RE: Fragility and tendentiousness

From: Alexanian, Moorad (
Date: Fri Sep 19 2003 - 18:55:17 EDT

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    The best operational definition of “scientific worldview” is the view of reality based on data that, in principle, can be collected by purely physical devices. Needless to say, much of reality, in fact the most important aspects of it are outside the purview of science. In particular, human experiences, values, etc. that are “undetectable” to science but are only detected by man.



            -----Original Message-----
            From: on behalf of Steve Petermann
            Sent: Fri 9/19/2003 3:09 PM
            To: Dr. Blake Nelson
            Subject: Re: Fragility and tendentiousness

            Dr. Nelson wrote:
    > At the end of the day, I think Kung is right that your
    > choices are nihilism or theism if you follow through
    > the consquences of various worldviews.
            I agree with this, but I think I need to define what I mean by a "scientific
            worldview". Perhaps there's better term to use. By scientific worldview I do
            *not* mean scientism. Rather I mean a respect for what science says about
            the way the cosmos operates. In my view this does not necessitate the
            exclusion of religion or theism. It just says that within the limited scope
            of the tools science has, what is says about the way the universe works
            should be respected and perhaps accepted.
            The point you keep making that science cannot logically exclude
            supernaturalism is a truism. I never contented that science could. My
            contention and that of many others is that as science has discovered the
            natural causes for the unfolding of the cosmos, it has raised the specter of
            skepticism surrounding supernatural causation.
            All major religions and all major religious scriptures describe supernatural
            events. Example: Hinduism has a story that the universe began as a giant
            egg. It also describes supernatural events surrounding the Krishna, an
            incarnation of Brahman. Christianity does not have a lock on supernaturalism
            or even remarkable scriptural claims. Does science logically destroy these
            claims? No. The challenge for supernaturalism is not the logic of it. The
            challenge is its believability. Believability is not solely based on logic.
            It is a gestalt of reason, emotion, intuition, knowledge, etc. Just because
            someone can mount a logical case for something does not make it compelling.
            The scholastics could do that but there approach was obviously not that
            compelling since it was supplanted.
            Is it possible that Krishna blew a tornado away? Yes. Is it possible that
            Jesus walked on water? Yes. The real question is not that but now
            compelling those stories are to people who are regularly confronted with
            natural causation and *never* experience supernatural causation.
            Steve Petermann

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