Christian Mind

The Limits of Science (Part 1)

By Brett Williams

Several years ago, while on a lengthy flight to a conference, I found myself sitting next to a young neurobiologist. To some, a theologian and scientist on a plane may sound like the beginning of a poor joke. To me however, it was a fascinating confluence of contrary epistemologies (“studies of the method and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity”).

After polite pleasantries, she disclosed her reasoning for studying neuroscience: for many years, her mother had suffered from dementia and was nearing the end of her life. That passenger and I had an instant human connection the moment I shared that I had lost my grandmother to the same terrible disease. This connection produced a respectful and congenial conversation about neurology, synapses, the nature of the soul, and whether or not memory is mere physiological mechanics, mysterious metaphysics, or both. Eventually this debate expanded to whether or not science or faith is best suited to understand truth.

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From the Archives – Please Don't Believe This Post

From 2011.

I’m dead serious about the title of this little essay. I’ll explain later. The focus of this piece is the need for more and better critical thinking (some of you probably already see the connection to the title).

Interacting on the Web for the last three years—culminating in the last three days—has revealed a severe lack of critical thinking. By “lack of critical thinking” I do not mean lack of criticism! (As a college friend of mine would say “Nay, verily!”) What I mean by critical thinking here is the discipline of looking at a highly emotional situation and intentionally subjecting claims on all sides to healthy skepticism and—above all—vigorously questioning our own “gut feelings” and reasoning.

I’ve found myself repeatedly wondering, doesn’t anybody believe in critical thinking anymore? I fear our culture has slipped deeply into a tyranny of sentiment. Feelings rule. Calm reflection is for—I don’t know—“elites”? Maybe it’s just for “bad people who don’t care.”

I’m not a top-notch critical thinker, so this is a bit like like the guy who heats hotdogs in a microwave telling people how to cook. But the sort of rhetoric flooding the Web (and TV) lately suggests we’ve sunk so low that I may actually be a pretty good source of expertise on the subject. So here it is.

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Why do some churches reject apologetics ministry?

"...they may have seen someone use apologetics to try to argue people into the kingdom, or people use apologetics to actually tear people down....That sounds like really bad apologetics. But just because someone has done apologetics poorly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. It means that we need to do it better." - CPost

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Counsel for a Friend Who Wonders Which Christian Forest He’ll Land In

"I also know that evil dwells within me, as Romans shows, and that good dwells even among my enemies. God causes his common grace to fall on the unjust. And I find this to be such helpful knowledge. It takes from my shoulders the pressures of an impossible worldview." - Mark Ward

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