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Author Topic:   What is science? (ROB and STRAGGLER only)
Rob 
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Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 39 of 106 (459721)
03-09-2008 3:27 PM


Ok Straggler
Straggler, I have edited in an initial abstract as per your advice here: www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=6&t=769&m=85#85 -->www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=6&t=769&m=85#85">http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=6&t=769&m=85#85 thanks again...

The abstract is as follows and can be read in context with the overall argument at the link below:

In the debate and discourse involving the theory of intelligent design (ID), we inevitably run up against a difficulty in the definition of science. Intelligent design advocates hold that historically, the institution of science has relied upon ‘the inference to the best explanation’ as the criteria for determining which theory best explains a given body of evidence, and is thus given reasonable consideration and treatment. ID proponents advocate increasing the bounds of scientific inquiry to incorporate new evidence that is best coherently explained philosophically (theoretically) by invoking intelligent design.

In my opinion, what the leading proponents of ID have failed to do is offer a clear alternative definition of science that incorporates the legitimate aspects of the current convention, as well as incorporating the ability to allow for the new evidence consistently within a larger design paradigm. If that is to be accomplished, we must re-examine exactly what science is. In the process, I propose a clear and distinct definition of science that should satisfy both of these requirements. The implications are quite staggering.

http://rob-lock.livejournal.com/

Perhaps your inability to follow the argument was my responsibility after-all. I will not make that an absolute admission, but I will take my half of the responsibility for a conversation that takes two to tango.

Though we may not agree, thanks again...


Replies to this message:
 Message 40 by Straggler, posted 03-09-2008 5:54 PM Rob has responded

Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4906 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 41 of 106 (459759)
03-09-2008 6:35 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by Straggler
03-09-2008 5:54 PM


Re: Fresh Start
I can give you some time, and answer your questions by answering the one you asked that is the real point of contention. But let's slow it down from here on out, only because this takes so much focus.

Straggler:

How in practice would you reliably apply this method of comparison with regard to a conclusion based on non-empirical evidence?

Well, I already showed how...

For instance, if we take the current view that only material explanations are valid 'scientifically', then how do we provide evidence for that?

Obviously there is a lot of empirical evidence to work with. But the current view is implictily absolute. In order to sustain it, we would have to be omnipotent.

Don't you see? Methodological naturalism is a faith based proposition.

So... the way to test it, is with the law of contradiction. It is philosophically incoherent, therefore it is false. It places too much emphasis on the material side of the equation. Empirical evidence is important, but cannot ultimately be sustained on it's own.

The same goes for belief in God. It cannot ultimately be sustained by philosophy (theology) alone. It is also faith based.

The only absolute is the law of contradiction. We must all agree on that or our debates are just hot air (:laugh: which we all know they are most of the time anyway).

The point is, the philosophy with the most coherence is the best explanation.

Now let's look at your question again:

How in practice would you reliably apply this method of comparison with regard to a conclusion based on non-empirical evidence?

Who ever said that we don't need empirical evidence?

If we look at the design inference by William Dembski, it says that since we know empirically that intelligent agents (humans) can produce information [of the type] found in biological systems, then that is empirical evidence of intelligence creating biological systems.

We don't need to see the designer for it to be a reasonable theory, just as we don't need to see the full material explanation for abiogenesis.

For many years, I supposed that evolution was self-evident, not because I could see it, but because I presupposed it was true before thinking it through.

You see, I am not promoting a form of rationalism. But we cannot also think that empirical evidence is enough. Empirical evidence just is!

Rocks do not speak.

The only way that we can interact with the empirical world is by way of our logical faculties. And the two must cohere.

What I am advocating is purely scientific.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 44 by Straggler, posted 03-09-2008 8:00 PM Rob has responded

Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4906 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 42 of 106 (459772)
03-09-2008 7:25 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by Straggler
03-09-2008 5:54 PM


A Couple More Things...
Straggler:
As I understand it Rob's argument can be summed up thus -

1) Science (should) = Evidence form perception (in it's widest definition) + The application of logic

2) Evidence should include ALL forms of perception including those that do NOT pertain to the material world alone (i.e. empirical evidence is “only one of the entities in a natural science equation”)

3) The current view of science as applying logic to perception of the MATERIAL world ALONE is unjustified in that other forms of perception are equally theoretically/logically/philosophically as valid

1. That is not my position. What I am saying is that evidence + logic (which is our supposed perception or philosophy)= scientific knowledge.

Do you see the difference?

2. Any form of perception that is wholly seperate from the empirical is invalid. That would be a purely blind faith.

Only perceptions that match the empirical when tested can reveal the truth (at least in part) about the evidence.

3. The current convention does not apply logical coherence as the rule. It instead relies upon material evidence. Evidence that from either perspective would necessitate omnipotence for a conclusion to be reached.

And that's why so many people will tell us that science is not about truth; becuase we simply don't have all of the evidence. But let's apply the law of contradiction to that particular philosophy.

If they don't have all of the evidence... then how can they reach that conclusion?

Do you see how firmly their feet are planted in mid air?

And that is why I say that our faith is in logic. Logic is the Way the truth and the life. No one comes to reality but by him.

Do we know for sure? No... The righteous shall live by faith.

But faith just means trust, hope, and patience. It is far from blind if we are honest and using the entire capacity of our God given mind.

Seek and you shall find.

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 4906 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 43 of 106 (459775)
03-09-2008 7:41 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by Straggler
03-09-2008 5:54 PM


An aside...
As an aside, if you have not watched part 4,5,6, and 7 of this documentary, please do so. It will help you enormously in understanding my argument.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iULh7olGm9Q

If you have seen it, then carry on.


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Rob 
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Posts: 2297
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Message 45 of 106 (459788)
03-09-2008 8:25 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by Straggler
03-09-2008 8:00 PM


Re: Fresh Start
Straggler:
I am asking for a practical example of a conclusion formed on evidence that includes one or more of these “other entities” along with explicit statements as to what these “other entities” are.

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.

So pick whatever scientific equation you like. They are all the same.

I am only saying that logic is itself the 'other entity'.

That's God Straggler! Logic is God in as far as his ability to communicate with us. He is obviously more than that, but it is His mind that transcends the empirical.

That's why it's intelligible.

As for your Big bang example... it assumes (without evidence) that because there are observable material quantities and the like, that material causation is all that is needed to explain the existence of the material. That's why it called 'theoretical physics' and not physics. Because it is postulating things that are purely philosophical by way of logic, based upon what is proven scientifically.

Do you see my point? There is no directly observable evidence of the big bang.

It is therefore strictly not empirical. But it is held as scientific because it assumes a material origin. That cannot be proven... ever- minus omnipotence.

So back to my question...

If they don't have empirical evidence, then how can the conclude that only material evidence is valid?

Because methodological naturalism is not empirical, it is philsophical, i.e. religious belief.

Their god is a nature God. Mine is the God of nature.

What you have to decide for yourself is which one you bow to. Either way you take a mark. You can have the number of man, or the seal of the Holy Spirit.

Think about it...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by Straggler, posted 03-09-2008 8:00 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
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Rob 
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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.


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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4906 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:
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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4906 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:
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Replies to this message:
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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4906 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:
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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4906 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 4906 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:
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Replies to this message:
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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4906 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:
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Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4906 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:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 59 by Straggler, posted 03-11-2008 2:47 PM Rob has responded

Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4906 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:
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Replies to this message:
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 Message 75 by Straggler, posted 03-15-2008 7:39 PM Rob has responded

Rob 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4906 days)
Posts: 2297
Joined: 06-01-2006


Message 62 of 106 (460182)
03-13-2008 8:41 AM
Reply to: Message 61 by Straggler
03-13-2008 4:59 AM


Re: Refutation (At Last)
I agree with almost everything you've said Straggler. And that is what you don't understand.

Elsewhere you mentioned our lack of omnipotence. It is a point I also made in the arguments to support the thesis.

Straggler:

All evidence is inherently imperfect.

By that you mean 'incomplete'...

Straggler

Untested conclusions based on imperfect evidence are fundamentally unreliable and inferior to conclusions that have been tested.

Where in the world did you get the impression that I do not advocate testing conclusions?

Straggler:

Science will only accept conclusions that have been, or can be, rendered reliable.

Look at what you said in the statement; sentance 1, 2, and 3...

1) If all evidence is inherently imperfect (due to lack of our omnipotence I agree), then what is the meaning of your second statement?

2)How do we test conclusions based on incomplete evidence?

The answer is logical coherence as I said in the argumentation. Science is the law of contradiction.

The issue isn't really the perfection of the evidence, but the order we assume at the outset is present in the entire fabric.

In this fabric, some of the pieces we have, and some are 'unknowns' (variables). So it's not the evidence that is imperfect, but the fabric. The fact is, some of the pieces are missing. The pieces themselves are perfect, i.e. they fit the fabric. Our question is which fabric best and most logically adopts the pieces into a coherent whole.

You said that science will only accept conclusions that have been, or can be, rendered reliable.

I agree...

Consider this illustration:

If we have an algebraic equation to solve, the evidence is imperfect (incomplete).

We have some variables in the equation.

But if logic is valid, then we consider the matter tested. We do not reject the conclusion because there is an unknown. We fill in the unknown based upon the logical pattern. 1+y=5.

If logic is valid the answer is 4. If logic is not valid, then we cannot know the answer.

The equation has been tested and rendered reliable.

So as I said in the arguments, you are taking the only out you have Straggler. You are saying that we don't have all the evidence to support your preconceived notion of reality.

You smuggle in a materialistic philosophy before beginning the journey. And so the evidence from your perspective is incomplete.

You do the very thing you accuse the theist of doing.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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