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

From: Don Winterstein <dfwinterstein@msn.com>
Date: Fri May 29 2009 - 02:20:02 EDT

GA: "...What you would say about <origins> instead of <processes>? Are they...within the province of <science> to investigate?"

DW: Scientists investigate origins if they have enough of a handle on things to get going. If they can't get going, they often speculate; but the speculations are scientific speculations, not science.

GA: "Is <science> successful at the cost of other types of knowledge that are then deemed <less successful>?"

DW: I don't know who among scientists is extracting fees from "other types of knowledge," but science is indeed more successful than other intellectual pursuits in its ability to win assent to its findings among intelligent people across boundaries of every sort. In contrast, and as a rule, people (if any) who assent to a theologian's conclusions are mostly those who have backgrounds and experiences close to his own. A cultural connection to a scientist is less important than a cultural connection to a theologian in order to be predisposed towards accepting his results. So you can say results of science can more readily find acceptance across cultural boundaries than can results of less objective intellectual pursuits. A consequence is that fruits of science come to be perceived as more universally valuable than fruits of other pursuits.

GA: "...You seem to be saying...contradictory things.... A) that <science would be unable to explain the process> of actions by <outside entities> and B) that since science studies processes, it will eventually explain the processes if not the actions.

DW: What I said (or meant) was that scientists assume they can explain all processes in principle, meaning that they do their science on the assumption that outside entities have not acted. That assumption may be wrong, but it nevertheless stands at the base of the scientific method.

GA: "I find it problematic to hear that scientists won,t accept the limitations of evolution. Isn.t your argument basically that <science> is not as <unlimited> as <scientists> claim it to be by suggesting it is ultimately <progressive>?"

DW: Not what I said. Scientists accept that an understanding of evolution is limited by big gaps in data, so they're willing to make allowances they wouldn't make for, say, science that can be done in a laboratory. Scientists as scientists believe their investigations are able to find truth, so in that sense they work as if there are no limits (in principle) on their ability to understand. If instead outside entities have stepped in here and there in ways that violate cause/effect, it may in fact be impossible for scientists to understand what went on. But at this point scientists as a rule have no reason for believing such things and they conduct their investigations as if they can understand their subject matter.

Nothing in a scientific profession necessarily disposes a person towards scientism. Scientists who promote scientism do so for reasons other than their involvement with scientific investigations.

Don

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: gregoryarago@yahoo.ca<mailto:gregoryarago@yahoo.ca>
  To: asa<mailto:asa@calvin.edu> ; Cameron Wybrow<mailto:wybrowc@sympatico.ca> ; Don Winterstein<mailto:dfwinterstein@msn.com>
  Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 12:22 AM
  Subject: Re: [asa] ID/Miracles/Design (Behe vs. Behe)

        Hi Don,

        You wrote: <There's no scientific reason for saying that outside entities were not active in these processes--and indeed they may have been--other than that, if such entities were thus active, science would be unable to explain the processes. Science has had some success in explaining the processes, so the assumption among scientists is that, given enough info and enough time, all such processes are explainable.>

        I,m curious what you would say about <origins> instead of <processes>, Don? Are they non-existent within the province of <science> to investigate? Are all origins (enacted) by <outside entities> eventually explainable by <science> too?

        Two things: First, if you want to argue something like saying <science has been successful>, then you need to confront a couple of things. Is <science> successful at the cost of other types of knowledge that are then deemed <less successful>? Theology is one type of knowledge that has been cast as <less successful> in response to <science,s successes>.

        Second, you seem to be saying two contradictory things at the same time. A) that <science would be unable to explain the process> of actions by <outside entities> and B) that since science studies processes, it will eventually explain the processes if not the actions. Are you suggesting that <science evolves> or something like the following: <science is progressive and studies processes of change in natural or physical (etc.) objects, therefore it cannot help but eventually explain all natural or physical processes of change>?

        <Scientists accept the limitations of evolution as if such limitations were more or less ignorable because they understand how limited their raw data are and assume that, if the data were not so limited, the science would not be so limited.> - Don

        I find it problematic to hear that scientists won,t accept the limitations of evolution. Isn.t your argument basically that <science> is not as <unlimited> as <scientists> claim it to be by suggesting it is ultimately <progressive>? If <science> is always <inevitably progressing> it is therefore <never limited>. This perspective would be to hail <scientism>, rather than to promote a healthy balance of <sciences, philosophy and religion/faith/theology>.

        The ideology of <evolutionism>, not the science of <evolutionary biology>, could be claimed as partially responsible for such a view, Don, if that is what you are suggesting.

        G.A.

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Received on Fri May 29 02:20:27 2009

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