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BeginningTheisticScience.com

A website for the book by Ian J Thompson:

"Rational Scientific Theories from Theism"

 

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21.1 Beginning theistic science

We have in Part III deduced a formal structure for a universe within theism. We defined it in terms of images of the Love, Wisdom and Action of God. It is a multilevel generative structure with many parts arranged together in non-trivial ways. But what exactly are all these discrete degrees and sub-degrees? Do we know them? And, how do we find out the details of these arrangements and how they function together? What sorts of spatial configurations exist at each level?

I propose that we now combine our deductive method with empirical investigations. All of us already have practical experience concerning the way that physical and mental processes are organized and related. The many sciences of today have extended our everyday concepts into more detailed theories. So, by ‘empirical investigations’ I will refer to results of the sciences that already exist.

The first steps here will therefore examine the components of the structures derived in Part III to see whether we can identify them with any of the structures postulated by contemporary science, in particular by contemporary psychology or physics. Maybe in the future theistic science will get better at predicting the details at each stage. In this book we are just beginning theistic science, and so we will accept any help that might be available.

We will not just accept all existing theories uncritically. A theory may be wrong. It may involve structures which are not directly visible and hence open to revision. Even if the structures are correct, the causes attributed to the structured objects may not be conformable with our proposed theistic science. This last possibility will frequently be the case because existing sciences hardly recognize the idea of multiple generative levels. Instead they think that the objects under investigation simply cause all the observed behavior. They neglect to recognize the causal inputs from prior or upstream generative degrees. Occasionally, in psychology for example, they will also not recognize the selection constraints from later or downstream generative degrees. The process of unifying existing theories will result in changes to those theories.

The logical basis of theistic science is very different from the logical basis of the scientific theism presented so far. Part III attempted to deduce a formal structure and, as long as the Postulates are true and as long as I have not made a mistake, the consequences will rigorously follow.21.1Part IV is on a much weaker logical foundation. Unlike a set of deductions from postulates, it is much more likely to be in need of revision. In fact, it is just like today’s science, consisting as it does of hypotheses and inductions suggested by experiments. To put it bluntly, this Part consists of speculation, and it can only be justified by comparison with observations and experiments. The accuracy of what is said depends on my understanding of contemporary physics and contemporary psychology along with further suggestions based on the overall structure of theistic science.

The connections and identifications to be proposed in this Part are therefore logically contingent rather than logically necessary, even given the truth of our Postulates. It is on the basis of this fact that we accept Hume’s dictum that there are no necessary connections between particular objects apart from God. It means that everything I say from now on can and should be examined carefully and persistently to make sure that it is not mistaken. Changing some of these proposals does not mean the end of theistic science, since this will be the normal process of revision of scientific hypotheses because of theoretical arguments or empirical observations. What I next propose is falsifiable. Trying to falsify is one of the ongoing jobs of scientists. This work is no longer deduction from theistic premises. Now I call on meanings in ordinary languages and in the sciences. These will have historical and contemporary overtones that certainly cannot be called deductive conclusions!


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