‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007

Sunday, 30 August 2009

The Seen and Unseen in Science and Theology

Another interesting paper I have come across recently was published by the American Scientific Affiliation. Hyung S. Choi , 'Knowledge of the Unseen: A New Vision for Science and Religion Dialogue', Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 53.2 (June 2001): 96-101.


A few quotes:

"While contemporary physics and cosmology take seriously the knowledge of invisible realities, the discussion of the unseen in religion has been largely neglected in the recent science-and-religion discussion. Neglecting the issue in theology is ultimately self- defeating since God is considered the Unseen. In light of contemporary understanding of the unseen in science, we contend that that there are significant parallels between scientific and theological claims concerning the unseen. The epistemic distinction between the seen and the unseen does not necessarily imply the ontological demarcation between the natural and the supernatural. New heuristic frameworks such as a multi- dimensional model are suggested for more holistic and dynamical understanding of reality that includes both the seen and the unseen."

"In hindsight, it is an irony that while modernity in its positivistic spirit started out with the notion that the reality perceived by our senses is the only knowable reality there is, we now end up with the idea that the true nature of physical reality is quite different from what we experience through our senses. The legend of the tangibility of matter, or what may be called "the matter myth," which served as the basis for the certainty of knowledge, was lost."

"Here, within science, were raised the problem of reality (an ontological problem), issues of the limits of human knowledge (an epistemological problem), and the problem of testability (a methodological problem). Relativity and quantum physics, which serve as the pillars of contemporary science, and more recently chaos theory, are now presenting us with a radically new physical view of the world in which positivistic, deterministic, and materialistic philosophies no longer have secure places. They present us with deeper, greater, and more mysterious aspects of nature."
Andrew Sibley

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