Re: NTSE #11

Dick Fischer (
Fri, 28 Feb 1997 23:44:50 -0600

Burgy wrote:

>While I was writing up my notes on Paul Nelson's paper (see NTSE #10 on the
>Evolution forum or Compuserve's Religious Issues forum), a question
>occurred to me. Running it by those places as well as the ASA reflector for
>Paul argues to jettison the MN "rule" as part of science. Those who think
>it important, and I am among them, BTW, understandably look for a way to
>rebut his arguments. Here is a situation in which I can't think of an
>BTW -- I hope George Murphy, Dick Fischer and a couple others I can think
>of, in particular, will comment on this.

I don't think I can help much. But here's the best I can do. Science
involves searching for natural explanations - period. It is inherent
in what science is. It's like asking can you make an apple pie with grapes.
No, then it's grape pie or something. There is no such an animal as a
scientific miracle. This is not to say that miracles can't happen.

Miracles are part of a Christian's belief system. A bodily resurrection
after 3 days is unscientific, unexplainable. That's what makes it a
miracle. Miracles can't be tested. If miracles could be tested and found
predictable, they wouldn't be miracles because miracles in their essence are
inexplicable. Science, in its essence, is a search for natural causation.

Someone might postulate that our species is disconnected from the phyletic
tree of life, for example, that we had a miraculous inception. That's
possible (maybe) but scientific methods could never be used to substantiate
a miraculous beginning. What could? Eye witness accounts, historical
evidence - not the stuff of science. And in this example, that kind of
data would be unavailable.

So one could never prove that our species eventuated from a miraculous
event. The best he could hope for is to rule out all natural causes -
a daunting task.

>George has suggested the ASA might
>be an "obscurant" organization (in some peoples' eyes) for even
>entertaining Paul's thesis seriously; I think Dick has too.

I think we would be "obscurant" by NOT entertaining Paul's thesis, which
BTW, I think we shouldn't. But that's being realistic, not obscurant. I
also think I didn't say anything about it, except now I did.

Dick Fischer