Beliefs of the Heart: Reflections

Political Popular Science

June 02, 2021 Sam Williamson Season 2021 Episode 3
Beliefs of the Heart: Reflections
Political Popular Science
Chapters
Beliefs of the Heart: Reflections
Political Popular Science
Jun 02, 2021 Season 2021 Episode 3
Sam Williamson

When we let our biases cloud the science. Adapted from this article: https://beliefsoftheheart.com/2021/05/12/political-popular-science/  by Sam Williamson.  Why do we believe what we do? It is always the hard science? Does anyone really reject science? Or do we choose the science we believe. Remember: flat earthers believe in science, they just mistrust many of the scientists.

A very special thanks to Keith Medley for his FANTASTIC 27 string guitar background song, Ancestors. You can find more of Keith's music at: http://www.keithmedleymusic.com/

Support the show (https://beliefsoftheheart.com/giving/)

Show Notes Transcript

When we let our biases cloud the science. Adapted from this article: https://beliefsoftheheart.com/2021/05/12/political-popular-science/  by Sam Williamson.  Why do we believe what we do? It is always the hard science? Does anyone really reject science? Or do we choose the science we believe. Remember: flat earthers believe in science, they just mistrust many of the scientists.

A very special thanks to Keith Medley for his FANTASTIC 27 string guitar background song, Ancestors. You can find more of Keith's music at: http://www.keithmedleymusic.com/

Support the show (https://beliefsoftheheart.com/giving/)

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Beliefs of the Heart weekly reflection , I'm Sam Williamson. And today we're discussing Political Popular Science.

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A hundred years ago, prominent elements of the Western World’s political and intellectual elite embraced a new and exciting scientific theory. Leaders cheered it from conservative and progressive parties, from among the rich and poor, from feminists and misogynists. Its theory was a natural evolution of Darwinism, and it was applauded by: • Scientists like Alexander Graham Bell and Charles Davenport, • Politicians like Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill, • Authors like George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells • Activists like Margaret Sanger and Francis Galton (a cousin of Darwin). University presidents from Harvard and Stanford praised it. High schools and colleges taught it. Mainstream media loved it. To doubt it brought scorn, ridicule, and accusations of ignorance. It united thinkers from the United States, Canada, Australia, Asia, Britain, and Europe. Because of it, most US States adopted laws that affected marriage, immigration, and treatment of mental patients. In 1927, the United States Supreme Court upheld such supporting laws. Enormous funding furthered its advancement. Societies were established to promote its message and enact laws that bolstered its meaning.

Speaker 2:

It was backed by the American Medical Association, National Academy of Sciences, and the National Research Council. To deny it was to deny science and invite disgrace. Darwin’s activist cousin Galton coined the name for this scientific “discovery”: Eugenics. When Science Births Pseudo-Science Eugenics is control of human reproduction to increase qualities its sponsors support (i.e. to make more people more like themselves) and to eliminate traits its biased backers despise. Today we know that the theory of Eugenics was pseudo-science, a belief backed by personal bias without scientific process. People just wanted it to be true. Its acceptance resulted in tens of thousands of forced sterilizations (California administered the most), and ultimately it led to the forced “extermination” of millions under the Nazis who backed Eugenics religiously.

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Why would scientists (and intellectuals and politicians) support such a fairy-tale hypothesis? Thomas Kuhn answers this question with his 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, a book that challenged the modern understanding of scientific progress. Kuhn disputed the classic idea of the scientific process, which believed progress was built on impartial, methodical contributions, much like a wall is built by placing one brick on another. . Instead, Kuhn argued, scientists have biases based on a blend of enthusiasm, education, and personal culture. These biases interpret data in ways that support their prejudices. A consensus among scientists creates a prevailing pattern of assumptions (a scientific zeitgeist). Science continues to add additional data (brick by brick). Bu soon contrary information arises. At first it is first explained away by the dominant prejudices. Eventually, though, the weight of so many anomalies force a revolutionary change in thinking that Kuhn called a “paradigm shift.” Which is what happened to Eugenics after WWII. The New “Science” of Identity Bertrand Russell, highly influential 20th Century philosopher and mathematician, said: You are the product of causes that had no prevision of the end they were achieving. All your hopes, all your fears, all your loves, all the beliefs of your mind are nothing but the accidental collocation of millions of atoms and molecules. Russell claims you were an accident. The brain cells and DNA that embody you are mere chance. If you want meaning in life, you must create it. There is no master plan to discover. Therefore we don’t find identity inside by examining that “accidental collocation of atoms,” nor do we find it outside by looking for a master architect. Our identity is who we choose to be. More than deity or family, our greatest loyalty, our first commandment must be: Thou shalt have no other god beside Choice (1 Russell 1:1). Russell had no scientific basis for lack of design. It’s just an assertion, a contemporary Declaration of Independence from a God who could say, “I made humanity with a design, with a specific life-style in mind, with my morality. If you abandon it, your life will disintegrate.” These modern pseudo-scientists tell us that our assertion of a God-blueprint is tyranny; in fact, they say it is oppressive to tell people to live in a certain way, to get identity outside of choice. There are three (at least) logical problems with this position: • If all our “beliefs” are just accidents, then so is Russell’s belief. So why listen to him? • If I “choose” to believe in a God-design, how can others say my “choice” is any less valid or any more tyrannical than their choice? • If I’m a goldfish, no matter what my accidental mind believes or what my open-minded choices are, when I leave the liberty of water, I’m just a beached whale. Only smaller. the God who is there, but there is a God, a God different than our accidental beliefs. A God quote made the earth by his power and established the world by his wisdom and who stretched out the heavens by his understanding and of quote Jeremiah 10, 12, a God who is quote acquainted with all our ways and quote. And he calls us by name a creator who quote, formed our inward parts and quote, and who hates to see his creation, mutilated and artist who calls us quote his masterpiece and quote, and the quote, crown of creation and quote, a bridegroom who chooses us out of all the cosmos to be his beloved Bride. If given a choice, I choose his life of design over the shortened life of a beach shampoo . I've told our gosh doesn't scores of my friends. I began college with physics, the idea I was going to be a tent making mission or so I was going to study physics. I wanted to become a nuclear physicist, but my sophomore year in college, I switched to intellectual history, but I've never told anyone the whole story. And the reality was is in my fret sophomore year of college. My second year of college, I was taking a required history class. It happened to be on the enlightenment and my professor required us to read Thomas Kuhn's structures of scientific revolution. And the idea is in the structures of scientific revolution, there are paradigms. These are systems of reality of reality, but there'll be two different systems of reality that are irreconcilable. An example of that was there. You had what was called the Ptolemaic planetary events or celestial movements. And then you had the Copernican. That's how may acts at everything revolved around the earth.

Speaker 2:

And the Copernican set , everything revolved around the sun. And they had telescopes. They had mathematical formulas. It was able to predict how Mars could be here. On that day. They were both systems could predict where a planet would be, where a star would be on at any place on the earth. And yet the two are irreconcilable, but eventually what happened was one solution just became much more obvious. There were fewer anomalies, fewer things that was difficult to deal with and others, they were just simpler and Copernican one out. It was called the Copernican revolution, but it wasn't a migration. It wasn't brick by brick, by brick. It was a revolution from everything revolved around the earth. Everything revolved around the sun, tons of formulas were thrown out to get better formulas that handled it. So we understand things better. Cohen said there's normal science under scientific revolutions. I was fascinated by this because I was fascinated by the beliefs that each culture, each age holds and how those normal reliefs grow, grow, grow. And then there's a revolution and things radically change. This first class was an enlightenment class and an enlightenment in this age, they believed that reason or, or thinking you had reason [inaudible] . There was no God that is to say there was a God who was a distant DIA Scott, a DIA Scott is a God sets the world spinning. It just sits back to watch, but he doesn't interact with the world. So they did not believe in the Virgin birth. They did not believe Jesus was the savior. They did not believe in miracle religion for the money . White men age primarily was just morality. And then in the early 18 hundreds, the romantics come along and the romantic, because you're saying this cold sterile ivory tower rational , isn't satisfying my human heart. And the romantic said, we want to experience. We want to understand it. We don't want to study nature like scientists. We want to look through nature. We want to experience it. Uh, still no miracles though. And their religion moved more from sort of an intellectual or more moral approach to a nostalgia, to an experience and emphasis on feeling a Schleiermacher was a famous leader in the romantic period of theology. And he focused on the joy of Christmas. He said, it's impossible that Jesus could have been born of a Virgin. That's impossible, but let's just think of the joy of Christmas. This is when Charles Dickens wrote the Christmas. Carol, if you remember remembering the Christmas Carol, there really isn't the there's no, there's no God entering the earth. It's just sentimental feel good story. And that's what Christianity became after that became the existentialists. And the existentialists said, you know, the feeling stuff isn't working because we're not dealing with the reality. And the reality is if there's no God, or if God's just distant, we're all going to die. And we are just trying to numb ourselves with the sentimental feeling with these good feelings of joy. We've got to live in the lived reality. The lived an angst of a life with no meaning, cause we're all gonna die. And that's what Bertrand Russell was. Bertrand Russell really was an existentialist saying, look, it there's no meaning there's more purpose, but we've got to make our own. Now the postmodern person. And by the way, post-modern, you know , nobody knows postmodern is we all like to have a positive name, where the enlightenment, where the romantic, where the exit essential lists. But you know, when Carson first came along, they weren't called cars or automobiles. They were called horseless buggies and horses. Buggy means I know what it isn't, it's not a horse buggy, but I don't know what it is. So the postmodern just means we don't know what it is, but the postmodern world means we're living in a world of competing ideas. So I can believe all kinds of things that are completely contradictory. I can believe that there is no purpose. And yet I have to find a purpose. I can believe that there is no supernatural control of life, but the author of drastic park, Michael Crighton says, life finds a way, even though there is no life force. Now there is no universal morality. I can choose my sexuality. I can choose my identity. And yet it is immoral. Even though there's no morality , it is immoral for you to treat me different than my choices. I'm fascinated by these radical thought shifts these Copernican revelation of revolutions in the world that we live in. But I'm also fascinated because God, the real God, the God who is there, the God who is here wants all of us. The enlightenment wanted the mind. God wants the mind. The romantics rejected the mind and they wanted to heart what God wants the heart. The existentialists did not like the , uh, the denial of the , the lived intention of life. But God says, look, it I'm a fearful God that I also want you to love. You know, I'm not a tame lion that CS Lewis has spin on God, but I think it's a great spin , which is Elena's fearful. And yet he's good. And so he's on our side and the truth is God's answer alone will satisfy us. We can't just be the mind. We can't just be the heart. We can't just be the experience. We can't just be behavior. None of those have worked. God wants to whole person. And the world keeps trying to come up with answers. They come up with their own Copernican revelations revolutions, but mostly they're coming up with declarations of independence. We don't want God to rule our lives and yet, without God ruling our lives, our lives are a mess. I think that my favorite , um, comment, my comment of the week goes to Stephen faults, where he says many intelligent people, remind me of the religious leaders in Jerusalem who saw the wonderful healings and other miracles that Jesus was doing and refuse to accept him as Lord. And I just think that's beautiful. This is, this is a classic , um , Steven, not Steven. What was his name? Thomas Kuhn example, where we have anomalies. That is to say Jesus doing healings and miracles, but we do not want to accept them because they do not fit our paradigm. And God's saying I'm a paradigm breaker. And what we all need is our paradigms broken so that we see Jesus who he is and we, and , and we worship him as Lord .

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening. Hope to see you next week. Thanks for listening. Please join us by following this podcast or liking it and visit our website, beliefs of the heart back com for more articles, books, videos, podcasts, and courses, all designed to foster intimate theology, deepening a real relationship with the real guy who is there. See you next week.