Ashwin and Faizal discuss science and miracles

The word necessary seems to be key here. The main issue between ID Proponents like Behe who accept common descent seems to be on the necessity of an intelligent agent.

@swamidass seems to be saying that science cannot really say if God’s involvement was necessary or not.
While @Rumraket says that evolution can work without having to invoke God.

Are you saying the same thing in different words?

No I think there’s a difference between those two statements too.

Saying “we can’t determine if it was necessary” is different from saying “it isn’t necessary, but we can’t rule out that it nevertheless might have occurred”.


I agree… and I have heard the second statement more often from scientists than the first. (Even when reading in between the lines).
And the statements change the claim about what evolution can achieve.
The first statement is agnostic about whether evolution can achieve all the novelty observed in life ( Because Science cannot say if God or any other agents help is necessary and hence can’t make definitive statements about whether evolution is sufficient to create the change observed).

The second statement makes a positive claim that evolution is sufficient as a process to achieve all the novelty observed in life. (And hence it needs no help from God though it doesn’t rule such help out).

Think of it in terms of two cars. One can run at max 50kmph and needs the help of an external agent to run at 100 kmph(someone needs to Push it).

The second statement describes a car that can run at 100kmph. But it doesn’t exclude the possibility that the car was actually running slower in some cases and got a push.

Most ID guys object to the second scenario.

The first part of your claim is false. Science has come up with a complete model by which this change occurs using nothing more than chemical and physical processes that are readily observed. Therefore it can be stated as a fact that no help from any gods is necessary.

Now, strictly speaking, this does not mean that this is how this change actually does occur. If we are keeping our mind open to absolutely every single thing that could still be possible even though there is not good evidence for it, then, sure, a god might still be involved in some way. But I find that a trivial and insignificant point to make.

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Just be clear to distinguish the evidential from personal views and the gap shrinks :slight_smile:

Not really. We don’t know from evidence this claim. Science does not make “nothing but” claims about life’s history as it seems you want it to.

But science does create models, few if any of which entail the existence of any gods. And to the extent that these models accurately explain and predict the observations we make, it demonstrates that gods are not necessary to explain those observations. No?


Yes, but NONE of these models are total models of reality. There is always and causes and complexities outside the model that intrude in several ways.

In evolution, we sometimes call these “contingencies” and we have demonstrated they are necessary to explain the course of evolution. Biology does not even seek to explain these contingencies. It just seeks to explain the scientifically tractable part of the problem, which is not the whole problem.

So evolutionary science does not include God as a cause and it shouldn’t and it doesn’t need a model for God to be extremely effective in its domain of inquiry. The science however does not give a total view of the past and has demonstrated that factors outside our view are important too. For this reason it cannot rule out Gods tinkering, and it can’t rule our that Gods tinkering was “necessary” for certain specific outcomes.

For example, perhaps the asteroid that wiped out the Dinos was necessary for the rise of mammals and then humans, and this was a (non scientific) teleological goal. Maybe God orchestrated the timing of that impact for this purpose. Science doesn’t speak to this except to note that this truly was a fundamental contingency that dramatically shaped the life on this planet.


Let’s recall the point to which I am responding:

So, while I do not disagree with the what you wrote, I don’t think it’s really on point. It could be that the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs was part of God’s plan, but we can derive an account of that incident that involves no gods at any point and which leaves no significant explanatory gaps. @Ashwin_s’s position is that we cannot do that when discussing evolution.

That is to say, his position does not seem to be that science cannot rule out that a god is involved in the evolutionary process. Rather, he is saying that science cannot account for that process unless the account includes intervention from a god.

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That’s what I said you said, except that I specified that what would make it complete in your view would be if we added the intervention of a god. Am I wrong about that?

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No you are not. What you are wrong in is saying that I expect Science to postulate God… I don’t. This is where your example with the meteor strike is meaningless.
I just look at scientific explanations like evolution as incomplete and insufficient.
And I also acknowledge that it’s entirely possible for current scientific consensus to be wrong.

Theologians are ceding space for evidence to guide their interpretations. That’s the concept you seem to have problems understanding.

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Which is not quite what I said. Rather, I said that you seem to believe that scientific accounts are incomplete, and what would complete them is the inclusion of a god. That does not mean the inclusion of a god would be part of a scientific account.

Hmm. So could you show how that account is complete, in a way that the evolutionary account of the emergence of biological diversity on earth is not complete?

And has been abundantly clear thru your discussions of the topic, that is a reflection of your level of understanding of evolution, rather than on the completeness and sufficiency of the theory. But I expect you will disagree about this.

As do I. But, even if that turns out to be the case, that would not make it wrong based on the current state of knowledge of the evidence.


That’s not all that is happening. Many theologians are just ceding space to materialism.
The bible espouses a world view where miracles are not only possible, bit also expected.
Scientific predictions about how the universe began, life developed, the universe is going to end, the prevalence of souls, the reality of demons etc are not going to sync with what the bible teaches for the simple reason that science does not share the Bible’s world view.
Theologians need to keep the materialistic bias in science in mind when looking at its predictions imo.

If you can tell me what the meteor is supposed to have achieved.

Wrong is wrong. The current levels of knowledge or ignorance can’t change reality.

Theologians in Florida seminaries are worried tonight because of the observations of godless meteorologists. Those meteorologists are scientists who give no thought or space to God in their account of how hurricanes develop.

Whether scientists are talking about what happened 66 million years ago, what happened yesterday, or what they think will happen this weekend in Florida, the thought of God does not affect their statements on scientific matters.



That’s a scientists choice. That need not match with historical reality.
As far as scientists know, people do not rise up from the dead whether it’s today or two thousand years ago. However Christian theologians and all christians believe that Jesus arose from the dead two thousand years ago. Are theologians worried about whether biologists think this is possible or not?

Will they be convinced if someone explains how death is and why it’s impossible via natural causes for a dead guy to rise up?
No. Because theologians know that scientific assertions about history can be flawed especially when one considers acts of God.
They don’t feel compelled in any way to change interpretations of the ressurection to meet scientific expectations even though there is far more concrete scientific evidence that dead people don’t ressurrect.

There is even more concrete scientific evidence that only a limited no: of people can be fed with 5 loafs of bread. And that no: is not 5000… and there definitely will not be any leftovers. Are theologians worried about this fact and willing to change the interpretation of Jesus miracles?

Why should creation belong to a different category?

You are restricting creation to natural causes while I am not.

I have good news. Jesus is greater than creation. He is in his own category. Do you know him?

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It’s an interesting claim. I was talking about an event called the ressurection. Which happened to Jesus and is our hope on his return.

You are deflecting by using the person of Jesus. Is there a legitimate point you want to make?

Actually, the twelve apostles knew that it was impossible via natural causes for a dead guy to rise up. They were no different than atheist scientists in this respect.

What convinced them otherwise was an encounter they had with the Risen Lord. That’s what convinced me, too.

Many Christian scientists have also had an encounter with the Risen Lord. That’s why they do not regard science as a complete theory of everything. They know that the One who created the heavens and earth, the One who miraculously conquered sin and death, will give them new life in the New Jerusalem.

You seem not to realize that thousands of scientists and many millions of people trust scientific explanations as both true and limited. Scientific explanations tell the truth, but they do not tell the whole truth.



@Chris_Falter understands. Could you?

I most certainly am not deflecting. Have you met the one greater than creation? Why do you think the creator is in the same category as creation?