Is atheism a religion?

Jun 2016
1,760
England, 200 yards from Wales
Excellent !

"Laws are descriptions — often mathematical descriptions — of natural phenomenon; for example, Newton's Law of Gravity or Mendel's Law of Independent Assortment. These laws simply describe the observation. Not how or why they work, said Coppinger.
Yes, it is an a way a pity that the word 'law' was used. It suggests not just a description of what happens, but rather that things are compelled to behave like that by a prescriptive law, with the suggestion that it was set up by a cosmic legislator.
I suppose the word was used because 17th/18th century Christian and Deist scientists did assume something like that.
 
Aug 2010
15,657
Welsh Marches
In so far as 'laws' of physical nature explain how things work, they are in fact rather more than mere descriptions, since they refer to interconnected realities that work together in a certain fixed way (however Humean empiricists may care to regard them). Of course it is possible to extract them from their context and regard them in isolation from one another as being merely descriptive, but in doing so one is carrying a acts of abstraction on philosophical grounds.
 

Ficino

Ad Honorem
Apr 2012
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Romania
Yes, it is an a way a pity that the word 'law' was used. It suggests not just a description of what happens, but rather that things are compelled to behave like that by a prescriptive law, with the suggestion that it was set up by a cosmic legislator.
I suppose the word was used because 17th/18th century Christian and Deist scientists did assume something like that.
Science aims to explain and understand, not just to describe, a mere description of observable facts can't be called "science". OTOH the idea of "cosmic legislator" that you mention comes from a mechanical worldview characteristic to deism, it is not a Christian one.
 

Ficino

Ad Honorem
Apr 2012
6,904
Romania
Jun 2016
1,760
England, 200 yards from Wales
Science aims to explain and understand, not just to describe, a mere description of observable facts can't be called "science". OTOH the idea of "cosmic legislator" that you mention comes from a mechanical worldview characteristic to deism, it is not a Christian one.
Yes, but science is more than the 'laws'. Surely the sort of understanding you speak of is the realm of theories.
I agree, 'cosmic legislator' is far more Deist terminology, but wouldn't Christianity also think that God, in creating the universe, would also have stipulated how it should work?
 

Ficino

Ad Honorem
Apr 2012
6,904
Romania
Yes, but science is more than the 'laws'. Surely the sort of understanding you speak of is the realm of theories.
Do you imply that the 'laws' play no role in our understanding of the world?

I agree, 'cosmic legislator' is far more Deist terminology, but wouldn't Christianity also think that God, in creating the universe, would also have stipulated how it should work?
What means "to stipulate" in such a context?
 
Jun 2016
1,760
England, 200 yards from Wales
Do you imply that the 'laws' play no role in our understanding of the world?
No, of course not, but they arre only part of that understanding. If you look at the link in post #409 it explains it better than I can, but basically laws describe what happens, it is the business of theories to try and explain why and how it happens (I think).

What means "to stipulate" in such a context?
To give an instruction, to organise,
 
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