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

From: Bill Powers <wjp@swcp.com>
Date: Wed May 13 2009 - 21:51:34 EDT

I don't think it ought to be surprising that science discovers at
"meaningless" world. It sets out to to just that. In fact Monad, as
Heidegger, defines the scientific enterprise the same.

To use Heidegger's insight: objectivity is obtained by attempting to
subtract ourselves from it. In doing so, the world by design, must become
unfamiliar, indeed inhuman. This was specifically the intention of
DesCartes and others in the rejection of Aristotelian (organistic) science
in favor of a mechanistic model. For DesCartes subjectivity exists only
in humans and in God, everything else was an inanimate mechanism.

The question that needs to be asked is what is discovered in this
intensionally unfamiliar world, one where meaning, purpose, and humanity
have, to the best of our ability, been drained? We call it truth because
we have adopted a paradigm whereby truth is what remains when there is no
perspective.

It is not clear to me why, then, someone would be surprised that the
world "discovered" by science lacked meaning. If it had meaning, we
would not call it science. Indeed, we would not call it truth. It has
been defined away. There can be no cause for surprise.

bill

On Wed, 13 May
2009, George Murphy wrote:

> The argument of atheists tennds to be not so much that science can tell us
the meaning of the world as that it's shown that the world has no meaning.
Weinberg's statement at the end of The First Three Minutes is classic.
"The more the universe seems comprehensible," he says,
"The more it also seems pointless."
>
> The question of a meaning or "point" of the universe is one issue problem
at the science-theology interface. Another is the question of why we need to
talk about God acting in the world if science can explain what takes place
satisfactorily without reference to God. I think it's important for
theology to be able to deal with those two issues in a unified way.
I've done this in an article earlier this year in Currents in Theology and
Mission "Divine Action and Divine Purpose." It's not available online but
I'll be glad to send the text to anyone interested.
>
> Shalom
> George
> http://home.roadrunner.com/~scitheologyglm
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz>
> To: "Dehler, Bernie" <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
> Cc: <asa@calvin.edu>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 4:35 PM
> Subject: RE: [asa] Re: "horror miraculi"(meaning)
>
>
>> Bernie, I am not sure what is the meaning of "meaning of the world", but
>> whatever it means would it not be better to say that science provides some
>> constraints on it rather than determines it?
>> Don
>>
>>> 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).
>>>
>>> ...Bernie
>>>
>>> ________________________________
>>> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
>>> Behalf Of Gregory Arago
>>> Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 12:26 PM
>>> To: asa@calvin.edu; 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!
>>>
>>> Gregory
>>>
>>>
>>> --- On Wed, 5/13/09, Cameron Wybrow <wybrowc@sympatico.ca> wrote:
>>>
>>> From: Cameron Wybrow <wybrowc@sympatico.ca>
>>> Subject: [asa] Re: "horror miraculi"
>>> To: asa@calvin.edu
>>> 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.
>>>
>>> Cameron.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Ted Davis"
>>> <TDavis@messiah.edu<http://ca.mc524.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=TDavis@messiah.edu>>
>>> To:
>>> <asa@calvin.edu<http://ca.mc524.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=asa@calvin..edu>>;
>>> "Cameron Wybrow"
>>> <wybrowc@sympatico.ca<http://ca.mc524.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=wybrowc@sympatico.ca>>
>>> 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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>>>
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>>
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Received on Wed May 13 21:52:29 2009

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