Scene: Advanced Placement Chemistry at a university-town high school, 25 students.
Today’s Teacher: “Dr. D” a recycled philosophy professor, specialist in philosophy of science, substituting for a sick chemistry teacher.
Articulate Students: Mike, front row, center; Alana, bright challenger, on teacher’s left; Monica, also a challenger and Alana’s buddy.
Task: Fill up the time after a film on entropy.
Class: Expecting something about science. They didn’t expect it to be about God too. Continue reading The Case for God
THE UNDESIGNED DESIGNER
GOD FOR STUDENTS OF SCIENCE
(by Stanislaus J. Dundon, Ph.D.)
EXPLANATORY INTRODUCTION FOR PHILOSOPHY TEACHERS WISHING TO USE THE UNDESIGNED DESIGNER
Many bright students are subjected, especially in “Introduction to Philosophy” courses, to very definitive refutations of proofs of the existence of God constructed by capable and sincere philosophers. But to understand the full power of the refutation one must have a deeper knowledge of the philosophic system it is imbedded in than can be attained in an introductory course. No philosophic system enters into this question of the existence of God at an introductory level of that philosophic system. A second difficulty is that mutually incompatible philosophic systems have adherents on both sides of proofs of existence of God. When the “Introduction to Philosophy” texts provide refutations which are mutually incompatible even when they share the same conclusions against the proofs, it gives the impression of the “any stick to beat the dog”, which surely does not impress students with our professionalism. Finally a difficulty exists in certain refutations of proofs of the existence of God, namely that the refutation assumes that the burden of the proof is to arrive at a notion of God somehow clearly that of mainline Catholic or Protestant religions. Yet none of the religious thinkers of those traditions who were also philosophers have ever confused the rather spare notion of God arrived at by philosophy with the notion contained in their faith. It is usually maintained that there should be no direct contradiction between the notions derived from reason and faith, but that faith will contain much that reason could not attain. Continue reading The Undesigned Designer
“To find a capable defense of atheism, one may have to go to the philosophy department. The physics department is of no use.” Meant as humor, this jab at the “philosophic” mind never bothered me, a philosopher all my life. Philosophers are supposed to be pursuers of the truth. But the very existence of “truth” as a non-material property of human assertions about the material world or about abstract things which exist only in the mind is troubling to many philosophers. Like a fresh young colleague we hired, many are brought up to believe that our minds cannot grasp any non-material reality. I asked her why so many recent Ph.D. dissertations were written on how we know “color”, she said that it is a very intriguing question. I agreed. “Color” is a very interesting concept because, while it is a property only of material realities, as a genus it is, and must be, completely colorless. If it had some color, then every colored thing would be at least tinged with that color. Yet a child over three years knows what is meant by “color” and quickly gets to know the names of colors which, for more than a year, it could easily distinguish. [Try giving water to a 2 year old who has asked for milk.] Continue reading Subversive Thoughts on God