RE: [asa] Lawrence Krauss Defends New Atheism

From: Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu>
Date: Sat Jun 27 2009 - 11:10:56 EDT

For me the notion of “scientific rationality” used by Krauss is nonsensical. There is only human rationality that can be applied to different subject matters of interest. Krauss as a person is the atheist. However, one cannot derive atheism from science. How can experimental science, which deals with generalizations of historical events, handle unique, historical events? What “mechanisms” God uses to interact with His creation is though to figure out. It seems that the likes of Krauss think that if they cannot have a theory for something or do an experiment in the lab, then something claimed cannot be true. That is not the scientific method but is nonsense. I suppose they will have to wait for death, which is a human experience, and that single “experiment” will clarify all their claims, if not their doubts.
Moorad
________________________________
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of Schwarzwald [schwarzwald@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, June 27, 2009 12:41 AM
To: asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: [asa] Lawrence Krauss Defends New Atheism

Heya Alexanian,

I think Krauss' point here is that he wants A) a scientific explanation of the virgin birth, and B) at least implicitly he wants this to be "natural". If both requests cannot be satisfied, then to believe such a thing took place is a departure from scientific rationality. Which he would take to show that the claims of religion are incompatible with science.

I'd agree with you though - this seems like an exceptionally weak argument. First because it reduces the claimed incompatibility of science and religion from arguing that science shows that God does not exist (See Victor Stenger, etc for that claim) to a claim that science cannot verify the tenets of religion. It's hard to think of a response to that other than "So what?"

Second, and perhaps more controversially, I think there's a fun response Miller could give: Appealing to technology rather than bare nature. God is simply in a position with respect to nature (very roughly) analogous to the position of a programmer to his program. Trying to find a "biological explanation" of the virgin birth is (again, very roughly) akin to trying to find a "biological explanation" of how a human being could end up on the moon. It's not the basic biological features that matter most, but questions of agency and relation of subject to event.

I also think it would be interesting to get into questions of physics and what is "possible, but extremely (on the order of googleplexes, I imagine) unlikely" to happen. The old example of a baseball passing through a brick wall comes to mind. I think the mere acknowledgment of such raw "natural" possibilities makes discussion of miracles and science interesting to say the least.

On Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 10:49 PM, Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu<mailto:alexanian@uncw.edu>> wrote:
The virgin birth is peanuts compared with the notion of a Creator God. I never quite understood why that issue is ever brought up. The virgin birth must be something to be doubted only by atheists.
Moorad
________________________________
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu<mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu> [asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu<mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu>] On Behalf Of Cameron Wybrow [wybrowc@sympatico.ca<mailto:wybrowc@sympatico.ca>]
Sent: Friday, June 26, 2009 4:41 PM
To: asa@calvin.edu<mailto:asa@calvin.edu>
Subject: Re: [asa] Lawrence Krauss Defends New Atheism

Mike:

Re Miller: agreed. Not that I am claiming that Christianity is unthinkable without a literal virgin birth, but the virgin birth is (I believe) still a core Catholic doctrine. So if (as is reported) Miller would not defend it, what happened to Miller's claim to be "100% Darwinian and 100% Catholic"? I guess that one of those "hundred per cents" was a rhetorical exaggeration. But then, I suppose that we should not expect theological clarity from a Catholic who claims to believe in Darwin's God, when Darwin was an agnostic.

Cameron.

----- Original Message -----
From: Nucacids<mailto:nucacids@wowway.com<mailto:nucacids@wowway.com>>
To: Nucacids<mailto:nucacids@wowway.com<mailto:nucacids@wowway.com>> ; asa@calvin.edu<mailto:asa@calvin.edu><mailto:asa@calvin.edu<mailto:asa@calvin.edu>>
Sent: Friday, June 26, 2009 11:50 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] Lawrence Krauss Defends New Atheism

Two immediate observations:

1. It is very disappointing to see Miller back away from the virgin birth of Christ. Given his position and status, this will feed into the perception that once Christians accept evolution, it's a slippery slope that leads to rejection of a literal virgin birth and resurrection of Christ.

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Received on Sat Jun 27 11:11:59 2009

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