Recent Books Bearing Upon The Relation Of Science To Religion -- By: G. Frederick Wright
BSac 32:127 (July 1875) p. 537
Recent Books Bearing Upon The Relation Of Science To Religion
The book1 to whose guidance we willingly commit ourselves in this Article, is of exceptional value in this time so marked by fertile speculation and heated controversy. It covers a field which has been neglected entirely too much, by the interpreters both of nature and of the Bible. It may be of advantage to both parties, to be reminded that no facts are altogether foreign, either to science or religion, and that there is but one method by which to arrive at the truth, whether one call himself a scientist or a theologian. Logic is one; and holds alike all interpreters of facts to its rigorous postulates.
The authority of Christianity is not established by direct intuition; but as a conclusion of a syllogism, of which the objective facts contained in the Bible, and the circumstances attending its transmission to us, form the minor premise, and of which certain intuitions, which we will not here specify, compose the major premise.
The belief in the truths of physical science rests likewise on the conclusion of a similar syllogism, whose major premise is the same, and whose minor is a set of observations differing in many particulars from those in the other, but still similar to the others in this, that they are not proof, but only the basis of proof.
BSac 32:127 (July 1875) p. 538
The central question of all reasoning is this: How do we join together the major and minor premise in a conclusion? Whence comes that new thought that is born neither of intuition alone, nor of observation? Has it the certainty of either? The defender of the Bible must answer, that he is not absolutely certain of its credibility and authority; for, from the nature of the case, one cannot be expected to establish these beyond a high degree of probability. But, on the other hand, is the physical philosopher able to do any better in his field? Is he able to eliminate all uncertainty from his conclusions regarding what are called the laws of nature? The author under review, who has made the physical sciences and their methods of proof a life-long study, answers, no; but expresses it as his “strong conviction that before a rigorous logical scrutiny, the ‘reign of law’ will prove to be an unverified hypothesis, the uniformity of nature an ambiguous expression, the certainty of our scientific inferences to a great extent a delusion.”2
The distinguished reputation of Professor Jevons makes it worth while to notice his able and elaborate work upon the Principles of Science at some length. We can do this no better than by...
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