Theistic Evolution – The Judas Iscariot Effect?

I have always been puzzled by the theistic evolution belief system. It makes absolutely no sense to me at all as it clearly seems to contradict both theism and evolution – the two fundamental beliefs it is supposedly be based on…

Why?

In short, theistic evolution totally contradicts the act of creation clearly described in the bible so cherished by the great majority of believers…
Theistic evolution also seems to contradict the fundamental evolutionary belief that evolution is a random and an unguided process…

While there may be, and probably are, many variations to the theistic evolution belief system, the general idea most likely is that God either created the laws governing the universe for life to create itself and then evolve to 10 billion species we apparently have on Earth today, or He created the first “simple” life form and let it evolve, through some kind of Darwinian process (either guided or unguided), such as random mutations and natural selection…

In any case, no matter how one can look at theistic evolution, its supporters seem to want to have the better or the best of two worlds. They would like to be respected by both theists and evolution supporters… In my view, theistic evolutionists sit on the fence between theism and evolution belief systems and can, and should, “get shot” by both sides…In other words, they should be rejected by both sides of the worldviews because of their obvious inconsistencies…

Theistic evolutionists belong to the large group of people who I call The Swedish Buffet Belief System. They want to believe in something but they would like to pick and choose themselves what they are going to believe. They want to decide what that “the truth” is going to be…

Theistic evolutionists (and many believers today as well) remind of the lyrics of one of the songs by Benjamin Booker entitled “Believe”:

“I just want to believe in something
I don’t care if right or wrong
I just want to believe in something
I cannot make it on my own”

In any case, theistic evolution has what I call The Judas Iscariot Effect written all over it. According to the bible, Judas Iscariot was Jesus’ apostle who, just like theistic evolutionists, wanted the best of both worlds. He was following Jesus, saw many of his miracles first hand, and yet, he also decided to make a few bucks on the side by cooperating with Jesus’ enemies and sold him for 30 pieces of silver…

In my view, theistic evolution has a trademark Judas Iscariot. Its supporters like to have the best of both worlds:
the theistic world support to view them as believers in God, and the so-called scientific world of evolutionary scientists…

As I have already mentioned it at the outset, just like Judas Iscariot, theistic evolutionists are sitting on the fence between theism and evolution, and should “get shot” from both sides of the worldviews…
After realizing his mistake of trying to play both sides of the worldviews, Judas Iscariot committed a suicide…

I personally think that theistic evolutionists “commit both religious and scientific suicides” by promoting both religious and scientific inaccuracies… just to put it very lightly…

One of the prefect examples of such inaccuracies is the promotion of the many of unfounded speculation that Adam and Eve could not have been the only two human parents of the whole human race… This unfounded notions recently got some unnecessary attention from Biologos “born-again” theistic evolutionist Dennis R. Venema by means of his book… These inaccuracies however have been exposed by a biologist Richard Buggs and some others…

BTW: If anyone, including theistic evolutionists, has some ideas how to experimentally test the unfounded speculations based on pure assumptions, such as human mutation rate now must equal Adam and Eve’s mutation rate or how to challenge the sharp population bottleneck of 8 people after Noah’s flood, please speak up…
There may be some data available of some sharp bottleneck, isolated populations recently discovered in the Amazon, as well as others, such as Inuit, Bushman and the like…

206 thoughts on “Theistic Evolution – The Judas Iscariot Effect?

  1. Neil Rickert: Two completely different understandings of God.

    The TE sees God as the creator of all, and thus as the creator of nature. The TE expects God to do his work through nature.

    The ID proponent see nature as inherently evil, and sees God as opposed to nature.

    I’m not sure about that at all.

    I would say that the real difference is epistemological.

    The theistic evolutionists think that our best currently available empirical data support evolutionary theory, so whatever basis we have for thinking that God exists, we conclude that divine agency is realized through evolutionary processes.

    Whether this is coherent depends on how exactly one construes the idea of “guidance”.

    The intelligent design people want to say that the laws of physics and chemistry by themselves are insufficient to explain life, and that we should posit some kind of intervention by an intelligent being of some sort of other in order explain how life emerges from non-life.

    There’s a narcissism of petty differences here; at times the positions become very hard to distinguish.

  2. Mung: I don’t ascribe to that school of though. Making unsupported and possibly mistaken claims happens all the time here. Take Neil’s recent post, for example.

    Not sure of your point there. Are you saying that other people make unsupported claims too, so it’s OK? I wouldn’t agree with that reasoning.

    Reviews of the book can probably be found online.

    I’ve read the book. I didn’t see what you did. That’s why I asked what you were talking about, specifically.

    Would you still have a problem if I had prefaced my comment with the statement that “it is my opinion that …”? Was it not obvious that I was offering my opinion?

    Yes, and yes. I don’t see how that changes the situation.

  3. Neil Rickert: Two completely different understandings of God.

    The TE sees God as the creator of all, and thus as the creator of nature.The TE expects God to do his work through nature.

    The ID proponent see nature as inherently evil, and sees God as opposed to nature.

    But ID repeatedly claims that ID doesn’t depend on God. That it requires an intelligent agent. If anything, this just means that TE is at least attempting to be honest with respect to its requirement for god, whereas ID is just hypocritical lying.

  4. Gregory: You likened ‘theistic evolution’ to accepting evolutionary biology by religious persons to being a ‘Judas Iscariot.’ What respect do you think you deserve & from whom?

    Someone had to do it… Why not me?
    It gets worse though… If you read the bible carefully you’d notice that Jesus shows more compassion toward “unbelievers” or sinners than for religious leaders who subverted the mosaic law by traditions and teachings of men… Jesus called them hypocrites…
    Theistic evolution is a hypocritical teaching that in God’s eyes deserves contempt…

    The way you present your views it seems that the best way accept or reject science is by the popularity of an opinion… 😉

    Is voting for or against theistic evolution in churches, synagogues, mosques and congregations the next step? How about gravity? I’ve heard some scientists questioning the fabric of spacetime… I agree with them but maybe that should also be brought up for voting among the faithful?

    What makes you think I’m seeking respect?

  5. J-Mac: Theistic evolution is a hypocritical teaching that in God’s eyes deserves contempt…

    You have set yourself up as a judge of God’s thinking.

    The TE people very likely believe that God’s contempt would be toward the ID proponents.

    Is voting for or against theistic evolution in churches, synagogues, mosques and congregations the next step?

    Why would that be a consideration? What’s wrong with allowing people to decide for themselves?

  6. Neil Rickert: You have set yourself up as a judge of God’s thinking.

    Not a judge!!! But I have the right based on my thinking ability to review the available evidence what is hypocrisy and what is not….

  7. Neil Rickert: Why would that be a consideration? What’s wrong with allowing people to decide for themselves?

    People can decide for themselves what is right or what is wrong and what is scientific and what is not. In fact, this is exactly what’s happening these days…
    However, the popularity of opinion doesn’t make the popular views true, does it, even if I’m the only one standing?

  8. “What makes you think I’m seeking respect?”

    Obviously you are not seeking respect. And you are getting little as a result.

    I don’t have time or interest to continue with the warped way you are asking me to think as you compare ‘theistic evolution’ to Judas Iscariot. I won’t waste a second on judgmental nonsense like that.

    Can I end by asking again: In whose name do you do this intentionally to Christians en masse? Just your own name, or is there a god you wish to invoke as pushing you to do this?

  9. J-Mac: Theistic evolution is a hypocritical teaching that in God’s eyes deserves contempt…

    Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.“

    TE attempts to rationalize its faith with observed facts. I think that it is ultimately doomed to failure but I i respect them for making the attempt. ID on the other hand gives the false perception of disowning their god publicly in a hypocritical and dishonest attempt to sneak god in through the back door.

  10. Gregory: Obviously you are not seeking respect. And you are getting little as a result.

    If I wanted respect of the great majority here or anywhere for that matter, I would have tell what the great majority wants to hear, then what they want to believe, then everything else, and then, maybe, maybe not, tell the truth…

    It’s not my style…

  11. Gregory: I don’t have time or interest to continue with the warped way you are asking me to think as you compare ‘theistic evolution’ to Judas Iscariot. I won’t waste a second on judgmental nonsense like that.

    At least the interest is mutual… 😉

  12. Acartia: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.“

    TE attempts to rationalize its faith with observed facts. I think that it is ultimately doomed to failure but I i respect them for making the attempt. ID on the other hand gives the false perception of disowning their god publicly in a hypocritical and dishonest attempt to sneak god in through the back door.

    I don’t think this is true…
    But let’s pretend that ID won the court battle and the supreme court has decided that ID should be taught in schools…

    Who is going to do it?
    Who is going to decide which view of ID/Creation should be taught? YEC? OEC? Theistic evolution? Or perhaps the combination of all the above?
    Don’t forget Muslim version of ID/Creation and about 10 000 of Christian denominations in USA alone that might want to contribute to the teachings of ID in schools…

    A civil war would break out before the ID teaching would even commence and the Discovery Institute know it well…

  13. Acartia: TE attempts to rationalize its faith with observed facts. I think that it is ultimately doomed to failure but I i respect them for making the attempt. ID on the other hand gives the false perception of disowning their god publicly in a hypocritical and dishonest attempt to sneak god in through the back door.

    Nonsense. It’s the TE authors who try to “sneak God in through the back door,” as I’ve already pointed out.

    And there are no “observed facts” to to which TE’s attempt to rationalize their faith. That’s just militant atheist propaganda.

  14. Mung: Nonsense. It’s the TE authors who try to “sneak God in through the back door,” as I’ve already pointed out.

    And there are no “observed facts” to to which TE’s attempt to rationalize their faith. That’s just militant atheist propaganda.

    I’ve recently read that evolutionists are using religion to sneak evolution through the back door to the classrooms dominated by the religious fundamentals…

  15. Gregory: Can I end by asking again: In whose name do you do this intentionally to Christians en masse? Just your own name, or is there a god you wish to invoke as pushing you to do this?

    In the name of truth…
    One would think that by now you would have figured it out yourself…
    BTW: I don’t target Christians specifically… though Kenny is one of my favourites… 😉

  16. J-Mac: If I wanted respect of the great majority here or anywhere for that matter, I would have tell what the great majority wants to hear, then what they want to believe, then everything else, and then, maybe, maybe not, tell the truth…

    Is that how you think respect is gained? speaks volumes of your character

  17. J-Mac,

    “If I wanted respect of the great majority here or anywhere for that matter…”

    Concentrate on what was asked, please, not on what you want to make up off-topic. I asked why you throw so many Christians under the bus when it appears you claim to be one yourself (reminder #2).

    Why do you seemingly *want* to be disrespectful? Such a contrarian position to take.

    Could you say who is the leading advocate of the ‘position’ you hold? Who are leaders in your ‘religious’ worldview? It’s easy to sling arrows at everyone. Remind me please of your Base; which Truth do you call Home?

  18. Gregory:
    J-Mac,

    Remind me please of your Base; which Truth do you call Home?

    Is there more than one truth?

    BTW: Someone who asks a question like that not only doesn’t deserve an answer… He throws himself under the bus along with others who think that there could more than one truth… Or that truth could be bent a little bit… Or that they can ignore truth and promote a lie for a while because that’s what the “faithful” want to hear… not only Christians…

  19. J-Mac: Is there more than one truth?

    If you mean by “one truth” that the universe is internally consistent and that there are in fact no paradoxes or contradictions, then I’d be inclined to agree.

    The problem lies in the little matter of incomplete (and sometimes inaccurate) information, and the resulting necessity to build models we consider to best fit what we are most confident is the reality. We’re obviously not all that skilled at this, considering the multitude of interpretations of any nontrivial set of related claims, some of which are probably not correct. We live in a universe of both known and unknown unknowns.

    So if you ask if there is more than one truth, I’d say no. If you ask if anyone has all of that truth, I’d also say no. If you ask if anyone can KNOW if what they know is entirely true, I’d say no again.

    Bending the truth is dishonest, but being largely ignorant of most of the truth is the human condition, and unavoidable.

  20. Flint: If you mean by “one truth” that the universe is internally consistent and that there are in fact no paradoxes or contradictions, then I’d be inclined to agree.

    The problem lies in the little matter of incomplete (and sometimes inaccurate) information, and the resulting necessity to build models we consider to best fit what we are most confident is the reality. We’re obviously not all that skilled at this, considering the multitude of interpretations of any nontrivial set of related claims, some of which are probably not correct. We live in a universe of both known and unknown unknowns.

    So if you ask if there is more than one truth, I’d say no. If you ask if anyone has all of that truth, I’d also say no. If you ask if anyone can KNOW if what they know is entirely true, I’d say no again.

    Bending the truth is dishonest, but being largely ignorant of most of the truth is the human condition, and unavoidable.

    Thanks Flint,

    So, you’d agree that the main goal of science is, and religion as a matter of fact, or at least it should be, the pursuit of truth and not to support preconceived ideas?

  21. J-Mac: So, you’d agree that the main goal of science is, and religion as a matter of fact, or at least it should be, the pursuit of truth and not to support preconceived ideas?

    It can’t be.

    The pursuit of truth is very much like seeking the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. You ain’t ever going to find it.

    That’s why science is pragmatic. It does what works well and is useful to us. And then it declares those pragmatic conclusions to be true. And as science changes (advances), what is considered to be scientific truth also changes.

  22. Neil Rickert:
    The pursuit of truth is very much like seeking the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.You ain’t ever going to find it.

    That’s why science is pragmatic.It does what works well and is useful to us.And then it declares those pragmatic conclusions to be true.And as science changes (advances), what is considered to be scientific truth also changes.

    I would quibble and say that is is (some) philosophers who think science yields truth; making such a claim is not a part of science.

    Many scientists may think it does, of course, but that just means scientists philosophize whether they want to or not.

    I also agree with calling science a ‘pursuit’.
    It is the nature of the process used in that pursuit that can make a particular human activity scientific.

  23. BruceS: I also agree with calling science a ‘pursuit’.
    It is the nature of the process used in that pursuit that can make a particular human activity scientific.

    I agree with most of that, and not just the part that I quoted.

    I agree that Truth is a philosophical question, not a scientific question. And, frankly, the philosophers have flubbed it. The reason that philosophers cannot understand consciousness is because their view of truth precludes the possibility of such an understanding.

  24. Neil Rickert: It can’t be.

    The pursuit of truth is very much like seeking the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.You ain’t ever going to find it.

    That’s why science is pragmatic.It does what works well and is useful to us.And then it declares those pragmatic conclusions to be true.And as science changes (advances), what is considered to be scientific truth also changes.

    Great! Why do science at all?! What is the blog all about?!

    Why not let the popular opinion decide what is true science and what is not?

    Isn’t this what Gregory suggested with his insistence on theistic evolution because of its popularity among the faithful?

  25. Neil RickertThe reason that philosophers cannot understand consciousness is because their view of truth precludes the possibility of such an understanding.

    But there are so many philosophical accounts of truth! See SEP or IEP.

    Do you have another one in addition to all of those?

    I also enjoyed and recommend Blackburn’s 2017 On Truth. He ends up with an amalgam of coherentism and pragmatism, but with a healthy dose of deflationism. (Take care, some of the reviews at Amazon are for older books by him).

  26. BruceS: But there are so many philosophical accounts of truth! See SEP or IEP.

    Yes, there are. And none of them work.

    Truth is a mess, because of the way that we use it.

    In ordinary language use, deflation works well enough. Roughly speaking, deflation is the idea that we don’t actually need a theory of truth (okay, that’s not how it is normally stated).

    Coherentism is subject to Putnam’s “cats and cherries” argument.

    Do you have another one in addition to all of those?

    I have outlined one in posts on my own blog, starting in January this year. But it is concerned only with a technical account of truth, suitable for use with logic and mathematics.

    For use in ordinary language, we need to recognize that truth comes as part of the language package. Philosophers tend to see truth as somehow external to human culture. But it is part and parcel of human culture.

    In logic, we need a technical view of truth that we can use in proofs.

    In ordinary language, there are no proofs. We need truth in arguments, but those are not proofs. Arguments are used for persuasion, which is the way that social norms are established (if they can be said to be established).

  27. BruceS: I would quibble and say that is is (some) philosophers who think science yields truth; making such a claim is not a part of science.

    Many scientists may think it does, of course, but that just means scientists philosophize whether they want to or not.

    I’d urge a distinction here between (1) is truth a goal of inquiry? and (2) scientific realism vs instrumentalism.

    Think of it this way: Bas van Fraassen might be perfectly happy to say that scientific theories are true (I actually don’t know his view; it’s been too long since I’ve read The Empirical Stance). But his understanding of scientific truth is not that of the scientific realist.

    Likewise, whether pragmatic success is something other than truth is itself a philosophical question — though pragmatic success is not popularity.

    I suppose my view is that theories are functionally maps. While maps are on the one hand constrained by various conventions, needs, and interests on the part of those who use those maps, the maps would be useless if they didn’t bear some relation to the terrain being mapped.

    There’s been a lot of interesting work on cognition as basically map-like rather than language-like — research that (I have just recently learned) began with Edward Tolman in the 1940s, and which has gotten some strong empirical confirmation. Apparently there’s been a lot of work on the hippocampus as a functionally map-like structure.

    On my current way of thinking, culture allows hominids to construct collective maps, in which information gathered by an individual can be “donated” to the collective pool and “downloaded” onto the developing brains of the young. Science may be thought of as a way of deliberately testing a collective map in order to determine its degree of adequacy.

  28. Neil Rickert: It can’t be.

    You certainly believe it cannot be true. But then, you have no idea how to define truth (iirc). Which makes your statement rather odd (imo).

    Neil Rickert: The pursuit of truth is very much like seeking the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. You ain’t ever going to find it.

    It’s nothing like seeking the pot of gold. The reason you’re never going to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is because it is true that there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    Do you believe it is true that there is no truth? Because that’s what you’re saying. And it’s nonsensical.

  29. Neil Rickert: In ordinary language, there are no proofs. We need truth in arguments, but those are not proofs.

    Boy do we ever. And an account of why.

  30. Neil Rickert: In ordinary language use, deflation works well enough. Roughly speaking, deflation is the idea that we don’t actually need a theory of truth (okay, that’s not how it is normally stated).

    I think it’s better to say that for deflationism, all there is to a theory of truth is an account of the semantics that govern the predicate “is true”. There are few deflationary accounts, but the one that makes the most sense to me is the prosentential theory of truth. (‘m deeply unhappy about calling this kind of account a theory but that’s the term that philosophers use.)

    For use in ordinary language, we need to recognize that truth comes as part of the language package. Philosophers tend to see truth as somehow external to human culture. But it is part and parcel of human culture.

    I think that’s just an empirically false claim about philosophers. To make that claim, you’d have to deny that all of the following people are philosophers: Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Dewey, Peirce, James, Heidegger, Putnam, Joe Margolis, Rorty, Quine, Sellars, Gadamer, Foucault, Morton White . . . . I mean, who are you trying to kid with these blanket claims about “philosophers”? You know better!

    In logic, we need a technical view of truth that we can use in proofs.

    What you need is a technical notion of validity, which can be defined in terms of truth-preservation. A good inference is one that doesn’t take you from a true claim to a false one, or if you prefer, a good inference is one that prevents one from being committed to incompatible claims. I don’t know if you need a technical view of truth for that, so much as you need a technical view of validity that’s tailored to suit the demands of a formal, extensional language.

    In ordinary language, there are no proofs. We need truth in arguments, but those are not proofs. Arguments are used for persuasion, which is the way that social norms are established (if they can be said to be established).

    I worry that there’s a distinction between persuasion and reasoning which is drawn too strongly here. Arguments involve both rhetoric and reasoning — it’s not just appeals to emotion. We can tell the difference between good and bad reasoning, and in fact we’re pretty good at it. There’s a lot of interesting research on the psychology of reasoning; in particular I recommend The Enigma of Reason and Reasoning: A Social Picture.

  31. “Isn’t this what Gregory suggested with his insistence on theistic evolution because of its popularity among the faithful?”

    You misread. Go back & re-read.

    ‘The faithful’ who are not deluded accept evolutionary science in its sovereign & proper sphere. And they are already ‘theists’ by definition of being ‘the faithful.’

    J-Mac: Is there more than one truth?

    What a pathetic response. You deserve no respect with such avoidance & will get no further entertainment from this keyboard.

  32. Alan Fox: But that’s just triumph of experience over hope.

    No, I’m actually alluding to experimental research in the psychology of reasoning. It turns out (no surprise) that human beings are very good about reasoning about some things in some contexts, and not about other things in other contexts.

  33. Kantian Naturalist: No, I’m actually alluding to experimental research in the psychology of reasoning. It turns out (no surprise) that human beings are very good about reasoning about some things in some contexts, and not about other things in other contexts.

    I’m sure that’s true. I was just suggesting the evolutionary approach that works is “try something, if it doesn’t work, try something else”. (Skinner should have worked with crows, not pigeons).. It’s what I mean about modelling or pattern matching. If you have a poor model, discard it.

  34. Gregory: What a pathetic response. You deserve no respect with such avoidance & will get no further entertainment from this keyboard.

    I’m glad you changed your mind because I didn’t feel like continuing this conversation either…
    After all, there may be more than one truth, if you choose to believe it … but I’m not going to even try to convince you otherwise…
    It would be a waste of your time…

    Therefore… Goodbye! ;-b

  35. Kantian Naturalist: I worry that there’s a distinction between persuasion and reasoning which is drawn too strongly here.

    Social norms don’t arise because of reasoning. They arise because of persuasion.

    For sure, persuasion is not just arguments. But arguments are part of it.

  36. Kantian Naturalist: No, I’m actually alluding to experimental research in the psychology of reasoning. It turns out (no surprise) that human beings are very good about reasoning about some things in some contexts, and not about other things in other contexts.

    Isn’t it way we have philosophers in the first place??? 😉

  37. Neil Rickert: I did not say that there is no truth. Rather, I said that truth is not the goal of science.

    Neither is finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow the goal of science. So is that what you meant when you said that the pursuit of truth is very much like seeking the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?

    That’s a rhetorical question.

  38. Kantian Naturalist: I’d urge a distinction here between (1) is truth a goal of inquiry? and (2) scientific realism vs instrumentalism.

    I guess that depends on one’s definition of scientific realism. The Psillos et al one I see, described here at SEP, is that scientific realism is simultaneously a metaphysical, epistemic, and semantic claim: That is, there is a mind-independent work, we can gain knowledge of it through science, and scientific theories involving both observables and unobservables have (perhaps approximate) truth values that science reveals.

    Think of it this way: Bas van Fraassen might be perfectly happy to say that scientific theories are true

    I think he says that theories are empirically adequate but we are only entitled to take the claims about observables as true. I believed he agreed with realists that we should take theories literally, so that do make truth claims about unobservables, but we should not take a position on the correctness of such claims.

    I enjoyed and agree with the rest of your post, although I might prefer models to maps for structure of theories, Or even something more pragmatic: models, simulations, math, maps, whather best works for that theory and its scientific community.

  39. Neil Rickert

    Coherentism is subject to Putnam’s “cats and cherries” argument.

    I assume by cats and cherries you are alluding to Putnam’s Model Theoretic Argument. But I am used to the MTA as an argument against correspondence truth and in particular in its role in Metaphysical Realism (according to Putnam’s definition of MR). How does coherentism fit in?

  40. Mung: So is that what you meant when you said that the pursuit of truth is very much like seeking the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?

    Truth is not something to pursue. Some statements are true, some are false. But there isn’t a thing called “truth” that could be pursued.

  41. Neil Rickert: Truth is not something to pursue. Some statements are true, some are false. But there isn’t a thing called “truth” that could be pursued.

    That much seems right. But it’s also a red herring, since the real question is whether it makes sense to posit something like “a more adequate representation of the world in itself” as a goal of inquiry over and above “more pragmatic success” (whatever that means, and pragmatic success really needs to get hashed out more carefully).

  42. BruceS: That is, there is a mind-independent work, we can gain knowledge of it through science, and scientific theories involving both observables and unobservables have (perhaps approximate) truth values that science reveals.

    This is where I disagree. To say that a scientific theory has a truth value, is to be unrealistic about science.

    Yes, people may talk about theories as if they true. But that could only be truth by convention.

  43. Kantian Naturalist: That much seems right. But it’s also a red herring, since the real question is whether it makes sense to posit something like “a more adequate representation of the world in itself” as a goal of inquiry over and above “more pragmatic success” (whatever that means, and pragmatic success really needs to get hashed out more carefully).

    I don’t think I used the expression “pragmatic success”.

    I’ll agree, however, that what counts as pragmatic depends on ones goals. If one’s goals are “a more adequate representation” (whatever that means), then working toward a more adequate representation would count as pragmatic.

    A 10-megapixel camera will provide a more adequate representation (i.e. photograph) than a 1-megapixel camera. Should we say that the 10-megapixel camera is more true?

    From my perspective, the camera is neither true nor false. The 10-megapixel camera provides a higher resolution, but that does not make it more true. It is the photographs that should be considered to be true or false.

    I see a scientific theory as somewhat analogous to a camera. The observations made under that theory are similarly analogous to the photograph. So I see theories as neither true nor false, while I see “true” as properly being a condition for observations made under a theory.

    If you are attracted to a correspondence theory of truth, then I see a scientific theory as defining a correspondence. And then obversation can be said to correspond to reality if those obvervations are in accordance with the correspondence that the theory defines. And the idea that the theory itself corresponds to reality seems nonsensical.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.