Well I see your point... I have so much to gain by preaching the gospel
Would your life have more or less meaning without God in it? I think that you believe that you personally gain much from your faith whatever difficulties it might also result in
Sorry for the sarcasm, but seriously...
There are many who seem to NEED a god in their life for whatever reason (comfort, meaning, morality etc. etc.) People will find gods for these reasons whether any exist or not so to dismiss this point with sarcasm does not do it justice.
You don't seem to deny the fact that any test for a personal god is inherently wholly subjective and thus prone to conclusions that tell us more about the needs and desires of the individual than anything else more fundamental about the world.
The question of this discussion is whether or not science - or methodical naturalism - is subject to the same sort of inherent weaknesses.
Do you agree as to the subjective nature of religious conclusions? Do you agree as to the aim of the discussion?
Sience is logic. And natural science is logic applied to the natural world. That's the premise
I don't think that is the premise.
At a deeper level I would say that science at it's most fundamental is a quest for the truths of nature (whether those truths actually exist or not is another interesting question but I do think science necessarily assumes that they do)
The methods of science such as the appliance of logic, prediction, objectivity etc. etc. are just the tools used to ensure that the investigation leads to the most reliable and accurate findings humanly possible (i.e. those closest to the truth)
Science is not a method despite the fact that it is often presented in those terms.
In my view science is an attitude to investigation applied to nature. Namely that the truth is the overriding objective and that every effort is made to ensure that findings are as close to the truth as possible.
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?
The main failing of science is that it is practiced by imperfect beings. Beings whose other desires can obscure the desire to understand the natural world. The methods of science are what they are exactly because we recognise that we are imperefect in this respect. The methods of science are what they are, at least in part, to stop us fooling ourselves and others into false conclusions that we may have drawn for all sorts of other less noble reasons that we may or may not be consciously aware of. As a result the methods of science allow us to derive knowledge that we can rely on to a much greater extent than knowledge gained without the same methods imposed.
Whilst science is not method alone - It is the application of the methods of science that allow us be confident that the search for truth in nature is the overriding objective (of course as imperfect beings we can apply the methods imperfectly but that is another question)
Without the application of these methods no practical attempt has been made to meet the main objective of ensuring truthfulness. As such these investigations cannot be considered scientific.
The methods of science are restricted to the empirical material world. Thus so is scientific investigation.
This is not the result of a philosophical position. It is a practical limitation.
I did say at the beginning that you were going to have to break this down and 'deabstractionalise' it to some degree if we were to have any meaningful discussion.........
It appears that this is indeed the case.
In case you missed it, our current definition of science says that 'only material explanations are scientific' though that definition is itself only a philosophical proposition
I have explained why I think this is not a philosophical position but a practical limitation.
You need to explain exactly how you have refuted this.
The conflict between science and religion is not over the existence of God because the terms God and reality are synonymous. Both are absolute, ultimate, and sovereign. The question is really one of God’s (or reality's) characteristics.
The key difference of characteristic is that physical 'reality' can be perceived collectively, tested collectively, verified as consistent and concluded to exist objectively whilst recognising the fact that we must perceive it subjectively (i.e. back to the colour red argument). Personal perceptions of God are wholly subjective so no reliable conclusion as to the existence of God is possible.
You need to explain how you have refuted this as well.
This point begs to be repeated; if nature is ordered in an intelligible, logical, and coherent fashion, then our philosophical constructs (theories) regarding it, must also be coherent if they are to be compatible with the assumed empirical order.
The empirical evidence suggests that nature does display these characteristics. This is a conclusion based on empirical evidence. Never mind science - your day to day life would be impossible if it were not so (try and imagine life is a random, disordered and incoherent world ....)
For example your first point, we all have a God that we worship; a view of reality that protects whatever needs we perceive that we need
I do indeed perceive reality. Apparently the same reality that we can all demonstrate beyond all reasonable doubt that we all share. The same cannot be said of your perception of God. That is the difference that you have yet to address as far as I can see.
I realise that it may be frustrating but unless you can explain this in a way that I can understand there is little point continuing (I would like to continue). If you are unable to explain it in more a more accessible format (i.e broken down into parts that can be individually argued rather than one extended argument) then you are unlikely to have much success with a wider audience.
First off, there is nothing that is abstract about coherence. If it is not valid, then any debate or observation is futile.
So I am a bit perturbed that you imply ambiguity on my part. The whole point of my excersize is to de-abstractinalize methodological naturalism.
Nonetheless, I will answer your questions and put aside any feelings.
Rob: In case you missed it, our current definition of science says that 'only material explanations are scientific' though that definition is itself only a philosophical proposition
Straggler: I have explained why I think this is not a philosophical position but a practical limitation.
You need to explain exactly how you have refuted this.
Actually it is not a practical limitation. Philosophy came before science. In fact, philosophy was the first science. It was only later that we attempted to apply it to understanding the natural world. So, the empirical world confirms that logic (the law of contradiction) is valid.
Only if our reasoning is valid, can science be true. The Lewis quote I gave was to remind you of this fact. Perhaps you're grappling with that, but you cannot say that I did not address or refute it.
Rob: The conflict between science and religion is not over the existence of God because the terms God and reality are synonymous. Both are absolute, ultimate, and sovereign. The question is really one of God’s (or reality's) characteristics.
Straggler: The key difference of characteristic is that physical 'reality' can be perceived collectively, tested collectively, verified as consistent and concluded to exist objectively whilst recognising the fact that we must perceive it subjectively (i.e. back to the colour red argument).
Personal perceptions of God are wholly subjective so no reliable conclusion as to the existence of God is possible.
Logic can also be perceived collectively. If I say that I cannot speak, then everyone can hear the problem, but they percieve it with their mind.
It sounds as though you are making the case that logic and red do not exist materially? That they are not real things, but only perceptions?
If so, are your own thoughts real? Do you exist?
Rob: This point begs to be repeated; if nature is ordered in an intelligible, logical, and coherent fashion, then our philosophical constructs (theories) regarding it, must also be coherent if they are to be compatible with the assumed empirical order.
Straggler: The empirical evidence suggests that nature does display these characteristics. This is a conclusion based on empirical evidence.
Perhaps you should consider professor Haldane's dilemma which I picked up in C.S. Lewis's book 'Miracles':
quote:"It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter."
Your proposition is circular Straggler, and it also does not leave you thoughts the option to be anything but the ebb and flow of matter. In other words, our thoughts are not thoughts at all. They are just matter doing what matter enevitably does. Sometimes it loves, and sometimes it slaughters. What's the difference?
Also, what are the laws of physics Straggler?
They are not material, but matter obeys them. In fact, matter is formed by them.
Rob: we all have a God that we worship; a view of reality that protects whatever needs we perceive that we need
Straggler: I do indeed perceive reality.
You misunderstood the point. Your view of reality is your god. Your perceptions are what you think need to be protected by that god.
Apparently the same reality that we can all demonstrate beyond all reasonable doubt that we all share.
If matter is all that there is (as you maintain) then my perceptions cannot be other than the actions of matter. How can mind exist apart and disconnected (out of reality) from the only reality that there is?
The same cannot be said of your perception of God.
With all due respect Straggler, I thank Him for that...
So I am a bit perturbed that you imply ambiguity on my part. The whole point of my excersize is to de-abstractinalize methodological naturalism. Nonetheless, I will answer your questions and put aside any feelings.
Whether any lack of clarity is due to ambiguity on your part, the inherent complexity of the argument or my own shortcomings I have yet to ascertain fully. It is not my intention to frustrate. Merely to break things down into smaller, simpler and thus easier to analyse pieces. Maybe it is just the scientist in me……..
First off, there is nothing that is abstract about coherence
Abstract or otherwise there does seem to be some debate as to what exactly a theory of logical coherence entails as well as the conclusion (by Russel) that it actually fails it's own test of being internally consistent and thus coherent. Is this relevant?
If it is not valid, then any debate or observation is futile
If what is not valid? The theory of logical coherence? Are you assuming that this theory itself is logically coherent? Is this necessarily the case?
We still seem to be talking at cross purposes here. In my mind logic is a tool used by science in order to achieve it's fundamental aim of investigating the truths of nature in the most reliabale way possible whilst recognsing that those undertaking the investigation are subjective and illogical creatures naturally predisposed to making false and innaccurate conclusions with regard to a complex and often baffling world.
In your argument logic plays a far greater and more fundamental role than being a mere tool. It is both the essence and failing of science. For the sake of clarity I would like to try and break your argument down by separateing the premise and the conclusions from the reasoning as I for one remain unclear as to what exactly the premise or the concluions are (whilst appreciating that the reasoning might be necessarily complex)
Can you verify (or correct) the following summary of your thinking (putting the actual complex reasoning to one side for a moment and just concentrating on the conclusions
My attempt to summarise your argument as I understand it. IF science is the appliance of logic to the material world in the form of the law of contradiction THEN the only scientific conclusions possible are logical conclusions regarding the material world
IF science must assume that nature is logical, coherent and material THEN science itself must be logical coherent and material in order to be valid
IF science is to be considered valid THEN the basis of the assumption on which it is founded must be subject to logical coherence in the form of the law of contradiction as applied to the material world
IF the assumption on which science is based cannot be verified by the law of contradiction as applied to the material world THEN the findings of science are invalid
My apologies if I have completely misrepresented you. I await your clarification.
Thus far I don't think anyone has refuted anything. We have just made separate arguments based on different assumptions that in many ways answer different questions. I understood the debate to be as to the reliability of science as compared to religion and have barely considered strict logical coherence as even important. You have dismissed all my arguments simply by arguing that you have demonstrated science to be internally incoherent and thus necessarily invalid regardless of whether or not it actually can be shown to produce reliable results or not. We have come to opposing conclusions by very different routes and as yet either one or both could be demonstrated to be either right or wrong. In order to claim refutation we need to have demonstrated point by point why the arguments or key assumptions made by the other are actually wrong rather than just continually reiterating our own argument.
I will attempt to do this once I get the necessary clarification back from you re the IF THEN statements above.
Straggler: I don't know. Nor do I know if it matters in any practical sense.
C'mon Straggler, of course it does...
You said it yourself in the same reply:
How could we apply logic meaningfully if reality (material or otherwsie) were illogical, inconsistent and incoherent?
You're absolutely right! It is obvious that if science is not logical, then it is meaningless to us?
If the appliance of logic requires the same assumptions that you accuse science of requiring does your own argument not conclude itself to be invalid?
No, because my argument (defintion of science) is not only coherent, but coherence itself. I am making the case that science is essentially applied logic. Logic cannot contradict itself by definition.
It is methodological naturalism that is contradictory and incoherent because it presupposes where logic can lead. I maintain that it leads straight to God (reality). And if God (reality) is logical, then logic will take us to God (reality).
It is only illogical arguments that are false. That is the whole point of my proposition and why methodological naturalism cannot be science.
Look, your a smart man. We all get tired now and then. Percy, Kuresu, Razd, Ned, jar (did I forget anyone?) have all had a field day with me a few times because I grew weary. I absolutely lost it.
I am not trying or willing to beat you up. Don't lose it.
Take a break, recharge, and re-read my proposition. As I said at first, we're in no hurry.
I don't know. Nor do I know if it matters in any practical sense.
Why did you feel the need to change this in your last post to -
Rob: is science logical??
Science is logical in it's methods I agree. However within the boundaries and definitions YOU have set for coherence I don’t know if it can be described as “coherent” or not.
The question here is whether or not your appliance of logical coherence and resulting argument against the validity of science is itself logically coherent and thus valid in terms of your own arguments.
I am not sure that it is.
1) In order to derive conclusions by applying logic to a system you implicitly assume that the system is logical, consistent and coherent.
2) Unless you are able to derive this assumption logically the very application of logical coherence in order to derive logical conclusions is itself a philosophical position and not a logical one
3) If the application of logical coherence cannot itself be shown to be logically coherent then it is itself invalid by it’s own definitions
4) If the application of logical coherence is itself invalid then any conclusions that you have drawn by means of testing for logical coherence are also invalid
Thus, in these terms, the only valid answer to the question
Is science coherent
I don’t know
Obviously (assuming a logical, consistent and coherent reality;))
Logic cannot contradict itself by definition.
The question is whether or not logical coherence in the form that YOU have applied it is itself coherent.
It is up to you to show that it is.
If you could summarise your essay into a series of IF THEN statements to which we can then apply the detailed and complex reasoning for each in turn, it really would make the whole thing much more accessible and open to the constructive criticism and analysis that you say you desire. As things stand I (and I doubt I am alone) am finding it almost impossible to decipher.
The question is whether or not logical coherence in the form that YOU have applied it is itself coherent.
I do not determine the form of logic.
The law of contradiction is what we all use.If that were not the case, then you would lose the power to contradict what I am saying.
If you reject the law of contradiction as the logical authority, then you reject the scientific method as well, because that is it's power. And that is the beauty of the proposed definition. It is what it is.
As stated from the proposition:
Assuming the entities involved achieve coherence, then theory + evidence = knowledge. All scientific observation is therefore triune in principle. There is no escaping this reality. If an idea is not testable, repeatable, observable, and falsifiable, it is not considered scientific. All of those qualities assume the law of contradiction to be valid and are dependant upon its application. Now note this: the law of contradiction cannot be falsified without affirming it at the same time. The only method of falsifying the law of contradiction is to apply the law of contradiction, so it affirms itself.
No test for authoritative revelation can be achieved with less than a triune character. Although our knowledge based upon this faith in logic is not comprehensive, it is our only light. We simply have no other authority for any form of objective revelation. That is not an ecclesiastical proclamation, but is the self evident and profound nature of logical propositions.
Although our knowledge based upon this faith in logic is not comprehensive, it is our only light. We simply have no other authority for any form of objective revelation. That is not an ecclesiastical proclamation, but is the self evident and profound nature of logical propositions.
In other words - Logic itself cannot be used to validate or invalidate the application of logic.