Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stephen Barr on connecting God and the world

In my previous posts here and here, I discussed the position of catholic physicist Stephen Barr, starting from his article at First Things. He was advocating a view in which the influence of God on the world was confined to the 'deep principles' of physics.

The (unfortunate) consequences of this position for biology and evolution are now the subject of vigorous discussion at the blog Uncommon Descent, first here and now here. Barr wants to claim that scientific theories cannot confirm or deny the existence of purpose, and that any scientific theories (including materialism) which e.g. appear to deny purpose have to be reinterpreted. The trouble, then, is that the materialists would not even recognize their own theories any more.

In theistic science, by contrast, we explicitly make purpose an integral part of the operation of the universe. A universe, that is, which is not just material, but has also mental, spiritual and divine operations. According to theistic science, the grand claims of materialism are simply false. And hence also the exclusivity of natural selection in the production of biological creatures by means of (non-Darwinian) evolution. Only then can we have a proper causal account of how we have evolved. Being a causal account, we go further than activities investigating intelligent design, which deliberately refrain from examining the causes of design.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, that well explained the Darwinism thng. I guess I see why it "matters" to science. And especially to you who are trying to show that God has an open influence on our world. And you who are fighting the good fight against materialsim.

    Catholics are great at thinking backwards, which is why it doesn't matter as much to Barr. First they say what they know (there is a God and belief is important) and then they look at science. Science has to bend to accomodate Catholics.

    But for other religions, science has to logically lead to truth. And since the truth is that there is a God and belief matters, it doesn't seem ok to them that science veers away from that. They don't want science to bend, they want it to aim better.