Virtually all atheists in our day and age are also strict empiricists, and their empiricism comes before their atheism. That is to say, the foundational belief of atheism as we know it is not really “there is no God,” but rather, “the only things that are knowable are knowable by means of the scientific method.” The belief “there is no God” is not so much foundational as a necessary consequence of the truly central tenet (“the only thigs that are real are things proven by science”). The problem is, however, any philosopher worth his weight in pennies knows that there are a whole host of realities that science cannot prove to be real–yet rational people accept them as real. Enter William Lane Craig, and the video that is the centerpiece of today’s post:
The purpose of this post is to share Craig’s brief, to the point summary of the limits of science in hopes of benefiting others; I’m hoping to encourage theists who are intimidated by the claim that faith in anything that is not “empirically verifiable” is irrational.
I’ll also add two of my own thoughts: 1) Most sincere and thorough apologies for the vitriolic label on the YouTube clip (“Craig Humiliates Atkins”)–to be fair, if you watch the exchange in context, it is clear that Peter Atkins is a very intelligent and articulate apologist for atheism. Even so, Atkins completely fails to grasp why science is, in fact, not “omnipotent.” 2) Under Craig’s second category of rational beliefs that lie outside of the realm of science (metaphysical truths) one could also mention one’s own self-aware existence. This, to me, is crucial. A strictly empiricist worldview is inadequate to explain the universe as I know it, because empiricism cannot even speak to my own self-awareness. In fact, the scientific method depends entirely upon the existence of an empirical self with the power to investigate and know truth, and it can by no means prove or disprove the existence of the empirical self to the empirical self.
Let me know what you think of the clip, and please do pass it on.