Dallas Willard on Science

“ ‘Science,’ as now generally understood, actually combines appeals to all three sources [of knowledge: authority, reason, and experience], but in undigested and incoherent ways that permit it to be manipulated in the public arena, where policy issues are in question, for numerous unscientific and political purposes.  Indeed, nothing would be more helpful in the midst of today’s confusions than a thorough understanding of the nature and limitations of “science” itself.

“But the sciences themselves cannot provide such an understanding, because each one is limited to its peculiar subject matter (which certainly is not “science”), and so the necessary work cannot be done in any way that is “scientific” under current understandings.  That reveals the impasse of modern life.  Science is the presumed authority on knowledge, but it cannot provide scientific knowledge of science.

“. . . No science is omnicompetent, nor, very likely, is any [particular] “scientifically minded” person.  But given the present confusions in the world of intellect, this seems to be a point easily missed.  Actually, what we see here are the influences of an unsupported worldview.”

— Dallas Willard, Knowing Christ Today, 60-61.

 

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2 thoughts on “Dallas Willard on Science

  1. Hi Jeff,
    I think you’re right that it’s very tempting to look at the successes of science and think that science must have all the answers. I’m a fan of science myself and I appreciate all the benefits we derive from it. But a little reflection will make clear that science is limited in the topics it can address, and that it has nothing to say about, for example, what is ultimately real, good, and beautiful. Some, like the new atheists, want to make science the measure of all things, which results in a very distorted worldview.

  2. Jesus was once asked, “Are you the One who is to come or are we to expect another?” In response Jesus spoke of the evidence of his authority,

    The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. (Mt.11)

    Science is providing this evidence today, making it difficult to question its authority

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