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  1. #1
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    Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    My latest (and my first) blog article:

    Atheist claim that science proves there is no god or gods. Theists claim that science hasn't reached the point yet, or may never, to have implications on god or prove that god is, in fact, a true proposition (1). Or theists claim that science does point to god, and atheists are merely interpreting the evidence incorrectly.


    And we've all heard these arguments nearly ad nuseum, being frequent debaters on ODN. However, what does science actually say on atheism? Is there anything within the contents of 500 years of a constant research method, empirical evidence, revolutions in paradigms, and logical inferences from the data generated?

    Introduction; Grecian and Indian philosophy Analogy
    In truth, atheism --in a variant form-- lies in the heart of the scientific method, from which stem all other debates. In order to properly explain this, however, I find it necessary to expose you to an ancient Indian philosophy (2, 3). Ancient Indian philosophy believed in logic and the ancient Hindu texts, called the Vedas. They believed that you should accept the Vedas as true without question. For the longest time, this was a general trend in humanity; we find the same culture in ancient Greece. The Greeks had many temples and people who assumed that Zeus and Hera were their great masters. The important idea was that what we observed was the intervention of the gods in the universe. This belief pervaded in both Greek and Indian philosophy until two distinct philosophers/theological figures intervened and setup a philosophy that was not centered around gods: Buddha in India, and Socrates in Greece. Socrates did not end gods in system of thinking --though Buddha did, but still kept other mystical influences-- he introduced the idea of observation.

    While Buddha had little to no effect on the development of the scientific method his model of the universe is largely similar to the paradigm of the universe for the Socratic-style observations that what Galileo and Newton would develop the scientific method into. (Do note, however, that Socrates, specifically through his disciple Aristotle, did affect the development of the modern scientific method)


    The Scientific Method Explained
    Historically, Socrates and Aristotle worked heavily on the scientific method, continued by Romans, and then largely completed by Ibn al-Haytham, Galileo Galilee, and Sir Isaac Newton.

    I will further this analogy for the purpose of explaining what they finished with:
    A. In Buddhism, the universe is viewed as a complex set of laws on regarding humans as beings containing atman (souls, roughly translated) that go through Samsaric cycles (rebirths) because of laws of the universe, such as karma, dyanna, and et cetera, where there's no god who influences our choices.

    B. In the Scientific Method, we assume that what we observe is true, and that we can then make theories about them. These entail assumptions that lead to a similar universe as explained by Buddha. First, everything we observe has to be typical of the universe (Call this Postulate 1), or else we are observing a series of outliers or false clues; therefore, we assume that when we are making observations, there is no unnatural force on the universe. This is something modern philosophers call "methodological naturalism" (4). This is defined as, in layman's terms, "the assumption that the universe is free from the influence of anything unnatural, or interrupting the usual processes of the universe." Which lightly ends me with the idea that given those definitions, there are in fact laws (Expressed by Newton and Galileo through the language of mathematics) that the universe is governed by.

    The Problem of Methodological Naturalism
    The problem of methodological naturalism is that we then have the problem of explaining god's interference with the universe. If god in fact does interfere with the universe, how do they do it? As the Director of UCITE (teaching board) at Case, Mano Singham, once said in a lecture he gave a week ago that I had the pleasure of watching: "How does an immaterial being intervene in a material world? What are the physical mechanisms behind it?"

    As physics, chemistry, and biology --as well as the social sciences-- yield more and more information, we have less and less need for a god to explain our universe. We no longer need ideas about karma and nirvana from the Vedas or Buddhist teachings to tell us to do good; we have proven to ourselves that by having a cooperating society, on a whole, all the members of said society have added benefits. We no longer need god to explain the "motions of the heaves" --as Aristotle called it-- because Newtonian mechanics got rid of the need for a god (though there were still some doubts) and Einsteinian mechanics destroyed the notion of there needing to be a god completely from gravitational dynamics. Brahmins, Shamans, and witch-doctors are no longer summoned to heal sick from their terrible spiritual infestations; we know that gods don't come down and afflict people with spirits, but we get sick by acquiring diseases from bacteria and viruses. We don't need god to create animals, evolution explains why there are species.

    But modern physics takes it even further. We observe how the smallest of things affect the universe; electrons, protons, and even sub-sub-atomic particles. How does god affect the universe? Do the electrons spin a certain way so a specific chemical interaction in our brain runs a certain way and we decide to help the old lady off of the side walk instead of beat her to death? If that's the case, then all of the universe --and thus all scientific results-- are random and chaotic. God chooses everything, and nothing in the universe is regulated; since all things are indeed connected (IE: If I change a single thing in the universe, I change the entire interactions that will come) god's interference causes all data to be subject. And then we must ask, is god just tricking us? If god exists, how do we know if god isn't just causing us to get different results?

    Because when we use that data, create a model from it, it explains other things that logically come from the model. So how is it that an immaterial being affects a material world? We cannot show that god affects the universe; we probably should have by now. Quantum mechanics is chaotic, but in the scheme of things, it still keeps perfect order. How does god intervene? Should not we see a miracle in 500 years of scientific research that would say god intervenes? Atheism, to me, seems to be the most logical conclusion.



    Cited Sources
    (1) The whole trial in 2005 on ID vs. evolution shows common trends in American culture on what is science and religion's relationship with it. For more information, the PBS program is particularly helpful: NOVA | Intelligent Design on Trial | Watch the Program | PBS
    (2) Buddhism vs. Hinduism; "The Authority of Scriptures": Buddhism and Hinduism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    While uncited, the actual source is below:
    (3) Vedanta - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and Upanishad - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Shows earlier versions of the Indian philosophy discussed; Vedanta actually, as it says in the Upanishad page, an older philosophy than 200 BC.
    (4) Wiki's article on Naturalism as a philosophy explains the differences between sub-schools of its philosophy, and with regards to science. Natural...8philosophy) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/blog/sho...ntryuserid=868


    Do you agree or disagree?
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

  2. #2
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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    To sum up your argument, physics does not support the notion that God intervenes because if God did intervene then Physics would be able to detect it due to the changes it has brought about.

    Please confirm whether I am understanding you correctly before I say anything else.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

  3. #3
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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Not quite, there was another major part:

    I should say that we should detect god on some level, but also: how can we trust any of science if there's a god involved?

    If he were involved with the structure of the universe and intervened in parts, how can we trust that any part of empirically collected data is in fact a part of the orderly universe? How can you say that you're certain that X data is correct? And if you do believe in god and believe that X data is true because you saw it, how can you trust Y data from another scientist to be true? How can you convince yourself that god is not interfering with your data?

    If you accept that there's a god, then you have to accept that at any point, god may be intervening in your data (unless you're a deist, and you are not). How do you reconcile this with the inner scientist?


    With that in mind, please re-read my OP. It more verbose and in-depth.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

  4. #4
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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Ok then in short we can summarize your argument as:

    1) If God interfered in the world then Physics would have detected him.

    2) That if God does interfere in the world then how can science be true.

    Now for my response:

    1) Science can only detect that which it measures. Given your argument, a physicist should be able to detect me waving my hand through the air just a second ago. Sure, thats true if there were a physicist in my lab right now directly observing and measuring this phenomena. However, a physicist at Case Western would never be able to detect this phenomena. In fact a physicist at Case Western will not even detect the influence of a mother waving goodbye to her child just down the block on an experiment he is conducting, unless of course he had set up experimental procedures and equipment to measure exactly that.

    In short, you give present day physics too much credit. If God interacted at the quantum level, physicists would never detect it unless they set up an experiment based around detecting such a phenomena and they just happened to be fortuitous enough for God to interact with the particular particle they are observing at the very moment of their observation.

    However, if God were to decide right now to heal 50 AIDs victims in Africa and nobody was observing them specifically at that moment with the intent to observe a miracle, then it will not be detected, at least by a scientist. Although the patients themselves were present, since the even did not happen under controlled conditions then it will be ignored.

    The old question of "If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around does it make a noise" is something very true of science. Unless scientists are looking for something, chances are its not going to be detected. And even if they are looking for something and they dont have a way to control the situation and repeat the experiment, then its not going to do a whole lot of good.

    Considering the types of questions and the conditions upon which science operates, in particular physics, it is presumptuous to assume that Physics would have detected anything of the like.

    I say physics particularly, because physics is the most mathematical of the sciences and in the last century physics has made view advances that didnt go hand in hand with some sort of direct measurement and mathematical description. This requires rather controlled conditions and full expectations of what will happen so that careful measurement will take place, not really ideal for detecting and measuring a phenomena which man can neither control or predict.

    2) Actually, you've stated a problem that really isn't exclusive to the existence of God. Science is based on several axioms one of which is that the universe is indeed ordered in some fashion and that it is understandable by man.

    The point Im trying to make is that the idea that our universe is indeed ordered and can be understood is a first principle that can never be fully or truly proven. Its a philosophical assumption that lies outside our ability to prove in anyway, even through logic and it remains a problem even whether or not your world view incorporates God.

    What is interesting though is that while you see the possibility of God as being a threat to this assumption the Scientists of the Enlightment and the Scientific Revolution saw it as the basis for the assumption in the first place. In their view the universe was ordered, because it was created by a God who established laws to govern what might otherwise be a incomprehensible place in the absence of a law-giver.

    So we know that there is no conclusive proof, even from logic that the universe should even be orderly or something we can comprehend. And in contrast to your own viewpoints, many see God as the explanation for why there should even be order or regularity in such a universe.

    As someone in physics I think it is probably far more apparent to you just how flimsy the idea of order really can be. Quantum Mechanics at a certain level flies in the face of any real notion of order and forces to accept the presence of genuine probability and chance. The fact that there is even such a thing as order in the universe leave many puzzled and confused and grasping at ideas like a multiverse where universes with completely different laws and principles exist.

    The idea that science is thus negated by the presence of God is something I simply dont see as a problem or a threat. Rather I see it as a reason to trust in science in the first place. In my view, because their is God, there is order.

    Actually, the reason behind why we can and should trust the results we get even if God does work in the world can be demonstrated by looking at the implications of your argument.

    If it is the case that we cannot trust an experimental result because God interacts with the world, then it is also the case that we cannot trust an experimental result because I interact with the World. If God, healing a man in New York means that you cannot trust your results because his interaction effects everything else, then it is also true that my going pee in the morning also effects everything else, including your experimental result.

    Or perhaps it is the case that neither action has any effect on your experiment that day and you can trust your results.

    Maybe this is just harder for you physicists to accept, caught up as you are in absolute laws. Biologists are used to there being exceptions to everything. People talk about the principles of Genetics laid down by Mendel and even apply the name law to them, however, there are more exceptions to Mendel's "Laws" than I care to even mention. Even in evolution, not everything is absolute. Natural Selection is not the only governing principle. Genetic Drift plays an important role in many instances. As a Biologist I dont seek to lay down absolute laws, I simply seek to create flexible principles that allow me to better understand the situation while knowing that this will not be true everytime. Yes, we can think very differently at times.
    Last edited by chadn737; November 26th, 2007 at 08:31 PM.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

  5. #5
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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    Ok then in short we can summarize your argument as:

    1) If God interfered in the world then Physics would have detected him.

    2) That if God does interfere in the world then how can science be true.
    Rather than address me OP, you'd rather summarize my argument into two points?

    And I make concise, explicit arguments anymore, why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    Now for my response:

    1) Science can only detect that which it measures. Given your argument, a physicist should be able to detect me waving my hand through the air just a second ago. Sure, thats true if there were a physicist in my lab right now directly observing and measuring this phenomena. However, a physicist at Case Western would never be able to detect this phenomena. In fact a physicist at Case Western will not even detect the influence of a mother waving goodbye to her child just down the block on an experiment he is conducting, unless of course he had set up experimental procedures and equipment to measure exactly that.
    Yes, humans need the proper equipment to detect what it's observing. It entails that we must be able to observe what we're observing in order for us to observe it. Your point?

    We cannot observe god in any way? Then let's go back to my last thread on justifications for god.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    In short, you give present day physics too much credit.
    Right.

    Now, present day biologists have determined that evolution is, in fact, true and that unicorns cannot evolve from elephants. Now, I believe that unicorns did evolve from elephants, and I think that you place too much trust in modern genetic evolutionary theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    If God interacted at the quantum level, physicists would never detect it unless they set up an experiment based around detecting such a phenomena and they just happened to be fortuitous enough for God to interact with the particular particle they are observing at the very moment of their observation.

    How can god interact on a non-quantum level? That's where all the forces come from, and the only way he could not violate the conservation of energy, which to our knowledge is a championing part of our universe. Which of course assumes a whole lot of other things that make no physical intuitive sense. (This is the point where you do not say: "but it's quantum mechanics, and I don't understand it, therefore god!")

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    However, if God were to decide right now to heal 50 AIDs victims in Africa and nobody was observing them specifically at that moment with the intent to observe a miracle, then it will not be detected, at least by a scientist. Although the patients themselves were present, since the even did not happen under controlled conditions then it will be ignored.
    So your point is that if humans don't observe it, then god will be able to do it?

    You realize that in QM, there's a notion of 'data' that a particle carries, that if you were to put the data together, you could re-construct where the particle has gone and what it's done. Ergo, future generations might be able to prove that god has intervened in the universe. What, does god doctor the books after he intervenes? (What's Occam's Razor say again?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    The old question of "If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around does it make a noise" is something very true of science. Unless scientists are looking for something, chances are its not going to be detected. And even if they are looking for something and they dont have a way to control the situation and repeat the experiment, then its not going to do a whole lot of good.
    Very true, but there's a large difference between:

    A. A tree fell in the forest.

    And:

    B. A tree fell in the forest because a giant, which we have no way of observing, because that imaginary giant also talks to us through mysterious ways. Why? Because I believe.

    The difference, you might notice, has a great deal to do with Occam's Razor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    Considering the types of questions and the conditions upon which science operates, in particular physics, it is presumptuous to assume that Physics would have detected anything of the like.
    ...

    ....


    ...... Why?


    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    I say physics particularly, because physics is the most mathematical of the sciences and in the last century physics has made view advances that didnt go hand in hand with some sort of direct measurement and mathematical description. This requires rather controlled conditions and full expectations of what will happen so that careful measurement will take place, not really ideal for detecting and measuring a phenomena which man can neither control or predict.
    ...

    ....

    ...... What? Where were you when modern physics was going on? Bio 212?

    Oh wait yes, that would make sense, because you're a biologist and your specialty is not physics.


    Support this (which I know you cannot), or retract it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    2) Actually, you've stated a problem that really isn't exclusive to the existence of God. Science is based on several axioms one of which is that the universe is indeed ordered in some fashion and that it is understandable by man.
    ... Okay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    The point Im trying to make is that the idea that our universe is indeed ordered and can be understood is a first principle that can never be fully or truly proven. Its a philosophical assumption that lies outside our ability to prove in anyway, even through logic and it remains a problem even whether or not your world view incorporates God.
    Last I checked, anything that is ordered means that it has the ability to produce:

    A. Consistent results.
    B. Capable of having laws used to describe its behavior.

    So far, both of those things are true. Sure, there's minor error, but Occam's Razor: which is more likely, there's a god-man making everything off, or we just don't have the perfect model of the universe yet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    What is interesting though is that while you see the possibility of God as being a threat to this assumption the Scientists of the Enlightment and the Scientific Revolution saw it as the basis for the assumption in the first place. In their view the universe was ordered, because it was created by a God who established laws to govern what might otherwise be a incomprehensible place in the absence of a law-giver.
    Enlightenment philosopher's assumed a lot of things, many of which were wrong. An ordered universe is, through the past 500 years of scientific inquiry, the most acceptable model. The philosophical reason for why order exists has been speculated differently by all scientists, starting with Aristotle, continuing to al-Heythem, and onto Newton, and then to Einstein --but it'd be unfair not to acknowledge the countless scientists who were not physicists who had theories on why the universe was ordered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    So we know that there is no conclusive proof, even from logic that the universe should even be orderly or something we can comprehend. And in contrast to your own viewpoints, many see God as the explanation for why there should even be order or regularity in such a universe.
    ...

    ....

    ...... Why? From what logic trail? Trailing from what evidence?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    As someone in physics I think it is probably far more apparent to you just how flimsy the idea of order really can be. Quantum Mechanics at a certain level flies in the face of any real notion of order and forces to accept the presence of genuine probability and chance. The fact that there is even such a thing as order in the universe leave many puzzled and confused and grasping at ideas like a multiverse where universes with completely different laws and principles exist.
    Physicists hate it when biologists try to interpret advanced chemistry/physics. Why? They always get it completely wrong, and make statements equally as erroneous as "The second law of thermodynamics proves evolution cannot be true!" because they don't get the key concepts at hand and start equating non-equitable concepts in their haste to comprehend.


    QM is not intuitive, but it's not illogical nor can we state that ordered universe goes out the window because we cannot monitor everything that goes on at the QM level. The uncertainty principle has nothing to do with chance; we use probability because it is most convenient, not because the universe just throws the dice (or your world, I'm assuming, "Godpicksit"). Theories on multiverses are not proof that physicists don't understand the universe at all, or are somehow trying to answer why the universe is at it's core is orderly. We don't bother with those questions because the universe is obviously orderly, and then we've worked for 500 years past that. Like most theoretical physics, it's a thought experiment of some sort or another.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    The idea that science is thus negated by the presence of God is something I simply dont see as a problem or a threat. Rather I see it as a reason to trust in science in the first place. In my view, because their is God, there is order.
    It's not a threat after you completely botch what real science has determined, yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    Actually, the reason behind why we can and should trust the results we get even if God does work in the world can be demonstrated by looking at the implications of your argument.

    If it is the case that we cannot trust an experimental result because God interacts with the world, then it is also the case that we cannot trust an experimental result because I interact with the World. If God, healing a man in New York means that you cannot trust your results because his interaction effects everything else, then it is also true that my going pee in the morning also effects everything else, including your experimental result.
    No, god intervening in the universe means that someone is running over the data books putting in false data. Is that reliable evidence?

    I've heard your great Mendel did it though, so perhaps in biology-land that's okay?


    I somehow doubt that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    Or perhaps it is the case that neither action has any effect on your experiment that day and you can trust your results.
    Or perhaps the easter bunny came by today and sprinkled magic dust in my acetic acid when it was supposed to be sulfuric acid and turned it into that. I bet that's why my chemistry lab was correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad
    Maybe this is just harder for you physicists to accept, caught up as you are in absolute laws. Biologists are used to there being exceptions to everything. People talk about the principles of Genetics laid down by Mendel and even apply the name law to them, however, there are more exceptions to Mendel's "Laws" than I care to even mention. Even in evolution, not everything is absolute. Natural Selection is not the only governing principle. Genetic Drift plays an important role in many instances. As a Biologist I dont seek to lay down absolute laws, I simply seek to create flexible principles that allow me to better understand the situation while knowing that this will not be true everytime. Yes, we can think very differently at times.
    Yes, us silly physicists who deal with things that can actually be either falsified or proven. What a simpleton notion of ours that we should be able to create laws that actually provide the explanations that allow us to understand chemical reactions -> chemical bonds -> organic compounds -> DNA -> genetics.

    Damn we're a silly lot for expecting our results to be consistent.



    (So when did this become a pissing match between biology and physics?)
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

  6. #6
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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Using science to answer questions about God is like trying to measure distance with a thermometer.

    Science involves an inductive process (generating a bunch of ideas that could explain some part of the natural world) and a deductive process (conducting experiments in an attempt to disprove those hypotheses). Any hypothesis that survives such rigorous testing becomes a theory. If I'm observing something that I can't explain, that doesn't mean that God did it. It could mean that my observation was bad or my inductive process failed.

    Furthermore, as God does not exist in the material universe, no scientific experiment could be devised to test the God hypothesis.

    What we do know is that many stories in the Bible (and other religious texts) are not supported by the scientific method. However, this does not disprove the existence of God. God does not require the Bible in order to exist.
    It is less important what you believe, than why you believe it.

  7. #7
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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Quote Originally Posted by GP
    Rather than address me OP, you'd rather summarize my argument into two points?

    And I make concise, explicit arguments anymore, why?
    I found most of your OP "verbose," to put it in your own words. I see no reason to mess around arguing about analogies to Indian and Greek philosophy that make little sense.

    Yes, humans need the proper equipment to detect what it's observing. It entails that we must be able to observe what we're observing in order for us to observe it. Your point?

    We cannot observe god in any way? Then let's go back to my last thread on justifications for god.
    Not at all my point. My point being that you cant expect to detect God when you are running around trying to detect elementary particles.

    Its like trying to catch an elephant in New York City with a mouse trap. Wrong location, wrong tools, wrong results.

    Yeah, theres lots of tales about Scientists making discoveries while actually looking for something else, but thats the exception not the rule and what separates those scientists is that they were open and observing for things other than the expected outcome. Otherwise 99.9% of science is done through carefully thought out experiment with a certain ideal outcome in mind and any other outcome that is directly related to what you are looking for is typically ignored because you're busy and dont have the time to pursue every possibility.

    Experimental design. If you want to be a scientist (at least something other than a theoretician) the concept of experimental design is going to become a major part of your life. Your results are in a large part determined by how you set up the experiment.

    Right.

    Now, present day biologists have determined that evolution is, in fact, true and that unicorns cannot evolve from elephants. Now, I believe that unicorns did evolve from elephants, and I think that you place too much trust in modern genetic evolutionary theory.
    Your sarcasm really isnt helping you right now.

    Im not the one making grandiose claims that if God existed, then physics should have detected it. How long ago was it that physics first detected dark matter? Dark Energy? Do they even yet have a conclusive clue as to what either is? Dark Energy, which supposedly accounts for 70% of the universe went unknown until 1998! Yet you want to argue that physics would have discovered God if He existed when it wasnt until 10 years ago that they realized that they couldnt account for 70% of the mass of the universe.

    Like I said, you have give physics, let me rephrase that, human knowledge and human capability too much credit.
    How can god interact on a non-quantum level? That's where all the forces come from, and the only way he could not violate the conservation of energy, which to our knowledge is a championing part of our universe. Which of course assumes a whole lot of other things that make no physical intuitive sense. (This is the point where you do not say: "but it's quantum mechanics, and I don't understand it, therefore god!")
    Totally missed the argument. Im not saying God interacts on a "non-quantum " level. Im not saying He interacts at a quantum level.

    Lets review the gist of the argument which this response was made into:

    physicists would never detect it unless they set up an experiment based around detecting such a phenomena and they just happened to be fortuitous enough for God to interact with the particular particle they are observing at the very moment of their observation.

    Do you have any clue what is going on at the quantum level without highly specialized detectors? Even with the aid of highly specialized detectors are you going to be able to know whats going on with every one of the quantum particles right in front of you and around that detector or are you only going to be able to sense to a limited degree what is going on with a tiny number of particles you happen to be observing in a carefully designed experiment?

    Answer that question and you will see why your reply is irrelevant to what I said.

    However, Im going to go ahead and finish answering it for you. The answer is that you can only understand to a limited degree (determined by a certain principle you should be familiar with) what is happening with a handful of particles which are a part of your carefully designed experiment.

    Now to relate this back to the argument you replied too, in order for a physicist to detect God working at such a level, that physicist would have to be very fortunate to happen to be observing a handful of quantum particles in a sea of trillions and trillions and trillions and...... of those very same particles that God is interacting with at that moment of observation. Thats only the very beginning of the whole problem.

    That is why its presumptuous to claim that physics should have discovered God, especially when they only discovered 70% of the universe like 10 years ago.
    So your point is that if humans don't observe it, then god will be able to do it?
    Not at all. You misunderstand. What Im saying is that physics doesnt try to observe God and so it wont. If you dont observe the stars, you have no hope of learning about them.

    In addition to that, my example of the AIDs victims attacks another issue.

    Controlled conditions. Most of science occurs under controlled conditions of some sort. Even those set up to observe natural phenomena outside of the lab incorporate some form of control. Results where the parameters are not fully explained or controlled in some manner are generally ignored by Science.
    You realize that in QM, there's a notion of 'data' that a particle carries, that if you were to put the data together, you could re-construct where the particle has gone and what it's done. Ergo, future generations might be able to prove that god has intervened in the universe. What, does god doctor the books after he intervenes? (What's Occam's Razor say again?)
    I havent said that its not possible for Science to detect God. Maybe someday future generations will do exactly what you said and rediscover in the process the existence of God.

    However, have we reached the point where we can accurately re-construct the history of a particle to a high degree anywhere outside of rigorously controlled conditions? For that matter I doubt that we can even do that much presently under such controlled conditions (maybe Im wrong on this, I dont delve as much as I used to into Physics, if this is not the case then please provide sources and evidence that counter this, and by this I mean experimental evidence, not theory).

    Rather, you stated that: Should not we see a miracle in 500 years of scientific research that would say god intervenes?

    What I am saying is that this is not the case. For most of that 500 years we didnt even know the basics of the natural world. Furthermore Science is limited to controlled experiment and observation that necessitates reproducibility of the results. A miracle isnt some machine that you can start up and expect to shoot out the same result each time.

    Given the nature of science and its dependence on experimental design, its actually no surprise that science has nothing to say about miracles in 500 years.

    Very true, but there's a large difference between:

    A. A tree fell in the forest.

    And:

    B. A tree fell in the forest because a giant, which we have no way of observing, because that imaginary giant also talks to us through mysterious ways. Why? Because I believe.

    The difference, you might notice, has a great deal to do with Occam's Razor.
    Red Herring.

    ...

    ....


    ...... Why?
    For the very reasons I have gone to great length to explain and which you have not grasped.

    ...

    ....

    ...... What? Where were you when modern physics was going on? Bio 212?

    Oh wait yes, that would make sense, because you're a biologist and your specialty is not physics.


    Support this (which I know you cannot), or retract it.
    LOL, true, Im not a physicist, but neither am I a freshman in his first semester.

    How much experimental data in physics was produced by Scientists who just happened to stumble upon it? Almost none. The most classic example of such a case would be the discovery of the Cosmic Background Radiation which was discovered by a couple of guys who found unintended background noise while attempting something else.

    However, its presence was actually predicted many years before its discovery and there were already physicists who had experiments going to detect it specifically. The two who did discover actually didnt fully understand what they had found, they just had a bunch of noise, however, they were keen enough to pursue the source of that noise and consulted another expert in the field who was looking for the Cosmic Background Radiation.

    However, the above example is the rare exception in physics, rather than the rule and even with it, mathematical predictions were made years in advance. Whats more, there results were something they could control for. They could reproduce their results again and again and fine tune their instruments to further substantiate their results. So even while their discovery was in someways random, it wasnt all that random at all.

    Most discoveries result from carefully designed experiments, like those done in particle colliders, where extensive calculation and prediction is made before hand. Or take Hubble. Before Hubble, the idea of cosmic expansion was carefully calculated from Einsteins theories. Hubble, worked in an observatory, making careful, controlled, and reproducible measurements that directly supported a theory that had already been formulated on mathematical calculation.

    Thats the primary story of physics Goldy.

    Lots of theory and calculation, followed by carefully controlled measurement and experiment.

    That should be obvious to any student of physics. Its obvious to me and Im in Biology. Biology isnt really all that different, although for us theres tends to be a lot more variability in the experimental results, but then its a lot harder to control every aspect of a living organism than it is to control a particle in a tube.

    Last I checked, anything that is ordered means that it has the ability to produce:

    A. Consistent results.
    B. Capable of having laws used to describe its behavior.

    So far, both of those things are true. Sure, there's minor error, but Occam's Razor: which is more likely, there's a god-man making everything off, or we just don't have the perfect model of the universe yet?
    Yep, its been a very successful axiom, but it still remain unproven in any absolute sense is and always will be a fundamental assumption. Not that its a really big deal, because I agree with you that the universe does display order. However, it being ordered does not support your assertion that God destroys the order. On the contrary I have demonstrated otherwise.

    Physicists hate it when biologists try to interpret advanced chemistry/physics. Why? They always get it completely wrong, and make statements equally as erroneous as "The second law of thermodynamics proves evolution cannot be true!" because they don't get the key concepts at hand and start equating non-equitable concepts in their haste to comprehend.

    QM is not intuitive, but it's not illogical nor can we state that ordered universe goes out the window because we cannot monitor everything that goes on at the QM level. The uncertainty principle has nothing to do with chance; we use probability because it is most convenient, not because the universe just throws the dice (or your world, I'm assuming, "Godpicksit"). Theories on multiverses are not proof that physicists don't understand the universe at all, or are somehow trying to answer why the universe is at it's core is orderly. We don't bother with those questions because the universe is obviously orderly, and then we've worked for 500 years past that. Like most theoretical physics, it's a thought experiment of some sort or another.
    You ramble on a lot about biologist not understanding anything and then make statements about QM are as befuddled as a biologists. You jump from stating that the use of Probability is a matter of "convenience" to a statement that physicists dont bother with questions like why the universe is orderly, to an assertion that the universe is orderly.

    I challenge you to prove every one of those assertions.

    Let me go ahead and take the lead in challenging you on one specifically:

    The Uncertainty Principle places a fundamental limit on measurement. A fundamental limit on any possibility of fully understanding every detail of the quantum world. Its not that you guys use probability as a matter of "convenience" as you state. You use probability because its fundamental. Theoretically, if this were not the case and it was a matter of "convenience" then Bell's theorem would be wrong, would it not?

    Enlightenment philosopher's assumed a lot of things, many of which were wrong. An ordered universe is, through the past 500 years of scientific inquiry, the most acceptable model. The philosophical reason for why order exists has been speculated differently by all scientists, starting with Aristotle, continuing to al-Heythem, and onto Newton, and then to Einstein --but it'd be unfair not to acknowledge the countless scientists who were not physicists who had theories on why the universe was ordered.
    Not really sure what you meant by this. Are you implying that my statement that "many viewed God as the reason for order" was not a concept amongst physicists, but rather by non-physicists?

    I really think that is what you are saying, if not, then please correct me.

    However, to soundly to defeat such a notion in case that was indeed what you were saying, let me begin by pointing to one of the greatest physicists of all time, a man whose name you list.....Newton.

    Yes, Isaac Newton, a man who believed in God and who believed that the order of the universe was derived from God. Next up we have Gallileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Boyle, Faraday, Kelvin, Planck, Polkinghorne, so on and so forth. So many physicists, some from the enlightment, some quite modern. Many some of the greatest of your field.

    Such a belief about the order of the universe finds strong support amongst physicists.

    ...

    ....

    ...... Why? From what logic trail? Trailing from what evidence?
    Its quite simple. Order is not a necessity. There is no necessary explanation for why our universe displays this order or why it even should. The existence of a being who establishes the governing laws of the universe is a logical explanation for the observance of order.

    No, god intervening in the universe means that someone is running over the data books putting in false data. Is that reliable evidence?
    How would God intervening in the world mean "false data?"

    False data is something made up. If God intervened in the world and that was detected then there would not be anything false about that now would there?

    I've heard your great Mendel did it though, so perhaps in biology-land that's okay?


    I somehow doubt that.
    Red Herring

    Actually Mendel's work was reproduced and validated. There is some question about why his results were so close to a 3:1 ratio, but nevertheless, modern reproductions have only served to support his claims. But if we want to play this game, how about Einstein's little fudge factor? Is that something acceptable in your guy's world?
    Or perhaps the easter bunny came by today and sprinkled magic dust in my acetic acid when it was supposed to be sulfuric acid and turned it into that. I bet that's why my chemistry lab was correct.
    Oooo......another red herring.

    You sure like those fallacies when you've got no real argument.
    Yes, us silly physicists who deal with things that can actually be either falsified or proven. What a simpleton notion of ours that we should be able to create laws that actually provide the explanations that allow us to understand chemical reactions -> chemical bonds -> organic compounds -> DNA -> genetics.

    Damn we're a silly lot for expecting our results to be consistent.

    (So when did this become a pissing match between biology and physics?)
    I never intended it to be. Just pointing out differences in the the way I see physicists and biologists think. We Biologists are used to exceptions and are moving away from the reductionism which has dominated physics.
    Last edited by chadn737; November 27th, 2007 at 08:18 AM.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

  8. #8
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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Quote Originally Posted by Zorak View Post
    Using science to answer questions about God is like trying to measure distance with a thermometer.
    I'm going to anwer this question by providing a quote from Dawkins. I'm also posting it because it really pisses Chad off.

    [Theists] are apt to quote the late Stephen Jay Gould's 'NOMA' 'non-overlapping magisteria'. Gould claimed that science and true religion never come into conflict because they exist in completely separate dimensions of discourse:

    To say it for all my colleagues and for the umpteenth millionth time (from college bull sessions to learned treatises): science simply cannot (by its legitimate methods) adjudicate the issue of God's possible superintendence of nature. We neither affirm nor deny it; we simply can't comment on it as scientists.

    This sounds terrific, right up until you give it a moment's thought. You then realize that the presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more momentous hypothesis in all of science. A universe with a god would be a completely different kind of universe from one without, and it would be a scientific difference. God could clinch the matter in his favour at any moment by staging a spectacular demonstration of his powers, one that would satisfy the exacting standards of science. Even the infamous Templeton Foundation recognized that God is a scientific hypothesis by funding double-blind trials to test whether remote prayer would speed the recovery of heart patients. It didn't, of course, although a control group who knew they had been prayed for tended to get worse (how about a class action suit against the Templeton Foundation?) Despite such well-financed efforts, no evidence for God's existence has yet appeared.

    To see the disingenuous hypocrisy of religious people who embrace NOMA, imagine that forensic archeologists, by some unlikely set of circumstances, discovered DNA evidence demonstrating that Jesus was born of a virgin mother and had no father. If NOMA enthusiasts were sincere, they should dismiss the archeologists' DNA out of hand: "Irrelevant. Scientific evidence has no bearing on theological questions. Wrong magisterium." Does anyone seriously imagine that they would say anything remotely like that? You can bet your boots that not just the fundamentalists but every professor of theology and every bishop in the land would trumpet the archeological evidence to the skies.

    Either Jesus had a father or he didn't. The question is a scientific one, and scientific evidence, if any were available, would be used to settle it. The same is true of any miracle and the deliberate and intentional creation of the universe would have to have been the mother and father of all miracles. Either it happened or it didn't. It is a fact, one way or the other, and in our state of uncertainty we can put a probability on it an estimate that may change as more information comes in. Humanity's best estimate of the probability of divine creation dropped steeply in 1859 when The Origin of Species was published, and it has declined steadily during the subsequent decades, as evolution consolidated itself from plausible theory in the nineteenth century to established fact today.

    Emphasis mine.

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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    I'm going to anwer this question by providing a quote from Dawkins. I'm also posting it because it really pisses Chad off.
    You rely on Dawkins to do all your work for you. It makes your posts rather boring and predictable.

    I know, that on any subject of Science that remotely relates to theism, there you will be, posting a quote from Dawkins rather than anything original.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    I'll give you post a thorough rebuttle, Chad, but unfortunately not very soon. Later tonight would be the absolute earliest, but this Friday seems more likely.


    Side note:
    Holy sh!t the week after Thanksgiving is hell. Test after test after essay after 12 hr lab report. BLECH! Plus I have to do two separate extra credit reports plus a second essay. All by this Thursday (Minus one essay that I did this morning). 0o;
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." --Voltaire

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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhav
    You then realize that the presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis
    Interesting idea, but somewhat suspect considering:

    1. The "god hypothesis" pre-dates scientific method by a thousand years or more.

    2. The "god hypothesis" is not subject to the scientific method. One can't test this theory by dying and then coming back a year later to report on it or going back in time to see God creating the universe.

    3. The "god hypothesis" has no predictive power in describing natural phenomena (unlike gravity, thermodynamics, evolution, etc. -- if God is responsible then things just happen because He wants them to, there's no rhyme or reason to it)

    4. The vast majority of credible scientists are not proponents of this hypothesis, are in fact atheist or simply not interested.

    5. There are other simpler, more logical hypotheses that explain the phenomena of biodiversity, e.g. evolution.
    It is less important what you believe, than why you believe it.

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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    You rely on Dawkins to do all your work for you[?]
    I quote him because he's right. So far, all I've heard from you is whining that I quote him too much. Have you ever actually attempted to refute the bit I posted? You certainly didn't here...


    _________________________________ Post Merged _________________________________


    Quote Originally Posted by Zorak View Post
    Interesting idea, but somewhat suspect considering:

    1. The "god hypothesis" pre-dates scientific method by a thousand years or more.
    Irrelevant. The hypothesis "the earth is flat" predates modern science by millenia, yet it is to science that we turn to test this hypothesis.

    2. The "god hypothesis" is not subject to the scientific method. One can't test this theory by dying and then coming back a year later to report on it or going back in time to see God creating the universe.
    Also irrelevent. The testability of an hypothesis does not affect it's status as a scientific hypothesis. We may be limited by our technology, but a limitation of technology is not a limitation of science.

    For example, for millenia, the content of the sun was beyond our ability to test. We could barely look at it let alone go there to scoop some of it up. The scientific method still applied, though. We still were looking for a way to test hypothesis and look for evidence. Sure enough, now we know what's in the sun by measuring the radiation it emits.

    What we didn't do is state, "The chemical make-up of the sun is outside the realm of science. Let's resort to folklore."

    3. The "god hypothesis" has no predictive power in describing natural phenomena (unlike gravity, thermodynamics, evolution, etc. -- if God is responsible then things just happen because He wants them to, there's no rhyme or reason to it)
    See the sun example above. Same issue. Regardless of what we as human beings do, the sun will always be too bright for us to look at directly, will rise and set according to a schedule, etc. Look at other realms of science. When has our inability to perceive something stopped us? 100 years ago, we couldn't see molecules. The idea was science fiction then. Now, we can build machines a few molecules long.

    Also, theists have been maintaining for millenia that god does do things we can perceive.

    4. The vast majority of credible scientists are not proponents of this hypothesis, are in fact atheist or simply not interested.
    The vast majority of scientists are interested in very specific realms of study and don't have time to study everything in their own field, let alone look into things as esoteric as the existence of god. This doesn't make the god hypothesis any more credible.

    Understand that the problem of the god hypothesis isn't that it can't be tested. The problem with the god hypothesis is that it contradicts too much of what we already know to be true. Like any other scientific hypothesis, it's subject to comparison against all other scientific theories / laws.

    For example, if I come up with the hypothesis "Energy comes into existence spontaneously" and offer no evidence for my claim, then we'd simply point to law of Conservation of Energy; the law is evidenced, my hypothesis is not. Thus, my energy hypothesis is false until I can prove otherwise with evidence.

    Due to the nature of religion, we've given the god hypothesis a "pass" for too long. We let theists state things which are demonstrably false and are expected to smile and agree with them. I'm sorry, but that's not how science works.

    5. There are other simpler, more logical hypotheses that explain the phenomena of biodiversity, e.g. evolution.
    Indeed there are. As I mentioned above, these supported theories / laws trump the god hypothesis hands down.
    Last edited by Zhavric; November 29th, 2007 at 04:00 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    How would we differentiate a "miracle" from what occurs naturally? For example, life itself is a miracle; we are concious, we are intelligent, we have senses. Are these not miracles? Since we have always known conciousness, perhaps it is not recognized as a miracle.

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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Welcome to ODN, John

    Quote Originally Posted by johnm1756 View Post
    How would we differentiate a "miracle" from what occurs naturally? For example, life itself is a miracle; we are concious, we are intelligent, we have senses. Are these not miracles? Since we have always known conciousness, perhaps it is not recognized as a miracle.
    You're mistaking awe inspiring things for supernatural things. A sunset can be stirring and beautiful, but it doesn't become any less beautiful with the knowledge of astronomy / atmospheric conditions / light behavior / etc.

    It's tempting to look at sophisticated phenomenon (like our consciousness) and allow our awe to lead us towards unsupported conclusions. Don't give in to that.

    Remember that design can never be a long term answer to any inquiry because the designer will always require a natural process or a designer.

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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Quote Originally Posted by zhavric
    I quote him because he's right. So far, all I've heard from you is whining that I quote him too much. Have you ever actually attempted to refute the bit I posted? You certainly didn't here...
    I would think you remember Zhavric. I have more arguments against Dawkins then I would ever bother to remember. You and I have debated through entire threads on ideas that originated with Dawkins.

    It would be one thing if the only time you ever used the strategy of quoting Dawkins as your only argument was in the context of whether or not the question of God is a scientific question, but that is not the case. You use him for nearly everything when it comes to science. I remember a thread that was debating primarily physics, not biology. Rather than bother to quote an expert, such as a physicist, you quoted Dawkins who is not considered an expert in the field.

    That tells me you need to broaden the base of your understanding on this matter.

    I didnt bother to address Dawkins (because I would be addressing him, not you, since it is his argument) because I agree with him that God's existence is within the realm of scientific inquiry.

    One reason I say this is because most people consider the question of whether other universes exist to also be within the realm of scientific inquiry. If one considers the existence of a entity like the existence of another universe outside our own, scientific, then surely one must also consider the existence of a being like God which exists outside our own universe to also be a scientific question.

    However, since you want to press the issue, I will pick a few bones with Dawkins:
    Quote Originally Posted by Dawkins
    This sounds terrific, right up until you give it a moment's thought. You then realize that the presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis.
    If by presence, Dawkins means influence, then there is no problem here. However, if it implies existence, then I disagree. God's existence would lie outside our own universe since He would predate it, although He could enter it.

    This is a minor issue and one reason I felt no reason to reply to Dawkins.

    To see the disingenuous hypocrisy of religious people who embrace NOMA, imagine that forensic archeologists, by some unlikely set of circumstances, discovered DNA evidence demonstrating that Jesus was born of a virgin mother and had no father. If NOMA enthusiasts were sincere, they should dismiss the archeologists' DNA out of hand: "Irrelevant. Scientific evidence has no bearing on theological questions. Wrong magisterium." Does anyone seriously imagine that they would say anything remotely like that? You can bet your boots that not just the fundamentalists but every professor of theology and every bishop in the land would trumpet the archeological evidence to the skies.
    Actually Dawkins weakens his argument in focusing in on Jesus. For one this can and would have application only to Christians. So for any non-Christian this example does no good in supporting Dawkin's argument that God's existence is a scientific question. Even when it comes to Christians, its still rather weak because Christ had a physical existence (having a material body made of flesh) and it was an existence inside our own universe, whereas the nature of God's existence (by this I mean His form, His essences, what He would consist of) which is undefined and which lies outside our own universe could still be argued to be a non-scientific question.
    Either Jesus had a father or he didn't. The question is a scientific one, and scientific evidence, if any were available, would be used to settle it.
    True, but like I explained above, this really doesnt help Dawkins position.
    The same is true of any miracle — and the deliberate and intentional creation of the universe would have to have been the mother and father of all miracles. Either it happened or it didn't.
    A true statement, but one that raises some issues. If a miracle happens, does science accept that it is a miracle or does it simply take the position that it cannot explain it, even if a proven explanation (other than it was a miracle) is never reached? It is actually this issue that led me to create a thread on asking what is the supernatural? Because the way science operates is that when an exception is found it cannot ever consider the possibility of it being a miracle, but rather uses it to disprove the accepted theory or else considers it an unexplained phenomena that probably happened due to bad experimental procedures or something of the like.

    Heres the real paradox. Conceptually, any material occurance, such as a miracle like the virgin birth of Jesus, is indeed a scientific question.

    But because of the nature of how science operates, it will never consider the possibility of a miracle. Hence science automatically discards one theory without any actual proof that this theory was wrong.

    It is a fact, one way or the other, and in our state of uncertainty we can put a probability on it — an estimate that may change as more information comes in. Humanity's best estimate of the probability of divine creation dropped steeply in 1859 when The Origin of Species was published, and it has declined steadily during the subsequent decades, as evolution consolidated itself from plausible theory in the nineteenth century to established fact today.
    Actually this last statement I have argued against many times. You cant make the statement that something is improbable as a fact without any actual quantification. Even if it seems unlikely to you, stating that it is an improbable is still nothing more than an assumption on your part (in this case Dawkins part) because you have not quantified anything. Probability is a mathematical notion, its something that one assigns a quantitative value to and without that quantitative value it is not an actual probability, but rather an assumption of probability.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    2) .....

    The point Im trying to make is that the idea that our universe is indeed ordered and can be understood is a first principle that can never be fully or truly proven. Its a philosophical assumption that lies outside our ability to prove in anyway, even through logic and it remains a problem even whether or not your world view incorporates God.

    What is interesting though is that while you see the possibility of God as being a threat to this assumption the Scientists of the Enlightment and the Scientific Revolution saw it as the basis for the assumption in the first place. In their view the universe was ordered, because it was created by a God who established laws to govern what might otherwise be a incomprehensible place in the absence of a law-giver.

    So we know that there is no conclusive proof, even from logic that the universe should even be orderly or something we can comprehend. And in contrast to your own viewpoints, many see God as the explanation for why there should even be order or regularity in such a universe.

    As someone in physics I think it is probably far more apparent to you just how flimsy the idea of order really can be. Quantum Mechanics at a certain level flies in the face of any real notion of order and forces to accept the presence of genuine probability and chance. The fact that there is even such a thing as order in the universe leave many puzzled and confused and grasping at ideas like a multiverse where universes with completely different laws and principles exist.

    The idea that science is thus negated by the presence of God is something I simply dont see as a problem or a threat. Rather I see it as a reason to trust in science in the first place. In my view, because their is God, there is order.

    Actually, the reason behind why we can and should trust the results we get even if God does work in the world can be demonstrated by looking at the implications of your argument.

    If it is the case that we cannot trust an experimental result because God interacts with the world, then it is also the case that we cannot trust an experimental result because I interact with the World. If God, healing a man in New York means that you cannot trust your results because his interaction effects everything else, then it is also true that my going pee in the morning also effects everything else, including your experimental result.

    Or perhaps it is the case that neither action has any effect on your experiment that day and you can trust your results.

    Maybe this is just harder for you physicists to accept, caught up as you are in absolute laws. Biologists are used to there being exceptions to everything. People talk about the principles of Genetics laid down by Mendel and even apply the name law to them, however, there are more exceptions to Mendel's "Laws" than I care to even mention. Even in evolution, not everything is absolute. Natural Selection is not the only governing principle. Genetic Drift plays an important role in many instances. As a Biologist I dont seek to lay down absolute laws, I simply seek to create flexible principles that allow me to better understand the situation while knowing that this will not be true everytime. Yes, we can think very differently at times.
    Simple overview:
    To be alife Human need 1 organ in the head we call "brain", scientifically this simple theory accepted as true. But existence of "Omnipotent God" have potential collapsing the theory that "Brain is needed for human life". "Omnipotent" bring ability to change nature in which make Science is not relevant anymore.

    I think this is the point of discrepancy
    Dalai Lama:
    I believe the ultimate aim of all human beings is to obtain happiness and a sense of fulfillment. These objectives can be achieved through physical amenities and proper mental development, but the dominant and ultimate factor is the mental aspect. In order to achieve these objectives one must have knowledge about both mind and matter.

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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Quote Originally Posted by Nagasena
    Simple overview:
    To be alife Human need 1 organ in the head we call "brain", scientifically this simple theory accepted as true. But existence of "Omnipotent God" have potential collapsing the theory that "Brain is needed for human life". "Omnipotent" bring ability to change nature in which make Science is not relevant anymore.

    I think this is the point of discrepancy
    Im well aware of what the point of GP's argument was and it was one I have addressed. Now if you want to debate, then address the arguments I have already made against the "point of discrepancy."
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric View Post

    Irrelevant. The hypothesis "the earth is flat" predates modern science by millenia, yet it is to science that we turn to test this hypothesis.
    Ancient assumptions about the nature of reality are not scientific hypotheses. Nobody even thought to question the validity of heliocentricity and Earth's being flat for thousands of years. Scientific hypotheses are generated with the intent of testing them. This is the difference between an hypothesis and an assumption and why I stated in my argument that God is not an hypothesis. God is an assumption, taken on Faith. With the advent of critical thought and scientific reasoning, it was possible to test the validity of some assumptions, those that were descriptions of our natural world. However, the supernatural, by definition, remains forever outside our ability to probe it with the scientific method.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhav
    Also irrelevent. The testability of an hypothesis does not affect it's status as a scientific hypothesis. We may be limited by our technology, but a limitation of technology is not a limitation of science.
    Uh . . . no, testability is a cardinal feature of a good hypothesis. I admire your creative and ever-changing spelling of the word "irrelevant", but declaring something irrelevant doesn't make it irrelevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    For example, for millenia, the content of the sun was beyond our ability to test. We could barely look at it let alone go there to scoop some of it up. The scientific method still applied, though. We still were looking for a way to test hypothesis and look for evidence. Sure enough, now we know what's in the sun by measuring the radiation it emits.
    You are confusing hypothesis with observation. No reasonable hypothesis about the internal structure of the sun could be made until we had the capacity to make direct observations. Now that we have a set of observations showing that the radiation frequencies from the sun correspond to the orbital electron energies of certain atoms, we can safely hypothesize that the sun is made of these elements. A good test of this hypothesis was the hydrogen bomb. The null hypothesis was that nothing would happen, that hydrogen atoms were not fusing in the sun and releasing huge amounts of energy. The explosions of the 1950's disproved our null hypothesis and gave credence to the hypothesis that the sun is composed of simple fusing atoms.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    What we didn't do is state, "The chemical make-up of the sun is outside the realm of science. Let's resort to folklore."
    Precisely my point. No scientist does this. God is never on the list of hypotheses generated by any credible scientist, regardless of how focused their area of research may be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhav
    See the sun example above. Same issue. Regardless of what we as human beings do, the sun will always be too bright for us to look at directly, will rise and set according to a schedule, etc. Look at other realms of science. When has our inability to perceive something stopped us? 100 years ago, we couldn't see molecules. The idea was science fiction then. Now, we can build machines a few molecules long.
    The sun, human beings, molecules, machines and molecules are all residents of the natural world and can be studied using the scientific method. "God" resides outside of the natural world, if anywhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    Also, theists have been maintaining for millenia that god does do things we can perceive.
    An observation followed by an assumption is not Science.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    The vast majority of scientists are interested in very specific realms of study and don't have time to study everything in their own field, let alone look into things as esoteric as the existence of god. This doesn't make the god hypothesis any more credible.
    Religious fanatics don't go around saying "perhaps there's a God". Scientists don't make the God hypothesis. There is no "god hypothesis". Science and religion are oil and water.

    Understand that the problem of the god hypothesis isn't that it can't be tested. The problem with the god hypothesis is that it contradicts too much of what we already know to be true. Like any other scientific hypothesis, it's subject to comparison against all other scientific theories / laws.
    Scientifically speaking, an untestable hypothesis is useless as it has no bearing on reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    For example, if I come up with the hypothesis "Energy comes into existence spontaneously" and offer no evidence for my claim, then we'd simply point to law of Conservation of Energy; the law is evidenced, my hypothesis is not. Thus, my energy hypothesis is false until I can prove otherwise with evidence.
    I emphasized your last sentence as it is not consistent with scientific method. We don't support a hypothesis because we find evidence for it. This is the opposite of critical thinking, more akin to "jumping to conclusions". We maintain a hypothesis if we cannot devise any experiment that disproves it. This is a subtle but very important difference and the key to understanding my argument.

    With that said, you have struck upon a very interesting example--that of spontaneously arising energy. Let's say that you observed matter (equivalent to energy) arising spontaneously in the Universe somewhere. Would you discredit this observation as it conflicts with the Law of Conservation of Energy? If so, then you would miss out on one of the most amazing scientific discoveries of the past century. The observation of matter arising spontaneously in the Universe has been made. Stephen Hawking observed this at the edge of Black Holes and this observation accounts for the emission of particles by Black Holes. The explanation that he put forth is that the universe has a certain amount of instability. Occasionally a positron and an electron are brought into existence, apparently out of a complete vacuum. These two particles are almost infinitely close to one another, attract one another, and then collide to release energy and thus "repay" the "borrowed" energy. In other words, at extremely small scales of matter and time, the Conservation of Energy Law can be "bent". This highlights our inadequate understanding of how the microscopic (quantum) world correlates with the macroscopic, relativistic world. Anyway, this spontaneous eruption of matter is happening all around us without much of an impact, but at the edge of a black hole, this event becomes something special. A particle pair arising on the event horizon will not be able to merge back together. The particle inside the event horizon (either the positron or the electron) must shoot off into the black hole. Following Newton's Laws of equal and opposite reactions, the other particle shoots off into space, away from the black hole. The borrowed energy must be repaid by the black hole. So it is that even black holes eventually radiate all of their matter. Thus Scientific Laws are subject to revision when necessary to conform to reality. Newton's Laws, for example, fell to Einstein. Revising our understanding of reality is the most essential part of Science. The opposite is true of religion, which clings to tradition and the past.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhav
    Due to the nature of religion, we've given the god hypothesis a "pass" for too long. We let theists state things which are demonstrably false and are expected to smile and agree with them. I'm sorry, but that's not how science works.
    Being intolerant of their beliefs is likely to make them cling even more desperately to them. We abandon our toys when we tire of playing with them, not when parents try to pry them from our hands. Regardless of how Science works, that's how human psychology works. Imagine if I told you that your "not god" hypothesis was baseless and you should abandon it for a more realistic agnostic viewpoint, like mine. Wouldn't you argue with me that Atheism is based on logic and science and that I'm overlooking what is known? Isn't the act of arguing your beliefs the thing that reconfirms those beliefs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhav
    Indeed there are. As I mentioned above, these supported theories / laws trump the god hypothesis hands down.
    True that. Trump is in a different suit.
    It is less important what you believe, than why you believe it.

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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Quote Originally Posted by Zorak View Post
    Ancient assumptions about the nature of reality are not scientific hypotheses.
    Really?

    So, if some ancient people had asserted "The earth is a sphere that revolves around the sun" that wouldn't have been a scientific hypothesis?

    Understand, Zorak, that a hypothesis needn't be good, well thought out, or able to be stuffed in a test tube to be a scientific hypothesis. Any assertion that has a definite answer in the real world / universe is a scientific hypothesis regardless of how it was originally intentioned / assumed.

    "The universe exploded into existence in a phenomenon called The Big Bang" is a scientific hypothesis. "The universe appeared spontaneously due to an intelligent being" is also an hypothesis.



    Uh . . . no, testability is a cardinal feature of a good hypothesis.
    What do we do when we test an hypothesis?

    We compare it to information & knowledge we already have.

    We don't need to plug every hypothesis into a test tube and hold it over a burner. Any unsupported hypothesis that contradicts existing theories / laws is assumed to be false until evidence proves otherwise.

    Now, I will entertain no evasion or sillyness in your answer to this next question:

    The hypothesis, "China does not exist nor has it ever existed" is true or false?

    To reach an answer, did you need to fly to where China is? Did you need to take soil samples and run them under a microscope? No? What did you do?

    You compared the hypothesis to other data you already know to be true? Interesting...

    You are confusing hypothesis with observation. No reasonable hypothesis about the internal structure of the sun could be made until we had the capacity to make direct observations. Now that we have a set of observations showing that the radiation frequencies from the sun correspond to the orbital electron energies of certain atoms, we can safely hypothesize that the sun is made of these elements.
    The only confusion here, I'm afraid, is on your part. You're confusion a limitation of technology with a limitation of science. There are plenty of scientific questions we have no answers to that remain scientific questions. We simply await the technology to know for sure. In the meantime, we draw what conclusions we can based on the knowledge we do have. We can do the same for the god hypothesis. We don't need a "god-o-meter" to know the god hypothesis has critical flaws.

    A good test of this hypothesis was the hydrogen bomb.
    This is slightly off-topic, but this is actually a horrible test for the content of the sun. Yes, it's very cool that we can duplicate our own incredibly small sun here on earth for a microsecond, but there isn't an astronomer on the planet that requires an H-bomb detonation to know what the sun is made of.

    Precisely my point. No scientist does this. God is never on the list of hypotheses generated by any credible scientist, regardless of how focused their area of research may be.
    See above regarding comparing unsupported hypotheses against supported theories / laws.

    It's not on the list for the same reason scientists aren't plugging away trying to figure out the shape of the planet. There's no credible evidence suggesting the planet is anything but spherical. Likewise, there's no credible evidence god exists, so no one is really interested in testing the god hypothesis... except Richard Dawkins.

    Out of curiosity, if all astronomers on the planet dropped dead today, would the issues the questions they're trying to answer cease to be scientific questions?

    The sun, human beings, molecules, machines and molecules are all residents of the natural world and can be studied using the scientific method. "God" resides outside of the natural world, if anywhere.
    The bolded text is a claim made by theists, yet I've never seen a scrap of evidence to support it and considerable evidence to suggest it's false. Do you have any compelling support for this argument? If not, then it's false until you can prove otherwise.

    An observation followed by an assumption is not Science.
    Ah, but here you want to have it both ways. "God exists outside the realm of the physical universe and can't be measured. Science doesn't apply... but the claims god does enter into the physical world where science does apply, science still doesn't count because... well... because."

    You don't get to have it both ways, Zorak. You have to keep your story straight.

    Religious fanatics don't go around saying "perhaps there's a God". Scientists don't make the God hypothesis. There is no "god hypothesis". Science and religion are oil and water.
    See above regarding my question about astronomers. Understand that any claim made about the universe that has a definite yes or no... anything that exists or doesn't exist... is a scientific question. As Dawkins pointed out, this is exactly the case for god. He either exists or doesn't exist. He doesn't exist for you, but not exist for me. It's one or the other. That makes it a scientific question. The number of scientists investigating or not investigating the answer is completely and utterly irrelevant.

    As Dawkins pointed out, the above attitude is disingenuous. It is, after all, to science that we turn in order to know things about the universe including the existence of god. The only reason we're having this discussion is that our Western society has been conditioned for centuries to give religion a free pass... a free pass which it in absolutely no way deserves.

    Scientifically speaking, an untestable hypothesis is useless as it has no bearing on reality.
    Zorak, any hypothesis which can be compared to another hypothesis is testable. Period. I'm not sure where you're getting this idea of yours. Help me understand how you believe this to be a tenable poistion.

    I emphasized your last sentence as it is not consistent with scientific method. We don't support a hypothesis because we find evidence for it. This is the opposite of critical thinking, more akin to "jumping to conclusions". We maintain a hypothesis if we cannot devise any experiment that disproves it. This is a subtle but very important difference and the key to understanding my argument.
    See above.

    With that said, you have struck upon a very interesting example--that of spontaneously arising energy. Let's say that you observed matter (equivalent to energy) arising spontaneously in the Universe somewhere. Would you discredit this observation as it conflicts with the Law of Conservation of Energy?
    1) I'd make damn sure what I saw wasn't some kind of trick or explainable phenomenon.

    2) Assuming it's not some trick of the light (or similar falsehood), I'd say CoE needs revision. We wouldn't toss it out because it's observed to work everywhere all the time with (now) this one exception.

    If so, then you would miss out on one of the most amazing scientific discoveries of the past century. The observation of matter arising spontaneously in the Universe has been made. Stephen Hawking observed this at the edge of Black Holes and this observation accounts for the emission of particles by Black Holes.
    So, what you're saying is that Hawking found the evidence needed to contradict something we'd believe to be proven? Yes, that works with my earlier argument.


    Thus Scientific Laws are subject to revision when necessary to conform to reality.
    Right.

    That revision only comes after we observe new evidence. As we've observed no evidence to suggest the god hypothesis is possible, it remains false. Just like the "unicron hypothesis" and the "flat earth" hypothesis.


    Being intolerant of their beliefs is likely to make them cling even more desperately to them. We abandon our toys when we tire of playing with them, not when parents try to pry them from our hands. Regardless of how Science works, that's how human psychology works. Imagine if I told you that your "not god" hypothesis was baseless and you should abandon it for a more realistic agnostic viewpoint, like mine. Wouldn't you argue with me that Atheism is based on logic and science and that I'm overlooking what is known? Isn't the act of arguing your beliefs the thing that reconfirms those beliefs?
    Terribly analogy. This is more like meeting a group of grown, educated adults who are proficient with math, but have been indoctrinated to believe that 1 and 1 adds up to 3. Since childhood, they've been given this special rule for this particular claim and force fed the idea believing this in spite of the utter lack of evidence or rationality is a badge of honor.

    True that. Trump is in a different suit.
    You're still embracing NOMA. How sad.

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    Re: Science: Atheism vs. Theism

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix View Post
    Not quite, there was another major part:

    I should say that we should detect god on some level, but also: how can we trust any of science if there's a god involved?
    Hmmm...

    So put another way, you're saying that "In the presence of God, Science can't be trusted!"

    Fascinating...


    _________________________________ Post Merged _________________________________


    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric View Post

    {Scientific research to conclusively determine the existance of God} is not on the list for the same reason scientists aren't plugging away trying to figure out the shape of the planet. There's no credible evidence suggesting the planet is anything but spherical. Likewise, there's no credible evidence god exists, so no one is really interested in testing the god hypothesis...
    Just curious here, is there anything you could advance in the way of tangible evidence which would support this?

    Again...

    Anything at all?
    Last edited by Publius Infini; November 30th, 2007 at 02:51 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

 

 
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