Re: Hypostases (was: Natural Order & Belief)

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 12:05:54 -0800

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Tom Caylor writes:
>>>> Have you read Francis Schaeffer's trilogy of books: The God Who Is
>>>> There, Escape From Reason, and He Is There And He Is Not Silent. He
>>>> talks about the consequences of the belief in the uniformity of natural
>>>> causes in a closed system.
>> There is no way that I can give a little summary, but I'll try anyway.
>> I think this will also go towards addressing Stathis' allusion to
>> faith.
>> One thing Schaeffer did was remind us that the assumptions of nature
>> and cause were foundational to modern science. We have to assume that
>> there is a nature to reality in order to study it and use our reason to
>> make sense of it. Reality has to "make sense" inherently, i.e. it has
>> to have an order to it, in order for us to "make sense" of it. Our
>> reason (rationality) makes use of antithesis, to induce cause and
>> effect. Perhaps nature and cause do not appear as formal assumptions
>> in comp, but do you not make use of a belief in them in the process of
>> thinking and talking about comp, and surely in the process of
>> empirically verifying/falsifying it?
> Who said nature has to make sense? We make sense of it to the extent that it
> is ordered, but it goes:
> we can make sense of nature, therefore it must be ordered,
> not,
> nature must be ordered, therefore we should be able to make sense of it.
> You didn't exactly say the latter, I know, but my assumption is that the universe
> doesn't care in the slightest what I think or what happens to me, which is not
> something theists are generally comfortable with.
>> Schaeffer maintained that the basis for antithesis is not that it was
>> an invention of Aristotle or anyone, but that the basis for antithesis
>> is reality itself, based on the God who is there (as opposed to not
>> being there). The existence of the personal God answers the questions:
>> 1) Why is there something rather than nothing?

Why should "nothing" be the default. Or to paraphase Quine, "Nothing is what doesn't exist. So what is there? Everything."

>> i.e. the question of
>> the origin of the form of the universe,

"The reason that there is Something rather than Nothing is that
Nothing is unstable."
      -- Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate Physics 2004.

>>why does it "make sense"?

Part of it makes sense to us because we evolved to make sense of it. Quantum mechanics doesn't really "make sense", it's just an inference from what does make sense.

>> is the basis for the nature of reality and beauty?

Why does reality need a basis? Beauty is, famously, in the eye of the beholder.

>> 2) Why is man the way he/she is? Why is man able to have language and
>> do science, and make sense of the world? Why is man able to love and
>> figure out what is right? What is the basis for meaning? What is the
>> basis for mind? How can persons know one another?


"The web of this world is woven of Necessity and Chance. Woe to
him who has accustomed himself from his youth up to find
something necessary in what is capricious, and who would ascribe
something like reason to Chance and make a religion of
surrendering to it."
   -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

>> 3) Why is man able to know anything, and know that he knows what he
>> knows?

Because he evolved to make decisions, see William S. Cooper, "The Evolution of Reason".

What is the basis for truth? What is truth?

True (and false) are abstract values we assign to sentences for the purpose of making inferences. In application we usually try to assign "true" to those sentences that express facts supported by evidence - unless we are religious, in which case we may ignore evidence and go with revelation.

Brent Meeker

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Received on Wed Nov 29 2006 - 15:06:20 PST

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