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Re: [XTalk] Anomalies vs. Miracles

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  • Ed Jones
    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
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 3, 2003
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      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:

      Blaine,

      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
      passage:
      �What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for
      them to describe?�

      Davies:
      �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
      perceived reality).

      �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.�

      Ed Jones

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    • Steve Black
      ... god 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
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 3, 2003
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        >In response to a message, Aug2, 2003, 8:41 pm, raising questions concerning
        god 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.


        --
        Steve Black
        Vancouver School of Theology
        Vancouver, BC
        ---

        The lion and the calf shall lie down together
        but the calf won't get much sleep.
        -Woody Allen
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