Re: [asa] The whole of reality (subject name changed)

From: dfsiemensjr <>
Date: Thu May 28 2009 - 16:29:05 EDT

How can you call photons immaterial when they carry energy? Are not
energy and matter equivalent?
Dave (ASA)

On Thu, 28 May 2009 14:19:05 -0600 (MDT) Bill Powers <>
> Moorad:
> Just some quick questions.
> Why do we say that science can only investigate the physical?
> Is there a difference between the material and the physical?
> Are some immaterial things physical?
> It is not at all clear why we presume that the spiritual and the
> physical
> cannot interact.
> Science all the time investigates the invisible, even in principle
> invisible (quarks). When it does so is it utterly clear that it is
> investigating the physical?
> Science studies phenomena; and what are phenomena?
> Ultimately, in all cases, phenomena must be capable of human
> sensible
> experience.
> Complex instruments, in conjunction with complex theory of the
> invisible,
> are employed in enabling us to make of the invisible phenomena.
> Are all phenomena physical?
> Why presume that because we can make of the invisible something that
> influences our senses that it is physical?
> Are all such invisible entities physical by definition, or is it an
> empirical conclusion.
> It seems that it is definitional.
> It is perhaps better to drop notions such as physical, immaterial,
> and
> nonphysical, and speak instead of just the phenomena and the stories
> we
> concoct about the phenomena. Does it really add anything to call
> photons physical, although they are immaterial? What is spirit and
> how do
> we distinguish it from the physical? This is by no means clear.
> What is
> called physical today in the early days of science was considered a
> type
> of spirit.
> bill
> On Thu, 28 May 2009,
> Alexanian, Moorad wrote:
> > Gregory,
> > The reason science cannot study the nonphysical and the
> supernatural is
> that by definition those two sets are the relative complement of the
> purely
> physical elements of the physical set.
> This is so since science has been defined by its subject matter,
> which is
> data that can be collected, in principle, by purely physical
> devices.
> In other words, purely physical devices cannot detect thoughts and
> other
> mental concepts, self, etc. nor the supernatural.
> > The physical and the supernatural sets do overlap, but are not the
> same.
> For instance, humans are elements of the union of the physical,
> nonphysical,
> and supernatural sets. This is the reason I take the supernatural as
> being
> part of Nature because humans are part of Nature. In addition, the
> creation
> of man in the image of God forces us to make the supernatural an
> aspect of
> Nature.
> > Knowledge, the number pi, mental abstractions, etc., are
> nonphysical but
> certainly not supernatural. I think, as C.S. Lewis indicates,
> reasoning is
> indeed supernatural. However, God is Supernatural but, as Creator,
> is not in
> Nature. Of course, the incarnation is a deliberate invasion of God
> himself
> into His creation.
> > Different kinds of knowledge study different aspects of the whole
> of reality. For instance, to study only the physical aspect of man
> does not tell us who man truly is. The claim that it does, is
> reductionism at its worst. This is my qualm with evolutionary
> theory, which will eventual base all on genetic coding, which is
> purely physical.
> > I am here merely indicating what my thoughts are regarding what is
> real. Future research may prove some aspects of this wrong. However,
> I doubt it.
> > I am attempting to order the different kinds of knowledge, which
> are defined by their subject matters, and integrate them so that we
> truly deal with the whole of reality. This must be accomplished
> without any sort of reductionism.
> > I hope I have answered all your questions Gregory. If not, keep on
> asking. Some of this material can be found in my website:
> > Moorad
> >
> >
> > ________________________________
> > From: Gregory Arago []
> > Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 12:49 PM
> > To: Bill Powers; Alexanian, Moorad
> > Cc: Cameron Wybrow;
> > Subject: RE: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)
> >
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > Gregory
> >
> > --- 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
> >
> > Bill,
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > Moorad
> >
> >
> > ________________________________
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Received on Thu May 28 16:35:45 2009

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