A few more telling items from Science and Religion (Ferngren ed). Chapter 10, “Causation,” p 136 [“occasionalism” is the idea that god intervenes to keep the universe going from minute to minute as opposed to starting it and then leaving it alone]:

The fullest system of occasionalism was developed by Nicholas de Malebranche (1638-1715), who was driven by his own religious commitments to push Cartesianism in a theocentric direction.

Er…right. This is what we mean. This is the kind of thing. This is why there is an epistemic conflict. Those commitments that drive people to push things in a particular direction? That’s a problem.

A similar item on the next page. Al the great and Aquinas

undertook to interpret the whole of Aristotelian philosophy, correcting it where necessary, supplementing it from other sources where possible, and, in the process, attempting to define the proper relationship between the new learning and Christian theology.

Um…there it is again. That “proper relationship” thing – that’s one of those items that can drive people to push things here rather than there, for reasons that are extraneous to trying to figure out the truth.

In chapter 5, “Medieval Science and Religion,” there’s a real admission [p 57]:

The warfare thesis has retained a following throughout the twentieth century, at both a scholarly and a popular level, but it has also elicited strong opposition from scholars (some with a religious agenda)…

Aha! Just as I thought – helpful of David C Lindberg to spell it out.

19 Responses to “Signs”