...I believe there are absolute limits to human ability, and that there are phenomena in the universe that are not susceptible to scientific investigation, however advanced our tools become.
Yes. The great imponderables, and I have had direct experience of a few of them, such that I know (from that direct experience) certain things to be true, without knowing why/how they can be, or are so. I do not "believe" them.
However, though I would not care to predict whether our tools would be able to advance to the point where they could
enable us to understand these previously inexplicable phenomena, given our progress to date in philosophy, metaphysics, science and engineering, it wouldn't surprise me if they did.
Such imponderables may be always susceptible/open to scientific investigation to some limited extent, but currently seem to remain defiantly opaque to our further enquiries, and so the best we will be able to do is create often contradictory theories and/or beliefs about them - e.g., including the Big Bang theory v. constant creation; life v. death; Higgs boson v. non-Higgs models.
Many of these theories might be half-baked, cobbled-together and even simply "made-up" theories explaining away the inexplicable, founded on an ego-centric rationale that we absolutely must
be able to explain everything away that we cannot understand, rather than simply admitting that "We just don't know" - e.g., "near death experiences".
In this way, we can have the security blanket of a belief or a theory for everything, and skitter away from the terrifying abyss of our ignorance and the inexplicable - the Unknown - comforted in our assumed knowledge, which is in reality but knowledge of very little indeed.
So we have (say) a theory
of Evolution (Darwinism), which, whilst it rather seems to knock the theory/belief of Creationism into a cocked hat, arguably is not necessarily of itself true (it remains an unproven theory) and does not of itself necessarily defeat the theoretical concept of God - though some might prefer to believe or perceive
that it does, of course.
Whilst thinking about this, it may be useful to reflect that Darwin was himself a devout Christian and though his research and his theory perturbed him, it apparently did not cause him to lose his faith in God.
However, as I have argued above, getting research through the gates of a peer review process apparently does not of itself prove anything about anything, especially where the scientific method has been abused in the fist place (QED).
Thus, if we had some research that seemed to show that Creationism was true after all, and, after several peer reviews it was published in Nature or something, I would have to recommend one read such a publication with a high degree of scepticism.@app103:
I have to say that I feel that your priest's can of soup analogy is an absurd analogy for Faith. Have faith in the love of God, by all means, but not in a can of soup
, for goodness' sake. A can is not God. Opening a can of soup will reveal that it is made of pieces of rolled and crimped iron sheet, sometimes galvanised on the outside, and lined with a plating of tin (a silvery metal) or a film of plastic on the inside.
Generally, the soup contained within will be found to be edible, and seems to keep without perishing whilst it is in the unopened can. You don't have to trust
the can, but you do need to place some reliance on the proper manufacture of the can and the canning process at the cannery.
You can inspect a can and determine whether the food inside is likely to be safe to eat. Treat with circumspection any cans where there is evidence of damage, corrosion/leakage of the can - the contents may have perished and could be fatally poisonous as air may have entered the can and microbes will have bred in that environment. If the flat ends of the can are bulging outwards, then that is a sure sign of microbial gas production and the contents will almost certainly be fatally poisonous - destroy the can and its contents to avoid the risk of poisoning others.
If otherwise the can looks OK, and if the contents smell and taste OK, then they're likely to be safe to eat. Trust or faith doesn't seem to come into it. Theory and observation do.
"Action which is not based on sound theory or "best"/good practice is irrational by definition." (WE Deming)
I could be wrong, of course, but the sort of Faith you seem to be talking about is religious faith in the eternal, in (say) a God. A Christian believer might recite the dogma of the Nicene Creed
: "I believe...in the Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost...etc.", perhaps not knowing that history tells us that the creed was apparently invented
in about 325AD by the leaders of the RC Church as a compromise to avoid a faction forming amongst the religion's orders. An Islamist would be quick to point that out to you and say furthermore that the Creed is a double-whammy blasphemy in Islam, because:
- (a) it divides the indivisible one God into three bits (this is also potentially idolatrous), and
- (b) one of the three bits is a man (Jesus Christ) who, though he is believed by Muslims to be a true prophet of Allah, was but a man nevertheless, just like Mohammed (pbuh), who is believed by Muslims to be the second and last true prophet of Allah.
(i) a Christian cannot convert to being a Muslim without first renouncing the Nicene Creed (the belief in the Holy Trinity), which blasphemy is a sin and otherwise blocks his spiritual eligibility to enter Islam.
(ii) a Christian who expresses his faith
in the Holy Trinity is apparently expressing faith in a deliberate and artificial (i.e., made up) fiction.
Of course there's no doubt lots of sophistry to say this is not really how it is, or "look how many angels you can fit on the head of a pin!", or "our Book of God/Allah is more true than yours!", but it is all absurd - arguments over fantasy/myth - and likely to prove of no productive use of your cognitive surplus and may even be potentially life-threatening. So, before we start cutting off each other's head's or blowing ourselves up over whose fantasy/belief is thickest, we might be better off discussing something more useful and enjoyable - e.g. science fiction/fantasy.