On a Level Playing Field

One hopes that secular and pagan people will rejoice, not fear, that Christians are beginning to recover their intellectual credibility. Truth-seekers will always rejoice when others become truth-seekers also, whether or not they agree on other specific issues. Truth-seekers of all persuasions will make common cause in the defense of the mutually supportive pursuit of truth (i.e., of science) on a level playing field. If parties differing on even deep and fundamental issues, such as religion and politics, can form that first and fundamental common cause—pursuit of truth on a level playing field—then, and then only, is there hope of peaceful co-existence, i.e., an honest pluralism. Legislatures, governments, and international peace organizations fail because that initial covenant is rarely made—and most often subverted in the name of control.

So, our primary aim in working together ought to be to preserve and enhance the arena of open, honest public discussion of the great issues of life, not to shut it down with coercion, mind-control, or delusionary “relative” truth and pseudo-pluralism. Only the powers of darkness profit from our fear of discussing “religion” and “politics” among ourselves. It is time we grew up. Objective truth is the only possible level playing field on which any two persons can communicate. Any other ground means the subversion of truth and therefore of communication and communion.

Jews and Christians believe (or should believe) that God Himself has created this level playing field and is inviting His creatures onto it, as in “Come, let us reason together…” (Isaiah 1:18)

The contest is vigorous. Secular materialism, or naturalism, wants the world to believe that it has both a moral and ontological foundation, an order discoverable by unaided reason. But, I think it can be shown, secular materialism has no capacity to explain the original beginnings of all things, and thus no capacity to explain why inductive reasoning, the very foundation of empirical science, works—a fatal flaw.

The secular world, in short, cannot deal with singularities and contingencies (which is what the empirical world is all about) to make them orderly. When it is not busy denying, it must assume, because it cannot explain, all the metaphysical realities of life in order to get on with its chosen business of discovering the truth about the empirical world.

By singularities, I mean things which just seem to be there on their own, not logically necessary and not necessarily deducible from other things or conditions.

And contingencies are, similarly, those things which have no ontological stability of their own, and thus require ontological explanation. They could have been other than they are because their very being (the Greek ontos) comes from something outside of themselves.

A world full of singularities and contingencies which have no ontological basis is an irrational world, a world in which no predictions can be made, a world in which no explanations can be made about why things are the way they are. And thus, as Stark so starkly points out, no science.

Dr. Earle FoxDr. Earle Fox is IAI’s Senior Fellow in Philosophy of Science and the Worldview of Ethical Monotheism.

This article is an extract from the Preface (section A-3-c) of Dr. Fox’s book A Personalist Cosmology in Imago Dei: Personality, Empiricism & God, Vol. I. See also Dr. Fox’s new Book Abortion, the Bible and America.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

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