Tipler (was Re: [asa] Behe on "intervention")

From: George Murphy <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>
Date: Thu Mar 05 2009 - 10:27:45 EST

Ted's comments are basically correct and could be even stronger. The God
Bob talks about is the Holy Trinity. While Tipler also talks about the
Trinity, he thinks it's something he can get from physics rather than from
God's self-revelation in Christ. Tipler's claim that quantum theory is
deterministic depends, I think, on his claim that the Many Worlds
Interpretation is the 1 true view of QM, which is mere assertion. (QM is
deterministic _between measurements_ when the time development of the wave
function is governed by the Schroedinger eqn. Where controversy arises is
when measurement takes place.) He also makes other claims that most
physicists will find surprising - e.g., that the problem of quantization of
gravitation has been solved.

It should be borne in mind that Tipler's original scenario, which he set
forth in _The Physics of Immortality_, required collapse of the universe in
a big crunch. That idea itself collapsed when it was found that cosmic
expansion is accelerating. I guess he now thinks that intelligences spread
though the universe can not only engineer the way of big crunch happens (as
in his original scenario) but reverse cosmological acceleration. Lotsa
luck.

Lest anyone think that I'm just interested in trashing Tipler, I have a
maintained from the start that while many of his claims are overstated, he
(a) has taken the trouble to learn some real theology, unlike religious
dilletantes such as Hawking & (b) has some interesting ideas which may be
worth considering in other theological frameworks. (My review of _The
Physics of Immortality_ was in the Summer 1995 issue of _Dialog_,
pp.236-238. Some other reviews - e.g., Silk's in _Scientific American_ -
were just hatchet jobs.) E.g., I've used some of his ideas about
resurrection as an analogy in some articles & Chapter 12 of _The Cosmos in
the Light of the Cross_.

As I said, Tipler has taken the trouble to study real theologians. That
doesn't mean he's a good theologian himself. In particular, his lack of
emphasis on the cross is a serious problem. One might say he knows the
words of theology but not what Pelikan called its "melody."

Shalom
George
http://home.roadrunner.com/~scitheologyglm

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ted Davis" <TDavis@messiah.edu>
To: "James Patterson" <james000777@bellsouth.net>; <asa@lists.calvin.edu>
Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 9:17 AM
Subject: RE: [asa] Behe on "intervention"

> James,
>
> My time to reply to Tipler's comments is very limited, and in very limited
> time I can't do justice to a reply. A lot of things have been said about
> this on other threads on our list, and I do recommend that you go to the
> archive and do some searching for Russell's name. I have read quite a bit
> of his recent book, "Cosmology from Alpha to Omega, and IMO it is a much
> more thoughtful book, much more in tune with the orthodox Christian
> theological tradition, and much more understanding of serious talk in
> science and theology than anything that Tipler has written.
>
> As for what Russell means by "God," let me try this: "it is the
> trinitarian God who will act to bring about the redemption of all of
> nature since it is this God who is revealed as God in and through the
> cross and resurrection of Jesus." (p. 266)
>
> Is that an adequate definition, if we keep things short and to the point?
> Perhaps Tipler hasn't read this particular book, in which more than
> anywhere else Russell bares his soul and puts forth his own vision of
> science and theology. If not, he needs to; at least he needs to see and
> respond to this implicit definition of God, which seems quite clear to me
> as a Christian and ought also to be clear to Tipler.
>
> As for QM being more deterministic than classical mechanics, I am not a
> physicist and I can't get into that. But I don't have to be a physicist
> to say with confidence that such a claim would be disputed by a lot of
> physicists, including founders of QM such as Heisenberg and Compton. As
> Heisenberg said in lectures he gave in Chicago in 1929, "the resolution of
> the paradoxes of atomic physics can be accomplished only by further
> renunciation of old and cherished ideas. Most important of these is the
> idea that natural phenomena obey exact laws–the principle of causality.”
> Werner Heisenberg, The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory, trans.
> Carl Eckart and Frank C. Hoyt with foreword by Compton (Chicago:
> University of Chicago Press, 1930), 62. I realize that Bohm and others
> would challenge this, and I have no dog in that fight; but I think it fair
> to say that the Copenhagen interpretation is still widely supported.
>
> Ted
>
>>>> "James Patterson" <james000777@bellsouth.net> 3/4/2009 6:25 PM >>>
> I personally think Bob Russell's Objective Special Providence concept
> answers many questions. It's natural as it can be to the naturalists
> because
> it's not detectable, it's a means for God to be actively involved (no
> matter
> how you want to frame that involvement) without "signs and wonders". Of
> course this applies only to quantum action at the DNA level, but I would
> presume that this would apply across quantum physics generally? I had an
> opportunity to ask Frank Tipler recently about Russell's OSP. Let me go
> find
> that...ah here it is.
> ---------
> I said:
> Do you know of a gentleman by the name of Robert John Russell? He wrote a
> very interesting chapter in "Perspectives on an Evolving Creation" that
> touches on quantum mechanics as the possible answer to an ongoing problem.
> He notes that the one place God could act in the process of evolution
> without evidence of intervention is at the level of quantum interactions
> at
> the DNA level - essentially God-directed changes at the quantum level of
> molecular activity that would otherwise be considered random mutation. He
> calls this "Objective Special Providence".
>
> Frank replies:
> I do, unfortunately. He's one of the innumerable theologians these days
> who
> prefer vagueness over the precision of St. Augustine and St. Aquinas. In
> reading a theologian, ask yourself, "what EXACTLY does he mean by "God".
> With Russell, as with Paul Davies, I have no idea. This contradicts
> unitarity, hence it is wrong. Quantum mechanics is MORE deterministic than
> classical mechanics. I gave a mathematical proof in my technical talk.
>
> Einstein said "God does not play dice with the universe." Darwin said "God
> plays dice with the universe. Einstein got it right, Darwin, got it wrong.
>
> Russell is always wanting to substitute his own laws for the known laws of
> physics whenever he wishes. I have no patience with this. And as I pointed
> out in my earlier lecture, Russell is explicitly rejecting the traditional
> Christian definition of "miracle."
>
> -----------
>
> So. I have a hard time understanding Frank...can anyone interpret, or even
> comment, on his reply?
> Regard,
> JP
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
> Behalf Of Jon Tandy
> Sent: Wednesday, March 04, 2009 11:34 AM
> To: asa@lists.calvin.edu
> Subject: RE: [asa] Behe on "intervention"
>
> I think the easy answer to your question is, "divine providence". Now the
> question is to define "divine providence", and how it works. We had a
> discussion on this recently, in response to some probing questions that I
> offered.
>
> I would add, consider this not just in the context of science/natural
> history, but also in the context of human history, human-social thought,
> and
> in our religious lives. How does God work -- with non-natural
> intervention,
> hidden intervention, or with an essentially non-interventionist "hidden
> hand" that has real influence on temporal events? I believe there is
> great
> value in considering providence from all these ways, not just from the
> limited view of scientific theory and the physical history of the
> universe,
> but I haven't had a chance to follow up on some recent thoughts along
> those
> lines.
>
> Romans 8:28 says that "all things work together for good to them that love
> God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." How does God
> do
> that in human-social interaction? In our spiritual relationship? In
> biology or physics?
>
> Prov 16:4 (NIV) says "The LORD works out everything for his own ends--
> even
> the wicked for a day of disaster." How does the Lord work in everything,
> even in evil things done through the free agency of the wicked, to
> accomplish His own ends? And would we be able to prove through systematic
> analysis of human-social events where, exactly, did God's action start and
> stop? I think in most cases the answer would be no. For those who don't
> allow for divine intervention, the answer would always be no.
>
> When God caused Israel to prevail against their enemies, or when they were
> wicked for their enemies to prevail against them in battle, where was
> God's
> action? Did God openly intervene, or partially intervene, in ways that
> were
> outside an apparently natural course of events? I am willing to say that
> He
> did, but in many cases the "intervention" attributed to God through
> scripture and/or prophecy could be fully explained as a natural sequence
> of
> cause and effect events - wise or poor decisions on the part of a general,
> seemingly natural events such as a hailstorm that turn the course of the
> battle, etc. I am also willing to say that He intervened supernaturally
> (overtly) in biological history, but I understand the reasons for thinking
> it may have been otherwise.
>
> More thoughts, but that's all I have time for now.
>
>
> Jon Tandy
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
> Behalf Of Alexanian, Moorad
> Sent: Wednesday, March 04, 2009 7:49 AM
> To: Ted Davis; asa@lists.calvin.edu
> Subject: RE: [asa] Behe on "intervention"
>
> I revert back to a question I asked some time ago, how do Christians, who
> are scientists or else talk about science, understand Hebrews 1: 3, "...
> upholds all things by the word of His power..." Is that "miraculous
> intervention" or "partial interference," or else "constant interference?"
>
> Moorad
>
>
>
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Received on Thu Mar 5 10:29:29 2009

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