Explanatory Magisteria

In Beyond Belief 2, chemist Peter Atkins makes an inflammatory remark that philosophers get in the way of understanding.

Even though the bulk of my education has been within the sciences, I think that his comment is unhelpful (except in relation to some of the personal philosophies that have espoused unhelpful worldviews).

I decided to attempt to illustrate my point. Before the rise of science, theologists and philosophers claimed to examine the only modalities that explained the natural – lavendar – world.

Scientific methodology ultimately displaced much metaphysical philosophy, yet most modern scientists would not claim that science can answer all questions, particularly value-laden, psycho-philosophical questions. In this sense, scientism is dead.

Human psychology-come-cognition can be examined by science, yet it is also responsible for much that is beyond scientific experimentation, including mythological thinking. This broad psycho-philosophical area includes morality, which theists falsely claim cannot exist exclusive of belief in God.

Theists also claim that the areas that are inaccessible to methodological naturalism include a supernatural realm – another (cream) dimension outside the physical, yet interfering with it. This convenient device, invented to explain human inability to decipher the natural world, has enabled deists and theists to provide a witness protection program for theistic apologetics.

The problem, of course, is that it is not reasonable to claim that something can exist outside physical scrutiny, outside the physical world, and yet can impact the physical world without immediately becoming part of the physical world. To claim such a physical-not-physical arena is a deliberate category error.

...section index...


atheism, cognition, cosmology, deism, education, moral philosophy, moral psychology, naturalism, philosophy, religion, science, supernatural, theism,

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