A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Friday, July 03, 2009

The limits of empiricism

Today’s Gospel (John 20:24-29) gave rise to the name “Doubting Thomas.”

Ultimately, of course, Saint Thomas the Apostle came to believe and would demonstrate that faith powerfully the rest of his life.

His “doubt” at the time is actually very much the same as the philosophical assertion known as “empiricism” – believe only what you can physically detect and measure – an assertion which is the foundation of modern science.

The failure of empiricism and of modern science is when it forgets its limitations.

Empiricism as a method is useful, but it is foolish as an assertion that physically-detectable realities are the only ones that exist or matter.

Likewise, science can be useful for describing, predicting, and even managing physical realities, but it is dangerous as a guide for ethics and morality.

This has been demonstrated time and time again; as humankind pushes technology as far as it will go, leaving us with pollution, manmade cancers, weapons of mass destruction, human beings treated as commodities, eugenics, and many other things.

Truth is not owned by science or by popular feelings or by governments.

Nor is it owned by religious people not fully immersed in Christ.

Truth comes from God, who created all things – seen and unseen.

May we always seek the grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to discern, implement, proclaim, and defend the Truth.