Re: MD Transubstantiation

From: Sam Norton (
Date: Mon May 02 2005 - 18:59:30 BST

  • Next message: Sam Norton: "Re: MD Scientific beliefs and religious faith"

    Hi Ian,

    > I genuinely wasn't aiming the criticism at you personally, and I
    > genuinely was just supporting what DMB has said.

    As we're on the subject of genuine stuff, I genuinely find your point of
    view interesting, and I genuinely think that I might have something to learn
    from you. (That's why I was eagerly awaiting a response on the nature of
    science, but I'll come to that). It's not that I'm affronted or anything, I
    am (genuinely) curious.

    > Anyway, since you draw in quotes from elsewhere ...
    > Obviously in this particular thread / few-sentence response to DMB I
    > was using a generality of "theologians" drawn from the specifics all
    > of my experience. That's language, and I was just using the word DMB
    > had used, to save brain cells and electrons.
    > I was also careful not to make a negative assertion - since I was
    > clearly using generalities - not my style, as you acknowledge I claim
    > consistently. I said "I do not see any ... " leaving open someone (you
    > perhaps) to show me.

    You had been extremely critical of theologians (as being users of bad
    rhetoric etc) and said that you 'do not see any' that are different. But
    sometimes it is just a case of looking. If you're genuinely interested (that
    word again) there are various people I'd recommend, like Rowan Williams,
    Denys Turner, Nicholas Lash, Fergus Kerr, Mark McIntosh.....

    The thing is, there may well be somewhere that "science" and "contemporary
    non-fundamentalist theism" come into conflict. I genuinely do not know the
    answer to that question, and I'm wanting to dig into it.

    > Again, whilst you re-cast something "akin to what I might have said"
    > in those pernicious propaganda words - I did not say that.

    Well, that's how it came across. I'm happy to stand corrected.

    > As to what makes up my "general" view of theologians, where to start ... ?
    > I'm 50 years old, I've travelled the world - I've tripped over the
    > beggars in Karachi and Manila, I've seen a bit of life, I've read a
    > lot of books, worked in three or four different businesses, actively
    > pursue continuing education down several different avenuse, done my
    > share of church-based charity work - I think I'm pretty rounded,
    > balance is my middle-name.
    > In this debating forum - I have expressed my amazement many times over
    > several years at expressions of faith in literal or metaphorical
    > "gods" having any purposeful or causal connection with reality - over
    > many years. I certainly couldn't point to which of you specifically
    > over that time. I have said openly, faith based beliefs seem to be the
    > only ones in direct conflict with credible explanations.

    Well.... this is what I'm debating with Mark (although my last post in that
    thread doesn't seem to have come through yet). But I do think that what you
    see as conflicting is simply bad theology. It's extremely prevalent, I'll
    grant you, but that doesn't make it right (ie orthodox).

    <snip a bit>
    > I did give you a very specific example - in response to your own
    > quoting of Girard - of an intellectual dishonesty, which you chose to
    > ignore.

    Yes, I apologise. I had intended to say "I'll deal with the Girard stuff
    later", and I hit send too soon. Sorry. But I will deal with it later ;-)

    > Give me some more specifics to challenge, and I'll challenge them too.
    > Set the record straight on behalf of theologians I've not heard - on
    > matters of truth and reality (not global politics and war preferably)
    > "I don't see" I said - enlighten me.

    OK. But that's what I'm doing with Mark, so why don't we transfer this
    conversation there?

    > BTW - if your waiting for a response on the nature of science you'll
    > be disappointed - I made the point again in the quotes above - that it
    > is the nature of a "good explanation" I was referring to. Science
    > comes into it, only because I see physics as one of the few domains
    > where I see people taking the trouble to worry about what makes a good
    > explanation.

    I don't know what boundaries you put around 'good explanation'. That's why I
    set out my understanding of the two possible understandings that I have of
    what 'science' is - and which your position doesn't seem to match up with.
    For example, I've just finished reading a great book about Lord of the
    Rings, which I found a 'good explanation' of some of Tolkien's ideas. What I
    want to know is whether that is included in 'science' as you understand it.

    Thing is, I suspect that there is a position that both you and I would be
    very happy to agree on, relating to honesty and the absence of
    self-deception, but (from my point of view) theology is included within
    that, not excluded. Hence my reaction to your comment....

    "The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like the condemned
    man who is proud of his large cell." Simone Weil

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