Re: was "Randomness"...

Fri, 27 Feb 98 11:04:53 CT

On 25 Feb. 1998, Moorad Alexanian wrote (in part):

>>At 09:18am CT on 25 Feb 1998, Jeff Witters wrote:
>>Having grown up in the the conservative home of a pastor in a Holiness
>>Evangelical denomonation, I did not find evoltion and its potential
>>implications too appetizing. However, as someone who wanted to work
>>in the in the natural sciences, I was not (and still have not been)
>>given a working replacement. My faith is not negotiable, so I am
>>still a Christian and STILL an evolutionist.

>Dear Jeff,
> I have often said that it is not self-evident to me that the
>question of origins is an obvious scientific question. If not then
>the Bible may provide an answer to it. However, the answer is not a
>scientific answer and so is not a "working replacement" to
>evolutionary theory.

The entirety of the question of origins is NOT an obvious scientific
question. I see no reason that science should ever attempt to address
the "why" of the question of origins. Such a question is outside the
domain of non-hubric scientific inquiry. However, the "how" (& "when"
& "where") of the question of origins is within the domain of
scientific inquiry, and there is no a priori requirement that the two
pursuits must conflict. So, of course, the "why" of origins does not
provide a scientific answer. (Conversely, the "how" of origins should
not be asked to provide moral/spiritual answers.)

When the question of "how" is addressed by creationists they DO claim
to have a replacement. For me a WORKING replacement must have the
power to unify observable biogeological phenomena by its ability to
explain the question of "how" and would mesh with other disciplines.
It would be a framework into which I could attempt to fit the world,
AND when the world ever did not fit I would change the framework. This
I would do rather than explaining away the mountain that disagrees in
order to accept the several rocks on it that happen to fit the
ill-formed framework.

>>So what dynamical theory is there then for creationism in the form of
>>a mathematical model (or models) which gives "precise answers to
>>well-posed questions"? I would even settle for something far less
>>rigorous, such as a model that could explain, concur with, yea even
>>make predictions concerning the entire body of plainly observable
>>biological/geological phenomena in the natural world.

>Biblical answers are not scientific. The creation act of God cannot
>be described by human thoughts or inventions.

I agree that "biblical answers" are not scientific, insomuch as you
presumably refer to the "why" of origins (or of existance). My query
addresses the issue of turning the Scriptures into a science text.
Your second statement makes me think we have completely missed each
other here. Before continuing with this discussion it would be
prudent to attempt clarification of a foundational point. By your
statement it appears that you are wholly dismissing scientific
inquiry, for what is anything material but an echo of the "creation
act" (whatever mode of creation to which one ascribes)? So if you
simply find scientific inquiry as a body to be a disagreeable or even
subversive entity, then perhaps our differences for now are too great
to carry on any constructive dialogue.

>>Perhaps I'm in a leaky boat, but it floats. Criticize my boat --
>>many criticisms may be warranted and helpful -- but do not think
>>that I am going to abandon it until the critics can actually come up
>>with a material boat that is not held together with the
>>water-soluble glue of persistant, unnecessary recourse to
>>miraculous Divine intervention.

>I believe the questions answered by Scripture are orders of magnitude
>more important than any purely scientific question that man has

"Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known"
(1 Cor 13:12) Who would argue with either statement? They provide
proper perspective for our discussion. Weep for my soul should I ever
confuse my priorities. But aside from perspective, given that I agree
passionately with both, both statements are perfectly irrelevant to
the immediate and practical nature of my post. I have been accused by
my non-scientist creationist friends of not having given creationism
a chances. I have attempted to do so again by putting out my very
simple request. Science does not advance by criticizing something
into its grave. Rather, a superior explanation is advanced and by
REPLACEMENT sounds the death knell for a former explanation.

I am yet a young scientist -- it was only several years ago in college
that I became genuinely weary of taking flak over my loose adherance
to evolutionary theory and actively sought intellectual respite in
creationism, to no avail. Intellectual integrity is integral to my
spiritual integrity. If my faith in God is contingent on best
attempts to ignore what I know to be true within and beyond the
limited scope of science, then my faith is worthless.


Jeff Witters

Emporia State University
Emporia, KS