Clinton Ohlers: Two Parables on Divine Action

It was a great pleasure reading your post. My 2 cents is as follow: From a theological perspective, we can rightfully link science with terms like “creation”, “creator”, etc… which presupposes a transcendent agent. Nonetheless, this definition would confine us within theological discussion.

Can I propose another rephrasing of the same concept?

Science is objectively observed and subjectively interpreted and rationally analyzed. However, as there is human’s interpretation, there is no escape of certain representation models (language, world view, culture) unique to the individual interpreter/Scientist. And thus a same set of data could invite different explanations from different scientists. And even the data itself can be disputed and distorted. In short, Science works in the realm of objectivity and subjectivity.

Theology, on the other hand, leveraging on the “dream/waking state of metaphor” of C.S Lewis, encompasses both Science and revelation. Revelation, generally speaking is something beyond object and subject dichotomy but could be phenomenological received. To comprehend it, again, theology works akin to science and thus, could not escape objectivity and subjectivity which implies a openness to better explanation and “theories”.

What do you think about this rephrasing?

The challenge from the constructivist camp is: how do we know which “data” is qualified as data from revelation? (granted if it exists). I am not satisfied with the answer i have in mind (will share later), and would like to hear from others. Thanks in advance.

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Great to have you here @kelvin_M. Welcome!

You got it, though I would phrase that differently. Rather than “confining us” with theology, it is more accurate to say that theology takes us “beyond the limits” of scientific thought. Once again, we are not “confined” to the waking world, but we can imagine being “confined” to a dreaming world.

I see where you are going, but I’m not sure this is the the whole story. It comes down to the constructivist concern you raise later.

That is trivially true. Scientists will look at the same set of data and disagree, providing different explanations. That is a brute fact. At the same time, that does not mean that “anything goes” or that “any” explanation can fit the data. We also observe the brute fact that scientists come to nearly unanimous consensus that certain explanations are false. Moreover, we observe scientists changing their minds upon encountering data, and even working in their labs to uncover the evidence that will overturn their own explanations.

Science, for these reasons, is a good corrective to the constructivist fallacy that “everything is constructed.”

So yes, there is a cultural and subjective component to interpreting data. Yes, there are biases (idols) that cloud our view. This is not the whole story though. Something about science enables us to break through our constructivist illusions at times.

The answer, from the scientist, is that it takes an immense amount of technical work and humility to have any chance of getting past our biases here. The answer, from the theologian Bacon, might be that we are all bound to idols and will struggle to see reality.

From the historians, well I’m curious what they will have to add… @TedDavis, @rcohlers and @TWReynolds. Seems like we also might get a note from @jrfarris.

Thank you to Joshua Swamidass for inviting me to join in the conversation. I am happy to be here and join in the conversation. My main area of interest is in theological anthropology, which is informed and interactive with analytic philosophy of mind. More recently, I have been working on beatific vision and the atonement. As for science and religion, I have interests in human origins and Divine action (I will be working on these various topics at The Creation Project, TEDS next year). Particularly, I am interested to bring the origin of the soul back into the discussions, but it is not clear that substance dualism/the soul has been a topic of discussion within the scientific community or in the science and religion literature. Why? I am not sure. I would like to find out.

Just a bit of context, I met Joshua Swamidass at the Dabar Conference at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I was fascinated by his proposal concerning Adam’s relationship to humans, specifically to one genealogical group rather than genetic humanity more broadly. Upon meeting, we quickly jumped into questions of epistemology and methodology. My hope is that theologians (and philosophers) can come to the table and have discussions with scientists. It seems that for so long that has not been the case (or, at a minimum, theologians have not had the freedom to speak authoritatively on matters that impinge on issues within science), and Joshua S. has confirmed as much concerning the role of theologians at the table for science discussions. That said, I am not sure (1) what that table is? and (2) what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for being allowed or invited to the table?

There are many other questions that I have, which have come up in conversation with Joshua S. These questions are related to Bacon, but maybe they will come up in the course of the discussion here or, hopefully, the lines of communication will be open for future conversation.

Today and during this summer season, I have several deadlines looming, so I may be in and out of the discussion. I hope to engage some today for the purpose of opening the channels of communication.

Thanks again for inviting me to this discussion.

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A big thanks to both of you (Clinton and our host) for doing this. I think this was a key exchange between you:

I am not sure that Joshua is taking Bacon within context there, but I get his point in the first paragraph. I think something @Ronald_Cram said in that excellent discourse @swamidass is having with him on this thread pertains to the subject here. He said…

Methodological naturalism must be open to the idea that some set of phenomena may be unexplainable by natural processes or the laws of physics.

And while I would edit the start of that statement to say “those practicing methodological naturalism…” I do think this point from Ronald is key. Take some event, say the healing of a long-term condition in a single hour after a prayer for healing. Should the most absurd and unverifiable natural explanation for an event be assumed over the most obvious supernatural one? If one has their natural sciences hat on as they look for natural explanations, the answer is probably “yes”. But that’s just while the hat is on.

We should be humans who use methodological naturalism as a tool, not methodological naturalists period. That is to say, we should be able to look outside our role as a MN and say as a human “I accept that this event was a miracle.” Does that mean one quits looking for natural causes for the event? Not at all, when one is wearing the hat. But the person should not be bound by the role.

We used to distinguish between “science” and “natural science”. “Natural Science” was not originally and should not now IMHO be the only kind of science which exists. Disciplines of study which use the Scientific Method to ascertain truth can and once were considered to be forms of science. The Scientific Method consists of noticing some puzzle or problem, or paradox, and proposing a hypothesis which is offered to solve or explain it. This hypothesis is then tested in some way which either confirms or rejects the hypothesis. The conclusion is based on the results so obtained. Often the conclusion calls for more testing to further refine our understanding. Reason is the primary tool used at each step of this process. Theology used to be considered a science, that’s why it has the “logy” in it! Maybe there should be a return to theology as a science, but its not a natural science.

It is the philosophy of naturalism, that nature is all that there is, which has caused us to confuse “natural science” with “science”. When one does so methodological naturalism invariably keeps poking over its true intellectual boundaries. It’s going to be work to keep it from doing so anyway, but I for one think its a job worth doing. The temptation is to get lazy either way and not make these distinctions properly which has the consequence of hamstringing MN on the one hand or turning into de facto philosophical naturalism on the other.


With the disclaimer that this is my first post and may be useless (promise I’ll try to learn quickly):

So the historian in me thinks this is quite certainly the center of the conversation. It’s fascinating and quite important that we can look at the work of Bacon et al in the inaugural London Society and see them confronting similar questions with similar mentalities. I personally think this is why Shakespeare for instance is fascinating, 400 years ago someone wrote something which got so deeply to a part of the human condition that we are still reading it

However, it is quite easy for us to project back onto denizens of the past our own methods of thinking which are not natural to them. They conceived of the world in ways we cannot fully step into. We can attempt this as historians the more we read their works and start to discover what they mean by words (whose definitions change). So i think @swamidass and @rcohlers can both be right here. Josh is necessarily coming at things from the position of modern (or post-modern, whatever) science and theology. While Bacon was coming at it from an early modern/late medieval perspective. These are radically different and would use many words differently.

I think a third parable you told me once Josh might be useful here. It’s the idea of someone looking for their keys under different streetlights on a dark street. History gives you illumination to one set of facts here, theology another, and science yet another. The trick is figuring out how to piece those facts together in a reasonably coherent way in order to discuss what has/is/we think is occurring.


Welcome @jrfarris, great to have you here.

Invited to the Table

You are invited to the table @jrfarris. So are philosophers and theologians. Scientists love to talk with you all, and wish you were around more to engage with our work. The conditions, however, are to play by the rules of the scientific table when we are at that table: The Rules of the Game.

At the “Scientific” table, we keep a sharp line between the scientific arguments and findings, and our personal reflections on those arguments and findings. There is both (1) a large public and “official” conversation that follows strict rules and protocols, and (2) and informal side-conversations where any rules are allowed, as long as basic politeness and honesty are valued.

The strength of this system is that no matter our personal beliefs and views, we can work with each other as scientists, understanding the basic presuppositions of scientific work. The strict rules are how science becomes a common effort to expand our knowledge of the natural world. We are also granted autonomy to integrate in our own ways what this means for others fields and for us too. Also, that means there are well defined blind spots for science too. We all know from the get go that science does not tell us, for example, if God does or does not exist.

We can even hold personally that scientific conclusions are wrong: A Better Way to Reject Common Descent. Science just does not care what you believe in your heart, and what you say outside science, as long as you do not misrepresent science.

Theologians and philosophers have always been invited to the table to participate in the informal side-conversations, to explore the implications of scientific findings, and even their limits, ethics, and greater meanings. We might even ask you to speak up louder often, so others can hear your voice.

It is, however, considered very rude to burst into the “official” conversation to tell us that we do not do science right, and that our rules must change. That is not allowed. It takes an immense amount of training to understand how to do scientific work. There is an immense amount of tacit knowledge here, and we as scientists ourselves do not feel we have the right to change the rules. For that reason, it can even be taken as insulting when a transient philosopher tries to do such things. That breaks the rules. That, also, should be obvious.

Theologians and philosophers that play by the rules are welcome and embraced in science. Just be a good guest. Explain the limits of scientific findings outside of science. Help scientists understand the true meaning of their findings. That is all welcomed and encouraged. It does not require, also, changing the rules.

We’d love to hear more about that too. Maybe this fall we can do an Office Hours on just this. What do you think?

The Origin of the Soul

I’d love to talk about that with you. First off, it was considered.

I think the general consensus (both in theology and science) is that this experiment was misguided. There is no a prior reason to think that the soul has mass. There is no reason to think it appears in exposed film. There is no reason to think it disturbs electrical signals.

The problem, it seems, is that the concept of a soul is too poorly defined to settle what we should or shouldn’t look for. We’ve talked bout this before with @purposenation. The Souls of our Ancestors. It is such a flexible concept that I even convinced our resident atheist that he has a soul:

Recall that even theologians can’t agree on what a soul “is,” whether it be a monist, dualist, or trichomist view. The best scientific accounts might be from “information.”

Yes, I am well aware of the objections of the dualist that arise (like the continuity of the self problem). However, we can construct examples of this that account for dualism. Moreover, if God is the only one able to duplicate us, and He chooses to keep the continuity of our identity intact (by never making more than one of us), then I’m not sure what the objection is.

In this view, then, the “immortal soul” arises at the point at which God decides to care enough about us to remember us. That is, I think, the best integration between science and the soul I can give, and it deeps necessarily into science fiction. :smile: As a theological anthropologist though, I wonder what @jrfarris would think about this.

We are not ready to change the rules of science, but the voice of the philosopher-theologian on the soul is very welcome here. Science, after all, is merely dreaming. Theology is the waking world.


It is not clear to me why we must study creation dispassionately. I understand we have biases and we may need to take steps in order to prevent those biases from fouling up the interpretation of the phenomena (i.e., physical data) we are experiencing, but that is an interpretive issue concerning the phenomenal data itself. By making the assumption that a “dispassionate” stance is necessary to perform science apart from the interpretive fouling up of the data, we are already making metaphysical assumptions about the phenomenal data in question. Is this not the case? But, I am wondering why we need to make this/these metaphysical assumption(s) about the phenomenal data. Are we assuming the phenomenal data is real, i.e., mind-independent? Why assume that? Could not science carry on just as well with out these metaphysical assumptions. I cannot conceive of why it could not. In the same way, the theist may be studying the scientific, or phenomenal, data from an impassioned stance. They, too, are making metaphysical assumptions about the physical/phenomenal data.

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We do not assume this.

Bacon makes that clear. Our passions are entwined with idolatry, and idolatry is a true enemy of knowledge. Have you read Novum Organum yet? The truth of the Fall is what drives his understanding. The corruption of our intellect is what the structures of science are designed to combat. You are a theological anthropologist @jrfarris, this should be obvious to you, right?

I suppose I can easily conceive of why it would fall apart without some agreed upon rules:

As I’ve written before, MN functions like a treaty in science: I have no interest in threatening the peace by challenging it. If this peace were to end, science would end.

I am a theist. Take my work on a Genealogical Adam. I took up that question because I “passionately” thought the question was important. However, my work itself is dispassionate, and I followed the rules of the game. I did not bring in any theistic presuppositions in to the conversation. That is why it convinced everyone. That is the strength of science. We have a common and plausible starting point from which to build common knowledge together.

The theist can go beyond science in his personal views publicly-stated (as I do when I affirm the Resurrection and the inerrancy of Scripture), and he can choose questions based on his personal values. However if he were to require a rule change to make the scientific portion of his case, he has abandoned the hope of building public knowledge. He has abandoned the chance of convincing other scientists that he is right “on the science.”

Part of the reason the science behind the Genealogical Adam is so strong is because I followed these rules. I played by those rules and one. If I had tried to change the rules, I would have lost before I had even begun.

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Welcome to the conversation @TWReynolds. Really a pleasure to have you.

The Parable of the Streetlight

Yup, here is a good telling of it:

The fundamental error here is summed up in an old joke scientists love to tell. Late at night, a police officer finds a drunk man crawling around on his hands and knees under a streetlight. The drunk man tells the officer he’s looking for his wallet. When the officer asks if he’s sure this is where he dropped the wallet, the man replies that he thinks he more likely dropped it across the street. Then why are you looking over here? the befuddled officer asks. Because the light’s better here, explains the drunk man.

A Return to Bacon

And I’d agree…

That, I think, is both @rcohlers and my premise all along. I’m not arguing for a revision of Bacon, but a return to Bacon. And everyone loves bacon, right?

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While I find some aspects of Lewis’s parable, it seems that Lewis is making a transcendental statement about the relationship between science and theology (e.g., I see the physical world, which presupposes the sun enabling me to see rather than a consequent-ground reasoning). There is something helpful in this, but it seems that Lewis’s setup requires that we are involved in a rational interpretive process at the beginning of the scientific process. The parable you offer seems to comport with this idea that we are already invested in the interpretive process.

“It’s the idea of someone looking for their keys under different streetlights on a dark street. History gives you illumination to one set of facts here, theology another, and science yet another. The trick is figuring out how to piece those facts together in a reasonably coherent way in order to discuss what has/is/we think is occurring.” However, history, too, is not an uninterpreted given.

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Well of course. Science is merely dreaming, and the waking world pre-exists the dream.

@jrfarris you are having fun :smile: . I’m glad. Let’s try and build as much understanding as we can. I’m trying to find a way forward so you (and other philosophers/theologians too) can have a more confident voice in science. That is the goal here. @rcohlers and I might have the basic direction to go to map that way in for you. Do you see it? Do you understand the way in we are marking out for you?

On Is Theology Poetry?

In context, that is not the case. He is using it like I am here. He is talking about a “scientific way of understanding” versus a “theological way of understanding.” It is really worth reading in full, as it is essentially a manifesto for the way forward we are proposing here:

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Thanks Joshua for your feedback. I am not disagreeing with you regards the interpretive issue. One of my research interests is religious experience. Various degree of passion and emotion are inevitable in human’s experience (be it religious or non-religious experience). I am leaning towards embodied cognition which advocates that human cognition is a collective result of brain (majority), body and the world (various contexts). And somatic reactions are contributing towards our individual interpretive framework.

In a nutshell, I try to argue that both theology and science are in fact dealing with the same interpretive issue. According to C.S Lewis, science is a subset of theology (if it could be interpreted this way). The question is: how do we know such things as “soul”, “revelation”? Can we discern it? Logically, there is some “given” data, in the sense of transcending objectivity and subjectivity (and thus not constructed). My simple answer (theology) to this is “religious experience”, a kind of experience that transcends self (etc: that levitates human state beyond egocentric, ethnocentric and "XX"centric) that does not negate rationality (without which there is no faith seeking understanding). Again appreciate your input and awaiting for further comments.


@kelvin_M, @jrfarris, and @Revealed_Cosmology, Welcome to the forum! Thanks for contributing. I’d like to focus first on @kelvin_M’s statement here, as it lends to expanding on @jrfarris’s introduction of the question of the table and being invited to it, and pertains to what @Revealed_Cosmology raises regarding Methodological Naturalism (MN):

I think Lewis’ metaphor here really gets at the limitations of science as the study of material causes of materially caused phenomena, and to a certain degree, as @swamidass pointed out in the earlier discussion in Methodological Naturalism, So Falsely Called, the agency of animal and human minds.

Regarding the inclusion of minds in science, here I disagree with @swamidass that what is involved is a Creator-creation distinction. Rather I think we could argue from the history of science that science focuses on material causes and known causes (traditionally, causae verae, prior to that term’s being equated with natural causes after Darwin). Since animal and human agency are undeniably known causes, they are included in scientific explanation regardless of the possibility that minds are immaterial. By contrast, divine and angelic minds are unknown causative agents, except to those who may have religious experience with them, but considered unknown from the point of view of natural science. Notice also, that the trend in scientific explanation and those philosophical explanations attempting to accord with science (@jrfarris might weigh in here) has been to reduce human and animal minds to purely material causes.

This raises real questions about Lewis’ claim as to which is the larger and more explanatory reality and @Ronald_Cram’s lucid point that:

In terms of history of science, that quote very well expresses the worldview Bacon and the Virtuossi of the seventeenth century and later were operating within: not all phenomena can be assumed to be explainable by natural processes or physical laws.

The question then hangs a good deal on scope: @swamidass, do you have an estimate of how pervasive it is among scientists to limit science to a subset of phenomena within our universe, recognizing that there are events within our universe which may genuinely not be natural? Or is it the reverse?

What I found studying the Victorian scientific naturalists of the late nineteenth century was that–in contrast to the prior understanding of science that reigned from at least the time of Bacon through most of the nineteenth century and continued to be pervasive throughout that century–the Victorian scientific naturalists treated all perceivable reality as within the scope of science. This of course put them in direct conflict with the biblical accounts of miracles. When we consider the mind-body problem and special divine action (miracles), it would seem that their precedence continues.

Lewis’ metaphor whereby a it is a larger picture that makes sense of the smaller picture has weighty precedent in the history of science. By contrast with scientific naturalism, so many of the earlier natural philosophers recognized that the natural or created universe was not explainable simply in the natural terms that natural science sought to uncover. The fact, for example, that God’s created and did so from the point of view of knowing the future was central to Newton’s and Leibniz’ understanding of reality. Similarly, John Locke relied on the contingency of the material universe as unavoidable evidence of a Creator.

While I think we can talk about theology and revelation as separate from science without getting into too much controversy, as @kelvin_M points out, there is the issue of revelation that may be

In the New Testament, Jesus’ raising Lazarus and calming the storm result in the revelation of His identity as the Christ, just as for Bacon the miracle at Bensalem results in the receiving of the New Testament and letter from Bartholomew. What made receipt of the the revelation compelling was the evidential support of observable miracles within our physical universe, and their having apparently overridden the normal outcomes of natural processes left to themselves.

When it comes to philosophers and theologians having a “seat at the table,” it seems to me that the question of how a person accurately perceives the larger reality–which may include things like divine action or nonphysical minds–comes right up against the scientific commitment to explain all phenomena the scientist is presented with by means of methodological naturalism.


I have read Bacon’s parable. The Novum Organum is a required reading in the great books program. I have simply functioned with the understanding that more was going on in the experimental process that seemed to require an interpretive lens. I appreciate the fact that the scientific method advanced by Bacon is an attempt to avoid idolatry. Yet, idolatry is a moral stance and I am not sure that we, as a Christians, should take a neutral stance in the experimental process. It seems to me that like everything else, we, as Christians and as human beings, come to the table with an extra set of tools and sources of authority that have a function of making sense of the data. In other words, I have long questioned Bacon’s approach to arriving at an understanding of the world. For the sake of this discussion, maybe I can set these concerns aside for the moment.

I have several questions and concerns about the definition for methodological naturalism given in the link and the one given above. I do hope to explore that with your help in the future.

With MN in mind and this dispassionate stance, one of the benefits you see in science is that science provides us with a neutral starting point, and this is why the findings of science can be so persuasive. I would have thought evidence more generally functioned in that role. Is that not the case? That is one question.

As for the distinction made between science or scientific cases and the Resurrection, I do find this a bit odd, but also very interesting. I realize that Christians may have a bit of a bias when they see the world in light of the resurrection, but as I have understood the resurrection I have understood it to be a public evidence. No doubt there is something unusual about the event, but it is public nonetheless. One question, how is this different from say the evidence from a scientific case? Two, is it not a publicly verifiable evidence that should be persuasive to all? It seems to me that it should. Now, how people respond to the evidence is a different issue.

I think that Clinton’s notion that there is a difference between ‘natural’ causes/events and events like the resurrection (i.e., miracles) have been assumed throughout history as distinct. In other words, we know or ‘discern’ these unique events (we could call them miracles) because we have an idea of ‘natural’, but that does not eliminate the evidential (or neutral) nature of the event or the public nature of the event.

On another related note, I am not sure understand how everyone is using ‘natural’. I am sympathetic to Clinton’s point that we may not understand enough about nature to know when something is ‘natural’ or not. We may have some idea from common sense epistemology (i.e., when our faculties are functioning properly). That is one way to cash out the term, but that takes us out of the realm of science, as it is being defined. I prefer to refer to these physical events as regular.

“Part of the reason the science behind the Genealogical Adam is so strong is because I followed these rules. I played by those rules and one. If I had tried to change the rules, I would have lost before I had even begun.”

This is helpful. I am intrigued by your proposal here. I have read the rules, but I am still trying to understand them. It does seem to me that if there are not metaphysically true or representative of the world, then the rules are social constructions devised by the scientific community. Is that an issue? I do not know. I guess I can play along with them in certain contexts and in certain communities.

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It would be interesting to unpack that, because your argument against me is actually for my point. Science is not merely about material things because it includes minds, which need not be material. The minds of creatures, however, are by definition created. Therefore they are proper causes in science. That shows how the Creation-creation distinction immediately resolves most (all?) demarcation puzzles.

That is because, “nature” is poorly defined. I’m defining it as “that which is created,” which is its “true name” in the house with forgotten names.

@Ronald_Cram is stuck here though. He wants to change science itself, rather acknowledge its limits.

Your right. This is a key question. However it is not phrased sensibly. No one agrees what “nature” or even the “universe” is. A better way to phrase it is, "is there important, objective, and knowable truth beyond science?"

It seems that the vast majority of scientists quickly come to strong agreement that the answer is “yes,” though it might take a 5 minute conversation to get them there. Scientists are not usually contemplating questions like this. However, the experience of science brings you head long into this truth. Most things we know and care about we know outside of science.

That to be clear, is the clear path forward I’m pointing out @jrfarris.

Now days that is a position only superficially held by scientists

When the absurdity of that position is pointed out (by pointing to the reality of injustice, for example), they are usually sheepish, acknowledging they were making a rhetorical flourish they knew from the get go was wrong. That Victorian view is dead. At least I’ve never met a scientist that maintains this view under even the lightest of questioning from another scientist. It is entertaining to see the mask fall off, and if you watch some Veritas Forums from me, you’ll see it happen: Veritas Forums the Week Dad Died (January 2018).

Thankfully, everyone now knows that science does not give us a complete view of the world. It is limited. It is incomplete. If there are any lingering Victorian scientists around, they are well outside the mainstream.

For the record, I think that was @swamidass’s point. I am much more optimistic that we can discern an event like a resurrection (i.e., miracles) from ‘natural’ events (i.e., the regular course of nature/the created order). I think it has to so with a coupling of what is know of regularities of nature combined with strong evidence of agency. I believe this leads to valid recognition of special divine action by observers.


This statement seems right to me. In fact, the gatekeepers in the ‘Science and Religion’ discussions have been largely committed to bridge projects between science and theology, like: non-reductive physicalism (i.e., emergentism), if not reductive explanations or, as of late, panpsychism.

To be honest, I am less sure about what a material cause is than a personal cause, so starting from material causes seems to be mis-guided.

I do appreciate Josh S.'s comment that ‘nature’ is often poorly defined. I am not sure how we would define it that is ‘objective’, however.

I would certainly like to hear of ways forward on these topics.

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Richard Swinburne’s five kinds of religious experience might help:

  1. Experience that seems epistemically to the subject to be the experience of God;
  2. Experience of unusual public objects (for instance, the ascendance of Jesus into the sky), or in other words, shared experience of the witnesses .
  3. Experience of private sensation arises from five senses, including seeing vision and dreaming;
  4. Experience of a mystic kind, of six-sense, often ineffable;
  5. Experience that does not derive from any senses (for example, mystical experience via nothingness, darkness, isolation or simply convince of God’s plan on oneself without any human sensory reception)

My question to “reduction-ism” is: if one claims a X"ism" is said to be reductive, does it not the case that the claimant assumes that there is a “more” version? The burden of proof is on the claimant to prove there is indeed more, right? I am afraid that the label of “reducing something to something lesser” has a negative connotation than to argue for something (i wish i am wrong)


And I’d agree with that too, with merely the caveat that “SCIENCE” can’t make that jump. It might point towards it, but it doesn’t have the tools or language to challenge its axiomatic limits. It can’t make metaphysical claims about the limits of the created order.

Science, however, is only a dream. There are other ways of making sense of the world that are valid, logical, rational, and based on evidence.

As human beings in world created by God can make that leap to “discern” the “providential governance” of God, in the language of theology (@jack.collins). We can make that inference, but it is a outside of science that we do so.

There is the coming two days, and any other time you want to talk.

Scientific evidence is just one type of public evidence. It is a subset of the whole, and often it isn’t even public. There are other types of public evidence. I use the Resurrection as an example of such public evidence that can only be partly perceived within science, even though it is strong public evidence. There are others too.

The existence of good and evil is public evidence too. Even though there are apologists against it, the evidence is so overwhelming that it begs for an account. Science has no account.

Um, no. Public evidence is usually ineffective because we are Fallen and subject to idolatry. That should be obvious.

If that were not true, we would struggle to explain why the entire world is not Christian, why there is disagreement on the age of the earth, and so on. Public evidence is visible to all who have eyes to see, but idolatry is a powerful force the clouds our view of reality. That is why efforts to come to common understanding of reality must engage our propensity for idolatry too. That was Bacon’s theological genius, and its rooted in his theological anthropology.

I would agree. We expect to discern them outside of science. They are a distinct category that science of which cannot fully take hold. Even in the story of New Atlantis, revelation was required to confirm the miracle, as much as the miracle confirmed revelation.

Not precisely. It is not purely neutral, as it is anti-personal bias, etc. It also is not friendly to ID. A better way to put it is that it is a "clearly defined and agreed upon starting point, that has been very successful at bringing understanding about the created order." Because it is so clearly defined, it enables to make strong statements about its limits that are obvious to even atheists:

That is its strength. It is a way forward to build common, though limited, understanding of the created order, with a common set of rules that anyone can pick up and use in the context of science. What we do personally is irrelevant. Science does not care what we believe in our hearts. That is its strength, and why it works as a common ground across cultures and religions and politics.

That is a big part of it. And we do not need to agree with the rules to play by them. We do not have to like the fact that checker pieces stick to one colored square. As long as we stick to those rules when we are playing checkers though, no one cares what we do on the chess board.

It seems to me that not understanding these rules, and unwillingness to play by them if we did, is the root of much avoidable conflict. If I am right, we have a way forward into a new confidence. We could cast a new type of theological voice in a scientific world, that could be understood in science as we find it.

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