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January 13, 2006


Dear Editor:

I must contest Rev. Harrison's response to my Viewpoint article. He asks if "...its assumption that everything can be explained completely naturalistically is not true...can science reach correct conclusions?" He then states his heartfelt belief, "No."

Here I must disagree. If the METHOD introduces a systematic artifact, the error itself is subject to testing. Science isn't the method of doctrine, but of doubt. Even trusted and well-worn techniques are subject to correction or elimination if they fail to produce. If science itself fails - as it does when used to explore a priori purposiveness - it can be discounted for equally pragmatic reasons. When it doesn't fail, it can be a powerful tool.

"can it...still provide an accurate account of the universe?"

When the data are inconsistent with a model or theory, the difference must reconciled. Models are continually changed or corrected, yet all include error variance. For example, it required careful observation and critical testing to challenge the geocentric model. Without these observations, a "good scientist" would have had no reason to back a heliocentric model, let alone an even more complicated (i.e., less parsimonious) one that required mathematics that didn't even exist at the time. Science IS method.

There are always places where the data doesn't fit a given model, yet a scientist rejoices in the partially-filled glass, the signal in the noise, the order in the chaos, even as he or she tries to improve the model. However, science is not, and never will be, "Truth."

Rev. Harrison concludes, "...but as for me and my house, we say, 'No.'"

To be honest, I'm dumbfounded that ministers of the Word and sacrament in my own denomination could be intimidated or threatened by a machine! I sincerely hope that they aren't also troubled when faithful Christians use potato harvesters, sewing machines, or other Godless machines in their crafts. The point is that, despite the passion shown by a scientist when describing his or her work, the machine of science cares not for "truth."

I believe that it is right to do all for the glory of God and with a prayer of thanksgiving on our lips. Did the Shakers not craft furniture with the love of God everpresent in their hearts? Are EMTs guilty when they fail to pause for corporate prayer before administering CPR?

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them
    all in every one.
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit
    for the common good.
To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge
    according to the same Spirit,
to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."
(1Cor.12: 1-12; 20-21)

Knowledge will pass away in time, but the Light of the world never preached ignorance! Use your gifts for the glory of God, but also rely on others whose gifts complement your own.
Yours in Christ,
Craig E. Tenke
elder and neuroscientist

P.S. Please don't take my candor as a personal attack. I just take my craft very seriously.

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