Quote the Raven, 03.30.16: Alvin Plantinga

Previewing an upcoming podcast with this quote from Alvin Plantinga, professor of philosophy at Notre Dame, and a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He’s also written a number of books and articles.

It’s no surprise that this intellectual splendor has also had some unfortunate and unintended side effects. Some treat science as if it were sort of an infallible oracle, like a divine revelation—or if not infallible (since it seems so regularly to change its mind), at any rate such that when it comes to fixing belief, science is the court of last appeal. But this can’t be right. First, science doesn’t address some of the topics where we most need enlightenment: religion, politics, and morals, for example. Many look to scientists for guidance on matters outside of science, matters on which scientists have no special expertise. They apparently think of scientists as the new priestly class; unsurprisingly, scientists don’t ordinarily discourage this tendency. But of course a scientist pontificating on matters outside her field is no better than anyone else pontificating on matters outside her field. Second, science contradicts itself, both over time and at the same time. Two of the most important and overarching contemporary scientific theories are general relativity and quantum mechanics. Both are highly confirmed and enormously impressive; unfortunately, they can’t both be correct.

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Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.