I usually dont review pages I disagree with

Published November 12th, 2006 by Bobby Henderson

I usually don’t review pages I disagree with, but I’ve stumbled this page a few times now… If methodological naturalism is to be used unwaveringly in science (which has not always been the case), then it renders the discipline potentially impotent to answer fundamental questions that it might otherwise provide insight on. Acknowledging that there are certain situations in which data may be interpreted in ways that at least suggest alternatives to ontological naturalism seems like the kind of thing that might increase interest in science. Specific ID models (if they’re to be presented at all) must only be considered based on their merits with respect to the data and their explanatory power (thus excluding young-earth creationism and FSM).

-zxczxcv



162 Responses to “I usually dont review pages I disagree with”

  1. J says:

    Okay, I’m shooting from the hip here, on subjects that I’m not 100% well versed in, but I’ll be delighted if someone who understands this better (David, you sound very knowledgable) can put me straight. Always good to learn something new…
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    @ zxczxcv
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    ‘If methodological naturalism is to be used unwaveringly in science (which has not always been the case), then it renders the discipline potentially impotent to answer fundamental questions that it might otherwise provide insight on.’
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    Such as what? Are you saying it takes a supernaturalistic approach to state that supernaturalism is nonsensical? Au contraire. Allow a little metaphor. Imagine a tug of war. To me, naturalism is like standing on a nice solid bit of mainland, whilst supernaturalism is like balancing on a raft. Both parties can tug as hard as they like, but the supernaturalist has no foundation in the world of rock solid data upon which to base his/her claims – and gets pulled very easily to shore. Our naturalist is not going to perform better in this physical analogy for an argument by forgoing his/her rock-based position in favour of a raft of his/her own.
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    Give an example of a ‘fundamental’ question that cannot be approached from a naturalistic perspective. Logically, there seem to be only two potential types of question:
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    – those that are firmly set within the supernatural themselves – ie, that are fundamental only to those who already entertain a supernaturalist perspective. They require the assumption of supernaturalist sympathies to be of any significance at all.
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    – those that relate to things of which we currently have little or no decent evidence, and are therefore limited to informed speculation. Here, not for the first time on these pages, we invoke Occam’s Razor and keep or speculations to a minimum, seeking whatever evidnce we can find to back them up – or refute them – as we go. This the naturalist’s approach to a lack of natural data. A supernaturalist approach would see no harm in taking this as an opportunity for spectacular acts of imaginative creativity.
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    ‘Acknowledging that there are certain situations in which data may be interpreted in ways that at least suggest alternatives to ontological naturalism seems like the kind of thing that might increase interest in science.’
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    Well, you’re talking about construing data, so we’re not referring to the sort of evidence-free black hole mentioned above. The ‘certain situations’ you describe, then, would seem to be: ‘in the minds of people disposed to seeking supernatural explanations’. Data always *may* be misconstrued if a person is willing to try hard enough – or simply makes an error.

    ‘Alternatives to ontological naturalism’? Naturalism – reasoning based on what exists, and can be seen and demonstrated to exist. Supernaturalism – reasoning based on that which cannot be seen and demonstrated to exist, but merely ‘supposed’ to exist. Also known as ‘making things up’. ‘Making things up’ may be valid in an evidential vacuum, where we are forced to bridge data gaps with leaps of supposition. We’re not in that situation.
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    (I take moochies points about dealing with those things that many people regard as mysteries, and ruefully acknowledge that perhaps The World of Science isn’t always as open to considering such things as it might be. Perhaps scientists have bigger fish to fry. Nevertheless, a scientific approach to, say, telepathy, would begin with observations, and then construct the most parsimonious hypotheses possible. Again, the approach would be nothing but naturalistic, as would any concluding theory. Should telepathy be thereby explained, even as a genuine, existing phenomenon, it would thereby become a naturalistic one – ie, something that be seen and demonstrated to exist. Indeed, it would be a naturalistic phenomenon even if *unexplained* – anything we observe to exist in the natural world *is* naturalistic – until we start making things up about it.)
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    Ontology – ‘the branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature of being’ (Concise OED) ‘Being’ is, in this context, synonymous with ‘existing’. ‘alternatives to ontological naturalism’ means ontological supernaturalism. ‘Ontological supernaturalism’ would appear to be a contradiction in terms.
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    However, there are plenty of people – theists – who nevertheless engage in ontological supernaturalism. Is this to be encouraged? No – see above. It makes no sense. Will it lead to an increase in interest in science? Well, what you’re suggesting there is ‘More people might be interested in science if it were less scientific’. Sure. And more people might be interested in politics if it were football, and more people might take up accountancy if it were trampolining. As arguments go, this one’s not the best.
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    ‘Specific ID models (if they’re to be presented at all) must only be considered based on their merits with respect to the data and their explanatory power (thus excluding young-earth creationism and FSM).’
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    Imagine, if you will, The Oak Tree of Intelligent Design. It has many branches. Most of the birds are sitting on the ‘Christian Creationism’ branch (looking smug, since they planted the acorn in the first place). An increasing number of piratical, eye-patch wearing birds (probably magpies) are sitting on the branch marked ‘Pastafarianism’ (looking equally smug, because they already understand what I’m about to say next).
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    We can, if we like, compare the strengths of each of these individual branches with one another, and with that of the enormous mountain just down the road (marked Evolution, And The Ever Expanding Sum Total of Scientific Knowledge). To do so is wasting our time, however, because it is very clear to anyone who looks down that the trunk of the tree has already been completely cut through. The Lumberjacks of Logic have been and gone. All that holds the tree up is wishful thinking and the furious flapping of the birds on the Creationism branch (whose efforts are impeded by the furious stamping and shanty-singing of those on the Pastafarianism one).
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    Specific ID models all rest on the core assumptions of ID, which so far have been shown to be bogus by any legitimate scientific enquiry to which they have been exposed. So throw out young earth creationism. Throw out the FSM. What are you left with? A tree with no birds sitting in it, but that’s about to hit the ground anyway.

  2. Penne says:

    That’s what I just said. Mostly.

  3. J says:

    Yeah. You posted while I was in a frenzy of typing.
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    I need an editor.
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    Or a new hobby.

  4. Marcus Marinara says:

    What a bozo this guy is. He must work for the government. I really prefer the “fuk you fagots with oars” hate mail. It is much funnier.

  5. Penne says:

    N0—-MORE——LONG—-POSTS——my mouse is freezing up,amoung other things.

  6. Penne says:

    really J ,it took me five minutes to uncross my eyes after your last one.

  7. Nowtheworldhasmeaning says:

    -zxczxcv
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    Science is always seeking to move into new areas, to say it isn’t is to be blind to some of the greatest acheivements. But there has to be some “rules” otherwise any crackpot can come up with a theory and have to be taken seriously by the scientific comunity, ID being an example.
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    A lot of scientist and funds are spent on “ghost hunting” using scientific rules. Huge amounts of money was spent trying to unlock telepathy etc.
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    Science always has room for the new and exciting as scientists always want to be the first. But until there is evidence to back such things they should be view very sceptically. To do anything but is foolish.
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    “Acknowledging that there are certain situations in which data may be interpreted in ways that at least suggest alternatives to ontological naturalism seems like the kind of thing that might increase interest in science.”
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    To a degree yes, but it seems as if you are suggesting that we should go beyond that, when all the evidence points to one think it is almost without exception going to be that thing.
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    Lets take evolution, it is backed up by a different number of science feilds, all independant from each other, to even suggest that it is wrong is moronic. Interest in science relys on the fact that if you get all the evidence and not ignore any then the answers wil look after themselves. I would rather have fewer scientest than a load looking for things that don’t exist, many a scientist have fallen into this little hole. Lets face it even Sir Isaac Newton was trying to turn lead into gold, think of what he could have acheive without wasting his time on this!
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    I feel that the entire of your post was pointless and you where simply trying to show off with the language you used.

  8. Alchemist says:

    Sorry J but Penne does have a valid point. I managed “shooting from the hip” and “hit the ground anyway” the rest was a scrolly blur. Damn, the hobnobs want to come in!
    Please don’t take offense, as none is meant.

    Noodledoodle,
    RAmen

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