Monday, June 30, 2014

Knowledge Validation

Epistemology is a study of knowledge. Searching the topic further, we find that our knowledge must be validated. We must strive to achieve justified true belief. We strive to be sure our beliefs are true, not merely our opinions. Brief statements about knowledge, validation, and justified true beliefs are inadequate to describe topics about which philosophers have produced plentiful writings to help us locate correct thinking. Knowledge is a more difficult concept than we suppose.

In matters of the science/faith interface we may investigate how science relates to our faith. Science is a vehicle leading us to knowledge of our natural world in many different fields. Knowledge of physical, biological, and earth/space sciences has expanded exponentially in our lifetimes. Going back roughly 400 years, the scientific revolution greatly expanded our knowledge of the universe. In terms of the interface between science and faith, has science increased our knowledge of God? Or is our science a self-contained sphere of knowledge, neither enhancing nor detracting from our God-awareness and God-knowledge?

Is the existence of God affirmed or weakened by the knowledge of science? We posit that the existence of God is strongly affirmed by the discoveries of science. Therefore, knowledge of the discoveries of science as well as knowledge of how science works validates our knowledge of God’s existence as well as the fact that God created all things. Not only did God create, but we have knowledge of how God created. For example, we have knowledge that there was a beginning of our universe in an infinitely small speck. We have knowledge of how the universe has developed since that beginning. Our knowledge confirms the orderliness of the created universe. Atoms, the particles out of which the visible material of the universe consist, in turn are composed of an orderly array of subatomic particles. The particles possess fundamental forces called strong, weak, electromagnetic, and gravitational. We do not fully understand these forces beyond the truth that they are necessary to hold our  universe together in an orderly way.

Some information about our universe is still unknown. Discoveries in the last two decades have advanced our knowledge. For instance, there is a mysterious unseen “dark energy” which comprises a large fraction of the mass/density (68.3%) of the universe. We know, however, that the amount of dark energy along with dark (26.8%) and visible (4.9%) matter must be fine tuned to an incredible degree of precision in order that the expansion of the universe may allow life to exist.

With respect to life, evolutionary science does not have an explanation for the origin of life in our universe. The Judeo-Christian Bible claims God created life. It is one of the fundamental mysteries confronting the naturalistic science profession. In terms of physical processes governing matter, most interactions of matter ultimately yield their secrets to the discovery processes of science. Discovery of the secrets of the beginning of life on earth is a notable exception. Many scientists optimistically speculate on the probability of life on even one or perhaps many other planets circling the trillions of other stars in our universe. With each passing year, dozens of additional fine-tuned characteristics necessary for life on even one other planet are described. The probability of life on any other planet in our universe becomes more incomprehensibly remote with each passing year.

Since the days of Charles Darwin, bio-scientists have created their elaborate theory of molecules to man evolution whereby modern man evolved from LUCA, the “last universal common ancestor.” Every organism, according to the theory, evolved from one common living organism at some time in the past four billion years. Darwin wrote “Therefore I should infer from analogy that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed.”

Humanity has been characterized by a tendency to propose their own intellectual constructs. Our blog has compared creation proposals with evolutionary proposals along earth’s lengthy timeline to explain the beauty and complexity of life forms and life processes. Evidence for creation events to explain the many rapid appearances of magnificent and diverse life forms is plentiful. The ancient Cambrian Explosion is one of many examples. In contrast, evolution depends on repeated hypotheses of evolutionary branching transitions resulting in speciations.

Our quest for knowledge of origins must strive to achieve the standard of “justified true belief.” Some may offer their opinion that “justified true belief” applies to their embrace of organic evolution. Opinions on evolution may connect broadly with a naturalistic world view. Or, we may endorse supernatural creationism for our explanation of life origins. We must insure that our belief that God’s existence and his power to create connect standards of validation and “justified true beliefs” to our claim of knowledge.