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Author Topic:   What is science? (ROB and STRAGGLER only)
Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3442 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 1 of 106 (458905)
03-02-2008 5:41 PM


In a previous thread, the question of god's existence in a world without religious texts, led to a subtopic on how we would know there is a God. to make a long story short, it is dependant upon the definition of science. And that is certainly relevant in the over-all context of the ID/TOE debate.

Straggler has invited me to start a thread on a rather long bit I wrote on the subject.

For those of you not predisposed to engaging such an unwieldy piece of analysis, the short version is this:

Science is the law of contradiction.

For those who would rather feed on the whole piece, you can read it here: http://rob-lock.livejournal.com/

I'd like to begin by giving Straggler a chance to raise again his question regarding the color 'red' and it's relevance to my argument.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Added link to "previous thread".

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : "Add the "(ROB and STRAGGLER only)" to the topic title.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Adminnemooseus, posted 03-02-2008 6:00 PM Rob has responded

  
Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3830
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 2 of 106 (458913)
03-02-2008 6:00 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Rob
03-02-2008 5:41 PM


Not much of an opening message, but...
I guess I could reluctantly throw it out there.

I'm going to make it a "Great Debate", limited to just you two. We can start it that way and later open it to all.

Adminnemooseus


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 Message 1 by Rob, posted 03-02-2008 5:41 PM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3830
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Message 3 of 106 (458915)
03-02-2008 6:01 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3442 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 4 of 106 (458922)
03-02-2008 6:16 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Adminnemooseus
03-02-2008 6:00 PM


Re: Not much of an opening message, but...
Actually I respect Straggler and though I didn't intend for it to be a great debate, I have to admit that it would be nice not to have certain others who cannot concede a single point.

Your turn Straggler. We're in no hurry so think it through. I don't have time like I used to for a million EVC questions.

Make it count!


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Replies to this message:
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 Message 6 by Admin, posted 03-02-2008 9:13 PM Rob has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 5 of 106 (458927)
03-02-2008 6:51 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Rob
03-02-2008 6:16 PM


Wasn't Expecting a 1 on 1 but OK Then
In order to fully understand what you are saying I need to try and make it less abstract. As such I would like to throw it back at you in terms of considering 'red'ness and how you would apply your theory to this very simple example.

The question as I see it is partly one of subjective knowledge Vs objective knowledge and the reliability of each.

Science sets out to achieve objective knowledge by subjecting conclusions to various tests and using various methods in order to maximise the objectivity of these conclusions and tests (prediction, independent corroboration, repeatability etc. etc. etc.)

In order to illustrate the difference between religious conclusions and scientific conclusions I ask you to consider the colour ‘red’.

The following is a modified repeat of my post msg 121 in the "We know there is a God because...." thread.

Imagine the colour red. The 'redness' I imagine and the colour you imagine may or may not be the same. As far as I am aware there is no way to tell. Our perception of red is subjective and independent of each other to such an extent that we just cannot know whether or not we see the same thing inside our heads when we think of the colour red.

However we can experiment 'scientifically' to see if there is a non-subjective 'red' that is not merely a product of subjective personal perception alone.
We can try and find a basis for our subjective perception that exists in a common external reality.

This experiment could take the following form -

We each independently pick out the red cards from a pack of different coloured cards and then compare to see if we both picked out the same cards from the same deck.
We can take things further and measure the frequency of light reflected from the cards that we are both calling 'red'. We can determine the physical properties of that which we are both calling 'red'.
We can extend the experiment to other objects and their perceived redness across a larger sample of people.

Eventually we will find a consistency of what is termed 'red' across the test population in terms of the physical characteristics of red (wavelength, frequency etc.)
We can then make predictions that light of a certain wavelength and frequency will be consistently identified independently and objectively by test subjects as 'red' (or whatever name you choose to give it in whatever language - the key is the consistency of identification and corroboration across test subjects).

These predictions can be tested across a larger population test group and conclusions drawn.

We still don't know that any of us are actually perceiving red as exactly the same thing in our mind’s eye.
BUT we do know that light with certain properties is consistently identified as 'red' across the population and that the concept 'red'ness therefore has a basis is a shared reality and can be said to exist objectively and independently of internal perception alone.

God is like the colour red above but with no opportunity to experiment or verify with others that what you mean by God is what they mean by 'God'. It is all inside your head with no possible reference to an objective reality.

Yes you can describe your perception and others can describe theirs in the same way two people could both try to describe the concept of 'redness' as they imagine it. It may even sound as though you agree as to the nature and properties of 'God'. But without any way to look inside the heads of others there can never be any way to confirm that you are actually experiencing the same thing. There can be no way to confirm that God exists anywhere but as a figment of your subjective thought and imagination.

As such perception of God is subject to personal delusion in ways that physical objective empirical corroborated scientific evidence is not.

CONCLUSIONS
1) Where there exists a common non-subjective reality inhabited by multiple conscious beings reliable conclusions can be drawn as to the nature of that reality through processes of independent corroboration.
2) These conclusions are more reliable, less prone to delusion and therefore superior to wholly subjective conclusions for which no such corroborative tests are possible.
3) Conclusions of the first type can by definition only relate to the shared external physicality of the reality. These can be considered to be scientific conclusions.
4) Conclusions of the second type include those founded on personal faith in physically undetectable entities.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


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 Message 4 by Rob, posted 03-02-2008 6:16 PM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
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Admin
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Posts: 12535
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
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Message 6 of 106 (458937)
03-02-2008 9:13 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Rob
03-02-2008 6:16 PM


Re: Not much of an opening message, but...
Rob writes:

Actually I respect Straggler and though I didn't intend for it to be a great debate, I have to admit that it would be nice not to have certain others who cannot concede a single point.

If you have complaints of this nature please keep them out of the discussion threads. They belong over at Windsor castle.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3442 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 7 of 106 (459128)
03-04-2008 2:21 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Straggler
03-02-2008 6:51 PM


Re: Wasn't Expecting a 1 on 1 but OK Then
Straggler:
God is like the colour red above but with no opportunity to experiment or verify with others that what you mean by God is what they mean by 'God'. It is all inside your head with no possible reference to an objective reality.

That is simply untrue. The writers of the Bible experienced the same thing. It's quite remarkable actually to see how they describe with exisite detail what is happening to me.

The problem is you don't have any way of verify it, until you test it.

And whether we are willing to test it honestly depends upon whether or not we want it to be true.


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Replies to this message:
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 Message 9 by Straggler, posted 03-04-2008 6:41 PM Rob has responded

  
Admin
Director
Posts: 12535
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 8 of 106 (459139)
03-04-2008 10:12 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Rob
03-04-2008 2:21 AM


Re: Wasn't Expecting a 1 on 1 but OK Then
Rob writes:

And whether we are willing to test it honestly depends upon whether or not we want it to be true.

Let's leave issues of honesty aside. If at the end of the day the participants in this discussion, their position having failed to carry the day, merely claim the other side wasn't being honest, then there's no point to this discussion. Proper substitutes would be terms like objectively, accurately, rationally, logically, etc.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 9 of 106 (459210)
03-04-2008 6:41 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Rob
03-04-2008 2:21 AM


Re: Wasn't Expecting a 1 on 1 but OK Then
That is simply untrue. The writers of the Bible experienced the same thing. It's quite remarkable actually to see how they describe with exisite detail what is happening to me.

The problem is you don't have any way of verify it, until you test it.

And whether we are willing to test it honestly depends upon whether or not we want it to be true.

In my opinion this sort of testimony is worth little more than a newspaper astrology entry.
With some clever(ish) writing it is possible to convince people that what is written is incredibly insightful and personally relevant to them. Especially so if they want it to be true.
I know nothing of astrology and make no claim to know anything of people's hidden thoughts or feelings but I would be willing to bet I could write an astrological entry that a large number of people would find an uncannilly accurate description of their present situation.

Having read your essay I think you have missed something fundamental that is relevant to this point.
A key method of scientific investigation is to improve objectivity by seperating the comparitive test used from the actual theory being tested.

For example - using the colour red example again -

Rather than comparing coloured cards etc etc. etc. ourselves we could design an experiment in which the experimenters and the experimentees know nothing of the conclusions that will be drawn from their results.

They will just be instructed on the methods to be used.

All comparisons within the experiment itself require only that the perception and identification of the colour red by one subject is compared with the perception and identification of the colour red by other subjects.
All the experimenters do is record the results.

No bias can be present as to whether or not they want the theory to be verified or not as neither experimenter nor experimentee have any idea what the theory being tested actually is.

The objective results can then be provided to us and we can use them to verify or refute our predictions (made before the test results were known - another key point!!!) regarding the basis of 'red'ness in an objective reality.

There are many examples of this technique being used in scientific investigation to improve the objectivity and therefore the validity of the results.

Religious conclusions allow no such objectification of the verification/refutation process as far as I can see?
The tester always has a personal investment in the conclusion and knows in advance the result they wish to find.

As such it is my claim that religious conclusions are inferior in terms of reliability.

Over to you.......


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Rob, posted 03-04-2008 2:21 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Rob, posted 03-05-2008 1:11 AM Straggler has responded

Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3442 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 10 of 106 (459250)
03-05-2008 1:11 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Straggler
03-04-2008 6:41 PM


Re: Wasn't Expecting a 1 on 1 but OK Then
Straggler:
The tester always has a personal investment in the conclusion and knows in advance the result they wish to find.

Well I see your point... I have so much to gain by preaching the gospel. Everyone is lining up to hear that they are dead in their sin, and that God loved them enough to die for that sin; that though they are prisoners and slaves to their DNA and environmental programming, they can be born again and leave their life sin a free man or woman.

Yes yes yes... the accolades are never ending. Everyone welcomes me with open arms. And the pay is extraordinary. I have so many friends.

Why... I am as hip as a man can be! I wait my reward in heaven and give up my life now. Do you really think my faith is that strong? C'mon I am a man just like you...

Sorry for the sarcasm, but seriously...

Straggler:

Having read your essay I think you have missed something fundamental that is relevant to this point.
A key method of scientific investigation is to improve objectivity by seperating the comparitive test used from the actual theory being tested.

For example - using the colour red example again -

Rather than comparing coloured cards etc etc. etc. ourselves we could design an experiment in which the experimenters and the experimentees know nothing of the conclusions that will be drawn from their results.

Isn't that exactly what methodological naturalism does?
It predetermines what the results will be? And that is that we will only get material explanations, and no God to fear.

To me, it's just another example of how unscientific methodological naturalism actually is.

Sience is logic. And natural science is logic applied to the natural world. That's the premise.

We cannot presuppose what the results will be. Let logic lead us home without presuppoing where home is.

Could it be... that great wealth (even fortunes) of sexual treasure, material prosperity, intellectual esteem, and power cloud the judgement of naturalists who hold the major chairs of science?

So it's not just what can be gained by one side of the debate that might bias the results.

Bias is an equal opportunity lender.

We must also look at what will be lost by the other side of the debate. Holding on to what one has is a more powerful motivator than fanciful dreams that may or may not come to pass in the next life.

Matthew 19:23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 19 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

The power of 'now' is an awesome force. Passion and party sometimes blind us. And as you know, that goes for me too.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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 Message 16 by Straggler, posted 03-06-2008 9:39 AM Rob has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 11 of 106 (459304)
03-05-2008 6:46 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Rob
03-05-2008 1:11 AM


Re: Wasn't Expecting a 1 on 1 but OK Then
At this point I have no idea what you mean.

I doubt I am alone in my confusion.

How does any of the above relate to th equestion at hand - How does religious and scientific reasoning differ?

How exactly does your theory relate to a concrete but simple example such as the perception of the colour red


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 Message 10 by Rob, posted 03-05-2008 1:11 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3442 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 12 of 106 (459318)
03-05-2008 8:34 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Straggler
03-05-2008 6:46 PM


Re: Wasn't Expecting a 1 on 1 but OK Then
Straggler:
How does religious and scientific reasoning differ?

All reasoning is philosophical. Whether one uses inductive or deductive reasoning (we rely almost entirely on deduction) contradiction and coherence are what we seek in order to legitimize or impune premises and conclusions.

The only distinction is in the character of reality. Is god (reality) just nature, or is He 'The God of nature'. That is the only distinction. Naturalists worship a form of nature god and philosophize about reality from that spiritual lens or worldview.

Did you miss that part of my argument?

quote:
The conflict between 'science’ and 'religion' is not really over the existence of God because ‘God’ and ‘reality’ are synonymous.

Both are absolute, ultimate, and sovereign. The question is really one of God’s (or reality's) characteristics. Is reality a living being or merely an impersonal material force? ‘Whatever’ or ‘whoever’ reality is; reality ‘is God’ by definition. It is what it is, or I am what I am.

The only difference between the philosophies of naturalism and monotheism is the nature of God. The point is that all philosophy is religious faith. It matters not whether one is monotheistic, pantheistic, polytheistic, atheistic, or what have you. All of them are theistic. The deist assumes that the 'theo' has left the building.

Even the agnostic is in the same boat since his philosophy purposely excludes deciding the question of theism. Without theism, there is no such thing as an agnostic. The absolute character of reality (irrespective of its other qualities) does not give us the option of excluding ourselves from philosophizing about 'theo'. To do so, would itself be philosophizing.


Straggler:

How exactly does your theory relate to a concrete but simple example such as the perception of the colour red

First of all, I am not offering a theory. I am stating a fact. And that is that science is logical (the law of contradiction); that that is it's power to test for coherence.

We perceive color by seeing. We perceive coherence by way of logic.

In your blind study experiment, the subjects were allowed to freely give the results of their perception. And that is scientific and objective.

With 'methodological naturalism', the test subjects are only allowed to perceive within a certain parameter of explanation. It does not allow for scientific, objective, or free application of our logical faculties to interpret the evidence.

Does that help?

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.


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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3442 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 13 of 106 (459319)
03-05-2008 8:42 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Straggler
03-05-2008 6:46 PM


Re: Wasn't Expecting a 1 on 1 but OK Then
As a side note. I am still polishing up the language in my 'wanna be dissertation'. No major conceptual changes, but I think It would help to post it here (all 5 pages) unless the moderation declines. I thought I'd ask first.
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Admin
Director
Posts: 12535
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 14 of 106 (459333)
03-05-2008 10:09 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Rob
03-05-2008 8:42 PM


Re: Wasn't Expecting a 1 on 1 but OK Then
Please just post a link. If you would like something made available at the EvC website, please email it to me at Admin and I will post it so you can link to it in messages.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Rob, posted 03-05-2008 8:42 PM Rob has responded

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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3442 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 15 of 106 (459335)
03-05-2008 10:40 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by Admin
03-05-2008 10:09 PM


Re: Wasn't Expecting a 1 on 1 but OK Then
Ok... I already posted a link so no point in that. I am working on getting it into the hands of some of the 'real ID guys'.

Anyone have Dembski's or Meyer's personal email?

You see, they make a good case that methodological naturalism is fatally flawed and biased, but I have yet to hear (not that I have heard it all) of a alternate definition to offer other than vague references to 'the inference to the best explanation'. Though that is ultimately valid IMO, it's rather difficult to wade through. So I am putting this one out there.

In the mean time it needs to be ravaged by the hounds of hell of course :D

I want it to be attacked, maligned, challenged, doubted, dishonored, mocked and impuned. And that is why I have returned to your humble abode...

In fact, feel free to unlock the shaft to the abyss and let everyone in anytime.

All kidding aside (because the pride-fighter in me actually likes you guys), does it hold water or not?

I think it does, but I want to know how it might be challenged, so I put it out there to be tested.

I really don't want mindless attacks, but put a Modulus on it, or a Straggler, maybe even a HootMon.

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.


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