Friday, March 1, 2013

A key difference between theology and science

Yesterday I posted a relatively short piece about Gödel's ontological proof of the existence of God (and Alvin Plantinga's, incidentally, as I think it is likely to be a derivative). Tonight I want to post a truly short piece branching off from that to illustrate a (perhaps the) key difference between theology and science.

To really get the full effect of this, I suggest that you take a moment to go to the Wikipedia article for Gödel's ontological proof (Link) and also the one for the modal logic that it depends upon (Link). Now take a second to let your eyes uncross so I can make my point.

Here's a key difference between theology and science, without even having to make claims like that "the core of theology is shifting the burden of proof" (quoting myself here). Ontological proofs that rely upon modal logic are abstract nonsense, and it shows nothing but desperation on the part of the theist to rely upon them because the theist's goal is not to prove that they believe and worship some abstract nonsense.

Now imagine, in contrast, that a scientist were to attempt to demonstrate the existence of a dairy cow via convoluted and nearly impenetrable arguments using modal logic instead of a simple trip to a farm.
A dairy cow that is not impressed with ontological arguments.


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