Archive for Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Letter: Mindless matter

March 19, 2013


To the editor:

Professor Leonard Krishtalka has a significant problem with his reliance on reason. He recently criticized the new pope because “explanations of how the natural world works is the province of … reason not dogma,” thus discounting religion.

C. S. Lewis stated Krishtalka’s problem this way: “The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears. Unless we can be sure that reality in the remotest nebula or the remotest part obeys the thought laws of the human scientist here and now in his laboratory — in other words, unless Reason is an absolute — all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended byproduct of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming.”

In other words, as a consistent evolutionist Professor Krishtalka believes his own reason is the byproduct of mindless matter. Why should anyone trust the testimony of mindless matter?   


Barclay 1 year ago

Reason, time, and chance are not mechanisms. They are names assigned to the process of thinking, the motion of objects in space, and randomness. How in the world did these three things get elevated to become the mechanisms of evolution? It is very short-sighted reasoning to have done so.


Armstrong 1 year ago

Jonas, you seem to come from the school of - A long time ago nothing happened, in fact so much nothing happened that something finally happened. When something finally happened something evolved into the universe, earth and finally humanity ( except Pauley Shore ). I have a pretty hard time buying that scenario.


jonas_opines 1 year ago

"Those who argue that mind came from mindlessness have a problem that no one has addressed."

Other than yourself, who exactly is making this argument? Saying that there is not a singular, god-mind in the universe is not the same as saying that there is nothing that might resemble a mind within matter, or at least demonstrates certain features of it. There's too much of matter unexplored to make that assumption. Perhaps even the singular atom, when examined with tools and knowledge past our current capabilities, has some capacity to make inferences, and use reason according to its scale and status, so to speak.

Even allowing that glaring, unnecessary, incorrect assumption to be poorly assumed to be true, here is the answer you're going to honestly get: "we don't know." So the question, as I see it, is: why do you think that your answer ("because God") is superior? You don't KNOW that. You only BELIEVE it. You have Faith that it is true, and you use, as you yourself labeled it above, a "philosopher's answer" to supposedly prove it, which of course you can't do empirically. You can only rely on inference, in this case, inference not even based on observable fact.

So if our inferences based on observed facts are so potentially flawed, as Mr. Upchurch uses Lewis to make claim to above, then how can you possibly claim that inferences based on unobserved phenomena (i.e. inferences based solely on inferences), are not flawed to an even greater degree?


Armstrong 1 year ago

The only real question the Doc brings up is the value of his higher education


Roland Gunslinger 1 year, 1 month ago

Reason, logic...

Someone explain the Bible's logic to me.

Every person is born a sinner because God has made us that way. But God then impregnated a virgin and gave birth to himself so that he could sacrifice himself to save you from the sin he gave you in the first place.

That, my firends, is mindless matter.


voevoda 1 year, 1 month ago

Why is Mr. Upchurch trying to use reason to challenge Dr. Krishtalka's reliance upon reason?


Cait McKnelly 1 year, 1 month ago

C.S Lewis wasn't a scientist. He was a Catholic apologist; so much so that he came near to permanently rupturing his relationship with J.R.R. Tolkien, with whom he had been close friends nearly their entire lives.
It sometimes amazes me that Christianists are so eager to force scientists into a niche of mutual exclusivity between God and science that, to many scientists, doesn't exist and which they rather vigorously oppose. Lewis Thomas and Richard Feynman, both, wrote extensively on non-scientific subjects and both explained their relationships with their respective deities and how they felt their relationship with science actually enhanced and beautified their relationships with God.
I agree with the professor that the natural world MUST be ruled by reason and CANNOT be ruled by dogma. Otherwise, we would all still be locked into believing the world is flat and the sun orbits the earth. But dogma and God are not the same. It's in that confusion and belief, by more than just the Church, that they are that Christianists fail and where science succeeds in showing just how much of a "god" that God really is.


friendlyjhawk 1 year, 1 month ago

Anything written in a Kansas newspaper about the pope has no validity.


grammaddy 1 year, 1 month ago

Scientific theories can be proven.Religious theories cannot.


jayhawklawrence 1 year, 1 month ago

Mr. Krishtalka possesses the audacity to question the creator of the universe by using the tools of science and reason.

If God exists, then who do you think he would be most interested in, those who spend their lives seeking to discover the minutiae of his creation and enjoy its awesome beauty or those who spend their time making personal attacks on those who question the policies and authority of flawed men?

Scientists have their place as do teachers and ministers. The problem, as Leonard pointed out, is that those in authority have a problem when it comes to questioning their own policies and traditions and believing that they are the only ones who are able to define the character of God.


Ken Lassman 1 year, 1 month ago

Why are you so intent on debasing matter? There is ample evidence to be in awe.


Dan Eyler 1 year, 1 month ago

Outstanding comments David. The professor of religion makes me chuckle when I read anything he writes. But after I chuckle I think about the confusion and sadness he brings to young people he preaches his mindless nonsense too.


Don Brennaman 1 year, 1 month ago

I guess you win the George Will award.


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