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May 18, 2016

Comments

Dr. Krauss, why should science be an atheistic enterprise? Your commitment to open questioning is based on a commitment to no question of that fundamental and baseless assumption.
If you want to restrict science to the natural world, phenomenon and processes, you necessarily have to always ask if a particular area you are touching can have philosophical or theological implications. Such as the origin of the universe. Otherwise you are just a closed minded atheist. Well, that was redundant.

kpolo,

Krauss was the fellow who debated William Lane Craig in Australia using airhorns.

Closed minded just about fits.

kpolo

How can science include the supernatural? In what sense does the supernatural even exist, if at all?

Genuine questions, no agenda in mind.

Mike

Sure, it’s understandable that the uninformed Non-Theist wants to expunge Scripture’s definitions of knowledge and then pretend that there is a disconnect between knowledge as it is and knowledge as defined by Christianity.

All few random comments from http://www.strangenotions.com/what-constitutes-a-miracle/ and from http://www.strangenotions.com/why-miracles-are-not-incompatible-with-science/ and from http://www.strangenotions.com/how-do-you-know-youre-not-in-the-matrix/

“Jim(hillclimber)” observes the obvious:

I'm actually sympathetic to your complaint, but I think this is where things depend critically on one's understanding of what a miracle is.

If one understands the statement "Event X was a miracle" to have explanatory value and if, moreover, that explanatory value is considered to be a reason to foreclose on future inquiry, then your complaint is fair. If one instead understands the statement the statement "Event X was a miracle" to mean "There is no explanation for event X, and that lack of explanation is meaningful in itself" and if one does not thereby foreclose on future inquiry into possible explanations, then I don't think your complaint applies.

In my view, to say: "God is the reason X happened" carries absolutely zero explanatory value. God is (on the Christian view) ultimately the reason everything [the concept of “Being Itself” is to be differentiated from “Occasionalism”] happens, so "God did it" is a complete non-explanation. The scientific question should remain: "how did God do it?", just as the theological question "why did God do it?" should also remain. It should not therefore lead anyone to foreclose on future enquiry. And practically speaking, I'm not aware of cases where any [Christian] scientist has foreclosed on inquiry into a purported miracle. If anything, labeling something a miracle seems to foster more inquiry.

Once again we find the Non-Theist conjuring up Non-Christian premises and arguing as-if they are relevant to the Christianity. God commands Man to go out and master the stuff of the physical world (the physical sciences) just as God commands Man to come in and know the God who is the end of all explanatory trails (Immaterial / Theology / Metaphysics).

L. Breuer observes the obvious:

Two questions:

(1) How would a digital being know whether my popping in is consistent or inconsistent with "the consistent behavior of [my] logical universe"?


(2) Suppose that I haven't popped in yet, and the digital beings are doing their science. All seems right with the simulated world and science seems quite possible. Then, all of a sudden, I pop in, in a way inconsistent with "the logical running of [my] universe". How does that make science impossible, from that time forward?

The Non-Theist, ignoring Jim’s observation of the obvious earlier, and ignoring Scripture’s definition of Knowledge which eons ago differentiated between the mastering of the “physical stuff” and of knowing the One True God, responds in part, “……all future experiments are tainted with the possibility that you have popped some of their test results.”

(1) Wait, are you saying that they could not, in principle, justifiably know that I'm their creator, talking to them from 'outside' their reality?

(2) Descartes deals with this when he talks about an Evil Demon screwing with his senses. He is forced to conclude that God would ensure this couldn't happen. I'm pretty sure the digital beings could assume something similar.

(3) Science need not presume that reality is a closed system and neither does it need to presume that God never screws with things. Instead, it merely needs to presume that reality is rationally intelligible in certain basic ways. I am almost certain that your requirements for the conditions of possibility for doing science are much too stringent. They almost have an air of a Cartesian quest for certainty about them.

(4) So then by analogy, there are ways God could talk to us such that we would know it is he who is talking to us, and not some alien as in e.g. the Star Trek TNG episode “Devil’s Due”.

(5) ….I should think that [and Scripture from eons ago actually defines knowledge this way] a loving deity would want his/her/its creation to understand reality better and better. Therefore, it would seem that such a deity would be careful to not make science impossible [given the fact that we are commissioned with mastering the stuff of the physical world]. But this wouldn't require the deity to be perfectly predictable! And it's not like scientists don't throw away an enormous amount of experimental data already (e.g. “Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing Up”).

(6) My phrase "reality is rationally intelligible in certain basic ways" was meant to directly counter your "makes science just so much chaotic nonsense". Although, it was also meant to widen the possibilities on how reality could be, such that it can still be systematically studied and understood better and better.

Which is of course is exactly what Scripture tells us about physicality and revelation. The How and the Why saturate knowledge and rescue one another from the error of scientism (on the one hand) and the error of collapsing everything into an appeal to intuition (on the other hand). As Bill T. noted elsewhere (see quote at end), Christianity’s definitions of reality as found in Scripture forced the Christian to appeal to reason and logic as our primary guide to reality and that compels us beyond scientism just as that compelled us out of the age-old mysticisms which dominated eons of mankind’s appeal to the unpredictable as the gods played and the people paid.

Sure, it’s understandable that the Non-Theist to wants to appeal to, not to inherent intentionality within reason and logic as the primary guide to reality, but to mystery and intuition inexplicably and blindly driven by his causally closed paradigm of intentionless physics outside of and within neuron’s entire body of activities. David Hart echoes the same:

“For a number of “naturalist” theorists it has become entirely credible, and even logically inevitable, that the defense of “rationalistic” values should require the denial of the existence of reason. Or, rather, intellectual consistency obliges them to believe that reason is parasitic upon purely irrational physical events, and that it may well be the case that our nonexistent consciousness is only deluded in intentionally believing that there is such a thing as intentional belief. Or they think that what we have mistaken for our rational convictions and ideas are actually only a colony of diverse “memes” that have established themselves in the ecologies of our cerebral cortices. Or whatever. At such a bizarre cultural or intellectual juncture, the word “fanaticism” is not opprobrious, but merely descriptive. We have reached a point of almost mystically fundamentalist absurdism. Even so, what is really astonishing here is not that some extreme proponents of naturalist thought accept such ideas but that any person of a naturalist bent could imagine that his or her beliefs permit any other conclusions.”

Sure, it’s understandable that the Non-Theist wants to expunge the eons old demarcation within Scripture of “Physical/How = Science” (on the one hand) and the “Metaphysical/Theological = Why” on the other hand which both zero in on a singular metaphysic of knowledge. His command to Go out and master juxtaposed to Come in and know heals us of the silliness of scientism (on the one hand) and mysticism (on the other hand). But the Non-Theist has to expunge those lines or else he finds Christianity’s age old definitions of knowledge leaving the Non-Theist behind with nothing to play with but his make-believe superhero named scientism, which even has a big red “S” on its plastic chest . The Christians of course give their children “Science” to play with….with a much larger “S”. And sure, it’s understandable that the Non-Theist wants take us backwards, out of the metaphysical necessities which make reason and knowledge “real” as opposed to “as-if useful fictions” and back into a methodology dominated by an appeal to mystery and intuition. As Bill T. commented elsewhere:

“That science flourished in Western culture in a way it did nowhere else is without question. [It’s] important to look at its growth throughout what is commonly referred to as the Middle Ages and also Christendom. Though we think of modern science as a phenomenon of the late 18th century it has its roots beginning in the middle ages. The people of medieval Europe invented spectacles, the mechanical clock, the windmill, and the blast furnace by themselves. Lenses and cameras, almost all kinds of machinery, and the industrial revolution itself all owe their origins to the forgotten inventors of the Middle Ages. As well as all that, the birth of the modern university in the 1100’s was also part of the accomplishments of that time and place. What made Christendom a particularly fertile place for the origins of modern science was the (intellectual / philosophical / metaphysical) underpinnings provided by Christian thought. The idea that we live in a world that is intelligible seems a commonplace thought. But, if you look at the other world religions at that time they are dominated by an appeal to mystery and intuition. Christianity alone embraced reason and logic as the primary guide to religious truth. The West’s success in the sciences is traceable to its belief in a God of order and reason, who designed a predictable, orderly universe intelligible to the human mind.”

Finally, there is the question of explanatory power and the metaphysical baggage of Non-Theism. Which, again, is nothing more than the error of scientism and the error of mysticism. Reason and logic, as our primary guide to reality, carry us out of both and into a far wider and far more exhaustive picture of reality.

As “Debilis” notes:

We can’t simply insist, without evidence, that all evidence is physical then make proud declarations about what evidence does or doesn’t exist. This is assuming materialism in order to “prove” atheism, making it a circular argument. Rather, we first need to give a reason why all evidence is physical.

But this leads the materialist into a very difficult corner, because there’s absolutely no physical evidence to support the idea that all evidence is physical.

Generally, the response I get is further insistence that I “show” some non-physical things – as if the person asking doesn’t believe a mind, free will, moral truth, or even logical principles exist. What I never get is a bona fide reason to believe that all evidence is physical.

So, summing this up……. we haven’t seen any reason at all to be a materialist. The reasons for belief in God, if they have any weight at all, will be the stronger case.

Of course, I’ve argued (and will continue to argue) that such reasons have substantial weight…….

……I can elaborate, but the point is that scientific tests and “because it seems obvious” aren’t the only possibilities for determining the truth of a premise.

And that is part of a running theme here. As with my argument from moral truth, and my refutation of the argument for materialism, one simply can’t cram these kinds of questions into a scientific model. The entire point of what the theist is saying is that there are things which don’t fit that model. One is free to disagree, but it makes no sense to argue against the truth of those claims by pointing out that science doesn’t find them.

Of course it doesn’t – that’s the theists point. The debate is over whether or not science gives us an exhaustive picture of all reality.


Mike,

Science presupposes God's existence in order to assume the existence of a natural order.

"Science presupposes God's existence in order to assume the existence of a natural order"

Anything to back this up?

Laplace would disagree with you wholeheartedly. There is no need to assume God to do science.

Mike,

"Anything to back this up? Laplace would disagree with you wholeheartedly. There is no need to assume God to do science."

God is the best explanation for the way things are (i.e. the natural order). One doesn't have to believe in God to "do science", but I'm just saying that a natural order doesn't make sense apart from the existence of a Creator.

The physical sciences study physical things within that slice of causation. In short, the causally closed paradigm mapped to Physics.

God, inherent intentionality, the Imago Dei, love's categorical imperative, reason's justified thirst, and more are, being immaterial, causal paradigms which science cannot directly access given its means.

Science is simply "Go out and master...", and not the "Come in and know...". Given that both are embedded within Christianity's singular metaphysic of Knowledge there's no need for all this conflation by the Non-Theist.

It's nice that the Non-Theist agrees with the Christian on what science "does", though why he thinks such old news is of importance relative to Christianity's causal paradigm isn't apparent.

Clarification:

This statement:

"Science is simply "Go out and master...", and not the "Come in and know...". Given that both are embedded within Christianity's singular metaphysic of Knowledge there's no need for all this conflation by the Non-Theist."

That was (for context) referencing the same semantics which are a bit more developed in the previous comment here (May 20, 2016 at 04:23 AM).

"God is the best explanation for the way things are (i.e. the natural order)"

We'll have to agree to disagree on this - to me this is nothing more than assertion.

"I'm just saying that a natural order doesn't make sense apart from the existence of a Creator."

Again, this is pure assertion.

Pure Assertion:


A paraphrase of D. Hart to posit the Non-Theist's pure assertion:


"The Christian needs to know that our defense of “rationalistic” values require the denial of the existence of reason, but that's okay, because we assert it's okay. The causally closed paradigm which maps to Physics has to be enough for us, and so it will have to do for you too. Why? No reason. No good ones anyway. You should also know, dear Christian, that our own intellectual consistency obliges us to believe that reason is parasitic upon purely irrational physical events, and that it may well be the case that our nonexistent consciousness is only deluded in intentionally believing that there is such a thing as intentional belief. Once again, we assert that that's all okay. We don't argue it. We just assert it. Despite physics. Besides, what you the Christian have mistaken for your rational convictions and ideas are actually only a colony of diverse “memes” that have established themselves in the ecologies of your cerebral cortices given that you are not, as we are, mystically immune to the causally closed paradigm which maps to Physics. Now, if you were a Non-Theist like us, you too would be mystically and inexplicably immune to the causally closed paradigm which maps to Physics. That is the mystical autohypnosis that just is the "why" of our "...you should believe our assertions...", but don't ask question. Just believe. Like we do."

Mike,
I refer you to the Cosmological Argument and the Teleological Argument.

Doing Science:

As per earlier comments, the Non-Theist completely agrees with the Christian on what it is that science "does".

Which is nice to see.

Of course, there is a point of divergence.

Not in what science does, but in what does science.

As described earlier.

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