Saturday, March 26, 2011

The noetic effects of sin

Radagast, who usually blogs at a fairly sedate pace has decided to spend the month of March in an amazing and almost daily series on, broadly, the relationship between Science and Faith, but more specifically on both a meta-commentary on colour and, most fascinating of all, the Platonic nature of mathematics. Platonism, as philosophical system, carries a lot of baggage, and so it'd be great to see Radagast provide some pointers in untangling the good and the bad aspects of it.

However most interesting of all was Radagast's reminder of the noetic effects of sin. 
Emil Brunner suggests that such a noetic effect “reaches its maximum in theology and its minimum in the exact sciences, and zero in the sphere of the formal. Hence it is meaningless to speak of ‘Christian mathematics’” (Revelation and Reason: the Christian doctrine of faith and knowledge, 1946). Three kinds of noetic effect seem apparent from experience, however ...
For those who watched Collision, the documentary about a series of debates between Hitchens and Wilson, you might remember one of their between-debate conversations where Wilson briefly explains this idea to Hitchens.  In this diagram I want to explore the idea that theology (or ideology for non-Christian readers) which is at the heart of knowledge and thought, is the most likely to be corrupted and most influential when corrupted with the effects of sin working it's way out through the different areas of civilisation.

What's interesting is that divisions between concrete and abstract or between perception and epistemology don't necessarily correspond to the successive levels of sin's influence. I guess the centrality of theology/ideology says something about the way humans organise civilisation.  What are my readers thoughts, questions and comments about the noetic effects of sin?

[Update] The circle above I think brings together four different measurements for which I've created two info-graphics below.

Note that these two graphs (h/t Radagast) aren't a comment on either the value or the efficiency of things plotted.