Re: Accomodation (Was Re: Seely's Views 2)

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Mon Sep 06 2004 - 12:56:42 EDT

Glenn -
    I hope to be able to reply to your reply in more detail eventually. In
the immediate future I've got some deadlines to meet. For now just a few

    1) You missed the point about my counterexamples to your information
theory argument. In many cases you cannot simply say that a statement is T
or F in the sense that you want to, or decompose it into pieces for which
you can do that. A statement can be false on one level & true on the other.
& don't try to sidetrack the argument by saying "How do I know it's true?"
You know perfectly well what's meant by someone saying "I left my heart in
San Francisco" even though it's still beating in his chest in New York. I
make no apologies for such a simple-minded response to your sophisticated
analysis: It's kind of like saying that the emperor's is naked.

    2) Tipler's statement that theologians don't want science impacting
their domain certainly doesn't apply to me - or for that matter to an
increasing number of other theologians. A great deal of what I've written,
4 books & numerous articles - has to do with ways in which science and
technology need to be taken into account in formulations of Christian
doctrine and in various aspects of pastoral ministry. But Tipler didn't
want just for science to impact theology, he wanted for it to take over
theology. (& in fact proclaimed triumphantly that it had done so, shortly
before observations shot down his model.)

    You aren't trying to do what Tipler did - replace the content of
theology with that of physics - but you do seem to think that theology has
to operate according to the same methodology that you think (N.B.) the
natural sciences use. But if that's the line we're to take, the most
fruitful approach is to take Lakatos' description of the way science
actually does operate & follow Nancey Murphy in suggesting the same approach
for theology. I've commended that understanding of science a couple of
times on this list.

    3) In Lakatos' terms, what I'm doing is taking a theology of the cross
as the "hard core" of a research program. It's significant that you had
nothing to say about the christological part of my post, which is crucial to
the whole argument.

    & I should add that your supposed parallel between Lenin & Christ
doesn't work. Among other things, the idea that in any sense Lenin still
lives is inconsistent with who Lenin was. & in Lakatosian terms, any sort
of "Leninist theology" would have to be considered a degenerating research
program because over the past 80 years it's been unable to predict "novel

Received on Mon Sep 6 13:11:48 2004

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