Re: the religion of science (was:virus: Sexuality)
Thu, 19 Sep 1996 23:04:55 -0500 (CDT)

On Thu, 19 Sep 1996, KMO prime wrote:

> On Wed, 18 Sep 1996 18:14:27 -0500 (Patricia & John
> Crooks) writes:


> > Science can tell us how, it cannot tell us why.

> Why does this rock float? Why does the universe seem to operate
> according to fixed laws in so many observational domains? Why doesn't
> Neptune's orbit behave as Newtonian mechanics suggests it should? (It
> does now that we know about Pluto.) Why doesn't Mercury's? (It doesn't
> becuase Newton's laws only hold under certain conditions.) Can science
> address these sorts of questions?

These can be phrased as either 'how' questions or 'why' questions.
Within my interpretation of what I see of Crooks' framework, science can
attempt any question phraseable as a 'how' question, regardless of other
methods of phrasing. Am I missing something here?

> > I think
> >sceince should stick to the how and religion should stick to the why
> >(because of this I think creationism is a farce-especially in a
> >biology
> >class).
> Perhaps you meant to say that science should stick to making factual
> claims and religion should stick to making normative claims. Maybe not.
> Why shouldn't science have a crack at investigating issues of
> normativity?

Actually, it has a VERY good shot at it under certain religious schemata.
I mean the ones which have as their primary risk of error 'rejecting
correct intepretation because of deceptive experience'. [This does NOT
include most main-line Protestant denominations, or relatively
unintellectual congregations!]

If one takes the religious term 'sinful' as primitive, and demand that the
actions contaminated by this primitive trait have description
'deliberately willed and self-destructive', AND used 'sufficient
perspective', one could design experiments on various scales to identify
candidates for 'sinful actions'. This is not positive ID, because the
demand I make is NOT an equivalence, it is only a subclass relation. [I
do NOT mean subset! I have no reason to believe that the class of all
actions is reasonably decidable.]

Sufficient perspective may need to be over decades, of course. I have
managed to cause immediate emotional stress when trying to explain this to
right-wing Christians, but it is almost derivable from their
Book--the description I used is a minor derivation from Romans 6:23.

/ Kenneth Boyd