Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Knowing of Knowledge?

To know is to engage in the process of acquiring knowledge. Knowledge comes from the Latin word scientia, from which we derive the modern English word, science. Such is the success of the scientific project to explain phenomena in the process of gaining knowledge that we commonly think of science as the most manicured form of reliable knowing. But science is not the only way of acquiring knowledge. We also gain understanding through the arts.
The flawed distinction between ‘art’ and ‘science’ should be corrected, for knowledge is acquired by the art of the natural sciences and by the science of the human arts. The arts include philosophical speculation, theological reflection, and religious experience. These three modes of scientia result in the formation of beliefs, not unlike beliefs formed in scientific theory-building.
Religious belief, with its origin in doctrinal observance rather than scientific observation, is not part of modern science BUT it is certainly part of modern scientia (knowledge).
From this, we may conclude that the question as to the origin of humanity must seek to know knowledge from the art of theological reflection, based on the testimonial witness of a community of knowers. This community is the Christian church, who (i) bear witness (martyr) to the teachings of prior witnesses with authoritative teachings in scriptures, (ii) and experience for themselves the communal life of faith.
Science can describe and explain mechanical processes that gave rise to the human race within the limits of discovery and analyses. So far, it is divided on almost every aspect of the human species; including what they are ontologically like, where they first appeared, whether in a single or in multiple locations, how they arose and why they did so. The last question is a metaphysical one and all scientific claims regarding ‘why’ are in fact theological claims in disguise, not scientific ones.

No comments: