is god.. i haven't the slightest idea i would actually love to learn why you think that it is god.. i discuss this subject often with a good friend of mine and he has challenged me to come up with a logically sound argument for the existence of god. i have wanted to start a thread for awhile but i don't really want to upset anyone by asking them to 'prove' why there is a god or something. i respect people's faith either way and i didn't want to be rude.

my other question is once people have decided that the underlying principle is god who do they get to the belief that god is what the bible (or any religious text) says? i am with you all the way up to that part of it..how do you get from an underlying principle existence to the bible?

and last ... i think i love you. that is one of the best explanations of why someone believes in god that i have heard in awhile. i always hear arguments that are based around what the bible says and what science can't explain. i have never understood why science would contradict the existence of god or why the lack of a scientific explanation is proof of a god. what you said makes complete sense to me. i like metaphysics it makes my brain dizzy.
post #203 of 269
1littlebit - you may find this link interesting.

http://www.existence-of-god.com/existence-of-god.html
post #204 of 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post
bluegoat - what you said makes total sense to me. and i do understand the distinction between a scientific argument and a metaphysical one. for me personally i think it is reasonable to conclude that there is something...whether or not that something is god.. i haven't the slightest idea i would actually love to learn why you think that it is god.. i discuss this subject often with a good friend of mine and he has challenged me to come up with a logically sound argument for the existence of god. i have wanted to start a thread for awhile but i don't really want to upset anyone by asking them to 'prove' why there is a god or something. i respect people's faith either way and i didn't want to be rude.

my other question is once people have decided that the underlying principle is god who do they get to the belief that god is what the bible (or any religious text) says? i am with you all the way up to that part of it..how do you get from an underlying principle existence to the bible?

and last ... i think i love you. that is one of the best explanations of why someone believes in god that i have heard in awhile. i always hear arguments that are based around what the bible says and what science can't explain. i have never understood why science would contradict the existence of god or why the lack of a scientific explanation is proof of a god. what you said makes complete sense to me. i like metaphysics it makes my brain dizzy.
Aw, shucks

So, this is a hard question to answer in a post. Possibly a bt OT too, but I guess the original post has already been answered, really. As far as what I believe in a purely philosophical sense, without the additions of religious revelation, is very much like what was thought by Plato and Aristotle. So perhaps the easiest way to approach it would be from the way the problem presented itself to them.
The early philosophers of ancient Greece noticed that they could look at the world, and study it, and have knowledge of it. They could predict what would happen, and things seemed to work in accordance with some kind of rules that governed how they developed and behaved, what they looked like, etc. They took it for granted that their observations were "real" rather than part of a dream or some such thing, and that the things they observed were real.
They reasoned that all these things, and themselves, must somehow be part of the same larger whole. It wasn't like they were each their own discrete little universe, cut off from other universes, unable to even know about each other. After all, if each observed thing had it's own nature, totally unrelated to the rest, how would they interact? And if something changed, was it a totally new thing, unrelated to what it seemed to be before? If so, wouldn't that suggest a world that was chaotic, not the orderly world they observed?
They concluded that their must be something they all had in common, underlying them. Because they had no conception of the idea of immaterial things, they decided that what they had in common was what they were made of.
They set out to discover that. Some thought they were all different forms of an element, or atoms, or some other material thing. They had a lot of theories to account for why the one element looked different. But there were always problems with the theories.
Plato made a major breakthrough in this - he realized that the underlying thing was not a type of substance, but something immaterial. It was this immaterial thing, which he called a form, which made a thing what it was. The trees we observe are trees because they embody the form, or essence, of treeness. The forms are eternal, and unchanging, and are what make human knowledge possible. (Souls are forms too, he said.)
He also came to the conclusion that the forms point to the existence of something "higher" a kind of unified, perfect form of Being. THat Being was just so potent that it kind of poured forth the forms - lesser types of being, like the sun pours forth light.
Now, that's just a short quick history, there are a lot more details, and Aristotle made changes, as did later philosophers. Aristotle's arguments for the existence of god are found in the Metaphysics, which is a very long dry book, but are related to Plato's, though much more "scientifically" presented.

Essentially, I think what reason tells us it a lot like what physics tell us. Matter is not just material. Everything also has a kind of Form, or organization that makes it what it is. How the particles are arranged, the basic building blocks of matter. That is like an immaterial, mathematical equation that makes things what they are. And it's not like there are millions of these little equations, all unrelated. The whole universe works on this kind of immaterial equation, that tells it what to do, how to unfold, how space and time and gravity do there thing. (It's the big dream of physicists to be able to find out that equation.) That equation, would be the most basic description of something like god - the principle which moves and underlies all things.
Once we have that, there are things you can say about it. It's unified, its "perfect" and so on. Too much for this little post, and it's a lot of work to get us to something more like what people mean when they say "God."

Religion - Well, given the things that I came to believe about god, which were closer to Aristotle than Plato, I was set with the question that has been a problem for many. We can reason from the world to god. But it is actually quite hard to reason from god to the world - how could something perfect and unified produce the universe we see, imperfect and corrupted? Why would it move outside of itself? Obviously, since we see the world, there must be a solution. We see that we are unable to be like god, so the solution is unlikely to come from our end. The solution must come from god, and in fact be part of its nature.
Neoplatonic, and other, philosophers, looked for this solution very diligently. Christianity claims to solve this very problem.

So the question for me is - when the exact sort of solution that would be required presents itself, what would it mean for me to reject it out of hand? Obviously, there is no way for me to know for sure that Jesus Christ is in fact that solution, that the revelations to the Jews or of the NT really are revelations from God. But my conclusion was, as long as I have good reason to think that it could be true (for example, I don't think it was a hoax) I would actually be rejecting the very possibility of a solution to the problem. Because any possible solution would have to require some level of faith and hope, and would probably look as odd as the whole Jusus/Trinity thing.

And ultimately, I found the whole Jesus/Trinity thing made a lot of sense once I started to understand the details- it even reminded me of Aristotle's solution (which was rejected by everyone else.) That big equation physicists look for is just like what Christians call the Divine Logos, or the Word of God, that became incarnate as a man. That is, he connects God the creator and the material world we perceive. The immaterial thing that runs through all created things and makes them what they are.

Anyway, this is long, but I hope it makes some sense - I had to leave an awful lot out.
post #205 of 269
that makes perfect sense. and it gives me a starting point for my argument. thank you.

i didn't think anyone else like to talk about this stuff... i searched but there weren't to many threads that deal with metaphysics and stuff. i figured no one else was interested.
post #206 of 269
Quote:
I think people who believe in god are basically saying, "the universe is so complex it could not have possibly come into being on it's own, therefore it must have been created by something even more complex that did come into being on it's own." That is not a satisfactory answer to the big question. It is just displacing the question onto something else.
Framed that way, no it's not, which is why philosophers don't frame it that way. The correct argument is "Everything that begins to exist has a cause; the universe began to exist; therefore the universe has a cause". As God is by definition eternal, this argument doesn't apply to Him - He never began to exist.

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I doubt all dragon legends are in any way based on dinosaurs. The history of dragons is not actually what a lot of people thing, earlier ideas of dragons were often not quite what we tend to imagine today. For example, many couldn't fly. Many were more snake-like, and I think there might be even a few descriptions with fur.

But it seems to me that stories and myths are full of monsters, and many have only a tenuous connection to real creatures. I don't think we need to look to any real creatures to discover where Grendel came from, for example - he comes from people's nightmares.
Oh, I agree; just as I don't think, say, leprechauns are any indication of actual leprechaun-like creatures. It's the stories which correspond to certain specific species of dinosaur which interest me, such as the sauropod-in-the-Congo legends or the Native American pterodactyl legends.

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my other question is once people have decided that the underlying principle is god who do they get to the belief that god is what the bible (or any religious text) says? i am with you all the way up to that part of it..how do you get from an underlying principle existence to the bible?
Some of the philosophical arguments for the existence of God require certain attributes on the part of God. For example, the problem of unity and plurality (the one and the many) can be solved by theorising a God who is both one and many - the Trinity corresponds neatly to that. The argument from reason demands a God with a logical, omniscient nature (which rules out, say, the Greek gods); and so on.

What I would like to see more of in creation/evolution discussions is a recognition of the philosophical problems of secular science. The whole "We don't have any biases, we go wherever the truth leads us" line woefully fails to recognise that science does have a very specific philosophical position, which is based on faith and involves fallacious reasoning. When creationism, which is openly based on a similar faith-based set of presuppositions, rejects certain evidence because it disagrees with the presuppositions which formed that evidence, it is accused of being biased (or usually far more insulting terms). This is a) ironic and b) fails to engage with the reason many creationists believe what they do, which is primarily presuppositional. I've found in many discussions with scientists or science-oriented folks that philosophy tends to be very dimly regarded (one friend, a biology major, famously referred to philosophy as "not a real degree" at Uni - I can only assume she classed it with marijuana-smoking hazy musings on the meaning of life, rather than the logic-based discipline it is). So the discussions tend to go nowhere.
post #207 of 269
i was hoping you might find your way here! so why isn't this the argument presented by most christians? by fallacious reasoning are you referring to inductive reasoning?

why would science people not think well of philosophy? i would think that intelligent people would appreciate logic.

the presuppositions are the kicker so to speak. unless both sides can accept a common set of presuppositions they will never really reconcile.

what about religious scientists? i know there are some.. i know a few
post #208 of 269
Inductive reasoning the post hoc ergo prompter hoc fallacy - "After this, therefore because of this". Philosophically, that requires some justification to prove that cause and effect are actually related rather than just in seeming. (Some) Christians use the doctrine of occasionalism to get around this problem. Most people just ignore the issue as "mind-games" or dismiss it with "Well, it WORKS", which of course is philosophically a complete non-answer.

I certainly wouldn't say that all scientific types dismiss philosophy, but it's a definite tendency. I think it's often because scientists work with tangible objects, things that have visible and useful benefits for mankind; and modern secular science is at least methodologically naturalistic, if not philosophically naturalistic. So there's a tendency to view science/material data as the "real" and mental/logical/philosophical fields of thought as irrelevant to "real" life. And certainly, if every scientist tries to philosophically prove his position before starting work, most would never get on to actually inventing atomic bombs or curing lupus. So most either consciously or unconsciously dismiss philosophy and adopt the standard scientific position without really digging into the question of whether or not it makes sense. And, although it doesn't logically follow, for a lot of scientists that leads to "Well, my position works so it must be The Objective Logical Position".

To put it another way: Creationism certainly rejects much evidence (data interpreted according to presuppositions) of secular science. (I think it's unfair to say it "ignores" the evidence, as a PP did on this thread. Within the position of Creationism a lot of evidence is dismissed because of disagreements about a more fundamental fact, so while it seems like it is "ignored" it is simply dismissed a priori, which in and of itself is perfectly logical. For instance, if one believes that radiocarbon dating after (er, before) a certain point in the past is inaccurate or invalid, then all evidence based on such dating is rejected. It's not that creationists are rejecting 200,000 discrete pieces of evidence, they're rejecting the principles on which the evidence is created, which is quite different. So pointing out many difference instances of fossils carbon-dated to 65 million years ago isn't providing a "mountain of evidence", from the Creationist point of view; it's all just more of the same. To look at it another way, if a person has the presuppositional belief that intelligent extra-terrestrial life cannot/does not exist, then 1000 eyewitness accounts won't be any more compelling than one. That person isn't ignoring those accounts per se; he's just classing them all together as something which he finds presuppositionally impossible, which forces him to examine the data according to different presuppositions - leading to alternative explanations, say, mass hysteria or hoaxes.)

Oops, long digression. Let me start again: Creationism certainly rejects much evidence (data interpreted according to presuppositions) of secular science. It does so not because it denies the data itself, but the presuppositions which interpreted it. To ascertain whether or not Creationists are right in doing so means comparing the presuppositions of Creationism vs secular science - pointing to the "evidence" is putting the cart before the horse. Thus the question becomes philosophical, or metaphysical if you prefer. But how many scientists do you hear claiming that Creationists are wrong/stupid/evil because they're philosophically incorrect? None that I've ever heard; it's always "Creationists are wrong because the evidence [data interpreted according to presuppositions, remember] is against them". Do you see how that doesn't make sense?

And yeah, I agree that unless both sides can accept common presuppositions they'll never agree. Bad news, I doubt that will ever happen! The Creationist presuppositions are pretty specifically Christian, such that if secular science adopted them it'd no longer be secular science. And I have no problem with disagreement, as long as it actually engages with why the two groups disagree and acknowledge the philosophical issues involved. You know?
post #209 of 269
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post #210 of 269
i always enjoy your posts. i am not as articulate as you so try and bare with me!

the problem with inductive reasoning is that is uses correlation to 'prove' causation? ok that makes sense.. correlation does not prove causation. common sense.

its true that scientists work with tangible objects. my best friend is pre med and she absolutely hates talking to me about this stuff b/c she said it gives her a migraine.

and of course if you reject the presuppositions used to interpret the data then you would consider all of that data irrelevant.

i understand things better when i can apply them to something specific. so do you reject the data obtained by carbon dating b/c inductive reasoning was used to interpret that data?
post #211 of 269
Quote:
the problem with inductive reasoning is that is uses correlation to 'prove' causation? ok that makes sense.. correlation does not prove causation. common sense.
Well, yeah. But in many cases it certainly seems to. For instance, water heated to 100 degrees C boils. It isn't far-fetched, common-sense-wise, to assume that the heating of the water causes it to boil. It works, it's repeatable, we go "Duh" and move on. But philosophically, it's by no means proven, and it ends us being a very interesting conundrum.
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i understand things better when i can apply them to something specific. so do you reject the data obtained by carbon dating b/c inductive reasoning was used to interpret that data?
No, no. (Personally, FTR, I don't have a particularly considered opinion on carbon-dating. I was brought up YEC but am not absolutely committed to that position; I've recently read some interesting stuff on Jewish interpretations of Genesis which makes me wonder about the "Genesis 1 i written as historical narrative" argument; but anyhoo.) Creation scientists use induction too; all scientists, and indeed all people, do. (My toddler knows that drinking breastmilk causes her to feel full, for instance!) The difference is that (some) creationists can justify their use of induction by appealing to the doctrine of occasionalism. That states that in the ultimate, metaphysical sense it isn't the heating of the water that causes it to boil, but God acting directly on the water through the means of the laws of physics (ie. heating it). It seems like a kinda random distinction at first blush, but it's not: it means that order in nature exists for a reason, and there's a reason why heating water to 100 C always results in it boiling. In the context of a larger epistemology, it's related to humans being able to be fairly confident about a number of claims: that the physical universe exists, that reality exists objectively, that laws of nature apply constantly across time and space, that the past really happened, and so on. A secular scientific worldview has a much harder time justifying, rather than just assuming, those claims. I've never heard a decent justification for them, but that's not to say one doesn't exist.

So, getting back to your question: there's an important disctinction between data and evidence (data interpreted according to presuppositions). Creationists don't reject the data obtained by carbon dating - that there's so much carbon-14 in a sample of, say, wood. That's data. But "therefore this wood is 50,000 years old" isn't data, it's an interpretation of that data, based upon the presupposition that c-14 decays at a constant rate. If one's worldview doesn't believe the world was around 50,000 years ago, one can hardly believe that the wood is that old; so YECs say there must be an alternative interpretation. I don't know enough about carbon-dating or the YEC position on it to comment, but I can give an alternative example: sedimentary layers. The data is that the layers exist. The secular scientific interpretation is that they were laid down gradually year after year. The YEC interpretation is that they were laid down quickly as a result of the Flood, earthquakes and so on. Same data, different interpretations, and different evidence given for each point of view.

Then again, there are also creationists who believe in an old universe but young earth (something to do with event horizons, way over my head), creationists who believe in an old "formless and void" earth but young 6-day creation, and Christians who believe in theistic evolution, old earth, pretty much every permutation you can think of. So it's all very confusing. And in each camp there are those who are more and less informed about the science and/or philosophies of that position, just as there are in secular scientific communities.
post #212 of 269
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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Well, yeah. But in many cases it certainly seems to. For instance, water heated to 100 degrees C boils. It isn't far-fetched, common-sense-wise, to assume that the heating of the water causes it to boil. It works, it's repeatable, we go "Duh" and move on. But philosophically, it's by no means proven, and it ends us being a very interesting conundrum. .
lol actually i was saying that showing correlation is not enough to prove causation. heating water, like you said, is repeatable. it is reasonable to conclude that heating water to a high enough temperature will cause it to boil.
however, i read a new article on co sleeping not long ago that said co sleeping increases the chance of SIDS b/c both co sleeping and SIDS rates have gone up in the past couple of years unemployment has gone up too.. are they prepared to conclude that the unemployment rate also causes SIDS?

ok so young earth creationists do not believe the earth has been around that long and thus the interpretation must be incorrect?

sooo way uber oversimplification time. lets say i don't believe chickens lay eggs. if i sit there and watch a chicken lay an egg can i conclude that since i do not believe that chickens lay eggs that must not have been what happened?
post #213 of 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
The whole "We don't have any biases, we go wherever the truth leads us" line woefully fails to recognise that science does have a very specific philosophical position, which is based on faith and involves fallacious reasoning. When creationism, which is openly based on a similar faith-based set of presuppositions, rejects certain evidence because it disagrees with the presuppositions which formed that evidence, it is accused of being biased (or usually far more insulting terms). This is a) ironic and b) fails to engage with the reason many creationists believe what they do, which is primarily presuppositional. I've found in many discussions with scientists or science-oriented folks that philosophy tends to be very dimly regarded (one friend, a biology major, famously referred to philosophy as "not a real degree" at Uni - I can only assume she classed it with marijuana-smoking hazy musings on the meaning of life, rather than the logic-based discipline it is). So the discussions tend to go nowhere.
What is the fallacious reasoning behind science, and why should rejecting evidence that disagrees with your presuppositions not be derided as bias.

In sentences of no more than six words. I haven't slept through the night in four years and could no longer ace philosophy the way I did at college.
post #214 of 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post
lol actually i was saying that showing correlation is not enough to prove causation. heating water, like you said, is repeatable. it is reasonable to conclude that heating water to a high enough temperature will cause it to boil.
however, i read a new article on co sleeping not long ago that said co sleeping increases the chance of SIDS b/c both co sleeping and SIDS rates have gone up in the past couple of years unemployment has gone up too.. are they prepared to conclude that the unemployment rate also causes SIDS?
Pirates! Global warming!
post #215 of 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delicateflower View Post
What is the fallacious reasoning behind science, and why should rejecting evidence that disagrees with your presuppositions not be derided as bias.
this is the part i am having trouble with. it sounds like YEC do not believe that the earth could be more the 5000 yrs old and therefore any interpretation of data that concludes the earth (or something on it) is over 5000 yrs old must be incorrect.
post #216 of 269
Quote:
lol actually i was saying that showing correlation is not enough to prove causation. heating water, like you said, is repeatable. it is reasonable to conclude that heating water to a high enough temperature will cause it to boil.
Depends what you mean. It's "reasonable" on a day-to-day utilitarian basis, but as I explained, it's not philosophically justified in and of itself.

Quote:
however, i read a new article on co sleeping not long ago that said co sleeping increases the chance of SIDS b/c both co sleeping and SIDS rates have gone up in the past couple of years unemployment has gone up too.. are they prepared to conclude that the unemployment rate also causes SIDS?
That's a more blatant example of the correlation/causation fallacy, yes. Note that I'm not saying correlation never does correspond to causation, just that it isn't philosophical proof of it.

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ok so young earth creationists do not believe the earth has been around that long and thus the interpretation must be incorrect?
Yup.
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sooo way uber oversimplification time. lets say i don't believe chickens lay eggs. if i sit there and watch a chicken lay an egg can i conclude that since i do not believe that chickens lay eggs that must not have been what happened?
Three things. Firstly: well, yes. If your worldview doesn't allow for chickens laying eggs, then naturally you will have to come up with an alternative explanation (say, that you were hallucinating). Or you could abandon your worldview. But having an internally inconsisent worldview clearly isn't the answer. Secondly: "Can" is a little disingenuous, as I happen to believe that chickens do lay eggs, so I would tend to find a non-chicken-egg-laying worldview suspect. Thirdly: It's not quite an accurate analogy to YEC. A more accurate analogy would be that your worldview doesn't allow for chickens to lay eggs, so when you come across an egg in your chicken's nest you theorise that it got there from some other source. It's a matter of interpreting data after the fact, not watching it happening.
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What is the fallacious reasoning behind science, and why should rejecting evidence that disagrees with your presuppositions not be derided as bias.
I've touched on the former already upthread, so I'll concentrate on the latter part of your statement. Bias? Certainly. I don't know any creationist who denies he is biased. But why should bias be derided? Secular science and creationism are both biased in favour of their presuppositions (some of which they share, such as the presupposition that the physical world exists); and they are both willing to change their models in the light of new evidence (for example, IIRC creationism used to deny speciation and no longer does).

1littlebit: 5000 years? I've heard 6000 as the minimum, but many YECs believe in an earth somewhat older than that - 10,000-12,000. It's not something that can be definitively determined from Biblical data, so opinions vary.
post #217 of 269
i guess it seems to me like their worldview is based on certain presuppositions and anything that contradicts those presuppositions must have an alternate explanation. otherwise their worldview would need a little tweaking.

if this is the case couldn't you believe basically anything on the premise that all things contradicting it must have alternate explanations?
post #218 of 269
Sure, but presuppositions are themselves not immune from debate. Not all presuppositions are created equal. That's where debates get really interesting and philosophical.
post #219 of 269
i have a good friend who enjoys talking about this stuff as well... and we always start our conversations by agreeing to 3-5 presuppositions for the duration of the discussion.... and then we sort of go from there. i have weird hobbies :
post #220 of 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post
i was hoping you might find your way here! so why isn't this the argument presented by most christians? by fallacious reasoning are you referring to inductive reasoning?

why would science people not think well of philosophy? i would think that intelligent people would appreciate logic.

the presuppositions are the kicker so to speak. unless both sides can accept a common set of presuppositions they will never really reconcile.

what about religious scientists? i know there are some.. i know a few
Inductive reasoning is not fallicious, it is simply what it is. It can't be proven. And scientists are usually quite aware of making inappropriate leaps with it (not so popular media and other people I can think of.) So a scientist would not say, "Well, every time we find thing X, we also find thing Y. Therefore X must cause Y." They would be ripped apart by their scientific collegues for that kind of assumption. Typically, even those who don't spend much time on the philosophy of science DO spend a lot of time on how to appropriatly interpret data - it's a very important part of their work. Of course if the scientist wants to figure out if X does indeed cause Y, there are ways to go about trying to figure that out. In some cases, they will simply state that it seems most likely, but there is no way to tell. In philosophy, many discussions rely on inductive logic, and there are "rules" just like in science - the same rules actually - for avoiding bad reasoning.

The other option for reasoning is deductive reasoning. It has very serious limits, however. The limit is that there are actually very few things a person can say with deductive logic. Most philosophical arguments about metaphysics, for example, are almost impossible to put in terms of deductive logic. People do try regularly to do this, but with startlingly little success, which is why, I suspect, it is becoming less popular as a way to talk about such things. (As an example, I once went to a lecture by a fellow who tried to put Anselms version of the ontological argument into symbolic logic. Well, it just wasn't that useful. Anselm's book where the argument appears has more than 20 chapters - the ontological argument is in chapter 5. The version he produced missed the whole point of the thing - he was unable to see the point, because he was so bogged down in trying to create his little logical proofs.) Mathematics is deductive, of course, but also has a limited scope, since it only talks about quantity.

The important thing is always to understand the limits and nature of the type of reasoning you are using.

Many scientists do understand, and appreciate philosophy, and also that science is essentialy a branch of philosophy and depends upon it for its foundation. But this is less common than it used to be. There was a time when anyone who went on to undergraduate studies would have received a decent liberal arts education, including reasoning, logic, and philosophy. (Now we can't guarantee that high school students will even be able to write, so I guess we are becoming stupid over time?) They went on to study science with that all in place. Now, it isn't even required for science students as undergraduates, graduates, or post-graduates. So it is a problem of education. There have recently been more programs in the History and Philosophy of science, as a field of it's own, been created in universities, and one hopes that perhaps this will begin to affect science programs themselves.

There are religious scientists. Also, you will find many others who are deists or Platonists of some kind - this seems to especially be the case with physisists and mathmaticians. You might be interested in the Vatican Observatory, which is a working observatory with scientists studying the universe. The Vatican also has hosted conferences on cosmology. Most of the scientists are priests. (In fact, one of my dh's university profs was a priest who had been at the Vatican Observatory at one time.)

Religion has typically taken two approaches to reason, both philisophical and scientific - as a way to find truth. One is that reason is the means given us be God to understand his creation. In this understanding, the universe itself is a kind of revelation of God - it is created by him and reflects his nature. THe diving logos runs through it. Our reason can observe this, learn from it, come to conclusions about it, and about God. Special revelation, like religious scriptures, also tells us things about God, often things that reason could not tell us. But true reasoning and revelation could never be in actual contradiction, if both were understood properly, because both are created by God, and God is perfect and unified. THis was the position of the Christian church up until the end of the middle ages, and is also found in other religions. It is probably best explained by Thomas Aquinas.

The other view was described by Duns Scotus, a Roman Catholic, although it is not really found in the RC church much now. It says that reason is fine to tell us about the world, and what it says about the world is true,but it is completely separate from the truth of God, which comes through special revelation. So essentially, there are two kinds of truth.
That POV is associated with fundamentalism, within Christianity and other religious traditions. And it tends to include a lot of very vocal creationists. It accepts science for things like building bridges or producing medical miracles, but not for telling us about God or anything that seems to be at varience with a fairly straightforward understanding of scripture. (Even if it is the same resoning which allows that bridge to atay up.)
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