(no subject)

William W. Cobern (icwwc@ASUVM.INRE.ASU.EDU)
Fri, 19 Apr 1996 12:10:37 -0700

I hope this is not a duplication but I tried to send the following memo a
few days ago and according to a response on my system, the message was not
accepted at the Calvin computer - so I am trying again!

Recently I read a critique of Paul Davies "Mind of God." I haven't read the
book myself but I did read Davies' Templeton address which I assume captures
the essence of his book. The critique I read was quite negative and I could
understand and agree with some of the reasons the critic was offering for
his negative assessment of Davies' arguments. What caught my attention
however was an extended discussion of Adolf Grunbaum's assertion of an
"uncaused" beginning of the universe. Grunbaum apparently argues that
modern physics is not *silent* about causes of the universe prior to the Big
Bang, it actually rules them out. In other words, what happened before t=0
or what caused the Big Bang are questions based on assumptions that are
actually denied by the model to which these questions are posed. At first
this struck me as a physics version of the biology claim that the modern
theory of evolution rules out any teleological question about (say) what
drives evolution. If so, then I would expect this physics assertion to be
just as pre suppositionally loaded as the assertion some in biology make
that life is inherently without purpose - based on evolutionary theory.
However, I don't know enough about the Big Bang theory to respond to
Grunbaum's claim, and also I have not read Grunbaum. I am wondering if any
on the ASA list who are physicists or philosophers would care to comment on
Grunbaum's assertion. I would be particularly interested to hear from any
one who has read Grunbaum's papers.

By the way, the critic is Peter Sleazak writing in the volume 5(2) issue of
"Science & Education." This is a particularly interesting issue as all the
papers address the issue of science/religion.

William W. Cobern, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Science Education

College of Education
Arizona State University West
PO Box 37100
Phoenix, AZ 85069-7100

Voice: 602 543 6334 or 6300
FAX: 602 543 6350

Internet: icwwc@asuvm.inre.asu.edu