Re: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is the new enemy of

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Fri Aug 24 2007 - 08:20:23 EDT

When after "a great deal of study" or even not much study at all some phenomenon remains unexplained, a good scientific theory does indeed recognize that. & the way it does that is simply to say "We don't understand how this happens but it does." But there is no reason to say that we will never have a scientific theory that explains the phenomenon in question & no reason to say that God has brought about that phenomenon directly. Maybe God has, but we don't know that.

Modern particle physics got its start with J.J. Thomson's discovery of the electron ~1895. One of the basic problems then was why the electron (& later all the other particles that have been found) have the rest masses that they have. Progress has been made on this problem & the masses of some particles can be explained but we still don't have a complete solution. (If the Higgs particle is found it will explain the masses of some particles but not of the Higgs itself.) So what physicists do is simply recognize this and, when necessary, put the appropriate masses into the equations "by hand" (i.e., not generated by the theory itself). But there is no need to say "God gave these particles their rest masses directly." That is also true for physicists who are Christians & who believe that God has created particles with their various properties.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Terry M. Gray" <>
To: "AmericanScientificAffiliation" <>
Sent: Friday, August 24, 2007 12:19 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is the new enemy of

> Michael,
> I'm not sure that I actually disagree with Plantinga here, in
> principle. Perhaps it's God-of-the-gaps, but not necessarily.
> Let's ask the question from this perspective. Let's not even bring
> God into the discussion. What if "after a great deal of study", we
> can't see how life can come from non-life? What if that's really how
> the world is? That there is a fundamental discontinuity between life
> and non-life. Is it non-scientific to recognize that that's just the
> way things are and to construct some scientific theory that admits
> that? Are the presuppositions of reductionism really any more
> "scientific" than IC or God-of-the-gaps?
> From a theist perspective--for example, from the philosophical
> system of Herman Dooyeweerd--one's theoretical system could well
> include notions that there are discontinuities (irreducible aspects)
> that are maintained by God's creational will/law. From an empirical
> "scientific" perspective we would do our science with a "that's just
> the way things are" perspective. Aspects of biology would stand
> independent of chemistry and physics.
> Now for the record, I'm not sure that "after a great deal of study"
> has happened, and I'm not sure that there aren't actually hints of
> reducibility. (Much more needs to be said here.) That's my main
> argument with Plantinga here. I have no complaint with his in
> principle argument. I just happen to think that he doesn't know as
> much biochemistry and molecular biology as he needs to make an
> informed decision. I don't really know what Mike Behe's problem is,
> because Mike is as expert as any other expert in the field, but he
> doesn't see what the most of the rest of us see.
> So in the end as far as I'm concerned, Plantinga's problem is that he
> trusts Mike Behe's and Michael Denton's expertise more than he trusts
> mine (or other experts of like mind). [Only slightly tongue-in-cheek
> here.]
> TG
> On Aug 23, 2007, at 2:42 PM, Michael Roberts wrote:
>> An interesting quote from Plantinga in a LeaderU article on
>> Methodological Naturalism
>> 63. Why couldn't a scientist think as follows? God has created the
>> world, and of course has created everything in it directly or
>> indirectly. After a great deal of study, we can't see how he
>> created some phenomenon P (life, for example) indirectly; thus
>> probably he has created it directly. return to text
>> This is akin to IC or is it God-of-the-Gaps.
>> Michael
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> ________________
> Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
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> Chemistry Department
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Received on Fri Aug 24 08:21:52 2007

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