Nature lies to us? (Al Mohler’s epistemology, redux)
November 9, 2011
Alight, I can’t put this topic to rest. It’s not my fault; Dr. Mohler really enjoys discussing this, with “urgency,” and I can’t help responding. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, hosts a panel discussion at said seminary on the historicity of Adam (which I don’t deny necessarily, so that’s not my concern). My concern, once more, is his articulation of how knowledge works. Here we go again:
…Scientists by their very nature, by the very nature of their work, are doing the best they can with the data that’s accessible to them. They’re not looking to the Scriptures for that data; they’re looking at the natural data coming from the world. But what does Scripture tell us? Scripture tells us that that world is not going to tell us the truth. I mean, Genesis 3 tells us that that world is showing all the effects of the Fall. That world is showing all the effects of the flood. That world is showing all the effects of the ravages of human sin and God’s judgment upon that sin.
[emphasis mine; 43 minute mark in the video]
He continues with the qualification that the scientists are not lying to us, because the scientists are just following “as best they can” what nature is telling them. Yet, the scientists cannot be believed. Why? Nature itself is not trustworthy; we really can’t believe the empirical data…because of the Fall.
What does this amount to? It’s an overthrow of the whole scientific process — a fundamental dissolution of the basic epistemic foundation required to do empirical research. What is that basic epistemic foundation? That the natural world is not lying to us. We can actually trust our senses. We have access to the real world. I don’t exist in a dream state. I’m not subservient to mental representations of a reality I can’t know. Oddly enough, Mohler is more extreme than Kant.