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Why Some Scientists Embrace the 'Multiverse'

zgoldsmith23

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I think we're close to being on the same page with regard to the above. I became more convinced that materialism (note that I do not equate this with atheism, though I do think they make good bedfellows) is a very weak position after I stopped reading science journalism as a means of attaining reliable information, and started wading through the actual science. It seems to me that science journalists vastly overblow the implications of neuroscience--though they are partly encouraged by a small but vocal group of brain scientists who are great at neuroscience but who are, importantly, lousy at philosophy. I can expand and provide examples on request. I decided to go the philosophy route because it seemed to me that's still where the real issues are to be found.

I'm not entirely sure what you're going for? Because you don't like the potential implications scientists apply in neuroscience, you're, basically, going to dismiss science as a whole? That's the equivalent of saying, well the atom bomb was a devastation, therefore I'm gonna dismiss the Theory of Relativity. If you'd like to provide examples, I wouldn't turn that down. This behavior strikes me as irrational. Why do you say materialism is a very weak position? It, at least, requires some evidence for claims before assertion, as opposed to many other fields which do not have any such restrictions.

I'm not sure the distinct is quite that clear. Philosophy that had nothing to do with reality (depending on what we mean by that word) probably won't get much traction. On the other hand, it's not clear to me that science is capable of deciding some fundamental questions about the nature of reality. Do we live in Russell's universe, or Berkeley's? Both have the same observational consequences, but they're definitely not the same universe. We have to decide which account to prefer on philosophical grounds

Well Berkeley declared material substance didn't exist - do you agree with that? What fundamental questions to reality do you want answered?

The reason I think philosophy creeps into the picture when we admit that there's no definitive test to tell whether a thing is designed or not is because that implies no observation we could make will decide the question for us. Atheists, for example, will then try to bring in principles of parsimony (Occam's razor, for instance)...but the claim that a principle of parsimony should be employed is a philosophical one. It may be good philosophy (or it may not be), but it's still philosophy.

Sure, however, it is still a claim about reality. I would also make the distinction that the PoP should be employed is philsophical, but the idea that it is employed is scientific.

Well, this is just to rework the same question. We know there are things that are designed. It's a fact, for example, that the computer I'm typing on is designed. But if it's not impossible for it to have just come together via unguided processes, then...

Begging the question. Irreducible complexity has been thoroughly shot down. It's an argument from ignorance and a "god of the gaps" fallacy. You should look up Kirschner (HMS) and Gerhart's (UC) work on facilitated variation.

Here's the point: take this computer as an analogy for the universe, just conditionally speaking (i.e. for the sake of deciding a principle, not as a positive fact). As it happens, it's a fact that the computer is designed. But if we didn't know that, and we had to just figure it out, it would always be possible for someone to claim that the computer is not designed. The problem is that this is incorrect. If we were in that situation, we'd be getting it wrong.

That's because we know differently. And, we know that these parts must be manufactured, etc. However, the universe has entirely natural things within it and has been shown to be possible without the invocation of a supernatural source. It seems to me, you're presenting a false analogy.

Now: I do not claim that the universe is necessarily designed. I agree there's no test we can make that will tell us. But that's the whole point. In such a situation, if we stick to only what tests may tell us, we run a risk of getting it wrong, and having no idea whether we've gotten it wrong or not.

But the scientific method is self correcting; religion is not - it guarantees accuracy from the start. Are we going to get everything right 100% of the time from now onwards? Almost a guarantee the answer is "no." But, for now, we are studying things using the most advanced technology yet and learning things that would've previously been unknowable and, hopefully, this trend will continue.

This is why talk of probabilities is so important. Again, if we're trying to figure out the computer, we might be able to calculate the probabilities it could come together without design. If the probability is very, very low, we might reasonably conclude it is designed.

The multiverse theory weighs on the actual probabilities. If the universe is a one-off, then it looks very probable that it was designed. Not certain, but I think it's a good bet. On the other hand, if the universe we have is the result of a nearly infinite sequence of previous trials, then probability becomes much less of a factor. It's extemely improbable that I'll win the lottery, but if I buy enough tickets, likely as not I'll win eventually.

The point the article seems to want to make is that the probability argument came up again from recent observations, and that the multiverse response is merely ad hoc. I'm not convinced it is. There may be other reasons to think there are multiverses, but I have to admit I'm not well-versed in the subject. Of course, if it is ad hoc, then that seems like bad philosophy to me.

If it is very, very low ≠ "goddidit." Also, why do you say if the universe is one-off, then it argues for design? That just tells me that the universe is all that we know about. You're drawing conclusions from something not really related. Ad hoc doesn't necessarily imply incorrectness; for evidence of this, just look at Einstein's cosmological constant.
 

zgoldsmith23

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Actually, I was thinking about the typical atheist's tendency to unwittingly impose metaphysical naturalism on reality. There would be nothing preconceived about the notion of a multiverse. Agree. The apprehension of this potentiality arises from real considerations on this side of the horizon.

It's a battle of mathematical probabilities versus scientific evidence at this current stage, or so it appears to me. What problem do you have with metaphysical naturalism? The seems very Plantinga-esque.

Well, it's a long read, mostly a review of the current research, but also a theological treatise of sorts, but. . . .

Prufrock's Lair: Abiogenesis: The Unholy Grail of Atheism

I'm sorry, but the article opens with an ad hom. I made it this far before I found something I disagreed with. According to your writing: "While science's historical presupposition is not a metaphysical naturalism (or an ontological naturalism), most of today's practicing scientists insist that the origins and compositions of empirical phenomena must be inferred without any consideration given to the possibility of intelligent causation and design."

Now, why could that be? Probably because, as scientists, we utilize the scientific method. The scientific method depends on evidence before a claim is accepted. To date, there's no reason to consider a hypothesis which either lacks evidence, is not falsifiable, or contains both conditions.

Know. Believe. Same thing. I know God exists. I had a personal encounter with Him, and the one and only true God of reality is the God of the Bible.

Knowledge and belief aren't the same thing. Knowledge uses past information and evidence (even that crappy type of subjective) where as belief is in lieu of evidence.
 

Rawlings

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What problem do you have with metaphysical naturalism? The seems very Plantinga-esque.

You're asking what problem a biblical theist would have with metaphysical naturalism, the notion that nothing exists or could exist beyond the scope of scientific investigation? You don't grasp how and why such an apriority would skew one's interpretation of empirical data, even leading one to conclude all the wrong things?


I'm sorry, but the article opens with an ad hom.

Ad hom? You mean this: "Years of experience have shown me that most atheists are more obtuse than a pile of bricks. They are either breezily unaware of their metaphysical biases or are unwilling to objectively separate themselves from them long enough to engage in a reasonably calm and courteous discussion about the tenets of their religion: namely, abiogenesis and evolution."

That's just my experience with most atheists. It's not true of all atheists.


I made it this far before I found something I disagreed with. According to your writing: "While science's historical presupposition is not a metaphysical naturalism (or an ontological naturalism), most of today's practicing scientists insist that the origins and compositions of empirical phenomena must be inferred without any consideration given to the possibility of intelligent causation and design."

Now, why could that be? Probably because, as scientists, we utilize the scientific method. The scientific method depends on evidence before a claim is accepted. To date, there's no reason to consider a hypothesis which either lacks evidence, is not falsifiable, or contains both conditions.

You really must keep reading if you still don't see the problem with imposing a metaphysical naturalism on reality and scientific methodology.


Knowledge and belief aren't the same thing. Knowledge uses past information and evidence (even that crappy type of subjective) where as belief is in lieu of evidence.

Like I told Ikari in the above: "I didn't say that knowledge and belief as such were the same thing. In this instance, I said that what I know about God's actions and what I believe about His actions are the same thing."
 

solletica

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Wait a minute; I thought theories are supposed to be proven by facts, not that theories prove facts. I'm not sure I understand your remark.

A theory (in empirical science) is an explanation for something that has shown to be consistent w/the results of several experiments.
 

Rawlings

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A theory (in empirical science) is an explanation for something that has shown to be consistent w/the results of several experiments.

You're missing the point, solletica. As those of us who are current known, multiverse theory is more at an hypothesis. We have absolutely no credible evidence that any other universes exist beyond ours. There are no results from any experiments whatsoever in this wise. We're searching for testable data now! In fact, the prospect may very well be unfalsifiable.

Read the following. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse
 

Monserrat

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So, from what you're saying here, it seems one can reasonably infer all of the following:

1) Phrenology is as much science as physics. Phrenologists studied the natural world systematically (at least a part of it). They created, analyzed, and tested hypotheses. And their findings received peer-review and duplication.

2) Mathematics is not a science, since mathematicians do not study the natural world. I think this seems especially odd, since scientists use math so much. What would mathematics be, then? A kind of Philosophy? Sheer imagination? Doesn't speak well for science in either case.

3) Relativity theory was not science for several years after its invention; it only became science when Eddington observed the famous eclipse. Prior to that, it was just based on Einstein's imagination plus an extension of previously accepted mathematics.

4) Laws like the ideal gas law are not scientific, as they aren't based on observation at all.

I'm sure I could think of others. It seems your idea of science includes too much that isn't science, and leaves out too much that is. That's a nice way of saying that your characterization of science is wrong.



Well, it may seem that philosophy as a profession doesn't have much of an impact, but philosophy as a practice remains fairly central. Scientists do philosophy every working day of their lives. When they get a piece of evidence, they have to reason about how that evidence is to be intepretted, and that in turn is based on which assumptions they want to take as valid. For example, when it was discovered that the orbit of Neptune didn't follow strict Newtonian predictions, astronomers were faced with some choices. It could be that Newtonian mechanics is wrong (as it happens to be, in fact). It could be that their instruments were not working. Or, it could be that another mass is present. The latter turns out to be correct, and it's the one they chose, though in a bit of irony, the original observations were due both to relativistic physics and the unknown mass (pluto).

Scientists visit my department all the time to consult with philosophers--neuroscientists and physicists mostly, though sometimes we get doctors and biologists. There are some scientists who are hostile to philosophy, but most that I run into are interested in philosophical topics as they relate to their field of study, and generally acknowledge the importance of those problems.

1. Pseudoscience isn't science. It's pseudoscience and I'd appreciate it if you would not interject your personal opinion on what you think I may believe or may not believe, if you're confused by something I said then all you have to do is ask. I never mentioned anything on phrenology but like with other pseudosciences they aren't science, the process involved in the scientific method involves peer review in a scientific journal if it's not something that can be reproduceable and cannot pass the peer review process then it doesn't stand up to one of the more important steps of the scientific method.

2. Mathematics is mathematics. Science relies heavily on it.

3. That's how science works...results have to be verified.

4. I'm wondering if it's the terminology that's throwing you off here, when I use the word observation I mean as it's applied to the scientific method, quick wiki reference help clarify:

The scientific method requires observations of nature to formulate and test hypotheses.[1] It consists of these steps:[2][3]
Asking a question about a natural phenomenon
Making observations of the phenomenon
Hypothesizing an explanation for the phenomenon
Predicting a logical consequence of the hypothesis
Testing the hypothesis by an experiment, an observational study, or a field study
Creating a conclusion with data gathered in the experiment, or forming a revised/new hypothesis and repeating the process
Observation plays a role in the second and fifth steps of the scientific method. However the need for reproducibility requires that observations by different observers can be comparable. Observation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


I hope that helps to clarify things.
 

solletica

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You're missing the point, solletica. As those of us who are current known, multiverse theory is more at an hypothesis.

Nope, it's theory.

We have absolutely no credible evidence that any other universes exist beyond ours.

Depends on how one defines "universe." If one defines it to mean to set of all Minkowski spaces in our known reality, then no.

But if one defines it to mean the Minkowski space in which any particular observer (at rest or traveling at a fixed velocity) lives, then there are many such universes.

There are no results from any experiments whatsoever in this wise. We're searching for testable data now! In fact, the prospect may very well be unfalsifiable.

There has been evidence of the multiverse ever since the advent of Special Relativity.

Read the following. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse

I did. . .

"A common feature of all four multiverse levels is that the simplest and arguably most elegant theory involves parallel universes by default. To deny the existence of those universes, one needs to complicate the theory by adding experimentally unsupported processes and ad hoc postulates: finite space, wave function collapse and ontological asymmetry. Our judgment therefore comes down to which we find more wasteful and inelegant: many worlds or many words. Perhaps we will gradually get used to the weird ways of our cosmos and find its strangeness to be part of its charm."
 

Rawlings

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I'm not entirely sure what you're going for? Because you don't like the potential implications scientists apply in neuroscience, you're, basically, going to dismiss science as a whole? That's the equivalent of saying, well the atom bomb was a devastation, therefore I'm gonna dismiss the Theory of Relativity. If you'd like to provide examples, I wouldn't turn that down. This behavior strikes me as irrational. Why do you say materialism is a very weak position? It, at least, requires some evidence for claims before assertion, as opposed to many other fields which do not have any such restrictions.

Of course, ashurbanipal can speak for himself, but this interests me too. ashurbanipal is not dismissing science in his apparent skepticism of materialism. How does science affirm or falsify materialism? You're begging the question.


Well Berkeley declared material substance didn't exist - do you agree with that? What fundamental questions to reality do you want answered?

A more perfect reading of Berkeley's immaterialism is that material substance has no enduring existence in and of itself, but is continually sustained by the mind of God, or as Berkeley famously put it, "God never looks away."


Begging the question. Irreducible complexity has been thoroughly shot down. It's an argument from ignorance and a "god of the gaps" fallacy. You should look up Kirschner (HMS) and Gerhart's (UC) work on facilitated variation.

That's what some scientists claim, but the fact of the matter is that the classical construct of irreducible complexity remains utterly unscathed. Here we have yet another example of the deplorable philosophy of materialists who heedlessly declare victory over a strawman.

From an exchange between an evolutionist and me on this very issue:

And evolutionists are playing a game of conceptual hide-and-seek when they claim that the classical construct of irreducible complexity in and of itself has been debunked. Refuting Behe’s ill-considered application of it to biochemistry—a half-baked version that fails to anticipate the obvious possibility of degraded systems or their isolated components performing less efficient or alternate functions—is of no consequence. (Incidentally, I wrote Behe about that possibility back in '96 after reading his book. Sure enough, well, you know the rest. . . .) Properly rendered, irreducible complexity does not dispute the plausibility of diminished systems, it illustrates the implausibility of complex systems arising by blind luck. That has not been debunked by anyone. Behe should have paid more attention to the essential quality of Paley’s formulation and the prerequisites of Kant’s.

In other words, in the classical tradition, irreducible complexity obtains to the rise of organization from chaos, not to any potential degradation of function. The former entails an uphill battle in the midst of a chaotic collection of precursors vying against conservation. It has to do with the problem of anticipatorily formulating the overarching function of an interdependent system of discretely oriented parts, each contributing to the sum of a whole that could not have orchestrated its own composition from the ground up.

Further, and now comes the slight-of-hand that impresses no one but bleating sheep, evolutionists themselves do not refute Behe’s straw man with the paper biochemistry of evolutionary theory. The theoretical mechanism of natural selection does not compose complex machines by systematically stripping them of their parts. Instead it must build them without a blueprint and do so in a sea of competing precursors, once again, vying against conservation. It’s not the other way around. Miller can illustrate the alternate functions of degraded mousetraps all he wants; that does not demonstrate that the mechanisms of evolutionary theory are the cause of the comprehensive functions of complex integrated systems.

But the sheep go “bah, bah, bah.”

Debunked?

What kind of scientific term is that anyway? The matter cannot be resolved syllogistically or analogously. It’s a matter of experimentation and falsification.

Now you see it. Now you don’t.

In other words, ultimately, it’s not even a matter of morphology. It’s a matter of accumulating information, not only against a tidal wave of difficulties that rebuff conservation, but against the whims of a genetic material whose sequences are not arranged by any chemically preordained bonding affinity, but by extraneous forces. And to my mind that means nothing of particular interest could arise in the first place without the intervention of an intelligent being. I trust that we at least agree on that point, given that you are a theistic evolutionist. Why would you recommend the prattle of an atheist savant who must necessarily override the putative distinction between the vagaries of abiogenesis and the calculi of evolutionary theory? —Rawlings

Prufrock's Lair: The Debate with Labsci Continues. . . .

Indeed, the more we learn from abiogenetic research and biochemical engineering, the clearer it becomes that life did not arise from chaos on Earth and that, in any event, the hypothesis is unfalsifible. The Pasteurian theory of biogenesis that omne vivum ex vivo, i.e., all life is from life, stands.


Further, the supposed fallacy of the "God of the gaps" is meaningless, illusory. It's the muddling of the argument from ignorance fallacy by the presumptuous who routinely beg the question.


The universe has entirely natural things within it and has been shown to be possible without the invocation of a supernatural source.

Really? How exactly has it been shown that the occurrences in the natural realm, let alone the very existence of the latter, are not contingent to the existence and volitions of a supernatural realm? You see, you're confounding the scientific inferences regarding empirical cause-and-effect with the concerns of ontology.
 

Rawlings

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Depends on how one defines "universe." If one defines it to mean to set of all Minkowski spaces in our known reality, then no.

But if one defines it to mean the Minkowski space in which any particular observer (at rest or traveling at a fixed velocity) lives, then there are many such universes.

The issue here is not alternative cosmological conceptualizations, but the existence of discrete universes beyond ours. And we have no sure experimental evidence of such as yet.

There has been evidence of the multiverse ever since the advent of Special Relativity.

Mathematic probabilities or models are not empirical evidence. . . .

BTW, I don't recommend Prager's argument and would be pleased and exited by the discovery of sure evidence indicating the existence of other universes beyond ours. But we're not quite there yet, and the assessments of the data are mixed and confusing. . . .

Hard Evidence for the Multiverse Found, but String Theory Limits the Space Brain Threat | Not Even Wrong

Cosmic map reveals first evidence of other universes | The Sunday Times

String theory may limit space brain threat - physics-math - 22 May 2013 - New Scientist

Blow for 'dark flow' in Planck's new view of the cosmos - space - 03 April 2013 - New Scientist

Is our universe merely one of billions? Evidence of the existence of 'multiverse' revealed for the first time by cosmic map | Mail Online
 

solletica

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The issue here is not alternative cosmological conceptualizations, but the existence of discrete universes beyond ours. And we have no sure experimental evidence of such as yet.

And like I said, it depends on the definition. IF you define the universe (singular) to mean all of existence, then there's one universe, by definition, since (obviously), the presence of another reality would be encompassed in that universe.

However, the layman's perception of "our universe" is more closely related to the notion of a single (very large) Minkowski space. And that notion has been shown, by theory, to be false .
 

Rawlings

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And like I said, it depends on the definition. IF you define the universe (singular) to mean all of existence, then there's one universe, by definition, since (obviously), the presence of another reality would be encompassed in that universe.

However, the layman's perception of "our universe" is more closely related to the notion of a single (very large) Minkowski space. And that notion has been shown, by theory, to be false .

Okay. Let me do some reading on Minkowski space. Thank you.
 

zgoldsmith23

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I hope you don't mind if I reply to both simultaneously.

You're asking what problem a biblical theist would have with metaphysical naturalism, the notion that nothing exists or could exist beyond the scope of scientific investigation? You don't grasp how and why such an apriority would skew one's interpretation of empirical data, even leading one to conclude all the wrong things?

I understand why it would conflict, but I'm not understanding why you would choose biblical theism versus metaphysical naturalism? Are you insinuating that materialists skew their data to favor their own philosophical view? And sure, if you have evidence to overturn something in science, why would you not?

Ad hom? You mean this: "Years of experience have shown me that most atheists are more obtuse than a pile of bricks. They are either breezily unaware of their metaphysical biases or are unwilling to objectively separate themselves from them long enough to engage in a reasonably calm and courteous discussion about the tenets of their religion: namely, abiogenesis and evolution."

That's just my experience with most atheists. It's not true of all atheists.

Still a mischaracterization of atheists. Anecdotal stories will do you no good here, Rawlings. I must also ask, did you say Evolutionary Theory was a tenet to the atheist religion? The atheist religion, too? You're gonna try to pull that card?

You really must keep reading if you still don't see the problem with imposing a metaphysical naturalism on reality and scientific methodology.

Are you sure you're not referring to methodological naturalism?

Like I told Ikari in the above: "I didn't say that knowledge and belief as such were the same thing. In this instance, I said that what I know about God's actions and what I believe about His actions are the same thing."

I can believe DNA is made of Provolone cheese, that does not make my belief rational, well-founded, or reasonable, nor will my belief be respected until I provide evidence for my assertion.

Of course, ashurbanipal can speak for himself, but this interests me too. ashurbanipal is not dismissing science in his apparent skepticism of materialism. How does science affirm or falsify materialism? You're begging the question.

It's not begging the question. Science affirms materialism by showing that their is matter - that is, that material exists. If you want to assert things further, then the burden of proof is on you, not me.

A more perfect reading of Berkeley's immaterialism is that material substance has no enduring existence in and of itself, but is continually sustained by the mind of God, or as Berkeley famously put it, "God never looks away."

Define "existence." I must ask, are you saying that matter only exists if it is perceived? If so, then we'll be arguing direct vs. indirect realism, essentially.

That's what some scientists claim, but the fact of the matter is that the classical construct of irreducible complexity remains utterly unscathed. Here we have yet another example of the deplorable philosophy of materialists who heedlessly declare victory over a strawman.

No, what we have here is a fiendish attempt to undermine science and sneak in ID. Read Shanks work from ETSU.

Indeed, the more we learn from abiogenetic research and biochemical engineering, the clearer it becomes that life did not arise from chaos on Earth and that, in any event, the hypothesis is unfalsifible. The Pasteurian theory of biogenesis that omne vivum ex vivo, i.e., all life is from life, stands.

The hypothesis is certainly falsifiable via falsified premises, predictions being wrong, or evidence for another claim. However, I would argue that abiogenesis is a field, not a hypothesis - the field has various hypotheses within it (such as metabolism-first, etc.). Too, you're presenting a false argument by stating "if not abiogenesis, then biogenesis." Are other hypotheses not possible?

Try these papers: one and two.

Further, the supposed fallacy of the "God of the gaps" is meaningless, illusory. It's the muddling of the argument from ignorance fallacy by the presumptuous who routinely beg the question.

It's an argument from ignorance, yes.
 

Rawlings

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I understand why it would conflict, but I'm not understanding why you would choose biblical theism versus metaphysical naturalism?

Like Bacon, I see God's fingerprints all over the universe. . . .

It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy brings about man's mind to religion: for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity. —Francis Bacon​

But most importantly, God personally revealed Himself to me, just as he has revealed Himself to millions of others the world over since the beginning of human history.


Are you insinuating that materialists skew their data to favor their own philosophical view?

No. I said that one's metaphysical presuppositions about the nature and the extent of reality informs one's interpretation of empirical data. The difference between a learned Christian like myself and the typical atheist is that I'm very much aware of my biases and the objectively arguable alternatives while the typical atheist isn't.


And sure, if you have evidence to overturn something in science, why would you not?

Uh . . . indeed, why wouldn't you? It happens all the time.


Still a mischaracterization of atheists. Anecdotal stories will do you no good here, Rawlings. I must also ask, did you say Evolutionary Theory was a tenet to the atheist religion? The atheist religion, too? You're gonna try to pull that card?

Atheism is a theological position and a rationally unsupportable one at that. It's irrational because the potentiality of God's existence cannot be rationally denied, and the atheist proves that every time he opens his mouth to deny that there be any actual substance behind the idea. In other words, the potentiality of a sentient or transcendent origin is not a figment of human culture as so many intellectually dishonest atheists, including that fool Dawkins, are wont to argue, but an undeniable aspect of the ontological imperatives of human consciousness. While there are many theistic evolutionists who inexplicably blast their follow theists for rejecting an empirically indemonstrable and, therefore, gratuitous imposition of a common ancestry on the paleontological record, the atheist must necessarily hold to an evolutionary model for all of existence as an article faith. Atheism is a religious creed of sorts, alright.

Are you sure you're not referring to methodological naturalism?

I am referring to that too, really, i.e., to post-Darwinian methodological naturalism, which is every bit as problematical as philosophical naturalism relative to outcomes. My piece echoes Plantinga's criticism, but no discernibly universal reformation of science and terminology has emerge. Hence, my admittedly feeble attempts to forge a distinguish between the naturalism of the pre- and of the post-Darwinian period of the scientific era.


I can believe DNA is made of Provolone cheese, that does not make my belief rational, well-founded, or reasonable, nor will my belief be respected until I provide evidence for my assertion.

And your point?

Look, tens of millions of people all over the world embrace the God of the Bible and call upon the incarnate God Almighty Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The power of the rational considerations and mathematical probabilities touching on Christ's life and resurrection speak for themselves. There's nothing irrational about Judeo-Christianity.


It's not begging the question. Science affirms materialism by showing that their is matter - that is, that material exists. If you want to assert things further, then the burden of proof is on you, not me.

Materialism, the belief that nothing but material substance exists or can exist, is not and cannot be affirmed or falsified by science in any way, shape or form. That's self-evident. With regard to the existence of a spiritual or transcendent realm of ultimate origin: there's no burden of proof on me whatsoever. Reason supports the existence of God and the normative; the rest is faith. Period. I don't have a problem with that. Once again, the limits of scientific inquiry are not the limits of reality or the limits of human cognition, experience and necessity. Believe what you will. I'm not obliged to demonstrate anything to you.



Why Naturalism Needs a Reformation by James Barham

. . . This hole at the heart of science where normativity should be is a specter haunting much of our contemporary intellectual life. It is, after all, one of the more obvious facts about the world that biological processes occur for a reason: namely, to achieve some goal or purpose. This teleological organization of living things establishes a norm according to which individual actions may be assigned a value, judged as good or bad, properly functioning or malfunctioning. These are perfectly objective facts about the world, in no way dependent on human observers. If human beings had never existed, countless billions of other living creatures would still have pursued their various goals in exactly the same way. Yet, metaphysical naturalism would have us believe that teleology is some sort of illusion. In other words, all of the life sciences, as well as the social sciences and the humanities, are making constant use of a principle that officially does not exist! This is a deeply pathological situation that cannot go on forever.

http://www.iscid.org/papers/Barham_BackToTheStoics_112601.pdf


Define "existence." I must ask, are you saying that matter only exists if it is perceived?

No. Not quite. Mater is real. It exits. God created the universe. But its existence is contingent upon the will of God. God is the ground, the source and guarantor of all other existents. Hence, existence has primacy over human consciousness.


No, what we have here is a fiendish attempt to undermine science and sneak in ID. Read Shanks work from ETSU.

And once again, this is a refutation of Behe's rendition of supposed irreducible complexity in the face of redundant complexity, a no brainer, not a disputation of classical irreducible complexity from chaos. Neither Shank nor Miller nor anyone else you care to name has refuted Kant, and they bloody well know it!

Further, as my article about the actual experimental findings of abiogenetic research and the actual state of biochemical engineering show, the "[r]ecent work on self-organizing chemical reactions" to which Shank alludes, presumably goes to the engineered reactions of organic precursors, necessarily harvested from living organisms, by the way, under pristine laboratory conditions. Read intelligent design, not organization from chaos. And note the strictly metaphysical presupposition that redundant complexity is "a characteristic result of evolutionary processes."

Fiendish, eh? LOL!


The hypothesis is certainly falsifiable via falsified premises, predictions being wrong, or evidence for another claim.

Hmm. While the various hypotheses of prebiotic chemical evolution are arguably falsifiable and while some have indeed been falsified, the general hypothesis of abiogenesis in and of itself, the notion that self-replicating living organisms arose or can arise from nonliving material via a process of undirected chemical interactions, appears to allude the imperatives of scientific falsification for reasons that are environmental and historical in nature.

Read the article.

Though it's not comprehensive. What work on the topic could be? And whether you agree with my theological perspective and subsequent assessment of the findings or not, I accurately present the pertinent scientific research of abiogenesis' leading lights.

However, I would argue that abiogenesis is a field, not a hypothesis - the field has various hypotheses within it (such as metabolism-first, etc.).

And I would argue that both my article and my observation above this one indisputably demonstrate that abiogenesis is a general hypothesis and a field of research encompassing a number of related hypotheses that go to the various aspects of its alleged processes and stages of fruition. It's both. Not one or the other.

Too, you're presenting a false argument by stating "if not abiogenesis, then biogenesis." Are other hypotheses not possible?

As for your charge regarding the presentation of a false argument, I merely pointed out the fact that the Pasturian law of biogenesis stands. As to your question: objectively speaking, I don't know. I'm only cognizant of two states of existence: the living and the non-living.
 
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ashurbanipal

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zgoldsmith23 said:
I'm not entirely sure what you're going for? Because you don't like the potential implications scientists apply in neuroscience, you're, basically, going to dismiss science as a whole?

Of course not. I didn't say anything of the sort. What I did say is that a small but vocal group of neuroscientists seem to encourage science journalists to over-reach in their interpretations of neuroscience. I also implied (and meant to imply) that the philosophical issues which confront neuroscientists are important, and that many, or most, do not understand those issues. Indeed, if I had to offer a diagnosis of some aspects of neuroscience, it's that neuroscientists try to do philosophy of mind without understanding anything about philosophy of mind.

I do not dismiss science, and nor is any field of contention I may hold with particular scientists engendered because I don't like the implications of their research.

zgoldsmith23 said:
If you'd like to provide examples, I wouldn't turn that down.

Well, before I do, I want to make sure you understand my position. It won't do any good to provide examples before the claims that are supposed to come from them (according to me) are clear.

Anyway, I have it in mind to start with a section from Joseph LeDoux's "The Synaptic Self," supplemented by a few quotes from cognitive and neuro-scientists.

zgoldsmith23 said:
Why do you say materialism is a very weak position?

For a number of reasons.

First, I'm not sure that material substance exists. Perhaps a little more perspicuously, I'm very uncertain that anything like the normal intuitive concept of matter exists.

Second, I am immediately acquainted with mental objects (percepts, feelings, thoughts, imaginings, emotions, calculations, predictions, etc.) and while I may not know what they are, I find it impossible to doubt they exist. Supposing for a moment that there is material stuff, I find no remotely coherent--let alone convincing--account of how they do arise out of material substance.

zgoldsmith23 said:
It, at least, requires some evidence for claims before assertion, as opposed to many other fields which do not have any such restrictions.

I'm not sure what you mean. Materialism is an ontological position. Evidentiary requirements are usually characteristic of fields, but arise out of epistemological concerns.

zgoldsmith23 said:
Well Berkeley declared material substance didn't exist - do you agree with that?

First, I think Berkeley did a little more than merely declare that material substance doesn't exist. He posted a number of arguments for it, and ones that are notoriously difficult to knock down.

Anyway, I'm probably more prepared than the average person to give up material substance. It seems to me we can do just fine with sense impressions.

zgoldsmith23 said:
What fundamental questions to reality do you want answered?

All the ones I can think of.

zgoldsmith23 said:
Sure, however, it is still a claim about reality. I would also make the distinction that the PoP should be employed is philsophical, but the idea that it is employed is scientific.

I don't see that it is. Why do you think so?

zgoldsmith23 said:
Begging the question. Irreducible complexity has been thoroughly shot down. It's an argument from ignorance and a "god of the gaps" fallacy. You should look up Kirschner (HMS) and Gerhart's (UC) work on facilitated variation.

I didn't say anything about irreducible complexity. What I said was that it's a fact this computer is designed, but if there is no property which designed things have uniquely, then if we didn't know it was designed, we would have no way of resolving the point definitively. If we then assume it is not designed, we'd be getting something wrong.

Anyway, why do you think this is begging the question? I'm just stating some conditionals. The conclusion at contention would be a unary declarative (i.e. "the universe is designed" or "the universe is not designed.") It doesn't seem possible to beg the question against a unary declarative conclusion with a conditional statement.

zgoldsmith23 said:
That's because we know differently.

Actually, no. That's because of the confluence of 2 facts: first, that the computer is designed and second, that where we lack that knowledge, it would be possible to argue that it isn't.

zgoldsmith23 said:
And, we know that these parts must be manufactured, etc. However, the universe has entirely natural things within it and has been shown to be possible without the invocation of a supernatural source. It seems to me, you're presenting a false analogy.

The computer is not meant to be an analogy for the universe, only a possible analogy. You cannot argue in good faith if you take it as given that the universe is not designed, and proceed from there. If the question is whether the universe is designed or not, you have to allow for the possibility that it is designed (we both have to allow for both possibilities). My point, again, is that in the case where the universe is designed--which may not be the actual case; we don't know--without a certain test, we're only going to be dealing in probabilites.

zgoldsmith23 said:
But the scientific method is self correcting; religion is not - it guarantees accuracy from the start.

I'm not sure either of these points are true. I'm not sure what you mean by them.

zgoldsmith23 said:
Are we going to get everything right 100% of the time from now onwards? Almost a guarantee the answer is "no." But, for now, we are studying things using the most advanced technology yet and learning things that would've previously been unknowable and, hopefully, this trend will continue.

Well, OK.

zgoldsmith23 said:
If it is very, very low ≠ "goddidit."

Well...maybe. First, the use of the phrase "goddidit" is rather prejudiced, and has no place in reasonable debate.

Anwyay, I agree you have something of a point. First, in a binary situation, if the probability of one option is very low, the other one is very high. One problem with the concept of God is that it's not a very specific concept, so it's hard to know what a theist means when they say that God did something. The concept can come to mean basically anything that isn't a purely mechanical process. As such, it is binary with some forms of determinism, but still rather unclear.

zgoldsmith23 said:
Also, why do you say if the universe is one-off, then it argues for design? That just tells me that the universe is all that we know about. You're drawing conclusions from something not really related.

Again, I'm not sure what you mean. Here's an analogy: Suppose I go to the mall and stop at the map kiosk to see where the stores I want to visit are located. I find a little arrow on the map which says "you are here." Then, I find myself thinking how absolutely improbable it is that the people who made this map knew just where I would be at that exact moment. They must have psychic powers or something.

Except, of course, that's pretty absurd. We all know how the map makers know where to put the "you are here" arrow. Similarly, the only sorts of universes we could look at are ones that support life.

This is how the argument against the anthropic principle usually goes (sans colorful mall analogy).
I think it misses a few things, however. First, there is an indelible element of design in the map at the mall. So, if it's meant to be an analogy for the universe, and not just a conditional analogy, it's not a good one. We don't know whether the universe is designed or not. But we also cannot leave the question dangling. It's a very important question. So, we're forced to make the best decision we can. The problem is that we are confronted with a situation that seems to resemble the "you are here" analogy in relevant respects. We have to decide not what the possibilities are, but rather, how to place our bets. One possibility is that the words did just happen to appear by entirely natural processes. The other is that they appear by design.

I do not make any claims about which is the best way to go. However, I do think there is evidence for telos in the universe which probably cannot arise via natural processes: we ourselves have telos (i.e. the ability to intend). There aren't any good coherent and convincing accounts of how telos might arise from ateleological processes. This does not imply design to the universe, but, if I am right, it does imply a designing force is present in the universe, and it's not one that arises from physis.

zgoldsmith23 said:
Ad hoc doesn't necessarily imply incorrectness; for evidence of this, just look at Einstein's cosmological constant.

I'm not sure this is a good reply. Simple guesses aren't necessarily incorrect, but there remain questions about the reliability of the process that generates them. Ad hoc replies may be right occasionally, but this doesn't mean we should have confidence in the processes which generate them.
 

ashurbanipal

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solletica said:
A theory (in empirical science) is an explanation for something that has shown to be consistent w/the results of several experiments.

This misses the point. For any theory T which predicts observational consequences O, there is some theory T' and set of observational consequences O' such that T' predicts O', but not O.

Anyway, I've noticed you've posted a claim that the notion that there is but one large Minkowski space is false. I wonder if you could point out what evidence you mean, and also spell out a little more clearly why you think one big Minkowski space is the intuitive concept of a universe that most people would hold.

Let me clarify the point: suppose there are two regions of Minkowski space completely surrounded by a larger region of some exotic kind of space (let's say it's a 5D space with all positive coefficients in the metric signature, just to make it weird). I think most people would assume that all of those regions, since they are continuous and contiguous, are part of the same universe. What wouldn't be part of the same universe would be, say, two Minkowski spaces separated by a "region" of naught-dimensional space.

The problem is, obviously, there can't be "space" without any dimensions. This would just be the same as two continuous Minkowski spaces, which would in fact be just one Minkowski space. We'd only separate them by convention (i.e. in the same way my bedroom is a separate space from my kitchen).
 

ashurbanipal

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Monserrat said:
1. Pseudoscience isn't science.

Yes, this seems to be true by definition.

Monserrat said:
It's pseudoscience and I'd appreciate it if you would not interject your personal opinion on what you think I may believe or may not believe, if you're confused by something I said then all you have to do is ask.

I have no idea what motivates this comment. I offered no opinion about what you may or may not believe.

Monserrat said:
I never mentioned anything on phrenology but like with other pseudosciences they aren't science, the process involved in the scientific method involves peer review in a scientific journal if it's not something that can be reproduceable and cannot pass the peer review process then it doesn't stand up to one of the more important steps of the scientific method.

The point is that you gave a definition of science which phrenology fits. But phrenology is not science. Ergo, your definition is flawed.

Moneserrat said:
2. Mathematics is mathematics. Science relies heavily on it.

Saying that mathematics is mathematics is obviously true, but completely uninformative. The question is whether mathematics is a study of the natural world, or not. If it is not (and I think it's obvious that it is not), then this does significant damage to your claim that science is a study of the natural world. At the very least, you owe us a satisfactory explanation of this point--one that will have to be quite a bit better than the one you've just offered.

Monserrat said:
3. That's how science works...results have to be verified.

If your claim is that Relativity Theory was not science until Eddington's expedition, then OK, but that seriously limits the positions you'll be able to take in this thread. By parity of reasoning, theories of multiverses aren't science until we make some observation which no other theory can predict.

Monserrat said:
4. I'm wondering if it's the terminology that's throwing you off here

And I'm wondering why you think I'm thrown off. Nothing in the wiki link you posted was surprising to me. I don't have any questions about anything you've posted so far.

I pointed out that a tool many physicists use--the ideal gas law--is not based on observation of the natural world. Clapeyron just sat around and thought about how an ideal gas would behave, and he formulated his equation on that basis. But again, it's not based on observation. What's it doing being used in physics and taught in physics courses?
 

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Yes, this seems to be true by definition.



I have no idea what motivates this comment. I offered no opinion about what you may or may not believe.



The point is that you gave a definition of science which phrenology fits. But phrenology is not science. Ergo, your definition is flawed.



Saying that mathematics is mathematics is obviously true, but completely uninformative. The question is whether mathematics is a study of the natural world, or not. If it is not (and I think it's obvious that it is not), then this does significant damage to your claim that science is a study of the natural world. At the very least, you owe us a satisfactory explanation of this point--one that will have to be quite a bit better than the one you've just offered.



If your claim is that Relativity Theory was not science until Eddington's expedition, then OK, but that seriously limits the positions you'll be able to take in this thread. By parity of reasoning, theories of multiverses aren't science until we make some observation which no other theory can predict.



And I'm wondering why you think I'm thrown off. Nothing in the wiki link you posted was surprising to me. I don't have any questions about anything you've posted so far.

I pointed out that a tool many physicists use--the ideal gas law--is not based on observation of the natural world. Clapeyron just sat around and thought about how an ideal gas would behave, and he formulated his equation on that basis. But again, it's not based on observation. What's it doing being used in physics and taught in physics courses?

1. I absolutely did not give a definition of science where phrenology fit in, I gave the actual definition of science and what it is and the process involved in what makes something science aka the scientific method, it has to follow those steps in order to be science.

Here's the definition I was using taken from a site that discusses what the scientific method is:

"Science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experimentation [source: Oxford American Dictionary]." HowStuffWorks "How the Scientific Method Works"

Read through the site if you think phrenology fits into the scientific world then it's going to have to pass those steps.

2. Context Matters: My post about what science is was in response to a very specific article that was trying to call “intelligent design” science which it’s not. My response was geared towards addressing that and that alone although I used the typical definition of what science was (quoted above) in order to show how that wasn’t science. It was not meant to address your many questions over whether phrenology, or math (a very nonspecific and all encompassing field of study I might add) or the ideal gas law, or general relativity or special relativity or your basic equation on particle acceleration or the fluidic viscosity of your best friend John Doe’s fart for that matter or you know whatever other red herring you want to throw in there.
 

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Seeing as how this thread mischaracterizes atheists and science, can we move this to Philosophy so I can address it without infraction?

So-o-o-o-o people that are religious God cannot be scientists??! Atheists and agnotics and religious folks cannot discuss the beginning and the concept of this universe and all the interpretations of it!? Many, if not the majority who study the wonders of the universe cannot help but to believe in something greater than any poewer we understand. Put a lable on it? Why, so there can be indifference? I for one am blessed to be alive to experience the many shattering discoveries made constantly about creation or the big bang or whatever silly people insist on calling it. I call it "the unknown" for the simple reason it is.
 

corlini

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So-o-o-o-o people that are religious God cannot be scientists??! Atheists and agnotics and religious folks cannot discuss the beginning and the concept of this universe and all the interpretations of it!? Many, if not the majority who study the wonders of the universe cannot help but to believe in something greater than any poewer we understand. Put a lable on it? Why, so there can be indifference? I for one am blessed to be alive to experience the many shattering discoveries made constantly about creation or the big bang or whatever silly people insist on calling it. I call it "the unknown" for the simple reason it is.



Yes i agree with this post 100%. I am agnostic as i believe agnostics are the most open minded.
 
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