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1.  Unifying Science and Theism

Summary points for Week 1



Modern Naturalism and Science

1.     Tries to allow only physical explanations

      Looks for mechanisms

      Does not rely on anything about God

2.     But has big difficulties still:

      Cannot yet explain minds & consciousness

      Cannot yet explain origin of life & its informational basis.

3.     So, it is a ‘Promissory Materialism’

      But: how long should we wait? 50 or 500 years?

4.     Thus: we should try alternatives now!

      Should make new theories of mind, etc.

      To compete with existing science research programs



Requirements of Science

1.     Should accept the best explanation of observations and experiments

2.     But: science still needs overall theory:

      Theory to explain how to observe

      Theory to explain how causes operate

3.     Science should not prejudge its starting point:

      The conclusion about ‘what exists’ should depend on results of investigations

4.     So: different `overall theories’ should be allowed.



Perhaps Science and Religion do Not Overlap?

1.     Opposing view: ‘non-overlapping magisteria’ (NOMA)

         Science  =  ‘what is’ and  

         Religion = ‘what should be’

      Protects religion from science
 & vice versa

2.     But NOMA has serious defects:

      If we are to know God or even about God, then God must influence us.

      Religion & theism do talk of what is!

      How we live. Human nature (soul?).
Religious history (revelations, incarnation), etc.

3.     There are overlaps between science and theism!



Try to make ‘Theistic Science’

1.     Start from postulate that There Is a God

      In contrast to naturalism’s “no need for God”.

2.     Clarify the basic postulates of theism

      No paradoxes allowed.

      Keep a rational consistency!

3.     Should be non-reductionist:

      Do not make minds ‘nothing but’ the brain.

4.     Make predictions to compare with experiments

      Supported if predictions are confirmed



So we try taking Theism like a scientific theory

1.     Theism has empirical consequences

2.     It can be tested, and so could be scientific.

3.     Explore theism as an alternative to naturalism



Some Scientific Objections to Theism

1.     If God were allowed as an explanation in science, then ‘anything goes’.

      The explanation of ‘God did it’ could be used for any event whatsoever, 
however regular or irregular and however comprehensible or incomprehensible.

2.     Reply: God is not some arbitrary and 
capricious old man who can 
do what he likes.



Allowing a Scientific Theism

      The previous reasons for opposing theism in science arise from misunderstandings about the nature of God.

      We already know that there are considerable regularities in the world, 
so we should instead explain the source, nature and reasons for those regularities.

      That source, for example, might be the constancy and eternality 
of the love and wisdom of God.

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