Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

Realists versus Idealists

Posted by Ann on November 21, 2010

Just finished my Sunday morning devotional reading. If you’d like to share in my reading, and maybe fellowship by adding some comments below, read this good article by a physicist.  It thoroughly examines the difference between realists and idealists–Realism and Religion: A Physicist Examines the Basis for Belief. A  good summarizing quote from the article:

One of the myths of popular culture is the claim that “Nothing is impossible.” Nothing can be farther from the truth. Modern physics clearly enables us to know what actions are possible and what are impossible.

In the article, Rothman answers the following questions:

1) What should a scientist think about religion and God?

2) Is there a relationship between belief in religion and the paranormal?

3) Just how far should a skeptic go in challenging the belief systems of the world?

4) What is the basis for our belief in anything?

In general, Rothman provides a solid explanation, based in science, for why paranormal experience, including ESP communication with God through prayer, have no basis in physics. In other words, we CAN say that some things simply ARE impossible. This is realistic. Of course, theoretically God could exist, but we know from the laws of physics our brains are not capable of receiving his alien transmissions…

The beliefs of the majority of idealists are unfalsifiable.  Creationism, as we realists know, is impossible.  Yet many idealists still steadfastly believe creationism is true despite the evidence supporting evolution–for idealists, anything is possible. Rothman writes,

In particular, theories based on religion (such as creationism) are unfalsifiable. As an example, suppose you object to creationism on the grounds that the fossil record (dated by radioactivity) shows that animals lived on earth millions of years ago. The creationist replies by saying God changed the decay rates of the radioactive isotopes about 8,000 years ago so that it merely appears as though the fossil is millions of years old. In actuality, the creationists say, God put the fossils there less than 10,000 years ago, for reasons known only to the creator. Whatever evidence you bring up to falsify the theory, the creationists claim God planted it there for His own mysterious purposes. These shifting and changeable ad-hoc assumptions make it possible to prove anything you want and so make creationism an unfalsifiable theory.


3 Responses to “Realists versus Idealists”

  1. Noraa said

    i like the picture. i stole it for my facebook profile. ha.

  2. Ann said

    Feel free to use anything I put up (just made you an honest man).

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