Scientists Should Tell Lawrence Krauss to Shut Up Already – Edward Feser

Thomas-Aquinas-Black-largeThere is an excellent article by Edward Feser on the false dichotomie of Science and God published by The Witherspoon Institute  here

The point for present purposes is just this: From the point of view of the main arguments for God’s existence, it is a mistake to think that the place to look for evidence of God is within the domain investigated by science. Rather, the place to look is somewhere more fundamental—at what any possible science must itself presuppose.

The Rules of the Game

Think of it this way: you can’t find out why checkers boards exist by looking at the rules of checkers themselves, which concern only what goes on within the game. The rules tell you how each piece moves, how the game is won, and so forth. But why are the pieces governed by these rules, specifically, rather than others? Why do any checkers boards exist at all in the first place? No scrutiny of the rules can answer those questions. It is impossible to answer them, or indeed even to understand the questions, unless you take a vantage point from outside the game and its rules.

Similarly, what science uncovers are, in effect, the “rules” that govern the “game” that is the natural world. Its domain of study is what is internal to the natural order of things. It presupposes that there is such an order, just as the rules of checkers presuppose that there are such things as checkers boards and game pieces. For that very reason, though, science has nothing to say about why there is any natural order or laws in the first place, any more than the rules of checkers tell you why there are any checkers boards or checkers rules in the first place.checkerboard

Thus, science cannot answer the question why there is any world at all, or any laws at all. To answer those questions, or even to understand them properly, you must take an intellectual vantage point from outside the world and its laws, and thus outside of science. You need to look to philosophical argument, which goes deeper than anything mere physics can uncover.

Krauss’s argument is as inept as that of someone who thinks that checkers game boards have no cause, because we can find no reference to such a cause in the rules of checkers. Such a person is looking in the wrong place, just as Krauss is looking in the wrong place when he confines himself to science to find some reason to affirm a divine uncaused cause.


If you confine yourself to quantitative concepts—as physics does—then you are guaranteed not to find purpose even if it is there. Krauss’s “argument” is like that of an artist who confines himself to using black and white materials and then concludes that, since color doesn’t show up in his drawings of fire engines and apples, it follows that fire engines and apples are not really red, or any other color.


2 Comments on “Scientists Should Tell Lawrence Krauss to Shut Up Already – Edward Feser”

  1. where is this “more fundamental place” and why cannot one expect evidence of your god if this god has supposedly repeatedly interfered in this universe and its actions should have left evidence?

  2. falsedichotomie says:

    Hi clubschandenfreude. I think Feser’s understanding of ” a more fundamental place” is essentially the bigger picture – the why and the how of why the natural world and natural laws exist at all. These are questions that learning the rules of the game ( the mechanics of the natural order) do not even raise – they are of a different order of question ( e.g. the checkerboard analogy). They are not metaphysical questions, they are physical ones.
    Re finding evidence of God in the natural order of the physical world, I think the Aquinian response would be something to do with natural law – that natural law does indeed reveal evidence of God. The world would simply cease to exist if God was not involved at every point and every time. From memory, that’s the argument of contingency.

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