Re: Viewpoint discrimination or careless reading.

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Thu Oct 06 2005 - 13:38:46 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Roberts" <>
To: "Pim van Meurs" <>
Cc: "asa" <>
Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2005 7:39 AM
Subject: Re: Viewpoint discrimination or careless reading.

> In the reference Pim gave there is a cracking reference to a quotation by
> Plantinga
> "Why couldn't a scientist think as follows? God has created the world, and
> of course has created everything in it directly or indirectly. After a
> great deal of study, we can't see how he created some phenomenon P (life,
> for example) indirectly; thus probably he has created it directly. "return
> to text

"Why couldn't a scientist ... ?" Well, a scientist could but _should_ a

1st of course the qualification "after a great deal of study" is pretty
vague. At what point is the turn from indirect to direct supposed to be

2d, & more substantively: There are (IMO) good theological reasons for
believing that God limits divine action in the world to what can be
accomplished by cooperation with natural processes. I've argued for this on
the list sufficiently in the past & won't belabor the point here. Miracles
are often cited as counterexamples, to which I reply:
    (a) Miracles in the broad sense do not necessarily involve direct divine
    (b) biblical miracles generally have a salvifiic &/or semeiotic
function, &
    (c) nothing in scripture indicates that life can come about only by
direct divine action, & Gen.1 in fact suggests the opposite.

3d, scientists don't like saying "I don't know" but that's the attitude
that's most conducive to progress. To say about the origin of life (e.g.)
either "It's a miracle"
(in the sense of being beyond the capacity of natural processes) or "Only
the details are missing" both discourage scientific attempts to solve the
problem (the former more than the latter). Only if we leave open the
possibility that science can solve the problem AND admit that it hasn't yet
done so will researchers be encouraged to work seriously in the area.

Received on Thu Oct 6 13:42:42 2005

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