Re: "Pandas" evolves into a new edition

From: Donald Sprowl <sprowl@lacollege.edu>
Date: Fri Nov 11 2005 - 11:51:14 EST

Dick Fischer wrote:

> Of perhaps a simple statement on the first day would be appropriate
> such as:  “Whereas we cannot rule out supernatural explanations or
> miracles per se, nevertheless, in this science class we will assume
> purely natural causes were involved in the progression of life on
> planet earth.  If anyone wishes to discuss that further stay after
> class.”

To me, this statement comes across as "We cannot rule out supernatural
explanations or miracles per se, but in this class we will pretend that
we can because pretending is what we call good science."

How about something more like: "As scientists we observe consistent
patterns of behavior and operation in the universe. Many of these
patterns are understood in terms of underlying rules of cause and
effect that we call natural laws. In this science class we will study
the observations and patterns and think through whether our natural
laws are able to explain them. Our scientific study of these matters
is worthwhile in itself, but it also informs our thinking about the
deeper questions of the purpose and meaning of life and the existence
and nature of God. We will not deal specifically with such questions
in this class because they cannot be studied scientifically, but our
study of science is not irrelevant to them."

Don Sprowl
Professor of Physics and Earth Science
Louisiana College
Pineville, LA 71359
318-487-7436
sprowl@lacollege.edu
Received on Fri Nov 11 11:59:04 2005

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