Re: Coercion & Persuasion (Was Re: God acting in creation #4+++

From: george murphy (
Date: Tue Dec 18 2001 - 07:26:37 EST

  • Next message: Ted Davis: "good course materials on creationism" wrote:

    > In a message dated 12/16/01 8:43:42 PM, writes:
    > << PS: "Coercion" and "persuasion" are not in the same category. Persuasion
    > can
    > be effective, but it is a non-coercive action.
    > >>
    > OK. To all you physicists, George, Howard, Joe, and others: I should have
    > known better than to use the analogy that I did. So I will back off it.
    > Howard (and anyone else who wants to chip in), would you kindly explain in
    > physical, chemical or biological terms the difference between "persuasion"
    > and "coercion"? Do you use the term "persuasion" in your model? You clearly
    > favor it. Specifically, if my "field" example is coercive, what is a an
    > example of a persuasive one?
    > Thanks to you all for your instructive comments. I am now signing off this
    > thread.

            Trying to explain "persuasion" or "coercion" in physical, chemical, or
    biological terms here is
    problematic because these are - in the way they've been used to this point -
    theological terms.
    (Neither, however, is a precise technical term, which adds to the ambiguity.)
    The concept of "persuasion" in process theology means that God is one cause - but
    not the only cause - of what happens in the world. It's contrasted with
    "coercion", which may mean either
            a. God is the ultimate first cause which acts through all the secondary
    causes in the world, or
            b. God acts immediately (i.e., without secondary causes) as the only
    cause of some (or all)
            BTW, Dave was correct in noting that "coercive force" or "coercivity"
    does have a meaning in
    electromagnetic theory. But it refers to a property of a material rather than of
    the field, the field strength needed to demagnetize a substance completely. One
    always has to be careful about a word that has acquired different meanings in
    different fields. "Energy" is a good example.


    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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