Tuesday, March 18, 2008


"One should never forget about the temporary and transitory character of all physical theories and models. Even if some of them have successfully undergone the confrontation process with empirical data, they always can become a 'special case' of a future more general theory, or of a model. The new conceptual environment could make their present philosophical or theological interpretation no longer attractive, or even highly artificial. Scientific theories or models are per se neutral with respect to theological or philosophical interpretations. They can be interpreted in various ways as long as these interpretations do not contradict their mathematical structure. This does not mean that all such interpretations are on an equal footing; only that they cannot be refuted by arguments taken from these theories or models alone (because we suppose that these interpretations are not contradictory with their mathematical structures). Theological or philosophical interpretations of scientific theories or models can, of course, critically compete with each other. Karl Popper’s “criterion of disputability” clearly applies to them: any rational interpretation should be open for discussion and criticism by its rivals."

"...The question on ultimate causality is translated into another Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz’s question: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” (from his Principles of Nature and Grace). When asking this question, we are not asking about a cause like all other causes. We are asking about the root of all possible causes."

"Adherents of the so-called intelligent design ideology commit a grave theological error. They claim that scientific theories, that ascribe the great role to chance and random events in the evolutionary processes, should be replaced, or supplemented, by theories acknowledging the thread of intelligent design in the universe. Such views are theologically erroneous. They implicitly revive the old [Manichean] error postulating the existence of two forces acting against each other: God and an inert matter; in this case, chance and intelligent design. There is no opposition here. Within the all-comprising mind of God what we call chance and random events is well composed into the symphony of creation." - Michael Heller, cosmologist and winner of the 2008 Templeton Prize.

And in his New Scientist interview: "Everything depends on your concept of rationality. Science is a model of rationality. The question is whether the limits of rationality coincide with limits of the scientific method. If they do, then there is no place for religion or theology because everything outside of the scientific method is automatically irrational. On the other hand, if you agree that they do not coincide then there is a place for rational religious belief. If you look at the recent history of science and philosophy, you can see that the dominating philosophy in western countries was positivistic, it said that the scientific method is identical with rationality and that what’s beyond the scientific method is beyond rationality. Nowadays very few philosophers agree with this; we are more pluralistic."

[Picture (c) csmonitor]

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