Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Polemics of Science

Their think tank is launching a counter attack!!!An article has recent;y come out in the NY Times dispelling a myth that has been propagated in the name of science. Which one you may ask? Well don't get too hopeful this is the NY Times after all, it has it's sacred cows. In this article what is being debunked is the common myth that fatty diets cause heart disease and cause shorter lifespans. This is being dispelled by scientists now. (the article can be read here)

The point I want to draw from this is the fact that around 92% of scientists in this field held to the anti-fat philosophy. My main thrust isn't dietary, I really could care less. Rather, what I am getting at is the fact that many people embraced this sort of a view on fat consumption because most scientists said this theory was true.

1)This is a Fallacy Often used

This ties right in to many of the scientific theories floating around today and the alleged near unanimous support for them. It is a logical fallacy to say that "Most X's believe that theory Y is true, therefore we should too." Yet this is the exact line of reasoning that I almost always here from Atheists in defending evolution. Some 90% of scientists believe that evolution is a matter of fact, the other 10% are just religious nuts who shouldn't be scientists anyway because science is inherently Atheistic mind you. If over 90% of scientists say this is true we should as well.

This will tie into the final point of holding theories of science tentatively and not screaming about how "Evolution is Fact Fact FACT!" to quote Michael Ruse. This sort of mantra is used whenever talk of other views is brought up, evolution is taken to be so matter of fact that other views aren't allowed due to the impossibility of any other view. This links to the next point, which is that no matter what theory you are dealing with there are rival theories.

2)All Theories Have Rivals

In the polemics of science and education the ID folks are often just asking school boards to allow their teachers to "Teach the debate". The popular reply to this from the Darwinists has been to firmly state "There is no debate!" Well, that simply isn't true, there always is an in-house debate in science about theories. There is something inherently wrong when in science (where theories are to be held tentatively) you have proponents of a theory deny that there are any counter theories being proposed. There is always rival theories because no theory is perfect, it will have anomolies (or unaccounted for data).

To say that there is no debate is to engage is a slight of hand like Luke Sky Walker saying "These are not the Droids you are looking for..."

This does not mean that every rival theory needs to be taught to school children, but a teacher should be free to do so. That's what science is supposed to be about, the free exchange of ideas/theories to explain phenomena. The reason this isn't allowed anymore is because there are a good number of people who want to make science into a religion that negates God.

3) All Theories Are Tentative

There is never rationally a point in science where Michael Ruse can make the statement he does, especially given his presuppositions. This is because science is based on inductive reasoning. Take for example dropping a pen on the floor, how many times do you have to drop the pen to arrive at certainty that it will fall to the ground rather than float to the ceiling? 10x? 50x? 100x? 1000x? 10,000x? No matter how great the number, you can never have absolute certainty that the pen will fall to the floor rather than float to the ceiling.

Nor can you even really speak in probabilities, you can't put a percented number on your certainty that your pen will fall, that is wholly arbitrary, "I am about 75% sure it will fall rather than float...oh...now I suppose I am 75.00002% certain when I drop it again it will fall."

So how do we get out of this problem? Well the Atheist can't, all he has to go by is autonomous reason, he has no answer to the problem of induction. So for the atheist to do science he has to make an irrational leap (kinda ironic huh? the guys touting themselves as THE rational free thinkers...) For the Christian science is based on God's existence. Based on this presupposition we can expect His creation to behave with a regularity of laws and thus we can proceed to use the inductive method rationally.

4) The False Authority

This is more a problem for the public observer who naturally sees the lab coat fellow as automatically  G.W, An Expert?!authoritative. This is why in numerous commercials people will be wearing lab coats as they pitch the product to the consumer. The white coat says: "Objective Expert" to the observer. Well objectivity is a farce, but my point is that this is how bad research gets accepted, the "Expert" speaks and the observer accepts.

Again this is kind of ironic to me because many Atheists criticize Christians as if they just sort of accept everything their pastor says to them as fact, but it seems there is a parallel to this as well. Granted, there are a good deal of people who are passive pew sitters and don't do their homework or critically think about what is being taught. However, I think it is equally true that there are many pew sitters in the naturalist arena who just uncritically accept what their pastor in a lab coat is saying. Perhaps they are doing poor exegesis (or even isogesis) of the text of nature?

(ps. That is Bush in a lab coat...)

Conclusion

My point in all of this is not to debunk evolution, although I do think it is a smoke and mirrors theory. My point is that all the dogmatic scientific pronouncements made, all the things that are labelled "fact" or "Certain" are made/labelled irrationally. Given the nature of science such statements can not be made.

I would of course go a step further as I began to do so in heading 4 and say that without presupposing the Christian worldview you can't prove anything.

Suffice it to say that no matter what the theory in science we should hold to it tentatively no matter how many guys in white coats accept it at any given time, that is the point of this post.

18 comments:

TheChristianAlert.org said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheChristianAlert.org said...

The way I've seen atheists defend themselves (Richard Dawkins for example) is to say that - they are just being open-minded. There maybe something out there, but it's definitely not Jesus or his Dad.

Atheists think they are smart by just waiting for science to explain things. You know - like the meaning of life.

If they take this "open mindness" to its conclusion, they should be open minded to the idea that there is a God. But of course, how can that be? After all, more people have been killed in the name of God and Religion so - right there, theism is false. Atheism is superior. Or so they tell us.

p.s. Bush looks good. He should've gone to Med School.

Edgar.

Bob said...

"Atheists think they are smart by just waiting for science to explain things. You know - like the meaning of life."

Lol, yeah. I don't know how many times I have heard guys really say that. Science has filled all these old gaps like explaining how lightning works, people used to say it was Thor sneezing now e know better. Soon science will fill all the gaps no God needed.

Only problem is that I don't believe in God because I need to fill some naturalistic gap.

But as you say if they are really open minded they wouldn't have any problem with ID professors on campus'. It would only make for good dialogue, but that's exactly what they don't want.

Ubersehen said...

Except that the biggest problem with ID "professors" is that their "dialogue" doesn't stem from any accepted scientific research.

The scientific method is necessarily founded on a naturalistic approach. ID proponents can have all the argument-from-ignorance parties they want, but it doesn't change the fact that the two schools of thought, as they approach the collection of evidence and the use of logical arguments, are mutually incompatible.

As far as this caricature you've gleefully drawn of the dogmatic, absolutist scientist, it only seems to suggest (and reinforce) that you don't know many scientists nor much about how the majority of the scientific research is performed. But as long as that absence of knowledge can be written off with a snide remark and a slanted witticism, it's not important, right?

there are a good deal of people who are passive pew sitters and don't do their homework or critically think about what is being taught. However, I think it is equally true that there are many pew sitters in the naturalist arena who just uncritically accept what their pastor in a lab coat is saying.

Good on you for attempting yet again to set up your idea of an atheism/science combo next to religious beliefs and declare them to be the same thing. I still don't buy it, however. As much as you can keep smirking and shrugging and saying "well, they're just doing the same thing in the name of science", you never mention (because you don't know?) that it's the process of belief in science that sets it apart from that of religion in this regard.

Belief in a religion is a belief in a set of standardized doctrines and teachings that are immutable, unchanging, and not based on observable evidence. Belief in the tenets of science is a belief in a process that is dynamic, flexible, and accountable to observable evidence. Therefore, whatever your opinions are about the truth of one or the other, it is clear that the two cannot be equated as the same kind of belief. Further, your attempts to define the "atheist's" beliefs as a dogmatic trust in the conclusions of science is inaccurate. A responsible atheist will be putting his or her trust in the scientific process, and through that accept its conclusions tentatively until such a time as a better explanation comes about.

Given that, I am certain that there are some individuals who take the conclusions of scientific research dogmatically without consideration for the evidence, but I challenge you to prove to me that they are in any way close to being the majority, let alone significant enough in number to influence the conclusions of such research. Without being able to prove this, your conjecture regarding this "naturalism-of-the-gaps" is just so much wishful thinking.

Bob said...

Hey Uber, glad to hear from you, I want to have people on the other side weigh in on this stuff too. You wrote:

"Except that the biggest problem with ID "professors" is that their "dialogue" doesn't stem from any accepted scientific research."

That is the standard retort. I wonder if it is begging the question though. I mean perhaps they (the ID folks) are not published in peer reviewed journals because their ideas are intentionally supressed by naturalistic methodology that rules out a the possibility of a Designer from the outset.

"The scientific method is necessarily founded on a naturalistic approach."

Why? And what do you mean by naturalistic approach?

"As far as this caricature you've gleefully drawn of the dogmatic, absolutist scientist, it only seems to suggest (and reinforce) that you don't know many scientists nor much about how the majority of the scientific research is performed. But as long as that absence of knowledge can be written off with a snide remark and a slanted witticism, it's not important, right?

I don't know how much of a characture I have made all I have been getting at mainly is that theories in science by definition are supposed to be tenative. So when you get fellows seemingly screeming like your buddy Dawkins and Michael Ruse that evolution is "FACT!" I kinda raise an eyebrow and question their objectivity and whether they have personal investments (philosophical) in the promilgation of Darwinism. I think that's a rather modest inference.

"Good on you for attempting yet again to set up your idea of an atheism/science combo next to religious beliefs and declare them to be the same thing. I still don't buy it, however. As much as you can keep smirking and shrugging and saying "well, they're just doing the same thing in the name of science", you never mention (because you don't know?) that it's the process of belief in science that sets it apart from that of religion in this regard.

I don't really follow you here. I don't think all science has vested religious value in it. Plate techtonics theory or the speed of sound/light have no religious merit other than causing the believer to marvel at creation. However, when it comes to theories on origins then we are getting into religious areas and I find it rather ironic that no matter how much you want to neutralize science the loudest proponents for the religion of Atheism happen to be scientists. So I wonder how you can act as though these men are not filling the role of priests in some measure.

"Belief in a religion is a belief in a set of standardized doctrines and teachings that are immutable, unchanging, and not based on observable evidence.

Half right, I would disagree on observable. People saw the risen Christ, saw Him walk on water, saw Him raise the dead, heal the sick, that seems rather observable. Side note: do you think the laws of science are immutable?

"Further, your attempts to define the "atheist's" beliefs as a dogmatic trust in the conclusions of science is inaccurate. A responsible atheist will be putting his or her trust in the scientific process, and through that accept its conclusions tentatively until such a time as a better explanation comes about.


I don't know how tenative the guys are who write books about belief in God being delusional, or how belief in God is what causes all evil, or how belief in God is the failed hypothesis, and wouldn't you know they do it all in the name of science. They seem pretty cock sure to me.

"Given that, I am certain that there are some individuals who take the conclusions of scientific research dogmatically without consideration for the evidence, but I challenge you to prove to me that they are in any way close to being the majority, let alone significant enough in number to influence the conclusions of such research. Without being able to prove this, your conjecture regarding this "naturalism-of-the-gaps" is just so much wishful thinking."

Well again in science we can't technically proove anything so you are asking the impossible :) I know that this post isn't the definitive post on how much blind acceptance goes on in the field of science, the point is Uber THAT IT GOES ON. So much so that 92% can be wrong.

Good comments though.

Ubersehen said...

I mean perhaps they (the ID folks) are not published in peer reviewed journals because their ideas are intentionally supressed by naturalistic methodology that rules out a the possibility of a Designer from the outset.

It's quite simple: ID doesn't get published in peer reviewed papers because their writings either have no predictive value or have already been refuted scientifically. If you disagree, please direct me to a piece of research on their part that has predictive value and that has not been refuted scientifically.

"The scientific method is necessarily founded on a naturalistic approach."

Why? And what do you mean by naturalistic approach?


I'm sure you've heard this many times, but for science to function, it must approach the world as though everything can be explained, even if that explanation is not yet clear. In other words, everything is part of the natural world. If a god exists, it too should technically be quantifiable as a natural entity. As soon as someone introduces the supernatural (something unexplainable/unfalsifiable/etc), the whole process of scientific research becomes meaningless. After all, what is the point in delving into the forces of gravity and light if some aspects of them are explained away as the ineffable tinkering of the gods? By that process, we would be doomed to never fully understand anything about our universe. Perhaps you subscribe to the belief that there are some things out there that can't be explained, but then I would put to you: At what point should we decide that that is the case? Where is the demarcation line that tells us "This can't be explained, so don't bother trying"?

So I wonder how you can act as though these men are not filling the role of priests in some measure.

One major difference is that a priest of a proper religion will dictate to you how things are, in concrete immutable terms that are not and will not ever be subject to change. The "priest"/scientist and any information he shares with others is still subject to the ever -shifting body of scientific knowledge our society has accumulated through its research. You know the story well by now; if new scientifically verifiable information comes to light that throws other information into question, it is examined and retained or discarded according to its accuracy to the observed universe. In other words, science is accountable to reality. Since religious beliefs purport to represent reality, they are accountable to nothing, and thus any errors are invincible to criticism. It's reality that's at fault for not conforming to the religion. As I see it, the scientific process is by far the more intellectually responsible venture.

I would disagree on observable. People saw the risen Christ, saw Him walk on water, saw Him raise the dead, heal the sick, that seems rather observable.

But to declare this as observed and documented, you have to rely entirely on one book as your evidence. As science goes, a single book, even if it's your bible, is not enough evidence to prove scientifically that it happened. This is especially important given the nature of the spectacular claims you are declaring that it supports. To have even the slightest chance of having a compelling argument for these events (outside presupposing your bible's 100% accuracy from the outset which, needless to say, is about as unscientific as one can get) you would need multiple texts supporting them and/or some sort of observable and repeatable trial that could be performed to duplicate them.

They seem pretty cock sure to me.

Wouldn't you know it, though, Dawkins at least has stated quite clearly that he has never said he knows no god exists, he only believes it very strongly. So yes, he's cock sure, but if you dropped real, intellectually responsible, scientifically accurate proof of a higher power in his lap, he'd consider it, as would any responsible scientist.

Well again in science we can't technically proove anything so you are asking the impossible

Ugh, that old claptrap again. You're not using that as though it were a valid point for anything, I hope.

Ubersehen said...

No?

Bob said...

Hey Uber, good discussion, sorry I haven't gotten back until now, I honestly have been busy. Hence the skimpy posts on the main blog. At anyrate you state pertaining to why ID research isn't published in peer reviewed journals in reply to my assertion of a out of hand dismissal by the materialist pressuppositions of the scientific community:

"It's quite simple: ID doesn't get published in peer reviewed papers because their writings either have no predictive value or have already been refuted scientifically."

So any theory that lacks predictive power is unscientific? What predictions do paleontologists make? Or Archeologists for that matter? Apart from educated guess work (where to dig) it doesn't seem like these fields, that most would consider to be sceince of some form, fail to meet your standard of what science is. Sorry Mr. Dawkins apparently you shouldn't be published in peer reviewed journals because digging up bones and attatching stories to them lacks predictive power. Oh wait, for some reason although Dawkins' field of science lacks predictive power he is hailed as one of the foremost scientists of our time...hmmm.

I would assert that ID theory is just as predictive as evolution theory. The rub is that one operates under a closed system, whereas the other is open to well an open system in nature.

"I'm sure you've heard this many times, but for science to function, it must approach the world as though everything can be explained, even if that explanation is not yet clear. "

Given your worldview, I dont think you are warranted to adopt this assumption. For the following reasons:

1. Human minds are really ape like, and completely untrustworthy (if you take application of Darwinism seriously). There is no reason to think that human thinking process' are relible and therefore can ever arrive at anythin called "truth".

2. To assume that everything can be explained (given your worldview) also neccesiatates assumptions about the uniformity of nature.

I could go on, but I will simply grant you this assertion and move to the more gross assumptions you make.

"If a god exists, it too should technically be quantifiable as a natural entity."

I don't like to use pejorative language in discussion Uber, but when Atheists say things like this it to me just looks absolutely asnine. It is like me saying "For me to believe chickens exist they must be able to be weighed with a yard stick." You radically beg the question as to whether or not there are things that can not be empirically verified with the instruments you have provided.

Here's an analogy that may help a bit: imagine a world where there are only 2 dimensions, we will call it flat land. Well the inhabitants of flatland get along well and are able to write books describing the world they live in. Well how would these inhabitants be able to describe an object that came into their world like a sphere with 3 dimensional shape to it? Could they define it with the instruments they have developed over time in flat land? Would they have trouble describing in words what they saw? All they really could do is describe the sphere by analogy, or stubbornly deny that any such thing could possibly exist because it doesn't fit their definitions of flat land.

You are doing the latter of the flat lander analogy. God doesn't boil at 100 degrees celsius, you cant pour Him in a flask, you can't see Him in a telescope, you can't weigh Him on a scale, you can't smell Him, or touch Him, etc, etc. THEREFORE, you conclude (erroneously) that He must not exist because you can't detect Him with the instruments you are accustomed to using. You are the 2 dimensional flat lander scoffing at the notions of a "3D sphere" (whatever that is) that showed up one day.

" As soon as someone introduces the supernatural (something unexplainable/unfalsifiable/etc), the whole process of scientific research becomes meaningless."

Well, history is against this wild assertion Uber. Newton, Bacon, Pastuer etc, had no problem seeing meaning to their science while holding to the universe as existing by Divine decree. Rather, they saw themselves as "natural theologians" (in Newtons case) their belief in God gave their resaearch meaning. Your again taking these narrow definitions and applying them to everything, they don't even apply to all of science Uber.

"After all, what is the point in delving into the forces of gravity and light if some aspects of them are explained away as the ineffable tinkering of the gods?"

Well, perhaps you should read Newton's journals on that one, considering he practically defined gravitational mechanics, as a Christian mind you. You seem to have this crass understanding that deities are always erected to explain natural phenomena and therefore science is toppeling diety after diety. While this is true of the pagan dieties, the monotheistic worldviews are a tad more sophisticated than this, describing God as over nature rather than explaining nature.

"By that process, we would be doomed to never fully understand anything about our universe."

Well true, but that's not ID or Christian theism. Again, I hold that Christian theism is the mother of science. We live in a rational, orderly and therefore understandable universe because God is rational and designed the world we live in. This furnishes us with a foundation for exploring nature with the goal of understanding the mechanics and laws it posseses.

"Perhaps you subscribe to the belief that there are some things out there that can't be explained, but then I would put to you: At what point should we decide that that is the case? Where is the demarcation line that tells us "This can't be explained, so don't bother trying"?"

No, I think we should seek knowledge and understanding. Christianity is not paganism, it is not a religion based on naturalistic gaps like "How does lightning work...um...um...God" And then when lightning is explained well there goes God with it.

So why aren't scientist essentially priets to the Atheist? You reply:

"One major difference is that a priest of a proper religion will dictate to you how things are, in concrete immutable terms that are not and will not ever be subject to change."

Sure, and Michael Ruse screaming about how evolution is "Fact!" he's not dogmatic at all? Or Dawkins talking about how religion is a disease, (wonder what tests he did to arrive at that conclusion) he's not pontificating at all? Even just theories in general, particularly evolution, the guys I talk with certainly don't hold it tenatively but are like Ruse.

"You know the story well by now; if new scientifically verifiable information comes to light that throws other information into question, it is examined and retained or discarded according to its accuracy to the observed universe. In other words, science is accountable to reality."

So what about the guys who held to the theory that has just been overturned? Were they accountable to reality when they developed the theory?

I gotta jet...I will get back to what you said later. It took almost a full blog post just to untangle that one paragraph of yours with all of it's gross assumptions and fallacies.

Ubersehen said...

So any theory that lacks predictive power is unscientific?

That's right. If a theory doesn't make any predictions, it can't be tested. If it can't be tested, it is unfalsifiable and by definition is not scientific.

What predictions do paleontologists make? Or Archaeologists for that matter?

Aside from just digging up old stuff, archaeologists and paleontologists are in the business of trying to come to conclusions (read as: predict) about the nature of the old stuff they've dug up. For instance, if a large number of a certain kind of large dinosaur fossil were found in and around areas where it was once largely water and swampland, scientists might predict that such species used to live largely in those wetlands. From there, they might theorize reasons why these animals lived in that area: Diet? Added buoyancy to mitigate their large body mass? Such conjectures could easily be confirmed by finding further fossils elsewhere in similar conditions, or falsified by discovering the same fossils in areas known to have once been largely dry or mountainous. That is just one way among many that a paleontologist (like Dawkins, for instance) might make a valid scientific prediction. As a result, your oversimplified assessment of archaeology and paleontology as unscientific has no basis in reality. Perhaps you would do well to become more familiar with the scientific method and its implications and applications for all of its disciplines before declaring it a moot point.

I would assert that ID theory is just as predictive as evolution theory.

If you're so confident that ID has predictive power, why haven't you provided me with an example of any scientific prediction that it has made like I asked previously? Without that, you really have no ground to stand on in terms of declaring it on par with any of the other sciences.

1. Human minds are really ape like, and completely untrustworthy (if you take application of Darwinism seriously). There is no reason to think that human thinking process' are relible and therefore can ever arrive at anythin called "truth".

Well, your first mistake on this was to grossly misconstrue my worldview again. This always goes a long way towards helping the conversation, Bob, keep it up. There are ways in which the human brain is like an ape’s, yes, but it's pretty obvious that the human thinking processes and intellect have progressed a fair bit beyond that of apes. None of this is news to you, of course, but your intent in wording things this way is simply to exaggerate the conclusions of evolution to the point of ridicule. This is not helpful at all, and proves nothing other than that you have a taste for sarcasm. But to actually address the claim:

While human minds cannot be relied upon absolutely to interpret reality correctly, they are not 100% unreliable. In fact, they are, on the whole, fairly reliable at it. However, since there still is that margin of error, it makes more sense for humans to arrive at conclusions by consensus rather than by one individual's decision. This helps reduce the margin of error to much smaller levels. In addition, it becomes practical to introduce a measure of accountability and falsifiability (sound like anything familiar?) to the process such that, if any new information comes to light that potentially disproves the previous consensus understanding of things, that knowledge can be revised or replaced. The scientific method has been as successful as it has been as a tool for acquiring knowledge about the universe because it takes into account the very falibility of the human mind that you are trying to use as my worldview's fatal flaw.

2. To assume that everything can be explained (given your worldview) also neccesiatates assumptions about the uniformity of nature.

We assume this when we use the process because the process is meaningless if we do not. Like I asked earlier: If we are to conclude that not everything can be explained, at what point should we make this conclusion? Whether or not you believe everything can be explained is irrelevant so long as you employ that assumption when you conduct your research.

I don't like to use pejorative language in discussion Uber

It's true, sarcasm is usually more your style.

You radically beg the question as to whether or not there are things that can not be empirically verified with the instruments you have provided.

I have assumed no such thing. You've analyzed my quote a little out of context here. I am not saying that a god MUST be able to be explained scientifically if it is to exist at all. Obviously the supernatural could conceivably exist and be completely beyond the detection of science. The point I am trying to make is that for the concept of a god to be of any use to science, it needs to be quantifiable as a natural entity. Science doesn't cover the supernatural because the supernatural is unscientific by its very nature. That doesn't mean to say it doesn't exist (although I don't personally think it does), only that science isn't concerned with things that are, by their very nature, unprovable.

So, I have not concluded that your god absolutely does not exist because it can't be detected with current scientific instrumentation; this is again profoundly misunderstanding what I actually think. I only believe (note the distinction between belief and knowledge) that your god does not exist because it can't be detected with current scientific instrumentation. I'd be happy to change my mind if some new evidence came to light to the contrary, but I understandably have my doubts about that ever happening.

Well, history is against this wild assertion Uber. Newton, Bacon, Pastuer etc, had no problem seeing meaning to their science

Correction: Your personal spin on history is against this quite reasonable and constantly employed assertion. All of the scientists you listed conducted their research without employing their idea of god as a variable in a single equation. The mathematical and scientific conclusions that they are so well known for are quite secular in their nature. Not a hint of the supernatural anywhere in it. Can you imagine an equation that read "A falling object will accelerate at 9 meters per second squared, plus another 0.8 meters per second squared because it is well known that the holy spirit makes stuff move faster"? Obviously this is ridiculous and not what you believe, but I'm not sure how else you can include the supernatural in an otherwise naturalistic methodology. Did Newton, Bacon, and Pasteur believe in a god? Certainly, but that has no bearing on the research they actually performed that has survived to today. In sum, whether or not they believed in a god has no effect on the work they actually performed.

Well, perhaps you should read Newton's journals on that one, considering he practically defined gravitational mechanics, as a Christian mind you.

Perhaps you could save me the time and just tell me what part of Newton's theories employ the supernatural in their conclusions? Because obtaining creative inspiration from a belief in a god is quite different than including that god in the research.

You seem to have this crass understanding that deities are always erected to explain natural phenomena and therefore science is toppeling diety after diety.

Hardly, and it's really not helpful if you simply assume that this is the case instead of, perhaps, asking. I do believe that deities have been historically erected in part to explain natural phenomenon, but they clearly have consciously and unconsciously served many other social and political ends over the millenia as well.

I hold that Christian theism is the mother of science. We live in a rational, orderly and therefore understandable universe because God is rational and designed the world we live in. This furnishes us with a foundation for exploring nature with the goal of understanding the mechanics and laws it posseses.

That's all well and good, but you begin with the presupposition that a god exists as a foundation for your belief that the existence of an orderly and understandably universe is only tenable if a god exists. This presupposition makes every allegedly scientific conclusion you reach thereafter suspect, since the foundation you use to begin with is wholly unscientific.

Christianity is not paganism, it is not a religion based on naturalistic gaps like "How does lightning work...um...um...God" And then when lightning is explained well there goes God with it.

No, but it is still not a naturalistic approach to explaining the workings of the universe. By its very nature, it states that there are elements of the universe (your god, for example) that cannot ever be fully comprehended by humans. To make this assertion, you must first give an example of something that cannot ever be explained. How, then, can you provide such an explanation, which would require you to account for the possibility that the technology and/or knowledge required to explain a given phenomenon might be developed at some time in the future? To accomplish this, you would essentially need to know the complete future of the entire universe. I have my doubts that you possess this knowledge.

Sure, and Michael Ruse screaming about how evolution is "Fact!" he's not dogmatic at all?

I'm not familiar with Michael Ruse, but are you telling me that he is the official representative of the beliefs of atheists everywhere? Ditto for Dawkins? I certainly hope that the state of evolutionary theory doesn't rest exclusively on the opinion of Mr. Ruse, or any one person. If they aren't representative of atheists' beliefs then your response is a moot point. They can pontificate all they like, but just like Newton's belief in a higher power, it's the research that they perform and not their beliefs that is ultimately of importance.

Even just theories in general, particularly evolution, the guys I talk with certainly don't hold it tenatively but are like Ruse.

Are you, by any chance, talking more or less exclusively with atheist bloggers about this? Because I have a feeling that if you strolled into a laboratory or workplace where evolutionary research was being performed, you'd probably get a better picture of what the average "guy" actually thinks. People who blog about this stuff often have very strong feelings that can become quite polarized in reaction to the people they talk with. This may have given you a skewed impression of just how "rabid" or "dogmatic" the average atheist is.

So what about the guys who held to the theory that has just been overturned? Were they accountable to reality when they developed the theory?

In what way are you using the term "accountable"? When I employ it, I'm referring to the process by which, if a theory is shown to be flawed, it is revised or replaced. Joe Scientist isn't going to be fined or arrested if he made a mistake, he'll just fix the problem and the scientific community will be better off for it.

It took almost a full blog post just to untangle that one paragraph of yours with all of it's gross assumptions and fallacies.

Well, I hope that wasn't too much of a hardship. But what did I assume? More importantly, what fallacies did I employ? I don't think you mentioned those, specifically. I do my best to avoid them if at all possible, so I'm very interested to know.

Bob said...

"Aside from just digging up old stuff, archaeologists and paleontologists are in the business of trying to come to conclusions (read as: predict) about the nature of the old stuff they've dug up."

Well, no that is digging up stuff and attatching stories to it, that is not predictive in any manner whatsoever, it may be descriptive but not predictive. A prediction is in the formula of:

1.Given X circumstance we can expect Y to occur.

2.X occurs followed by Y.

In english this would look like Larger masses will attract smaller. There is a degree of risk involved. Talking about what extinct animals ate by analyzing data surrounding their bones is hardly predictive Uber, sorry. This is why most philosophers of science abandoned predictability as a hallmark of true science, it is too exclusive while at the same time being too INCLUSIVE.

You would have to include astrology, and Uri Gellar as scientists as well because they predict and sometimes are accurate.

"If you're so confident that ID has predictive power, why haven't you provided me with an example of any scientific prediction that it has made like I asked previously? Without that, you really have no ground to stand on in terms of declaring it on par with any of the other sciences.
"


I don't accept that standard. ID just like evolution is a descriptive theory not predictive. I never claimed it had predictive power, I reject predictability as the standard of what demarcates science from pseudo-science because it is too exclusive and too inclusive at the same time.

On to Monkey like Brains you state:

"Well, your first mistake on this was to grossly misconstrue my worldview again."

No, you misrepresent me, I never said that is what you believe just that if you take Darwinism seriously (I am not saying that you DO) you have no reason to trust your thought process are arranged to arrive at truth, nevertheless accurate scientific theories.

"While human minds cannot be relied upon absolutely to interpret reality correctly, they are not 100% unreliable."

I don't think you can put a number on this Uber, that would require some sort of standard of reliability to measure our brains against.

Sorry I gotta go again, I really am liking our discussion, as always. I Do want to reply to your other points.

Bob said...

Hey, I have some time right now so let me pick up where I left off...oh yeah how Darwinism undercuts rationality...you state:

"However, since there still is that margin of error, it makes more sense for humans to arrive at conclusions by consensus rather than by one individual's decision"

I don't think you can talk about margins of errors when trying to give a reason for trusting your reason. You need to give a basis for why you can trust your reasoning faculties at all. This is picked up by Plantinga and is coined Darwin's horrid doubt. Darwin wrestled with this problem to some degree.

"Can you imagine an equation that read "A falling object will accelerate at 9 meters per second squared, plus another 0.8 meters per second squared because it is well known that the holy spirit makes stuff move faster"?"

Well, that would be a lazy man's way of approaching this phenomena. While it is true that God designed the laws of nature and in fact governs them we it is the job of science to explore the order of those laws. So I can agree with you that science in practice is naturalistic, however that does not necessitate operating on a presupposed closed system.

Me: "I don't like to use pejorative language in discussion Uber

It's true, sarcasm is usually more your style."


Hehe, you got me pegged.

"The point I am trying to make is that for the concept of a god to be of any use to science, it needs to be quantifiable as a natural entity. Science doesn't cover the supernatural because the supernatural is unscientific by its very nature. That doesn't mean to say it doesn't exist (although I don't personally think it does), only that science isn't concerned with things that are, by their very nature, unprovable."

Ok that changes things a bit. I would put forth though that God's existance is necessary for science to proceed. I say this because without God as the foundation of our thinking we have no basis to assume the uniformity of nature, that knowing is possible, our minds can function rationally, laws of logic etc.

"So, I have not concluded that your god absolutely does not exist because it can't be detected with current scientific instrumentation; this is again profoundly misunderstanding what I actually think."

Ok, fair enough, but that is how many fellows who hold to scientism and are Atheists talk. It sure seemed like that is what you were saying earlier when you stated:

""If a god exists, it too should technically be quantifiable as a natural entity."

That certainly is what that goof-ball from the "Rational Response Squad" was saying in the televised debate with Kirk Cameron and Comfort. As if for God to exist He must be somehow observable via natural science.

"only believe (note the distinction between belief and knowledge) that your god does not exist because it can't be detected with current scientific instrumentation. I'd be happy to change my mind if some new evidence came to light to the contrary, but I understandably have my doubts about that ever happening."

Though you make a distinction between belief and knowledge to soften this assertion of yours I would simply reply that your belief is based on begging the question and thus fallacious.

For you to change your mind I need to put a God-escope before you and say "Look! Empirical evidence that God is there!"

As for Christianity being the mother of science you state:

"Your personal spin on history is against this quite reasonable and constantly employed assertion. All of the scientists you listed conducted their research without employing their idea of god as a variable in a single equation."

Well, no matter how often it may be asserted that doesn't make it true. It just means the fellows who utter it don't like God and would like to erect little vistas where He is not welcome. To be clear for Christian theism to be the mother of science does not necessitate that in postualtion of theories invoke God in lazy leaps. What all the early scientists had in common (apart from almost unanimously being clergy men of some sort) is that they were operating and seeking to understand the world God had made. This is why science in the West advaced much faster than the East, mid-East, or even in Africa. They had a worldview that encouraged such exploration.

That is what I mean for Christianity to be the mother of modern science, not that in theory postulation they were constantly invoking God to explain phenomena...that's what the pagans did. Rather, in acknowledging God's hand over nature as both Creator and sustainer they sought to explore the world He made and describe the design.

"The mathematical and scientific conclusions that they are so well known for are quite secular in their nature."

Maybe in the use of them, but not in accounting for them. For example, before human minds existed was 2+2=4 axiomatic?

"Did Newton, Bacon, and Pasteur believe in a god? Certainly, but that has no bearing on the research they actually performed that has survived to today. In sum, whether or not they believed in a god has no effect on the work they actually performed."

Well, their belief in God is what motivated them to be explorers of "God's second book" the book of nature. Granted, you can secularize their work and just look at it in 2D and have pragmatic benefits.

"That's all well and good, but you begin with the presupposition that a god exists as a foundation for your belief that the existence of an orderly and understandably universe is only tenable if a god exists. This presupposition makes every allegedly scientific conclusion you reach thereafter suspect, since the foundation you use to begin with is wholly unscientific."

Not at all, we need to be able to trust our reasoning, senses, and the uniformity of nature BEFORE science can begin. Christian theims furnishes us with a foundation for these and thus is properly basic. You skip accounting these an begin with science...which make Atheistic science irrational...so hot potato back to you.

"To make this assertion, you must first give an example of something that cannot ever be explained."

Well, I need to instantiate in infinite. I would refer you to Lane Craig's Kalaam argument, it is pretty heady and I am not going to try to explain it. But I REALLY think it deals precisely with this issue you just raised.

"Well, I hope that wasn't too much of a hardship. But what did I assume? More importantly, what fallacies did I employ? I don't think you mentioned those, specifically. I do my best to avoid them if at all possible, so I'm very interested to know."

Well the biggest one I saw was the question begging about how God must be accounted for naturalistically as far as fallacies.

I do admit my final statement you cited was a bit sweeping so I don't mind taking it back, I know you are a serious thinker Uber and I don't want to dismiss what you are saying.

Ubersehen said...

Ok, here we go. I'm a mite tired tonight, so I hope this is all coherent.

Well, no that is digging up stuff and attatching stories to it, that is not predictive in any manner whatsoever, it may be descriptive but not predictive.

Just digging up stuff, hm? That sure sounds like the intellectual standpoint of someone who's looked into the issue in great detail. Let's forget that elements of geology, physics, chemistry, biology, metallurgy, engineering and medicine are commonly present in archaeological research, or how your definition of "prediction" has been rendered so narrow as to be effectively useless. Actually, let's not forget that. The "stories" archaeologists are "attatching" to their finds are derived from careful scientific analyses of many kinds. Be they chemical, structural, or geological, there is a considerable amount of prediction involved.

These predictions from observations can be a fair bit more broad than you've laid out with your large-mass-attracts-smaller (and, by the way, small masses attract larger ones too) without sinking to the level of astrology or stage magic. For all the reasons I mentioned above, this comparison is baseless, and feels to me like a common and laughable strategy you and other Creationist and ID proponents have used on a number of occasions. In this case, you've made a weak attempt at turning a very valid comparisons of Intelligent Design's proposed reasons for including it in public school curriculum allowing for the inclusion of other forms of pseudo-science as well back on the scientists... but unfortunately, it just doesn't make sense that.

I don't accept that standard. ID just like evolution is a descriptive theory not predictive. I never claimed it had predictive power, I reject predictability as the standard of what demarcates science from pseudo-science because it is too exclusive and too inclusive at the same time.

Well, if your plan here is to simply toss out the founding principles of the scientific method then anything goes anyway and you can call whatever you like scientific. Whether you reject predictability as a standard or not, it is still the standard, and with good reason. Further, you still discuss the theory of evolution as though it were its own strict field of research, as opposed to being made up by the contributions of biologists of all stripes, physicists, geologists, paleontologists, and many other different disciplines. So, if you fail to see where predictions can be made in the research behind the theory of evolution, you don't understand the nature of the research behind the theory of evolution.

you have no reason to trust your thought process are arranged to arrive at truth, nevertheless accurate scientific theories.

So, what precisely is the problem with maintaining a healthy skepticism that I could be wrong in my observations of reality, but that, given repeated observations and testing that contradict this potential error, I am 99.9% confident that I am not?

I don't think you can put a number on this Uber, that would require some sort of standard of reliability to measure our brains against.

I'm not trying to put an official number on it, necessarily. That wouldn't be the easiest task to accomplish. I haven't entirely ruled out the possibility that existence is a mirage and that we are just so much collective vapour swirling around in a celestial vacuum, it simply strikes me as astronomically unlikely... sort of like some other unfalsifiable explanations for our existence.

You need to give a basis for why you can trust your reasoning faculties at all.

Clearly we can't trust any one person's reasoning faculties completely, but given thousands of years of testing (for instance, how our senses have succeeded in guiding us through history to become the most powerful species on the planet) we can feel fairly confident that our faculties are reliable. Again, no one is saying 100% reliable, but millenia of testing and the consensus of millions of likewise endowed individuals seems to indicate a yes.

While it is true that God designed the laws of nature and in fact governs them we it is the job of science to explore the order of those laws. So I can agree with you that science in practice is naturalistic, however that does not necessitate operating on a presupposed closed system.

Sure, but that still doesn't answer my question. If science, in practice, is naturalistic, and a god exists, where does science hit the supernatural brick wall? At what point do we decide that Phenomenon-X is supernatural while Phenomenon-Y is not? If we don't ever get to see the magic twinkling of the ineffable Lord of All's tinkering, when do we know that we've finally detected the irreducibly complex?

I would put forth though that God's existance is necessary for science to proceed. I say this because without God as the foundation of our thinking we have no basis to assume the uniformity of nature, that knowing is possible, our minds can function rationally, laws of logic etc.

I'm still curious as to why we need assume that a god is at the foundation of our thinking when we have other far more likely explanations available. However, with your curious definition of what science is (both narrow enough to exclude some very valid disciplines, yet broad enough to include ID), those other explanations are obviously unacceptable to you.

Ok, fair enough, but that is how many fellows who hold to scientism and are Atheists talk.

You always talk about these "many fellows" as though you had your finger on the pulse of what the average atheist out there thinks. How is it that you're so in touch with the vast majority of non-believers? Are you sure it isn't just an overexposure to the limited viewpoints made available by Blogger?

That certainly is what that goof-ball from the "Rational Response Squad" was saying in the televised debate with Kirk Cameron and Comfort. As if for God to exist He must be somehow observable via natural science.

Well, neither side of that debate was very impressive, I'll say. The RRS came off sounding like a bunch of angry basement-dwelling dorks (I think they actually are, to tell the truth), but Cameron and Comfort were definitely the bigger buffoons up there. Whether or not you agree with their position, you must admit that they put forth some pretty awful arguments for belief. Crockaduck, anyone?

Second, suggesting that a god need be quantifiable doesn't necessarily mean that such a god is automatically disproven, or that we should necessarily possess (or ever hope to possess) the technology to detect it. The only thing suggested is that, by its natural nature, it could potentially be detected at some point by someone.

I would simply reply that your belief is based on begging the question and thus fallacious.

In what way is it begging the question? Why does requiring evidence of something before believing in it fall into this category? I'm afraid I'm not following your logic here.

For you to change your mind I need to put a God-escope before you and say "Look! Empirical evidence that God is there!"

I'm not sure why this is an unreasonable request. You claim that there is a god, but have no empirical proof. Therefore, I am skeptical of this claim until it is proven. What part of this is problematic?

It just means the fellows who utter it don't like God and would like to erect little vistas where He is not welcome.

I really wish people would stop equating a doubt regarding a god's existence as an actual dislike of said god. It's just not accurate. You know the reasons why the idea of a god is rejected, and it has nothing to do with a like or dislike of something the individual rejecting the god possesses. How can one dislike an entity they don't think exists? I don't dislike Smaug, from The Hobbit, as nasty a dragon as he was, so why would I dislike a god whose existence I disbelieve equally?

What all the early scientists had in common (apart from almost unanimously being clergy men of some sort) is that they were operating and seeking to understand the world God had made. This is why science in the West advaced much faster than the East, mid-East, or even in Africa. They had a worldview that encouraged such exploration.

I don't disagree that they believed in a god and fell back on this belief to inspire their research, but I certainly don't see how this state of things works as evidence in terms of that god existing or not.

Granted, you can secularize their work and just look at it in 2D and have pragmatic benefits.

No one needs to secularize their work; it is secular simply by the very fact that a supernatural entity is not included in any part of its process or conclusions. That's what secular means. You are seeking to imbue it with an unrelated sacred meaning simply because they also happened to believe something else while they performed it.

we need to be able to trust our reasoning, senses, and the uniformity of nature BEFORE science can begin. Christian theims furnishes us with a foundation for these and thus is properly basic.

Properly basic? Perhaps. But it's also properly circular. You claim that we can trust our senses because your god has provided you with this foundation, but you first require your senses to be able to detect your god. I'm curious as to how you believe your senses or reasoning are any more reliable this way than in the atheist's model (developed through time-tested social and psychological experience over the course of thousands of years). If your god has never been made empirically evident to you (through your own senses), how can you be certain that these faculties that you believe it has furnished you with originated from such a being?

Bob said...

"Just digging up stuff, hm? That sure sounds like the intellectual standpoint of someone who's looked into the issue in great detail."

Point granted, I am treating these sciences which are far more methodical than dignning stuff up and making up stories rather crudely. I am trying to boil down what is going on however. Put rather crassly I think this is accurate.

"Actually, let's not forget that. The "stories" archaeologists are "attatching" to their finds are derived from careful scientific analyses of many kinds. Be they chemical, structural, or geological, there is a considerable amount of prediction involved."

Well, you still haven't given actually how an archaelogist is making any predictions in digging up dinosaur bones. I simply don't see anything you referenced above as predictive, I agree that it is science (not according your demarcation line of predictability) but it isn't predictive.

"These predictions from observations can be a fair bit more broad than you've laid out with your large-mass-attracts-smaller (and, by the way, small masses attract larger ones too) without sinking to the level of astrology or stage magic. For all the reasons I mentioned above, this comparison is baseless, and feels to me like a common and laughable strategy you and other Creationist and ID proponents have used on a number of occasions."

Well, laugh all you want, but the Astrologer and Psychics seem to think they are engaging in their craft very scientifically. They have methodologies and their own periodic table of crystals, tea leaves and planetary alignments etc. They make predictions and by golly sometimes they are right, how is that not science (given your demarcation line)? You just dismiss it out of hand and like Hillary Clinton faced with an undesired question you laugh it off.

"In this case, you've made a weak attempt at turning a very valid comparisons of Intelligent Design's proposed reasons for including it in public school curriculum allowing for the inclusion of other forms of pseudo-science as well back on the scientists... but unfortunately, it just doesn't make sense that."

Not at all, I am challenging you demarcation line between science and pseudo science. Given your standard I see no reason why Astrology can be deemed science given it's methodological and predictive nature. Also, I still can't see how paleontology would qualify as a science because it doesn't seem to make any predictions, again it may be methodical in it's research but it doesn't make risky predictions. Again, saying a certain dinosaur ate X based upon analyzing it's petrified feces isn't a prediction, it's a prediction.

"Well, if your plan here is to simply toss out the founding principles of the scientific method then anything goes anyway and you can call whatever you like scientific."

Not at all, we just need a better demarcation line than predictability.

"Whether you reject predictability as a standard or not, it is still the standard, and with good reason."

Not true, there is no unified demarcation line between science and pseudo science that is agreed upon. There are many attempts being made particularly by Atheist philosophers of science to make a standard that keeps ID out and evolution in but inevitably they run afoul of cutting out bonefide science or including pseudo-sciences inadvertantly. There are numerous different camps such as falsifiability, predictability, the Imre Lakatos camp etc. The point is that what you assert isn't true, there are many camps trying to define science by certain elemaints.

"Further, you still discuss the theory of evolution as though it were its own strict field of research, as opposed to being made up by the contributions of biologists of all stripes, physicists, geologists, paleontologists, and many other different disciplines."

I don't know how physicists have contributed to supporting evolution theory but I digress. I would say for the most part evolution theory is taken for granted and as the base of different fields of science particularly the weak sciences like Psychology and Anthropology. Any way I do understand that there isn't a feild of research "evolution" along side physics, or astronomy. At anyrate I could say the same thing of ID, there are numerous fields supporting it.

"So, if you fail to see where predictions can be made in the research behind the theory of evolution, you don't understand the nature of the research behind the theory of evolution."

Well, if predictability is the standard of science than a theory that is non-predictive is not science. That is how my statement is to be taken, not that evolution is a field of science like Astronomy but that as a theory it doesn't make any specific predictions. Based on Newtonian mechanics many predictions were made and verified such as the existance of Mercury before there were telescopes powerful enough to empirically verify this, it was pure mathmatical prediction. Such is the case for many other scientific theories and models. So my question thant is simply what predictions has evolution theory furnished us with?

"So, what precisely is the problem with maintaining a healthy skepticism that I could be wrong in my observations of reality, but that, given repeated observations and testing that contradict this potential error, I am 99.9% confident that I am not?...I'm not trying to put an official number on it, necessarily. That wouldn't be the easiest task to accomplish."

I would be more skeptical and state that it isn't difficult but rather impossible altogether. The issue than is simply that you have no reason to believe anything, so even the theories your monkey brain produces are akin to an ape at a computer being expected to produce Shakespear like tragedies....you need a reason to be able to trust your reason that isn't based upon your reason (else you be guilty of circularity) to even begin science.

I have to take off, I will try to get back to the rest of what you said later.

Bob said...

To continue with what I was writing, you raise a very good question when you ask:

"Sure, but that still doesn't answer my question. If science, in practice, is naturalistic, and a god exists, where does science hit the supernatural brick wall?"

I would like to be clear that the "God did it" when explaining some phenomena is in fact true. However, it is science's role to explain the how and the mechanics of God's sovereign rule over nature. With that said there is no real beginning and ending to the religious area and science area, to think like that brings us to the previous post on the upper and lower stories. Where we have:

(meaning, morals, religion/God)
VALUE
--------------------------------
FACT
(Science, empiricism)

I want to avoid any sort of lines like this. So I don't think is a "Where science ends and faith begins" line (even though some Christians talk like that). Rather I see the two more holistically as both part of God's truth, just different methodologies like Calculus and Volcanic science, both arrive at truths, but have different methodologies.

"when do we know that we've finally detected the irreducibly complex?"

I think that's a very very good question, and frankly I am not equipped to answer it.

"I'm still curious as to why we need assume that a god is at the foundation of our thinking when we have other far more likely explanations available. However, with your curious definition of what science is (both narrow enough to exclude some very valid disciplines, yet broad enough to include ID), those other explanations are obviously unacceptable to you."

Well, philosophically without presupposing God you have no foundation to believe in the uniformity of nature, nor a basis to trust your own reasoning and senses. Christian Theism provides such a foundation because God is there and has given an order/regularity to the universe and providentially upholds it and He has made man in His image, reasoning capacity is part of that. I said this in the paragraph you quoted before asking this.

Also, I NEVER gave a definition of science I have only critiqued yours.

"You always talk about these "many fellows" as though you had your finger on the pulse of what the average atheist out there thinks. How is it that you're so in touch with the vast majority of non-believers? Are you sure it isn't just an overexposure to the limited viewpoints made available by Blogger?"

Well, I have/had atheist friends, professors, I read books and articles in addition to blog world, but you are right I can't speak for all atheists, no one can, I just say what I have heard.


"but Cameron and Comfort were definitely the bigger buffoons up there. Whether or not you agree with their position, you must admit that they put forth some pretty awful arguments for belief. Crockaduck, anyone?"

I agree, the RRS guys were asking some pretty dumb questions and they were giving some even more perposterous answers. Comfort bragged that he was going to proove God's existance without the Bible...I think that is ridiculous. All in all the RRS guys did "win" the debate, more by default due to imcompetence. I don't want to be too hard on Ray and Kirk, they are good evangelists, not apologists though.

"The only thing suggested is that, by its natural nature, it could potentially be detected at some point by someone."

Well, we have all sorts of accounts of God detections in the Bible, we even had Him come into humn flesh raise the dead and heal the sick, and was Himself raised.

"In what way is it begging the question? Why does requiring evidence of something before believing in it fall into this category? I'm afraid I'm not following your logic here."

Well, you are loading "evidence" for something to exist it must have qualities X, Y and Z. God lacks some of these qualities, therefore He must not exist. If you don'e see that that is begging the question I can't help you.

Ubersehen said...

Well, you still haven't given actually how an archaelogist is making any predictions in digging up dinosaur bones. I simply don't see anything you referenced above as predictive, I agree that it is science (not according your demarcation line of predictability) but it isn't predictive.

The problem here is that you've taken a narrow cross-section of what is involved in archaeology and presented it as the whole. There is much more to archaeology than simply digging up dinosaur bones, and I think you're well aware of that. A little cursory Wikipedia search would let you know that, in addition to digging up dinosaur bones, archaeologists are concerned with uncovering countless other historical interests... and this is only the "digging" part. If archaeology was solely the act of putting a shovel in the ground to uncover things and then attach stories to them in a child-like fashion as you've painted it, you'd be right. However, this straw-man doesn't work. Integral to archaeological practice are the strategies and procedures by which they go about locating and excavating their findings. The methods used to develop the framework around which researchers excavate their finds are quite scientific in their nature. They are highly concerned with matters of probability, geological calculations, and a number of other practices that do quite a bit in the way of predicting results. Further, in terms of actually analyzing their finds, predictions can be made as to the nature of the relics/bones/whatever uncovered which can be tested against other finds and available information to determine its accuracy. As a result, I'm really not sure how this process isn't predictive.

Well, laugh all you want, but the Astrologer and Psychics seem to think they are engaging in their craft very scientifically. They have methodologies and their own periodic table of crystals, tea leaves and planetary alignments etc. They make predictions and by golly sometimes they are right, how is that not science (given your demarcation line)? You just dismiss it out of hand and like Hillary Clinton faced with an undesired question you laugh it off.

The laugh was far from out of hand. Simply possessing a methodology does not render a field of research scientific. Astrologers and psychics may very well have uncovered valid finds in the universe, but they have yet to present any of it in an observable, testable format that could conceivably be evaluated by the scientific community. This is pretty obvious, though, Bob, and you're smart enough to see this argument as hollow and meaningless, so I'm not sure why you're including it.

Given your standard I see no reason why Astrology can be deemed science given it's methodological and predictive nature.

If my standard of what constitutes valid science were only that it needed to make predictions and have some sort of methodology, this would be correct, but I'm curious as to what point it was that I actually made this claim. Again, you must be aware that anyone with a cursory knowledge of what the scientific method entails (which one would conceivably have by the end of grade 9 science) would understand that the method involves more criteria than what you’ve laid out, so this winds up being just another straw-man of my position, which falls down easily enough, certainly.

I still can't see how paleontology would qualify as a science because it doesn't seem to make any predictions, again it may be methodical in it's research but it doesn't make risky predictions. Again, saying a certain dinosaur ate X based upon analyzing it's petrified feces isn't a prediction, it's [an analysis].

Well, first, predictions don’t need to be risky to be scientific. Any risk-level of prediction will do, as long as there is prediction and the possibility of falsification involved. But why isn’t developing conclusions about the diet of a particular life form based on its feces a prediction? You find traces of something in one specimen’s droppings and predict that you will, perhaps, find it in others’. You propose to analyze other tangible and available samples and find that these traces either abound or do not abound and your prediction is either borne out or refuted. Suddenly, through analysis and the testing of simple predictions, you have accumulated information about a species and reinforced the accuracy of that information. Further testing either supports or weakens the initial prediction. If you disagree, please explain how this is not a prediction.

Not at all, we just need a better demarcation line than predictability.

Again, I hope we’re not taking predictability to be the only demarcation line. There are, of course, many others.

Not true, there is no unified demarcation line between science and pseudo science that is agreed upon.

I’m well aware that the line between what is science and what is pseudo-science can be a bit fuzzy in some cases. It’s not too fuzzy when it concerns ID, however, since ID clearly fails to meet more than one of the more essential requirements of good science.

At anyrate I could say the same thing of ID, there are numerous fields supporting it.

Which ones?

So my question thant is simply what predictions has evolution theory furnished us with?

I’m going to let Talk Origins do the work for me on this one, since they explain it better than I can. Two predictions stemming from evolutionary research that you can find on their page are:
1. “[The theory of evolution] predicted that organisms in heterogeneous and rapidly changing environments should have higher mutation rates. This has been found in the case of bacteria infecting the lungs of chronic cystic fibrosis patients (Oliver et al. 2000)”

and

2. “Darwin predicted, based on homologies with African apes, that human ancestors arose in Africa. That prediction has been supported by fossil and genetic evidence (Ingman et al. 2000).”

Let me know what you think of these and the rest of their entry addressing your particular claim regarding predictability here.

The issue than is simply that you have no reason to believe anything, so even the theories your monkey brain produces are akin to an ape at a computer being expected to produce Shakespear like tragedies....you need a reason to be able to trust your reason that isn't based upon your reason (else you be guilty of circularity) to even begin science.

We have plenty of reason to trust our conclusions. You are able to paint this ridiculous picture of absolute and total uncertainty because you regularly ignore those responses that deal with the millennia of testing our faculties of reason have had to go through to get us to this point. A baby born into the world would certainly have difficulty trusting their senses to give them an accurate understanding of the world around them. Very young infants can believe that their mother has vanished when she has simply left their line of sight for a moment because they have so little experience interpreting the world around them, not to mention being at an early stage of cognitive development. With time, however, and with repeated instances where mom has left the line of sight and always returned, the infant will come to trust that mom will keep coming back, and that freaking out whenever she “disappears” is unnecessary. This is a tiny analogy for the development of humankind’s reason. In the beginning (whenever that was) our “monkey brains” weren’t sure of what was going on around us, and couldn’t necessarily trust our reason. However, through repeated testing over the course of millennia of physiological, cognitive, and social development, we have narrowed down what is reasonable to believe and what is not. Our senses can be fooled, but that is far from the norm and they are still very reliable. Of course, as I’ve stated before, there is no way to be 100% sure that we are interpreting reality as it is, but the repeated testing of everyday life brings us ever-closer to complete surety.

I might turn this question on you, however, and ask how it is you can be sure that your brain functions reliably enough to have accurately determined that a god is responsible for its accuracy!

I would like to be clear that the "God did it" when explaining some phenomena is in fact true. However, it is science's role to explain the how and the mechanics of God's sovereign rule over nature … Rather I see the two more holistically as both part of God's truth, just different methodologies like Calculus and Volcanic science, both arrive at truths, but have different methodologies.

But then this still requires an explanation to my question; if a god exists, and science’s role is to explain the workings of this god-generated existence, shouldn’t science theoretically be able to explain this god, given enough time and advancement? If science is a part of the picture, then we must treat it as either capable of eventually explaining everything, or of having a specific demarcation point where it is no longer able to explain anything. I don’t see a third option, though I’m open to hearing one. If you don’t believe your god can eventually be explained naturalistically and don’t have a third option, then you must believe that there is a specific demarcation point where science ends and the supernatural begins.

"when do we know that we've finally detected the irreducibly complex?"

I think that's a very very good question, and frankly I am not equipped to answer it.


But if you can’t answer it, how do you know that such a point exists?

Also, I NEVER gave a definition of science I have only critiqued yours.

Oh, you did, Bob, though not directly. By declaring ID to be valid science and by declaring what is not part of science (predictability), you have indirectly made some very strong statements defining your belief regarding what science is. Perhaps not a complete list of all the criteria necessary for scientific research to happen, but enough to draw the conclusions I did from it.

I agree, the RRS guys were asking some pretty dumb questions and they were giving some even more perposterous answers. Comfort bragged that he was going to proove God's existance without the Bible...I think that is ridiculous. All in all the RRS guys did "win" the debate, more by default due to imcompetence. I don't want to be too hard on Ray and Kirk, they are good evangelists, not apologists though.

That was essentially my take on it. The debate was a farce and didn’t help either side much.

Well, we have all sorts of accounts of God detections in the Bible, we even had Him come into humn flesh raise the dead and heal the sick, and was Himself raised.

But again, you’re asking me to take your bible on its own as sufficient evidence of some pretty incredible claims. Why, when nothing of the sort has ever been observed to happen in recorded history outside of this one book, should I be compelled to believe that raising the dead and magicking the sick back to health are possible, let alone that they really happened over 2000 years ago? Can you provide me with some sort of test where these miracles could be repeated?

Well, you are loading "evidence" for something to exist it must have qualities X, Y and Z. God lacks some of these qualities, therefore He must not exist. If you don'e see that that is begging the question I can't help you.

Something that exists doesn’t necessarily have to have any predefined qualities. The point I was making was that for something to be proven to exist, it must be detectable in some tangible, scientific manner. As I’ve said on a number of occasions, it’s quite possible that any number of unprovable things exist (Bertrand Russell’s Teapot, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc), but their being unprovable makes the whole notion of believing in them kind of ridiculous unless one is relying primarily on blind faith to explain them.

Bob said...

I am going to pound on this particular point because it shows the insufficiency of your initial assertion that predicive power is what seperates science from pseudo-science.

I stated: Well, laugh all you want, but the Astrologer and Psychics seem to think they are engaging in their craft very scientifically. They have methodologies and their own periodic table of crystals, tea leaves and planetary alignments etc. They make predictions and by golly sometimes they are right, how is that not science (given your demarcation line)? You just dismiss it out of hand and like Hillary Clinton faced with an undesired question you laugh it off."

You reply:
The laugh was far from out of hand. Simply possessing a methodology does not render a field of research scientific. Astrologers and psychics may very well have uncovered valid finds in the universe, but they have yet to present any of it in an observable, testable format that could conceivably be evaluated by the scientific community. This is pretty obvious, though, Bob, and you're smart enough to see this argument as hollow and meaningless, so I'm not sure why you're including it.

Now you seem to be all over the place, talking about observable, the evalutional affirmation of the "scientific community", initially your thrust was predictive nature (which ID fails to meet, to which I agree) you wrote:

[insert flash back chimes...]
"ID doesn't get published in peer reviewed papers because their writings either have no predictive value or have already been refuted scientifically."

So I guess in light of your recent statements I am wondering what is it that seperates genuine science from the pseudo? Granted, Uri Geller can't always bend spoons and Edgar Cayce wasn't right ALL the time, but Cayce was right some times, and well the way we see theories get toppled over time "science" doesn't have a very great track record either. We have many observable predictions made by phychics and astrologers that came to pass. One can look at this and say it is luck, but how can the same not be said of many of the scientific discoveries? They are both alledgedly doing "sophisticated guess work".

While it is true that the "mob" of scientists don't accept these crafts as science we can see (as was the point of this post) that the "mob" can be and often is wrong, dead wrong. So all of these appeals to the "peer reviewed" or "scientific community" as authoratative is an appeal to really a sort of Mafia that runs science. If you don't agree with them they'll break your legs (ie: you will be denied tenure at university). Also, again we have seen that the mob has often been wrong, 95% of the experts have been wrong numerous times. Again if we just applied logic to these things (ie: bandwagon fallacy) we probably wouldn't be so inclined to trust mobs. Then again it is comforting to know that there is a 90 some % of "experts" who give approval to our pet theories (evolution, methodological naturalism, etc).

Bob said...

Picking up with more of what you state (I am enjoying our conversation, what do you do anyway Uber? You seem like a bright fellow just curious what it is that you do.), you write:

"Well, first, predictions don’t need to be risky to be scientific. Any risk-level of prediction will do, as long as there is prediction and the possibility of falsification involved."

Well, a few things here. I use "risky" with reference to a paper by Karl Popper I believe in which he was trying to assert that "risky predictions" was the hallmark of science and what in fact seperated science from pseudo science. Now, falsification comes into the picture. This was/is used to differentiate between scientific theories with the potential to be falsified and say religious statements that are deemed eternally true. (Mind you the men coming up with these demarcation lines are really aiming to get God out of science, and have a form of knowledge that excludes God).

By falsifiable men would state that "If X happens then not theory A" So there is a clear statement or guide on which the theory can be shown faulty. Moving to the pet theory of evolution, on what basis can it be falsified? It is a theory, so by it's nature should have perameters which if met or not met result in the rejection of the theory. I don't see such a thing happening. So even if you throw falsifiability in as a standard some pet theories don't cut the mustard, granted you may cancel dogma but when put to it many theories themselves are not falsifiable by their nature. Another great example of this is Freudian psychological theories, no matter what is observed it only confirms the theories.

Granted, I like falsifiability as a standard in science, and it seems to really eliminate a lot of what I see as junk science. However, it is not in itself strong enough to stand alone as a demarcation line.

I would like to talk more of other issues raised about predictive nature of evolution, (thanks for the documentation btw) and go into whether these A are predictions, and B whether they were confirmed, however I need to get to the more meaty issues and choose wisely what hills to fight on.

""when do we know that we've finally detected the irreducibly complex?"

I think that's a very very good question, and frankly I am not equipped to answer it.

But if you can’t answer it, how do you know that such a point exists?"


Well, my main hangup with the ID fellows is that they based on looking at apparent complexity at some point feel warranted to say "Very probably God exists". I don't think this is either good reasoning nor being faithful Christians (which some are). This is why I am a presuppositionalist, we don't start from the floor up and finally after clever arguments and objective data gather conclude very probably God exists. We begin with the God who is there and His self revelation in His word. From there we glory in the irreducible complexity firstly, knowing He is there, we see it through His light, we don't see God through the light of irreducible complexity.

So my hangup isn't so much the Behe arguments about IC I agree with them that these sorts of mechanisms simply can't be produced by slow progressive mutation, it is kind of a whole enchalada thing (ex: the eye, bacterial flagellum, priviladged place of earth, etc). My beef is that given all of this when can you infer God, how much IC do you observe in order to be warranted to infer God?

Looking at all the IC in reply to all of these the naturalist can say "Why yes it does seem a far stretch that time plus progressice mutation could do this, but we are here, so we know these coincidences must have taken place...no God needed."

That's my hangup with the ID movement. I like to read the books and marvel at the design God put in the world, but I would NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, use their research as an argument/research for the existance of God. Perhaps against Darwinism, but not to reach the conclusion, God.

This is what I really wanted to get to:

"But again, you’re asking me to take your bible on its own as sufficient evidence of some pretty incredible claims. Why, when nothing of the sort has ever been observed to happen in recorded history outside of this one book, should I be compelled to believe that raising the dead and magicking the sick back to health are possible, let alone that they really happened over 2000 years ago? Can you provide me with some sort of test where these miracles could be repeated?"

This is what the skeptic fallaciously does to the Bible. I know I harp on the begging the question fallacy often but that is innevitably what the unbeliever does to the claims of Christianity, they are discounted from the outset. You say that there is nothing recorded like these miracles outside this book, why are the recordings of this book not acceptable? We just know that people aren't raised from the dead so when we hear of such an account it is dismissed as fantastical.

Next you seem to want to apply some sort of scientific method to belief in the Bible. Well, there are archeological and historical verifications but that isn't the tree I want to bark up. My hang up is that you bring a method to believing that you surely don't apply to everything else you believe. It is pattently obvious that there were no cell phones with cameras recording the miracles of Christ and putting them on Youtube for everyone to see an believe. (Even if they did do that Johnny skeptic years later would come along and say they were doing David Copperfield like tricks). For you to believe that Christ walked on water you want a ridiculous standard of repeatability in a lab.

Applying this absurdity to other like claims:
Do you apply that to Washington crossing the Deleware? I mean those waters were frigg'n freezing, the soldiers were in rags, there boots were worn through, many were frost bitten and you want me to believe that this seeming lunatic Washington pumped them up and led them across icy waters to enter a battle? There is no way those guys went accross that river in the dead of winter, it was just a myth made up to rally people behind the American cause.

Really if you take any rather astounding historical account and apply your demand for a repeat to believe you should doubt a great deal.

Why do you take this historical accounts as seeming fact but the Biblical ones are to be dismissed. This rather slanted "desire for evidence" is seen again as you write:

"Something that exists doesn’t necessarily have to have any predefined qualities. The point I was making was that for something to be proven to exist, it must be detectable in some tangible, scientific manner."

And my point was that that last sentence is begging the question against God. For God (or "something" as you say) to exist he must posses certain qualities. He fails to meet these qualities, therefore He must not exits. Again, this is you holding up your 2D flatlander methodology against the claims of a sphere existing concluding that there is no such thing as a 3D sphere because it does not comport to your methodology you are accustomed to invoking in flatland.

When in trouble just invoke the FSM to equate God's existance to belief in the ridiculous:

" As I’ve said on a number of occasions, it’s quite possible that any number of unprovable things exist (Bertrand Russell’s Teapot, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc), but their being unprovable makes the whole notion of believing in them kind of ridiculous unless one is relying primarily on blind faith to explain them."

Well, I am not claiming that God's existance is unproveable. Rather, it is PROVED, indirectly by assuming the negative. In a nutshell my argument is that without God as the starting point you can't proove anything, everything breaks down into subjectivity and absurdity when pressed.

What I WAS saying was that you are assuming that everything that exists must be empirically verifiable. The claim of God's existance failing to meet this empirical verification does not mean that I am saying God's existance is unprovable, rather GIVEN YOUR biased standards it is unprovable. Which I think is what you want, and is what God says of the unbeliever. The unbeliever is "suppressing the truth in unrighteousness" and does not want to "retain God in their consciences" this is because the unbeliever is an enemy and "hater" of God(Romans 1). Yes, yes you will say "you can't hate what isn't there!" well what if He is there Uber? What does that make your unbelief?

Back to the main thrust, so you have devised these standards that God must meet to be believed in, knowing full well that by the nature of the claim that God can not be verified by such standards, and thus feel warranted in your unbelief.

Nor is it blind faith that believers rely upon. I am sure you would like to think such is the case. I wasn't always a Christian mind you, I at one time claimed Atheism and ridiculed believers rather smugly. Even then I knew God was there, it was more fashionable in my case. Even though I may have believed in "God" I certainly did not want to be a Christian, and though these fellows were rather foolish. My conversion did not come about through well reasoned argument but rather a confronting revelation of God to myself, this is what people call "born again" and in a sense I was converted reluctantly (because of my previous disdain for Christianity) although knowing this was the truth. In the light of God's word I now see and know that I was once blind, it is in this light I now see. Nothing makes sense or can be proven without God as the starting/reference point. I can't convince you of any of this, all I can do is ask you to look up and plead for eyes to see. No argument will convert people no matter how well formed or airtight, conversion is an act of God opening the unbeliever's eyes to the obviousness of His nature and his rebellion, and God's remedy to our rebellion in Christ or in hell.

Ubersehen said...

Now you seem to be all over the place, talking about observable, the evalutional affirmation of the "scientific community", initially your thrust was predictive nature (which ID fails to meet, to which I agree)

The reason I mention all of these criteria are because they are all fairly fundamental to the practice of good science. That your examples fail a number of these criteria lends nothing to the strength of your argument, and certainly does not weaken the rigour of the scientific method.

So I guess in light of your recent statements I am wondering what is it that seperates genuine science from the pseudo?

In essence, any practice that does not meet the requirements of the scientific method, but still strives to make truth claims about the universe in a quasi-scientific manner, will probably be considered pseudoscience. Now, you've brought up a valid point in that there is not a single, crystal clear demarcation point where science ends and pseudoscience begins. On the other hand, even though there may be some conjecture over whether some aspects of scientific research are valid, the line as a whole is not nearly as fuzzy as you're making it appear. Those forms of research that meet all of the criteria of the scientific method (predictability, falsifiability, peer-review, etc) are unquestionably science. It is when one of these criteria is absent or in question that the muttering about pseudoscience begins.

Granted, Uri Geller can't always bend spoons and Edgar Cayce wasn't right ALL the time, but Cayce was right some times, and well the way we see theories get toppled over time "science" doesn't have a very great track record either. We have many observable predictions made by phychics and astrologers that came to pass. One can look at this and say it is luck, but how can the same not be said of many of the scientific discoveries? They are both alledgedly doing "sophisticated guess work".

The difference, as I see it, is really quite simple. An astrologer or a stage magician like Uri Gellar will declare "This will happen." They state that it will occur because of something currently unfalsifiable (the arrangement of the stars, the energies emanating from Mr. Gellar's brain, etc), and then it either happens or it doesn't. If it happens, they succeed, if it doesn't, they fail.

The scientist will state "Given the data we've accumulated, we expect this to happen." Then it either happens or it doesn't. If it happens, the scientists' theory is supported. If it doesn't, the scientists encorporate the new data into their findings and look for a better explanation. There is no "success" or "failure" involved, only predicting outcomes from evidence.

Further, that an astrologer or psychic was successful in predicting a certain outcome has no bearing on whether or not the tools they use for those predictions are reliable. On the one hand, it could be a lucky guess, or it could be a fundamental misunderstanding/misconstruing of a perfectly rational and understandable process.
Either way, for a scientific prediction to be valid, the methods used need to be accountable to the same criteria. Since stage magic and astrology do not utilize scientific methods, their results are still suspect, even if they are occasionally accurate.

While it is true that the "mob" of scientists don't accept these crafts as science we can see (as was the point of this post) that the "mob" can be and often is wrong, dead wrong. So all of these appeals to the "peer reviewed" or "scientific community" as authoratative is an appeal to really a sort of Mafia that runs science.

You make it sound as though being wrong were some sort of punishable offense in the scientific community. In reality, being wrong happens all the time. Data is shown to be incorrect, and so the data is revised. Processes are shown to be ineffective, so those processes are replaced with better ones. Given this, your statement that "we have seen that the mob has often been wrong, 95% of the experts have been wrong numerous times" is meaningless. Of course the experts have been wrong before. Of course there have been errors in the practice of science. The framework of scientific research is perfectly aware that we make mistakes and, as such, has been designed for a very long time now to take those mistakes into account by allowing for correction. It's almost guaranteed that there are errors in how things are being done right at this moment that we haven't picked up on yet. The scientific process will continue to correct these errors as they are uncovered, however, moving closer and closer to the best possible practice.

I am enjoying our conversation, what do you do anyway Uber? You seem like a bright fellow just curious what it is that you do

I’m a Canadian music educator currently teaching high school music at an international school in Saudi Arabia. What about yourself? What does Bob do to pay the bills?

Moving to the pet theory of evolution, on what basis can it be falsified?

This is a pretty common query/criticism aimed at the theory of evolution. There are a few ways that I can think of off the top of my head:

1. If our understanding of chemistry and/or physics were to change in such a way that the conclusions drawn from them regarding the processes of evolution (dating mechanisms, in particular) became untenable, the theory would be pretty soundly falsified.

2. If scientists began discovering a pattern of anachronistic fossils (homo sapiens beginning to pop up in Precambrian rocks, for instance), the theory of evolution would be in danger.

Another great example of this is Freudian psychological theories, no matter what is observed it only confirms the theories.

I can’t say much one way or the other about Freud (that’s more Phronk’s department), but I do know that modern psychology has come a long way since Freud, and even if his ideas were pretty out there (I honestly don’t know), that would hardly say anything for the state of psychology today.

I like falsifiability as a standard in science, and it seems to really eliminate a lot of what I see as junk science. However, it is not in itself strong enough to stand alone as a demarcation line.

First off, no one standard stands alone. They all apply, and with good reason. Regardless, in what cases, then, do you feel falsifiability is insufficient in determining what is scientific and what is not?

Well, my main hangup with the ID fellows is that they based on looking at apparent complexity at some point feel warranted to say "Very probably God exists".

If I’m not mistaken, their wording here is mainly designed to give the theory as scientific a flavour as they can manage. They’re essentially doing their best to ensure that ID sounds tentative.

This is why I am a presuppositionalist, we don't start from the floor up and finally after clever arguments and objective data gather conclude very probably God exists. We begin with the God who is there and His self revelation in His word.

No human being ever begins cognitively with “the God who is there”. We must first be born and be told of this god by someone who already holds a belief in it. This, I feel, is where the presuppositionalism you are describing falls apart because, to arrive at a level of intellectual development high enough to rationally presuppose the existence of a god, you must first spend time growing and developing that reason. In essence, unless you can somehow demonstrate that your god was present for your first worldly thought and has been influencing the process or at the very least laying the foundation for the process, you have no way of convincingly demonstrating that this is the case. Certainly, it could be the case, but you must still get over the considerable hurdle that is your god’s currently unfalsifiable nature. Presupposing the existence of your god, therefore, immediately fails one of the simpler and more essential tests of what makes a claim scientific. Whether or not your god is responsible for our ability to perform science, we are still unable to reasonably determine that this is the case using your explanation.

I agree with them that these sorts of mechanisms simply can't be produced by slow progressive mutation, it is kind of a whole enchalada thing (ex: the eye, bacterial flagellum, priviladged place of earth, etc).

Why do you agree? Kenneth Miller, to name one of the more visible scientists concerned with addressing ID, has done a fairly thorough job of debunking Behe’s claims regarding irreducible complexity, particularly the eye and the bacterial flagellum, in a manner that’s pretty accessible. Have you read up on any of the scientific responses to IC? If so, where did you find fault in their assessments?

Looking at all the IC in reply to all of these the naturalist can say "Why yes it does seem a far stretch that time plus progressice mutation could do this, but we are here, so we know these coincidences must have taken place...no God needed."

The way you word this implies that the average “naturalist” will make a claim to absolute knowledge regarding their evolutionary origins. I don’t think this is accurate and again attempts to deliberately blur the line between belief and knowledge. Obviously what you have presented and critiqued is not a good argument against the probability issue concerning progressive mutation. Fortunately, nobody uses it. The anthropic principle is useful in some instances, but not in the manner you’ve employed it here.

I like to read the books and marvel at the design God put in the world, but I would NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, use their research as an argument/research for the existance of God.

That would, of course, lead me to ask what you would use as an argument/research for the existence of a god. Simply saying that a god was there all along doesn’t strike me as a particularly intellectual approach to the matter. But I’m probably misunderstanding the matter, here, so you’ll need to clarify.

You say that there is nothing recorded like these miracles outside this book, why are the recordings of this book not acceptable? We just know that people aren't raised from the dead so when we hear of such an account it is dismissed as fantastical.

It’s not so much that the recordings of this book are not acceptable, period, so much as that they don’t amount to much on their own. If I uncovered a book that very seriously stated that once, every 2000 years, we are visited by Occasionally Invisible Aliens, it could technically be correct. Perhaps the accounts in the book about individuals running into said Occasionally Invisible Aliens are accurate but without any corroborating evidence there is nothing to indicate that that is the case. Certainly, we don’t see any of these beings today and we don’t really have any mention of such things happening any time in the last thousand years, so what is there available to confirm that the claims made by this book are true? As I see it, all you are left with to support the book that supports your beliefs is your belief itself. In other words, the usual argument: Faith is evidence for your bible which supports your faith which is evidence for your bible etc. Quite circular.

One of the tests that something that wants to be scientifically and verifiably true must pass is that it be repeatable. There is absolutely no way to verify that the act of raising a human being from the dead is possible other than that a single book says so. On the other hand, we have centuries of data indicating that raising a human being from the dead is not possible. The state of being dead is not now, and has not in human record ever been reversible. So, the real question is not why your book is not acceptable. Since your bible is the one making the truly extraordinary claim, the question is: Why should we believe it?

Do you apply that to Washington crossing the Deleware? I mean those waters were frigg'n freezing....

I do. How many accounts are there of Washington crossing the Delaware? Are there, perhaps, multiple individuals and sources who have supported the claim, or is it really just based on the writings of a single book or person?

I am not under any illusion that the history we have in place is perfectly accurate or balanced. Clearly it is not, and I have no doubt that some falsehoods have crept their way into the official record, whatever that is. Still, the chances of Washington actually having crossed the Delaware in freezing cold waters is far more likely on the order of several magnitudes than the majority of the miracles laid out in your bible. Do I require proof of both? Yes. Do I require different levels of evidence to be convinced of one as opposed to the other? Certainly. But I certainly do not accept either of them unequivocally without reasonable support.

Well, there are archeological and historical verifications but that isn't the tree I want to bark up.

Indeed, it is apparent that the people that wrote your bible lived around and were aware of the time that it concerns itself with. This certainly helps its case for authenticity but, given the nature of the extraordinary claims, not very much.

And my point was that that last sentence is begging the question against God. For God (or "something" as you say) to exist he must posses certain qualities.

No, you’ve misread what I had stated. I did not say that for something to exist at all it must possess certain qualities. I said for something to be PROVEN to exist, it must possess certain qualities. A thing could quite easily exist without us being able to detect it, like Bertrand Russell’s Teapot or the FSM, or a stranger’s claim that on an unspecified beach in the world somewhere there can be found a single grain-of-sand-sized diamond. They could all easily exist without being detected, but they cannot effectively be PROVEN to exist. The same applies to your god, as I see it. I have never stated (and will reinforce this again) that I know your god doesn’t exist. I don’t know that.

In a nutshell my argument is that without God as the starting point you can't proove anything, everything breaks down into subjectivity and absurdity when pressed.

But as I stated before, your automatic assumption of the existence of a god is no more reliable than that of the atheist’s, given that you must rely on your reason first to make the claim regarding your god’s having bestowed reliable faculties of reason upon you. You can claim that your god did it all you like, and argue from what you believe is the accuracy of your bible, but ultimately you must rely on your reason first to determine the accuracy of these claims.

The unbeliever is "suppressing the truth in unrighteousness" and does not want to "retain God in their consciences" this is because the unbeliever is an enemy and "hater" of God(Romans 1). Yes, yes you will say "you can't hate what isn't there!" well what if He is there Uber? What does that make your unbelief?

I get the feeling like we’re using different definitions of the word “hate” here. Or maybe we aren’t, I’m not sure, but regardless, it sounds ridiculous to me. So what if your god is there? I’m operating on the belief that it’s not, so to me there isn’t anything there to hate. It’s the equivalent of hating the invisible leprechaun that’s reading everything I’m typing right now from over my right-hand shoulder. I don’t believe such a creature is there or performing said actions, and would have no reason to actually hate him if I did. In other words, I’m just not clear on how disbelief can be equated with hatred. That feels like a ploy to attach words and feelings that don’t exist to a position that you don’t like.

My conversion did not come about through well reasoned argument but rather a confronting revelation of God to myself, this is what people call "born again" and in a sense I was converted reluctantly (because of my previous disdain for Christianity) although knowing this was the truth.

That’s all very nice all, but it’s still nothing more than anecdotal evidence which is meaningless in terms of proof.

I can't convince you of any of this, all I can do is ask you to look up and plead for eyes to see. No argument will convert people no matter how well formed or airtight, conversion is an act of God opening the unbeliever's eyes to the obviousness of His nature and his rebellion, and God's remedy to our rebellion in Christ or in hell.

So your final point in all of this, after pages of stridently declaring the inescapably logical state of your beliefs is that there is no argument that can logically convince me of it? I sure hope not. Appealing to personal experience to sway anyone that possesses an ounce of skepticism regarding your claims is wholly ineffective.

Further, this sounds to me as though you’re saying that an individual converting to Christianity does so because your god causes it to happen. I’m not sure if this is your position but, if it is, it would seem to suggest that those chosen by your god to be Christians will all eventually be converted no matter what they do or think. In that case, why bother with the debate?