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Author Topic:   Methodological Naturalism is fallacious
mike the wiz
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Posts: 4656
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 1 of 50 (514380)
07-07-2009 6:40 AM


The problem with the natural assumption is that it is the very same thing as the God of the gaps fallacy. That is - it is also fallacious. Think with me for a moment.

Science is great when it comes to analyzing natural processes, repeatable experiment, and so forth. But when it comes to evolution, whether chemical or biological, you MUST include assumptions about questions pertaining to God. Such theories depend on a designer not being involved.

If you say that you can't include God in science - I agree. If you say you can continue to assess "truth" about nature - without God, I don't agree, because logically, you can now only come to a false conclusion, based on premisses which do not involve a Creator.

If I insist that a ferrari is designed, and have a theory that it is designed by itself, somehow, and I don't include a designer, strictly - then I must come to a conclusion that is natural - yes.

So you must come to a natural conclusion, about something which might not have been naturally created, LOGICALLY.

Therefore parsimony isn't quite the truth of the matter - the truth of the matter is that science can't include God, and rightfully so - but humans nevertheless want science to answer questions about origins.

My conclusion is that you are asking too much from science, when it is infact much more effective on a smaller scale. This is why big theories that pertain to big philosophical questions, will never hold the logical weight of pure science. (edit. I should add that yes I am aware that pure science on a smaller scale, also logically assumes that God isn't necessarily involved. However - I will let you figure out the rest. Rest-assured, I have thought it all through, as per usual.)

Edited by mike the wiz, : No reason given.


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AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 50 (514394)
07-07-2009 8:57 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
subbie
Member (Idle past 101 days)
Posts: 3508
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 3 of 50 (514396)
07-07-2009 9:12 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz
07-07-2009 6:40 AM


The problem with the natural assumption is that it is the very same thing as the God of the gaps fallacy. That is - it is also fallacious.

God of the gaps looks at something we don't understand and says, "Goddit." Methodological naturalism looks at something we don't understand and says, "We don't understand that yet."

Where's the fallacy?

If you say that you can't include God in science - I agree. If you say you can continue to assess "truth" about nature - without God, I don't agree, because logically, you can now only come to a false conclusion, based on premisses which do not involve a Creator.

Of course, the beauty of science, and the flaw in your entire position, is that science isn't about assessing "truth" in nature. Thus, we can safely ignore the rest of what you say.

Moreover, science isn't based on the premise that there's no god. Thus, proving the falsity of that statement won't affect science in any way.

I should add that yes I am aware that pure science on a smaller scale, also logically assumes that God isn't necessarily involved. However - I will let you figure out the rest. Rest-assured, I have thought it all through, as per usual.

Well, since it doesn't appear that you've thought out what you did present, I'm not willing to give much credit to your assurance that you've thought the rest of it out.


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus. -- Thomas Jefferson

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and non-believers. -- Barack Obama

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat


This message is a reply to:
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Huntard
Member (Idle past 436 days)
Posts: 2870
From: Limburg, The Netherlands
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 4 of 50 (514398)
07-07-2009 9:24 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz
07-07-2009 6:40 AM


Mike, the biggest problem with this is that reason can be found why anything that happens doesn't neccesarily have to have a natural explanation.

Examples:

Gravity? The flying spaghetti monster is pushing all mass towards other mass.

Nucleosynthesis? The immaterial pink unicorn rearranges the parts of the atoms, so that they become different atoms.

Are you beginnig to see the problem with this? How can we determine if a deity has been at work, when we have absolutely NO way to measure or observe this deity's actions?


I hunt for the truth
This message is a reply to:
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Phage0070
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 50 (514401)
07-07-2009 9:47 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz
07-07-2009 6:40 AM


mike the wiz writes:

If you say that you can't include God in science - I agree. If you say you can continue to assess "truth" about nature - without God, I don't agree, because logically, you can now only come to a false conclusion, based on premisses which do not involve a Creator.


So your argument here is that God exists because science is wrong. You argue that science is wrong because it requires an assumption that there is no God (this statement is incorrect).

This is not logical. First, the entire argument is circular reasoning; it assumes a god exists (for no apparent reason), then concludes that viewpoints contrary to that are incorrect, then uses the supposed falseness of those viewpoints to justify the first premise. It is circular reasoning, false dilemma, evidenced claim, and all based on a profound lack of understanding of science in the first place. You are so staggeringly wrong it boggles the mind.

Science does not presuppose that a creator does not exist. There are no assumptions *at all*. Everything comes from observation, even the logical system by which we extrapolate things that are not observed. Gods and other creators do not have credible evidence pointing toward their existence, so science does not conclude that they exist. Thats all there is to it.

mike the wiz writes:

Rest-assured, I have thought it all through, as per usual.


Bwahaha! Do you mind if I use this as my sig?
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 50 (514402)
07-07-2009 9:56 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz
07-07-2009 6:40 AM


Science is great when it comes to analyzing natural processes, repeatable experiment, and so forth. But when it comes to evolution, whether chemical or biological, you MUST include assumptions about questions pertaining to God. Such theories depend on a designer not being involved.

Even though God was involved, the Thoery of Evolution is the best explanation for how He did it. It doesn't matter to the uncanny accuracy of the ToE whether or not a designer was involved nor does the ToE depend on a designer not being involved.

Your premise is false.


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NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 7 of 50 (514415)
07-07-2009 11:37 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz
07-07-2009 6:40 AM


The flaw in MN
You suggest, Mike, that there is a flaw in methodological naturalism.

Perhaps you should define what that is to you?

Here is what I understand it to be:
MN is an approach to learning things that says you must test your ideas against the real world. In this the 'real world' includes anything that can be subjected to an observation.

Exactly what is the flaw in that? How would you test against something that you can not observe?

If you don't like it please suggest another approach that extends this that could have any chance of working.


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Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 32 days)
Posts: 2380
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


Message 8 of 50 (514426)
07-07-2009 12:45 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz
07-07-2009 6:40 AM


Argument in a Box
Hi Mike,

quote:
(edit. I should add that yes I am aware that pure science on a smaller scale, also logically assumes that God isn't necessarily involved. However - I will let you figure out the rest. Rest-assured, I have thought it all through, as per usual.)

Huh? To me, the above reads like this;

I am aware that there is a glaring hole in my argument, big enough to drive a monster truck through, but I assure you, I have an ingenious solution to this problem. I keep it locked in a box, which is buried in my back garden.

What? You want to look inside the box?

No. Sorry.

I can assure you though, that I just took a look inside the box myself, and the argument is there. It's very convincing. Trust me on this.

Can you see why I'm not very impressed yet? How about it Mike? Can we see inside the box?

Mutate and Survive


"The Bible is like a person, and if you torture it long enough, you can get it to say almost anything you'd like it to say." -- Rev. Dr. Francis H. Wade
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PaulK
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Posts: 14959
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 9 of 50 (514437)
07-07-2009 2:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz
07-07-2009 6:40 AM


I don't like to "pile on" but there are important points that need to be said.

quote:

The problem with the natural assumption is that it is the very same thing as the God of the gaps fallacy. That is - it is also fallacious. Think with me for a moment.

This reveals a major misunderstanding. Methodological Naturalism is - as it's name should tell you - about method. It is not an argument - all it states is that science restricts itself to natural explanations. It does not claim that supernatural explanations are false - it only excludes them from science.

quote:

If you say that you can't include God in science - I agree.

Well there's an example of Methodological Naturalism. It's pretty clear that you don't think that it's fallacious after all.

Anyway you say some other things that are wrong, too:

quote:

If you say you can continue to assess "truth" about nature - without God, I don't agree, because logically, you can now only come to a false conclusion, based on premisses which do not involve a Creator.

Of course, that is not true. Excluding a true premise does not guarantee a false conclusion. Indeed, even if the missing premise is strongly relevant, an alternative false premise might be adequate - and if it is not relevant, excluding it will make no difference. Do not forget also, that there are believers in a Creator who also accept evolution.

But even worse, NOT assuming a Creator would not even be Methodological Naturalism. A purely neutral, agnostic position would not make that assumption. Is even neutrality fallacious ? How ?

quote:

If I insist that a ferrari is designed, and have a theory that it is designed by itself, somehow, and I don't include a designer, strictly - then I must come to a conclusion that is natural - yes.

Of course Ferrari's CAN be explained naturalistically through human design - and more importantly - manufacture. And there should be no need to assume a designer. Simply tracking back the evidence will show that. So neither Methodological Naturalism, nor failing to assume a creator will come to the wrong conclusion.

So, for your "example" to be analogous to evolutionary science, you must be assuming not Methodological Naturalism, but dogmatic Philosophical Naturalism. However, that is a long way from the real situation. In fact when Darwin wrote his Origin... belief in a Creator was the dominant view - evolution succeeded by offering an explanation that was not only natural, but better explained the evidence than assuming a Creator.

So in reality you agree with Methodological Naturalism - and your "fallacy" is a strawman dogmatic Philosophical Naturalism. And even your arguments against that rely on assuming that it is false.

So much for thinking it all through.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by mike the wiz, posted 07-07-2009 6:40 AM mike the wiz has responded

Replies to this message:
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Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16094
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 10 of 50 (514487)
07-08-2009 5:55 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by mike the wiz
07-07-2009 6:40 AM


If I insist that a ferrari is designed, and have a theory that it is designed by itself, somehow, and I don't include a designer, strictly - then I must come to a conclusion that is natural - yes.

So you must come to a natural conclusion, about something which might not have been naturally created, LOGICALLY.

You seem not to know what methodological naturalism is.

Obviously, every methodological naturalist would agree that a Ferrari has designers.

On the other hand, a methodological naturalist would be committed to trying to understand how a Ferrari came into being without breaking the laws of nature.

And of course, the methodological naturalist would be right. No miracles were involved in the production of a Ferrari.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by mike the wiz, posted 07-07-2009 6:40 AM mike the wiz has responded

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mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4656
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 11 of 50 (517790)
08-02-2009 4:34 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by PaulK
07-07-2009 2:18 PM


I have thought it all through, indeed, beyond your weak response.

The original point remains. It is still fallacious to proceed, " all it states is that science restricts itself to natural explanations ".

Logically this leads to ALL claims now being fallacious, so you make a moot point about it not being fallacious because one is still not allowed to conclude or include God. Try again.

It's pretty clear that you don't think that it's fallacious after all.

Close, but no cigar.

I believe in parsimony, it is not the same thing. You should have not assumed I did not know what I was saying.

If a sperm fertilizes an egg, and the process is observable and repeatable, this is not the equivalent of origins-claims. You have to go many, many steps further, and give nature a credit card with no interest.

Of course, that is not true. Excluding a true premise does not guarantee a false conclusion.

The point is that you can not know that the conclusion is true, if you ommit a potential truth.

If we have a murder, and we disregard a murderer, we guarantee a false conclusion that the knife-did-it, which is analogous to the truism of design requiring a designer, where design is obvious.

Your bit about the ferrari is vacuous because the point is that there is obviously a designer, where there is a design. You are bound to come to a false conclusion if you dismiss the possibility of a designer.

Now, with organisms, the "design" is much more sophisticated, therefore we can safely conclude that the problem is much, much greater because if you are going to assume the necessity of a designer is not there, and go for a natural approach, then you have a very weak syllogism, because of the pressure from designs.

I am unrefuted because it is fallacious to rule out a possible conclusion whether you state it or not.

Fact is that the GOTG is almost irrelevant, because the burden ofr proof is on those denying the truism of design.


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mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4656
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 12 of 50 (517791)
08-02-2009 4:36 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Dr Adequate
07-08-2009 5:55 AM


It's irrelevant, the point of the analogy is to highlight how absurd it is to remove the designer. You are stating that there is no designer, given a much greater design-standard.

It's not that I don't understand MN, it's that I know that permitting nature to solve everything, is fallacious.


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mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4656
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 13 of 50 (517793)
08-02-2009 4:41 PM


REMINDER OF WHAT AN ANALOGY IS

An analogy is designed to represent an example, not an argument in itself.

It is quite silly to assume that I would therefore believe that ferrari-designers are supernatural entities. A more thoughtful, logical approach will suffice.

I was not trying to show how MN is valid, but infact I was performing reductio ad absurdum, because nobody would assume a ferrari was not designed, given it's crude comparison to ANY organism.


  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 14 of 50 (517794)
08-02-2009 4:43 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by mike the wiz
08-02-2009 4:36 PM


Design - A Sliding Scale
Is everything in nature designed?

Can you cite examples of:

1) That which is definitely designed.
2) That which is definitely not designed.
3) That which is probably designed.
4) That which is probably not designed.
5) That which may or may not be designed but which we just cannot tell.

Unless we can recognise design somehow I fail to see how your argument can hold any water at all. So let's see if we can define a means by which we can recognise design as compared to lack of design in nature.

Yes?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by mike the wiz, posted 08-02-2009 4:36 PM mike the wiz has responded

Replies to this message:
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mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4656
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 15 of 50 (517795)
08-02-2009 4:48 PM


ok guys - WHY, given how brilliant organisms are, should I assume the very great assumption of methodological naturalism?

This is the crux - that theories that are observable, testable, and parsimonious, are good science, because they rule out the fallacy BECAUSE they deal in facts.

With theories on origins, the fallacy is relevant BECAUSE you have to assume a great many things that are not repeatable, because of history not being repeatable.

Science is good, as I originally stated, for it's small albeit powerful effetiveness, but evolution, chemical and biological, does not rule out the fallacy because the difference is that smaller theories do not affect God's existence or lack thereof

Evolution rules out special creation, but sex by sperm and egg, doesn't.

The fallacy is that if God's existence cannot be ascertained, you cannot logically conclude that a special creator is OUT.

Think about the underlined part properly.


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