RE: [asa] Re: "horror miraculi"(meaning)

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Wed May 13 2009 - 15:53:34 EDT

Quote of Max Weber:
""Who - aside from certain big children who are indeed found in the natural sciences - still believes that the findings of astronomy, biology, physics, or chemistry could teach us anything about the meaning of the world?"

The scientific findings could teach us a lot about 'meaning.' With the findings, we can create a base from which to judge subsequent beliefs. For example, with the knowledge of DNA evidence for evolution, we now know that the literal idea of God forming humans from a pile of dirt is a myth. From there, we interpret the Bible accordingly (which affects one's understanding of "meaning of the world"). These scientific root facts affect the leaves on our theological tree. The leaves draw their energy from these roots. Those who choose to remain ignorant of these modern facts (or ignorant of detailed theology) don't have to worry about their theology changing or being affected by the sciences, so they don't understand how science can affect theology.

Science doesn't tell us anything, directly, about the meaning of the world; but it does contribute to a cloud of facts that help us determine the meaning of the world. The quote is going overboard in trying to suggest science brings nothing to the table when determining 'meaning.' And people who are ignorant of the interplay between science and religion readily agree to that overstatement (some may agree to it simply because they didn't think it through carefully).


From: [] On Behalf Of Gregory Arago
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 12:26 PM
To:; Cameron Wybrow
Subject: Re: [asa] Re: "horror miraculi"

Excellent! A turn of phrase that turned out to have 'multiple origins.' :0)

Let me add to the thoughts expressed by the authors mentioned this contribution by Max Weber:

"Who - aside from certain big children who are indeed found in the natural sciences - still believes that the findings of astronomy, biology, physics, or chemistry could teach us anything about the meaning of the world? If there is any such 'meaning,' along what road could one come upon its tracks? If these natural sciences lead to anything in this way, they are apt to make the belief that there is such a thing as the 'meaning' of the universe die out at its very roots." ("Science as a Vocation." 1919)

And this coming from a scholar who was not anti-science!


--- On Wed, 5/13/09, Cameron Wybrow <> wrote:

From: Cameron Wybrow <>
Subject: [asa] Re: "horror miraculi"
Received: Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 11:09 PM
No, Ted, I wasn't "looking for" any term. I was making one up, out of my knowledge of Latin. And in fact I originally wrote "horror miraculi" (horror of miracle, genitive singular), but changed it to "horror miraculorum" (horror of miracles, genitive plural). Just as I don't need to have read the ninth Bridgewater Treatise to come up with similar arguments, so I don't need to have read Hooykaas to have come up with one of his phrases on my own. :-)

I don't disagree with anything Hooykaas says below. But there is no *a priori* certainty that the origin of the cosmos or the origin of life or of species can be explained scientifically, and there is no guarantee that scientists won't be banging their heads against a steel wall if they try to do so. Should scientists be permitted to try to explain origins naturalistically? Absolutely. Do they have the right to assume that naturalistic explanations will be forthcoming? Absolutely not.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Ted Davis" <<>>
To: <<>>; "Cameron Wybrow" <<>>
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 2:50 PM
Subject: "horror miraculi"

> The term you are looking for, Cameron, is "horror miraculi", and it was
> coined by the late R. Hookaas in his terrific little book, "Natural Law and
> Divine Miracle" (1959), on p. 162. I can't type in the whole section to
> provide the appropriate context, but I will copy this much (below).
> "Things that matter much in human life, 'good' and 'bad', 'beautiful' and
> 'ugly', do not even exist in the world of science. Similarly, there is no
> place for anything 'miraculous' or 'supernatural' in the scientific system.
> Science never affirms these things: if a miracle were encountered, either a
> more comprehensive law would be sought to account also for this irregular
> event, or it would be explained away, or it would be reckoned among the
> events 'not yet explained'. Methodologically, science regards everything
> seemingly miraculous as subject to some natural law, it makes Simon Stevin's
> motto its own: 'wonder en is geen wonder' (wonder is no wonder).
> On the other hand, science does not *deny* 'miracle either, just as it does
> not deny moral law or aesthetic feeling; it is simply blind to them."
> Good stuff, recommended to all and not just to Cameron.
> Ted

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Received on Wed, 13 May 2009 12:53:34 -0700

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