“Atheists feel awe too,” writes Barbara King at NPR. But of course—who said they didn’t? The problem for atheists is not that they don’t fell awe and wonder. The problem is that their theory can’t account for it. For the believer, and even for the agnostic, awe and wonder are, at least potentially, actual contact with the awesome and the wonderful. There is, for them, a real and objective reality outside of ourselves that we can glimpse. For the materialist atheist, however, these experiences and “feelings” are nothing more than purely subjective experiences, reducible to various electrochemical reactions in our heads. I don’t dispute that the atheist feels awe and wonder. I simply challenge him to explain, on his own terms, why he should care about such material illusions.
“A scientist honoured by the Vatican for his work in the field of adult stem cell research is close to producing a therapy to treat congestive heart failure – the biggest killer in the industrialised world.
Professor Silviu Itescu, the chief executive of Mesoblast, an Australia-based regenerative medicine company, is pioneering a therapy that requires a single injection of 150 million adult stem cells into the heart – and no conventional surgery.”
John Farrell writes about science and philosophy, and on the question of scientific realism in particular. While of course naïve realism is clearly false, I incline more towards the moderate realist side than the anti-realist. My ultimate objection to anti-realism is that, if science doesn’t uncover something of the truth about nature, however incomplete, then what’s the point? Rather than an attempt to perceive truth, goodness, and beauty in Creation, science becomes little more than the associations of an animal learning that it gets a reward when it presses the blue lever and a shock when it presses the red one. In the strongest forms of this view, scientists simply correlate causes and effects, and sometimes figure out ways to use those effects to our advantage, but never really “know” anything about the natural world around us at all. This seems to me to be a very deficient view of the human intellect. If science is merely useful, I’m not interested.