Re: [asa] Science proves there's no need for God?

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Wed Oct 08 2008 - 09:57:53 EDT

I think there's an enormous question-begging definitional problem here:
what is meant by "universe?"

If you assume metaphysical naturalism, reject any kind of top-down
causation, and agree that the "universe" must be a hermetically closed
causal system, then perhaps there's no need for God as an "explanation."
But why should we accept those titanic assumptions based on "science?" By
definition, "science" only investigates the "natural." "Science" cannot
prove or disprove whether metaphysical naturalism is true, because that is a
question outside the domain of "science."

As to the "success" of "science," it hasn't come close yet to explaining all
the mysteries of the universe. Most of the matter in the universe is "dark
matter" or "dark energy," which "science" cannot yet explain. Nor can
"science" yet explain what preceded the big bang. These, as well as other
things, are huge gaps in "science's" ability to explain the universe.

Of course, "science" may one day be able to explain these things, and we
would not argue that these gaps must be "God." But our *belief* that
science might one day explain these things is simply that, a belief. That
belief is not, in itself, "scientific." As Ted noted, we need to go outside
"science" to explain how it is that we can develop such a "belief."

Indeed, the very notion of the "success" of "science" is not a "scientific"
one. What do we mean by "success?" "Success" is a value judgment. What
"scientific" principle defines "success?" The fathers of the modern
scientific method -- Bacon, et al. -- based their notions of "progress" in
scientific study on social and moral judgments that fall outside the realm
of "science."

David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
On Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 7:10 PM, Dehler, Bernie <>wrote:
>  I'm entering a yahoo discussion board debate with another person (an
> atheist).  Here's my planned post (first draft)- any comments?  This is just
> the opening statement- the meat will come next.
> …Bernie
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Resolved: Given the success of science, including evolution, there is
> no need for a God as posited by Christians to explain the universe.
> <<Opening statement from the negative side.>>
> Ultimately, either God exists or He doesn't.  No one can either prove or
> disprove the existence of God.  Nobody.  Not one.  Therefore, it logically
> follows that "the success of science" cannot disprove God.  Therefore, the
> onus is on the advocate who thinks that there is a logical proof for
> demonstrating how "the success of science" can "put God out of business," so
> to speak.
> I will show that all arguments that try to prove that God is superfluous
> (not needed, extraneous) are not logical.  In other words, there are flaws
> in the logical arguments when trying to prove the thesis that by using
> modern science one can disprove the existence of God.  In fact, the great
> mysteries of the universe actually cause many scientists to reach out for
> God, and that is why the majority of modern scientists and doctors believe
> in God[1]<>
> .
> Footnotes:
> 1. Robert Roy Britt, "Scientists' Belief in God Varies Starkly by
> Discipline," *LiveScience*, 11 Aug. 2005, <
> ------------------------------
> [1]<> Robert
> Roy Britt, "Scientists' Belief in God Varies Starkly by Discipline," *
> LiveScience*, 11 Aug. 2005, <
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Received on Wed Oct 8 09:58:07 2008

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