RE: [asa] What causes students to move from faith?

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Thu Sep 07 2006 - 09:49:28 EDT

Let us actually repeat the murder of Abraham Lincoln. It is true we can learn much from observing many murders and generalize about them but such generalizations will never tell us who Jack the Ripper is and if he really did it. How do you truly know the history of the universe?




From: on behalf of Robert Schneider
Sent: Thu 9/7/2006 8:09 AM
To: Randy Isaac;
Subject: Re: [asa] What causes students to move from faith?

Against the position expressed by Moorad and with Randy, I would argue that
historical processes are repeatable and have been repeated, in particular in
the areas of geological events and processes, and in evolution. This one can
predict future processes on the basis of past events. They are based on
observations just has experimental processes are. There is a facticity to
past events that makes it possible to obtain knowledge from them. The
astrophysicist who is looking through a telescope at a galaxy several
billion years old is observing its activities at that time, not merely at
his own time. And dinosaur remains allow the palaeontologist to learn
something about the lives of dinosaurs. In a sense they are still alive.

One cannot predict the exact mutation that will take place on the human
genome, but from the comparison of the human genome with, say, the mouse and
chimp genomes, one can confidently predict that such mutations will take
place and some will be inherited. Those of you who are more acquainted with
evolutionary biology than I am can probably cite many specific instances of
successful prediction.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Randy Isaac" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2006 9:20 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] What causes students to move from faith?

> Moorad,
> Au contraire, may I suggest that to "shed light in the so-called war
> between science and religion" it is important to emphasize that there is
> no distinction between historical and experimental science. It's an
> erroneous distinction that I believe, though I'm not completely familiar
> with the history of the idea, has been emphasized, if not created, in
> order to cast doubt on theories of origins.
> Why do I think the distinction is erroneous? Because all the basic
> equations of physics are time-reversible and hold for all time except for
> going beyond a singularity such as a black hole. Yes, I know some
> information is lost in the sense that we cannot access all the parameters
> we would like but then none of our knowledge of initial conditions is
> exact or complete in any time frame. And I know how entropy works as a
> function of time. But it is absolutely first-class and equivalent science
> to run the equations backward as well as forward in time. It doesn't
> matter if the event is a single unique event or even a singularity, it's
> straightforward science to study it. But going beyond the singularity,
> well for now that is a distinction.
> Randy
>> The laws of Nature that are based on experimental science are
>> generalizations of historical propositions, viz., data obtained from
>> repeatable experiments. Historical sciences rely on results obtained in
>> the experimental sciences, thus the use of the word science in historical
>> science, but deal with a single, unique event. One is not characterizing
>> one kind as being more or less legitimate than the other but the
>> distinction must be made to shed light in the so-called war between
>> science and religion.
>> Moorad
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Received on Thu Sep 7 09:53:48 2006

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