Monday, June 26, 2017

Why I am sceptical of science and scientists

You might think this strange because if you know me I work in academia most of the time and since I dabble in mathematics you would think that I should not be negative towards science, for after all isn't mathematics a part of science?

In large science faculties, it is true that mathematics is part of the science faculty but I do not think mathematics is part of science. Science deals with observations of phenomena in our world. From, particulars it abstracts to the general. Science deals then with induction.

Mathematics does not deal with induction, it does not look at particulars and then infer to the general. No, mathematics deal with deduction, from the general we go down to particulars. In this regard, I think really that mathematics should be part of philosophy.

We do not sample every triangle we could find, measure their internal angles to be a total of 180 degrees and assert that all triangles have an internal angle of 180 degrees. We use logical proofs starting from axioms.

Today science enjoys a celebrity status. If you want to gain the trust of people just tack on the word "science" into what you are doing. So we have library science, meat science, dairy science and game science and what not. The field I work in my consulting is "Data Science". Funny but I went to a conference last month and a leading practitioner in the field, a professor himself, complained that there is no "science" in data science.

The world has evolved to the point that science is operating like a religion. What is awful is that it is operating like a cult as well. In the age of the Internet, things have evolved and it is easy to be arrogant and know it all. Because the Internet gives one a capacity to be semi-anonymous, people are happy to be rude and insulting to those who disagree with them. It is easy now to express without hesitation one's disdain for a fellow who might be slow in catching one's level of knowledge.

Here are my reasons ordered by importance

1. It does not always work. The reason is that when scientists observe, they are only observing a sample of a phenomenon and when one produces generalisations from these, it by default left out some parts of the phenomenon. Today the approach taken by computer scientist in doing Artificial Intelligence (AI) is to abandon the idea of deterministic certainty, but embrace and live with uncertainty and work on probabilities. Ask yourself, does the science you believe in behave in an arrogant certainty?  AI computer scientists have chucked the idea that something can be determined with certainty from the world. So the models they create for a phenomenon using AI are probabilistic. 

2. Most scientists today have no training in philosophy. I worked for a while in computer science and the computer scientists I have encountered have no appreciation of the role philosophy plays in their craft.If they are not scared of it, they either consider it as useless or indifferent towards it. The same is true in physical science. Steven Hawking said philosophy is dead. No offence but I think Hawking and I will be long gone and philosophy will be around. This is bad science and bad scholarship. The reason why we have this situation of science acting like religion is that philosophers have allowed them to roam, be arrogant and unchecked.

For example, the issue of causality vs correlation. When I went back to statistics, my colleagues and textbooks reminded me that correlation does not imply causation.
This is illustrated in a Chinese saying:
Does the flowers blooming bring about spring? Or does spring bring about the blooming of the flowers? You might think it is the latter for sure - but think and pause for a moment. It is an epistemological question - meaning - how to we know something is true or real..

Also this - is there only one way of explaining a physical phenomenon? Should we entrust our lives and our view of the world into the what scientists say?

Here is one quote from a philosopher of science about science...

Even though some scientists and many pseudo-scientists voice their allegiance to that (scientific) method, no modern philosopher of science would be unaware of at least some of its shortcomings. Modern developments in the philosophy of science have pinpointed and stressed deep-seated difficulties associated with the idea that science rests on a sure foundation acquired through observation and experiment and with the idea that there is some kind of inference procedure that enables us to derive scientific theories from such base in a reliable way. There is just no method that enables scientific theories to be proven true or even probably true.

                                                      ---- A. F Chalmers (What is This Thing Called Science)

Maybe I am influenced too much by the mathematician I admire and respect who said...

I do not believe in empirical science, I only believe in a priori truth.
                                                            - Kurt Godel

Later I will add more, like my thesis that scientists are not altruistic people who are also influenced by personal agenda using science to advance their goal.
Please remind me.

Monday, May 15, 2017

So I saw the film The Case For Christ

My big impression on this? Respect. I respect the spirit of in which this film was made. Some of the points that I would like to make are the following:

  • This film is as much the story of Leslie, the wife of Lee. Here we see the persecution experienced by a Christian wife living with a non-Christian husband.
  • The parallel story of Lee's work on the Hicks case along with his investigation of the validity of the Christian claim I thought made the film more than a re-enactment of an evangelical testimony.
  • There is much we can learn on the way the film depicted the interviews Lee made with professional NT scholars, historians, and scientists, some of whom are non-Christian themselves.
  • The role of providence in the life of a Christian.

Finally, there is a suggestion of a mild decisional theology in the film. Though I myself no longer practice this "accepting Jesus into your heart" by way of the "sinner's prayer". I seem to recall somewhere the wisdom of Martin Luther who said somewhere, to words to this effect -- the person asking God in prayer already believes, that is to say, the person already believes in Christ, before he even asks God to move on his behalf. We should ask God to save us after all. The focus, fair enough, should not be in our act of asking but the God who saves those who call upon his name.

We do not have to be triumphalistic and be offended at all in that.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Why a Christian can believe Christ will never leave him nor forsake him

In Matt 28:20, we read  20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Many years ago, during times of great trial I would come to this verse to no avail for I could not find any reason why I could claim this promise. You see I look at myself, I see my sin, my failures to live up to God's standards and coming to this verse with all of those staring back at me only made my heart sink in despair.

Only lately have I found confidence in the promise found in that verse and the one in Heb 13:5
 for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
How can I claim such a promise? Dear friend it is not because of anything inside you, but simply because Jesus bled and died for you. That is the reason why we can have confidence that Christ will be with us always, unto the very end of the world. It is because Jesus died for you.

At the cross God forsook Christ so that today God does not have to forsake you.

Another fact related to the dying and bleeding of Jesus is our baptism. According to God's Word, in Romans 6, we have been united with Christ at his death, burial and resurrection when we got baptised. God united us with Christ in our baptism.

No matter how it looks in the end, God will lead us back to the evidence for the reason Christ will never leave us nor forsake us, the proof we can rely on this promise is the Cross.

So I tell myself and you, next time you feel God has left you alone, look at the Cross, you will be convinced what you have taught about God is so wrong.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Those who have faith in Christ are the ones reconciled to God

I have been reading through Colossians lately as part of my daily devotions, often called "quiet time".
This passage spoke anew to me - Colossians 1
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

When we see the connection of v.20, 21 w v.23  it is plain that those who are in faith and continues in the faith (the assumption here is faith in the atonement, v.22 of Christ) are the ones that enjoy the present reality of being reconciled to God. This faith is the one produced by the hearing of the Gospel, the good news that Christ has died to pay for sins. It is beautiful to see here that the Gospel, faith and reconciliation neatly tied together in one paragraph.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Papacy is not Anti-Christ for no reason.

Just the other day I was reflecting on 2 Thess 2:1-7. I noted that the NKJV has this rendition of the passage...
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ[a] had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin[b] is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God[c] in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He[d] who now restrains will do so until He[e] is taken out of the way.

I was noting to myself that textually, the NKJV must have been affected by American Evangelicalism in that in v.7, the NKJV editors capitalised "he" in that passage. This is not the same as what you will find in the KJV. In the KJV it is not capitalised. The Church Fathers viewed this "he" as the Roman Empire. The modern view promoted in Evangelicalism is that the "he" in v.7 stands for the Holy Spirit. So in the NKJV we see it in uppercase. At any rate, this is besides my point now. The matter of textual translation is something we can discuss next time - which in my case, KJV once again is the better translation.
Last week the Vatican released a report entitled  "The Gifts and Calling of God are irrevocable" .  The news media have reported that this document states that the Jews need not believe in Christ to be saved. That is right, you read it well. The passage in the document that teaches this is found 2/3 of the way in the document...
That the Jews are participants in God’s salvation is theologically unquestionable, but how that can be possible without confessing Christ explicitly, is and remains an unfathomable divine mystery.

So therefore, the Jews are saved even without confessing Christ, this reality is an unfathomable mystery? This is blasphemy!

The Roman Church is the Apostasy mentioned in 2 Thess 1:3, the falling away. In this Vatican document, we see an example of how the Roman Magisterium opposes Christ  and His many words that speak of the necessity to believe in Him. The Papacy indeed is Anti-Christ. This document exemplifies how the Roman Church is the spiritual whore spoken of by St. John the Apostle. Hear the words of Christ ...
John 8: 24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
Speaking to the Jews, Jesus said in John 8.
42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Australian Lutherans decided not to be like Episcopalians (for now)

I am speaking here of Women’s Ordination (WO) to the Pastoral Ministry.

This October 2015, at the Lutheran Church of Australia General Synodical Convention the proposal for WO did not pass the required two-thirds majority vote.

I wrote “for now” in the title of this post, because the issue of WO has the habit of bubbling back up to the surface from time to time.

I remember back in 2006 at Lutheran Church Australia’s convention that the issue of (WO) was decided then and as the result today as it did then, WO did not meet the requirement.

I could feel the disappointment of those who favour WO so much that I believe some of them need grief counselling because of this result (n.b., I am not being disrespectful here). I mean this in a sympathetic way even though everyone who has been in this blog know that I wrote against WO.

I am against WO because I do not think Scripture or Church History supports it. You can read about my position on this in this blog.

Being against WO is no small thing if you knew where I journeyed before coming to Lutheran Theology. I was for 25 years a Pentecostal and WO in Pentecostalism is no issue, they welcome WO with open arms. Pentecostals do not even talk about if it is right to ordain women, for with them anyone can be ordained if the person is “baptised in the Holy Spirit” without respect for the gender. Gender is no issue but this so-called 2nd baptism of the HS is. Pentecostals are not “catholic” in many levels and in many ways.

Anyway, today I wish to put on my analytical hat and analyse the numbers as reported in the LCAus website. There were 423 registered delegates. 145 voted NO, 269 voted YES. This totals 414. That means we got 9 abstaining.

So let us look at the stats. 34% voted NO, 64% voted YES, 2% abstaining. Now note, if we look at the majority, they are FOR WO. If not for the two-thirds majority rule they would have won already. That rule saved the anti-WO.  The 64% YES vote in terms of people lacked 13 people to tilt their position to 66%.

So 13 people did not vote for YES. That is not a lot of people. Where could pro-WO have gotten these votes? It could be taken from the 145 who voted NO, at least some of them; or they could get all if not some from the 9 people who abstained. So what does this tell both the anti-WO and pro-WO? It says that pro-WO would just need to work a little bit more and they will get it next time but the anti-WO have to be vigilant and work harder. The pro-WO would just need a few more campaigning and lobbying. On the other hand the anti-WO would have to be in the defensive, they would have to be guarded.

I have a question that bugs me. I was under the impression that the LCAus synod sought in prayer the Holy Spirit’s mind on this when they got together in 2006. My question is this – if they sought the mind of the HS in 2006, why talk about it again in 2015? If the synod got their answer in 2006 and the answer was no, why did they have to decide on this again in 2015? I mean does the HS change His mind from time to time? I say this because I was under the impression that they prayed to the Holy Spirit about this. That was the language I heard when they spoke about this issue. So do they actually believe the HS has guided them to this answer in 2015? If so can the people be relieved of any fear of this surfacing again in the future?