Testimony of Dr. Langon Gilkey - Page 2
BY MR. CAMPBELL:
Q: Professor Gilkey, can you distinguish between primary causality and secondary causality in discussing origins?
A: Yes. And I must say I am glad you brought that up. This is a distinction that arose during the medieval period and was made particularly prominent by St. Thomas
Aquinas to distinguish between two different types of questions about origins.
Another important issue in this: Not all questions about origins are religious questions; not all questions are about ultimate origins.
One could ask, `What is the origin of —Well, let's see— the city of Chicago'? That is a profane question if there ever was one.
One can ask about the ultimate origins of the universe. That is a quite different kind of question.
Q: Let me ask you this. Scientists cannot talk about first causality, can they?
A: Well, I was getting to your question. The first kind of question is a typical question about secondary causality. That is to say, out of what set of finite forces and causes of various sorts did something we now
A: (Continuing) see around us arise?
This is a question of secondary causality. It appeals to no ultimate supernatural kinds of causes. It stays within the world of finite or natural historical causes. If one asks, `Where did that whole system come from' one is asking the question not of particular origins but of ultimate origins.
This is a philosophical but primarily a religious question — and I will be willing to say why I think that is; I think I already have —in which one moves beyond the available system of experience to ask about its origin. And that is what Thomas meant by first causality.
Q: Scientists cannot talk about first causality, can they?
A: I, actually—I would like to appeal to the point that was made that I don't want to pretend to say everything scientists do or don't talk about. However, I think in obedience to their own canons, they, so to speak, will not do. If they do they are straying a little bit, a good deal beyond what it is intelligent for a scientist, any scientist to talk about. As Aristotle said, `Nothing can come from nothing'.
Therefore, one always has to presuppose scientifically that is something before what we are talking about. Science does talk only about secondary causes.
Q: And cannot talk about first causality without getting into theology or philosophy; isn't that correct?
A: I believe that is correct. That is right.
Q: The question of how a finite form of life arises out of secondary causality could be secondary or could be a scientific question, couldn't it?
Q: Secondary causality is what we would ordinarily call, and I believe you referred to, as natural, historical and human causes?
A: (Nodding affirmatively)
Q: In your opinion primary causality would always be divine cause, wouldn't it?
A: Well, I think that is pretty near a tautology. That is to say, when you are talking about something quite beyond the system of causes that are available to us that we would in our own day call natural, then the minute one is talking that kind of thing one is talking about what is generally agreed to be a divine figure, a deity.
Q: And so long as we are talking about secondary causality, we are talking about an area that can be dealt with in science; is that correct?
A: Correct. Anytime that scientific inquiry leaves the area of secondary causality and discusses ultimate origins, it has
Q: (Continuing) left the laboratory and is entered into theology and philosophy?
A: I would think so.
Q: Do you think that primary and secondary causality are discussed in the Bible?
A: Oh, no. No, no. Those are words that came—Actually, the word `causality' probably has origins, I think one could say, in Aristotle. It certainly came down into Roman philosophy and was a way that those of a philosophical bent who were Christians who wished to express what creatio ex nihilo meant made the distinction between primary and secondary causality.
Q: Do you think primary and secondary causality can be implied from Genesis and Psalms?
A: Well, I would say that some authorities, for example, St. Thomas Aquinas who certainly outranks me, would say that that is the case. Now, that is obviously a controversial issue. Some people say it is not Biblical; it has no place in Christianity, and so forth. Others would say that's a pretty good shot at expressing what Genesis has in mind.
Q: It could be implied then?
A: Oh, yes, yes.
Q: Do you see the Bible as a guide in your own life?
A: I certainly do.
Q: Would you use the Bible as a guide to your understanding of the world?
A: Myself understanding, being a theologian, would be yes. That is what I meant by saying you had better have the Bible as a basis.
Now, there are other things, for example, the tradition of one's faith to take into account, but the primary source for a Christian theologian is the Scriptures.
Q: So your opinion of your own religion would also be influenced by the Bible?
A: Yes. Let me qualify that to say that when I teach other religions I seek to present the other religions as much in their own point of view as I can. But I think it is useful to remind your students that you are a white, male, Protestant character and that they had better watch it.
Q: Would your opinions on philosophy likewise be influenced by the Bible?
A: Oh, yes, indeed.
Q: And your opinions on science?
A: Yes. I hope everything is.
Q: Do you think the scientific community is the only body that can tell us what is and what is not in science?
A: No, no. There are historians of science who are doing a very good job at the present of reminding
A: (Continuing) scientists of a lot of things they've sought to forget.
Q: Do you recall our discussion concerning whether or not the scientific community could tell us what is and what is not science when I took you deposition on the—
A: Well, let me put it this way. I think —Let me back up a bit if that is permissible —that any discipline or any community has the right to seek to define itself and has a kind of authority in that definition.
So, myself, I would go, first of all, to the scientific community if I were asking what is science. What do they think science is? Now, the qualification to that is, to take an example of my own discipline, religion, I think we've had revealed to us a good deal that we didn't want to study about ourselves by others, by the sociologists, by the psychologists, by the philosophers, and so forth and soon, and in many cases they were right.
So that I think that what a discipline is, for example, anthropology, chemistry, and so forth, is, first of all, something in which the members of the discipline and those who have studied it, philosophers and the historians of the discipline, have sort of first rank. But I wouldn't leave it entirely up to them because we always tend to look at our own discipline with a more loving eye than other disciplines look at that discipline.
Q: So, then, the scientific discipline should decide what is and what is not science?
A: They should certainly make up their minds about it. I think if they are unclear about it, then we are in real trouble.
But let me say, when I am asked, what is the relation between religion and science, I would certainly like to talk with as loud a voice as scientists would on that relation.
Q: You mentioned a moment ago that scientists have tried to forget certain things and historians have reminded them of them. What things are you talking about?
A: Well, the relatedness of science to the culture as a whole, the ways in which scientific ideas have developed, and that sort of thing. The, how shall I put it, the cultural relatedness of scientific concepts.
Q: Scientists had kind of gotten off path?
A: No, not the scientists. This isn't really their business. One could say the interpretation of science, and it was similar to the interpretation of my own discipline where most theologians thought that everything that we said came directly from on high. And it took some historians to point out that there was influence, the medieval period, the Renaissance, and so forth and so on.
Q: If the scientists-and this is a hypothetical
Q: (Continuing) question—felt that there was some evidence to support creation or creation-science as it is spelled out in Act 590, do you think he should be free to discuss that in the classroom?
A: What classroom?
Q: In the classroom.
A: Well, I suppose he could only discuss it in the classroom he found himself in, but I have already made clear that I don't think it is merely evidence that makes something scientific.
I am not sure I understand what scientific evidence is. think I understand what a scientific theory is, and my own view is that science is located in its theories and not necessarily in its facts, which are quite public. I would say that creation is not a scientific theory and cannot be taught in that way, so—
Q: I understand your position. What I am asking is, if a scientist felt that there was legitimate scientific evidence to support creation-science as it is defined in Act 590, would you favor his being able to present that in the classroom?
A: If he or she felt and was prepared to argue that this was a scientific theory under the rubrics of the general consensus of what a scientific theory was, then I think they should make that argument.
A: (Continuing) Now, they can make that public, the scientific community, that it is a scientific theory.
Q: And you think that he should be free to discuss that in the classroom?
A: Whether that is a biological theory or not in the classroom of biology, I am not sure. I think that-Well, it seems to me that one of the important things is that a profession be able to determine what is or what is not within its general bounds. The general association of biologists, I would say, would be able to be the final authority as to whether something is a biological theory or not. I think these certainly could be well discussed in comparative world views or some other such course. I don't think there is anything wrong with that at all.
Q: Do you recall in your deposition when I asked you the question. —
MR. SIANO: Your Honor, page and line, please.
MR. CAMPBELL: This is page 57, beginning on line 11.
Q: I asked you this question. This is a hypothetical question. "If a scientist felt that there was some evidence to support creation science as it is spelled out in Act 590, do you think that he should be free to discuss
Q: (Continuing) it in the classroom", and your answer, "of course, of course. I don't have any question about that, and the only adjudicating supporters are his or her peers."
MR. SIANO: Your Honor, that is not the complete answer.
MR. CAMPBELL: I was going on, Mr. Siano.
Q: "Now they are not in the classroom, but the principle. I would say the same about a teacher of law. I believe that. I think that is a part of science, that one should be quite open to new interpretations. Now we can discuss whether this is possibly scientific and I am willing to state my opinion on that, though not as a philosopher of science."
"Mr. Siano: And not as a scientist."
And your answer, "Not as a scientist, correct, but let's leave that one out. I agree with that thoroughly, absolutely."
Do you recall that answer?
A: (Nodding affirmatively).
Q: Do you think that science should be more interested in how to think about an idea rather than trying to emphasize that a particular idea is true?
A: As I understand the scientific method, the
A: (Continuing) concentration is almost entirely on the how to think about an idea. That is to say, as the scientific movement developed, the emphasis became more and more on methods rather than conclusions. Conclusions were regarded as always hypothetical, approximate, to be criticized, to be changed. What remained solid was the methods and, as I've said, the canons that makes a theory legitimate and so on within the scientific world.
So I would say yes, as a method they do concentrate on the how.
Q: And in teaching how to think about an idea, should alternative viewpoints be considered?
A: Within the realm of that idea, yes, certainly. That is to say, I think alternative scientific theories certainly should be created, be discussed. And if this one can make a case—I don't think it can, but if it can make a case that's another thing. Requiring that it be taught is another issue.
Q: Despite the fact that parts of the definition of creation-science as it appears in Section 4 (a) of Act 590, is, in your opinion, consistent with Christian and Jewish traditions—
A: Let's be careful of the Jewish there.
Q: If there were some legitimate scientific evidence
Q: (Continuing) to support a part of that definition, shouldn't it be discussed openly?
A: Certainly, openly. I am not sure it is a scientific concept. I would argue that (a) represents a scientific concept. I don't think it has its place— I understand your response.
Q: What I am saying is, if there was some legitimate scientific evidence to support one of those parts, should not it be discussed openly?
A: My point has been that, say, evidence, scientific or otherwise, a common experience, supports an idea, notion, that's not science. That's, I suppose one could say, only philosophy. This makes sense of this. This makes it intelligent. That is not the scientific method. So that the conception, scientific facts proving or making probable or simply an idea, is not an example of scientific methods.
Now, `openly' I don't know just what that means. I think this is a concept that certainly should be openly discussed. Whether it should appear as a part of a scientific discipline is quite another matter to me.
Q: That would be for the scientists to determine?
A: Correct. The scientific community to determine.
Q: And if a member of a scientific community felt that there was legitimate evidence to support a part of
Q: (Continuing) creation-science as it is defined in Act 590, he should be free to discuss that?
A: Yes, I think that the responsibility of any scientist is to be a part of that community, listening to its general views and consensus; of course, quite free to disagree with it, and there should be the ability to present something as a scientific theory.
Q: Would you say that creation is essentially a part of — I believe you were the one who used the words Jewish and Christian traditions; is that correct?
A: Right. I am glad you said that because my correction of you was only to be uneasy to be stating something that Jews believe that I have no business stating they believe. That it came out of the Jewish scriptures, there was little question. That is probably the meaning of what I meant, but I don't wish to state what the beliefs of the various synagogues of our country are or should be.
Q: Is creation a part of Greek religion?
A: Ideas of creation are there. They are significantly different ideas about creation. They usually picture one god, for example, Zeus, as arising out of other gods. In fact, he was regarded as one of the children of a former god and winning a victory over other gods and, perhaps, establishing order, and so forth and so
A: (Continuing) on. This is not the conception of absolute beginning.
Q: So the concept of creation as it is known in the western religious circles would be different than that concept of creation in Greek religion?
A: Very significantly, and this is the thrust of a good number of the early arguments of the church, as I indicated.
Q: Likewise, would Western religious views of creation differ from the Buddhist religion?
A: Oh, very definitely.
Q: And, likewise, would the Western view of creation differ from Babylonian religion?
A: Yes. Not as much as with Buddhist.
Q: So if creation-science were taught to a Greek, a Buddhist or a Babylonian student, that student would not view it as inherently religious, would he?
A: Oh, he would. They would view it as a Christian view. That is very specifically what they would view it as.
Q: They would not view it as religious in their own—
A: Oh, they wouldn't view it as Buddhism, certainly. They would view it as simply wrong. They would have no question about that. In fact, if you go to Japan, and China and talk with Buddhists, you will find this is one
A: (Continuing) of the points they really will tackle you on. "This is an absurd idea", they would say. There is no question of its Christian character when it appears within another context. They would regard it as religious but not as true. And mind you, not everything religious is true.
Q: They would only view it as religion if we were talking about ultimate origins, wouldn't they?
A: No. I haven't said that everything religious has to do with ultimate origin, but then everything having to do with ultimate origin is religious, which is a quite different statement.
Q: If there are empirical scientific evidences which support a science or a theory of science, it would not matter if it were religious apologetics or not, would it?
A: Well, that is a pretty hypothetical case because I can't, at the moment, think of a genuinely scientific theory which remaining a scientific theory becomes a part of religious apologetics.
Q: But if there were?
A: Well, give me an example.
Q: I am just asking you a hypothetical.
A: Well, I don't understand. I've got a blank in my mind. You cannot help me out?
Q: You cannot answer that question?
A: I cannot conceive of a case in which a theory in science that remains a theory in science—Now, there are many which might be regarded as excluding certain religious theories, but I can't conceive of a case which would become, remaining a theory in science, an aspect of religious apologetics.
Q: If there were scientific evidence to the view that the earth was less than four billion years old, that scientific evidence would not be religious apologetics, would it?
A: No. It would lead the scientists to ask, how are we going to understand this. Now, they might pop up with the idea of an absolute beginning. Then they are not submitting a scientific explanation.
I am not saying there aren't explanations. I think none of us know what possible kinds of explanations. I would say that would be an interesting event which would call for a total reworking of all scientific theories that I know anything about and the production of other scientific theories giving it in terms precisely of secondary causality.
Q: Can there be such a thing as atheistic apologetics?
A: Yes. Of course, Bertrand Russell was a very good example of that.
Q: I believe you mentioned that scientists ask `how'
Q: (Continuing) questions; is that correct?
Q: And scientist are interested in observable processes?
A: Yes, they are. Yes, we all are, but they use those as testing devices in quite particular ways. That doesn't mean they are confined to observable processes.
Q: You stated that religion asks `why' questions?
A: Among other questions.
Q: And you opined, I believe, that the definition of creation-science as it appears in Section 4 (a) of Act 590 was inherently religious; isn't that correct?
A: I would like a little heavier word than `opine'.
Q: Well, is it your opinion—That's got more letters.
A: Okay, I'll settle for that. I would assert that. That would be a better way of putting it.
Q: In looking at the definition of creation-science as it appears in Section 4 (a), there are six parts of that definition. I would like for you to review that with me, and tell me where the `why' question is in the definition of creation-science as it appears in Section 4 (a). In other words, where is the `why' question in "sudden creation of universe, energy and life from nothing"?
A: Well, as I say, there are other questions in religion than `why' questions.
Q: I understand, but you did say that religion asks `why' questions primarily?
A: Yes, but that is not the only kind of question. `Where did it all come from' is also a religious question, as I have stated, I think, as clearly as I could. Where did it all come from, and that is number one.
Q: Where are the `why' questions, though, in the definition of creation-science as it is defined in Section 4(a) of Act 590?
A: Well, there are all kinds of answers to `why' questions in number 1, inclusively in number 1, and that's why—
Q: I didn't ask where the answer are. I asked where the question was.
In other words, aren't you assuming in making your assertion that the definition of creation-science in Section 4 (a) is religious? Aren't you assuming that your definition of creation-science is actually answering `why' questions?
A: I said it was answering them, so I don't find the question in any religious doctrine.
Q: You do not find a question asked in the definition of creation-science?
A: I haven't claimed that in a statement of a creed you find the question to which the creed is the answer.
A: (Continuing) What you find in statements of religious belief are answers. Now, I said you can get at the meaning of those answers by asking kinds of questions.
Therefore, I said that, number one, states an answer.
Q: I understand, but we talked about the `why' questions that religion asks. Can you testify that there are no `why' questions -
A: I can testify there aren't any questions at all there, and I would say in any statement of a creed there aren't questions; there are answers. And I tried to make that quite clear.
Theology is not, thank the good Lord, confined to questions.
Q: Is it your opinion that science cannot answer the `why' questions?
A: It depends on what you mean by `why'. There has been general agreement since—and I think I am right—the seventeenth century, at least since the impact of Galileo and the reinterpretation of that by Descartes, an agreement that purpose kinds of causes, causes that appeal to purpose—What Aristotle called final causes—Why is this going on—were not relevant to scientific inquiry. And I take it that this has been generally agreed. If you mean why did this happen—If you mean by that question
A: (Continuing) `what forces brought it about' and one could use that, in ordinary speech, then, of course, `why are we having rain today', well, the answer is because of a cold pressure front and so forth and so on. That kind of `why' question, but the kind of `why' question that is quite different, `why did it happen to rain on my wedding', is not the kind of question the weatherman will be able to answer.
Q: Is there such a thing as religious humanists?
A: Yes, there certainly is. At least, there is a group that calls themselves humanists that has written a couple of manifestoes in my lifetime, I think, and a group called the Ethical Culture Society and perhaps some other groups that are exclusively humanist and that also are happy to claim the word `religious' connected with them, and I suppose the great founder of positivism, Auguste Comte, sought to found a humanistic or positivistic religion in the nineteenth century.
Q: Once evolution begins to examine ultimate origins, it is not within science, is it?
A: I would say so.
Q: Are you saying it is not or it is?
A: It is not within science. Yes, I am agreeing with a portion of your question, it has moved out of science into a wider arena.
Q: Into the area of theology and philosophy?
A: Right, correct.
Q: As one who has studied religions, are there any religions which have taken evolution from its original scientific state and adopted it as part of their belief system?
A: They have taken evolution—Yes, I would say so, and I would say some of the forms in the nineteenth and twentieth century of what you would call, although they may or may not have liked that word, religious humanism, have taken that form.
Perhaps the great formulator of this was Herbert Spencer, though he wouldn't have, wanted to be called religious, and he said he was an agnostic. Nevertheless, here was a picture of the whole of the universe, and so forth and so on, and there have been a number of evolutionists, Julian Huxley, that was appealed to here and who is a good example of that. A good number of them have taken that position.
This is perfectly possible for this idea. There is a number of ideas to leave its particular residence, so to speak, within a particular discipline, subject to its canons and to expand out to doing the job of a religious idea.
Q: In some sense, is evolution atheistic?
A: No. That is to say, I would say any scientific method—This is not a presupposition; this is a canon. It does not talk about God.
In the same way history is atheistic. That is to say, a historical account of he Second World War won't talk about the judgment of God.
I suppose law is atheistic in exactly that sense. An account of a murder which explained the murder by an act by God, by God rubbing this fellow out, let's say, is not an admissible theory.
In this sense, these are what we mean by secular disciplines. That is to say, they do not bring in a divine cause as an explanatory factor in what they are trying to explain.
This does not mean, and I think the example of the history of law made perfectly clear, this sort of factor is not there. This is not a presupposition. It is a rule of the road, a rule of that kind of talking.
Q: Is evolution consistent with Buddhism?
A: Now, there I will have to speculate on that. I don't put myself forward as an expert on Buddhism. I would say no, not consistent with historic Buddhism in the sense that historic Buddhism has held to the set of ideas that are also true of historic Hinduism, namely, that time goes in a circle.
A: (Continuing) Now, that is a significantly different idea than nineteenth century and twentieth century evolution where time is lineated and there is no set cyclical. Within those concepts, one cay say that both Hindu and Buddhist conceptions state of the world as coming to be in the cycle and then going out of existence again, and then coming in.
This is not evolution. That is not at all the same idea. Now, the main problem with Buddhism is they are convinced of the unreality of things rather than the reality of things. Now, if you want to discuss that, we can do it but I think that would try the patience of everybody in the room.
Q: You mentioned that evolution is not consistent with historical Buddhism, but would it be with contemporary Buddhist beliefs?
A: As somebody said, almost anything is possible. People in the history of religion have put the two most seemingly antithetical ideas together to create theory that one beforehand could have believe they were going to do it. I would say this would take an awful lot of work on the part of some enthusiastic Buddhist to put the two together, but it could be done.
Q: Is evolution consistent with Taoism?
A: My answer would be substantially the same. That is to say, Taoism and Buddhism and Hinduism are forms of— Well, I am risky here—Pantheism, Monism, where each have a cyclical view of time, insofar as they have any view, and probably you have very much the same situation there.
Q: If evolution is expanded into a world view, will we get into metaphysics?
A: It depends on how it's done. That is to say, a metaphysical idea is partly determined not by what it talks about but the way it does about constructing itself. And those within the philosophical community who still think metaphysics interesting and possible, and they are not everybody, would probably be very much interested in the grounds, the warrants, the reasons why an idea was advanced as being.
So, it isn't so much the content of the idea as its method or I should say both of them.
Insofar as you mean by metaphysics a view of a whole and a recent view of a whole, I would say say. Yes, that is exactly what, for example, the great philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead is. One could say it is an expansion of some evolutionary idea into a total view of the universe.
Q: And once evolution is discussed in terms of metaphysics, it is no longer science, is it?
A: It has a cousin once removed relation to science.
A: (Continuing) Let's put it that way. It is certainly not at that point dependent upon science.
Q: Is scientific inquiry generally set within a framework of presupposition?
A: Again, I am glad you asked that question because I think it is good to try to clarify that point. I'd say there are two different kinds of presuppositions we are talking about here.
One of them is that set of presuppositions, and it would be rather hard quickly to state them accurately so that there's no disagreement, that having characteristic of Western culture, arising out of the Jewish and the Greek-Roman background.
Now, these are genuine presuppositions of the scientific method, it seems to me, and that is quite rightly used. There was a very well known book by E. Burt, The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Empirical Science, which I think stated the point very well.
The puzzle would be the reality of the empirical world. The reality, therefore, — The cognitive value of sense experience. The fact that the world involves, we don't know what kind, but some sort of order. These are presuppositions of the scientific method. There are other things that I call canons or rules of the road that are really quite different.
A: (Continuing) They themselves, perhaps, have presuppositions, but they are not quite presuppositions.
Q: Is falsification a presupposition?
A: No, that's an aspect of method, I would say. That is what is meant by testing. That is not a presupposition; this is a canon. Every idea that is scientific must be tested, and what we mean by that is, it is not falsified. Or, at least, that's Popper's theory of that.
Q: Do you recall your deposition when I asked you questions concerning presuppositions, beginning on page 135 of your deposition, I asked this question: "Assuming a scientific inquiry is based on some, within a framework, of presupposition, could a theory ever be truly falsified?"
Mr. Siano interjected, "And that's a hypothetical question", which I responded, "Do you understand what I am asking?"
Mr. Siano again interjected his comments, "you started out assuming, and that is what I asked, if it is a hypothetical question. Is it a hypothetical question?" I responded, "Yes, it can be a hypothetical question. Actually, it is a philosophical question."
Mr. Siano: "It may be a philosophy of science question."
The Witness: "It is totonegy. It is just utterly totogeny."
THE WITNESS: Tautology.
MR. CAMPBELL: It is misspelled in the deposition.
THE WITNESS: I know. I think that one went right over the reporter's head and bounced around.
Q: (Continuing) This is your answer: "Falsification itself has presuppositions, which is your answer. Without presuppositions that lie in the back of scientific methods, there is no meaning to the word `falsification'. You have to agree to having a mode of falsifying what kind of data are relevant, what kinds of experience gets us in touch with those data, what type of methods are relevant. What have to agree on that."
MR. CAMPBELL: Mr. Siano, this answer goes on for two and a half pages. Would you like me to—
MR. SIANO: Your Honor, since the only appropriate use of this deposition is to impeach Mr. Gilkey, I would suggest that Mr. Campbell now continue to read the answer if he intends to impeach my witness.
MR. CAMPBELL: I am certainly not trying to impeach the witness, your Honor. I am just trying to refresh his memory with regard to this area of falsification.
MR. SIANO: Your Honor, I haven't heard anything —
THE COURT: I think you can ask him the question.
MR. CAMPBELL: (Continuing)
Q: Do you remember making that statement?
THE COURT: Well, let him answer —I mean, whatever point you are making, why don't you just ask the question without referring to the deposition?
THE WITNESS: I remember making that statement. I am under the impression that I have just repeated it, but I may be wrong.
Q: So falsification does have some presuppositions?
A: Oh, yes, yes, and I have tried to make clear that those general presuppositions that I spoke of first, lie back not only of, let's say, the conclusions of science but the method of science. That is to say that sensory experience places into touch with what we wish to find out about. This is not a universally held view. In many cultures sensory experience is regarded as the pathway to illusion.
Now, that presupposition is there if you and I are going to agree that a sensory observable experiment will falsify an idea. We have got to agree on that point. That is what I meant by the terms of falsification or in the other side verification. They have got to be agreed on, and I think has been becoming increasingly clear to the scientific community since the rise of the empirical sense as to meaning what we mean, that some kind of
A: (Continuing) shareable experiment will test this thing. You say and I say.
Q: Does the history of science reveal that in actual practice science is based upon creative leaps of imaginative vision?
A: I would certainly say so, though as I said to you in the deposition, that takes a certain knowledge of the biography of great scientists that I don't pretend to have within my—Well, I hesitate to say educated guess, but my somewhat educated guess is, of course.
Q: Weren't these creative leaps of imaginative vision, from an historical standpoint, considered unscientific and illogical at the time that they were being taken?
A: Correct in many cases; not in all, many.
Q: Were the men and women who have taken creative leaps of imaginative vision in science, to your knowledge, generally considered to be in the mainstream of the scientific community in their times?
A: When they took the leap, to use your phrasing, I would say no. Shortly after they landed, yes.
Q: Professor Gilkey, isn't the phrase, "creative leap of imaginative vision" actually your phrase?
A: I don't know whether I ought to claim it or not. I don't remember.
Q: Do you recall writing an article on the "Religious
Q: (Continuing) Convention of Scientific Inquiry", which appeared in Volume 50, Number 2, of the Journal of Religion, July, 1970? Do you recall whether or not you used the phrase, "creative leaps of imaginative vision" in that article?
A: Yes. I am just wondering whether I thought it up myself or picked it up somewhere else. I am not sure about that. It's a rather catchy phrase, so I suspect I got it from somebody else.
Q: Was Copernicus within the mainstream of the scientific thinking of his day?
A: That's a very touchy question. There was certainly— He didn't arise like the universe, ex nihilo. Let's make that clear. There were things that lay back, in my view. I am no expert on this. There are many people who are. I think that there were many ideas, many possibilities, Aristotelian, Platonic, Ptolemaic, and so forth that lay back of those. He certainly rearranged things in a new way and this was, with some qualification, a quite new set of ideas. It certainly appeared in his time as a new set of ideas. It was not completely new under the sun, however.
Q: Likewise, was Galileo in the mainstream of scientific thinking in his day?
A: By that time, much more, though the mainstream is a
A: (Continuing) very small river at that point. We mustn't think of it in terms of the present. That is, the number of scientists who were coming in that tradition is really minimal. We now think of science as a very large part of the intellectual community. That was not so then. So, within that Galileo certainly builds on foundations it seems to me more than Copernicus did. Newton much more than Galileo.
Q: Would it be fair to say that Copernicus, Galileo and Newton all were somewhat outside the contemporary scientific community at their time?
A: Well, I hate to bring up an old word, but one is almost saying with figures like that, a chronological statement. That is to say, each one of those is producing a really quite new synthesis of what was known and, of course, giving new elements to it.
This is why they are so important. This is why we know their names. This is why Newton was such a transcendent figure really in the seventeenth and especially, perhaps, the eighteenth century.
So that creative leap, imagination, everything, are completely appropriate. This doesn't mean, as I say, they arrived de novo. Newton built on Galileo; Galileo built on names that preceded him, including some Roman philosophers, and so forth and so on, and lots of things