Thursday, May 22, 2008

Divine Science?

I think you can argue towards the existence of a creator from the evidence of the natural world, though that is not the only argument for the existence of God. People have been doing that at least since King David. However, this is a religious and philosophical train of thought. It can incorporate scientific evidence but should not be incorporated INTO science, because it goes way beyond science's proper scope. I think that the only questions to do with evolution as proposed by Darwin and successors are whether the theories are verifiable or falsifiable, if they are the best explanations from the evidence, etc.

In other words -- there are areas that go beyond science, and there are areas about science that suggest something beyond itself, but those things oughtn't, I don't think, be brought into science as a sort of explanation. I think there are plenty of difficulties with evolution in the details, and plenty that the theories don't explain, but I hope and trust that as time goes on more WILL be explained, and if evolutionary theory proves incomplete or wrong in some points, as since Darwin's time it has in certain respects, future theories will move closer to the reality. That's the glory of scientific study, when it is done rightly. And it can never pose a threat to faith, not because faith is unreasonable, but because empirical science *by definition* can only deal with what can be measured, quantified, and ordered. It is inevitably a sub-set of known reality.

Now, you can argue the non-existence of a creator from the evidence of the natural world, too. At least, it is often done. Some evolutionists do this, thereby going into amateur metaphysics and (counter) theology but in the process going beyond the strict bounds of their field too. Philosophy is a human endeavor; it informs everything by default if not by intention. My problem with some non-religious scientists is that they fail to acknowledge that and fall into "philosophy by default", a dangerous thing which in their cases often results in a naive scientism.

Here is an example-- a panel of scientists and others at the John Templeton Institute answering the question: Does science make belief in God obsolete? A whole range of answers, very interesting. Of course, it may be how the question is posed, but too many of the scientists who answered some version of "Yes, it does" seemed to think that deities were needed to explain what was mysterious in the material world. Now that everything is explained, therefore, there is no necessity for a deity. This seems so trustingly childlike in its simplicity; you almost get the sense that Science is considered an object of faith. One non-theistic scientist even said that perhaps an alien civilization could have created the universe as we know it. For charm and imagination he gets a B+ at least, but in the thinking skills department I think he needs a redo. A middle cause is not a First Cause.

I am still thinking this through... the connections between the disciplines and how they ought to inform each other.

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