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Author Topic:   What is science? (ROB and STRAGGLER only)
Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3227 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 46 of 106 (459795)
03-09-2008 9:28 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by Straggler
03-09-2008 8:00 PM


Re: Fresh Start
When I say logic is God Straggler (as defined in my argument) we must remember that in the original Greek, the terms John used for the english term 'Word', was the term 'logos'.

You see? The Word (the spoken word) is assumed to be logical. And it better be, or else I could just say, ' sdofh oasdhif ojhewt oeihff gfjfo iewhdfg'.

So it's a good translation in English, but it misses the historical context when the logical nature of the spoken word was not so taken for granted. Today there are post-modernists who tell us that words don't mean anything.... and they use words to tell us that :laugh:

But the power behind the spoken word is the logical nature of thought. It's the logic that has the power.

Are you with me at least in theory? Even if you don't believe it?

The term in the original Greek for 'word' is 'logos'. It is one of several terms in the greek that mean 'word' in English. But this particular one, 'logos' implies 'reason' and rationality.

So when we read John's Gospel, we must see it in context to make it intelligible.

So let's do an excersize just for context's sake. Perhaps it will make more sense.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the [logic], and the [logic] was with God, and the logic was God. 2 He (logic) was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him (logic) all things were made; without [logic] nothing was made that has been made. 4 In [logic] was life, and that life was the light of men.

inserted note: Without logic, we are in darkness spiritually (or intellectually). That's why it is light (in the intelligible sense, not the physical)

5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. 6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. 14 The [logic] became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Here is the original to put into context: http://bible.crosswalk.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?word=john+1§ion=2&version=niv&new=1&oq=in+the+beginning+was+the+word

Naturally, I reccomend you read the whole chapter. In case it is not obvious, John is talking about Jesus.

Speaking for myself, it is this gospel that helped me put it all together.

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by Straggler, posted 03-09-2008 8:00 PM Straggler has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10192
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 47 of 106 (459835)
03-10-2008 6:19 AM
Reply to: Message 45 by Rob
03-09-2008 8:25 PM


Re: Fresh Start
It now feels a bit like you are doing the thread based equivalent of grabbing me by the lapels and yelling "Don't you see!! Don't you see!! Why don't you see?!!"

You have presented your argument. I am going to explore it piece by piece in terms of practical examples. Simply restating your argument in summarised form or asking me questions regarding my position as you assume it to be will not aid this process.

I am beginning to see a fundamental flaw in your argument. I am confident that this will be revealed through questioning

The 'other entity' is logic Straggler, that's what you are missing. It's not as though I am trying to cohere evidence with something that does not exist.

OK. Understood. The penny has dropped. Finally.
Empirical evidence + logic = scientific knowledge with no philosophical omissions . This is your argument in a nutshell. I do now get it. The use of terms such as “other entities” has confused the issue up until this point.

By your definition of science there are conclusions possible that are not available to conventional science. Is this statement correct? (just yes or no – no need to explain why at this point if the answer is yes)

Intelligent design attributed to a non-material source (e.g. God) is one of these conclusions Is this statement correct? (just yes or no – no need to explain why if he answer is yes)

As a conclusion that is available to your definition of science but unavailable to methodological naturalism ID attributed to a non-material source is a good example with which to analyse your definition of science in order to see where the main differences lie between the two Do you agree with this? (just yes or no – no need to explain the differences at this point if the answer is yes)

I asked earlier -

KEY QUESTIONS TO ANSWER
*****Can you give an example of such a conclusion? What evidence was available? What elements were compared? What was the method by which you assessed the validity of the conclusion? What evidence would refute the conclusion? What further evidence should be sought in order to further validate the conclusion? (scientific conclusions should always be tentative and open to the possibility of a superior theory after all!!)*****

Taking ID attributed to a non-material source as our example scientific conclusion could you complete/amend the following

Conclusion = Life intelligently designed by a non-material designer
Evidence = Empirical evidence in the form of the appearance of design in nature. Specifically biological systems (e.g. formation of cells)
Elements compared to draw conclusion =
Method of testing validity of conclusion =
Evidence that would refute conclusion =
Further evidence that would further validate conclusion =

One final question. By your redefinition of science are any other conclusions available that are not available to methodological naturalism? Or is ID the only one? No need for mass detail just a one sentance example will suffice. This is a side question to the main considerations above.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 45 by Rob, posted 03-09-2008 8:25 PM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 48 by Rob, posted 03-10-2008 10:01 AM Straggler has responded

Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3227 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 48 of 106 (459849)
03-10-2008 10:01 AM
Reply to: Message 47 by Straggler
03-10-2008 6:19 AM


Straggler looking for contradiction...
I am richly enjoying the fact that you are testing my philosophical construct by applying the law of contradiction. Do you agree then, that philosophical coherence is necessary? (yes or no, no need to explain why at the moment)

It's a marvelous twist of fate.

You don't have to answer. I'll answer your yes or no questions first.

Straggler:

By your definition of science there are conclusions possible that are not available to conventional science. Is this statement correct? (just yes or no – no need to explain why at this point if the answer is yes)

Yes...

Intelligent design attributed to a non-material source (e.g. God) is one of these conclusions Is this statement correct? (just yes or no – no need to explain why if he answer is yes)

Yes...

Stragglers restructured question:

The conclusion available to your definition of science (but unavailable to methodological naturalism) i.e. 'ID attributed to a non-material source' is a good example with which to analyse your definition of science in order to see where the main differences lie between the two. Do you agree with this? (just yes or no – no need to explain the differences at this point if the answer is yes)

No. We cannot presuppose 'scientifically', that the designer is 'non-material' (I personally believe so).

Scientifically, all we can do... is point to the empirical evidence that quaternary digital code (DNA) in every biological cell has an analogy in the binary digital code produced by human intelligence.

There is no natural or purely material (non-intelligent) source or law, that is capable of producing such complex structures that we know of empirically. (some personally believe that a material explanation exists)

Conclusion = Life intelligently designed (designer unknown)

Evidence = Empirical evidence in the form of the appearance of design in nature; specifically the quaternary digital code of DNA.

Elements compared to draw conclusion = Digital information.

Method of testing validity of conclusion = Law of contradiction.

Evidence that would refute conclusion = Discovery of any natural process that can produce digital information on a material medium.

Further prediction that would validate conclusion = The discovery of other uses for DNA such as gene expression timing, that are currently thought to be junk strands of DNA under the current convention. http://www.detectingdesign.com/pseudogenes.html

Straggler:

One final question. By your redefinition of science are any other conclusions available that are not available to methodological naturalism? Or is ID the only one?

I don't know.

Let me ask you a question Straggler.

I answered yes or no to three of your questions straggler... so a simple yes or no to this one will suffice.

Do you think that finding a contradiction in my methodology will prove that my thesis or arguments are unscientific?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by Straggler, posted 03-10-2008 6:19 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by Straggler, posted 03-10-2008 12:32 PM Rob has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10192
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 49 of 106 (459874)
03-10-2008 12:32 PM
Reply to: Message 48 by Rob
03-10-2008 10:01 AM


Re: Straggler looking for contradiction...
Thankyou. Your thinking is much clearer to me now.

Do you think that finding a contradiction in my methodology will prove that my thesis or arguments are unscientific?

No. Any actual contradiction would just show it to be internally inconsistent.
Your definition of science is intrinsically flawed for much more practical reasons.

Consider the following (including posts to come) as a sort of pseudo Socratic discourse in which I will try and show what these reasons are by asking you questions which you just need to answer consistently in line with your thinking.

1) Question - Is the aim of science to render the most reliable conclusions regarding the natural world? (no need to go into how it might do this)

2) Question - Any definition of science must describe how reliable scientific conclusions are made. It must do this standing on it's own too feet and not just in relation to a rival definition of science. Do you agree?

3) Question - Based on any single given set of empirical evidence can there be more than one logically valid scientific theory? Can valid rival scientific theories producing opposing conclusions regarding the workings of nature exist according to your definition of science?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : Formatting and some minor rewording


This message is a reply to:
 Message 48 by Rob, posted 03-10-2008 10:01 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 50 by Rob, posted 03-11-2008 12:06 AM Straggler has responded
 Message 51 by Rob, posted 03-11-2008 12:33 AM Straggler has responded

Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3227 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 50 of 106 (459917)
03-11-2008 12:06 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by Straggler
03-10-2008 12:32 PM


Re: Straggler looking for contradiction...
Hold on Straggler... Before I face the next inquisition, let's examine you for a moment.

Rob: Do you think that finding a contradiction in my methodology will prove that my thesis or arguments are unscientific?

Straggler: No. Any actual contradiction would just show it to be internally inconsistent.

Was there an actual contradiction given by me in the last reply?

As far as I know, my answers were both internally consistent, and consistent with the external empirical evidence.

Can you explain what was unscientific (contradictory) about my answers to your last series of questions?

Also, can you tell me the difference in mass between a CD Rom disk that is empty vs. a CD Rom disk that is filled to capacity with digital information?

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by Straggler, posted 03-10-2008 12:32 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3227 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 51 of 106 (459919)
03-11-2008 12:33 AM
Reply to: Message 49 by Straggler
03-10-2008 12:32 PM


Re: Straggler looking for contradiction...
Answer this one and those in the previous post, and we can proceed.

Straggler:

1) Question - Is the aim of science to render the most reliable conclusions regarding the natural world?

How do you define the term nature?

You may find this list of 8 different definitions helpful: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nature


This message is a reply to:
 Message 49 by Straggler, posted 03-10-2008 12:32 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 53 by Straggler, posted 03-11-2008 4:36 AM Rob has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10192
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 52 of 106 (459930)
03-11-2008 4:30 AM
Reply to: Message 50 by Rob
03-11-2008 12:06 AM


Re: Straggler looking for contradiction...
Was there an actual contradiction given by me in the last reply?

Not that I can see.

As far as I know, my answers were both internally consistent, and consistent with the external empirical evidence.

I agree.

Can you explain what was unscientific (contradictory) about my answers to your last series of questions?

Nothing was contradictory to my knowledge. The reasons for your whole methodology and definition of science being intrinisically and fundamentally flawed have nothing to do with internal contradictions.

Also, can you tell me the difference in mass between a CD Rom disk that is empty vs. a CD Rom disk that is filled to capacity with digital information?

One contains information and the other does not is, I suspect, the answer you are looking for. Nor is it one I fundamentally disagree with. However this has nothing to do with why your reasoning is flawed.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by Rob, posted 03-11-2008 12:06 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by Rob, posted 03-11-2008 5:11 AM Straggler has not yet responded

Straggler
Member
Posts: 10192
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 53 of 106 (459932)
03-11-2008 4:36 AM
Reply to: Message 51 by Rob
03-11-2008 12:33 AM


Re: Straggler looking for contradiction...
How do you define the term nature?

Again you are barking up completely the wrong tree. I very much doubt that the definition of nature is going to be the difference between us.

I will assume that your answer to the more general question -

"Is the aim of science to render the most reliable conclusions"

Is "yes".

If you try and second guess my arguments at every turn this discourse will take forever. As such I will write up a final and conclusive refutation and post it here for your comment as soon as I have time. Watch this space.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 51 by Rob, posted 03-11-2008 12:33 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 55 by Rob, posted 03-11-2008 5:24 AM Straggler has responded
 Message 56 by Rob, posted 03-11-2008 9:29 AM Straggler has not yet responded

Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3227 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 54 of 106 (459934)
03-11-2008 5:11 AM
Reply to: Message 52 by Straggler
03-11-2008 4:30 AM


Re: Straggler looking for contradiction...
Rob: Also, can you tell me the difference in mass between a CD Rom disk that is empty vs. a CD Rom disk that is filled to capacity with digital information?

Straggler: One contains information and the other does not is, I suspect, the answer you are looking for. Nor is it one I fundamentally disagree with. However this has nothing to do with why your reasoning is flawed.

That is incorrect.

I asked what the difference in mass is.

Let me give you a different example...

You have two Newspapers. Both of them contain equal ammounts of lettering. On the first one, the lettering is random in it's distribution. On the second, the lettering is ordered into intelligible English sentences.

What is the difference in mass between a paper with no information content, and one full of information content?

Quantify for me, in material terms, what was added or subtracted in either example.

I'll help you... the answer is zero. Their is no material difference. The only difference is the order of the material.

And that is because information is a massless quantity. It is neither reducible to matter or energy.

I am showing you, scientifically, that there are non-material entities in this universe. And it relates to my question about nature, which I resubmit to you next.

Do you dispute anything in this post?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by Straggler, posted 03-11-2008 4:30 AM Straggler has not yet responded

  
Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3227 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 55 of 106 (459935)
03-11-2008 5:24 AM
Reply to: Message 53 by Straggler
03-11-2008 4:36 AM


Re: Straggler looking for contradiction...
Rob: How do you define the term nature?

Straggler: Again you are barking up completely the wrong tree. I very much doubt that the definition of nature is going to be the difference between us.

Don't assume anything yet... Just answer the question. The term nature is vague. What is it you mean?

I even provided you a link giving 8 options: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nature

Why can't you just be honest?

I'll tell you which definition I use for nature... and then you can tell me if our definitions are the same. Let's stop presuming things here and leading the witness.

When I say nature, I am referring to the external material or empirical world of matter and energy. So I would go with definition 6: the external world in its entirety

The point is, we must make a distinction between the external material world, and the internal non-material world.

If as you say, there only exists the 'empirical world' (and it must be a coherent science), and there are no 'non-material entities' that are knowable scientifically; then, how can 'internal consistency' be irrelevant to science (as you're even now formulating an argument to show), since by your definition, it is the empirical world?

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by Straggler, posted 03-11-2008 4:36 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 57 by Straggler, posted 03-11-2008 9:44 AM Rob has responded

  
Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3227 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 56 of 106 (459942)
03-11-2008 9:29 AM
Reply to: Message 53 by Straggler
03-11-2008 4:36 AM


Re: Straggler looking for contradiction...
Conclusion = Non material entities exist.

Evidence = The information is not present in the form of energy or material, but the pattern on the material medium.

Elements compared to draw conclusion = CD, Newspaper, Hyroglyphics, any written language, and any spoken language.

Method of testing validity of conclusion = Law of contradiction.

Evidence that would refute conclusion = The discovery of empirical quantity or number of information in the fleshly (empirical) mind of a human being, or the information present in writing.

Straggler:

By your redefinition of science are any other conclusions available that are not available to methodological naturalism?

Yes... Illogical information in the mind of a human being (spread to other human beings through language and writing), would be in contrast to the empirical order, and would result in contradiction between neighbors, family, and friends; which would manifest itself into the empirical order by chaos, violence, and bloodshed.

Edited by Rob, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by Straggler, posted 03-11-2008 4:36 AM Straggler has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10192
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 57 of 106 (459945)
03-11-2008 9:44 AM
Reply to: Message 55 by Rob
03-11-2008 5:24 AM


Re: Straggler looking for contradiction...
Dude there is no need to get antagonistic here. I will write the refutation to your argument today if at all possible. I want it to be clear and to cover everything that needs to be covered. That will take time and at the moment I have a job and a two year old son who wants to bash my computer keyboard and play with my phone to contend with.
I have no problem with you personally I just think that your argument is wrong. Let's not get silly about it.

It has nothing to do with defining nature but -

When I say nature, I am referring to the external material or empirical world of matter and energy. So I would go with definition 6: the external world in its entirety

If that makes you happy I will go along with that definition. The definition of nature in this context has little bearing on my refutation.

Let's stop presuming things here and leading the witness.

If as you say, there only exists the 'empirical world' (and it must be a coherent science), and there are no 'non-material entities' that are knowable scientifically; then, how can 'internal consistency' be irrelevant to science (as you're even now formulating an argument to show), since by your definition, it is the empirical world?

Who is doing the presuming?

My argument has nothing to do with internal consistency. This is but a side issue that I do not consider particularly important in this context. A mathematical proof that proves that 1+1=1 is just plain wrong. It is not 'unscientfic. Your definition of science is however is 'unscientific'. In terms of achieving reliable conclusions it fails. It has nothing to do with consistency.

If you want to second guess my argument you can start by thinking about how other philosophies of science have considered seemingly equally valid competing theories based on identical evidence and what the implications of this are for what we CAN and CANNOT know(this has less to do with what is material and what is not and is more about our lack of omniscience).

Think about it and I am sure you will see the flaw in your own argument.
Otherwise I will lay my cards on the table in full as soon as I can.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 55 by Rob, posted 03-11-2008 5:24 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 58 by Rob, posted 03-11-2008 10:00 AM Straggler has responded

Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3227 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 58 of 106 (459947)
03-11-2008 10:00 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by Straggler
03-11-2008 9:44 AM


Re: Straggler looking for contradiction...
Straggler:
I will lay my cards on the table in full as soon as I can.

I'm looking forward to it...

No antagonism here friend.

I want us to be rigorously scientific, and make sure we are thinking critically. Put feelings aside, for I am not being antogonistic. I am being careful, because as Samuel Taylor Coleridge said, "...But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives is a lantern on the stern, which shines only on the waves behind us!"

I have three kids btw, 2, 4, and 6 years old... so I understand the struggles. But it's a noble struggle ;).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 57 by Straggler, posted 03-11-2008 9:44 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 59 by Straggler, posted 03-11-2008 2:47 PM Rob has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10192
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 59 of 106 (459967)
03-11-2008 2:47 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by Rob
03-11-2008 10:00 AM


Refutation (At Last)
Rob I suggest you take your time and read this in it's entirety before commenting. For both our sakes. Don't get too caught up with the initial part of the refutation (this is the least of your problems;)) Also do bear in mind that I am attacking your argument and not you :)

ROB’S ARGUMENT
Rob’s argument can be summed up thus –

(empirical evidence)+(valid logic)=(reliable scientific conclusions)

Therefore as long as conclusions are based on sound logic and the evidence available they are valid regardless of the nature of the conclusions drawn. All logically valid conclusions are permitted whether they result in directly testable material conclusions or not.
Science is redefined such that it may include non-material empirically un-testable conclusions .
As such Intelligent Design, due to either a material source or a supernatural entity (e.g. God) is a perfectly valid scientific conclusion.
Based on this the argument is then made that 'Methodological Naturalism' with it's requirement for conclusions to be material and directly testable by empirical means, is a philosophical position only and as such should NOT be considered scientific.

STRAGGLER'S POSITION
As I shall demonstrate the above argument is deeply flawed. The attempted redefinition of science results in intrinsically unreliable conclusions to which the only logical practical answer is methodological naturalism, or conventional science as we know it.
Methodological naturalism, as I shall show, is not a philosophical position but a result of practical limitations on the methods available to us to draw the most reliable conclusions possible through the investigation of the natural world.

LAW OF CONTRADICTION – THE PROBLEM BEGINS
Rob’s definition of science has an initial but not fatal problem.
Is it possible for two theories based on the same evidence and with the correct application of logic to come to alternative and opposing conclusions?

(empirical evidence)+(valid logic)=(reliable scientific conclusions)

If the above methodology is applied to produce conclusion A and conclusion B from the same set of empirical evidence (where A and B are mutually exclusive ) what happens?
According to Rob’s definition of science both conclusions are valid and to be considered reliable if the logic applied is valid in each case.
However either A or B must be wrong by the law of contradiction which Rob holds so dearly
We cannot therefore say that both A and B are reliable conclusions.
Thus if two mutually exclusive but logically valid conclusions are both considered reliable by Rob’s definition of science the definition itself is invalid by virtue of breaking the law of contradiction.
(If at this point you are claiming incomplete evidence as get out clause please do read on!!)
If the law of contradiction is to remain intact Rob’s definition of science can only ever allow ONE reliable conclusion from any given set of empirical evidence.
Rob’s definition of science does not ALLOW rival theories to logically exist.
Yet the history of science is littered with examples of rival theories drawing different valid logical conclusions from the same empirical evidence. How so?
The logical inability of Rob's definition of science to deal with this fact could be considered a severe blow. No philosophy or definition of science that disallows logically competing valid rival theories can be considered complete. However this is just the very tip of the iceberg in terms of the flaws in Rob's argument.

ROB IS RIGHT!!! - THE SPECIAL CASE
Rob’s definition of science is actually perfectly valid in one particular and very special instance.
Where we have ALL of the possible evidence the definition works superbly.
(This is the reason that Rob is getting confused. His theory is totally internally consistent but only applies in one very special case)
If we rewrite the definition thus –

(Complete empirical evidence)+(valid logic)=(wholly reliable scientific conclusion)

Then the issue of rival theories becomes moot.
With the complete set of all the empirical evidence and the correct application of logic only one conclusion is indeed possible.
The law of contradiction remains unbroken and we know that we have reached the most reliable conclusion it is possible to reach (the truth?).
In the case of ALWAYS having ALL of the available evidence the application of logic alone would be a perfectly acceptable and logically valid method of drawing reliable scientific conclusions.
In this idealised scenario Rob's definition of science stands firm.

OMNISCIENCE REQUIRED - THE PROBLEMS GET WORSE
However is it possible to EVER have ALL the required evidence?
More importantly for science - Is it ever possible for us to KNOW that we have ALL the required evidence?
Unless we claim omniscience (which alas is not permitted and which would make any scientific investigation utterly pointless anyway) the answer to the second question at least must be NO!
There is always the possibility that new evidence will surface and that our theories and conclusions will be refuted. Thus our 'equation' necessarily becomes

(incomplete empirical evidence)+(valid logic)=(unreliable conclusions)

Given that we cannot ever know if we have all the required evidence and given that our aim is to to make reliable scientific conclusions any method that we apply to draw conclusions MUST assume that the evidence available is insufficient.
The combination of incomplete evidence and logic necessarily leads us to unreliable conclusions and is thus no basis on which to draw any conclusions at all. Simply asserting that more evidence is required is just not recognsing the nature of the problem. We can never know how much evidence will be required to make our conclusions reliable.
No matter how valid our logic we must always assume the appliance of logic alone to incomplete evidence is insufficient to to meet our stated aim of drawing reliable conclusions

Thus Rob's definition of science irretrievably falls apart at the seams to all practical intents and purposes.

REAL SCIENCE - THE WAY FORWARDS
So if our evidence must be considered incomplete and our resulting logical conclusions must be considered unreliable where does that leave us?
Despair not. There is an answer. The answer is the scientific method.
Not only does the scientific method tackle the fact that our evidence must be necessarily considered incomplete, it embraces this fact.
Consider the following alternative form of the equation we have been considering up until now

(incomplete empirical evidence)+(valid logic)=(hypothesis)

A hypothesis is NOT a conclusion as such. It is something which needs to be tested against that which it purports to describe in order to be validated or refuted. That is the key difference.
I could at this point cite dictionary definitions of the term 'hypothesis'. I could refer to great reams of literature written by far better men than I regarding the scientific method and it's application.
On the basis that we are all familiar with the basic concepts I will not bother.
With regard to the application of the scientific method to nature specifically (I.e. natural science) a couple of comments are however necessary in the context of this debate.

1) As applied to nature a hypothesis based approach can, in my view, be encapsulated thus - "Any fool can make a theory fit the facts BUT only those closest to the truth can hope to find that the facts fit the theory". In other words constructing theories that comply with existing evidence is easy to do and highly open to interpretation. However theories that reveal new aspects of nature which are then confirmed have passed the most difficult test it is possible to apply to any theory. The workings of nature will not obey our theories no matter how much we may wish it!! Hence prediction as the gold standard of evaluation in terms assessing theories and hypotheses.

2) A hypothesis based approach is necessarily tentative. Hypotheses are refuted or verified but never proven. By building our hypotheses on the foundations of evidence revealed by previously tested and verified hypotheses we can build up a body of knowledge of which we can have a high degree of certainty. With enough evidence, enough verification and enough corroboration from other interrelated scientific disciplines employing the same exacting tests against other aspects of nature we can even reach the point where we consider our theories to be factual descriptions of the world to all practical intents and purposes. Despite this we must always recognise that the evidence on which all of this is based must be assumed to be incomplete and thus our theories to be tentative to some degree at least.

A hypothesis based approach is the practical means by which we can make the MOST reliable conclusions whilst recognising that the evidence available to us must always be considered incomplete and open to poor intepretation.
If the stated aim of science is to draw the most reliable conclusions regarding the natural world then the scientific method is what it is because it is the best means we have of ensuring that this aim is achieved.

THE RETURN OF METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM
If we apply our current 'equation' -

(incomplete empirical evidence)+(valid logic)=(hypothesis)

to the natural world what outcomes are possible?

As previously stated a hypothesis is not a conclusion in itself. A hypothesis needs to be tested against that which it purports to describe.
A natural science hypothesis regarding the workings of the natural world must thus necessarily be tested empirically against nature itself.
In this context conclusions or hypotheses which relate to supernatural or immaterial beings, phenomenon or concepts are simply un-testable. Untestable hypotheses are no better than the conclusions available via Rob's method of "scientific" analysis refuted earlier. They are simply inherently unreliable. Such conclusions cannot meet the criteria by which science measures the reliability of a theory.

"Supernatural" conclusions cannot be empirically tested. Without such tests available supernatural conclusions cannot ever meet the requirement of science that they be rendered reliable. Therefore supernatural conclusions are unscientific and have no place in science.

CONCLUSION
Rob's definition of science has been shown to lead to inherently unreliable conclusions. The use of hypotheses as an alternative method of establishing reliable theories has been demonstrated to be superior. If the stated aim of science is to draw the most reliable conclusions possible given the evident practical limitations of knowledge then there is frankly no contest between the two positions.

So is 'Methodological Naturalism' a philosophical position? That was the accusation made by Rob in his thesis.
Of course it is not. It is a practical limitation on which theories we are able to test and which we are not.
Any suggestion that it is otherwise displays a deep misunderstanding regarding what science is and what it sets out to achieve..
Methodological naturalism is the logical result of the recognition that our knowledge is inherently limited combined with the aim of deriving the most reliable conclusions humanly possible with regard to the workings of the natural world.

Rob's thesis has been shown to be both logically invalid and inadequate in any practical sense. His methodologies have been found wanting, his arguments dissected and his conclusions utterly and totally refuted. Methodological naturalism lives on :)

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : Loads of typos and some reformatting + the odd change of wording.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by Rob, posted 03-11-2008 10:00 AM Rob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 60 by Rob, posted 03-12-2008 9:12 PM Straggler has responded

Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3227 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 60 of 106 (460123)
03-12-2008 9:12 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by Straggler
03-11-2008 2:47 PM


Re: Refutation (At Last)
Straggler, where did you go?

I am not going to anwser all of these ridiculous assertions. You're reasoning is fine concerning the position you've torn to bits. The problem is that you're destroying a straw man.

You have not accurately portrayed my position. Therefore you have not refuted it.

You did a nice job however of refuting the strawman...

:rolleyes:


This message is a reply to:
 Message 59 by Straggler, posted 03-11-2008 2:47 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 61 by Straggler, posted 03-13-2008 4:59 AM Rob has responded
 Message 75 by Straggler, posted 03-15-2008 7:39 PM Rob has responded

  
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