A Contemporary Case For Humanism

It’s astonishing how much we take for granted what human reason has achieved since scientists have committed themselves rigorously to the scientific method.  The evidence of our rational potential with science vs. what it was without science but with faith is really indisputable:

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Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://imintellegentlydesigned.wordpress.com/ mcoville

    I love the small scale of that video. Is launching a rocket more impressive than creating life?

    If you could only see the big picture you would realize how awesome God is. And see how awesome God is would drive you to yearn to learn more about His creation, that is what drives true scientific achievement. Ask James Lovell, he will tell you what he thought when he went to the moon the first time… He read from Gen 1.

    • George

      I completely agree with you that this is such a small scale in comparison to creating life. I think you miss the point that they are talking about 1000 years of CREATIONIST achievement and not the CREATORS achievement. The point is that a thousand years of narrow minded dogma prevented humans from advancing our society and that once science and its necessary methodological naturalism became adopted as the lens with which we view the world, man was capable of a technological advancement degrees faster than previously possible.

      I would agree that creating life would be a far greater achievement for your God if there were not some debate about who should get the credit. I think you would be hard pressed to make a case that a rocket was made by squirrels instead of man in their persuit of science. Some could make the case that Odin created life or Hindu Gods or primordial soup. The reality is your case that the Judeo-Christian God created Adam and Eve in His likeness is no more or less probable than hundreds of other creation myths created by pre-scientific man to make their kids stop nagging them about where they came from. Certainly at bare minimum equally probable to the idea that life came about in some accident of chemistry on an early Earth.

      The Truth is that if you had no Bible with which to frame your preferred creation myth you would certainly believe in some other myth that you would claim to be true and infallible. I don’t purport science has all the answers, but if you watched the video closely I think you can at least infer good reason to worry that the answers are forthcoming.

  • http://imintellegentlydesigned.wordpress.com/ mcoville

    I guess it depends on your view point of history, we would not have all the technological advance that we do have if it was not for the advance made by those before us. If it was not for the advancements made in math by the Romans, for an example, we would not have the knowledge we have today.

    Just because i civilization did not have access to what we view as advance technology does not mean they had less intelligence. I would argue that if you look at the grades of modern students and the level of intelligences displayed by current college students as a whole and then compared that to the level of education obtained by students in “ancient” civilitations, we would find that as a whole the human race is getting “dumber”.

    And lastly, among the theological community there is no debate over who gets the credit for creation. It is only among the less informed that there appears to be a debate. (Nope, still doesn’t sound rational, hard to believe Darwinists try to use that one)

    I am confident that if we did not have God’s word written down in a book He would have continued to send us prophets that would have spoken His word to us, or God would have transmitted His word to us in some fashion.

  • George

    Firstly I would like to just clarify a point you made. Are you asserting that Hindu priests, Buddhist monks, Scientologists, s
    Sikhs, and every leader of native religious belief systems from China to the Americas (ie. the theological community in the true sense) does not debate that Yahweh created the earth in seven days and then created Adam from dust and Eve from his rib in a singular act of creation in the Judeo-Christian tradition? Because until you posted that I thought that they all had very different concepts of creation that share not even a passing similarity to one another. Did you guys have a conference I wasn’t aware of where you all agreed to this?

    I hope my sarcasm does not offend you but that is an amazingly broad claim that I don’t believe is even remotely defensible. Could you please clarify your point so that I can understand?

    I don’t believe that humans have the CAPACITY to be any more intelligent than we were when we speared mammoths and lived in caves wearing animal skins. I just think that the world was not known to be round until someone questioned the teaching of earth on a firmament, medicine didn’t get too far till we questioned whether demons were really possessing people, and we would not have mapped a genome if we just settled for God created us in his image and lets leave it at that. Christianity has, whether we are comfortable admitting it or not, been responsible for a stifling of inquiry over the centuries.

    I doubt that a doctor-in-training in ancient Greece or Victorian England would agree that their education was somehow better that today’s college and university students if they saw the state of medicine today. We left medicinal mercury and bloodletting behind us and instead increased both the span and quality of life for billions of people. They may know by etymology what a centenarian is but it would be as foreign to them as a nuclear reactor.

  • http://imintellegentlydesigned.wordpress.com/ mcoville

    That wasn’t a point, that was satire. Try reading again, slowly this time, and you might get it.

    The human genome project was headed up by a Christian, Francis Collins, who has been called “one of the most accomplished scientists of our time”.

    Atheists have a misconception that because Christians know God created everything that we stop there, this is absolutely false. We want to know more about God’s creation so we study it. It is also God’s plan for us to use the knowledge and abilities He has given us to make a better world to live in while we wait for heaven. If you are not a Christian, don’t try to speak for us.

    A doctor-in-training in ancient Greece was probably able to comprehend more than you can image, they just didn’t have access to the machines and documents that we have today. They are the ones that figured out all the things that knowledge that modern scientists take credit for.

    It is such a logical fallacy that just because we have access to more information and “better” technology that we are a more intelligent generation of people.

    An increase in intelligenance can never compensate for a lack of wisdom.

  • George

    I apologize if you found the tone of my prior post offensive. That was most certainly not my intention. I was, admittedly being a tad sarcastic.
    Implying that I didn’t read your previous post carefully enough also smacks as a bit disingenuous and evasive. I only asked you to clarify your point that everyone who is an informed theist agrees with the Judeo-Christian creation story. If I “reading again, slowly this time” your post it appears that you are saying that either:
    a) Every person in the theological community, including Sikhs, Hindus, Native Spiritualists, Christians, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists all are in agreement with your specific take on creation.
    b) Every person who does not believe that Yahweh created everything we observe including man in his present form in seven days of creation is not a member of the theological community or uninformed.

    In your next post could you please not dodge this question with trite comebacks but with logic and facts, something I have at least had the decency to afford you in all my comments, whether my logic and/or facts are faulty or not.

    I don’t believe you wholly understood what I was getting at in my last post. I believe that I said that we were not more intelligent today than we were at the very beginning of human history and yet you come back to the argument that I said just that. Were you reading “too fast”?

    Not one logical person will dispute that all our present knowledge is the consummation of all things learned before us. That would be an entirely indefensible position. Just as the genome project in not a success because of Francis Collins’ belief in God but rather is a success because he was able to do good science in spite of his faith; so too were all advancements before us possible not because those people believed in Zeus or Allah or God but because they were able to put aside superstition and look through the prism of naturalism.

    I doubt that Galileo would agree with you that Christianity is always open minded in the search for answers to Gods Creation Plan. If you believe otherwise please make a strong case for your belief.

    Regardless, you still seem to miss the most important point of the original post by Dan, that we had more than a thousand years of religiously informed progress and we did accomplish some great things but nothing near the speed with which progress has moved since the re-invention of Methodological Naturalism. You may think we are no better off for knowing all that we know today, but there are many that would beg to differ.

    Two last points, I have no opposition to Francis Collins heading any large government agency, I believe him to be a very qualified, capable and intelligent person. I’m sure you didn’t mean to “speak for us”. Second I am more than willing to again concede that your belief that a Christian God created everything I observe is a POSSIBILITY, no more or less POSSIBLE than any other God creating the universe or that an accident of chemistry created the first life on Earth. My choice is to believe the latter based on all the information I have been able to muster. Am I wrong…maybe. Will I keep an open mind about it…obviously. Can you say the same?