Re: Lakatos and the hard core

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Mon Sep 13 2004 - 19:57:58 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Glenn Morton" <>
To: "'George Murphy'" <>; <>
Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2004 9:20 PM
Subject: RE: Lakatos and the hard core

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

OK, & as you suggested with your faeries remark you won't like it.

I find it hard to see how you could really have paid attention to what I
said & made the response you did to my comment about the Bahai claims. Do
you imagine that I'm so inconsistent that I would demand that another
religion produce scientific proofs that I insist Christianity doesn't need?
What I have said is that the theology of the cross provides a larger context
of meaning for the facts that science discovers - e.g., it gives an unforced
theological way of understanding why God's activity in the world is hidden.
It's then quite consistent to ask if the Bahai belief in question helps to
provide any such larger meaning for science.

I'm guessing that the explanation of your failure to grasp this is that your
understanding of theology is much closer to that of Tipler than you realize:
You seem not to think that it's of any value if it doesn't provide
information of the same type as that provided by the natural sciences. (&
of course your appeal to positivism is only meaningful with the same
assumption.) I don't think that Christian theology _only_ provides meaning
& value to what science discovers but it does do that, & you seem to regard
that aspect of it as of no significance. The logical end of such a view is
to end up with something like Weinberg's notorious quotation: "The more the
universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless."

Received on Mon Sep 13 20:30:12 2004

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