Re: Separation of science and religion

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Mon, 24 Nov 1997 08:52:22 -0500 (EST)

At 08:06 PM 11/23/97 -0500, George Murphy wrote:
>Moorad Alexanian wrote:
>> > OK - precisely _because_ science can, within its own sphere,
>> >explain the world _etsi deus non daretur_. But operating from a
>> >standpoint of faith, one believes the true God to be the creator & sees
>> >support for that in what science shows about the world.
>> > George Murphy
>> Actually when I use the term science, I have often experimental science in
>> mind. The ability to do experimental science indicates a steadiness in
>> nature which Christian ascribe to God. Atheists do not ascribe it to anyone.
>> So far it seems that God has not interfered with our successful ability to
>> do experimental science. He can, if He wills it so, intervene in such a
>> fashion that that steadiness can be replaced by a chaos which the human
>> brain cannot disentangle, witness the difficult with any theory of
>> turbulence. Humans can then by their scientific studies play happily in a
>> sandbox providing scientific answering to true scientific questions which do
>> not deal with the issue of who created the box, the sand and us. However,
>> when the question comes up about such issues then science is helpless. It
>> can only deal with such questions by usurping the subject matter from
>> philosophy and religion. Clearly we can be fooled about the true nature of
>> the question of origins since that scientific game can be played at
>> infinitum without ever finding a true, satisfying solution.
> I had assumed that we were talking about experimental natural
>science - though not "experimental" in the sense of "theory-free",
>because there is no such thing.

Theory may suggest what experiments to do but experimental science is indeed
theory free. Experimental science is constituted by historical propositions
of the type: "on such and such a day I released the stone and it fall as
follows." The generalization of such events constitutes the laws of
(experimental) science. The interpretation or understanding of the laws
constitutes theory.

> To a great extent I agree with your words - but not your music!
>The analogy of the sandbox suggests a rather condeecending attitude
>toward the physical world. But that world is God's creation which God
>found "very good", the world with which God personally identifies in the
>Incarnation, & the world in which we are are able to live as adults &
>_not_ children precisely because we can understand it.

It was meant to be condescending but for scientists not the creation.

> Yes, science is unable to deal with the questions of who created
>"the box", why the laws of physics which we find apply, &c. But I'm not
>sure that "helpless" is quite accurate. While science has to turn to
>some kind of religion in order to answer such questions & can't supply
>the answers itself, it still can hold on to what it has found within its
>proper realm & insist that the religious answer be coherent with it.
>That would mean, e.g., that a scientist should reject a gnostic
>explanation that the material world is evil, for that is hardly
>consistent with the "beautiful equations" (Dirac) which describe it.
> George Murphy

Of course, human pride will never admit that it is "helpless" when
confronting certain questions. On the question of being and existence, the
human mind must turn to philosophy and theology. Of course, the picture
devised by man---his worldview---to encompass the whole of reality has to
integrate the knowledge gained by all the disciplines that are necessary. Of
course, many scientists believe that "science" is the only way of knowing.
But that is to be totally ignorant or proud. I think that the creation was
"good" meant free of evil.

I do not know if you ever saw the movie "Being there" with Peter Sellers.
But when I saw that movie for the first time I immediately thought of
Paradisal Man. The end of the movie when Chauncy walked on water proved that
view of the film. Chauncy was man without sin. A bit stupid or like a brute,
but noble. Is this the view of Christian evolutionists of the early
descendants of man before the Fall?