Monday Links: Feser on Metaphysics, Lewis and Scientism, and Backwards Vertebrate Fossils

  • Edward Feser writes at his blog:

    “That secondary causes are true causes, even if ultimately dependent on God, is necessary if natural science is to be possible.  If occasionalism were true, absolutely everything that happens would, in effect, be comparable to a miracle and there would be no natural regularities to discover.  Physics, chemistry, biology, and the like would be nothing other than branches of theology — the study of different sorts of divine action rather than of (say) the properties of magnetism, electricity, gravitation, hydrogen, helium, bodily organs, or genetic material as such.  And if God’s ways are inscrutable (as they must be given that He is pure actuality, subsistent being itself, etc.), then there could in that case be little reason to expect regularity in any of these spheres.  (As Alain Besançon has argued, a tendency toward an occasionalist conception of divine causality is part of what distinguishes Islam from Christianity – and this is no doubt one reason why natural science progressed in the West and stagnated within the Islamic world.)”

  • And MercatorNet hosts an interview with John G. West on C. S. Lewis’ worries about scientism:

    “Finally, Lewis saw that science, like magic, can be a quest for power over nature and our fellow human beings. Many times that power will be used for good, but if modern science is cut off from traditional ethical norms, its power may be increasingly misused. During Lewis’s own lifetime, he saw the horrific results of the misuse of science in the eugenics movement and its effort to breed a master race by applying the principles of Darwinian biology.”

  • And finally, a new study suggests that reconstructions of early land-dwelling tetrapods might have the backbones backwards. This isn’t, of course, the first time this sort of thing has happened in paleontology.

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