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BeginningTheisticScience.com

A website for the book by Ian J Thompson:

"Rational Scientific Theories from Theism"

 

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The Approach

The aim is to make metaphysical links between the properties of God and the nature of creation, where I take those properties not merely abstractly, but in particular and immediate ways. I aim to expand on what is implicit in classical theism (core monotheism, as distinct from deism, pantheism, monism, nondualism, etc), and draw out of those things some new conclusions for physics and psychology. From the chapter list, it can be seen that I go beyond the usual formal list of divine attributes, and rather seek those related to activity and life. I do not see divinity, for example, as residing in the ‘immutable laws of nature’, but in the dynamic natures of things that the laws of nature are supposed to describe. Thus we attempt to derive the overall form of natural laws, allowing the possibility of new predictions for the sciences.

In each chapter, I discuss what each property of God means (trying to avoid misunderstandings), and then discuss implications for creation. I discuss the philosophical issues that arise when making these implications, and how these can or should be resolved within theism.  Relations to existing sciences are presented, with examples, and needed future work is outlined.

There will be few attempts to justify theism, except by the results of the whole book. There exist various attempts in ontology, from Aristotle, Aquinas and others, to prove various properties of God from the existence or change or contingency of bodies in the world. Many of these proofs, however, depend on a particular analysis of causation in nature, and since the analysis presented in this book is different from Aristotle’s (though similar in many ways), the details of the proofs do not quite proceed in the original manner. The alleged proofs, therefore, are beyond the scope of this book. Nor will I much discuss the possible origin of the universe at the big bang: there will rather be more discussion about what happens now.

I will use, as a starting point, a ‘generic’ or ‘vanilla’ theism that is intended to be compatible with all monotheistic religions. There will be nothing to discriminate between specific theistic sects, nor do I give a specific name to God. Similarly I do not discuss any specific events in the history of religions. These may well matter, but I would like to think that any scientific understanding of them presupposes then general principles of theistic science as outlined in this book.

Throughout the book, the emphasis is constructive suggestions for what could actually be true, rather than refutations of alternative positions. This is in line with the methodological pluralism discussed in Chapter 1.  A positive approach is particularly needed in this field, as most existing critiques of naturalist or non-theistic views are negative: showing merely the contradictions of those frameworks. Many physicists and philosophers have suggested, for example Henry Stapp most recently, that minds have some role in the functioning of the quantum world, in order to solve the problem of measurement. Without a constructive view of minds, however, this is replacing a problem about which we know a little, with a solution concerning which we know even less.  Along with a constructive attitude, I will also refrain from writing an ‘angry’ book, as Dawkins and Feser have both done recently, but give more a patient exposition.

Many books on science and religion (since Paley) start with observations and science, and try to end up with something close to religion. Such attempts at natural theology extrapolate from the natural to the divine, and (like induction from effects to causes) are logically problematic. My book proceeds in the other direction: from the divine to the natural, and hence uses more rigorous deductive logic. Readers may well question whether they can begin at such a divine place, but I answer that, just as in presenting a scientific theory, one should start by postulating the general principles, then see what can be derived from them, and finally compare them with what we know experimentally. This approach places more demands on the imagination of the reader, but the final results should be much more robust and satisfying. This result should be not that my premises are proved, but that my conclusions follow from the premises, and then that these conclusions are confirmed by observations. I later discuss whether the observations could be explained in other ways.

    


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