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10/1/08

Science and Philosophy

Some recent comments on here have piqued my interest in the relationship between science, religion and philosophy. Concurrently, friend, blogger and podcaster Glenn Peoples has released a new podcast on Intelligent Design (kind of) that explores this relationship, and I think it is well worth a listen.

Again, downloading it rather than streaming it would be appreciated.

6 comments:

  1. I think the podcaster makes an important point. He quoted some guy who said this:

    "No theory is acceptable unless it is naturalistic."

    The podcaster went on to argue that if scientists presuppose naturalism, they may exclude a supernatural theory that is correct.

    That is my paraphrase, and I think it is the essence of his point.

    I agree with him. Naturalism is not an a priori dogma of science, rather it is an a posteriori conclusion. And that conclusion is of course provisional, as are all conclusions of science.

    Natural explanations have been so successful and useful that few scientists these days would even look for supernatural explanations, because they believe that would not be a practical use of time.

    So, ID is rejected not because it is not naturalistic, but rather because it is currently bad science. If the ID guys could do some research and produce a useful and testable theory, then all the worse for naturalism.

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    I have no idea what his point was at the end about ducks and Lorentz transformation.

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  2. Science is a system that attempts to explain the natural world using evidence, philosophy using logic and religion using faith. Simple really.

    Of course explaining the world on subjective opinions tends to be unreliable.

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  3. "Science is a system that attempts to explain the natural world using evidence"

    - and the strict evidence in some areas i.e cosmology does point towards a uncreated cause
    i.e the Big Bang.

    (Kalam Cosmological Arguement-
    Everything that begins to exist has a cause
    The Universe began to exist
    Therefore it has a cause)

    So why does atheistic-science then suggest interesting but non-evidenced theories such as multiple universes, if there is no evidence for them?

    Your point that religion uses Faith - depends what your definition of faith is.

    In any case atheistic(materialistic) science is based upon "faith" too. It takes faith in the pre-supposition that knowledge is acquired through sense experience. But this completely fails to justify itself, for it would mean that only those propositions which can be empirically verified are even meaningful at all - and since the statement "knowledge is acquired through sense experience" cannot be emperically verified, it doesn't satisfy its own conditions. Therefore the statement relies on faith.

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  4. It takes faith in the pre-supposition that knowledge is acquired through sense experience.

    So when my dog finds his food bowl by using his senses of smell and sight he is doing that based on faith?

    That is a strange use of the word faith.

    Relying on our senses is partly learned and partly instinctive. Relying on sensation is what all animals do to get by and survive in the world.

    So far it has worked for me. Like when I cross a street I use my eyes and ears to cross safely. How do you do it?

    Could you tell me how you define faith?

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  5. Well, he's right about one thing: Intelligent Design and The Ducks Didn't Build The Pyramids are equally valuable scientific "theories". They have the same explanatory capability.

    Does he really think that the requirement that a scientific theory be predictive was adopted recently? and for the sole purpose of rejecting ID?

    And I have no words for the gibberish at the end about relativity.

    But I do agree with the podcaster and "unbeguiled" that a scientific theory need not be naturalistic. For instance, if those intercessory prayer experiments they did a few years back had actually showed that it worked, and further experiments were able to repeat it, then I think that it would be a valid supernatural scientific theory. Note that this theory would be predictive.

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  6. For instance, if those intercessory prayer experiments they did a few years back had actually showed that it worked, and further experiments were able to repeat it, then I think that it would be a valid supernatural scientific theory.

    Good example. Another example is the James Randi million dollar challenge. If you have magical powers, go collect your prize.

    This claim by IDers that ID has been rejected because biologists have a naturalism bias is simply a canard.

    It is true that scientist generally seek natural explanations first, but that is based on several hundred years of inter-subjective experience.

    I don't automatically rule-out demon possession as the cause of epilepsy. But I have yet to see any evidence for it.

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