Re: Fw: Fw: economic irreducible complexity

Murphy (
Thu, 28 Nov 1996 19:51:51 -0500

Russell Maatman wrote:

> What I am arguing for, George, is this: Let's not assume a priori that
> every biological system can be shown to have evolved in a gradualistic
> manner. After all, it is _possible_, is it not, that some systems did not
> in fact arise that way? <Snip>
> Finally, assuming a priori that all systems fall into class 1 either leads
> to or is equivalent to methodological naturalism.

Yes, the first part and its (here omitted) elaboration suggests
a legitimate scientific research program: Maybe, in the biological
realm, nature does "make jumps." By all means let such a theory be
developed and we can see how it works.
But I think more attention needs to be given to the last point
cited here, the concern about "methodological naturalism." I believe
that the best Christian understanding of creation and providence demands
_precisely_ a "methodological naturalism." God does everything that
happens in the world by co-operation with natural processes which God
has created so that what happens is describable in terms of those
processes. The world is knowable "though [or "as if"] God were not
given." This is, of course, what van Till has called "the functional
integrity of creation."
There are excellent _theological_ grounds for insisting upon
such "methodological naturalism." But there is also the empirical fact
that the idea has had tremendous success during the past few centuries
of scientific work. No matter how devout a Christian a scientist may
be, he or she will not be content to let some scientific problem rest
with the explanation that "God did it." Of course God did it - as God
is involved in all things! But how do we describe it in terms of
natural processes?
George Murphy