Scientific Deconstruction of Science

Post image for Scientific Deconstruction of Science

All of us tempted to swallow this popular pill, cunningly served up with our secular education, should appreciate that the empiricists have not shown that the Creator has not spoken in his creation or in the Christ of Scripture. In the process of their argument they annihilate empirical science itself, the very thing that they have put their faith in. Science depends upon the nonempirical ideas of uniformity in nature and the predictability of future events in order to function or teach us anything. But empirical verification must apply only to a particular time, place, and entity to be examined. I cannot empirically prove that the sun will rise tomorrow until I test the hypothesis tomorrow. The past cannot be used as a basis for predicting the future if no metaphysical truths are valid – science as we know it would then become impossible. Knowledge (science) could mean no more than the reception of unrelated and therefore unintelligible sensations, bombarding the senses from the physical world.

Remember also that my opponent, in arguing against me for empiricism, is utilizing tools of logic and reasoning through which he or she is suggesting that my argument for Christianity is invalid. But these rules, criteria, and propositions are not empirical in nature either – they are metaphysical (abstract, immaterial, and universal). Since when has anyone seen, smelled, or touched the logical law of the excluded middle? Thus, reasoning itself is destroyed as the human mind is reduced to a random collection of atoms and electrochemical events that we cannot assume is anything more than a statistical anomaly. We cannot even speak of the brain revealing a pattern if all knowledge is purely empirical. And then who is to say that the atomic even constituting my brain leading me to believe in Jesus Christ is any more or less “valid” than the atomic event of your brain leading you to put faith in empiricism? The validity of any argument involves an appeal to various metaphysical (transcendental) criteria. For example, how do we know that to be an empiricist is valid? that is  a metaphysical question. A material even accessible to the senses is neither valid nor invalid; it is just an event. – Boot, Joe. Why I Still Believe: (Hint: It’s the Only Way the World Makes Sense). Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2006. 78-79.

(Visited 59 times, 1 visits today)

tagged as , in apologetics,Church Issues,Culture,theology

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rick Beckman October 19, 2010 at 1:45 pm

In arguing that way, though, his own viewpoint — including that very argument — become indefensible.

2 Resequitur October 19, 2010 at 2:48 pm

why is that Rick?

3 Mark October 19, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Hi Rick, long time no “talk”. I have the same question as ‘Resequitur’. Would you mind explaining how the Christian position becomes indefensible using Boot’s approach above?

4 Rick Beckman October 19, 2010 at 6:21 pm

If our own mental faculties of logic & reason cannot be relied upon to interpret the world around us, what makes them reliable to interpret the Scriptures?

Either we can rely on our senses or we cannot. But for a Christian to tell a scientist that he cannot even know for sure whether his faculties can be trusted, that Christian better have a very good defense of our faculties before using them to interpret Scripture.

5 RazorsKiss October 19, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Well, as I’m not an empiricist, I don’t think that applies to me. I’m a Christian, so I 1) Know that I am created in the image of God 2) Know that God is sovereign over both me and that which I examine 3) I have the Spirit in me, which leads me to all truth 4) I have justification for induction, deduction, empirical science, and everything else I engage in.

The empiricist, by starting with himself, not with God, has none of the above, by his own standard. He might “steal” from my worldview to use them anyway, but he’s not consistent in doing so. In fact, he just proved our argument *by* doing so. Of course, this quote lacks the positive case, as well as the transcendental argument required to push it home – but this is, however, the refutation of the empiricist’s own consistency.

6 Mark October 19, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Rick, the issue is the empiricist based upon their own worldview cannot account for the conformity of nature and such. They must borrow from the Christian worldview.

7 abb3w October 28, 2010 at 12:16 pm

First, science is explicitly reliant on the validity of pure mathematics as a language. (These days, Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory is the gold standard, but there are equivalent alternatives.) Pure mathematics is abstract, not empirical. Thus, science is aware of the non-empirical component to the philosophy of science.

Second, “uniformity in nature” and “predictability of future events” are technically inferences from a more basic assumption, that experience has some pattern. (With pattern more formally being “pattern recognizable at an ordinal degree of Turing hypercomputation”.) Science is simply about WHICH pattern. It is equally valid to assume that there is NO pattern; but that means that any superficial appearance of pattern is simply an isolated island, inevitable from Ramsey Theory from having a sufficiently large sea of chaos… and that you can’t tell a hawk from a handsaw. Contrariwise, if you do take the assumption that there is ANY pattern, then as mathematical consequence, a theorem results (doi:10.1109/18.825807) allowing competitive testing of particular patterns via the criterion of Minimum Description Length Induction – a formal and rigorous sense of Occam’s Razor, that counts not merely the complexity of rules but complexity of initial conditions, and requires these be sufficient for full and specific description. The assumption of some particular pattern (such as “believe in Jesus Christ”) implicitly requires first assuming that there is any pattern; and thus, any descriptions resulting from assuming a pattern P can be tested competitively against descriptions not requiring P, using the implicit assumptions. The argument against Christianity is only reliant on premises that the argument for Christianity is itself implicitly reliant on.

Third, mathematics is self-generating. Church-Turing automata correspond to type-0 (unrestricted) Chomsky grammars, which recognize/generate formal languages, equivalent to abstract mathematical axiom/proof systems; a universal Church-Turing automaton can emultate the behavior of any other Church-Turing automaton. Thus, mathematics leaves it philosophically unsurprising that the language of the universe should be able to generate a modeling system like the human mind.

Of course, the typical person hasn’t gotten the rigorous background in computation/automata/grammar/language theory, Bayesian and Kolmogorov probability theory, and information theory to be familiar with the tools, let alone how the pieces fit together. The mathematics education in this country is sadly deficient.

8 abb3w October 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm

No, empiricism is not dependent on borrowing. It’s possible to simply take the assumption of Pattern as a primary axiom, on par with the Wolfram and Zermelo-Frankel axioms. Rather than saying, “God decreed pattern, therefore there is pattern”, simply assume directly “there is pattern”.

This, of course, leaves open the possibility of arguments made under Refutation of pattern. It’s philosophically valid to assume that there is no pattern to experience – but then, you can’t make inferences about the pattern within it; and thus, that you can’t even infer that the Bible exists, much less that it provides a reliable account of anything.

9 RazorsKiss October 28, 2010 at 5:52 pm

So, just skip over the *philosophical* problems of both induction and deduction that underlie the *justification* of mathematics, and simply assume your autonomous starting point is justified, because you took mathematics and can cite some theories you heard in college. Righty-o.

As Van Til says, unbelievers can count – but they can’t account for counting.

10 Tyrone October 28, 2010 at 8:32 pm

What a strange, strange blog post. Joe Boot seems to think that anything that cannot be perceived is automatically ‘metaphysical’ – a word he vaguely seems to equate with ‘transcendent’.

Some of the comments are even more weird, most notably Razorskiss who states that

So, just skip over the *philosophical* problems of both induction and deduction that underlie the *justification* of religion, and simply assume your autonomous starting point is justified, because you happen to own a certain book and think/believe/hope that all statements in that book are true.

True, he didn’t say *exactly* that, but he might as well have said it.
Really, for someone who uses the word ‘philosophical’ as if he actually knew what he was talking about, his use of the word ‘know’ is incredibly naive.

11 C.L. Bolt October 29, 2010 at 12:15 am

“No, empiricism is not dependent on borrowing.”
The reference was to “empiricists” not “empiricism,” and yes empiricists the like of which Boot is addressing must borrow from the Christian worldview. Naïve empiricism is a pretty pathetic philosophical position. Aside from providing a basis upon which to do science it is self-refuting.
“It’s possible to simply take the assumption of Pattern as a primary axiom, on par with the Wolfram and Zermelo-Frankel axioms.”
Can you write out this proof for me?
“Rather than saying, ‘God decreed pattern, therefore there is pattern’, simply assume directly ‘there is pattern’.”
Why should we “assume directly” that “there is pattern?” More to the point – how do we know that “there is pattern?”
“This, of course, leaves open the possibility of arguments made under Refutation of pattern.”
I don’t think you’ve made it this far yet. We still need some reason for making the assumption you suggest making.
“It’s philosophically valid to assume that there is no pattern to experience – but then, you can’t make inferences about the pattern within it;”
Of course someone who assumed that there is no pattern to experience would not really be moved by your complaint that we could not then make inferences about the pattern within it since that person would not believe that there is any pattern within experience to make inferences about. Now since you have granted that it is philosophically valid to assume there is no pattern to experience I would like to know why we should assume that there is. You write that if we assume that there is no pattern to experience then we cannot make inferences about the pattern in experience, but I have already pointed out that this complaint does not really make sense. Aside from that though, this is an argument from consequences and as such should be dismissed as fallacious.
“…and thus, that you can’t even infer that the Bible exists, much less that it provides a reliable account of anything.”
No one is arguing that the problems of the non-Christian are the problems of the Christian as well, so you are quite off the mark here. If you want to argue against the sufficiency of the Christian worldview to provide a basis for these type of inferences then that is fine, but you have not done so and you miss the point completely when you assume that the reductio applied to an antithetical position is being applied to the position from which it is utilized as well.
“First, science is explicitly reliant on the validity of pure mathematics as a language. (These days, Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory is the gold standard, but there are equivalent alternatives.)”
You hardly hold the only position on what “science” is and is not. But this is irrelevant thus far.
“Pure mathematics is abstract, not empirical. Thus, science is aware of the non-empirical component to the philosophy of science.”
“Science” is not “aware” of anything since “science” is a discipline and not a cognizer, but not all scientists are “aware” as you say of the non-empirical component to the philosophy of science either. Indeed, many scientists I have come across have their doubts as to whether or not there even is a philosophy of science. But regardless of all of this you argument here is terrible. You have not shown exactly how an empiricist like those Boot is apparently addressing can consistently use pure mathematics or any other abstract non-empirical tools or entities in his or her scientific endeavors. You have merely pointed out that the empiricist does so. No one is questioning that. Boot’s argument is based upon it.
“Second, ‘uniformity in nature’ and ‘predictability of future events’ are technically inferences from a more basic assumption, that experience has some pattern. (With pattern more formally being “pattern recognizable at an ordinal degree of Turing hypercomputation”.)”
You’re actually quite new to this aren’t you? What is the empirical basis of that “more basic assumption, that experience has some pattern?” Let me help you out: There is none. That’s the problem. You are arguing that since past experience has some pattern then future experience will as well, but this is a purely arbitrary assumption completely unfounded in empirical observation. It is not capable of being known a priori either. So you’re stuck.

“Science is simply about WHICH pattern.”
You have not gotten this far yet.
“It is equally valid to assume that there is NO pattern; but that means that any superficial appearance of pattern is simply an isolated island, inevitable from Ramsey Theory from having a sufficiently large sea of chaos… and that you can’t tell a hawk from a handsaw.”
Which is again the problem.
“Contrariwise, if you do take the assumption that there is ANY pattern, then as mathematical consequence, a theorem results (doi:10.1109/18.825807) allowing competitive testing of particular patterns via the criterion of Minimum Description Length Induction – a formal and rigorous sense of Occam’s Razor, that counts not merely the complexity of rules but complexity of initial conditions, and requires these be sufficient for full and specific description.”
More unwarranted assumptions not the least of which is parsimony. I would take that to be a strong evidence of the existence of God as well, but you are not getting the argument that Boot is making just yet. Additionally it might be asked why you continue to assume that abstract non-empirical tools or entities like pure mathematics which may be known rationally and do not appear to exhibit the same type of contingency as do empirically testable entities have anything at all to do with the contingent realm of experience. But again, you have not grasped Boot’s argument yet.
“Of course, the typical person hasn’t gotten the rigorous background in computation/automata/grammar/language theory, Bayesian and Kolmogorov probability theory, and information theory to be familiar with the tools, let alone how the pieces fit together. The mathematics education in this country is sadly deficient.”
We can talk about all of this once you show that you actually get what Boot is saying. Right now you do not.

12 C.L. Bolt October 29, 2010 at 12:16 am

Tyrone would you like to join in or just ad hom? 🙂

13 C.L. Bolt October 29, 2010 at 12:18 am

Aside from not* providing…

14 Tyrone October 29, 2010 at 5:58 am

No one is arguing that the problems of the non-Christian are the problems of the Christian as well, so you are quite off the mark here.

Actually, I was arguing just that.
Read my comment closely, you’ll see.

The problem is that this Boot loon seems to think that first you choose between ‘the christian worldview’ and ’empiricism’ and then you start making your epistemological assumptions (which, he would presumably argue, you do not need to do if you stay within ‘the christian worldview’ because the you have a Truth. Or something).
Ludicrous. ‘The christian worldview’ is itself an assumption, based on exactly nada.

15 Matt October 29, 2010 at 9:48 am

1st Corinthians 1:18-31. I am not going to quote it here because I want you to look it up and see it for yourselves. The message of the Cross (and therefore Christianity) appears to be utter foolishness to those who are wise in the ways of the world, but the reality is that God has chosen that which seems folly to shame those who exalt themselves with their knowledge. You do not have to listen to me, but I plead with you to consider the possibility of Christ because I earnestly want to see all of you in Heaven when I leave this world!

16 abb3w October 29, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Actually, the paper I cited (doi:10.1109/18.825807) is explicitly addressing the problem of induction.

17 C.L. Bolt October 29, 2010 at 4:57 pm

“Actually, I was arguing just that.
Read my comment closely, you’ll see.”

“Read my comment closely” and you will see that I am referring to the Christian side of the argument. As far as your comments go you have argued no such thing.

“The problem is that this Boot loon seems to think that first you choose between ‘the christian worldview’ and ‘empiricism’ and then you start making your epistemological assumptions”

He does not say that at all so I am not sure where you are getting it from. (You also don’t explain why you call this a “problem”.) Calling him a loon in lieu of making an argument tells us more about you than it does about Boot’s argument.

“(which, he would presumably argue, you do not need to do if you stay within ‘the christian worldview’ because the you have a Truth. Or something).”

I have no idea what you are talking about.

“Ludicrous.”

What is ludicrous and why? There is no substance at all in your comments.

“‘The christian worldview’ is itself an assumption, based on exactly nada.”

Oh there’s a tough one! The non-Christian worldview is itself an assumption, based on exactly nada. See I can do it too.

I will take your answer to my question to be a “no”. Ad hom and assertions are not arguments.

18 Tyrone October 30, 2010 at 8:27 am

Oh there’s a tough one! The non-Christian worldview is itself an assumption, based on exactly nada.

This is basically correct, yes. (except for the fact that there are many differnet non-christian worldviews, so it should read ‘all non-christian worldviews…’)
They are all assumptions without any firm basis.
OTOH, some assumptions allow for better hypotheses than others.
By using science, one can make al lot louder bangs than by refusing science.
And build computers.
And cure diseases.
Etc.

So a worldview that enables science is bound to be a lot more succesful than a worldview that does not.

19 Mark October 30, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Tyrone,

Who is purporting a worldview that does not enable science? What Chris and Boot are purporting is a worldview that can account for science.

20 Justin Resequitur McCurry October 30, 2010 at 7:35 pm

“OTOH, some assumptions allow for better hypotheses than others.
By using science, one can make al lot louder bangs than by refusing science.
And build computers.
And cure diseases.
Etc.

So a worldview that enables science is bound to be a lot more succesful than a worldview that does not.”

1) The Christian Worldview is the only worldview which gives us the necessary preconditions for any and all truly scientific predication.

2) What do you mean when you say better hypotheses? If it is a naturalistic hypothesis, is it better even when it does not account for the uniformity of nature? A universe of chance is by definition incompatible with any uniformity. The uniformity of nature has its basis in the Triune God’s providence over His creatures, who has fashioned the universe to give glory to Him, and He has fashioned His creatures to understand this. (Romans 1:18-20, Psalms 19:1-4, Acts 17:28) Unless a worldview can justify these things by its own standard, without borrowing from The Christian Worldview, then it is far from “better”

3) Biblical Christians do not refuse “Science”. We just do not accept the naturalistic standards that ignore the omniscient Creator of the Universe. As the Scripture I pointed out above states, doing so is telling His wrath. Christians instead, by necessity, acknowledge The Triune God in our predication. Otherwise it would be unintelligible as I pointed out above. By ignoring the Creator, man has already begun to beg the very question, and begin reasoning vicious circles

21 Tyrone October 31, 2010 at 6:44 am

Anyone who claims that there is something (e.g. a holy book) that takes precedence over empirical evidence disenables science. Many who adhere to a christian world-view deny that there can be any truth in the findings of astrophysics, biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics etc. where these contradict their holy book.

22 Tyrone October 31, 2010 at 6:49 am

1) The Christian Worldview is the only worldview which gives us the necessary preconditions for any and all truly scientific predication.

Nonsense.
You assume God and then deduct uniformity.
I assume uniformity.
We both make an unwarranted assumption to arrive at uniformity. You just choose to make an unnecessary extra step.

Apart from that, why would a Jewish or Muslim or Hindu world-view not account for uniformity?

23 C.L. Bolt October 31, 2010 at 11:36 pm

“This is basically correct, yes.”

My point was that you are just making silly unwarranted assertions.

“except for the fact that there are many differnet non-christian worldviews, so it should read ‘all non-christian worldviews…’”

It is not a fact that there are many different non-Christian worldviews; there is only one.

“They are all assumptions without any firm basis.”

So much the worse for you.

“OTOH, some assumptions allow for better hypotheses than others.”

And the non-Christian one allows for none.

“By using science, one can make al lot louder bangs than by refusing science.
And build computers.
And cure diseases.
Etc.”

Which is why it is a shame that the non-Christian worldview refuses science.

“So a worldview that enables science is bound to be a lot more succesful than a worldview that does not.”

Or rather – epistemologically possible as the non-Christian worldview is not.

“Anyone who claims that there is something (e.g. a holy book) that takes precedence over empirical evidence disenables science.”

Anyone who claims that there is something (e.g. empirical evidence) that takes precedence over the Bible disenables (?) science. (This is getting boring.)

“Many who adhere to a christian world-view deny that there can be any truth in the findings of astrophysics, biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics etc. where these contradict their holy book.”

And?

“Nonsense.
You assume God and then deduct uniformity.”

Nope.

“I assume uniformity.”

Fallaciously.

“We both make an unwarranted assumption to arrive at uniformity.”

Nope, just you.

“You just choose to make an unnecessary extra step.”

Wrong again.

“Apart from that, why would a Jewish or Muslim or Hindu world-view not account for uniformity?”

We can talk about these if you would like. Are you interested in a Skype debate?

24 Sye T October 31, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Nonsense. You assume God and then deduct uniformity.
I assume uniformity. We both make an unwarranted assumption to arrive at uniformity. You just choose to make an unnecessary extra step.

“Occam’s razor states that one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything, however, the simple theory must be able to account for or explain what needs explaining. It’s not enough to have a simpler theory if you can’t account for anything. Though we shouldn’t add entities beyond what’s needed, we also should not subtract entities beyond what’s needed.” ~ Paul Manata

Apart from that, why would a Jewish or Muslim or Hindu world-view not account for uniformity?

Which do you believe does? I don’t see the point of debating views neither of us hold.

25 Tyrone November 1, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Which do you believe does? I don’t see the point of debating views neither of us hold.

My point being, of course, that Justin said the christian worldview was the *only* one accounting for uniformity. It isn’t. Even if you were to say that a worldview must include an omnipotent, omniscient non-created creator to account for uniformity (and I’m certainly not saying that), all these other worldviews fit the bill equally well.

And why on earth (or, indeed, off earth) should the assumption of a god be ‘necessary’ for a scientific theory? To account for the existence of the laws of physics? That would just push the problem back by one step, because then you would have to account for the existence of that god.

26 Tyrone November 1, 2010 at 7:25 pm

(This is getting boring.)

Indeed.

27 C.L. Bolt November 1, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Hi Tyrone,

I wrote, “We can talk about these if you would like. Are you interested in a Skype debate?”

Thanks.

28 Sye T November 1, 2010 at 11:24 pm

all these other worldviews fit the bill equally well.

They don’t, but as I said, I’m not interested in debating views that neither of us hold.

And why on earth (or, indeed, off earth) should the assumption of a god be ‘necessary’ for a scientific theory?

Because otherwise there is no basis for expecting uniformity, and therefore no basis for science.

That would just push the problem back by one step, because then you would have to account for the existence of that god.

Not at all, God has always existed. Your problem is that even if you presuppose that nature HAS BEEN uniform, you have exactly zero basis for assuming that it IS, WILL BE, or even PROBABLY WILL BE without God.

29 Tyrone November 3, 2010 at 6:33 am

What exactly makes “god has always existed” a valid argument when “uniformity has always existed” is not??

And I’m interested your reasons for dismissing all other religious worldviews. Are you by any chance trying to create a false dichotomy?
That’s not considered a decent thing to do, you know.

30 Tyrone November 3, 2010 at 6:35 am

Not at all interested, no, but thanks for the offer.

You wouldn’t by any chance have arguments that would still hold when written down?
That’d be nice!

31 Sye T November 3, 2010 at 8:31 am

What exactly makes “god has always existed” a valid argument when “uniformity has always existed” is not??

Couple of things. 1. There is no way for you to know that “uniformity has always existed.” 2. Even if you could account for past uniformity, you have exactly zero basis for assuming future uniformity.

And I’m interested your reasons for dismissing all other religious worldviews.

Because they are false. If you care to adopt one of them and argue your position, I’d be glad to, but as I said, I do not see the point in debating views neither of us hold. On what basis do YOU proceed with the expectation that nature WILL BE uniform 2 seconds from now?

Are you by any chance trying to create a false dichotomy?
That’s not considered a decent thing to do, you know.

No, but are false dichotomies absolutely fallacious according to your worldview? If so, how do you account for the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic which deem them to be fallacious?

32 Tyrone November 4, 2010 at 8:53 am

OK, for the plunge:
How can you say the existence of your god is neccesary for uniformity in nature, when
A) that god is omnipotent and may change the laws of pysics,
B) that god famously works in mysterious ways, i.e. we have no way of knowing what he’s going to do next, and
c) said god purportedly has a record of (at least temporarily) changing the laws of nature (a.k.a. ‘causing miracles’)

If your god can and may change the laws of physics, and has done so in the past, how the bleepety-bleep can you say that he guarantees uniformity in nature?

33 Sye T November 4, 2010 at 9:25 am

If your god can and may change the laws of physics, and has done so in the past, how the bleepety-bleep can you say that he guarantees uniformity in nature?

I do not claim that God guarantees uniformity, it is my claim that I can have a reasonable expectation for uniformity, whereas you can have none. It is also not my claim that God has ever changed the laws of physics, just that He has superseded them. The laws of physics are the same now, as they were then.

Now, it appears as though you are engaging in a logical exchange with me, perhaps you can answer my questions now: How do you account for the universal, abstract, invariant laws of logic, and on what basis do you expect nature to be uniform according to YOUR worldview. Perhaps you can also tell me how you know your reasoning about any of this is valid?

34 Tyrone Slothrop November 7, 2010 at 5:48 am

Why can I have a ‘reasonable expectation’? If my worldview is based on the axiom that the laws of physics are eternal and immutable, then it follows (and it is therefore entirely reasonable) that there will always be a certain amount of uniformity in nature.

Now, to answer another part of your question: The laws of logic are neither universal nor invariant. They spring largely from the way our language works, which in turn springs from the way our mind works, which springs from the way our brain works. When our brain evolves, the laws of logic may change, too.

35 Tyrone Slothrop November 8, 2010 at 5:47 am

That should read ‘why can’t I have a ‘reasonable expectation’?’, of course. Excuse my typo.

36 Sye T November 8, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Why can’t I have a ‘reasonable expectation’? If my worldview is based on the axiom that the laws of physics are eternal and immutable, then it follows (and it is therefore entirely reasonable) that there will always be a certain amount of uniformity in nature.

All axioms cannot be valid, as someone could have the opposite axiom that eveything is random. Since there can be conflicting axioms on the nature of the universe, how do you know that yours is valid, or on what do you base your expectation that it WILL BE or even probably will be valid 2 seconds from now?

Now, to answer another part of your question: The laws of logic are neither universal nor invariant. They spring largely from the way our language works, which in turn springs from the way our mind works, which springs from the way our brain works. When our brain evolves, the laws of logic may change, too.

Could the universe have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way before the law of non-contradiction “sprang from our minds?” If not, why not?

37 Mark November 8, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Tyrone,

How do you arrive at your position that the laws of physics are eternal and immutable according to your worldview?

Do you have an example of the laws of logic not being universal? Are you able to express this example without using logic? 🙂

38 Tyrone Slothrop November 9, 2010 at 7:25 am

Mark,

one does not ‘arrive at’ an axiom. An axiom is a starting point, ultimately unproveable but accepted because it seems likely. If, working from one’s axioms, one arrives at statements one deems untrue, it is time to question one’s axioms.
So far, the results of the scientific process have been… encouraging. To put it mildly.

The statement ‘there is a god’ is an axiom as much as the statement ‘there are laws of physics’ is. There is no proof of any god’s existence that isn’t ultimately based on the axiom that there is a god. If you know of one, please mention it and cause a revolution in philosophy – you ‘d win next years blogging scholarship, that’s for sure! (and many other scholarships besides)

As to the law of non-contradiction: there is a small but loud group of logicians who hold that that law is actually fallacious. It’s not as universal and immutable as we would like to think.

And of course I do not know, nor can I know, the state the universe is in when there are no humans observing it. Existing and not-existing at the same time, like a gigantic Schrödinger’s cat? Wouldn’t surprise me, really.

39 Mark November 9, 2010 at 11:45 am

Tyrone,

You said

An axiom is a starting point, ultimately unproveable but accepted because it seems likely. If, working from one’s axioms, one arrives at statements one deems untrue, it is time to question one’s axioms.

If an axiom is ultimately unprovable why are you telling me in the above statements that one may arrive at a point where one questions their axioms, essentially, disproving them?

And now I will ask Sye’s question from above since I was merely trying to get there from a different angle. He asked, “All axioms cannot be valid, as someone could have the opposite axiom that eveything is random. Since there can be conflicting axioms on the nature of the universe, how do you know that yours is valid, or on what do you base your expectation that it WILL BE or even probably will be valid 2 seconds from now?

It is the question of your worldview being able to account for your own actions and beliefs. But if worldviews are merely an axiom which may at some point no longer be valid then you have no complaint against Christianity as a worldview.

40 Tyrone Slothrop November 10, 2010 at 3:05 pm

If an axiom is ultimately unprovable why are you telling me in the above statements that one may arrive at a point where one questions their axioms, essentially, disproving them?

ummmm… for the very simple reason that proving something is a very different thing than disproving it. Popper was no idiot, you know.

But if worldviews are merely an axiom which may at some point no longer be valid then you have no complaint against Christianity as a worldview.

Nor do I have any complaint against it as a worldview.
I do think however, that it is ridiculous as an epistomology when it takes the guise of biblical literalism / Young Earth Creationism.
Much of it’s morality I find repugnant.
But the simple axion “there is a god” – well, I can’t really get worked up about that.

41 C.L. Bolt November 10, 2010 at 9:55 pm

You’re right Tyrone. Popper was no idiot, but he was wrong.

You said that you are not interested in a Skype debate and asked, “You wouldn’t by any chance have arguments that would still hold when written down?” I fail to understand how an argument that is made verbally “holds” any better than one which is written down but I will humor you. I am interested in a formal debate. We can do it in text per your implied request.

42 Tyrone Slothrop November 11, 2010 at 7:45 am

That’s a rather sweeping statement, about Popper.
What exactly do you think he was wrong about?

I fail to understand how an argument that is made verbally “holds” any better than one which is written down.

So do I, which is why I don’t see the point of negotiating all sorts of time-zone-related difficulties in order to skype.

But please do fire away. I think you were going to explain how some religious worldviews differ fundamentally from others, yes?

43 Tyrone Slothrop November 11, 2010 at 7:47 am

AAAGH! blockquote fail!
Please add that to my list of typos and excuse the lot.
Thank you very much!

44 C.L. Bolt November 12, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Tyrone you do not seem capable of following your own statements. You implied that verbal arguments “hold” better than written arguments when you wrote, “You wouldn’t by any chance have arguments that would still hold when written down?”

Once more: I am interested in a formal debate. We can do it in text per your implied request. Are you interested or not?

45 Tyrone Slothrop November 14, 2010 at 4:37 pm

You implied that verbal arguments “hold” better than written arguments when you wrote

Actually, no.
The implication was rather that your arguments wouldn’t hold when written down. That happens sometimes; people feel they’ve got their arguments lined up just fine, but when they’re forced to really think things through (as one must when one tries to actually write one’s thoughts down) they discover that they can’t seem to make it all work out.
It was a subtle insult, and it seems to have gone over your head.
Sorry about all that.

I was interested in a debate, but I’m not anymore.

.

Previous post:

Next post: