[asa] Necessity

From: Randy Isaac <randyisaac@adelphia.net>
Date: Thu Dec 14 2006 - 22:58:35 EST

The Fall 2006 issue of Radiations (the Sigma Pi Sigma publication http://www.sigmapisigma.org/radiations/2006/fall.htm) devotes much of the issue to the need to "relumine the enlightenment." The feature article is John Rigden's 2005 Milliken award speech http://www.sigmapisigma.org/radiations/2006/rigden_f06.pdf. (the other article worth reading in that issue is the editorial by Dwight Neuenschwander http://www.sigmapisigma.org/radiations/2006/neuenschwander_f06.pdf)

I have a question about two paragraphs toward the end of that article, which I quote below. Are Rigden and Schonborn and John Paul II using the term "necessity" in the same sense? or is Rigden using the term to mean a slightly different point than the Pope is making?


On July 7, 2005, the Roman Catholic cardinal archbishop of

Vienna, Christoph Schönborn, laid out the position of the

Catholic Church on the subject of evolution. However, the argument

the cardinal developed was more general than evolution and

implicitly, it embraced all science. In the New York Times the cardinal

began by quoting the late John Paul II. "We believe," said

the Pope, "that God created the world according to his wisdom. It

is not the product of necessity whatever, not blind fate or

chance." Cardinal Schönborn concluded: "Scientific theories that

try to explain away the appearance of design as the result of

'chance and necessity' are not scientific at all, but...an abdication

of human intelligence." [14]

Both the Pope and the cardinal denied necessity. Both the

Pope and the cardinal are mistaken. If you believe that the physical

world is a consequence of physical law, then what we

observe is the consequence of necessity. Masses attract out of

necessity; energy is conserved out of necessity; the neutron

decays out of necessity; and out of necessity, DNA in the gametes

determines the characteristics of the resulting organism. There is

no choice, there are no alternatives. The laws of physics undergird

all science; if the laws of physics, operating out of necessity,

are denied in any tributary of science, then the main stream of the

entire scientific enterprise is dangerously compromised.

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Received on Thu Dec 14 22:59:05 2006

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