RE: [asa] ID views on macroevolution, common descent, age of earth, etc.

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Sat Aug 22 2009 - 12:03:52 EDT

Scientific theories in physics emphasize logical connections rather than temporal or causal connections. In a sense, a scientific theory is like Euclid's geometry. There are axioms and there are theorems. However, the selection of axioms is arbitrary and, instead, one can select some of the theorems as axioms. The logical connection is what is important. All of classical physics is of that nature. For instance, Newton’s theory will tell you how the system evolves in time, forward or backward, given the initial conditions and the dynamics. However, the underlying gravitational law, says that if you have, say, two masses, then they will attractive each other with such a force. Pure logical connection.


From: [] On Behalf Of Murray Hogg []
Sent: Saturday, August 22, 2009 11:35 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] ID views on macroevolution, common descent, age of earth, etc.

Nice post, Bill.

I don't, however, have much to say by way of response other than than I like the observation that "atemporal science must provide a causal story." Perhaps THAT is what evolutionary theory is doing in biology? Providing the "causal story" by which biology makes sense of its world? I don't know, but it seems worth pursuing as an insight.

I think it makes a very great deal of sense even if I don't have the time to explore the issue with you at the moment.


wjp wrote:
> There has been much discussion about the distinction between historical and ahistorical sciences. I agree that this distinction is not as clear as we might like, but what is? I have suggested in a previous post that we might try to clarify a distinction by classifying science, at least in part, according to whether they empirically study cause-effect systems or merely effect systems.
> Paradigmatic cases of each are possible. There are clearly sciences that directly observe what we call cause-effect relationships. A bat hits a ball, and the ball accelerates off the bat. A high energy proton beam strikes an atom and certain nuclear events are observed. This last is clearly a complicated example, and the description is already heavily theory laden. However, it would be possible to attempt a less theory laden description of the relationship of two events, one we call the caue the other an effect. Problems in the picture accrue when the time between two events becomes significantly larger.
> We study effects only in many sciences. The sciences of cosmology, evolutionary biology, and forensics might be seen as such. Here we don't directly observe the relationship between a cause and an effect. In fact, we don't observe any causes. It seems, when I think about it, odd that we call them historical sciences, since, in a very real sense, they are atemporal. We are, at least primarily, provided with only static data. It is, in this case, the temporality, the sequence, that is to be constructed, whereas in the temporal science (cause-effect) the temporal sequence is ostensibly given.
> The atemporal science can only supply "process" or temporality by presuming a world, a possibility of processes, or some cache of stories. These stories, at first at least, must come from the temporal world that we know, although these will fall far short of all possible worlds, and surely all imaginable worlds. Hence, the temporal reconstruction must, at least from the start, rely heavily upon temporal science. Is it likely, or even possible, that QM and the like would have developed were it not a causal science, but an atemporal one? It is only in temporal, empirical sciences that an instrumentalism is possible, since we already have in hand the cause-effect relationship. This, it seems, is not possible in an atemporal one.
> If any of this makes sense, it seems that such atemporal sciences must, by their very nature, take on a heavier load of "metaphysics" than a temporal science. The atemporal science must provide a causal story. It must be imagined, for it is not observed. Of course this story relies, one would hope, upon causal relationships that we do observe. Nonetheless, the connection between the causal story and the empirical effects is more tenuous, more indirect, and therefore more obviously an imaginative construction. Perhaps the distinction is aided by considering experimental versus non-experimental sciences.
> Well, I'll stop here and see if anyone thinks this a thread worth pursuing.
> bill

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sat Aug 22 12:04:49 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat Aug 22 2009 - 12:04:49 EDT