Minimal Supernaturalism

From: Steve Petermann (
Date: Mon Sep 15 2003 - 17:03:15 EDT

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    One of the main problems of both the Darwinian theory of evolution and
    Naturalistic divine action is the level of information required. Although
    mathematicians of evolution have raised their concerns about the adequacy of
    the information bearing capabilities of random mutations and natural
    selection, minimal naturalists who postulate God's divine action in quantum
    indeterminacies and chaos theory also have a problem of adequate
    information(the availability of quantum phenomenon). When one looks at the
    incredible complexity of our world it is mind boggling the amount of
    specific information that it represents.

    Of course supernaturalism solves this problem for theists because it has
    potentially unlimited information carrying capabilities. However,
    supernaturalism creates science/theological problems like "the god of the
    gaps" issue when confronted by critics. It portrays a God who circumvents
    the very structure that God created. It also presents a perceived empirical
    problem because it does not seem that we can capture miraculous events

    The main argument against supernaturalism in science is that it keeps
    seeking gaps in natural order. As science discovers more and more the gaps
    seem to continue to shrink until a some scientists would suggest there will
    be no gaps.

    However, this argument presuppose some ontological and intrinsic properties
    to the entities(particles, energy, etc) in the cosmos. I say presupposes
    because there is no way for science to confirm the intrinsicallity of these
    properties. As ontologically independent things, any change in the way they
    work would be deemed a violation. But what if there are no ontologically
    independent, intrinsic properties. What if what we view as regularity could
    be seen as God continuous creating a stability necessary for the universe.
    Quantum indeterminacy could also be God's way of introducing unexpected
    novelty, an element of chance into the creative process. Supernaturalism
    could be seen as another mechanism, an intelligent mechanism for ongoing

    The problem with this scenario is, however, empirical science. Supernatural
    events don't seem to fit in to a scientific understanding of the world. Or
    do they? Is there a way they could? If they could it seems that the only
    it would be acceptable to science would that supernatural events are very
    small and very limited. It would suggest that the way God works is in very
    limited ways that to science appear empirically like anomalies when in fact
    they are an organic purposeful part of the emergence of the cosmos.

    This scenario also fits in with the idea of a God who limits God's self and
    accepts the contingency of these small changes. Some changes may work and
    other's don't. However, it also portrays a God who, though limited, is
    actively engaged in the divine life of the universe. This may be very
    similar to Howard Van Till's "fully gifted creation perspective".

    I solicit the scientists to comment on the reasonableness of all this.

    Steve Petermann

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