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Author Topic:   Methodological Naturalism is fallacious
Member (Idle past 245 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005

Message 44 of 50 (517830)
08-02-2009 6:19 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by mike the wiz
08-02-2009 4:48 PM

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

The reason to assume metaphysical naturalism is so that you can go onto explore possible epistemologies that extend from doing that. From there, a methodology might come about to gather knowledge which would be methodological naturalism. We can then consider the merits of this methodology, its limits, and any flaws with it.

That's why.

You don't have to believe something, to start with an assumption and seeing if doing so can actually answers any questions about reality in a reliable fashion.

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

You don't have to conclude that a special creator is OUT in order to conclude that life can come about through natural processes and that the evidence strongly suggests that this is how life came about on earth.

If I write a theory that I think explains how winemakers make wine, I don't have to logically conclude that Jesus didn't do it with divine intervention.

the difference is that smaller theories do not affect God's existence or lack thereof

Might I call upon your imagination for a moment, sir?

The Germ Theory of Disease. Before then, there were several theories of disease - divine retribution being amongst them.

These theories do not affect God's existence or lack thereof - they instead diminish the necessity for a supernatural agent to be responsible for various phenomenon. So your vision of God is one that is responsible for creating life, so you think this theory directly contradicts your vision of God.

But your understanding of God may be flawed.

Clearly, those that believed epidemics were wrathful expressions of justice from their God - have their God affected by the Germ Theory.

And indeed - the possible God who is responsible for gravity is diminished by relativity, the God that put the earth in the centre of the cosmos is impacted by heliocentrism.

Every theory could impinge on a deity. Evolution and its cousins, are no different - you focus on evolution because it is YOUR God it affects, YOUR God whose biggest/defining miracle is being 'explained away'. A philosophically consistent response is outrage at all scientific theories, or none.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by mike the wiz, posted 08-02-2009 4:48 PM mike the wiz has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 46 by mike the wiz, posted 08-03-2009 5:58 AM Modulous has responded

Member (Idle past 245 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005

Message 48 of 50 (517930)
08-03-2009 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by mike the wiz
08-03-2009 5:58 AM

What's so special about your God?

Evolution and its cousins, are no different - you focus on evolution because it is YOUR God it affects, YOUR God whose biggest/defining miracle is being 'explained away'. A philosophically consistent response is outrage at all scientific theories, or none.

That's it. But I disagree that these theories do not rule out a special creator. There are certain theological conundrums that make it clear that you have to rule out the literalism of the scriptures, such as the problem of evil.

Right - the Germ Theory of Disease does not impact on YOUR conception of god so you turn a blind eye. But for some people, their concept of god is seriously undermined by the Germ Theory of Disease. Do you see this? It is your God who happens to be the God of specially creating life. It is their God who happens to be the God of specially creating disease. You are only bothered by one of those two theories. This is a philosophical inconsistency in your position brought about your bias for YOUR conception of God.

But you could be wrong. You should react the same way for all theories, or none.

Logically, I do not reject theories that do not require that I dispose of biblical literalism BECAUSE if you look at those theories, they explain the rules, but they don't say that the system produced the system. They don't impinge on a special creator.

What's so special about biblical literalism? You are showing your bias again. Not only that but you are assuming your understanding of biblical literalism is the correct one, wheras some bibicical literalists have believed in the theistic origin of epidemics - therefore the Germ Theory directly impinges on their special creator (of disease).

Evolution doesn't say that the system produced the system.
Nor do any seriously considered origin of life studies say anything close to that.

I have only seen theistic concepts give us gems such as 'the system produces the system'.

Mod', there is no point in saying that evolution, chemical and biological, don't rule out a special creator. They do so great a harm that they render Him the weakest irrelevant entity, that surely doesn't exist in any meaningful way.

I actually said that you don't need to conclude that God doesn't exist in just because YOUR concept of God (one that creates life) has his defining miracle explained away. Indeed - you can happily believe in God and also believe that God did not create life.

The Germ Theory of disease did so great a harm that they rendered someone else's God a weak and irrelevant entity.

As I said - by explaining the how the origins and changing of life over time can occur without an appeal to the supernatural simply removes the necessity of a supernatural agent responsible for that phenomenon. It doesn't rule out that such an agent was in fact responsible.

Think about it: If a pathologist explains how a man died as a result of a massive heart attack caused by a clogging up of the arteries as a result of a lifetime of poor diet that doesn't mean that a God or demon wasn't the actual cause. Do autopsies diminish God? Yes, they diminish all entities ever conceived or that are ever conceivable, as well as those that cannot be conceived who have any ability and inclination to kill people.

It's because you start out with a natural idea, and then add a natural method which GUARANTEES a naturalist answer.

Yes, obviously. And starting out with a supernatural idea, and add a supernatural method and you guarantee an answer which cannot be verified. One of the strengths of a an answer rooted in naturalism is that you can conceive tests that can be used to ascertain certain levels of confidence in one's conclusions.

You assume supernaturalism and any conclusion you can dream of has a chance of being true if you patch it up with the necessary unfalsifiable cludges. Naturalism gives a much more restricted set of conclusions, and it makes predictions that can (and are) tested. We can debate which methodology is superior once we have followed the logic of both.

Of course, it may turn out that our favoured methodology doesn't hold up so well to the light - it would be a bad idea to lash out against a rival methodology just because it makes us uncomfortable, right?

That sounds nice, but the fact is that in a natural universe, you will find natural explanations, as this is self-evident. Does this mean we can step into the dark, and declare that our powerful but small light vanquishes it?

Right, and if it is a natural universe then we would find natural explanations will produce testable, verifiable, predictable and repeatable results. We do.

And nobody is declaring victory over ignorance. Much work remains. What reliable truths about reality as any alternative methodology produced?

There is a difference between repeatable, experimental, factual observational, parsimonious theory, and theory that makes grandiose assumptions pertaining to the big picture.

Yes. The former is like evolution, the latter is like Goddidit.

I see no observable proves of any kind of evolution whatsoever. I see the equivocation of mutations adapting as a very weak example, when the claim is that every design came from each other, after coming from the ground, after the ground coming from nothing.

Of course, you might be wrong. Almost all biologists think you are. If all but a handful of electricians think my wiring plan won't work - I throw out my wiring plan. Is there a good reason you think you are in a better position to understand what you are seeing and what there is to see than those whose life work is in that field?

There are no new designs in nature. I agree on the facts, not the hypothetics which strike me as , well - hypothetical., look at a cladogram! Dino to bird. Sure, nice bit of art but do we assume it happened then?

A special creator model demands new designs in nature. Evolution requires the modification of already existing ones. The evidence fits the latter I'm afraid. We don't assume something happened because of a 'nice bit of art' but because of decades of scientific evidence gathering and debate that was only settled after the evidence became so clear as to convince a large consensus of relevant experts.

Feel free to engage in a debate on this topic where I'm sure people will be more than happy to explain how this consensus was built with reference to the key pieces of evidence behind it.

It gets to the point now where people are so convinced evolution is true, that they will ad-hoc any contrary explanation, because afterall - we know evolution happened, right?

Yes, this happens...it happens both ways (you've read creationist's explanations right?). Since both supernatural methodology and naturalistic methodology supportors make up ad hoc stuff, you can't use this as a reason to reject one methodology over another.

When an explanation is put forward the naturalistic methodology supportors have a powerful tool available - a simple question that leads to discovery: what is the evidence for that explanation? What do supernatural supportors rely on?

I go back to my red-ball theory definition of evidence. I have now collected 2 trillion red balls. 1 green ball will spoil my theory. But we all know that red-ball theory is true, so that green ball you picked up is really red!

The red-ball theory simply says that the reason you have picked out 2 trillion red balls is because there are only red balls to pick. When 1 green ball is picked out some people might argue that the green ball might have been as a result of contamination, or it might have been measured wrong (colourblind technician). Especially if the 'all balls are red' theory has produced good results that could not be explained even if 1 in 2 trillion balls are green.

However, contradicting evidence is the Holy Grail of science. If it can be confidently ascertained that the green ball was almost certainly in there all the time, someone might discover a more complete and accurate theory of balls. The Einstein of coloured balls one might say.

Dogma isn't something humans are immune from, and even those in science can be blinded by it. But the way that the methodology of science has practically evolved, this bias can be overcome and often quite quickly - commonly within a matter of decades. Compare and contrast to the dogma that can build up with non naturalistic methodologies: they can take centuries or millenia to overcome.

That we know things about the system we are in, certain rules or laws, is fine. But then are we going to say; "The reality we know was created by the reality we know."

No - we won't say that. It might be true, but I'm betting it isn't.

I do not dismiss the power of science because I know that it is tautologous to expect rules within the system which are explicable. I do not however, believe that this enables us to go into a vast area of darkness, with that small but powerful torch, and find all of the answers.

No, we have to travel through the dark slowly. That is part of the methodology. Compare and contrast to supernatural methodologies which so often sprint blindly into the dark yelling "This way! This way!"

I don't think chemical evolution, for starters, has anything to do with the reality we know, which is information being replicated ad nauseum. I don't think biological evolution is parsimonious because I think a better explanation is what reality alone shows, which is gene pools being culled of information, and in time providing some amazing adaptations due to the unique combination of the given trait.

Or you might be wrong. The relevant experts in the field think you are. Have you a humble bone in your body, or do you wish to stride into the dark with arrogance thinking you know better? I'm perfectly happy to debate this kind of thing in more detail - but the fact you don't seem to have any humility whatsoever is worth pointing out.

In my experience it is those that lack epistemic humility that are most commonly wrong. You only get to have any level of arrogance when you have demonstrated an expert level of knowledge in the field in question.

Example: mum has athletic legs, dad has athletic lungs. Together they both have the traits that make their son athletic, apart, they do not. The logical conundrum is explicable, because a unique combination of information, gives you a unique albeit OLD information.

This for example, is irrelevant. It is little more than the ad hoc nonsense you accused others of creating, and it leads to no interesting conclusion.

Come on Mike, this is a potentially great topic - are you going to walk away from it after less than 50 posts after you meet some serious resistance? Sometimes I wonder how strongly you believe the ideas you type onto this forum - just as things get meaty you leave? Really?

The core questions?

What is so special about your God, why do you not say these things when other conceptions of God are impinged by science?

What is so magnificent about your mind that it trumps the minds of those who study this subject in great depth? Can you honestly dismiss a scientific theory on the basis that you don't 'see' it?

Edited by Modulous, : a typo - left some others in because finding them was too much work.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by mike the wiz, posted 08-03-2009 5:58 AM mike the wiz has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by greyseal, posted 08-11-2009 6:33 AM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

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