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October 27, 2011

Comments

Trent

1. Do you have some evidence that supports the strong anthropic principle?
2. I'm claiming there is zero evidence *currently*. Science is always provisional.
3. When you infer that science rules out the supernatural a priori, what do you mean?
4. I'm not using the Anthropic Principle to explain anything. You are.

Theism is widespread due to people being indoctrinated before they develop the ability for critical thought.

Atheism is not "true" because it is neither a belief or an assertion. It is the lack of belief, and the lack of the theistic assertion.

Atheism is a rejection of belief in god in the narrow definition. In a broader sense it is a belief in the absence of god. This is a belief in an idea that god is absent from existence. To proclaim a belief in an idea is a positive claim and as such, must be defended as an idea that has merit. So, an atheist does make an assertion and that assertion is that god is absent from existence. If I am mistaken in this I wish to know how.

1- I never claimed evidence for the Strong Anthropic Principle. I think the Weak Anthropic Principle is not really an explanation of anything. These were the two options you presented.

2- You seemed pretty non-provisional to me.

3- Are you saying that when you look at a Physics problem, you include the supernatural as a possible explanation, and only later rule it out by experimentation , or is it ruled out from the start?Granted, I don't have a Ph.D, but no physics course I ever took started off presenting the possibility of evil spirits causing fluid pressure and I had to rule it out in a lab experiment. What school did you go to? I guess Engineering does things quite differently.

4- Really? Am I? I thought you were using it to show that the design hypothesis wasn't very popular.


Louis

If I say Unicorns exist and you deny that assertion are you making a positive claim? Are you making an assertion?

Trent

All I was saying is that using the anthropic principle as evidence for god is weak.

As to science; science ignores the unfalsifiable options because they hinder the process of science, not because they aren't or cannot be true. Religion argues that we can distinguish between the unfalsifiable claims of science by using faith or religious scripture, or whatever, and so all the unfalsifiable options are not equal, to religion. The important point is that we can't say that this is a conflict between religion and science, because science has no way of determining whether the options are distinguishable or not since it has no mechanism by which it could examine unfalsifiable claims.
So to say that science *rejects* the supernatural is not correct - it limits itself to observational reality. That's not to say that *real* reality doesn't *exist* but then, how could you test for that? You cant, and thus its in the realms of philosophy or religion i.e some other way of accessing knowledge.
And I went to Cambridge.

If fine tuning was so obviously not an issue, I would expect less proposing of infinite universes to explain it.

Btw, how would you falsify multiple universes? I assume if they are being written about by scientists they are falsifiable.

I also suspect that when working on a fluid dynamics system there is a different reason for not including Evil spirits in the mix than simply not having an appropriate test.

"If fine tuning was so obviously not an issue, I would expect less proposing of infinite universes to explain it."
I think rather that the multiverse is being proposed as a solution to our current set of observations. If you can show me how it is simply to explain fine tuning the please do.

Turok and Steinhardt have proposed some empirical tests for their theory and I believe that a satellite is being built for that purpose.

I'll try and find a citation.

Physic

"If I say Unicorns exist and you deny that assertion are you making a positive claim? Are you making an assertion?"

Denial is an assertion that something is not true. I would certainly be making an assertion regarding the existence of Unicorns. I could easily state that the only characteristic possessed by unicorns in reality is non-existence and the word Unicorn. However, in doing so, I am not describing the creature, but am describing nothing as an idea that has no existence and the title Unicorn. Take away the title and you are left with nothing. Or so the logic goes. But back to the real world. I am not denying any evidence that is being presented to me for the existence of unicorns as no such evidence has been presented or is indeed available to me. So, I do not deny the existence of unicorns as no evidence has yet been presented for their existence to me to weigh.

"So, I do not deny the existence of unicorns as no evidence has yet been presented for their existence to me to weigh."
Errrr - do unicorns exist or not?

@Alex: "Atheists do not have a burden of proof because they do not claim anything."

My experience, particularly in Blogs, is that at some point several of the atheist contributors will start mocking my belief and questioning my sanity. The "new atheist" spokespersons, such as Dawkins, frequently do the same.
To your credit, I don't note this in your comments above but, on the other hand, your comment about atheists' burden of proof isn't restricted to just yourself, but atheists in general.

Surely, suggesting that I am a lunatic because I believe in God, when you do not, is making a very strong claim that God does not exist and therefore entails a burden of proof.

So you are saying it is currently not falsifiable.

If it is not currently falsifiable, is it still science of is of just speculation?

Trent

What do you think?

What is important - that it is in principle falsifiable or that because we havent built the falsifying widget yet it isnt falsifiable and therefore cant be science?
Whats your understanding of the role of falsifiability in creating theories?

Louis

It was a hypothetical example. Lets say that I claim that unicorns exist and I say I have some evidence.

You disagree with that evidence.

Is this a belief in an idea that unicorns are absent from existence? Are you making an assertion and that assertion is that unicorns are absent from existence?

And this:

"So, I do not deny the existence of unicorns as no evidence has yet been presented for their existence to me to weigh."
Errrr - do unicorns exist or not?

Alex,

Theism is widespread due to people being indoctrinated before they develop the ability for critical thought.

I disagree, but regardless of what I think, the trend will continue unless YOU do something to stop the trend. That is *your* burden. Good luck.

Alex,
How does it feel to finally wake up and realize that atheists have a burden to shoulder IF they want to change people's minds about belief in God?

So please, remind us that you lack belief. Remind us that the burden of proof hasn't been met. Tell the religious how irrational they are to believe. Then watch as Theism continues to grow as it has because you thought Theists had the only burden.

@PhD: "I think rather that the
multiverse is being
proposed as a solution
to our current set of
observations."

Are you suggesting that multiverse theory is being formed in response to observations, apart from the appearance of fine-tuning, that such a thing as multi-verses exist? What could there be to observe? Yes, can you please give us a citation for that?

If, on the other hand, the observations you mention relate purely to the appearance of design, haven't you already dismissed that with the weak anthropic principle? Why are scientists trying to explain it then and, if they are, why on earth (no pun intended) would multi-verses be any more likely than a designer? Surely, if we need a reason, we shouldn't dismiss out-of-hand the one staring us in the face - i.e. designed things most likely have a designer.

"If you can show me how it is
simply to explain fine tuning
the please do."

As I said above: "designed things most likely have a designer." It's a simple explanation and it conforms with my entire experience (and yours, I suspect) of how things work.

Marc, good point about the burden of proof.

PhD in Physics.

"What is important - that it is in principle falsifiable or that because we havent built the falsifying widget yet it isnt falsifiable and therefore cant be science?
Whats your understanding of the role of falsifiability in creating theories?"

What difference does it make to you, because materialists are fond of saying that eventually they will gain the ability to sense reality enough to prove anything, and it's ok to guess until then, all the while ignoring the inherent logical fallacy as they practice the overrated discipline of materialistic scientific observation's ability to produce any justified true propositions.

In reality the modern day scientist is no more prepared to deliver true knowledge than the earliest practitioners did when they observed nature wrongly and had to rewrite the scientific books ofknown truths every time a new discovery caused a paradigm shift. Modern day science and its practitioners are no more immune to the same possible rewrite of every important piece of knowledge they claim is true. So every piece of evidence offered as proof for something qualifies as mere opinion and nothing more--unless the propositons can be derived from justified ultimate propositions--a luxury that materialism cannot afford.

The moderen day academics boast in their grasp of the material world even while not possessing the tools in their worldview that will allow them to make any coherent observations, so they borrow or better stated, they just assume the foundational propositions to build their systems on.

My question is, who is really more careful in their thinking, the Christian or the atheist? [not to even mention honesty/integrity in the pursuit of knowledge]

Several tests for evidence of parallel universes were listed in George Ellis' recent article in Scientific American. In the end, though, Ellis concludes:

"Nothing is wrong with
scientifically based philosophical speculation, which is what
multiverse proposals are. But we should name it for what it is."

Marc

There is so much wrong in such a short post that its difficult to know where to start.

1. The multiverse theory has been proposed as a result of a diverse range of observations in cosmology and physics in general. Ive already said Turok and Steinhardt have come up withj a way of testing their hypothesis empirically. Do you want me to link you to their paper?

2. Science isnt trying to explain design because design is just an illusion. Claiming things are designed actually just creates you more problems. For instance - designed for WHAT? Whats your rationale for detecting design etc.

3. "designed things most likely have a designer." Perhaps in our limited and parochial human experience where we have built so many things. And I'm not sure why I'm supposed to be impressed by your "entire experience of how things work"

Brad B

"materialists are fond of saying that eventually they will gain the ability to sense reality enough to prove anything"
Who says this?

"its ok to guess until then" who is guessing? If you dont like the current state of scientific research then produce a paper correcting it - thats how the process works.

"In reality the modern day scientist is no more prepared to deliver true knowledge"
This is High School stuff. Science doesnt deal with truth - it deals with observational reality and constructs models to explain such. If observational reality and *real* reality are identical we cant tell - how would you design an experiment to show that?
So science works because it is internally consistent and consistent with our observations about the earth.

The self claimesd Ph.D in Physics isn't providing any useful answers to anything.

His whole discussion about "the supernatural"'s role in science runs contrary to any scientist I have even met. His answers would seem to suggest that if he had water pressure problems in his sink, evil spirits would be a perfectly possible cause, but he simply doesn't pusue it because he doesn't have a peer reviewed test to confirm it so he falls back on basic physics and engineering to find another explanation. I sort of suspect it isn't in his explanitory toolbox at all.

Trent

What do you think the role of the supernatural in science is?

I didn't say it did have a role.

my point is that your stated view of the scientific position doesn't ring true from my experience.

Trent

What am I getting wrong compared to your experience?

What is your viewpoint?

Physic

"Errrr - do unicorns exist or not?"

No response to this question is possible at this time due to a lack of data.

Louis

"No response to this question is possible at this time due to a lack of data."
So if I have presnted some data and you dispute that data - do unicorns exist?
If you are disputing my data are you making a claim about unicorns?

My experience is that if I told my Physics prof that the spectral lines I recorded could have been drawn by invisable evil spirits but since I didn't have a good test for that I'd fall back on difraction calculations, I'd likely be written off as being a little bit touched in the head.


My reading of your answers would seem to indicate that it would be a perfectly reasonable explanation, but if you don't have a test for it you wouldn't bring it up.

I've made this point already and I dont see why this is so difficult to comprehend.
If you are talking about the supernatural in relation to observational reality you arent doing science.
It is impossible for evil spirits to be a scientific explanation for anything if evil spirits are supernatural.
Do you understand the philosophical underpinnings of science and why it rests of materialistic naturalism?

So are you saying there are non- scientific explanations of things?

Lets see, if we take the scientific method and apply it to itself, we'd observe a repeated hit and miss record. We'd observe that its unreliable as an authority for the things it's being counted on for. In other words, its modern practitioners are writing checks it cant cash.

The scientific method is a secondary discipline, not a primary one. It used to be acknowledged that Theology was the queen fo the sciences and Philosophy her handmaiden, then the natural sciences. This was a hierarchical order based on the assurance of truths derived from the disciplines. That men are poor practitioners of any said disclipline has no real bearing on the nature of each disclipline, but if the discipline were to be carefully practiced, theology will produce the surest truths, philosophy, a second, and the natural sciences a third--a distant third I would add.

No matter that modern day scientists have hijacked the title and promote naturalism, the discipline itself cannot meet the claims being asked of it.

Hi Phd in Physics, you said:

"So science works because it is internally consistent and consistent with our observations about the earth."

Please justify this "internal consistency" with some logical proofs. The scientific method cannot explain itself by itself can it? Can we observe nature and derive from it the scientific method? Really?


You will probably have to show that the scientific method can explain the world in a comprehensive way, and if you are successful, you'll be the first in the history of mankind to do such a thing. Most who've attempted such a thing gravitate to skepticism in short order--specifically because of the limitations of sense perception.

Immanual Kant said:"you cant get there from here", best him if you can.

@Physic:
"1. The multiverse theory has been proposed as a result of a diverse range of observations in cosmology and physics in general. Ive already said Turok and Steinhardt have come up withj a way of testing their hypothesis empirically. Do you want me to link you to their paper?"

Not really. My question was not about how we might test for a multiverse once we hypothesise it, but what has been observed that leads to the hypothesis in the first place. So I would certainly be interested in information about the "diverse range of observations in cosmology and physics in general" that lead to the hypothesis.


"2. Science isnt trying to explain design because design is just an illusion." Says who? Your source?

"Claiming things are designed actually just creates you more problems." What type of problems? Maybe that there is a designer?

"For instance - designed for WHAT?" For the purposes of the designer maybe?

"Whats your rationale for detecting design etc." I'll let you figure that one out. The miraculous fine-tuning of the universe to support life looks like design to me. Richard Dawkins says "The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice." It's miraculous. It's a shame that he, and you, are totally closed to one possible explanation.

3."designed things most likely have a designer." Perhaps in our limited and parochial human experience where we have built so many things. And I'm not sure why I'm supposed to be impressed by your "entire experience f how things work"

I wasn't trying to impress you. I'm sure you are very much cleverer than me, being a PhD and all. I was just responding to your request for a simple explanation to fine tuning, which accords with, as you say "our limited and parochial human experience". I'm a little puzzled though, that you reject that experience out-of-hand and look for every possible other answer.

Hugh Ross Ph.D (Astronomy)
Jeff Zweerink Ph.D (Physics)
Alister McGrath Ph.D (Molecular Biophysics)
John Lennox Ph.D (Mathematics)
Frank Tipler Ph.D (Physics)

They seem to think fine tuning isn't rubbish.

Just an engineer

So what?

So..

Your handle of Ph.D in Physics doesn't necessarily lend credance to your claim that it is rubbish.

Your only statement to back up the claim is "most" scientists do not support it. An appeal to authority or popularity, I'm not sure. Rather than state vaguely, I've posted actual names of people who have actually presented explainations in their works showing why it is not rubbish.

You picked two people and said you could post links to their speculation. I posted 5 names that can be easily fould on the Internet or bookstore.

Brad B

If you want to find out about observational reality, how do you go about it?

""Whats your rationale for detecting design etc." I'll let you figure that one out."

Thats not the way it works. You are saying that the universe is designed and in contesting that Im asking you to tell me how you tell the difference between things that are designed and not. Could it be you dont have one? That would rather undermine your argument. SO until you can show me why you know the universe is designed rather than just saying "it looks designed to to so it was designed" which is what you are doing.

I'm not rejecting anything out of hand and my mind isnt closed to the possibility/Im not rejecting anything out of hand - I'm pointing out weaknesses in the argument.

Low probability does NOT equal impossible.

As far as your refernces to Kant go.

Science rests on a few basic assertions:
1) There are observers
2) These can communicate truthfully about their observations
3) Some basic logical tautologies hold.
Thats it. Science works within a framework that it has created. That framework is known as observational reality and is not the same as *real* reality.
As I keep saying.

Theology as I understand is about the quest for truth - i.e. *real* reality. Tjhus science and theology are examining 2 completely different things.

Physics

"So if I have presnted some data and you dispute that data - do unicorns exist?"

Depends on the reliability of the data.

"If you are disputing my data are you making a claim about unicorns?"

Yes. If the reliability of the data itself is shown to be obviously unreliable, and this has nothing to do with the individual's view that unicorns cannot possibly exist, and there is no other data available on which to draw a conclusion, you are probably safe in assuming they do not exist. However, you should be open to the possibility that there is reliable data that you have not yet seen.

When dealing with a level of uncertainty or certainty, you have to weigh percentages.

Louis

The reliability of the data is in dispute. I say its reliable, you say it isnt.

In disputing my evidence are you making a claim about the existence of unicorns, or are you just disputing the evidence that Im proposing for unicorns?

I think he is saying he is saying you haven't proven your case that it is likely, but is still open to the possibility that you are right if additional information or rationale gets presented in the future.

I think that would be reasonable.

@Physics: You seem to have gotten myself & Brad B mixed up a little. That's ok - you're carrying on a lot of conversations here.

""Whats your rationale for detecting design etc." I'll let you figure that one out."

Thats not the way it works. ...SO until you can show me... etc."

So, unless I can come up with a watertight definition of what constitutes design, I'm not entitled to propose it? Seems to me that a whole lot of archeologists are wasting their time then.

We have a universe which suddenly appeared, out of literally nothing, some billions of years ago, which universe is able to support life by an incredibly unlikely and tenuous combination of factors and constants (excuse my terminology if somewhat rough: I'm an accountant, not a scientist) and if I change one of those constants even slightly, the whole thing implodes or explodes or simply doesn't work. Yep, it may be an accident, but it "looks" like design (as do the pyramids, but I guess they could be a natural phenomenon).

"SO until you can show me why you know the universe is designed rather than just saying "it looks designed to to so it was designed""

Actually, I'm not saying I "know" the universe is designed, nor "it looks designed so it was designed". Rather, I'm saying, it looks designed so there is a high probability it was. This accords with my own experience that highly complex systems that "work" (such as the computers and software I use each day) are designed. I could be wrong, but it seems, to me, highly likely that it was designed

You are saying there is a low probability it was designed. In fact, your point is stronger than that. You stated earlier that "design is just an illusion". So you apparently do outright reject the possibility of design (in apparent conflict with your later statement that "my mind isn't closed to the possibility..."). So my question to you then is "why?" or, to paraphrase, "What is your rationale for rejecting design?"

Hi PhD in Physics, it seems to me that you might have confused me with someone else you are conversing with, although I cant find responses from anyone else that your last post to me seemed to fit either.

Anyway, I guess you are just inferring from what I wrote and then made up a list of objections to answer--or something like that.

You say:

"Science rests on a few basic assertions:"

Yes, assertions, your standard for justifiable truth is low.

Regarding this list of assertions, 1)how do you know these observers have the sense perception receptors that are reliable?

2)What constitutes communication, and how does the scientific system test morality to call anything truth? What is truth?

3)Just because the scientific method has yielded some useful information that we consider reasonably reliable, doesn't mean that we should trust anything else just because a practitioner proclaims some bit of information yielded from an observation.

I want to have you to please make an attempt at justifying your statement that science is internally consistent... and now in you last post you decide to add a certain morality to the practioners of science? Please justify a comprehensive worldview where logic and morality can be derived and justified by ultimate or axiomatic propositions using the scientific method.

Dont shrink back, if it's internally consistent like you said it is, and makes these kinds of claims, it should be easy for you. I think you mightn't realize it, but you have/are writing checks that science cant cash.

Marc

"So, unless I can come up with a watertight definition of what constitutes design, I'm not entitled to propose it?" You can propose it but it is ludicrous to do so.
"Seems to me that a whole lot of archeologists are wasting their time then." No, they study non natural objects.
"Rather, I'm saying, it looks designed so there is a high probability it was." What does this mean? Seeing as you cant even tell me how you diffrentiate between designed and non designed natural entitites then your intuitive probability calculation is meaningless.
"What is your rationale for rejecting design?"
At this stage, the fact that you cant provide me with a detailed, rigorous, robust methodology for segregating entities into the "designed" and "not designed" classes is enough. Until you can do that then you are merely asserting.

Why should I believe that your "design" argument consists of nothing more than "I can't imagine how a natural process could have achieved X, therefore no natural process could have achieved X?" Answer me that.

Brad B

The mistake you appear to be making is in understanding what science actually does. It is NOT a search for the truth. It merely considers observational reality. *Real* reality and observational reality might well be the same, they could well be utterly different - we will never know.
"1)how do you know these observers have the sense perception receptors that are reliable?" As long as they report consistent results among independant observers thats fine.
"2)What constitutes communication, and how does the scientific system test morality to call anything truth? What is truth?"
What do you mean by truth? If you mean you want to know what *real* reality is, dont do science - science doesnt have the tools to access it. What I mean by true (colloquially) is that our models of reality behave in a manner consistent with obersvations/phenomena. Thats what I mean when I say science in internsally consistent. Maths is the same. So is logic. But science is the only thing that sieves its models and compares them to the natural world.
Science rests on some logical axioms and the assumptions I've given to rule out solipsism and absurdity.
I also think you are assuming that everything scientists do is called science. It isnt. Where no phenomena are avilable, logic can be employed to good use. Applying logic in cases where no observations are possible (i.e. no phenomena) is the method used in fields like mathematics, philosophy and theology. While a scientists can do a lot of things, not all things scientists do are science.

It would be very interesting to run a poll on here asking people why they think science doesnt produce evidence for god. I'd be intrigued by the answers.
My answer would be that science simply does not have the tools to investigate - as I have said repeatedly.

God may not be a stop-gap filler, but the institution that seeks to propagate it certainly is!

If science can't measure it, how can it be real?

Hi Phd in Physics: You keep running far afield trying to infer from what I say or ask of you instead of responding to my challenge. You've made claims about what natural science is, but have just made assertions. I'm asking for some kind of justification. Of course there is no such justification to be found, mostly because modern academics like you and others have divorced natural science from any possible foundation it might enjoy if not for the anti-theist bent.

Natural science is not done independent of philosophy--you all like to claim it is, but by making an a priori commitment against any kind of metaphysical or supernatural is in fact taking a philosophical stance. I also see a lot boasting about the use of logic when it comes to defending conclusions, but somehow the laws of logic lose their sting when it comes to ultimate propositons or foundational truths to build a system of knowledge upon. A forensic challenge to every piece of knowledge gleaned by the scientific method will reveal a foundation built on logical fallacy ultimately.

You can have no foundation without a comprehensive worldveiw that provides justification for everything your system claims. If science is internally consistent, show me how you justify logic, morality, uniformity of nature, etc.. by the scientific method.

What I'd hope to see is that we rein back in this discipline to the 2nd rate science that it is in reality--really real.

Brad

Im not running anywhere old chap. SCience has nothing to do with anti theism any more than it has anything to do with theism. God(s) migth well exist but science has fo f*** all to say on the matter.

"Natural science is not done independent of philosophy--you all like to claim it is" - they are different areas of study. But not everything scientisyts do is science which is maybe where you are mixed up.

"but by making an a priori commitment against any kind of metaphysical or supernatural is in fact taking a philosophical stance."
You have this wrong. Science simply doesnt have the tools to consider the supernatural. How could it. It deals with phenomena. Science cannot be used to advance assertions for OR AGAINST deity(ies). Its not that science has something against the supernatural its that it has absolutely nothing to say on the matter! If you want to consider the supernatural, do relgion or philosophy.

"omehow the laws of logic lose their sting when it comes to ultimate propositons or foundational truths to build a system of knowledge upon." Which is precisiely why science only claims to stud=y phenomena as opposed to *real* reality. If you want to claim *real* reality and observatiuonal reality are exactly the same go ahead, but it is a naiive assertion and an indefenesible position.
"A forensic challenge to every piece of knowledge gleaned by the scientific method will reveal a foundation built on logical fallacy ultimately."
No. SCience rests on the assupmtion Ive given and some logical axioms. It doesnt describe reality, its true only in the colloquial sense that our models match what we can observe and its been remarkably successful.

"You can have no foundation without a comprehensive worldveiw that provides justification for everything your system claims. If science is internally consistent, show me how you justify logic, morality, uniformity of nature, etc.. by the scientific method."

I cant! When did I say I could? Logic rests on its ownb axioms as does maths - are you going to ask mathemticians to justify the axioms maths rests on? Thought not.
"What I'd hope to see is that we rein back in this discipline to the 2nd rate science that it is in reality--really real."
Back to this. Why do you keep insisting that observational reali

This is high school stuff. SOmeone posed a link on another thread I saw to a basic berkely site about science and religion - I suggest you read it.

"If science can't measure it, how can it be real?"
Things that don't exist because they can't be measured by science:
love
hatred
beauty
friendship
social and cultural customs
logic
etc...

Hi Phd in Physics, when you say that science is internally consistent, what do you mean?

Generally when someone claims their system has "internal consistency" that means that it doesn't contradict itself, doesn't assume things it considers necessary and supports itself in a comprehensive way. All I am asking you to do is prove what you are saying. I haven't asked you to say anything about God, or prove anything about theism in general, I just think that natural science is not the island you seem to be saying it is. You have introduced into this discussion many things that cannot be derived from the scientific method--I'm wondering how it is possible--maybe I'm missing something.

To consider the conclusions reached by observation reliable, they must have a solid logical support--otherwise it is opinion. The scientific method cannot overcome this requirement without serious support--this denies the statement that "science is internally consistent"

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