Chronicle of Higher Education

From: Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@uncwil.edu)
Date: Tue Dec 18 2001 - 12:59:01 EST

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    I posted the following on the ongoing discussion in the Chronicle of Higher
    Education. Moorad

    http://chronicle.com/colloquy/2001/design/45.htm

    It is difficult to discuss issues involving the word science without
    unequivocally defining what one means by it. It should be remarked that the
    subject matter of science is data collected by physical devices. In physics,
    knowing is based on evidence obtained via the interactions of
    particles/fields. If something cannot, in principle, be measured by physical
    devices, then that something is outside the purview of science. This gives a
    clear demarcation of what science is and what it is not.

    Of course, one ought to distinguish historical science, e.g., cosmology,
    evolutionary theory, etc., from physics. The former is more akin to forensic
    science and deals only with unique events; whereas physics is the prototype
    of experimental science. This definition of science is what requires that
    the evidentiary data of the historical sciences must be collectible by
    physical devices.

    Accordingly, science cannot indeed "deal with ethics, aesthetics,
    metaphysics, and so on." The real question is, what does "and so on"
    include? It clearly includes man unless one makes the philosophical jump
    from science to scientism or materialism.

    Gould’s magisteria represents a disjoint set of science and religion and so
    it also excludes man. Note, however, that John Eccles says, "It [ego or
    self] is essential to the concept each of us has of being a self," and he
    adds, "in the religious sense it corresponds to the soul." Accordingly,
    consciousness cannot be determined or measured with physical devices and so
    it is not the subject matter of science. Only the non-physical self in man
    can detect consciousness in the same fashion that the theist perceives God.

    Eugenie Scott ought to realize that it is the non-physical in man that
    summarizes data collected by physical devices into physical laws and thus
    creates theories based on the mathematics that man has invented. Yes, human
    intelligence is what allows man to understand Nature and it is this very
    same intelligence that "detects" the intelligence behind the Creation.

    -- Moorad Alexanian, Professor of Physics, University of North Carolina at
    Wilmington (posted 12/18, 10:45 a.m., U.S. Eastern time



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