Re: I am not an atheist

Richard Dimery (
Sun, 9 Nov 1997 21:45:28 +0000 (GMT)

> At 11:04 AM 11/9/97, Moorad Alexanian wrote:
> >The subject matter of science is quite distinct from that of theology. I do
> >not see any overlap. I believe if there is any, it could give rise to bad
> >science.

It's very difficult to describe a system of science and religion which has
absolutely no interaction. I think I'm right in saying that most systems
of complementarity try to say that the two disciplines are answering
different questions (why? as opposed to how?), but very few
interpretations would go so far as to say there can be _no_ overlap. The
two disciplines _do_ have the same subject matter, surely, insofar as they
refer to the same world. To have a religion-point-of-view totally distinct
and incommensurable with a science-point-of-view would make life pretty
boring for those of us who enjoy talking and thinking about science/faith
issues - there wouldn't be any!

And on the same wavelength, science may like to think itself value-free
and morally neutral etc, but I don't think it's really a viable point of
view either in history or in actual practice. Each of us is influenced by
the outside world, and by our beliefs; whether it's choosing your
experiments so that you can get funding, making them appealing to the
culture; or perhaps just the basic presuppositions that we take into our
science. If we believe that as a Christian we have to believe that, say,
electrons are solid physical objects with an absolute position, density,
etc, any experimental data we see will be judged by how it fits in with
our presuppositions - eg good data if it agrees, but if it doesn't, then
there must be a problem with the apparatus, fraudulent experimenters, and
so on. It's called the experimenter's regress, if you want something to
look up. So each of us doing science does "bad" science, because it is
always contaminated by our own presupposition, motives, and expectations.

Richard Dimery,
Cambridge, England.