Friday, July 17, 2015

C.S. Lewis on Rationality and Materialism

"One absolutely central inconsistency ruins [the popular scientific philosophy].  The whole picture professes too depend on inferences from observed facts.  Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears...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 by-product of mindless matter at one stage of it's endless and aimless becoming.  Here is a flat contradiction.  They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based." [1]

In God in the Dock, Lewis also argued:

"If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too.  If so, then all our thought processes are mere accidents-the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms.  And this holds for the materialists' and astronomers; as well as for anyone else's.  But if their thoughts are merely accidental by-products...why should we believe them to be true?  I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give a correct account of all the other accidents." [2]

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Resources:
1. C.S. Lewis,
Theology Poetry.
2. C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, p. 52-53.

2 comments:

Andrew Ryan said...

" But if their thoughts are merely accidental by-products...why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give a correct account of all the other accidents.""

The scientific method allows us to test whether things are true.

Sure, you can say that all the results might also be false, but that would suggest that every time you use a computer or fly in a plane, you must be fantasising the entire experience. If you're going to conjecture that level of solipsism, then you might as well question everything. With this view, offering any evidence for theism won't help, as this evidence might equally just be a production of delusion.

Mike S. said...

"With this view, offering any evidence for theism won't help, as this evidence might equally just be a production of delusion."

I disagree this assumption since the starting points of science and theism aren't equal-they are radically opposed.

Further, I have serious doubts as to whether the scientific method can bring us to truth regarding origins. The scientific testing method does not allow for an intelligent source as a cause. And that isn't the conclusion that science has come to, but rather the presupposition that they start with...Whatever happened to following the evidence where it leads?