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Author Topic:   The "science" of Miracles
NoNukes
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Posts: 10868
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 661 of 671 (831173)
04-13-2018 12:44 PM
Reply to: Message 658 by 1.61803
04-13-2018 12:11 PM


Re: Consensus
IF a miracle occurred and was investigated by scientist and found to be inexplicable. Would the scientist then throw away all data pertaining to this event as not worthy of further investigation because it is inexplicable?

None of us are claiming that data will be thrown away. What we are saying is that scientists continue investigating and looking for an explanation. A conclusion that something is magic would end the scientific part of the investigation. Scientists never get to that point.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We got a thousand points of light for the homeless man. We've got a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand. Neil Young, Rockin' in the Free World.

Worrying about the "browning of America" is not racism. -- Faith

I hate you all, you hate me -- Faith


This message is a reply to:
 Message 658 by 1.61803, posted 04-13-2018 12:11 PM 1.61803 has not yet responded

    
Phat
Member
Posts: 10972
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 662 of 671 (831179)
04-13-2018 4:34 PM
Reply to: Message 659 by ringo
04-13-2018 12:18 PM


Re: Consensus
The only issue that I have is that based on your suggested definition of how a scientist should think, no scientist would ever become a believer.

They would never separate belief from science and thus all scientists would be atheists or agnostics. Which clearly isn't true.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
Paul was probably SO soaked in prayer nobody else has ever equaled him.~Faith :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 659 by ringo, posted 04-13-2018 12:18 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 664 by ringo, posted 04-14-2018 12:08 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17581
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 663 of 671 (831196)
04-13-2018 8:17 PM
Reply to: Message 659 by ringo
04-13-2018 12:18 PM


Re: Consensus
ringo writes:

Percy writes:

I mean, if you're not including miraculous phenomena within science, then you must be ignoring them, right?


No, it's the extraneous epithet "miracle" that science ignores.

Aw, shucks, and you were doing so well, but now you're back into broken-record mode. Go back and reread the thread.

A phenomenon is a phenomenon is a phenomenon. They're not categorized as "red phenomena" or "warm and fuzzy phenomena".

Quantum phenomena, gravitational phenomena, electromagnetic phenomena...

One phenomenon is not treated differently from another.

I was seeking clarification of what you said. You said you probably wouldn't include miraculous phenomena in science. Now you're saying you'd treat all phenomena the same, meaning that you would include them. Inconsistent much?

Percy writes:

ringo writes:

How can that be "the answer"?


That's part of the "what if."

We've been there already. If you're what-iffing that scientists throw science out the window, the whatif has even less value.

Nice job making things up. I'm through repeating myself. Go back and read the thread.

Percy writes:

If it helps, imagine you're in a science fantasy novel where you've been transported to a universe where miracles have been recently discovered to be real, taking the form of violations of known physical laws.


That's the whole problem with your scenario; it's science fiction, not science. Science is not affected by everything you can dream up.

If you prefer the term science fiction to "what if", fine. So how might science incorporate miracles into the fabric of scientific philosophy in this science fiction world?

Percy writes:

I think tentativity rules out the possibility of ever understanding natural laws completely.


So if we can never understand the natural laws completely, we can never say that they have been violated.

Of course we can tentatively state that scientific laws have been violated.

All we can say is that our current understanding is inadequate to explain the phenomenon.

This is true of many things within science, even some supposedly simple things. Why do gyroscopes point in a fixed direction with respect to the stars (see The Forgotten Mystery of Inertia, November/December issue of American Scientist magazine)?

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 659 by ringo, posted 04-13-2018 12:18 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 665 by ringo, posted 04-14-2018 12:22 PM Percy has responded

    
ringo
Member
Posts: 14915
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 664 of 671 (831263)
04-14-2018 12:08 PM
Reply to: Message 662 by Phat
04-13-2018 4:34 PM


Re: Consensus
Phat writes:

The only issue that I have is that based on your suggested definition of how a scientist should think, no scientist would ever become a believer.


Not at all. Scientists should think as scientists when they're doing science. They're perfectly free to think as football players when they're playing football and to think as cooks when they're making chili.

Phat writes:

They would never separate belief from science and thus all scientists would be atheists or agnostics.


You have it backwards. They should always separate belief from science.

An honest discussion is more of a peer review than a pep rally. My toughest critics here are the people who agree with me. -- ringo

This message is a reply to:
 Message 662 by Phat, posted 04-13-2018 4:34 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 14915
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 665 of 671 (831265)
04-14-2018 12:22 PM
Reply to: Message 663 by Percy
04-13-2018 8:17 PM


Re: Consensus
Percy writes:

Quantum phenomena, gravitational phenomena, electromagnetic phenomena...


Those are not categories in the same way that "miraculous phenomena" would be. There is evidence and theory for all of them.

Percy writes:

I was seeking clarification of what you said. You said you probably wouldn't include miraculous phenomena in science. Now you're saying you'd treat all phenomena the same, meaning that you would include them.


I thought it was pretty clear: I would treat all phenomena the same just as scientists treat all phenomena the same. I don't consider anything "miraculous" from the scientific point of view just as scientists don't consider anything miraculous from the scientific point of view.

Percy writes:

If you prefer the term science fiction to "what if", fine. So how might science incorporate miracles into the fabric of scientific philosophy in this science fiction world?


Science doesn't work from fiction. It works from facts. The idea of going to the moon may have originated in science fiction but the process of getting there didn't depend on any what-if proposed by fiction writers.

Percy writes:

Of course we can tentatively state that scientific laws have been violated.


I don't think we can. We can tentatively state what is possible - e.g. that physical laws somehow allow bridges to fly. In your scenario, we saw the bridge fly so we know it's possible. The only question is how. It makes no sense to say it might tentatively be impossible.

An honest discussion is more of a peer review than a pep rally. My toughest critics here are the people who agree with me. -- ringo

This message is a reply to:
 Message 663 by Percy, posted 04-13-2018 8:17 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 666 by Percy, posted 04-16-2018 2:00 PM ringo has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17581
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 666 of 671 (831369)
04-16-2018 2:00 PM
Reply to: Message 665 by ringo
04-14-2018 12:22 PM


Re: Consensus
ringo writes:

Percy writes:

Quantum phenomena, gravitational phenomena, electromagnetic phenomena...


Those are not categories in the same way that "miraculous phenomena" would be. There is evidence and theory for all of them.

To varying degrees. All phenomenon begin with zero evidence before that first observation. Sometimes observation leads theory, sometimes vice versa. In this "what if" observation comes first and there was no prior theory. An example of a similar case within current science is our discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, something observed before there was any theory predicting dark energy. Prior to its observation there was no evidence or theory.

Percy writes:

I was seeking clarification of what you said. You said you probably wouldn't include miraculous phenomena in science. Now you're saying you'd treat all phenomena the same, meaning that you would include them.


I thought it was pretty clear: I would treat all phenomena the same just as scientists treat all phenomena the same. I don't consider anything "miraculous" from the scientific point of view just as scientists don't consider anything miraculous from the scientific point of view.

Well now you're just returning to your old schtick of refusing to consider the term miraculous. Go back and reread the thread. How many times have I said the particular term chosen for the phenomenon is unimportant? We're talking about phenomena that violate one or more currently known laws of nature. Rather than write that out in full every time I am using the term miraculous. We've been over this. Why do you keep going amnestic on me?

Are you afraid that when I use the term miraculous that I'm trying to put one over on you, that if you're not careful I'm going to go, "Aha! You do accept miracles." You don't have to worry about that. I don't accept miracles, either. This is a "what if". Another way of expressing it would be, "For the sake of discussion, our own edification and as a mental exercise (and not because we actually believe in this sort of thing), let us consider how miracles might be accommodated into the fabric of science were they discovered to be real."

I was asking for a simple clarification. When asked if science would include miraculous phenomena, you answered probably not. Then when asked if science would decide miraculous phenomena were beyond the purview of science, you also answered probably not. You can't have it both ways, and you shouldn't avoid resolving the contradiction by suddenly reinvoking your aversion to the term miracle.

We agree that scientists would treat all phenomena the same with regard to their study. But you cannot say in advance what might be discovered and what the ramifications might be, you can only speculate. Here we are asking what if phenomena are discovered that at first blush appear to violate known physical laws to a significant degree, and that when studied reveal that that actually seems to be the case. How might the study and philosophy of science change?

Percy writes:

If you prefer the term science fiction to "what if", fine. So how might science incorporate miracles into the fabric of scientific philosophy in this science fiction world?


Science doesn't work from fiction. It works from facts. The idea of going to the moon may have originated in science fiction but the process of getting there didn't depend on any what-if proposed by fiction writers.

You're avoiding the question. Had someone asked you a few hundred years ago, "What if we could go to the moon?" would you have answered, "That's fiction, science doesn't deal in fiction, it deals in facts"? No, of course not. So why are you doing it now? If you don't want to discuss the "what if" then no one is making you, but in that case you should stop repetitiously cycling through your stockpile of spurious objections and get off the thread.

Percy writes:

Of course we can tentatively state that scientific laws have been violated.


I don't think we can.

We've been over this. Anomalies are minor violations of physical laws as they are currently understood. Past examples have been provided, like the black body radiation spectrum and the precession in the orbit of Mercury.

We can tentatively state what is possible - e.g. that physical laws somehow allow bridges to fly.

Sometimes theory leads discovery, sometimes discovery leads theory. In this "what if" discovery leads theory. There are no theoretical hints that such phenomena are possible, then one day suddenly they're observed.

In your scenario, we saw the bridge fly so we know it's possible.

But we didn't think it possible before it was observed, so therefore this is a case of discovery leading theory.

The only question is how.

Well, that's not really the pertinent question in this "what if". We're not interested in devising some fictional science of miracles. We're really interested in the impact on the philosophy of science. It's a little bit analogous to when we discovered we didn't live in a clockwork universe (where hypothetically if you knew the precise position and momentum of every particle in the universe that you could predict everything that would happen in the future), that we live in a probabilistic quantum universe where knowledge of position and momentum are inversely related. So what if we discovered we live in a miraculous universe? How might scientific philosophy adapt?

It makes no sense to say it might tentatively be impossible.

I didn't say that, but upon considering this it seems to me that were science to deem something impossible, it could only say so tentatively.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 665 by ringo, posted 04-14-2018 12:22 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 667 by ringo, posted 04-19-2018 12:59 PM Percy has responded

    
ringo
Member
Posts: 14915
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 667 of 671 (831499)
04-19-2018 12:59 PM
Reply to: Message 666 by Percy
04-16-2018 2:00 PM


Re: Consensus
Percy writes:

When asked if science would include miraculous phenomena, you answered probably not. Then when asked if science would decide miraculous phenomena were beyond the purview of science, you also answered probably not. You can't have it both ways, and you shouldn't avoid resolving the contradiction by suddenly reinvoking your aversion to the term miracle.


You switch back and forth between "miraculous" and "something else" at your convenience. When you use the word "miraculous", I'm not going to try to divine what other "something" you might mean. If the term "miraculous" doesn't matter, just stop using it.

Percy writes:

Here we are asking what if phenomena are discovered that at first blush appear to violate known physical laws to a significant degree, and that when studied reveal that that actually seems to be the case. How might the study and philosophy of science change?


You keep saying the same thing over and over again and then you complain when my response is the same. Yes, one plus one is still two.

Percy writes:

Anomalies are minor violations of physical laws as they are currently understood.


Where is the dividing line between anomaly and miracle? Why would the scientists not just say, "This is a really big anomaly."

Percy writes:

We're not interested in devising some fictional science of miracles. We're really interested in the impact on the philosophy of science.


You might be. I doubt that the scientist are. Their interest would be, as I said, in how did it happen.

This may be our main point of contention. You're talking about philosophy and I'm talking about science.


An honest discussion is more of a peer review than a pep rally. My toughest critics here are the people who agree with me. -- ringo

This message is a reply to:
 Message 666 by Percy, posted 04-16-2018 2:00 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 668 by Percy, posted 04-22-2018 6:17 PM ringo has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 17581
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 668 of 671 (831674)
04-22-2018 6:17 PM
Reply to: Message 667 by ringo
04-19-2018 12:59 PM


Re: Consensus
Well, since you ignored the question, I'll just repeat it. When asked if science would include miraculous phenomena, you answered probably not. Then when asked if science would decide miraculous phenomena were beyond the purview of science, you also answered probably not. You can't have it both ways, and you shouldn't avoid resolving the contradiction by suddenly reinvoking your aversion to the term miracle. How do you resolve this contradiction?

ringo writes:

You switch back and forth between "miraculous" and "something else" at your convenience. When you use the word "miraculous", I'm not going to try to divine what other "something" you might mean. If the term "miraculous" doesn't matter, just stop using it.

You have failed to follow the course of the discussion.

Percy writes:

Here we are asking what if phenomena are discovered that at first blush appear to violate known physical laws to a significant degree, and that when studied reveal that that actually seems to be the case. How might the study and philosophy of science change?


You keep saying the same thing over and over again and then you complain when my response is the same. Yes, one plus one is still two.

So still no answer.

Percy writes:

Anomalies are minor violations of physical laws as they are currently understood.


Where is the dividing line between anomaly and miracle? Why would the scientists not just say, "This is a really big anomaly."

Because in the "what if" they didn't.

Percy writes:

We're not interested in devising some fictional science of miracles. We're really interested in the impact on the philosophy of science.


You might be. I doubt that the scientist are. Their interest would be, as I said, in how did it happen.

You can make up your own "what if" if you like, this one is as I described it.

This may be our main point of contention. You're talking about philosophy and I'm talking about science.

I'm exploring a hypothetical, you're engaged in obfuscation.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 667 by ringo, posted 04-19-2018 12:59 PM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 669 by ringo, posted 04-23-2018 11:42 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

    
ringo
Member
Posts: 14915
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 669 of 671 (831703)
04-23-2018 11:42 AM
Reply to: Message 668 by Percy
04-22-2018 6:17 PM


Re: Consensus
Percy writes:

You can't have it both ways, and you shouldn't avoid resolving the contradiction by suddenly reinvoking your aversion to the term miracle.


It's not a contradiction. It's a probability.

There's a probability that science would include miraculous phenomena and a probability that it would not. There is a probability that miracles would be placed beyond the purview of science and a probability that they would not. In both cases, I'm betting on not.

Percy writes:

ringo writes:

Why would the scientists not just say, "This is a really big anomaly."


Because in the "what if" they didn't.

That's where peer review steps in. The minute somebody suggests "miracle" or "violation of physical laws", their peers would say, "Nah, it's just a really big anomaly."

Percy writes:

I'm exploring a hypothetical, you're engaged in obfuscation.


The only one who seems to be obfuscated is you.

An honest discussion is more of a peer review than a pep rally. My toughest critics here are the people who agree with me. -- ringo

This message is a reply to:
 Message 668 by Percy, posted 04-22-2018 6:17 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

Replies to this message:
 Message 670 by Phat, posted 04-23-2018 1:26 PM ringo has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 10972
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 670 of 671 (831716)
04-23-2018 1:26 PM
Reply to: Message 669 by ringo
04-23-2018 11:42 AM


Re: Consensus
although you won't allow Percys hypothetical to even be introduced. You seem to be defining the terms of the hypothetical rather than going with his terms.

Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain "
~"If that's not sufficient for you go soak your head."~Faith
Paul was probably SO soaked in prayer nobody else has ever equaled him.~Faith :)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 669 by ringo, posted 04-23-2018 11:42 AM ringo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 671 by ringo, posted 04-23-2018 1:29 PM Phat has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 14915
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 671 of 671 (831718)
04-23-2018 1:29 PM
Reply to: Message 670 by Phat
04-23-2018 1:26 PM


Re: Consensus
Phat writes:

although you won't allow Percys hypothetical to even be introduced.


What? It has been introduced.

Phat writes:

You seem to be defining the terms of the hypothetical rather than going with his terms.


I'm just pointing out how scientists would approach the situation. Percy's terms are an attempt to fill all of the loopholes but the approach of science would be to look for more loopholes.

An honest discussion is more of a peer review than a pep rally. My toughest critics here are the people who agree with me. -- ringo

This message is a reply to:
 Message 670 by Phat, posted 04-23-2018 1:26 PM Phat has not yet responded

  
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