Re: asa-digest V1 #1308
Tue, 10 Aug 1999 18:38:58 -0500

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George wrote

"I've noted previously that PC is observationally indistinguishable from TE if
one makes the creative interventions small enough. In fact, one can construct a
of PC in which God does everything directly but acts in a continuous fashion so
it _looks_ as if natural processes are doing everything. I.e., it really comes
down to
a distinction between Barbour's "monarchical" theology of divine action & his
"Neo-Thomist" plus "kenotic" ones. I.e., it is a theological distinction. But
doesn't mean that making the distinction is a waste of time & self-defeating,
for one
approach seems to me much more coherent with God's character as revealed in
Christ than
the other."

Let me note that the previous discussion of nature and supernature
enters into the discussion:

In regards to the terms
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?nature? and ?supernature?,
I believe that it is important to realize that the
appearance of science changed the Western experience
of nature, and thereby changed the meaning of the word.
Prior to science, Greek philosophers differentiated
our experience of nature from our experience of the
divine. ?Nature? was experienced through the senses,
then intuited as patterns and expectations of patterns.
These senses and intuitions were the products of both
our evolved traits and our cultural heritages.

With the advent of science, the old experience of
?nature? has been confronted with an analytical
and synthetic method (methodological naturalism)
very different from human intuition and pattern
recognition. In fact, Lewis Wolpert, in The
Unnatural Nature of Science, asserted that ?scientific?
claims that make common sense are probably not scientific.
Notably, common sense has been regarded as ?natural thought?
since the time of the Greeks.

Then what does the word ?nature? mean in light of the
counterintuitive discoveries of science?

I think that Christian apologetics are
stumbling toward views of ?nature? that disentangles
the old conflation of 'science' and 'common sense'.

Consider this argument. Our scientific experience of
?nature? informs us that unmeasurable divine acts may
take place whenever a specific antientropic (structure
building) or stochastic event occurs on any level of
observation, from nuclide synthesis to stellar evolution.
We can never rule out divine action during these events
because we do not have enough information to completely
determine the initial state of any system.

This example shows that methodological naturalism
does not necessarily imply philosophical naturalism
when ?nature? is experienced as science.

It also shows the paradoxical character of 'common
sense' within our new experience of 'nature'.