From: George Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue May 13 2003 - 12:59:24 EDT
Josh Bembenek wrote:
> "Josh - No new physical laws need be discovered for the topics under
> discussion (with a slight reservation with respect to the dark energy/force
> business). There might be principles or processes yet to be discovered or
> resolved, but no new laws seem to be required."
> How Incredibly Bold!! This is exactly what I meant, those settling for
> RM&NS don't "need" anything else. I'm not particularly satisfied, so I will
> remain open.
I'm not sure where this quote comes from, but I didn't comment on your earlier
response to Keith, I'll do so here.
1st, to deal with this quote: I don't know what's meant by the distinction
between "principles or processes yet to be discovered or resolved" and "new laws." If -
for the sake of argument - we find that a scientific treatment of evolution requires
some "new principle" (analogous perhaps to physicists' discovery of the need for quantum
mechanics a century ago) then surely the "processes" which have been discovered will
have to be described by "new laws."
2d - & more importantly, in response to your earlier argument. The question of
what science will be able to accomplish is not in itself a scientific question except in
the strict empirical sense that we can wait for a long time and see where it succeeds.
But one's expectation of what science should be able to explain is a question for the
philosophical &/or theological context in which one places science. & it seems to me
that you (as well as many others sympathetic with ID) ignore the fact that many
Christians like myself who argue that it should be able to explain the origin of life in
terms of natural processes do so on _theological_ grounds, and not simply because we're
in awe of science or something of the sort.
E.g., Howard's statements about the "functional integrity of creation" are
fundamentally theological ones. (I know that now he would rather talk about RFEP
than FIC but I prefer the older term, not least because it uses the distinctive
theological word "creation.") Similarly, the approach of "chiasmic cosmology" that I've
advocated is a theological, not a scientific, one, though one of its purposes is to deal
theologically with scientific issues. & the various approaches to divine action that
make use of the idea of kenosis are theological, not scientific. (These ideas are
related but I won't pursue that now.)
All of these approaches speak of God acting in the world in connection with
natural processes, but they don't require a commitment to any particular understanding
of what those processes are or how they're to be explained scientifically. It's a
theological statement to say that God makes the sun shine. It's the task of natural
science to find out whether it shines because of chemical combusion, gravitational
contraction, nuclear fusion, or in some other way.
& this means also that such theological positions can be held even though
science hasn't yet been able to explain some phenomenon, such as the origin of life.
They are statements that we ought to expect that science will be able, in principle, to
explain it, & do not require one to say when or how that will happen.
Of course you don't have to accept such theological approaches. But recognize
that they are theological, & not just the sort of science /ueber alles/ statements that
you might get from Weinberg or Dawkins.
George L. Murphy
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