Re: [asa] Believing Scripture but Playing by Science's Rules

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Tue Feb 13 2007 - 22:30:05 EST

Don gives a good example of a paradigm, the pattern of usage. It is
simply the simplified spelling of the Greek /paradeigma/. The first
meaning in L&S is "a pattern, model, plan, Lat. examplar: a copy,
representation." Second, "a precedent, example ... also lesson, warning."
Third, "am illustration, proof by example." So pattern or model seems to
apply as well as anything. I take it to be simply fancy language for

On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 16:40:30 -0800 "Don Winterstein"
<> writes:
I first came across paradigms as examples of declension or conjugation in
foreign language classes, but of course the word has come to have much
broader meanings both within and outside of science.

To me a paradigm is the model that underlies the models within a system;
it's the set of postulates and axioms in terms of which all the details
of a system are interpreted and understood.

Example: The Old Testament paradigm holds that God seeks to express his
glory on earth through his chosen people, who honor him by obeying his
laws. This expression of glory is to find fulfillment in an earthly
kingdom ruled by his Messiah.

Jesus the "apocalyptic prophet" implemented a new paradigm, one that
holds that the glorious kingdom is not of this world; its citizens
qualify through faith, not through ancestry or by obeying laws; and Jesus
is the Messiah, the head of the kingdom.

Whether or not you agree with my characterizations of OT and NT, what I
would call a clear paradigm shift took place as a result of Jesus'
coming. The apostle Paul in particular struggled mightily to reinterpret
Jewish history and the OT in terms of this new paradigm. If there had
not been a change of paradigm, there would have been no need for the
reinterpretation struggle. Despite efforts of NT authors to make it seem
so, the NT paradigm does not follow in an obvious way from the OT
paradigm. That's why I call the OT/NT transition a paradigm shift.

I also like to include unsuccessful paradigms within the meaning of
paradigm. That is, a model that has the potential to conceptually
underlie a system is still a paradigm even if it has not been widely
accepted. If it is eventually accepted, then said system would need to
be reinterpreted in terms of it.


----- Original Message -----
From: George Murphy
To: Michael Roberts ; Ted Davis ; American Scientific Affiliation ;
Sent: Monday, February 12, 2007 4:14 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Re: [asa] Believing Scripture but Playing by Science's

        "Aristotle's _Physica_, Ptolemy's _Almagest_, Newton's
and _Opticks_, Franklin's _Electricity_ and Lyell's _Geology_ -these and
many other works served for a time implicitly to to define the legitimate

problems and methods of a research field for succeeding generations of
practitioners. They were able to do so because they shared two essential

characteristics. Their achievment was sufficiently unprecedented to
an enduring group of adherents away from competing modes of scientific
activity. Simultaneously, it was sufficiently open-ended to leave all
of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to resolve.

        "Achievments that share these two characteristics I shall
refer to as 'paradigms,' a term that relates closely to 'normal

        (Thomas S. Kuhn, _The Structure of Scientific Revolutions_, 2d
enlarged [University of Chicago, 1970], p.10.)

At least that's what Kuhn meant.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Roberts" <>
To: "George Murphy" <>; "Ted Davis" <>;

"American Scientific Affiliation" <>;
Sent: Monday, February 12, 2007 6:13 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Re: [asa] Believing Scripture but Playing by Science's


> Can anyone tell me what a paradigm really is? Is it just a pretentious
> word of no meaning?
> Michael

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Received on Tue Feb 13 22:47:19 2007

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