Re: Paper-tigers

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Mon, 06 Apr 1998 09:41:22 -0500 (EST)

At 05:33 PM 4/5/98 +0100, William B. Provine wrote:
>Dear Moorad,
>Thanks for your email. You say:
>> I think one ought to distinguish between our descriptions of the natural
>> (physical) world from the totality of events that take place in the world.
>> Science deals only with a portion of all such events---the physical ones. It
>> is true that scientific theories are devoid of deities. However, the fact
>> that such theories describe an aspect of reality does not preclude other
>> aspects of reality which are outside of the realm of science. It may be that
>> your reasoning ability is outside the realm of science. I do not mean a
>> mechanical description of the workings of the brain, but a description of
>> how non-physical concepts concerning meaning, values, purpose arise in the
>> human mind. Would you say that those concepts are nonsensical since they are
>> not explainable by purely scientific means?
>Of course I agree with you that science cannot describe or account for
>everything. Nor would I ever argue that we do not understand by science
does not
>exist. But science is just beginning. I hesitate now to attribute what we
>now understand by science to gods or souls. Instead, to me the proper response
>is just ignorance. In what we don't know, I see no evidence whatsoever of gods
>or souls.

Dear Will,

In the experimental study of free falling objects there is no evidence for
"gravity." The latter is invoked so that the wealth of experimental data is
unified in simple laws with predictive power. Does "gravity" exist?

The human mind also studies events related to the totality of the human
experience. Notions are invoked which attempt to unify such experiences in
a similarly satisfying fashion. The fundamental question is if the wealth of
all the data can be unified only under the umbrellas spanned by physics and
chemistry. Or, if there is a realm which is beyond the physical. If so,
then people seek God as an answer for human understanding of human events.

One has to contrast religion and Christianity. In the Christian faith God
sought man; whereas in religion man seeks God. Therefore, the historical
component of Christianity is all-important. Clearly science is of no help here.

You say that science is just beginning Must we than wait and make no
decisions concerning the totality of the human experience until science
comes up with an answer? A father cannot do that regarding his children. A
husband cannot do that regarding his relation to his wife. Can they? Should
they wait?

>I certainly did not express myself well about death and Christians. I suspect
>Christians are not fearful of dying because the vast majority believe at the
>Pearly Gate they will go to heaven. If St. Peter is there sure enough, a much
>higher percentage will go to hell than think they will. I was wondering, if
>Christians lost their faith, would they have a greater fear of death? You
>suggest this is true.
>Best wishes, Will

One really does not know the details of "heaven." Simple characterizations
will not do. A Christian is a new creature. As such, he/she may have doubts
about his/her faith but the promise of God, on whom salvation is based, is

Take care,