Re: [XTalk] Anomalies vs. Miracles
- Michael Turton wrote:
> Moreover, the occurrence of events of type (a) and (b) is a purelyneed to
> empirical question open (in principle) to purely empirical modes of
> investigation; one would simply need to work out what conditions would
> be fulfilled into order to establish that a report of a type (a) or (b)event was
> Yet this is impossible. Pinch and Collins outlined this in either
> Order_ or _Natural Order_, I have forgotten which. In any case *there isno way
> a controlled inquiry into "anomalies" can be carried out.* In addition tolargely
> failure and fraud, this is one of the reasons why psychic research has
> been abandoned.(I think in the first of these paragraphs he was quoting me).
In a subsequent post I pointed out that 'anomaly' was really only meaningful
in relation to a particular set of scientific theories. Since theories are
in principle falsifiable, it must in principle be possible to investigate
exceptions to them (which would constitute anomalies on the definition I
gave); I am thus suspicious of an argument that purports to rule the
possibility of the empirical investigation of anomaly _in toto_, since this
appears to presuppose that science has no more work to do.
On the other hand, in my later post (and effecticely also in one or more
previous posts) I have stated that to allow the possibility of 'hard
anomaly' (i.e. one which it is not plausible to suppose that any change in
our scientific understanding could accommodate) would be to cut off the
branch of rational evaluation we're trying to sit, which would seem to be in
broad agreement with your point here.
>My bad. I meant only that an atheist is someone who lacks a belief in god.
> HOWEVER, I vehemently quarrel with Michael's
> assertion that
> an atheist is COMMITTED TO A LACK OF BELIEF IN GODS.
- In response to a message, Aug2, 2003, 8:41 pm, raising questions concerning
god or no god, it has seemed that some account might be taken of the extent
to which our inherited 19th century scientific understanding of KNOWLEDE
affects these notions and further, to take note of what recent expressions
from the scientific community seem to be telling to us today about
KNOWLEDGE. The following post edhj2002@..., Jul 26, 2003, 7:05am,
[FFForum] Re: Philosophy, Science and Theology Festival, might serve to
illumine this statement:
In a message bwhite@... Thu, Jul 10, 10:26 am, you develop certain
distinctions between the disciplines of science and religion leading to the
characterization of �theoscientists� who �are not and need not be taken
seriously.� Might not the following extracts place both Hawking and Davies
in this category?
Extracts from Davies� commentary relative to one statement, not commented on
in my essay edhj2002@..., Jul 20, 5:14pm, [FFForum], from the Hawking
�What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for
them to describe?�
�It seems to me that; if one perseveres with the principle of sufficient
reason and demands rational explanation for nature, then we have no choice
but to seek that explanation in something beyond or outside the physical
world � in something metaphysical � because a contingent physical universe
cannot contain within itself an explanation for itself. What sort of
metaphysical agency might be able to create a universe? It is important to
guard against the na�ve image of a Creator producing a universe at some
instant in time by supernatural means � creation cannot consist of merely
causing the big bang. We are searching instead for a more subtle, timeless
notion of creation which, to use Hawking�s phrase, �breathes fire into the
equations�, and thus promotes the merely possible to the actually existing.
This agency is creative in the sense of being somehow responsible for the
laws which govern, among other things, how space-time evolves.�
�We are not talking about creation in the casual, mechanical sense here, as
when a builder builds a house � We are talking about �breathing fire into
the equations that encode the laws of physics, promoting the merely possible
to the actual. What sort of entities can �breathe fire � in this sense?
Clearly no familiar material thing. If there is to be an answer at all, it
would have to be something pretty abstract and unfamiliar� (beyond all sense
�Thus James Jeans who proclaimed that �the universe appears to have been
designed by a pure mathematician� and it �begins to look more like a great
thought rather than a great machine�, also wrote: �We discover that the
universe shows evidence of a designing or controlling power that has
something in common with our individual minds - - the tendency to think in
ways which, for want of a better word, we describe as mathematical.� �
(�something in common with our minds�; might not this validate the claim of
mystical experience: �Consciousness with consciousness can meet�? - thus
knowledge given, ready-made, revelation).
��just why Homo sapiens should carry the spark of rationality that provides
the key to the universe, is a deep enigma. We, who are children of the
universe � animated stardust � can nevertheless reflect on the nature of
that universe, even to the extent of glimpsing the rules on which it runs.�
�What does it mean? What is Man that we might be party to such privilege?
I cannot believe that our existence in this universe is a mere quirk of
fate. An accident of history, an incidental blip in the great cosmic drama.
Our involvement is too intimate - - the existence of mind in some organism
on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance.
Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This
can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless
forces. We are truly meant to be here.�
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>In response to a message, Aug2, 2003, 8:41 pm, raising questions concerninggod or no god...
One of the things I enjoy about this list is how these sorts of
issues are always in the background in our discussions concerning the
Historical Jesus. I think it is best to leave them in the background.
Vancouver School of Theology
The lion and the calf shall lie down together
but the calf won't get much sleep.