Author Topic: Divine scientific revelation  (Read 1061 times)

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Offline chrevbel

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Divine scientific revelation
« on: November 22, 2010, 05:17:16 PM »
Reading the (continuing!) contentious threads on evolution and creationism has brought a question to mind.  Are there other scientific precepts or tenets that are held by some to have been divinely revealed?  I can't really think of any other solid examples.

Especially considering modern sciences, are there any potential references to divine inspiration regarding electricity, computer science, or number theory?  Or particle physics?  Or supersonic aerodynamics?  Virology?  Jovian atmospherics?  Other?

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2010, 05:25:42 PM »
Don't forget the Big Bang. Sometimes this is dealt with by fundamentalists with words such as: "Sure I believe in the big bang. God said 'bang!' and the universe was created!".  ::) The slightly more sophisticated might quote verses such as Is. 42:5: "Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out".

It's an interesting topic...
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 05:37:48 PM by Asteriktos »
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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2010, 05:36:21 PM »
Reading the (continuing!) contentious threads on evolution and creationism has brought a question to mind.  Are there other scientific precepts or tenets that are held by some to have been divinely revealed?  I can't really think of any other solid examples.

Define "scientific."
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Offline chrevbel

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2010, 05:41:09 PM »
Define "scientific."
Define define

Come on, already.  If you have something to add, then add it.  Don't bog us down in semantics.  If it truly makes a difference, then start your post with "Well, taking scientific to mean..."

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2010, 05:42:40 PM »
Define "scientific."
Define define.  

Come on, already.  If you have something to add, then add it.  Don't bog us down in semantics.

It's not semantics. There are as many "sciences" as there are epistemologies. Which one are you using?
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 05:43:35 PM by Iconodule »
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Offline chrevbel

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2010, 05:48:16 PM »
It's not semantics. There are as many "sciences" as there are epistemologies. Which one are you using?
I see.  Then we'll use definition #1 from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/scientific

scientific: of or pertaining to science or the sciences

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2010, 05:49:06 PM »
It's not semantics. There are as many "sciences" as there are epistemologies. Which one are you using?
I see.  Then we'll use definition #1 from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/scientific

scientific: of or pertaining to science or the sciences

So, do the sciences of alchemy and astrology count?
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2010, 05:50:51 PM »
Which shall we respond to? Your first statement was:

"It's not semantics. There are as many meanings to the word "science" as there are epistemologies. Which one are you using?"

And your edited statement is...

"It's not semantics. There are as many "sciences" as there are epistemologies. Which one are you using? "

...? I'm guessing you realised that by including the word "meanings" you were contradicting yourself, since the very definition of semantics has to do with meanings...  do you think your edited sentence escapes the problem by subtracting a word and changing things up a bit?
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 05:51:59 PM by Asteriktos »
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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2010, 05:52:08 PM »
Which shall we respond to? Your first statement was:

"It's not semantics. There are as many meanings to the word "science" as there are epistemologies. Which one are you using?"

And your edited statement is...

"It's not semantics. There are as many "sciences" as there are epistemologies. Which one are you using? "

...? I'm guessing you realised that by including the word "meanings" you were contradicting yourself, since the very definition of semantics has to do with meanings...  do you think your editing sentence escapes the problem by subtracting changing things up a bit?

Yes, I edited it because my question is in fact not about semantics but philosophy. Which epistemology are you using?
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Offline chrevbel

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2010, 05:55:41 PM »
So, do the sciences of alchemy and astrology count?
Do they count?  I don't know, you tell me.  The original question was about sceintific principles that were potentially divinely revealed.  Do you believe anything in alchemy or astrology to be divinely revealed?

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2010, 06:08:22 PM »
Which shall we respond to? Your first statement was:

"It's not semantics. There are as many meanings to the word "science" as there are epistemologies. Which one are you using?"

And your edited statement is...

"It's not semantics. There are as many "sciences" as there are epistemologies. Which one are you using? "

...? I'm guessing you realised that by including the word "meanings" you were contradicting yourself, since the very definition of semantics has to do with meanings...  do you think your editing sentence escapes the problem by subtracting changing things up a bit?

Yes, I edited it because my question is in fact not about semantics but philosophy. Which epistemology are you using?

Ok, fair enough. My epistemology is probably closest to Carneades the Academic Skeptic. I have found helpful ideas in some modern philosophers of science (e.g. Jules Poincare seeing scientific theories like they're library catalogues: ie. things which organize information and point in a direction, not things that are true in themselves), but generally I haven't found anyone that really says about scientific matters what I think about philosophical/theological matters.

I guess in that way I'm sort of in a unique position, as I think pretty much all communication and all talk about truth is built on assumptions and conjecture. When chrevbel jokingly said "define define," well I actually think that's as legit a question. All definitions and descriptions are guesses, we just give each other a wink and a nod and pretend like they're firmly rooted in reality. But I think we can all guess what chrevbel had in mind when he started the thread, so why get bogged down in epistemological and metaepistemological questions that haven't--and IMO can't--be solved?
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 06:08:46 PM by Asteriktos »
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Offline Heorhij

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2010, 06:22:17 PM »
That's an interesting question (except I don't understand why the OP used the owrd "other" - I would personally just ask, are there revelations in science). AFAIK, the majority of scientists and philosophers of science would say, no, science does not know any revelations. A scientific hypothesis or theory is always based on factual observations, and does not include anything supernatural. However, Thomas Kuhn, even though he never openly admitted any participation of supernatural in his famous "paradigm shift" theory, nonetheless could never explain how the scientific paradigms shift. Also, Paul Feyerabend, while being a self-proclaimed atheist, developed a very peculiar "anarchist" theory of scientific progress where he said, essentially, that there is no fundamental difference between natural sciences on the one hand and mythology or woodoo on the other. :)
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2010, 06:31:41 PM »
Reading the (continuing!) contentious threads on evolution and creationism has brought a question to mind.  Are there other scientific precepts or tenets that are held by some to have been divinely revealed?  I can't really think of any other solid examples.

Especially considering modern sciences, are there any potential references to divine inspiration regarding electricity, computer science, or number theory?  Or particle physics?  Or supersonic aerodynamics?  Virology?  Jovian atmospherics?  Other?
If God can speak via dreams, then maybe the dreams of scientists (in some cases) might be inspired. I'm thinking particularly of Friedrich Kekulé, whose dream of intertwining snakes (which also might have alchemical connections) inspired him theorize how six carbon atoms could form one molecule. (I'm not sure if his last name of Kekulé is connected to the Greek word for circle, "kuklos".)
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 06:32:57 PM by Jetavan »
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Offline chrevbel

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2010, 06:32:35 PM »
(except I don't understand why the OP used the owrd "other" - I would personally just ask, are there revelations in science)
I did indeed include that word intentionally.  It is clear that significant numbers of people consider the truth about our origin and development to be divinely revealed, and not empirically established through physical evidence.  That topic, however, has been more than adequately covered elsewhere.  I said other in a (probably vain) effort to avoid this thread rehashing that old ground.

Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2010, 06:39:02 PM »
As a side note, I just wanted to say thanks to Heorhij for recommending What Is This Thing Called Science by A.F. Chalmers at some point in the last year or two, and would recommend it to others. Not only was it an interesting book, but it gave a lot of "leads" for further exploration as well.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 06:39:30 PM by Asteriktos »
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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2010, 07:19:09 PM »
Could the Flood be a possibility?  AFAIK there is no physical evidence that a global flood of this magnitude ever occurred (I might be wrong) but I would guess there are many here who would say it's a fact because of divine revelation.

Offline Heorhij

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2010, 07:41:59 PM »
As a side note, I just wanted to say thanks to Heorhij for recommending What Is This Thing Called Science by A.F. Chalmers at some point in the last year or two, and would recommend it to others. Not only was it an interesting book, but it gave a lot of "leads" for further exploration as well.

You are so very welcome. I am glad you liked it. Somehow my students found it too difficult. I agreed with them that it is not an easy reading - even though Chambers is a very good writer; it's just so content-rich.
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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2010, 09:57:59 PM »
But I think we can all guess what chrevbel had in mind when he started the thread, so why get bogged down in epistemological and metaepistemological questions that haven't--and IMO can't--be solved?

If we cannot establish or accept a priori the truth of anything, then what use it is to discuss "science", divinely revealed or otherwise, when true knowledge is impossible?
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2010, 10:04:47 PM »
But I think we can all guess what chrevbel had in mind when he started the thread, so why get bogged down in epistemological and metaepistemological questions that haven't--and IMO can't--be solved?

If we cannot establish or accept a priori the truth of anything, then what use it is to discuss "science", divinely revealed or otherwise, when true knowledge is impossible?

It seems to make life better.
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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2010, 10:05:28 PM »
So, do the sciences of alchemy and astrology count?
Do they count?  I don't know, you tell me.  The original question was about sceintific principles that were potentially divinely revealed.  Do you believe anything in alchemy or astrology to be divinely revealed?

Okay. Here are some scientific principles that are divinely revealed:

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork . Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge." - Psalm 18

"Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof."- Matthew 13:31-32

"Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever..." and the rest of Psalm 103
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2010, 11:15:10 PM »
Reading the (continuing!) contentious threads on evolution and creationism has brought a question to mind.  Are there other scientific precepts or tenets that are held by some to have been divinely revealed?  I can't really think of any other solid examples.
Some see evolutionary theory and other scientific discoveries as a 'revelation':

4.  When church leaders study the epic of evolution as they now do the Bible, and when they teach and preach the discoveries of science as divine revelation—as God's word and guidance for us today—Christianity will experience a revival unlike anything the world has ever seen.
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Offline Entscheidungsproblem

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Re: Divine scientific revelation
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2010, 11:19:43 PM »
computer science

At the very core of true computer science is a finite, mechanist, and deterministic world view (even more so than most sciences), which most religions tend to object to.  I have heard the odd individual say that undecidability is proof of a deity, but it is typically by the poorly educated and those outside of the field (often quote-mining Goedel to "make a point").  Typically the same sort of people who claim that a quantum Turing machine doesn't encounter the halting problem, or that quantum computers will solve all NP-complete problems in P-time.   ::)

Then there are those who say that looking at a perfect algorithm or proof is like looking into the machinery of the Universe or into the heart of God...
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 11:35:53 PM by Entscheidungsproblem »
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