RE: Lakatos and the hard core

From: Glenn Morton <>
Date: Sun Sep 12 2004 - 21:20:00 EDT

I am only going to give an abreviated response. I will be taking a
break from all debate on all lists for a bit.

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [] On Behalf Of George Murphy
> Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2004 4:54 PM
> Testing earth history against the story allowed, but one
> needs to be open to the possibility that such a test will
> suggest that the story isn't history.

And that is where the rubber meets the road. Do we search around for a
way to make it 'true' when it isn't true, or do we simply conclude, as
we might in science, that the story is false? Seems to me a false story
illustrates two problems. One inspiration isn't what it used to be and
the tendency never to let the 'hard core' fail.

> Creation is a theological concept. The way we understand
> creation may have implications with observable consequences.
> The YEC view does & it's wrong. Bultmann's existential view
> doesn't. Mine does - the negative implication that
> scientific investigation of natural processes won't find
> God's fingerprints. The fact that it's a negative prediction
> doesn't make it trivial, just as special relativity's
> prediction of a negative result for the Michelson-Morley
> experiment is non-trivial.

The influence of logical positivism on me would say that the negative
implications are like claiming that everything in the universe is
uniformly expanding. Or like saying (and you won't like this allusion),
the fact that you can't see evidence of faeries is evidence of their
existence. (I am using the term faeries, as Stephen Weinberg did at the
Nature of Nature conference, and as I have been assured Chesterton used
the term).

I wrote:
> > But, why wouldn't I apply that approach, say to the Bab of
> the Bahai?

> Well, what are the implications of Bahai claims for the way
> we understand ourselves and the world? The proof of the
> pudding & all that.

This seems to be a demand that the Bahai put up observational evidence,
when you have just said that the god's fingerprints will never be found
in science.

> > I don't think you have much to worry about that. I think it is
> > absolutely impossible in principle to prove design. I have a very
> > positivist view of the reason for their failure.
> But do you have any theological rationale for the fact that
> God's activity apparently can't be observed scientifically in
> natural processes?

One obvious theological rationale is that God doesn't exist, but I don't
really like that one. My rationale is that God refuses to hop to our
demands. To ask God to part the waters repeatedly so that science can
observe it places God beneath us. That does not, however, obviate God
from communicating truth, which many on this list think he has failed to
do with the Genesis account.

> So you think Jesus was saying, "Those people who will believe
> without seeing are ignorant & happy?"

They very well may be. I was happier when I was ignorant.

> > I thought I did. I would agree that the hard core is the
> resurrection
> > (not the crucifiction).
> This is obviously a quite important difference. I refer
> again to my opening statement. But I'll point out agaisn
> that just belief in a particular fact - e.g., that Jesus was
> raised from the dead - in itself can't be the core of a
> research program. What does it contribute to making
> theological sense of science & technology.

Nothing, but I don't see what the crucifiction adds either. Which is
why I have focused on the areas I have focused on. I won't say that the
fact that we can't see God's fingerprints is a negative verification for
my view.

You can have the last word. I gotta go
Received on Sun Sep 12 21:46:16 2004

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