Saturday, January 24, 2009

Liberal theology

Larry Moran on liberal theology:
The "sophisticated" version of Christianity that [liberal theologians] proclaim in public is just a sham designed to make them look as though they accept science and all its implications. ... [A]ccording to what we know about the natural world, humans are not special in any way and life does not have a purpose. There are very few believers who can stomach those ideas, hence their science and their religion are in conflict.
Larry Moran praises Seeing and Believing, Jerry A. Coyne's review of Saving Darwin and Only A Theory.


  1. I would argue that purpose is outside the realm of science. Hence there is no conflict.

  2. We scientifically detect and describe human purpose, why not divine purpose?

    What is the divine purpose? How do you know what it is?

  3. How does science detect purpose if, as Moran suggests, the implication of science is that life has no purpose?

    Scientifically speaking, purpose and God, like the ether, are unnecessary hypotheses. IMHO, they don't conflict with anything we know.

  4. How does science detect purpose if, as Moran suggests, the implication of science is that life has no purpose?

    That's a detection, in just the same sense that because I can detect light, I can detect no light in a dark room.

    Scientifically speaking, purpose and God, like the ether, are unnecessary hypotheses.

    Then they're meaningless. "Purpose" and "God" are at best metaphors for properties of our own real subjective nature.

    Theists do in fact draw real implications from God's purpose: It's God's purpose that we marry to procreate, therefore non-procreative marriages are wrong.

  5. Once upon a time, in some out of the way corner of that universe which is dispersed into numberless twinkling solar systems, there was a star upon which clever beasts invented knowing. That was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of “world history,” but nevertheless, it was only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die. _One might invent such a fable, and yet he still would not have adequately illustrated how miserable, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature. There were eternities during which it did not exist. And when it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no additional mission which would lead it beyond human life. Rather, it is human, and only its possessor and begetter takes it so solemnly-as though the world’s axis turned within it. But if we could communicate with the gnat, we would learn that he likewise flies through the air with the same solemnity, that he feels the flying center of the universe within himself. There is nothing so reprehensible and unimportant in nature that it would not immediately swell up like a balloon at the slightest puff of this power of knowing. And just as every porter wants to have an admirer, so even the proudest of men, the philosopher, supposes that he sees on all sides the eyes of the universe telescopically focused upon his action and thought.

    Nietzsche, On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense


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