mercredi, juillet 13, 2011

"Faith Groups": An Orwellian Specimen Jar?

"Killing Jar"
Hi Fearghas, 
"Religious education in schools is under threat, faith leaders have warned."
It's hard to know which angle to look at this from. It's bad news, obviously, that religious education may be in jeopardy. Many of us will be uncomfortable about the apparent reality that Christianity is now on the same footing as Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism etc. in the United Kingdom. Ironically, more official attention will undoubtedly be paid to this situation because faiths other than Christianity are expressing their concern.

Another indication of creeping progress of the forces of secularism and atheism in our society.

Holy Willie
Hi Billy,

I share your ambivalent feelings about this. As far as I can see, Humanism with its totalitarian agenda has now, via its neo-Darwinist core dogma, pretty much become the ruling paradigm of the Western world. As "paradigm" (ie "default" worldview) it forms the foundation and framework for popular media as well as academia. It is looking more and more unassailable. Moreover, this apparent incontestability fosters a conceit which leads to the increasing loss of any self-critical faculty. In other words, Humanism/Darwinism is less and less able to stand back from itself to appreciate that it is but one "worldview" among many. Rather, it now perceives itself as "Reality" period/full stop. It of course considers itself to be based on "scientific fact". Empirical, objective, rigorously evidentially-based, dispassionately rational, morally authoritative, custodian of human civilization in its long struggle against the internecine forces of superstition. Futhermore, as "paradigm", it now increasingly pervades the lexicon of "the universe of discourse". In other words, the very terms society uses are becoming front-loaded with Humanist preconceptions. The "Newspeak" program in Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" aided totalitarian rule by controlling the populace's vocabulary. Extirpate some terms. Redefine others. Create others. Control words: control concepts:
The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought - that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc - should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and very subtle expression to every meaning that a party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever. To give a single example. The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as ‘This dog is free from lice’ or ‘This field is free from weeds’. It could not be used in its old sense of ‘politically free’ or ‘intellectually free’, since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless. Quite apart from the suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself, and no word that could be dispensed with was allowed to survive. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum.
(George Orwell, 
Nineteen Eighty-Four, Harmondsworth, 1968, pp. 241-2)
Christians are now finding themselves conceptually "ghettoed" together with an assortment of so-called "religious" worldviews, and allocated the collective designation: "Faith Groups". Such is the label on our "specimen jar". We accept this at our utmost peril. Whose handwriting is on the label? That of Humanism, of course. But is Humanism not in a conceptual jar itself? No more. Humanism has become "Reality". Humanism has become "Science". Humanism now owns the Lab. Believing that it is not a belief but objective reality, Humanism thus proceeds to place Christians in a specimen jar on a shelf, peering at us with curiosity or alarm or abhorrence through the distorting glass. Only allowing the lid to be opened under strictly-controlled lab conditions lest society at large be contaminated (in other words, Christians are more and more excluded from participation in serious media discussion because our views are considered to be brainlessly dogmatic). Currently under consideration (at least such is the impression given by Richard Dawkins) is whether and how the offspring of Christians might be safely partitioned from their parents' toxicity. 
     So who cut the ribbon to open the Humanist Lab? Kant. It was Kant who snipped the link between (knowable) phenomena and (unknowable) noumena. It was Kant who wrote: "I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith". Kant who bequeathed to us the "fact/ value" distinction, which reappeared more recently in the "Non-Overlapping Magisteria" ("NOMA") formulation of the late neo-Darwinist Stephen J. Gould (of "punctuated equilibrium" fame). And there is a home connection, for Kant had a Scottish grandfather, and was fired up by a Scottish philosopher: 
Kant's impact on the subject of natural science and religion is best understood in his relation to the Scottish thinker David Hume (1711–1776), whom Kant claimed awakened him from his dogmatic slumber. Exactly when this was to have occurred is unclear; however, among other things Hume represented for Kant the possibility that the use of reason in fact undermined the essential truths of religion, morality, and common sense. Kant faced squarely Hume's skepticism about causality and other conclusions of common sense that haunted the thinkers of the late eighteenth century. The fear was that if Hume's reasoning was correct about these matters, then how was one to retain one's belief in God? As Kant's contemporary Friedrich Jacobi (1743–1819) put it, "Nothing frightens man so much, nothing darkens his mind to such a degree as when God disappears from nature … when purpose, wisdom, and goodness no longer seem to reign in nature, but only a blind necessity of dumb chance."...
If Kant's critique of reason introduced a radical limitation of what could be known, he was adamant that there was a realm that lay beyond cognition. "I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith," he wrote in the preface to the second edition of the Critique. The object of faith, however, could not by definition be articulated or expressed in terms of knowledge. Religion for Kant did not and could not have to do with cognitive propositions about nature. In his 1793 book, Religion within the Boundaries of Reason Alone, he made clear that he accepted Hume's negative conclusions about the so-called argument from design, according to which one reasoned from evidence of design in the world to the existence of a designer. Religion did not commence with nor have to do with one's knowledge of the world. Religion had to do with the purity of one's heart. To be religious is to view one's duties as if they are divine commands. It should be noted that Kant's religious stance was purely intellectual. In spite of the fact that his philosophy made room for the possibility of eternal life, it was clear to those close to him that he scoffed at prayer and other religious practices and that he had no faith in a personal God.
Kant's position, then, radically separated science from religion, as if the two subjects contained no common ground. It took some time for this position to gain a hearing since in the Romantic period, which dominated in the first decades of the nineteenth century, there was great dissatisfaction with Kant's severe restriction of reason's scope to the realm of phenomena...
It was not until the neo-Kantian revival of the late nineteenth century that Kant's radical separation of science from religion emerged in earnest. In the works of the Marburg theologian Wilhelm Herrmann (1846–1922), composed during the heyday of debates about biological evolution, one recognizes the attempt to cede to natural science the freedom to investigate natural phenomena without restriction while at the same time stressing religion's right to address questions of value and right. If religion must surrender nature to natural science, natural science, in turn, must along with religion renounce any claim to have arrived at metaphysical reality. Religion becomes morality while science becomes Naturbeherrschung, mastery of the world. 
In the twentieth century the separation of natural science and religion continued to mark much of German theology, especially the works of well-known existential theologians who wrote in the decades following World War I. Most recently something of a Kantian position on the relationship between science and religion has been advocated by the noted American paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould (1941–2000) who, without ever naming Kant, introduced the notion of non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) as a means of dealing with the realities of science, which is concerned with the factual construction of nature, and religion, which concerns itself with moral issues about the value and meaning of life. Gould acknowledge more than classical neo-Kantians, however, that while magisteria do not overlap, they are everywhere interlaced in a complex manner that often makes it extremely challenging to keep the two separate. Critics of the Kantian position maintain that in practice it is impossible to retain a rigid separation of science and religion.
"Kant, Immanuel." Encyclopedia of Science and Religion. Ed. Ray Abruzzi and Michael J. McGandy. Macmillan-Thomson Gale, 2003. 2006. 12 Jul, 2011
Thus Science and Faith were conceptually severed, and secularised Science was then hijacked by Humanism (which ironically itself of course harbours a crypto-faith in reductionist philosophical materialism). This despite the massive debt Science owes to Christianity: "The biblical roots of modern science". Do we get it? Under this Humanist regime,"Faith" is not, and cannot be, based on "knowledge". "Knowledge" is the preserve of Science (aka Humanism). If "Faith" has any contribution to make it is only in the Kantian (or Gouldian) realm of "values", ie of moral opinions. But Humanist Science is totalitarian. It cannot contemplate (in whatever sense) any residual aspect of existence over which it does not own the rights. It claims absolute sovereignty over ALL of reality. Beyond scientific knowledge there can only be ignorance and superstition. Any Kantian "value" side is patently devoid of value. If it is not scientific it must be imaginary: "Here be dragons". "Here be Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden". "Here dwells the Spaghetti Monster". That MUST be the case. There is no logical alternative. So Humanist Science insists that it be allowed to dictate morality also. Obviously. After all, only Science can be trusted as Source of Truth ("scientific fact"). As a recent example of the process, we need only note the definitive transfer of the very discussion of sexuality from any autonomous so-called "Value" side to the "Science" side; ie, its re-categorisation from being an "open-to-opinion" matter of conscience and moral choice, to the "certainly-not-a-matter-of-opinion" side of non-negotiable "scientific" endorsement - with the latter enforced by draconian law and embedded in a Newspeak lexicon of cattle-rod crowd-control ("whatever-phobic").    

Humanist-Darwinist Science, having asserted exclusive rights over the public square, having secured comprehensive command of the halls and corridors of academia, and having gained the uncritical backing and unstintingly enthusiastic cheerleading of the mass-media, is now inexorably extending its absolutist hegemony over the domestic realm: teaching children about God, we are being told, is a form of "child abuse" (Dawkins). Humanist-Secularist Science is becoming the exclusively 'privileged' locus of knowledge and reason. "Faith-groups" in contrast are being increasingly viewed askance as threat to knowledge, to rationality, to civilization, to human progress. Faith-groups are perceived as superstitious "barbarians at the gates". Not benign. A virus in the body politic. If my description here sounds over-the-top to you, then I can only imagine you haven't frequented many open internet forums recently.

I am saying, if it is not yet clear, that to allow ourselves as Christians to be defined as a "Faith-Group" is sociological suicide. We may as well carry a big placard announcing "IRRATIONAL!". So we must not let ourselves be ghettoed into this conceptual compound. We must not get trapped in this ether-filled "jar",  the lid screwed down on us, labelled as a "Faith-Group". We must wake up to the fact that such a designation is simply code for "Those who must be terminally marginalized". Instead, we must fight back to reclaim rationality itself for the Christ Who said "I am the Truth". We must demonstrate that without Christ, Logic cannot be accounted for. That without the equal ultimacy of unity and diversity in the Triune God, Science is left philosophically incoherent, unable to account (as Van Til put it) for the stringing of the beads, the bringing together of universals and particulars. We must demonstrate that the evidence is exhaustively ours. "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof". We must take the battle to the humanists, impressing upon them that they themselves are committed to a position of Faith. In fact to an unsubstantiable dogmatic Faith in a reductionist philosophical materialism which eschews logic by believing that a purposeless universe can be eternal or explode out of nothing, that movement can arise from stasis, life from mineral, cellular complexity from chaos, consciousness from non-consciousness, universals from contingency, moral absolutes from slime hit by lightning. 

So the Religious Education class as presently constituted occupies a carefully circumscribed and diminishing space that the Humanist-heavy hegemony has allocated it. A space which continues to vanish as Humanism relentlessly claims ALL of human thought for itself. 

Does the "Religious Education" class retain enough "value", now that there is a conceptual polarization between its curriculum as "subjective" and that of the Science class as "objective"? I am not sure it does. Is there a more fruitful alternative? I think there must be. Perhaps a "worldview" class. Perhaps a philosophy class. Some forum at least whereby Darwino-humanism finds itself despite itself having to give an account for itself. Hopefully thereby beginning to break the spell of the intellectual legerdemain by which it captivates society.

"As soon as ever we depart from Christ, there is nothing, be it ever so gross or insignificant in itself, respecting which we are not necessarily deceived." (John Calvin, Commentary on Genesis)

I have just come across the following (2010) article by Ki Mae Heussner including an exchange with Stephen Hawking which gives classic expression to the mindset considered above:
When (Diane) Sawyer asked if there was a way to reconcile religion and science, Hawking said,"There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works." (Stephen Hawking on Religion: 'Science Will Win': Renowned Physicist Shares Thoughts on God, Fatherly Advice in an Interview With ABC's Diane Sawyer)
"Because it works" may seem a compelling "clincher" argument but it is far from it. For a start, Christians are Christians because they have empirically confirmed that "Christianity works", i.e. in following Christ their lives function better (to say the least). It must be clarified that, although Christians are elated to have discovered a rock-solid anchorage for rationality, Christianity is not primarily about assenting to an array of propositions. It is about relating to Christ as alive now and as Lord now. As the One from Whom and through Whom and to Whom are all things. Christians have not the slightest problem with the statement "Science works". Indeed they strongly endorse it. But they equally strongly argue that "Science works" because reality kicks in despite atheistic postulation, and despite the hubris that "Science" is somehow an intrinsically humanistic venture and achievement. This, of course, is not at all to argue the absurdity that only Christians can "do" Science. Very far from it. The South African Calvinist philosopher Henrik G. Stoker writes to Professor Cornelius Van Til:
" also rightly stress again and anon that we should appreciate the accomplishments and contributions of empirical scientists who are not Christians; they know much about the universe; discover many truths by the methods they employ; and have made marvellous technological advances...They could (according to your contention) make all these contributions not because of but in spite of their unbiblical assumptions, their misconceptions of ultimate relations, their being alienated from God." (Jerusalem and Athens, p 59)
In fact, long before Cornelius Van Til (1895-1987), John Calvin (1509-1564) not only very pointedly extolled the work of non-Christian scientists, he also insisted that if Christians failed to take on board the excellent achievements of non-Christians in the field of science (and of learning generally) they would be disobeying God and guilty of "sloth":
Therefore, in reading profane authors, the admirable light of truth displayed in them should remind us, that the human mind, however much fallen and perverted from its original integrity, is still adorned and invested with admirable gifts from its Creator. If we reflect that the Spirit of God is the only fountain of truth, we will be careful, as we would avoid offering insult to him, not to reject or condemn truth wherever it appears. In despising the gifts, we insult the giver. How then can we deny that truth must have beamed on those ancient lawgivers who arranged civil order and discipline with so much equity? Shall we say that the philosophers, in their exquisite researches and skilful description of nature, were blind? Shall we deny the possession of intellect to those who drew up rules of discourse, and taught us to speak in accordance with reason? Shall we say that those who, by the cultivation of the medical art, expended their industry on our behalf were only raving? What shall we say of the mathematical sciences? Shall we deem them to be the dreams of madmen? Nay, we cannot read the writings of the ancients on these subjects without the highest admiration; an admiration which their excellence will not allow us to withhold. But shall we deem anything to be noble and praiseworthy, without tracing it to the hand of God? Far from us be such ingratitude; an ingratitude not chargeable even on heathen poets, who acknowledged that philosophy and laws, and all useful arts were the inventions of the gods. Therefore, since it is manifest that men whom the Scriptures term ‘carnal’ are so acute and clear-sighted in the investigation of inferior things, their example should teach us how many gifts the Lord has left in possession of human nature, notwithstanding its having been despoiled of the true good....Nor is there any ground for asking what concourse the Spirit can have with the ungodly, who are altogether alienated from God. For what is said as to the Spirit dwelling in believers only, is to be understood of the Spirit of holiness, by which we are consecrated to God as temples. Notwithstanding this, he fills, moves and invigorates all things by virtue of the Spirit, and that according to the peculiar nature which each class of beings has received by the Law of Creation. But if the Lord has been pleased to assist us by the work and ministry of the ungodly in physics, dialectics, mathematics, and other similar sciences, let us avail ourselves of it, lest, by neglecting the gifts of God spontaneously offered to us, we be justly punished for our sloth. (John Calvin, Institutes 2:2:15-16).

The answer to Stephen Hawking's argument that "Science will win because it works" is simply that God's "common grace" bestows intellect and insight on all humanity regardless of personal belief-systems, so that all are in principle capable of being "great" scientists. Nonetheless, if it comes down to a discussion over which worldview provides the most coherent philosophical basis for science, the Christian will make bold to point to Biblical Christianity as uniquely fit. The fact that Christianity has been historically conducive to the development of Science is recognized beyond the "fold":

‘The philosophy of experimental science … began its discoveries and made use of its methods in the faith, not the knowledge, that it was dealing with a rational universe controlled by a creator who did not act upon whim nor interfere with the forces He had set in operation… It is surely one of the curious paradoxes of history that science, which professionally has little to do with faith, owes its origins to an act of faith that the universe can be rationally interpreted, and that science today is sustained by that assumption.’ (Eiseley, L. [evolutionary anthropologist and science writer], Darwin’s Century: Evolution and the Men who Discovered It, Doubleday, Anchor, New York, 1961)
“Here is a final paradox. Recent work on early modern science has demonstrated a direct (and positive) relationship between the resurgence of the Hebraic, literal exegesis of the Bible in the Protestant Reformation, and the rise of the empirical method in modern science. I’m not referring to wooden literalism, but the sophisticated literal-historical hermeneutics that Martin Luther and others (including Newton) championed...It was, in part, when this method was transferred to science, when students of nature moved on from studying nature as symbols, allegories and metaphors to observing nature directly in an inductive and empirical way, that modern science was born. In this, Newton also played a pivotal role. As strange as it may sound, science will forever be in the debt of millenarians and biblical literalists.” (Snobelen, S. [Assistant Professor of History of Science and Technology, University of King’s College, Halifax, Canada], “Isaac Newton and Apocalypse Now: a response to Tom Harpur’s Newton’s strange bedfellows”; A longer version of the letter published in the Toronto Star, 26 February 2004).
Hawking apparently sees the relation between Christianity and Science in a very different light. Looking back in more detail at our original quote from Hawking we suggest that his formulation of the issue ensures that "Science" (as defined by him) "will win" because the logic he employs assumes his conclusion as a premise. In fact, Diane Sawyer's question already presupposes this answer, since she clearly shares the same premise. The premise, or presupposition (that which is assumed or taken as a given) being that there is an inherent incompatibility between "religion" and "science". Thus we must note the crucial fact that he/she who defines the terms (Orwell again) wins the argument. The argument is won almost before it starts because the very words used predetermine the outcome. The terms are front-loaded. There is no discord between Sawyer and Hawking because they share the same dictionary, the same humanist lexicon. Let's investigate a few key words more closely, noting the demarcation of meaning, i.e. the specific range of reference or connotation, accorded to each term:


When (Diane) Sawyer asked if there was a way to reconcile religion and science, Hawking said,"There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."  
Note in the Hawking quote that Christianity gets no specific mention. We are to assume that it is covered by the generic category "religion". So the Christian who tries to respond to Sawyer or Hawking is faced straightway with two hidden pitfalls -

Pitfall 1 -
As we have tried to demonstrate above, the first pitfall for the Christian who attempts to formulate a response to the Hawking's quote is to naively accept the pernicious premise that it is a valid description of reality to claim there is a historical and ongoing struggle between "Religion" and "Science". In actuality there IS no dichotomy between the Creator and His creation. Any presentation of a black-and-white "Science versus Religion" account of civilization is historically inaccurate. Having said that, the philosophical formulation of this imagined division is historical and we have traced the roots of it (above) via Stephen J. Gould back to Kant, though they of course do reach much deeper. 

Pitfall 2 -
The second pitfall for the Christian, having fatally accepted this God-denying dichotomy as a given, is to then go on to attempt to defend the equally God-denying humanist generic (undifferentiated) postulate called "Religion". And if we do not understand why it is "God-denying", then it is high-time we did. "Religion" is an abstract generalisation. The Christian is NOT called to defend an abstraction, i.e. some kind of amorphous theoretical "theism". Rather, we are called to testify to the Living God and Christ Who has specifically identified Himself in the Bible. As Van Til has taught us, to call God "possible" or even "probable" is to talk about a different entity than the self-testifying God "with Whom we have to do":
"The compromising character of this position is obvious. It is compromising, in the first place, with respect to the objective clarity of the evidence for the truth of Christian theism. The psalmist does not say that the heavens probably declare the glory of God; they infallibly and clearly do. Probability is not, or at least should not be, the guide of life. Men ought, says Calvin following Paul, to believe in God, for each one is surrounded with a superabundance of evidence with respect to him. The whole universe is lit up by God...But according to Butler, men have done full justice by the evidence if they conclude that God probably exists. Worse than that, according to this position, men are assumed to have done full justice by the evidence if they conclude that, a God exists. But a god is a finite god, which is no god, but an idol. How can they then identify this probable God with the God of the Bible on whom all things depend for their existence?"(Cornelius Van Til, The Reformed Pastor, ch 4) 
When (Diane) Sawyer asked if there was a way to reconcile religion and science, Hawking said,"There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works." 
I am attempting to draw our attention to examples of key words which increasingly are only allowed a Humanist-friendly and anti-Christian specificity of meaning. We have noted that the word "religion"  has been massaged by this Orwellian-type process to denote something entirely negative (the same treatment has been accorded the word "faith" in the initial post above). Now we see the word "authority" being duly loaded with irrationalist negativity. Negativity, at least, when "religion" is in mind. The term "religion" is, I suggest, served up here using a recipe based on dodgy ingredients, the basest ingredient of all apparently being "authority", unjustifiably contrasted with "reason". Thus, "religion" is now based by definition on "authority" which in turn is apparently based by definition on irrationality and fantasy. It can surely be assumed that Ki Mae Heusser (writer of the article), Sawyer and Hawking will in practice find themselves using the word "authority" positively in other contexts (e.g. perhaps, "rational authority"?). However, "religious" authority obviously stands (to their minds) in marked contrast to, for example, the authority invested in Hawking himself in the very interview and article. The word is not used, but is redolent in the very title of the piece: "Stephen Hawking on Religion: 'Science Will Win': Renowned Physicist Shares Thoughts on God, Fatherly Advice in an Interview With ABC's Diane Sawyer". Moreover, towards the end we find ourselves in effect invited to sit at Hawking's feet along with Sawyer (and, as it were, Hawking's children) to benefit from his authoritative "fatherly" wisdom about life:
As Hawking's children navigate the many complexities of human life, he told Sawyer that he's offered up three pieces of advice: "One, remember to look  up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it," he said. "Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don't throw it away."
Now, please don't think I am knocking or mocking this advice - far from it (during an unscheduled, rather fraught, break in the writing of this piece last night, I found myself stood staring at dozing ducks by a secluded sylvan pond and in my mind rehearsed to my real benefit Hawking's threefold counsel). But the question does arise as to how proficiency, even genius, in astro-physics bestows authority regarding so much more:
"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." (Stephen Hawking: 'There is no heaven; it's a fairy story', Guardian newspaper article)
To make it clear, however, the general issue here is not Stephen Hawking but the current lexicon of discourse with which he has expressed himself regarding the relationship of  Science to Christianity. It is Hawking himself who contrasts "authority" with "observation and reason". Yet as we see there is an obvious fawning before his own "authority" which pervades the interview: 
"Celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking knows more about the universe than almost any other person ever to walk the planet, but some answers still escape even him".
Christians must realise that it is difficult to use the word "religion" in current broad society without a negative, even sinister, connotation arising in people's minds (and if they are watching BBC TV, there will most likely have been added a background sound-effect such as a disturbingly prolonged darkly bass note to manipulate the mood. Contrariwise, the BBC seems never to allow the word "Science" to venture out in public without its make-up on and a mobile "soft-lighting" crew and plenty of cathedral-type [!] aspirational music). Which brings us to:

When (Diane) Sawyer asked if there was a way to reconcile religion and science, Hawking said,"There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works." 
In our current Orwellian Newspeak, the term "Science" can be filled with whatever positive content we like as long as we start with autonomous (i.e. God-free) "observation and reason". But anyone half-paying attention here will anticipate that to arrive at the desired definition of "Science" we simply need to reverse all components of the definition of "Religion". The formula is easily memorised. 

The skeptic David Hume (as we read above) when rigorously applying "autonomous reason" to "observation" discovered that objective causality could not be validated thereby. "Reason", it transpired, cannot strictly-speaking confirm anything outside the subjective bubble of the reasoner's own senses. That is all "strictly speaking", of course. But humanity, naturally, wasn't going to allow Science to be stalled by a pedantic point like that. My own point, which I don't think is pedantic in the slightest, is that "observation and reason" actually serve as a kind of public-relations "Front" in this discourse. If I might be allowed to employ a rather extended metaphor... They ("Observation" and "Reason") are really just a couple of smiling, easy-on-the-eye celebrities who can "talk the talk" on prime-time TV. Beneath the razzmatazz stage, carefully secluded from public view, are the shadowy entities that investigative journalists REALLY should seek to interview: let's call them "Premise" and "Presupposition". And hopefully it might  begin to dawn on some astute news-sleuth that even these guys aren't the kingpins. After many a caffeine-fuelled late-night thumbing through the small print of massive phone-books and endless columns of yellowing archived newspaper and dog-eared science journal articles - just as terminal frustration is finding expression in expletives - newshound gold is struck at a level far deeper than anyone expected. What fools! It was so obvious! How could we have missed it for so long? It was staring us in the face. There he is, lurking among the overlapping collage of photo fragments, press-cuttings and night-club cards pinned to that paint-flaked wall. Mr Big: Fides Absconditus! The clue was there all the time in his name - if only they had taught us Latin at school! - "Hidden Faith". Sometimes a little etymology can go a long way! And then the exciting dénouement as the safe behind the Impressionist painting is opened to reveal that Godfather Fides has invested all in the highly suspect global conglomerate "Red Mat Foundation" (or to give it it's cumbersome but more explanatory pre-makeover handle: "The Reductionist Materialist Philosophical Foundation of All Reality"

To finish on a note of irony - Diane Sawyer's article informs us:
Until he [Stephen Hawking] stepped down last fall, he held the post of Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University, a position once held by Sir Isaac Newton, the "father of physics" himself.
Newton was, of course (as were so many giants of burgeoning Science), a committed Christian.