S GUIDE TO COVENANTAL THEOLOGY
11 On the Faithfulness of Science,
and the Paganism of Catholic
It might be helpful to illustrate the radical, the fundamental, character of the critique advanced by
Covenantal Theology by means of an ironic -- and scandalous -- contrast between the activity of a typical
reputable contemporary (thus not necessarily a 'modern') Catholic theologian, and that of a typical reputable
modern natural scientist.
Rarely as a matter of what he says, but singularly as a matter of what he does, a good modern natural
scientist is quite stubborn about remaining within time and not fleeing to a time-less structure in which the
Right Answer is already written down in a book, and he is quite courageous in his efforts to make his mind
conform to the Real, and not the other way around, whatever the cost to what he thought he 'knew.'
Modern science continues to advance, because good modern scientists continue to behave as if their object
of study had priority over the methods they employ to study it. Whatever they may say, they behave as if their
methods were really historical. They do not behave as if their methods were 'obvious' deductions from 'right
reason,' obeying the inexorable and time-less Laws of Thought.
Instead, they act as if their methods -- their very thoughts regarding what is "reasonable" -- were
themselves fully historical, not safely isolated in a time-less place. They act as if their methods were always
subject to the most drastic transformation as the result of a mysterious interaction in time between the reality
of their object and their current questions, such that their methods were always and continually emerging in
time as a set of even more intelligible and coherent questions regarding the object, than any set of questions
that had previously been asked or even imagined.
They act as if their questions and methods might be radically imperfect, such that in their present state
they could never grasp their object even in principle, and they act as if the interaction in time of those very
questions and methods with their object will result in a new set of questions and methods that may also very
possibly be radically imperfect, which will nonetheless be more coherent and intelligible, but in ways that are
not predictable or even articulable in advance. They act as if reason itself were completely bound by time,
radically historical, completely provisional. They act as if that does not bother them, because their faith is not
actually in their 'reason,' but in the reality which is its object, and in that reality's fundamental and irrevocable
When modern scientists talk about what they do and its implications, they nearly always cast their
statements in terms of a dehistoricized cosmology -- an intellectual framework which they obviously
immediately abandon when they actually do science.
Thus, when they do science, their resolute 'time-fullness,' their faith in the existence of a "concretely
present knowable unknown" (as Fr. Keefe terms it) can be so radiant, as to embarrass a saint. They say that
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.