RE: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Tue May 26 2009 - 12:49:37 EDT

Hi Bill and Alexanian,
I suppose the thread has turned a bit off topic, since nobody,s talking about Behe any more. But then again, that,s often when the fun begins on ASA, when people diverge from often travelled pathways. : - )
As with Bill, I agree that that what Moorad is proposing is appealing. The triad of physical/non-physical/supernatural means that <science> cannot study the <non-physical> or the <supernatural>. It also restricts the <physical> and the <supernatural> from overlapping. And it claims that <science> only studies one-third of what constitutes human beings, i.e. as an <entity>, which is what Moorad calls them/us.
I can,t help but suggest that Moorad,s triad echos the language of <positive science>, like what a zoologist would speak, and not the language of <reflexive science>, as an anthropologist would speak. But perhaps that is part of his legitimization strategy.
I wonder how Moorad distinguishes between what is <non-physical> and what is <supernatural> given that if we *are* (as a fact) created imago Dei, the <non-physical> aspects of humanity would be presumably available also in/to the <supernatural>. I also wonder if Moorad,s triad is reasonable or logical or mystical given that it opposes two different base concepts. Why not <natural>, <non-natural> and <supernatural> instead? Why not <superphysical> instead of <supernatural>? Perhaps he,ll address these questions here or in a new thread.
How does he distinguish the <natural> from the <physical.> (Or is that not important?) For example, <physics>, as a scientific and academic discipline, is typically categorized as a <natural science.> Is he taking offence that <natural> is typical a <larger> or <wider> category than <physical> and thus trying to simplify his definition of <science>?
And then what about all of those <sciences>, i.e. as many people call them, that do not particularly study <physical> things? Does his perspective disqualify them as <science> or devalue their contribution to human (self-)knowledge? Or does his position actually uplift those fields because they study human beings, which are partly <supernatural> entities? And what about all of the human-social scientists who don,t think that there is anything <supernatural> about human beings? Are they contradictory in their own disciplines?
It also doesn't seem to me that Moorad has answered Bill,s question, or at least not directly. Bill asked: <The materialist will argue that if ,every, behavior can be accounted for by a physical process that the living are nothing but physical.  What would you say to that?>
Moorad answered: <To the materialist I would say, go tell your wife, husband, children, friends, etc. that they are nothing but a complicated solution of the Schrödinger equation. Let us see how they take that.>
The materialist, as you know, Moorad, can argue for <non-physical> things just as easily as the person who believes in spiritual reality. I think this is partly what was behind Bill,s question. Aren't there various <levels> of explanation, which are available even to materialists, Moorad? Or is it just something simple like <vulgar materialism> and not something more sophisticated like <dialectical materialism> that you would argue this way against? One could just as easily point the figure at <mechanistic> thinkers in our age of electricity and computers (i.e. machines).

Indeed, there are those in science who think <consciousness> will one day be explained via physical or material processes. How do you respond to them? Is it merely fantasy? Is the <power> of <science> blown way out of proportion (no pun intended given the DPRKs recent posturing on the Korean Penninsula) to what is most important in people,s lives? Are you <promoting> a humanisation of <science> or rather greater relevance for whatever fields study the <supernatural> in human existence, to contribute to our self-community knowledge? I,d sure appreciate your insights, Moorad, as I think you offer a unique view amongst the ASA listserve community.
I think Moorad,s position can help to <put science in its place>, to <situate> it or draw boundaries around it, so to speak. But I worry that by limiting <science> to merely physical things, he,ll lose the strongest weapon available against scientism. The uniqueness of human-social scholarship conveys something that <science> as Moorad considers it can never address. But don,t trust me on the <never>, folks, just because I,m on your side working in a (roughly 2/3 of the academy) realm that is predominantly against us.

--- On Tue, 5/26/09, Alexanian, Moorad <> wrote:

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Subject: RE: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)
To: "Bill Powers" <>
Cc: "Cameron Wybrow" <>, "" <>
Received: Tuesday, May 26, 2009, 7:14 PM


A human is a physical/nonphysical/supernatural entity.  Also, life cannot be characterized in purely physical terms. I totally reject physicalism; however, the subject matter of science is data that can be collected, in principle, with the aid of purely physical devises.

To the materialist I would say, go tell your wife, husband, children, friends, etc. that they are nothing but a complicated solution of the Schrödinger equation. Let us see how they take that.  Also, let the materialist live by what he/she preaches by not using words that cannot be characterized in terms of the purely physical. For instance, do not use the words like love, kindness, sin, etc. Let us face it, if a materialist description of him/her was realized, then he/she would be reduced to a pile of useless chemicals, viz. no life, no consciousness not self at all, the original dirt.

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Received on Tue May 26 12:49:59 2009

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