Re: Developing story: Steve Gould's friend says Gould would never have signed...

From: Mervin Bitikofer <>
Date: Tue Oct 25 2005 - 21:00:44 EDT

Gregory Arago wrote:

> One may be able to study religion scientifically. But can one study
> God scientifically? Can one statistically or specificationally 'prove'
> the existence of God (read: unnamed Designer) through agent-like
> actions in history?
> Believing one can (scientifically/biologically prove God's
> designs) seems to display a rather shackled imagination and obvious
> limitation of both atheistic scientists' views and those seekers of
> God's participation in the world and/or co-creation through
> rational-positive proofs. I believe Gould would at least not argue
> that religion can't be studied honestly, nor would he appeal to
> 'intelligent design' theories as helpful to understanding evolution
> theories' gaps.
> But would he have signed the Humanist Manifesto as John Dewey did?
> Arago
> *//*

Wouldn't an analytical study of God be a contradiction in terms? I mean
if the Christian God is at all who we Christians claim he is, then such
an entity could not be subjected in his entirety to be studied and known
as a predictable natural phenomenon (i.e. within the domain of
science). To think of him thus would be pantheism rather than
Monotheism. It would seem sort of like a duplicitous reference to a
'God' created by humans -- which of course would then be no true God at
all, but just another among many 'gods'. This argument seems to me to
demand an 'all or nothing' answer by definition. Either the Christians
are right that God exists and will always in some way transcend our
analysis except in those ways he chooses to let us study him. Or the
atheists are right and there is no God at all, but only gods (probably)
of our own creation to which we flippantly give such a label.

Sorry -- Mr. Hunter for the misremembered title. I had read Kenneth
Miller's book as well and had that title stuck in my mind. But your
book -- subtitled "Evolution and the Problem of Evil" was the one I was
remembering. Incidently -- Dr. Keith Miller, (no relation to Kenneth)
also wrote a work "Perspectives on an Evolving Creation", or he compiled
it rather with his own essays included. That is a good recent work from
a Christian Faith perspective that attempts to build a bridge to
anti-evolutionary camps. He advocates for evolution in its fullest
rigor but refers to himself as a continuous creationist. But most
people in the intended audience seem more interested in burning the
bridges than building. And of course, some high profile scientists
haven't helped the scientific cause any by spewing their inflammatory
bait. A quote from John Polkinghorne puts it well: "...Only in the
media, and in popular and polemical scientific writing, does there
persist the myth of the light of pure scientific truth confronting the
darkness of obscurantist religious error. Indeed, when one reads
writers like Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett, one sees that nowadays
the danger of a facile triumphalism is very much a problem for the
secular academy rather than the Christian Church."
-- John Polkinghorne, "Belief in God in an Age of Science" p. 77

Received on Tue Oct 25 21:07:02 2005

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