Re: Rationale for scientific methodology

From: Guy Blanchet (
Date: Sat Sep 23 2000 - 07:20:48 EDT

  • Next message: Guy Blanchet: "Re: Rationale for scientific methodology"

    george murphy a écrit:

    > 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.

    Correct. They are not the same today ...but does that necessarily mean the
    situation will never change?

    > > 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.

    True. And that's quite unfortunate because mathematical relationships don't make
    clear models that promote orderly and focused thinking. Could this be the reason
    why scientific theories especially in the area of cosmology proliferate more wildly
    than dandelions?

    > > 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.

    Agreed. In a scientific theory invoking the Creator, if you have no precise
    knowledge of Him, you're not going anywhere in terms of saying something precise
    about His universe.

    > 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.")

    Yes, one would most certainly have to say "how God does X". Using God merely as a
    stop gap thinking to have a proper scientific theory, would require a world class

    > > 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."

    True. But in Biblical times the natural and supernatural did exist. The parting of
    the Red sea was supernatural. The drowning of the Egyptian army when the water
    reclaimed its natural position was equally natural. The natural and supernatural
    existed so closely together that we could say they coexisted. When God manifested
    himself, he did so using natural phenomena such as smoke, fire, audible sounds... OT
    and NT authors quite understandably never felt the need to come up with the two
    categories. Their understanding of natural phenomena did not allow that. Smoke was
    smoke... (The only exception to that that I know of is the observation made in the
    Bible that a certain bush was burning without being consumed.) We talk about these
    categories today only because of our greatly increased scientific knowledge.

    > Shalom,
    > George

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