Davy Hume

Davy Hume was a leading member of the Scottish Enlightenment. He was born in 1711 and was a professor at Glasgow University. He was a philosopher who followed on from the lead of Descartes, Bacon, Locke and Newton who were the initiators of the scientific thinking of the age.
Davy was a firm believer in reason, logic, the unchanging laws of nature. Like all true enlightenment philosopher’s, he used these principles to examine the whole spectrum of the universe and discover truths about the way it worked. His would take a hypotheses or theory and scientifically test it in an objective manner. He would view the results and through science and deduction reach a conclusion. This is the way science is supposed to work, unbiased from personal, financial or philosophical interest. But Davy used these principles in studying philosophy. His main subject was in investigating whether there was any proof of the existence of God.
Davy had a great analogy of a couple of billiard balls. The theory of cause and effect would be proved as one billiard ball connects with the other with the same mathematical result each time. Thus, the law of the universe was set and unchanging. There is no way to prove that God exists, unless you can prove a miracle and then prove that it was him that done it. You cannot prove God by human means as that would put man above God and therefore deny that theory anyway. Everybody has an individual attitude towards God anyway.
He stated that for a miracle to be proved the statistical likelihood of a miracle would have to be greater than the converse explanation. If that explanation was so unlikely that it was more likely to result in proof of God so be it, but it never happened. He said that there was enough self-interest and evidence of false miracles to throw doubt on it all. Reason and logic triumph over superstition, self-interested rigid belief structures and feelings based decisions every time.
But lack of proof of God, does not make him disappear in a puff logic. Christian Scripture indicates that Christians have faith not proof and make their own decision based on their own spiritual experience, which is not something that can be justified to anybody else. There is a difference between religion and faith. A religion is collection of like-minded people who share some beliefs in community, some will be followers and some will think for themselves, but ultimately spirituality is an individual thing. If a church fails then the market will correct itself, a true faith does not get effected by that.
So, I believe that Davy’s writing is a benefit to all. He created a solid foundation of what to base your life on, that is scientific and philosophical discovery of the 18th Century. It is probably the closest thing we have to truth, probably due to the Enlightenment’s rigorous, objective and selfless search after it. There are atheists like Nietzsche who refused to believe in God based on a bad personal experience. This is fine on a personal level, but unlike Davy who views the whole of human experience, this guy is pushing his own views down my throat. There were others of his ilk who are that ignorant and arrogant that they could not imagine a God as they were too proud to believe in anything more important than themselves.
Davy is important, you don’t have to agree with everything he says, but it is a seriously valid argument. He lay on his deathbed, writing to his friends, assured in his future oblivion. His faith and application of sensible principles did not promote atheism as such, but allowed people to decide for themselves within a logical, not superstitious framework that him and his friends created.
Davy, you will always live in your writing and as the Scots say, “Slange Vor” (My spelling)
Conway-Laird (2017)

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