Re: Rationale for scientific methodology

From: george murphy (
Date: Wed Sep 20 2000 - 08:00:31 EDT

  • Next message: George Andrews Jr.: "Re: Rationale for scientific methodology"

    Guy Blanchet wrote:

    > Mr. Miller,
    > The goal of science should be to say everything it can about natural
    > processes. And what it can say may fall into two categories: a pure physical
    > description of a process, and, the reality behind the process (its deep
    > meaning). The first talks about Nature, the second attemps to say what Nature
    > is.

            The first is science, the second is metascience (updating the older
    terminology of physics & metaphysics.) Both are legitimate activities (_pace_
    the positivists) but they aren't the same.

    > In developping a theory, one usually establishes a model, a general concept,
    > which is then translated into mathematical relationships.

            In modern physics at least, the mathematical relationships often _are_
    the model.

    > Limiting the model
    > to be observable, i.e. non-supernatural, is a serious and needless
    > restriction. No one, worthy of being called a scientist, should be
    > disturbed by a model invoquing the supernatural as long as it leads to useful
    > predictions.

    > Those who insist that this is not acceptable practice,
    > especially when the supernatural is the Biblical God, are promoting a
    > non-scientific personal agenda.

            1) They may also - as is the case with me and with many Christian
    theologians - be basing their arguments upon theological understandings of the
    ways in which God acts in the world. & whether those are right or wrong, they
    have to be investigated theologically.
                 Moreover, unless there is some theological understanding of the
    "God" who is invoked by a theory, it of course can predict anything at all. Of
    course anything can be "explained" in terms of the actions of a being with
    unlimited power, which is what the word "God" implies in common parlance.
            2) "No one, worthy of being called a scientist" will regard putatively
    scientific models which invoke "God" as being any more than a stop-gap. As soon
    as it's said that "God does X", one can ask "_How_ does God do X?"
            (N.B. I said that such _models_ are stop-gaps, not that their "God" is.
    But it's a short distance from that to "God as a stop gap" = "God of the gaps.")

    > I have a copy of a paper entitled "THE CORRECT APPROACH TO SCIENTIFIC
    > THEORIES", Apostolos Ch. Frangos, Volume 28, June 1991, CREATION RESEARCH
    > SOCIETY QUARTERLY. This paper looks at the problem of intermixing
    > philosophical and metaphysical doctrines with empirical science. It poses
    > the problem of correctly identifying the difference between what is
    > scientific and what is not. The author holds that If the ensuing theory or
    > model is subject to a scientific test, then it is scientific.

    > Of course, the above becomes very academic unless it may be demonstrated that
    > a model invoquing the supernatural may be successfully constructed. This is
    > a subject that has got me going for the past 13 years. If you are interested
    > in knowing more, I'll be pleased to pass on what I've found out. (Note: In
    > my case, by supernatural, I mean the Biblical variety.)

                The biblical variety of what? The Bible doesn't use the categories
    of "natural" and "supernatural."


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