Thursday, April 08, 2004

The need for a testable supernatural model...

In Origins of Life, by Hugh Ross and Fazale Rana, they describe the dilemma facing origin of life researchers in their quest to find a naturalistic pathway for life's origins. They also describe how criticisms by Christians of the naturalistic method is not sufficient, in and of itself, to convince scientists to abandon their model. Regarding the argument that design is detectable they write:
Philosopher Stephen C. Meyer points out that science frequently engages in this type of investigation. Science routinely deals with phenomena that are not directly observable, such as forces, fields, and sub-atomic particles. Scientists infer the properties and monitor the effects of unobservables indirectly by examining observable macroscopic phenomena and effects directly with their senses. Science also possesses the capacity to investigate intelligent causes. Archaeologists study artifacts produced by human intelligence. Anthropologists study the bipedal primate fossil record to discriminate between stones intelligently shaped into tools and those formed by the forces of nature. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) is a search for signatures in the cosmos that reflect the existence of aliens living in another star system. Crick and Orgel's directed panspermia appeals to intelligent activity to explain life's first appearance on Earth - an idea they demonstrate to be testable. By extension, life's appearance on Earth by a supernatural, extra-universal Intelligence should also be detectable and testable. Prohibiting an appeal to the supernatural places a false restriction on science's capability. By limiting available scientific explanations to material explanations alone, naturalists hinder science's capacity to discover truth. The goal is no longer to discover the most plausible explanation but rather to identify a more or less naturalistic explanation. If a Creator exists and has intervened in the natural realm, His activity (in principle) should be detectable by inference from what a researcher can verify directly with his or her senses. Science, in that way, can probe the supernatural. Still, if Christians wish to define science as allowing for supernatural explanations, then they bear the burden of showing how this approach can form a reputable scientific program - one that leads to scientific advance through testing and predictions.

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