Rational Scientific Theories from Theism
Dispositions in Nature and PhysicsIn order to advance Theistic Science, we need to discuss several key concepts and ideas concerning nature and physics. Only then can see see how theism and physics form a unified picture.
These ideas are
We must note, however, that this explanation of dispositional properties only explains or reduces them to other dispositions, and not to entirely static or structural properties. For suppose that the exact shape and size of a pencil were known, along with all the shapes and sizes of all its atomic parts, but no information about the dispositions of these parts. We would still know nothing about how the pencil would change with time or on interactions. In fact, if it and its parts had no dispositional properties, as Hume wants to argue, then we have his conclusion that any actions or changes (apart perhaps from uniform motion) would be entirely inexplicable: there would be nothing about the pencil that could lead to these changes rather than any others. This categorical irreducibility of dispositions was seen clearly by Aristotle and Leibniz, and has been explained at some length recently by Leclerc[ 3], Taylor, Mellor[ 13], Harre & Madden, and Emmet[ 14]. According to Shoemaker, the continued identity of objects also depends on their causal properties. There seems no way to avoid the conclusion that something like dispositions are a fundamental part of any physical explanation. Therefore, for the purposes of this paper, I take the reality of dispositional properties to be philosophically plausible, even though their exact features are not deducible a priori, and must be the subject of empirical (scientific) investigations.9].
Physics should contain not only a phenomenological description of causes, but also a mathematical foundation that determines causes according to actualities. In Newtonian physics 'according to what is actual' means 'according to the spatial shape and configuration of the atomic particles'. In quantum mechanics 'actuality' means 'the quantum numbers of the most elementary particles, and also the definite past events that determine the current quantum state'.
A distinction is being made between the 'Principal Cause' (that disposition
which operates), and the 'Instrumental Cause' (that circumstance by means
of which dispositions operate). Principal causes operate according to instrumental
causes. Both are necessary for any action, for example, when a stone is
let fall: the principal cause is the earth's gravitational attraction,
and the instrumental cause is our action of letting go. Its hitting the
ground is thus caused by our letting go, but only as an instrumental cause.
Many common uses of 'cause' refer to instrumental causes rather than principal
causes, as it is only in the instrumental sense that events can
be said to be causes. The distinction between principal and instrumental
causes will be very important, as thestic science will
claim that God is the original principal cause of all events.
Principal causes cannot operate without suitable conditions and actual
circumstances (i.e. without suitable instrumental causes), and theistic
science will want to see that the selection of which principal causes can
operate must depend on which instrumental causes are actually present.
Dispositions, Tendencies and PropensitiesDispositions is a general class, of which tendencies are 'sure fire' examples, and 'propensities' are probabilistic dispositions.