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Atheists’ appeal to science and the death of the Renaissance Man

Atheists’ appeal to science and the death of the Renaissance Man
Fair use, to illustrate article's context.

University refers to only to a supposed institute of higher learning but to that which such an institute is supposed to promulgate; a whole, aggregate, entire, etc. view of the world.

Ask the question, “What is a human being?” for example, of a biologist, a physicist, a theologian, a mathematician, an economist, a politician, an anthropologist, a medical doctor, etc. and they will each give you vastly different replies.

This is because they will give you a reply which proceeds forth from their field of knowledge. Noteworthy is that since they are speaking from their field of knowledge; none of their replies will be a complete answer but rather, a narrow, restricted, field specific reply.

The concept of the Renaissance Man (or, well, should we be saying Non-Gender Specific Renaissance Personage?) is a person who has knowledge of various fields and thus, gains and elucidates matters in a more holistic, unified manner.

The Chinese, as another example, have a multidiscipline concept known as the Master of the Five Excellences which is a person who has mastered medicine, martial arts, calligraphy, poetry and paining.

Compartmentalization refers to breaking up a whole into portions. Thus, a large corporation may protect its overall product by having its personnel work separately or separate component that only those at the very top put together. On this view, there are various highly specialized departments that know a lot about that which they do and yet, none of these individual departments knows the whole picture.

Fields of knowledge have become so vast that, as a bio-product or by design (or, both) most people are high specialized in a field and few have anything close to a view of the whole.

Thus, the answer to a question such as “What is a human being?” has many answers within the context of the parameters of the fields in which the person replying is an expert (or, considered themselves to be an expert).

For example, Dr. William B. Provine, Professor of Biological Sciences, Cornell University and Atheist, stated:

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.

Even if we grant this; it is meaningless. Note that he has taken a theory about biology “modern evolutionary biology” and turned it into a worldview. For, after all, what has modern evolutionary biology to say about things such as gods, life after death, ethics, the meaning to life, etc.?

Indeed, within the context of modern evolutionary biology he many conclude as much but the question is what makes him think that modern evolutionary biology has anything to say about such issues? The problem is not being a Renaissance Man, he takes his field of knowledge, which is supposed to be modern evolutionary biology and erroneously applies it to issue that modern evolutionary biology is simply not meant to elucidate. He is out of bounds and does not even realize it and this causes him to come to conclusions that amount to non-sequiturs; his conclusions do not follow from his premise.

This brings us to the most useful tool in the Atheists’ bag of tricks; the ubiquitously employed well-within-the-box-Atheist-group think-talking points-de jour and that is to use the term “science” as much as possible in any and every context. This is done for, at least, three reasons 1) it lends the air of respectability, 2) it is an appeal to (supposed) authority and 3) it seeks to imply “proven.”

Now, just like modern evolutionary biology, science as a whole, its method, was intelligently designed so as to be a tool for discerning the material realm. Science functions within parameters. That is to say that science is a tool for accomplishing a certain task. Science is the best tool for accomplishing the task for which it was designed. However, Atheists take a very elastic, erroneous, view of “science,” turn it into a worldview and thus, they apply it to areas in which it, in reality, as nothing to say. From this comes scientism which would be to make claims such as “If it cannot be scientifically verified, it is not true, not real, does not exist, etc.”

The issue, besides that the claim that “If it cannot be scientifically verified, it is not true, not real, does not exist, etc.” has not been scientifically verified, is that some are failingly attempting to use the science-tool for jobs for which it was not designed and for which it does not work. Do we look into a microscope to survey the heavens? Do we look into a telescope to view the inner workings of the cell? Do we seek wet evidence of a dry object? Do we seek material evidence of a non-material being?

Yes, just as a flame is evidence of invisible oxygen we may discern features within the material realm, such as the universe’s fine tuning, that imply a non-material designer. However, for the most part employing science as a worldview and considering it to be the tool via which to ascertain empirical truth is to take a very narrow view by limiting one’s self to that which science can discover. In other words, it is to refuse to view anything except that which science can discover and yet, the science-tool only discovers that which is material and yet, from this narrow view, some conclude that the material is all that exists.

This is tantamount to wearing glasses with red tinted lenses, only seeing shades of red, declaring that the only colors that exist are shades of red and refusing to take them off in order to get a fuller, more faceted, view.

It is like starring into a corner, only seeing that fragment of the room, declaring that the corner is all that exists and refusing to turn around to see the rest of the room.

The more that Atheists claim “Science!” the more you should hear them saying, “I take a narrow view (and think that I got the whole picture),” “I am restricting myself (and refuse to see more),” “I am purposefully blind (and think I see all),” etc. The point being that the more you hear proclamations of science (in this scientism sort of way) you need to hear the actual meaning; narrow, restrictive, partial, etc.

The death of the Renaissance Man has brought along with it the folly of supposing that the compartmentalized view is enough to proclaim knowledge of the whole.


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