Re: [asa] on science and meta-science

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Wed Nov 04 2009 - 00:22:18 EST

Hi Schwarzwald,

Yes, I think there is something to agree with here - particularly if one thinks in terms of a sociological perspective. Again, I think we get back to Greg's concern regarding the messages we send by the language we use. I would still consider it possible for the Christian theist to affirm MN with integrity, but I think I can also see how such usage delivers one as a hostage to fortune in a rather worrisome way. I mean, how many times do we really want to have an argument over what we DON'T mean every time we use the phrase?

Your point about science not being this "other thing" that does not fit with a Christian or theistic world view is, I think, a significant one. Actually, I was thinking such a thing at the time of composing my previous post in this thread, but didn't have the mental energy to articulate it. But as you've now raised it, I'll say two things:

First, I quite see the validity of the point - there IS a sense in which advocating MN can be taken as almost an implicit admission that science is something we can't legitimately accommodate within a Christian or theistic world-view.

One could say more on this point - offering all sorts of caveats, if's, but's, and maybe's regarding what MN *really* means and whether it *really* is compatible with Christian theology, and so on - but for now I'll just repeat that my eye is upon this issue of the perceptions we create by the language we use. In this respect I'm thankful for Greg Arago's HSS approach which forces us to recast some of these discussions in new and, in my opinion, very helpful ways.

Second, a moments' reflection will, I think, show that this bears upon the recent discussion on NOMA - surely what we're pushing toward here is a claim that Christians don't *need* to step outside the Christian theological tradition to justify a systematic exploration of the created order? And in that respect we don't need to adopt such concepts as MN or NOMA in order to legitimise either our science or our theology. This seems to me a not unreasonable claim to make.

Perhaps what is needed here is an account of the relationship of Christianity and the natural sciences which draws upon the resources of Christian theology rather than upon the resources of secular philosophy. I imagine this won't please the secularists much, but I think we'd agree with Cameron et al that pleasing the secularists shouldn't be the primary goal?


Schwarzwald wrote:
> I'm glad you think there's something to agree with here - and I think
> your description is apt. After all, the entire idea of nature as a
> rational order open to investigation (as well as there being 'secondary
> causes' to investigate and understand) is very at home with a
> Christian/theistic metaphysic and worldview. What's more, it not only
> acknowledges the point you make re: naturalism, but also stresses that
> science is not this 'other thing' that does not fit with a Christian or
> theistic worldview. In fact, it's rather right at home with it - sure,
> it's subject to certain limitations and methods. But that there are
> particular spheres or areas of concern within a singular worldview is
> hardly novel, much less an issue anyway.

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Received on Wed Nov 4 00:22:49 2009

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