MD Science vs. Theism: Where's The Beef?

From: Mark Steven Heyman (
Date: Mon May 02 2005 - 17:09:07 BST

  • Next message: Sam Norton: "Re: MD Transubstantiation"

    Hi Sam, Ant, Ian, all,

    Subject change, since I think we might move this beyond the
    transubstantion debate....

    On 2 May 2005 at 14:36, Sam Norton wrote:

    And as, to me, it seems the core of the thread is Scott's question
    about whether science and 'contemporary non-fundamentalist theism'
    are in conflict.

    I agree and, as often happens, comments have galloped away from the
    original subject, so let's see if we can rein them into a new corral.

    Here's a summary of the ideas that are being contested here. This is
    from memory, so may be off in the details (if so, someone will
    correct me, I'm sure):

    1) Ant offered the belief in transubstantion as evidence of a
    science/theism conflict.

    2) Sam said TS implies no conflict, citing Aquinas' explanation of
    TS as making a distinction between substance and accidents, saying
    that the bread and wine change in substance, not accidents and, since
    science is able to mark changes in accidents, not substance, there is
    no conflict.

    3) Sam claimed, therefore, that no Catholics really believe they are
    eating flesh and drinking blood.

    5) I claimed that this is not the impression I got as a young
    Catechism student. But maybe Sister Mary hadn't read Aquinas.

    6) Ant said that maybe she had but was doing what the church seeks to
    do: indoctrinating members to adopt non-questioning, non-scientific,
    authoritarian explanations of what is and isn't true.

    7) In a similar vein, very recently, DMB said that this is how
    theologians protect themselves from scientific criticism, claiming,
    basically, for example in this case (TS), there is a substantial
    change that is not measurable by science, but is nevertheless real.

    msh now says:
    If David is correct, and I think he is, then it will be IMPOSSIBLE
    for any scientist to show a conflict between science and theology.
    This doesn't bother me much, because I've always claimed that science
    and theology are mutually exclusive areas of investigation, one with
    its roots in practical empiricism, the other stemming from
    assumptions based on faith.

    It seems to me that, at this point, the discussion would be over but,
    because, for whatever reason, most (all?) theologians are desirous
    of science's stamp of approval, they constantly offer challenges
    exactly like the challenge offered by Scott to begin this thread.
    And the circle goes round...

    So, to me the interesting question has always been, why do
    theologians so often appear to seek the imprimatur of science?

    I'll appreciate any comments along these lines, but please bear in
    mind that I have little familiarity with modern theology.
    Nevertheless, you should be able to make valid ideas understandable,
    even to a theological dufus like me. Just as I can discuss any
    aspect of computer science in terms understandable to non CS

    Mark Steven Heyman (msh)

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