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February 14, 2013

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Brilliant! But I can't see how it gets us any further forward.

It's actually not about which one's 'another myth' but whether nature is all there is, isn't it?

A Christian can accept the scientist's method, as you suggest, but that doesn't help prove the Creation story in Genesis isn't a myth, nor does it provide evidence of any non-natural factors which the naturalist requires for re-assessing Genesis as non-mythical (read their definition: fairy story).

In other words, you have effectively exposed the legerdemain of scientism for what it is, but so what? If anything, it simply leaves us now with six myths, doesn't it?

Peter, you're right. I exposed the problem with the graphic and then realized I took too much time in the video. So, I just left it without going forward. But making a case that the biblical view is correct (and not a myth) would be going back to traditional apologetics, which has been done many times elsewhere.

"I can't see how it gets us any further forward."

"[Y]ou have effectively exposed the legerdemain of scientism for what it is."

So exposing deceptive rhetoric is not a step forward?

Well done Alan! I think commenter Tobias hit on some of the highlights that you've expanded on as well. This is about as comprehensive an answer on this topic as anyone's gonna get in 10 or so minutes ;)

I always keep wondering, if the modern scientific understanding would be 100% consistent with the Bible, and confirm pretty much everything it says, would any Christians see it as reasonable to dismiss this as evidence because science is obviously based on faulty and incomplete worldview of materialism and naturalism?

I'm sorry but how is "science [] obviously based on faulty and incomplete worldview of materialism and naturalism?"

If any of you can tell me how science can cope with supernatural explanations for phenomena I'd love to hear them. At what point does one say 'I can only explain phenomena x by concluding that God did it'. Because on EVERY occasion in history that someone has limited their exploration in this way, someone else has come along and swept it aside and found a natural explanation. Seriously, what claims are there left that anyone here with a decent science education can point to and say that "God was definitely involved in producing that phenomena"? Please back up answers with reasons.

Science rests on methodological naturalism for good reasons. Science simply cant comment on the supernatural - at its core science simply says 'if I want to learn about reality I should examine reality rather than making stuff up and not bother examining reality'. None of this is even remotely controversial. Science and religion shouldn't conflict because they are about different things. But when religion makes claims about phenomena, science will trump it. Two. Different. Things.

"I always keep wondering, if the modern scientific understanding would be 100% consistent with the Bible, and confirm pretty much everything it says, would any Christians see it as reasonable to dismiss this as evidence because science is obviously based on faulty and incomplete worldview of materialism and naturalism?"

I don't think so. To do so would be to commit the genetic fallacy (at least as I understand it.)

Darth Dutch

LISTEN from 7:00 to 8:30.

Brett says that Lewontin says that a commitment to naturalism forces scientists to accept explanations that 'make no scientific sense'.

But, Lewontin didn't say that. Read the essay*.

Lewontin gives examples of the class of scientific explanation he has in mind...

Do physicists really expect me to accept without serious qualms that the pungent cheese that I had for lunch is really made up of tiny, tasteless, odorless, colorless packets of energy with nothing but empty space between them? Astronomers tell us without apparent embarrassment that they can see stellar events that occurred millions of years ago, whereas we all know that we see things as they happen. When, at the time of the moon landing, a woman in rural Texas was interviewed about the event, she very sensibly refused to believe that the television pictures she had seen had come all the way from the moon, on the grounds that with her antenna she couldn't even get Dallas.

Then, in the next paragraph, Lewontin says scientists accept these counterintuitive claims in spite of their being 'against common sense'

Nowhere does Lewontin say, as Brett claims, that these counterintuitive claims 'make no scientific sense'.

Lewontin uses 'against common sense' to mean 'counterintuitive to the uninitiated'.

RonH

*Read The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark too. It's a favorite of the contemporary skeptical movement which is worried about more than just religion.

This is a rich field

At what point does one say 'I can only explain phenomena x by concluding that God did it'. Because on EVERY occasion in history that someone has limited their exploration in this way, someone else has come along and swept it aside and found a natural explanation.
First, why is it important for there to be a point where one can only explain a phenomenon by reference to God? Couldn't it be that in some cases God is just what you need to assume in the best explanation?

Second, even if did say "I can only explain this with God." Why does that limit any exploration? There just doesn't seem to be any reason to suppose that is so.

Logically, admitting one's inability to explain X without reference to God certainly places no limit on exploration, because the proposition "Today, I can only explain X by means of a reference to God" is compatible with the proposition "Tomorrow, I explore X further".

Furthermore, psychologically, I see no reason to think that confessing one's inability to explain X without reference to God would limit their exploration. Indeed, rather than limiting their exploration, it might serve as a goad that forces them into further exploration.

Finally, it is patently false that every time in history that someone has said "I can't explain X without reference to God" someone else has explained X without reference to God. I'm pretty sure that it's not even true that every time someone has said "I can't explain X without reference to God" someone else has claimed to explain X without reference to God. Indeed, I'm pretty sure that it's not even true that every time someone has said "I can't explain X without reference to God" someone else has so much as tried to explain X without reference to God. In all events, if the claim of a successful naturalistic explanation per 'gap' were true, then Naturalism would be a finished project. It is not, of course, even close.

Wisdom Lover

What phenomena require God for their explanation?

Hi Alan.
I take your point! :)

First, why is it important for there to be a point where one can only explain a phenomenon by reference to God?

Or, to put it another way, why is it important for there to be a phenomenon that requires God for its explanation. Wouldn't the fact that the best explanation involves the existence of God count as good evidence for the existence of God?

On that note, since to exist is to be a perceiver or to be the object of perception, the persistence of things when no human is perceiving them seems to be best explained by God.

For example, it seems as though the conditions of the universe during the Big Bang and for a long time thereafter constitute one GIANT Shrödinger's Cat. Unless someone perceived those events. And the only mind that seems like it could have been there then, or at least the mind that seems best to fit, is God's.

"to exist is to be a perceiver or to be the object of perception"

I googled this (no quotes) and ...

Wouldn't you know? Berekely.

Is it a definition or an observation or something else?

Well, typing on a stair climber is hard: Berkeley.

God created science, and He owns it.

A clock on the moon moves faster than a clock on the Earth. A clock on the sun moves slower than a clock on the Earth. The larger the object you're near the more space is condensed and time moves slower there.

Einstein said, if you could hover near a black hole where space is condensed tremendously, a few minutes would pass for you there, while a thousands of years would pass for someone still on the Earth.

If you measure starting with the creation point of the universe, where space was condensed to the extreme, time moved very slowly. As the universe expanded time moved faster, and faster until it has reached the time rate we are in now.

Measuring from this current time, the universe appears to have taken 14 billion years to create, but in actuality, it only took six twenty-four hour periods the create the universe measuring from the beginning of creation.

The scientific measurements aren't wrong, they are just wrong about where the measurements of the six day creation start from.

The bible is correct.

Dan Lawlis
www.ORANGEPEEL3.com

I wonder ... thinking on the fly ... Could a 2nd graphic be created which places philosophical accounts (e.g. Aristotle) of the universe's origin side by side with "Science"?

And "Why?" Because reason says so... the point is just to show that there is something disingenous about this approach.

Ach! Schrödinger's Cat.

Wisdom Lover

"Wouldn't the fact that the best explanation involves the existence of God count as good evidence for the existence of God?"

Name an example of this.

If you did an experiment, examined the results and concluded that the phenomenon involved God, you've stopped doing science. That isnt some failing on sciences part. Science just cant deal with the supernatural.

And as for this:

"Finally, it is patently false that every time in history that someone has said "I can't explain X without reference to God" someone else has explained X without reference to God"

Incorrect. There are a whole host of examples right through the history of science - Newton being one of the best. Throughout history theist scientists have resorted to God at the edge of their knowledge. It's just not that useful. If you look critically, you can see that the religiously devout do this regularly.

Instead of invoking God, why not just say "I dont know". You can almost substitute "I dont know" for God in your previous post of February 14, 2013 at 01:16 PM and it still makes sense.

If you are talking about God, you are seeking truth, and you are doing philosophy or theology or something. If you are doing science you aren't seeking truth. Ive raised the latter concept here before (again, not controversial at all) and lots of people just didnt get it. lastly science isnt the only source of knowledge. The fact that the school Harry Potter went to is Hogwarts isnt anything to do with science but it is a piece of knowledge. How useful that is - another story. This is why Feynman sai "shut up and calculate". Philsophy is interesting but hasnt yet yielded anything apart from good views of navels.

"There are a whole host of examples right through the history of science - Newton being one of the best. Throughout history theist scientists have resorted to God at the edge of their knowledge."

OK. I never denied that there are examples of the phenomenon you mention. But you said initially that EVERY time (you even put it in all caps) someone had referenced God in their explanation someone else had successfully provided a non-theistic explanation. And that's surely not true.

I might add that the phenomenon is considerably less significant than you suppose. Usually the so-called non-theistic explanation just moves the locus of God's miraculous involvement in the universe.

I think we agree about science not being the only source of knowledge. History is not science, but there is knowledge...useful knowledge...to be had through historical study. I think there are probably other sources of useful knowledge as well (knowledge is not broken down into just history and empirical science). Perhaps you agree with me about even this.

Suppose then that I grant, for the sake of argument, that as soon as I provide a supernatural explanation for a phenomenon I've stopped doing science.

OK.

So maybe the best explanation for some event is a non-scientific explanation. Since, as we agree, science does not have a monopoly on knowledge what's the impact of my admission? My theistic explanation might be true, useful and known even if not scientific.

As for the example I gave earlier: Why isn't the early universe one big Schödinger's cat? It seems to me that my answer is dramatically better than "I don't know". And it seems more likely to be true, whether scientific or not, than any purely naturalistic explanation.

Challenge everything wrote: "Philsophy is interesting but hasnt yet yielded anything apart from good views of navels."

What is it that you think you are doing in this thread? Practicing science?

You present a very transparent circular arguement which has very little to do with the way many US christians interpret the bible which as you well know is a literal intepretation.

You conclude that science is available to all but in relity many Christians in the US cherry pick science chosing to trust gravity, GPS, mobile phones but equally dismissing any scientific evidence which might show the biblical version of the origins of the univers, evolution and morality.

If you take a literal view of the bible then you are ignoring rather than using science. That is a choice as the scientific evidenced is there for all to see.

When is comes to science don't cherry pick.....you have to set aside your biblica bias and assess the scientific evidence alone on its merrits. When you do this the biblical version has no credibilty.

By the way science is not a philosophy, if it were we would still be living in cave rather than using the internet.

MOM101-

Nice recitation of platitudes.

This one was particularly charming:

By the way science is not a philosophy, if it were we would still be living in cave rather than using the internet.
Because we all know how accomplished cavemen were at philosophy.

"What phenomena require God for their explanation?"

The universe after the big bang had the elements of the periodic table with their inherent properties. Where did those properties come from? How did they evolve? Can they evolve?

Also, the universe from the beginning has exhibited mathematical and physical underpinnings, so predictable that we call them laws of physics. Where did they come from? How does E=mc2 evolve?

I've asked a physicist. He told me, "they (these properties and laws) were just there. It's like asking 'why is water wet?'"

Is that an answer?

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