Re: [asa] lock-picking tools

From: <>
Date: Thu Oct 16 2008 - 21:53:12 EDT

Thanks for this well-thought response, Murray. And David C., I think there are
miracles (in addition to the resurrection) that do go beyond the purview of
science, and that science is not able to recognize or "map" them because it has
not the tools. Thanks Bernie, David, & Murray for your inputs.


Quoting Murray Hogg <>:

> Hi all,
> Interesting question, this. As always I think the answer depends very much on
> what exactly one means by it!
> I can think of at least four types of "boundaries" which might present
> themselves to science;
> 1) Boundaries established by the known; in some instances we know enough
> about the physical world to know that some scientific programs are simply not
> worth pursuing - research into perpetual motion machines or transforming lead
> into gold, for instance. Although, of course, this could be taken the other
> way: when we know WHY perpetual motion machines don't work, or WHY alchemists
> failed in turning lead into gold, we are better placed to actually succeed at
> same.
> 2) Boundaries established by the limits of scientific measurement. This is
> largely a question of technology and the boundaries of science are often
> expanded by advances in measurement techniques. Other times it's a question
> of lack of knowledge of the system in question. For instance, nobody could
> make a device to measure the sensitivity of individual pigeons to whatever it
> is they use as a navigational aid for the simple reason that we know not what
> it is they use. Of course, if we did know...
> 3) Boundaries established by the pragmatic: Some thing are in theory
> possible, a hadron collider the size of the continental US for instance, but
> won't get built for obvious reasons. Any scientific researcher will easily be
> able to multiply examples of this sort!
> 4) Boundaries established by the nature of science: As we are frequently
> told, there are some things which simply "aren't science" and which are
> therefore not amenable to scientific investigation. Such debates, notably,
> are never carried out in science labs, but in philosophy halls and law
> courts. One simply HAS to form the view that here we find the idea of a
> boundary of science which is really outside the purview of science to
> address.
> My suggestion would be that 1) and 2) are "boundaries" which science makes
> its business to address. Claims that one "can't" are exactly the sort of
> thing which spurs scientists on - at least until they come to a reasonable
> explanation as to "why" we "can't" (and "reasonable" here means the
> individual scientist has answered the question to his/her own satisfaction)
> 3) is obviously not a scientific question per se - unless scientists find
> ways to by pass the pragmatic limitations (e.g. by inventing desktop hadron
> colliders as per previous discussions on the list) - and it might be put
> forward as an example of influences other than science (e.g. economics,
> politics, ethics, religion) doing the job of proscribing the "legitimate"
> boundaries of science. But here "legitimate" of course means respectively
> economically, politically, ethically, or religiously legitimate rather than
> _scientifically_ legitimate. One might want, then, to distinguish between
> boundaries OF science, and boundaries TO science.
> If 3) is largely trivial, then 4) is largely substantial. It requires that we
> understand what is meant by "science". But there seems no "scientific"
> approach to this question. Indeed, any process by which we might define
> "science" is normally excluded by that very definition. Clearly, then, this
> is not a case of science finding or mapping its own boundaries. It is a case
> of philosophy (and perhaps theology) doing the task.
> So, my answer to the question: "No, science cannot find or map its own
> boundaries" - any "boundary" which science can legitimately "find" it will
> also consider a "challenge" rather than a "boundary" which is to say that
> science itself allows of no boundaries to its progress. On the other hand,
> any legitimate boundary to science (and there are such limits) are found in
> the definition of "science" itself and therefore, I should have thought, not
> something the scientist can "find or map" using the scientific method.
> Blessings,
> Murray Hogg
> Pastor, East Camberwell Baptist Church, Victoria, Australia
> Post-Grad Student (MTh), Australian College of Theology
> wrote:
> > So here is the interesting question for me: Can science find or map its
> own
> > "rock wall" boundary or even conclude that such a boundary exists? IDs
> say, in
> > principle, YES. ECs say, in principle: NO. And militant atheists say:
> “no
> > such boundaries for science exist at all.” IDs and ECs (as Christians)
> should
> > at least be able to unite in their opposition to the last category and
> only
> > differ in how such a boundary can be explicated.--
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Received on Thu Oct 16 21:53:52 2008

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