RE: On the science of everything

From: Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu>
Date: Tue Sep 27 2005 - 15:30:09 EDT

David,

1) One has to distinguish the mental concepts that enter a theory and
the real objects that such mental constructs represent. Yes, I am made
of atoms and molecules, but the atoms and molecules I juggle with in my
theories are not really real. That is the mystery that Eugene Wigner was
referring to in his article, "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of
Mathematics in the Natural Sciences."

2) Can life and consciousness be reduced to the purely physical, that is
the question. It is true that living, conscious humans may be partially
characterized by purely physical concepts, but is the whole physical?

3) I agree science ought to be reduce to the study of the physical
aspect of the universe.

4) Theories in science are based on if A, then B. One always has to
assume something. Invariably, there will be a finite regress and thus
the initial conditions and the dynamics that govern the whole will be
based on the notion of a Creator.

Moorad

-----Original Message-----
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of David C Campbell
Sent: Monday, September 26, 2005 11:15 AM
To: asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: On the science of everything

>Theories in physics are expressed in mathematical language and the
>predications derived from them are very much like the axioms and
>theorems derived in Euclidean geometry. The theories exist independent
>of the creator of the theory. Of course, the nature of that existence
is
>itself puzzling, viz., does it exist in conscious minds only or
>somewhere else. In any case, the creator of the theory can extricate
>himself/herself from the content of the theory.

Not entirely-the creators of theories about the behavior of atoms are
made of atoms, the creators of theories about gravity are affected by
gravity, etc.

>The fundamental question is if life and consciousness can be made
>part of a theory in the same sense as the objects studied in physics.

They can, because physics deals with specific aspects rather than
trying to explain every single aspect of the objects examined (as in
the example of the atoms making up a researcher). Likewise, biological
theories need not explain all features of organisms. Quantification is
more difficult in dealing with organisms than it is for atoms.
However, mathematical formulas are possible in many situations, notably
in genetics. Most of these formulas contain some probabilistic element
rather than giving an exact number in every circumstance, but physics
has similar issues.

>Is such a successful theory necessarily materialistic, i.e., purely
>physical. It seems rather difficult to conceive of a theory that
>explains the very conscious and rational entity that is doing the
>theorizing. Is the need for a Creator, or ID, a necessary logical
>component of such a successful description of the whole of reality?

For practical reasons, it is likely that a scientific theory will be
purely physical. I don't think science can deal with things that are
not at least theoretically replicable. E.g., although the Big Bang is
not feasible (nor safe) to replicate in the lab, it can be modeled and
different parameters can be examined. In contrast, the resurrection
was a unique event, specifically identified as an exception to the
normal way of things. Even apart from the ethical and theological
issues, one cannot try executing Jesus again to see what happens.
There is some scientific basis for assessing the response of the
discples afterwards (how do people generally behave?)

Inclusion of the Creator is necessary to a description of the whole of
reality, but may not be necessary for a good physical description of
the origin and subsequent development of life.

----------------------------------------
Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama, Box 870345
Tuscaloosa AL 35487
"James gave the huffle of a snail in
danger But no one heard him at all" A.
A. Milne
Received on Tue Sep 27 15:32:46 2005

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