Blank slates, babies and beyond: of evolution and epistemology (part IV of VIII)

17 Mar

4) I also think that the concept of “The Laws of Nature” is, at best, a “useful fiction”.  Strictly speaking, I question the wisdom of using the whole idea of “Laws of Nature”.  On the other hand, I would prefer to speak about “regularities in Creation”, and think that we have very good reason for suspecting that the success of modern science is mostly due to Christians who believed that God arranged the universe such that we would be able to discover these regularities, and harness them (and so, the ancient knowledge that good boats will always float and the starts will always follow their pattern has been supplemented with harness-able knowledge that even a few years back was beyond our imaginations).  This certainly approximates the views of 16th century philosopher Francis Bacon, who is often called the father of modern science (Roger Bacon, centuries earlier, was not insignificant either).  Illustration:  Parents arrange things in a consistent fashion so that a child can be captivated, play, create and experiment on the one hand, and they arrange things and *act* in a consistent fashion so that the child feels security, stability, and confidence, on the other hand.  Arranging things in a consistent fashion – more or less so – depending on what we are talking about, and acting in a consistent steadfast fashion is a part of love.  Creating beauty and order for another is a fruit of love.  In other words, order is born of love, not love of order – or from a love of order!  As the linguist, Roy Harris perceptively notes, communicative behavior cannot arise from non-communicative behavior.  There must be an infrastructure in place from the beginning.  This matter does not center around the fact that truth is a social construct instead of some cold and impersonal correspondence, or something like that – but that how we conceive of and describe reality can’t not be done personally, socially.  And such should not surprise, because Reality is personal, is social (rooted as it is in the Reality of the Triune God).  And this in turn brings us back to Romans 1.  It is not that there is nothing to the idea that order=God, but rather that order can’t not be recognized as a fruit of love.  One’s proof of God does not begin by saying “Someone must have made this”, but rather by the love that one does know.  Design can’t not be personal: saying something like “intelligent design” is simply redundant.  And I would venture that any infant that has people who love him/her subconsciously understands this (children naturally gravitate towards belief in God).

Excellent quote from a Christian author that relates to this, and powerfully sums things up:

Some see miracles as an implausible suspension of the laws of the physical universe.  As signs, though, they serve just the opposite function.  Death, decay, entropy, and destruction are the true suspensions of God’s laws; miracles are the early glimpses of restoration.  In the words of Jurgen Moltmann, “Jesus’ healings are not supernatural miracles in a natural world.  They are the only ‘natural’ things in a world that is unnatural, demonized, and wounded.” (Yancey, Philip, The Jesus I Never Knew, 183, 1995)

See part I (addresses issue that this series of posts is not really about infant faith and theology) and part II, and part III.

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