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Poll: Answer all that you believe

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  1. #21
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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post

    The issue is your claim that religion is contrasted by science because there is no need for facts in any religion (apparently, all religions are the same - I was unaware of this). And instead, religion requires only feeling or emotion. Again, something I was unaware of as are practically everyone I know who practices a religion.

    So again, can you please support this claim of yours?
    The primary emotion I am pointed to is the 'feeling' that there must be a deity or greater power. Every single person uses this as an argument that there must be a deity.

    On the issue of facts, what do you mean by that word? Can you give me an example of a fact that a religion has as its basis? I suspect we might be using it differently.

    ---------- Post added at 08:40 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:21 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    I'm referring to more subjective questions such as, "Why do I want to live?" or "Do I want to make that man my husband?" Science isn't really as relevant as your feelings and desires. Science might help you understand those, but ultimately our feelings will trump pure rationality much of the time. Science can't tell you if it is right to steal or not for instance. You have to work that out for yourself in relation to your social group.
    I would argue that we use "science" all the time. All the decisions we make are based upon knowledge that we have learned; this knowledge is put into a framework into which we can ask questions and the answers we pull from this is done so in a controlled manner. Sometimes we may compare those answers from other people to draw a better conclusion but even then we weight those answers according to how much we trust that person within a particular situation. Even feelings and desires are generally fact based - they exist of course but there is usually an external cause for them through our senses.

    All this has the elements of gathering facts and evidence, stripping it down into a model that is as reliable as it can be, and changing one's model or throwing it away once it has been proven false. There is an innate desire for humans to gather as much information as possible in order to make reliable decision and even though the language may not be in actual mathematics, our neurons are wired to produce an equivalent result.

    My point is that the more information we have the better decisions we can make and this information has to be 'real' rather than invented. At its very core, that is what science is.

  2. #22
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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    The primary emotion I am pointed to is the 'feeling' that there must be a deity or greater power. Every single person uses this as an argument that there must be a deity.
    Again, support this. I don't know of a single person who uses feelings as an argument for God existing.

    On the issue of facts, what do you mean by that word? Can you give me an example of a fact that a religion has as its basis? I suspect we might be using it differently.
    A supporting piece of information found in a proposition which combined with additional propositions composes a complete argument (which of course, results in a conclusion).

    There is a clear distinction between "feeling" and "reasoning". Just a few of the reasons I believe, for example:

    1) The authenticity and historicity of the Bible.
    2) The verifiability of Biblical prophecy.
    3) Numerous philosophical arguments.
    4) Origins of the universe.
    5) Moral nature of living beings.

    None of these involve "feeling", but instead, rationalizing. Some may disagree with the evidences offered or claimed to be true, but this doesn't reduce such evidences to "feelings", it merely makes them contested. That is, they are contested facts or contested pieces of evidences, or contested reasons.

    Someone could believe that the earth is flat because they can only see the horizon. They don't have a feeling that it is flat. They have reasoned it to be so. They offered their evidence and reasoned from it, the earth must be flat. Their reasoning is flawed due to the evidence being used to reach the conclusion, but this does not reduce the reason they believe the earth to be flat as a feeling.

    So, to make the claim that all people who practice a religion only do so because of a feeling, that is, they all share one thing in common: they believe not out of reason or evidences, but rather just simple "feeling" that what they are doing is true or right...is patently false and is a gross misunderstanding of religion, the people who practice their religion, psychology, anthropology and philosophy.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; February 28th, 2012 at 07:02 PM.
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  3. #23
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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Not to mention that arguments on the nature of religion are completely off-topic......

    ---------- Post added at 09:44 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:39 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK
    I would argue that we use "science" all the time. All the decisions we make are based upon knowledge that we have learned; this knowledge is put into a framework into which we can ask questions and the answers we pull from this is done so in a controlled manner. Sometimes we may compare those answers from other people to draw a better conclusion but even then we weight those answers according to how much we trust that person within a particular situation. Even feelings and desires are generally fact based - they exist of course but there is usually an external cause for them through our senses.

    All this has the elements of gathering facts and evidence, stripping it down into a model that is as reliable as it can be, and changing one's model or throwing it away once it has been proven false. There is an innate desire for humans to gather as much information as possible in order to make reliable decision and even though the language may not be in actual mathematics, our neurons are wired to produce an equivalent result.

    My point is that the more information we have the better decisions we can make and this information has to be 'real' rather than invented. At its very core, that is what science is.
    This is not science. You are generalizing science in an absurd way.

    Science requires testing a hypothesis under reproducible conditions. Our everyday experiences are not reproducible circumstances. There may be similarities of situations, but the exact conditions are not reproducible.

  4. #24
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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Again, support this. I don't know of a single person who uses feelings as an argument for God existing.
    Not sure how to support it other than recording various arguments but I have seen arguments of "wonderment" - what else could have produced this world; "incredulity" - it can't be possibly be all bits of matter or questioned on "well, do you believe that 'love' exists. I don't think its used as a final arbiter type of argument but it does show up. It's what is referred to as the god-shaped hole in our hearts; there's plenty of religious sites stating its existence and it may be a fact that it exists but that fact is not evidence for a deity, only a desire for one.

    Edit: Adding a reference to an argument for God that brings up love: (http://www.everystudent.com/features/isthere.html)
    Does God exist? If you want to know, investigate Jesus Christ. We're told that "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    A supporting piece of information found in a proposition which combined with additional propositions composes a complete argument (which of course, results in a conclusion).

    There is a clear distinction between "feeling" and "reasoning". Just a few of the reasons I believe for example:

    1) The authenticity and historicity of the Bible.
    2) The verifiability of Biblical prophecy.
    3) Numerous philosophical arguments.
    4) Origins of the universe.
    5) Moral nature of living beings.

    None of these involve "feeling", but instead, rationalizing. Some may disagree with the evidences offered or claimed to be true, but this doesn't reduce such evidences to "feelings", it merely makes them contested. That is, they are contested facts or contested pieces of evidences, or contested reasons.
    Firstly, I'm not saying that religious people are being non-rational, just non-fact based. This is extremely important because it keeps coming up. It's a straw-man to say that I believe your reasons to be flawed when I am in fact saying they are wrong. Just because I know you are wrong, it doesn't mean that I think you are being stupid.

    But we do disagree about what a fact is:

    1. authenticity and historicity of the Bible would be at best circumstantial and coincidental and just because parts may be true, it does not mean the whole is. Even then the best one can wring from the Bible is that there were people that believed those things to be true rather than their actual fact. For example, it's bizarre that there is no evidence of the 10 plagues that God wrought upon the Egyptians and they documented things pretty well. Also, what other writings corroborate much of what is in the Bible? Not very much and certainly not conclusively.
    2. Your entire religion is based upon a prophecy falsely come true - that of the coming of the Messiah! Or does that not count? How do you pick and choose those prophecies that are factual from those that are not? Doesn't the fact that there needed to be a second "final" coming not smack of a human invention? And why do you use the word prophecy as if it were a scientific prediction?
    4. Philosophical arguments are not facts. They are arguments based on assumptions that may or may not be facts, and even then, their conclusions, although logical (see your other thread) may not be true without other corroborating information. This was what I suspected you mean by "fact" and why science is not philosophy and philosophy is not science!
    4. Origins of the universe is also not a fact since we cannot see beyond our universe. To talk about the origin is to talk about a time 'before the universe'. This is philosophy, which again, is not fact - only reasoning upon assumptions (that there is only one universe and only one origin).
    5. The moral nature of living things, may be fact based (e.g. through scientific conclusions from psychology or sociology or mathematically via economics, social data mining or game theory) but usually religious morality is derived from a deity. Since this deity's existence is in dispute then its morality is also in dispute. Also, given that most deities claim homosexuality to be morally wrong and that this is disputed by actual facts (it's not wrong or harmful) then we have to go with the actual facts and not the deity whose existence is not proven. In addition, being anti-homosexual is natural and very much part of a social fabric that dislikes those that are different - this too is a better reason why homosexuality was considered wrong; but with modern knowledge we no longer need to feel this way. My point is that our moral nature can change with additional information so it is more biased towards facts as opposed to pronouncements from an earlier age.

    Facts in science are independently verifiable pieces of evidence that anyone can reproduce. You are talking about history, which by its very nature is full of assumptions, interpretations and biases; after all unless there were video or audio recordings, who can say what actually occurred and since one cannot look into another's mind, the best one can do is guess. One can only 'agree' on what a historical event is, in science one can prove to not only just oneself it is true, but to one's worse enemy. You are also talking about philosophy which is a super-set of science, its universe of discourse is everything possible; science is about what is most probable. They are completely different. Philosophy can discuss all types of universes but science can only deal with one.

    Yep, I think we disagree about what a fact is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Someone could believe that the earth is flat because they can only see the horizon. They don't have a feeling that it is flat. They have reasoned it to be so. They offered their evidence and reasoned from it, the earth must be flat. Their reasoning is flawed due to the evidence being used to reach the conclusion, but this does not reduce the reason they believe the earth to be flat as a feeling.
    This might also be a good argument against deities too: Not only are the wrong facts being drawn regarding deities but also the right facts are being ignored; e.g. old texts written by religious people are usually shown to be false (e.g. the Book of Mormon was factually wrong about the American Indians being descended from a tribe from Israel). But again, I'm not arguing about your reasoning process, which I believe to be sound, its both what you claim above to be facts, when they're really at best consensus opinions, and at worst not facts at all e.g. any philosophical argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    So, to make the claim that all people who practice a religion only do so because of a feeling, that is, they all share one thing in common: they believe not out of reason or evidences, but rather just simple "feeling" that what they are doing is true or right...is patently false and is a gross misunderstanding of religion, the people who practice their religion, psychology, anthropology and philosophy.
    Look what I said, "there would be no need for facts - if something feels true, then it must be", is more of an appeal to an intrinsic, innate intuition rather than an emotion per se. I say there are not facts needed because a deity is not a fact - no one has one yet. I also say no facts are needed because some religious conclusions are anti-fact - e.g. abstinence teaching works, faith-healing works, homosexuality is morally wrong, etc.

    Also, look at KevinBrowing's original quote that science has 'a near-"religious" status' and Santorum's claim at Obama's phony religion being about Environmentalism (src) . These usages are definitely not uses of the word "religion" that connote a fact-based system of thinking but rather an emotional, non-fact/anti-fact based system. Those are other religious people using the word in the sense that they understand it, which seem to line up with my feeling to too.




    ---------- Post added at 10:15 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:07 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    Not to mention that arguments on the nature of religion are completely off-topic......
    I didn't bring up religion and it deserves to be addressed and is also partially true.


    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    This is not science. You are generalizing science in an absurd way.

    Science requires testing a hypothesis under reproducible conditions. Our everyday experiences are not reproducible circumstances. There may be similarities of situations, but the exact conditions are not reproducible.
    Sure, but scientific measurements are also done across multiple experiments producing a range of results. We do the same thing by seeing the same situations come up in different forms and drawing appropriate conclusions. I'm not saying that we do science by making notes but that our nature is to gather information, create mental models and act according to those models when the come up again.
    Last edited by SharmaK; February 28th, 2012 at 09:10 PM. Reason: tweaking a bit and a bit more

  5. #25
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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK
    I didn't bring up religion and it deserves to be addressed and is also partially true.
    1) You took a comment made about how some people treat science and took it to the extreme by going off on religion. So yeah, it was you. I agree with Kevin. Science is often given near religious status in the reverence that it is treated. That is not a free license for you to drag this thread off topic where you can voice your complaints about religion.
    2) It doesn't deserve to be addressed. This is specifically a thread on the nature of science, not religion.

    You are off-topic.


    Sure, but scientific measurements are also done across multiple experiments producing a range of results. We do the same thing by seeing the same situations come up in different forms and drawing appropriate conclusions. I'm not saying that we do science by making notes but that our nature is to gather information, create mental models and act according to those models when the come up again.
    When you conduct multiple experiments, you still understand the input variables and control for these. Yes you get a range of results, but because the experiment is reproduced under controlled experiments testing for known variables, you can subject it to statistical tests. This is not the same as what happens in everyday life. In everyday life we do not control the experimental variables. We do not set up the situations in a statistical manner, nor do we apply statistical tests.

    You are equivocating the simple logic and reasoning that is used in everyday life to the scientific method and in the process you demean science to something that lacks exactly the sort of high standards that you praise it for.

  6. #26
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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    1) You took a comment made about how some people treat science and took it to the extreme by going off on religion. So yeah, it was you. I agree with Kevin. Science is often given near religious status in the reverence that it is treated. That is not a free license for you to drag this thread off topic where you can voice your complaints about religion.
    2) It doesn't deserve to be addressed. This is specifically a thread on the nature of science, not religion.


    No need to yell! It is completely within the OP if some uses the characteristics of an alternative thinking system to compare it to. I was merely correcting the statement and asking for clarification: in what ways are science and religion similar.

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    You are off-topic.
    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    It is completely on topic - it talks about the domains of reality and truth and why science is not philosophy and why science is not religion and not literature and other domains of knowledge. I have learned from Apok that believes that philosophy produces facts in reality - this huge! I never realized this and this has brought me to understand everything better and clearer; and more importantly how critical the domain of knowledge is.

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    When you conduct multiple experiments, you still understand the input variables and control for these. Yes you get a range of results, but because the experiment is reproduced under controlled experiments testing for known variables, you can subject it to statistical tests. This is not the same as what happens in everyday life. In everyday life we do not control the experimental variables. We do not set up the situations in a statistical manner, nor do we apply statistical tests.

    You are equivocating the simple logic and reasoning that is used in everyday life to the scientific method and in the process you demean science to something that lacks exactly the sort of high standards that you praise it for.
    This is true - we cannot always control the experiment but sometimes we can. For example, how we approach people and cooperate with them is a learned experience through our own interactions with them. I don't think that demeans science but shows that the approach of science is built-in.

  7. #27
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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Not sure how to support it other than recording various arguments but I have seen arguments of "wonderment" - what else could have produced this world; "incredulity" - it can't be possibly be all bits of matter or questioned on "well, do you believe that 'love' exists. I don't think its used as a final arbiter type of argument but it does show up. It's what is referred to as the god-shaped hole in our hearts; there's plenty of religious sites stating its existence and it may be a fact that it exists but that fact is not evidence for a deity, only a desire for one.

    Edit: Adding a reference to an argument for God that brings up love: (http://www.everystudent.com/features/isthere.html)
    Does God exist? If you want to know, investigate Jesus Christ. We're told that "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
    None of this supports your position that ALL religionists only believe out of feeling and none believe out of reason.

    This is what you said:

    [in religion] there would be no need for facts - if something feels true, then it must be...The primary emotion I am pointed to is the 'feeling' that there must be a deity or greater power. Every single person uses this as an argument that there must be a deity.
    All you have done thus far, is point out that some people have emotional experiences as a direct result of their perceived relationship with God.

    You have not, however, shown that no people use actual reason and instead, all people use merely emotion, to believe in the existence of God.

    You created a huge burden to bear in your original post with such a bold claim, one that I don't think I've ever seen any atheist ever make tbh.

    Perhaps you misstated

    Firstly, I'm not saying that religious people are being non-rational, just non-fact based.
    Then you definitely misstated your original argument.

    This is extremely important because it keeps coming up. It's a straw-man to say that I believe your reasons to be flawed when I am in fact saying they are wrong. Just because I know you are wrong, it doesn't mean that I think you are being stupid.
    What is it to "know" something? How do you know? Do you know that God does not exist? I realize that this is really an off-topic question, but one you can answer w/o negative consequences of any sort since a) I'm the one asking and b) I may respond to it, but in a different thread.

    But we do disagree about what a fact is[/quote]I agree we disagree. I was using the term as it is used in the English language:

    fact

    [fakt]   Origin
    fact

       [fakt] Show IPA
    noun 1. something that actually exists; reality; truth: Your fears have no basis in fact.

    2. something known to exist or to have happened: Space travel is now a fact.

    3. a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true: Scientists gather facts about plant growth.

    4. something said to be true or supposed to have happened: The facts given by the witness are highly questionable.

    5 Law. Often, facts. an actual or alleged event or circumstance, as distinguished from its legal effect or consequence. Compare question of fact, question of law.

    -----------------------
    World English Dictionary
    fact (fækt)

    n
    1. an event or thing known to have happened or existed
    2. a truth verifiable from experience or observation
    3. a piece of information: get me all the facts of this case
    4. ( often plural ) law an actual event, happening, etc, as distinguished from its legal consequences. Questions of fact are decided by the jury, questions of law by the court or judge
    5. philosophy a proposition that may be either true or false, as contrasted with an evaluative statement
    6. criminal law after the fact after the commission of the offence: an accessory after the fact
    7. criminal law before the fact before the commission of the offence
    8. as a matter of fact , in fact , in point of fact in reality or actuality
    9. fact of life an inescapable truth, esp an unpleasant one
    10. the fact of the matter the truth
    --------------------

    So, yes, we absolutely disagree what the term "fact" means. Apparently, you have some alternative definition. What is it exactly? Scientific fact perhaps?

    1. authenticity and historicity of the Bible would be at best circumstantial and coincidental and just because parts may be true, it does not mean the whole is. Even then the best one can wring from the Bible is that there were people that believed those things to be true rather than their actual fact. For example, it's bizarre that there is no evidence of the 10 plagues that God wrought upon the Egyptians and they documented things pretty well. Also, what other writings corroborate much of what is in the Bible? Not very much and certainly not conclusively.
    2. Your entire religion is based upon a prophecy falsely come true - that of the coming of the Messiah! Or does that not count? How do you pick and choose those prophecies that are factual from those that are not? Doesn't the fact that there needed to be a second "final" coming not smack of a human invention? And why do you use the word prophecy as if it were a scientific prediction?
    4. Philosophical arguments are not facts. They are arguments based on assumptions that may or may not be facts, and even then, their conclusions, although logical (see your other thread) may not be true without other corroborating information. This was what I suspected you mean by "fact" and why science is not philosophy and philosophy is not science!
    4. Origins of the universe is also not a fact since we cannot see beyond our universe. To talk about the origin is to talk about a time 'before the universe'. This is philosophy, which again, is not fact - only reasoning upon assumptions (that there is only one universe and only one origin).
    5. The moral nature of living things, may be fact based (e.g. through scientific conclusions from psychology or sociology or mathematically via economics, social data mining or game theory) but usually religious morality is derived from a deity. Since this deity's existence is in dispute then its morality is also in dispute. Also, given that most deities claim homosexuality to be morally wrong and that this is disputed by actual facts (it's not wrong or harmful) then we have to go with the actual facts and not the deity whose existence is not proven. In addition, being anti-homosexual is natural and very much part of a social fabric that dislikes those that are different - this too is a better reason why homosexuality was considered wrong; but with modern knowledge we no longer need to feel this way. My point is that our moral nature can change with additional information so it is more biased towards facts as opposed to pronouncements from an earlier age.
    All of this is incorrect. However, all of it is outside the scope of this thread. You wanted examples of facts used in religion (specifically Christianity in my case). I defined "fact", and offered examples of facts. If you wish to discuss the veracity of these examples above, feel free to start a new thread.

    Facts in science are independently verifiable pieces of evidence that anyone can reproduce.
    So your alternate definition for "fact" is "scientific fact"? Either you are creating a "Sharmism" (redefining an established and acknowledged term for your own benefit and insist that all comply with the subjective and arbitrary definition) or you were too vague and loose with the term "fact" and instead, it should have been "scientific fact".

    Yep, I think we disagree about what a fact is.
    We absolutely disagree about what a fact is. I'm using the English language and in it, the meaning of the word "fact" (vs scientific fact which I believe is what you may have intended).
    Look what I said, "there would be no need for facts - if something feels true, then it must be", is more of an appeal to an intrinsic, innate intuition rather than an emotion per se. I say there are not facts needed because a deity is not a fact - no one has one yet. I also say no facts are needed because some religious conclusions are anti-fact - e.g. abstinence teaching works, faith-healing works, homosexuality is morally wrong, etc.
    This is all based on the incorrect understanding or usage of the term "fact", as well as a misunderstanding on how such doctrines are arrived. But it is something that ought to be discussed in another thread, not in a thread that discusses the nature of science itself so I won't address it here.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
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    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  8. #28
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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK
    No need to yell! It is completely within the OP if some uses the characteristics of an alternative thinking system to compare it to. I was merely correcting the statement and asking for clarification: in what ways are science and religion similar.
    1) You took Kevin out of context. He did not say science was religion. He said "and has only assumed its near-"religious" status, to the exclusion of other methods, in the 20th- and 21st-century Western world."

    The context that Kevin uses makes it explicitly clear that he is not talking about the actual methodology, but the social status of science in the modern day world in comparison to other equally valid methods of ascertaining truth. Without bothering to go into the validity of religion, from a sociological standpoint, religion has historically held a place of prominence in the lives of people. It has long been a trusted institution, trusted above other institutions.

    In the past, philosophy and philosophers held a great deal more prestige than they have through much of the 20th and 21st centuries. During the period in question, advances in science caught the attention of the public and it has elevated the status of scientists to a level of trust and prestige on the level of Religion.

    No where is this more evident than in the public roles that many scientists have assumed, roles that were once more often assumed by Philosophers and Religious leaders. This has grew to the extent that you know have scientific personalities that speak on all matters far outside their field, even on matters of ethics, morality, politics, and religion. Because of their standing as scientists (regardless of how recently they have actually engaged in scientific work) they are revered and trusted. Just consider Richard Dawkins as a prime example.

    This is without a doubt the context that Kevin referred to and it speaks nothing of the methodology or what science is, only the social standing of science. It is a valid remark and one I agree with.

    2) There is little clarifying about your comparison to religion.

    a) Essentially the entirety of your comparison list is either flat out false or an exaggeration. Simply look to Apok's rebuttles.

    For example:

    1. there would be no need for facts - if something feels true, then it must be
    4. one would not have to do any experiments - just wishing something to be true would be sufficient and the more people that wished for it, the more likely it would be true.
    5. one would not need to cover old ground because once the truth has been found once then it need not be examined again
    6. questioning foundational knowledge is too disruptive to a body of work so it cannot be allowed to happen
    10. facts must not get in the way of logical arguments - if it can be sufficiently logically argued that something is not true, then it isn't, no matter what the experiments show.


    These are so flat out wrong I'm simply amazed. Try studying the actual history of Christianity for once. There are a multitude of denominations the differ in their beliefs of even small details of scriptures. The Church has a vast history of challenging set doctrine. 2000 years later, Christians are still covering "old ground." Your accusations here are simply flat out ignorant of Religion. Nothing more can be said about that.

    b) Nearly all of your criticisms of Religion (which are really criticisms of it as an institution, rather than it as truth) apply in the same way to Science as it is as an institution.

    For example:

    2. a person like Darwin could define all of biology (anything he says is true) just because he had one good idea (well, he did but rather than accepting everything he said, scientists tried the hardest to disprove him).
    3. a person like Einstein would speak the truth even in areas he has no expertise in because he is obviously very smart
    7. there would be no need for independent verification because only the work of a few important scientists are needed
    8. charismatic and well-spoken scientists are obviously smarter than nerds because they can be more convincing
    9. children must not be allowed to come to their own conclusions, they are too young to be able to explore the dangerous world on their own; instead they must be given facts to learn

    I've seen all of these to greater or lesser extents in Science the institution (not the method).

    It is completely on topic - it talks about the domains of reality and truth and why science is not philosophy and why science is not religion and not literature and other domains of knowledge. I have learned from Apok that believes that philosophy produces facts in reality - this huge! I never realized this and this has brought me to understand everything better and clearer; and more importantly how critical the domain of knowledge is.
    Fine then.

    This is true - we cannot always control the experiment but sometimes we can. For example, how we approach people and cooperate with them is a learned experience through our own interactions with them. I don't think that demeans science but shows that the approach of science is built-in.
    I think it shows that its built in for humans to reason and learn.....not necessarily do science which is a subset of the whole.

  9. #29
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    Re: Science....what is it?

    So let me outline my own thoughts on the nature of science.

    There is Science as a method and Science as a field.

    I will first address Science as a method.

    1) Science as a method is primarily deductive reasoning. It starts with a premise or hypothesis and then tests that hypothesis. This is opposed to inductive reasoning, which starts with observations and moves to theories. In actual day to day practice of a scientist, both deductive and inductive reasoning will play a role, but in the end, what may start through inductive reasoning will ultimately become deductive. This leads to my second point:

    2) Science is experimental. This goes hand in hand with science being deductive. All theories must ultimately be through controlled experiment, even when the theory started by inductive means.

    3) Science is reproducible. It is essential to the enterprise that results be able to be confirmed in a repeatable manner. Earlier it was pointed out that you can get differing results in multiple experiments. This is true, there can be any number of confounding factors for such variance, but what sets methodological science apart is that the experimental conditions are such that they can be statistically analyzed. The application of statistics allows us to determine the variance in the results and whether or not a positive result is a true positive or whether it is simply a fluke due to complicating factors.

    4) Science as a method attempts to disprove a hypothesis. When one properly follows the scientific method, you will lay out your experiments so that the hypothesis can be falsified.

    These four points are elaborations on the centuries old "scientific method" of Roger Bacon.

    5) Science as a method is limited to that which is quantifiable and experimentally testable.

    a) It is limited by technology. As technology advances, so do the capabilities of science, but at any one point, science is limited by its own technology.

    b) Science cannot extend to the untestable. It is inherently impossible to measure with complete accuracy certain properties like momentum and position of a quantum particle. This is a physical limitation on the abilities of science because our experimental methodologies will never extend past the limits imposed by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.

    c) As a result it cannot address questions of value or motive. Using the scientific method you can determine all the developmental characteristics of an unborn fetus, you cannot use it to determine whether that fetus is worthy of protection or not. You can use it to test the primary causes and motivations for abortions, you cannot use it to determine whether those causes and motivations are justified or right. In these areas, science can only "assist" by telling us certain things. For instance if it is immoral to kill fetus's that feel pain, then science can tell us when they feel pain, but not the morality.

    Now as to Science as a field.

    1) These are typically we call the "natural sciences" or as they used to be called "natural philosophy." It is the study of the material and physical world. They are quantifiable. And in most cases can be subject to experiment, thus we can reduce their study to the scientific method.

    2) Not everything that is considered within the "field" of science is science in a methodological sense. I will give some examples. Many will surprise some people.

    a) Paleontology/Anthropology/the macro-evolutionary history of life. These fields are historical. They attempt to reconstruct and understand the past. The scientific method is used extensively in their study, but its use is ultimately supportive role. The evolutionary history of life is not reproducible. We cannot reproduce the exact events that led to the evolution of life from single-celled organism to modern day humans. As a result, there is a lot of inductive reasoning that goes on. We observe a transition of fossils over time. We can experimentally verify the time scale over which we find the fossils. But those exact changes and conditions leading to the transitions are not reproducible. We can even go so far as to attempt to recreate certain phenotypes in modern day organisms (like teeth in birds), but again this is not the same because they are still distinct organisms. This is opposed to experimental evolution, where typically one is trying to understand the molecular mechanisms of evolutionary change. These three areas however are less concerned about exact mechanism than they are about what actually happened already in the past. Like it or not, these then are historical sciences, that use all the tools of experiment to gather as much supporting evidence as they can, but still unable to fully and directly test their hypotheses.

    b) Cosmology.....for more or less the same reasons as the fields above. We can't recreate our Big Bang. We can only gather as much evidence as possible and try to create models that best fit the evidence. This is again inductive reasoning, that occasionally leads to some deductive tests that indirectly test the hypothesis. In this sense....its not the purest of science because its not fully experimental.

    c) Those humanities that attempt to be "science" (sociology, political science, economics, and certain areas of psychology that are better described as sociology). These typically rely on lots of polling, lots of examination of historical trends, but there is rarely any experimental control. Somebody goes out conducts a poll, but they don't control the experimental conditions. They can't reproduce the circumstances. Its not so much science as it is statistics and polling. Psychology can be a grey area at times. Many psychologists conduct actual experiments. Then there are those that replicate sociology practices.

    It is important to understand the difference of science as method and science as a field of study precisely for these reasons. A lot of fields call themselves science and many of them use extensively the scientific method to support and at times even test certain hypotheses (Historical Evolution and Cosmology are primary in this). But most people fail to recognize when the scientific method has been used in a supporting way as opposed to a direct and primary way. And so there is often this blind acceptance of what lies within the fields of science as being synonymous with use of the scientific method. I'm not saying this invalidates the conclusions. I would never say that our Evolutionary history is simply wrong because we cannot reproduce it in an experimental manner. I'm just saying that we need to recognize that labeling something as science does not mean it has been determined directly by the scientific method.

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    Re: Science....what is it?

    What would you say Chad, about those "attempting*" to engage in the scientific method who also believe in God? Should their acts result in them being known or referred to as "scientists" or is it more accurate to refer to them merely as "theists" (or even "evangelicals" if they use this "science" to object to scientific arguments against the existence of God)? May sound like an odd question, but humor me for a moment.

    Furthermore, what would your response be to those who suggest that because someone believes in God, their ability to engage in the scientific method objectively, is clouded and they will never be capable of, or are at least less likely to actually reach a proper conclusion based on objective, neutral research and experimentation?


    * "attempting" is the chosen word as according to some, those who believe in God cannot truly and actually engage in the scientific method objectively because they are "tainted" by their belief system.
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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    What would you say Chad, about those "attempting*" to engage in the scientific method who also believe in God? Should their acts result in them being known or referred to as "scientists" or is it more accurate to refer to them merely as "theists" (or even "evangelicals" if they use this "science" to object to scientific arguments against the existence of God)? May sound like an odd question, but humor me for a moment.

    Furthermore, what would your response be to those who suggest that because someone believes in God, their ability to engage in the scientific method objectively, is clouded and they will never be capable of, or are at least less likely to actually reach a proper conclusion based on objective, neutral research and experimentation?


    * "attempting" is the chosen word as according to some, those who believe in God cannot truly and actually engage in the scientific method objectively because they are "tainted" by their belief system.
    I find it absurd to believe that theists can not objectively engage in the scientific method. Every scientist enters with certain philosophical biases. Whether you conduct good science has nothing to do with what those biases are, but rather your self-integrity as a scientist to avoid biases in research.

    Science as we know it, as a rigid methodology, started in Christian Europe and throughout its history it was conducted primarily by people who believed in God.

    If we really want to run down that route and argue about theists being bad scientists, its useful to point out non-theists who were biased by their views. Fred Hoyle was so against the notion of a universe with a beginning that he rejected it against all evidence his entire life. Similarly Hawking has been so against an "absolute beginning" that he has argued against the recent results of Alex Vilenkin not on scientific grounds, but on philosophical opposition and rejection of the idea of a universe that begins to exit. Gould, certainly no theist, though he avoided conflict with religion, was a die-hard communist who let this influence his views of evolution. The Selfish Gene, written primarily as a rebuttal to Gould, is rife with Dawkin's own biases. He flat out rejects the populations selection views of Gould based not so much on evidence but on philosophy. One could go on all day of such non-theistic biases of prominent scientist.....in many instance biases that result from a philosophical committal to atheism.

    In all honesty, the worst examples of scientific fraud or bad science have not been due to any commitment to theism or atheism, but for even more base reasons......fame and career aspirations.

    These range from claims such as the Lancet Vaccine-Autism paper to the more recent retraction connecting the virus XMRV to Cronic Fatigue Syndrome. In these instances, there is neither had anything to do with being religious. In the XMRV case I'm not sure you can say that there was even an actual intention to commit fraud.....it was just really shitty science. Another example, the recent claim of arsenic based microbial life by a NASA researcher..........bad science made worse by a researcher and agency wanting to ride the fame of such a controversial claim.

    Anyone who wants to question the ability of a committed theist to conducting good research, I'll take you on. Read through the research of someone like Francis Collins whose publication record shames the likes of someone like Richard Dawkins and tell me its been biased by his faith.

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    Re: Science....what is it?

    I'll explain why I asked you that in a moment.

    One last question. What value do you place in scientist who has a Bachelor's and Master's degree in a related field, and has done field work (related to his or her degrees) for decades, in a discussion with other scientists who have Ph.D's? Is this particular scientist going to be less credible? Does it depend upon the topic? Is it possible for someone with this education and decades of field experience, to understand concepts that are discussed by those with a Ph.D? Or should such a scientist leave topics discussed by doctorate level scientists discuss it amongst themselves as they have the final authority due to their Ph.D?
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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I'll explain why I asked you that in a moment.

    One last question. What value do you place in scientist who has a Bachelor's and Master's degree in a related field, and has done field work (related to his or her degrees) for decades, in a discussion with other scientists who have Ph.D's? Is this particular scientist going to be less credible? Does it depend upon the topic? Is it possible for someone with this education and decades of field experience, to understand concepts that are discussed by those with a Ph.D? Or should such a scientist leave topics discussed by doctorate level scientists discuss it amongst themselves as they have the final authority due to their Ph.D?
    Wow, this is complicated to answer. I think that individuals with Bachelors and Masters degrees, particularly with experience, are just as qualified as someone with a PhD. Depending on the years of experience versus that of the person with the PhD....oftentimes more so.

    In grad school Masters and PhD students co-mingle at an indistinguishable manner. We take the same classes work in the same labs. Typically the difference comes down to the requirements of the "amount" of research needed to achieve the degree. A Masters student may not even have to contribute original research to any significant degree. A PhD student will have too. This is why I did not go for a Masters. I would be doing the exact same things, but for an extra year or two and more effort in my research I can get a PhD.

    Someone fresh out of a Bachelors may or may not have research experience and certainly not the higher level coursework. Certainly they can pick this knowledge up with experience.

    Here is the caveat. The sort of career path that one has as a Bachelors, Masters, or PhD. I can only speak for Biology. The way things have changed, even someone with a PhD cannot simply get a professorship at a research university (they can at liberal arts colleges with a full-time role in teaching, not reseach). Its going to be very difficult even to compete for a research scientist position in industry. Typically you have to go on and do a Post-doc for another 3-4 years to bolster your resume.

    With a Bachelors in Biology your Biology career related options in research are going to be very limited. You will be working primarily as a lab tech. You will not likely be in charge of a research project. Higher ups will give you assigned, typically routine tasks.

    With a Masters, you will typically be qualified for more specialized roles. Maybe even have some limited autonomy in how the experiments are run. Some may even be in charge of a research project, not likely as the primary researcher and almost non-existent as the head of a research group.

    In all circumstances, it really comes down to what it is you do. Science is very much based on reputation. If you have a masters and 50 research publications to your name, you are going to get a lot more credit than a newbie PhD with 0-2 publications. Its also going to matter what those publications are, the journals they were in and whether you are the first author (did the bulk of the research), the last author (lab head) or a middle author (typically contributed to one experiment or so). Its complicated. But I don't really notice this attitude of "oh you just have a masters...."

    There is even this thing called the h-index.

    The h-index is an index that attempts to measure both the productivity and impact of the published work of a scientist or scholar. The index is based on the set of the scientist's most cited papers and the number of citations that they have received in other publications. The index can also be applied to the productivity and impact of a group of scientists, such as a department or university or country.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-index

    The guy with a Masters and 50 publications, 10 highly cited versus a PhD with 10 general publications.......the Masters by this measure is going to rank higher.

    ---------- Post added at 02:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:20 PM ----------

    Heres the sorts of questions a scientist judging another scientist will be asking themselves or thinking about:

    1) Who did he work for (what labs have he been in, are they prestigious labs)?
    2) How many publications?
    3) What journals?
    4) How many first author publications?
    5) Highly cited papers?

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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Thanks for answering.

    I asked these questions because in another thread a member seemed to argue that theist scientists are "evangelicals" (thus, not deserving the title of "physicists" or "cosmologists", or whatever their Masters or Doctorate field of study was), that they are influenced by their religion (and thus, less credible) and one of them, despite never arguing from any religious perspective, having a Bachelors and Masters degree in physics (with a focus on Supersymmetry & Cosmology). He, along with other physicists (who happen to have Ph.D's) objected at the idea that sheer-nothingness (a non-state of being) is synonymous with a vacuum (which has a state of being even if the energy is 0). Mr. Sinclair was attacked as not being credentialed enough to address arguments from his opponents, and all three are labeled evangelists because they believe in God.

    I pointed out the absurdity of such politics (that is truly what it is). But wanted to get a neutral, objective response from a scientist who was also a theist. Apparently however, in this particular member in question's view (and admittedly, it isn't just him, there's a significant number of prejudiced and biased individuals who make the same claim) your answer may not amount to much because you aren't really a scientist who because you can't remain objective...if you could, you'd not be a theist, and instead, should be referred to as an "evangelical". That and without a Ph.D, the claims in physics (specifically in QM) are beyond your level of understanding and we ought to just simply defer to the experts vs thinking we can rightfully challenge their ideas.

    Now to me, this seems like anti-science. It sounds like everything that science ought not to be, and everything that opposes what science really is. It sounds like to me, that it is just an institutional thinking that is corrupted by elitism and sophistry, lacking a productive and intellectual arena by which theories are tested and discussed.
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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    1) You took Kevin out of context. He did not say science was religion. He said "and has only assumed its near-"religious" status, to the exclusion of other methods, in the 20th- and 21st-century Western world."

    The context that Kevin uses makes it explicitly clear that he is not talking about the actual methodology, but the social status of science in the modern day world in comparison to other equally valid methods of ascertaining truth.
    Indeed. Science is based on experimentation, religion is based on faith. Some truths are physically testable, others are not. This understanding of knowledge, and its different forms, has been lost by many modern Westerners. This is evident from many people's close familiarity with their iPhone apps, but total ignorance of thought about the nature and meaning of life and reality.

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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    1) You took Kevin out of context. He did not say science was religion. He said "and has only assumed its near-"religious" status, to the exclusion of other methods, in the 20th- and 21st-century Western world."

    The context that Kevin uses makes it explicitly clear that he is not talking about the actual methodology, but the social status of science in the modern day world in comparison to other equally valid methods of ascertaining truth. Without bothering to go into the validity of religion, from a sociological standpoint, religion has historically held a place of prominence in the lives of people. It has long been a trusted institution, trusted above other institutions.
    In the past, philosophy and philosophers held a great deal more prestige than they have through much of the 20th and 21st centuries. During the period in question, advances in science caught the attention of the public and it has elevated the status of scientists to a level of trust and prestige on the level of Religion.*

    No where is this more evident than in the public roles that many scientists have assumed, roles that were once more often assumed by Philosophers and Religious leaders. This has grew to the extent that you know have scientific personalities that speak on all matters far outside their field, even on matters of ethics, morality, politics, and religion. Because of their standing as scientists (regardless of how recently they have actually engaged in scientific work) they are revered and trusted. Just consider Richard Dawkins as a prime example.

    This is without a doubt the context that Kevin referred to and it speaks nothing of the methodology or what science is, only the social standing of science. It is a valid remark and one I agree with.
    2) There is little clarifying about your comparison to religion.*
    But even that context you mention is not accurate - the "religious"-state, Kevin is stating, is not of respect. It's one that connotes non-thinking adherence to a particular set of ideas. How often have you heard a religious person say that science is also a religion. Also, Dawkins isn't revered! He's great at what he does and I've followed him for a couple of decades - he's a great writer and so is Steve J. Gould and many, many other scientists who are also writers. His atheist persona is not revered either - it's basically watching a train wreck happen as he destroys other viewpoints - that aspect of him is almost sport-like.

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    a) Essentially the entirety of your comparison list is either flat out false or an exaggeration. Simply look to Apok's rebuttles.

    For example:

    1. there would be no need for facts - if something feels true, then it must be
    4. one would not have to do any experiments - just wishing something to be true would be sufficient and the more people that wished for it, the more likely it would be true.
    5. one would not need to cover old ground because once the truth has been found once then it need not be examined again
    6. questioning foundational knowledge is too disruptive to a body of work so it cannot be allowed to happen
    10. facts must not get in the way of logical arguments - if it can be sufficiently logically argued that something is not true, then it isn't, no matter what the experiments show.


    These are so flat out wrong I'm simply amazed. Try studying the actual history of Christianity for once. There are a multitude of denominations the differ in their beliefs of even small details of scriptures. The Church has a vast history of challenging set doctrine. 2000 years later, Christians are still covering "old ground." Your accusations here are simply flat out ignorant of Religion. Nothing more can be said about that.
    Firstly, I am not saying that all religious reasoning follows these descriptions but they do feature prominently, which is why they came so easily:

    1. I was thinking of those that appeal to emotional reasons as to why God exists - the God-shaped hole.
    2. I was thinking of praying for something or faith healing.
    5. I was referring to Islam being very much unquestioning.
    6. Ditto Islam now and Christianity in its past.
    10. The usage of condoms banned by the Catholic Church is an example where factually less lives would be lost due to AIDS. To pierce or deny a simple remedy kills people.


    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    b) Nearly all of your criticisms of Religion (which are really criticisms of it as an institution, rather than it as truth) apply in the same way to Science as it is as an institution.

    For example:

    2. a person like Darwin could define all of biology (anything he says is true) just because he had one good idea (well, he did but rather than accepting everything he said, scientists tried the hardest to disprove him).
    3. a person like Einstein would speak the truth even in areas he has no expertise in because he is obviously very smart
    7. there would be no need for independent verification because only the work of a few important scientists are needed
    8. charismatic and well-spoken scientists are obviously smarter than nerds because they can be more convincing
    9. children must not be allowed to come to their own conclusions, they are too young to be able to explore the dangerous world on their own; instead they must be given facts to learn

    I've seen all of these to greater or lesser extents in Science the institution (not the method).
    Hmmm. Really?

    2. Please provide an example of someone that can speak on all matters of science and everyone 'just believes them'? Here, I was thinking of the infallibility of the Pope.
    7. Ditto but in the areas of sexual morality - the Catholic Church, consisting solely of virgins cannot be an expert in this area.
    8. Please provide an example of a scientist whose career depends on being charismatic rather than producing results.
    9. Have you heard of those religious people that want Harry Potter banned or boycotted the Golden Compass because of undue influence on their kids? Please provide an example where a scientist would not allow their children to learn more about the world?

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    Fine then.

    I think it shows that its built in for humans to reason and learn.....not necessarily do science which is a subset of the whole.
    Obviously science and religion work on different domains but I think they do take different approaches. Both are based on reason, both are capable of change but only science thrives from it. I see a great deal of resistance to new ideas purely due to religion - look at Santorum's statements on contraception, homosexuality and the environment. It's a little off topic, maybe better suited for religious thinking vs non-religious thinking.

    ---------- Post added at 07:19 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:31 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    None of this supports your position that ALL religionists only believe out of feeling and none believe out of reason.

    This is what you said:

    All you have done thus far, is point out that some people have emotional experiences as a direct result of their perceived relationship with God.
    You have not, however, shown that no people use actual reason and instead, all people use merely emotion, to believe in the existence of God.
    You created a huge burden to bear in your original post with such a bold claim, one that I don't think I've ever seen any atheist ever make tbh.
    Perhaps you misstated
    Then you definitely misstated your original argument.
    I think the statement might be considered misstated but it was a list of what I see as failures in using deities to argue a point. Or that each point applies to all religious statements. I'll take the hit for that. Sorry for the confusion.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    What is it to "know" something? How do you know? Do you know that God does not exist? I realize that this is really an off-topic question, but one you can answer w/o negative consequences of any sort since a) I'm the one asking and b) I may respond to it, but in a different thread.
    [/QUOTER
    Just super quickly, it boils down to the existence of other competing religions. Something that actually exists and is true usually doesn't have drastically different interpretations like this. In addition, there are many examples from many different disciplines that explain why religions happen, why cooperation is better than not, why deities are a good idea, and why people are religious leaders or followers. I think I covered some of this in my Deities are Human Inventions thread.

    So no only are there no convincing reasons to believe, there are actual reasons why I shouldn't believe and there are great reasons to explain why people do believe.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    But we do disagree about what a fact is
    I agree we disagree. I was using the term as it is used in the English language:

    So, yes, we absolutely disagree what the term "fact" means. Apparently, you have some alternative definition. What is it exactly? Scientific fact perhaps?
    I guess your "out" is "philosophy a proposition that may be either true or false, as contrasted with an evaluative statement". But I don't see philosophical truths as facts - they are in a different class of truthfulness and to be honest, it was where I thought you would go. But I'm not talking about "scientific" facts either, but merely those that are grounded in reality via observation.

    And whilst you Jesus fulfilling a prophecy as a fact, I don't see that to be true because he didn't complete all the predictions. So even within the religious framework, I can't even believe.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    All of this is incorrect. However, all of it is outside the scope of this thread. You wanted examples of facts used in religion (specifically Christianity in my case). I defined "fact", and offered examples of facts. If you wish to discuss the veracity of these examples above, feel free to start a new thread.

    So your alternate definition for "fact" is "scientific fact"? Either you are creating a "Sharmism" (redefining an established and acknowledged term for your own benefit and insist that all comply with the subjective and arbitrary definition) or you were too vague and loose with the term "fact" and instead, it should have been "scientific fact".

    We absolutely disagree about what a fact is. I'm using the English language and in it, the meaning of the word "fact" (vs scientific fact which I believe is what you may have intended).

    This is all based on the incorrect understanding or usage of the term "fact", as well as a misunderstanding on how such doctrines are arrived. But it is something that ought to be discussed in another thread, not in a thread that discusses the nature of science itself so I won't address it here.
    [/QUOTE]
    I am tempted but I already don't agree with the use of your term fact. I see facts as largely indisputable and I don't see anything you mentioned in that category. You can pull a dictionary definition that allows you to use philosophical statements as fact and win the argument but the problem is that philosophical facts don't necessarily describe reality.

    It may well be that I am leaning towards more rigorous usage of fact but if you want to win by using a loose definition then that's fine. I'm not even going as far as expecting the rigor of a scientific fact but I do like my facts to be linked to reality, especially when we are actually talking about reality.

    When we're talking philosophy and philosophical facts then we can do that but it needs to be laid out. We are discussing science, so it should be understood that we are talking about reality and not ideas.

    Anyway, thanks for the insight. I will never agree that a philosophical fact trumps reality so I don't think taking this further is worthwhile without a different thread and I think I'm already touching on these points in your post about what logic is and its relationship to truth.

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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    I am tempted but I already don't agree with the use of your term fact.
    You mean the term used in the English language. It isn't "Apok's use of the term"...Apok happens to be using the term as it is used in the English language as demonstrated and defined in the previous post.

    So it's an issue of language.

    Therefore, so there is no issue of language, we remove the term "fact" from the table. And instead we have the two concepts that each of us have been describing.

    We can attribute any newly created term to represent these concepts. This way, concepts are discussed and language is not. For example...

    apfact: something that actually exists; reality; truth; something said to be true or supposed to have happened; an actual or alleged event or circumstance; a piece of information; a proposition that may be either true or false, as contrasted with an evaluative statement; in point of fact in reality or actuality

    shafact: only that which is indisputable
    Now, with these new terms, and adequately described meanings of the terms (or described concepts), we can evaluate what the other position truly is or what they are claiming.

    Sometimes this is necessary to understand what it is your competing position is attempting to argue. Unfortunately, language typically gets in the way and we must take such measures to lift the fog of ambiguity in order to get to the real meat of the argument itself.

    The problem with the shafact being applied, is that neither religion nor science can be tested by it. Even in science previously thought to be truths, are disputed. Science is riddled with plentiful examples of complete 180's and further expansions on what was thought to be true.

    Truth be told, there are very little "shafacts" in existence. Thus, it is not a good measure or indicator of reality. Science, cannot live up to such an expectation. And the belief that it can, is what I believe to be nothing more than "scientism"...which as others have mentioned perhaps here and in other threads...the religion of science, the faith not of truth propositions, but that science can do what it truly cannot to the point that reason is abandoned.


    You can pull a dictionary definition that allows you to use philosophical statements as fact and win the argument but the problem is that philosophical facts don't necessarily describe reality.
    This is highly problematic since this is precisely the realm of metaphysics, one of the core philosophical divisions.

    It may well be that I am leaning towards more rigorous usage of fact but if you want to win by using a loose definition then that's fine.
    I don't want to win. I want to either ensure we are using the correct terms or make sure that we are at least addressing the appropriate concepts. I really hate language games/debates. I'd much rather discuss the concepts or ideas.

    Furthermore, I really do prefer the Socratic philosophy of a win-win scenario (despite my at times, seemingly aggressive nature in debates). That is, the outcome, if there ever is such a thing will produce nothing but a positive result. Either you will have learned something and thus moved from a false belief to a true one...or better yet, I get to "win" and be taught something new.

    The winner in a debate usually has the better rhetoric of course. But the winner in an argument is the one who has actually moved from a false belief to a true belief for they are the one who is gaining knowledge. And when one gains knowledge, he/she becomes wiser. I'm all up for losing debates all day long if it means that I "win" by learning and my opponent remains stagnant. It's unfortunate for him of course, but I'm selfish that way I suppose. I want to be wiser, so I'll take any opportunity to do so that is given.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
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    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Anyway, thanks for the insight. I will never agree that a philosophical fact trumps reality so I don't think taking this further is worthwhile without a different thread and I think I'm already touching on these points in your post about what logic is and its relationship to truth.
    Philosophy is concerned with reality, what it is, and how we know it to be real. How do you know you are not a brain in a jar, being experimented upon to simulate the experience of a body and physical sensation? Answer: you don't. We can be reasonably certain that reality is as it appears to be, but not completely certain.

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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    You mean the term used in the English language. It isn't "Apok's use of the term"...Apok happens to be using the term as it is used in the English language as demonstrated and defined in the previous post.

    So it's an issue of language.

    Therefore, so there is no issue of language, we remove the term "fact" from the table. And instead we have the two concepts that each of us have been describing.

    We can attribute any newly created term to represent these concepts. This way, concepts are discussed and language is not. For example...

    apfact: something that actually exists; reality; truth; something said to be true or supposed to have happened; an actual or alleged event or circumstance; a piece of information; a proposition that may be either true or false, as contrasted with an evaluative statement; in point of fact in reality or actuality

    shafact: only that which is indisputable
    Now, with these new terms, and adequately described meanings of the terms (or described concepts), we can evaluate what the other position truly is or what they are claiming.
    It is an issue of language and when using language, one has to be precise. Words don't just have a single meaning and I was explicit in the sense that I was using the word, whereas you supplied every sense of the word; some of which are not exactly what one would normally consider factual:

    You could drive a truck (or a god) through "something said to be true or supposed to have happened"! Just saying something is true doesn't make it a fact! It may be an assumption or a axiom but fact is stretching it. In fact the example from dictionary.com has as its example "The facts given by the witness are highly questionable." - i.e. the word "fact" is a supposition that is under dispute. If you want to use that definition to classify religious facts under then we have no argument!

    "an actual or alleged event or circumstance" is equally non-descript and allows even for events that are impossible. Again, if you are using this sense of the word then I am in total agreement!


    There is the sense that "fact" is something "taken" to be true (but I had to dig a bit for it) but if that is what you are going for to qualify your religious beliefs then please state this explicitly.

    Here's a better one from the Oxford English Dictionary:

    something which is known to have happened or to exist, especially something for which proof exists, or about which there is information

    I'm also taking my definition of fact from here:

    1. A thing that is indisputably the case
    - she lacks political experience—a fact that becomes clear when she appears in public
    - a body of fact

    2. Used in discussing the significance of something that is the case
    - the real problem facing them is the fact that their funds are being cut

    3. A piece of information used as evidence or as part of a report or news article

    4. The truth about events as opposed to interpretation
    - there was a question of fact as to whether they had received the letter

    I like the Wikipedia article that distinguishes the different kinds of fact (scientific, philosophical, historical and legal.

    So it's not really about language but domain of discourse, as I pointed out. That said, your definition of fact seems to be a definition of "statement".

    The problem is that that you are not making explicit which sense of the word "fact" you have chosen. It could be any or all of the definitions. But as I've pointed out above your sense of the word just means any old statement. Can you refine it a bit so I can tell?

    That you even include these in your usage of the term fact may be all the difference we have between us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    The problem with the shafact being applied, is that neither religion nor science can be tested by it. Even in science previously thought to be truths, are disputed. Science is riddled with plentiful examples of complete 180's and further expansions on what was thought to be true.
    In science, there are observations, aka facts, that are indisputable - after all they have been independently verified. What do change are the theories that explain them or there may be higher resolution, more precise or accurate observations but even then the original facts are still true.

    But again, facts don't have to be scientific facts. For example, the sun rises from the east is not a scientific fact; ODN exists is a fact because it exists in reality. And the problem with your loose usage of the word "fact" means that you are not using it in the same sense I am. It is indeed true that there are very few facts in the universe; relative to all the statements possible, facts hold a very special a dear place in our minds - it's what our lives depends upon in some cases.

    So I'm fine with "shafact", although, all I am doing is being precise about what sense of the word I am using.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Truth be told, there are very little "shafacts" in existence. Thus, it is not a good measure or indicator of reality. Science, cannot live up to such an expectation. And the belief that it can, is what I believe to be nothing more than "scientism"...which as others have mentioned perhaps here and in other threads...the religion of science, the faith not of truth propositions, but that science can do what it truly cannot to the point that reason is abandoned.
    I don't know what scientific facts are in dispute. Please point some out - usually facts are not in dispute, only the conclusions drawn from them or the model used to get predictions from. If an observation is actually in dispute then it cannot be considered a fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I don't want to win. I want to either ensure we are using the correct terms or make sure that we are at least addressing the appropriate concepts. I really hate language games/debates. I'd much rather discuss the concepts or ideas.
    Me too - obviously a big part of debating is to understand the other side. Your usage of the word "fact", undecorated with "philosophical-" was a tad surprising but not a big a shock.

    I was expecting actual facts based on the physical world because that was the universe of discourse we were in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Furthermore, I really do prefer the Socratic philosophy of a win-win scenario (despite my at times, seemingly aggressive nature in debates). That is, the outcome, if there ever is such a thing will produce nothing but a positive result. Either you will have learned something and thus moved from a false belief to a true one...or better yet, I get to "win" and be taught something new.

    The winner in a debate usually has the better rhetoric of course. But the winner in an argument is the one who has actually moved from a false belief to a true belief for they are the one who is gaining knowledge. And when one gains knowledge, he/she becomes wiser. I'm all up for losing debates all day long if it means that I "win" by learning and my opponent remains stagnant. It's unfortunate for him of course, but I'm selfish that way I suppose. I want to be wiser, so I'll take any opportunity to do so that is given.
    I'm sure everyone 'wins' in that there is new knowledge learned. Real winning though is about convincing the other side that you are correct!

    ---------- Post added at 09:07 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:49 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBrowning View Post
    Philosophy is concerned with reality, what it is, and how we know it to be real. How do you know you are not a brain in a jar, being experimented upon to simulate the experience of a body and physical sensation? Answer: you don't. We can be reasonably certain that reality is as it appears to be, but not completely certain.
    Sure, but philosophy talks about possibilities and not actualities. Or even possible actualities. I'm not demeaning philosophy but its realm is of ideas not of our much more limited physical universe. Philosophy provides a framework to discuss different ideas and to measure them against each other before trying them out in real life. So yes, it is concerned with reality, and informs us as to how to behave. But it is not reality.

    As you point out, one could philosophically point out that we are just brains in a jar but reality informs us otherwise.
    Last edited by SharmaK; March 1st, 2012 at 06:41 AM. Reason: Corrections on the looser definition of fact

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    Re: Science....what is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    As you point out, one could philosophically point out that we are just brains in a jar but reality informs us otherwise.
    Does it? The point is that we do not know and cannot know with absolute certainty if our experience of physical reality is "correct." There is an element of the "F-word" involved: faith.

 

 
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