Truth as anticipation : Moltmann and Popper on the concept of openness.
Theology and Science need dialogue since they are interdependent areas of human experience and enquiry. Each discipline needs to be open to the discoveries and insights of the other. Mutual agreement on fundamental issues is not a point of departure; we must rather ask whether what one discipline is doing can have any. relevance for the pursuits of the other? The theologian, Jurgen Moltmann, and the philosopher of science, Sir Karl Popper, find in "openness" a common methodology. By openness they mean that present realities are partial; that truth lies ahead anticipated within systems that "complexify" in evolutionary openness and transcendence. Moltmann sees the fullness of truth unveiled in the eschaton. The Resurrection of Jesus is the anticipation in time of the eschaton towards which history is moving. Within history, creative acts open up the closed systems of the world for they transform present reality. These closed systems are revealed by the Cross which identifies the negatives (political oppression, economic inequality, cultural and sexual discrimination, ecological abuse, personal apathy) within history. In the "negation of the negatives" such creative acts are real antcipations of the eschaton. However, the roots of openness in the world lie in creation. Creation in the beginning is a creation with open possibilities involving the evolution of complex open systems marked by growing indeterminacy of behaviour. These systems are in communication with the transcendent future into which they are evolving. This transcendent future is the trinitarian God: open to creation, to history and to man in suffering but creative love. The trinitarian life is identified with worldly processes through the openness of the Cross. The completion of the creative process lies in the kingdom of glory. Here there is participation of transcendent creation in the unlimited freedom of God. Evolutionary openness is the overall Popperian methodology. It pervades the entire spectrum of Popper's thought: from physics, through epistemology and social theory to biological and evolutionary theory. Critical rationalism is the bedrock of Popper's thought. The search for certainty becomes the enemy of truth, since rationalism rejects any dogmatism. Rather, rationalism means open critical discussion and experiential learning. For this reason Popper rejects induction and replaces it by the logico-deductive method. Here justification is replaced by falsification: knowledge is conjectural, constantly threatened by refutation and progressing to problems of increasing depth and complexity and hence to greater truth-likeness. Even animal evolution begins with a problem - the problem of survival. Human evolution, however, develops outside the human person. It is applied knowledge. With the development of human language, the self-conscious mind (World 2) emerges and with it the autonomous world of the products of the human mind, World 3. (World 1 is the physical world of nature). In these later developments something new emerges which can interact with the lower levels by a process of downward causation. A picture emerges of a creative, expanding, evolving, indeterminate universe. Indeterminism, itself, lies somewhere between perfect chance and perfect determinism. Lastly in his rejection of holism, historicism and utopianism, Popper has eschewed the collective and replaced the responsible individual at the social centre of his openness. The struggle for rational openness needs the individual response, the individual initiative and mutual critical discussion. This means that piecemeal social engineering is the practical model for the reform of the open evolutionary society. Moltmann and Popper both envisage an evolutionary struggle towards truth: truth is but anticipation. The growth of truth leads to increased complexity, greater openness and eventual transcendence. These insights may, indeed, aid the dialogue between theology and science.