Unlocking the Mystery of Life
#11
GrumpyTroll Wrote:Intelligent design does not satisfy scientific principles, because the hypothesis is that there is a Designer, but this cannot be falsified, because, as I have said, no experiments can be performed on God.

 
You don't have to "perform experiments on God"; you have to recognize the improbability of complex biological systems being explained by natural selection when each of their parts -- which only benefit an organism when working together -- would have to arise all at the same time and in their proper places to be selected for; know that nothing comes from nothing; see intelligence evident in natural structures; realize that the information that makes biological systems work had to come from somewhere, etc.


Quote:
Paul Wrote:And even if intelligent design doesn't meet the criteria to be considered science, that doesn't make it false, nor does it make evolution true. Science cannot prove that our Lord rose from the dead (the Shroud notwithstanding), but we believe it anyway.

That is the whole point: science is not faith, and it cannot disprove our Holy Faith, which can be proven to be true from serious and honest study of Scripture and the many miracles God has produced. The problem with intelligent design is that it tries to inject faith into science and it fails, because it is based on faulty premisses (the idea that flagella are of irreducible complexity, for example); evolution, on the other hand, is a scientific theory that explains adequately observations made in nature.
 
Intelligent Design doesn't inject faith at all since God can be known through natural reason. ID doesn't say one thing about the nature of the Designer other than He/She/It is Intelligent and designs things. It says nothing about how or if we should worship the Designer. It says nothing about why He/She/It designed in the first place.

It isn't religion that encroaches on science; it's pseudo-science that attempts to encroach on religion by insisting that everything that exists biologically can be explained away with theories like Darwinism.
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#12
GrumpyTroll Wrote:The scientific method is just a tool of science, which is a sub-set of philosophy, which is a sub-set of theology.

I cannot say that I have studied the issue much, but how can science be nested within theology when the former concerns itself with knowledge and the latter with faith?
Kevin V. Wrote:Because you cannot draw a line between faith and reason like that.
She's talking about the medieval hiearchy of sciences which is based on Aristotle and expanded by St. Thomas.
Aristotle said (in Categories) [paraphrased from memory]
A science is placed in the hiearchy according to the dignity of its subject. Therefore for him Metaphysics which seeks to explain what is, in both the spiritual and natural worlds, was the highest science (this is why its called "first philosophy" sometimes), followed by physics which seeks to explain the natural world only. All other science procede down the chain. The study of biology, psychology, chemistry, mathematics, whatever... are under the heading of physics since they concern the operations of the natural world.
The spiritual world was considered a more dignified topic than the natural world.
St. Thomas kept this hiearchy except he placed all of philosophy, including metaphyics as the "handmaiden of theology" since the study of the nature of God is the most dignified topic of all.
Now there are "speculative sciences" and "practical sciences". The former seeks knowledge for the sake of knowledge and this is considered more pure, the latter seeks knowledge for the purpose of application and the solving of practical problems.

There is deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning. Deductive procedes from the general to the specific and if the premises are valid and you make no logical errors, yields precise and certain answers
eg
All men are mortal (prop 1 or in Boolean mathematical logic p1 - general)
Socrates is a man ( prop 2 or p2
therefore Socrates is mortal (conclusion - always true if the syllogism is valid and the propositions sound (True).

There is inductive reasoning:
Tom is mortal
Bob is mortal
Kevin is mortal
Tracy is mortal
etc....
therefore
All men are mortal

This yields probable answers based on evidence. The more evidence, the more probable your answer but since you cannot ever test EVERY CASE your answer is NEVER absolutely sure.
This is the kind of reasoning used in the scientific method and therefore science is NOT exact, only the best answer we have given the evidence.
You should study Aristotle's logical treatises, constituting what was later called the "Organon", contain the first systematic treatment of the laws of thought in relation to the acquisition of knowledge. They form, in fact, the first attempt to reduce logic to a science, and consequently entitle their writer to be considered the founder of logic. They are six in number and deal respectively with:
  • Classification of Notions,
  • Judgments and Propositions,
  • the Syllogism,
  • Demonstration,
  • the Problematic Syllogism, and
  • Fallacies.


It is not more scientific to say that “the discipline and tools of science cannot explain” than to use natural selection as a theory, because natural selection is a scientific theory that posits conjectures prone to refutations in the process of falsification (see Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery or Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge), whereas saying that science cannot explain assumes that there is a Designer and is not susceptible to refutation, given that there can be no experiments performed on God. Intelligent design can therefore not be referred to as a scientific theory, because it is faith, and faith is not scienctific knowledge, but belief.
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#13
VoxClamantis Wrote:
GrumpyTroll Wrote:
VoxClamantis Wrote:The scientific method is just a tool of science, which is a sub-set of philosophy, which is a sub-set of theology.

I cannot say that I have studied the issue much, but how can science be nested within theology when the former concerns itself with knowledge and the latter with faith?

There is more to God than what He has revealed miraculously; there is nature which reveals Him (see http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1002.htm#2)

In what way does nature reveal Him? No observation of nature can bring one to the sure conclusion that God exists.

VoxClamantis Wrote:
Quote:
VoxClamantis Wrote:The scientific method can only go so far, and it's not unscientific at all to say that the scientific method can't explain how things like flagella could have evolved simply due to the mechanisms of natural selection, and that there is apparent design to it all ("design" intimating a "Designer").

The idea that the flagellum is of irreducible complexity has been refuted time and time again.

No, it hasn't.

See, for example, The Flagellum Unspun: The Collapse of "Irreducible Complexity" by Kenneth R. Miller (the Catholic author of Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution).

VoxClamantis Wrote:
GrumpyTroll Wrote: It is unscientific to say that the scientific method cannot explain something, because such a statement contradicts the very foundation of science, the mechanism of its elaboration!

The scientific method can't explain everything in the same way you can't use a bulldozer to make an omelette. The scientific method, as great and important and useful as it is, is just a tool, and a limited one at that.

Science cannot definitely explain everything, nor does it pretend do, but it allows for the elaboration of likely explanations of observed phenomena. The scientific method can be perceived as a limited tool solely insofar as it only permits the affirmation of hypotheses, and not of definitive truths; but this understanding of the scientific method can be seen as flawed, given that any theory can be proposed for the explanation of an event, and this hypothesis will be built on, verified, refuted partially or entirely and so on as the scientific process is engaged.

VoxClamantis Wrote:
Quote:It is not more scientific to say that “the discipline and tools of science cannot explain” than to use natural selection as a theory, because natural selection is a scientific theory that posits conjectures prone to refutations in the process of falsification (see Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery or Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge), whereas saying that science cannot explain assumes that there is a Designer and is not susceptible to refutation, given that there can be no experiments performed on God. Intelligent design can therefore not be referred to as a scientific theory, because it is faith, and faith is not scienctific knowledge, but belief.

No one disputes the reality of natural selection; the issue is using natural selection as an explanation for the biodiversity we see today, and that isn't testable. Saying that science can't explain something doesn't necessarily admit a Designer; it simply states that science, at least with present tools and such, can't explain what we see. Natural selection is just one guess, and a lousy one. Positing a Designer, especially considering the evidence for intelligence behind what we see as "design" (and for good reason; see the video), is the wall at which Science stops and can go no further -- but it isn't unscientific to recognize the possibility of that wall in the first place.

Natural selection as an explanation for the biodiversity that we see today is testable to the extent that it is verified. Science can explain what we see, and the problem lies not within the hypotheses it advances, but in the denial of these by many, in no way idiots, who believe that the scientific method can be aborted as soon as an attempt to introduce the concept of a Designer can be made. Natural selection cannot be called a lousy guess, given that the probability that it is true is very high and increasing with further scientific observation. Positing a Designer is the wall that is such an attempt to halt scientific inquiry by referring to it at limited, and a pretty arbitrary wall at that. It is unscientific to recognize the possibility of that wall in the first place, because it is stating that science can put forward no hypothesis for the explanation of a given observation, which it always can.
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#14
VoxClamantis Wrote:
GrumpyTroll Wrote:Intelligent design does not satisfy scientific principles, because the hypothesis is that there is a Designer, but this cannot be falsified, because, as I have said, no experiments can be performed on God.


You don't have to "perform experiments on God"; you have to recognize the improbability of complex biological systems being explained by natural selection when each of their parts -- which only benefit an organism when working together -- would have to arise all at the same time and in their proper places to be selected for; know that nothing comes from nothing; see intelligence evident in natural structures; realize that the information that makes biological systems work had to come from somewhere, etc.

Why would I recognize the improbability of complex biological systems being explained by natural selection when this theory handles the issue adequately?

VoxClamantis Wrote:
Quote:
Paul Wrote:And even if intelligent design doesn't meet the criteria to be considered science, that doesn't make it false, nor does it make evolution true. Science cannot prove that our Lord rose from the dead (the Shroud notwithstanding), but we believe it anyway.

That is the whole point: science is not faith, and it cannot disprove our Holy Faith, which can be proven to be true from serious and honest study of Scripture and the many miracles God has produced. The problem with intelligent design is that it tries to inject faith into science and it fails, because it is based on faulty premisses (the idea that flagella are of irreducible complexity, for example); evolution, on the other hand, is a scientific theory that explains adequately observations made in nature.

Intelligent Design doesn't inject faith at all since God can be known through natural reason. ID doesn't say one thing about the nature of the Designer other than He/She/It is Intelligent and designs things. It says nothing about how or if we should worship the Designer. It says nothing about why He/She/It designed in the first place.

It isn't religion that encroaches on science; it's pseudo-science that attempts to encroach on religion by insisting that everything that exists biologically can be explained away with theories like Darwinism.

Intelligent design does inject faith, because it posits the existence of a Designer even though science cannot prove or disprove this (and nor can natural reason, given that an event is not necessarily the result of a cause).

The problem is that everything that exists biologically can be explained away with theories like that of Darwin. Does this necessarily mean that science encroaches on religion? That is not my opinion. I believe that my faith is totally compatible with science, because truth cannot contradict truth, and the latter does not concern itself with the dogma of the former.
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#15
Kevin V. Wrote:[Y]ou cannot draw a line between faith and reason like that.
She's talking about the medieval hiearchy of sciences which is based on Aristotle and expanded by St. Thomas.
Aristotle said (in Categories) [paraphrased from memory]
A science is placed in the hiearchy according to the dignity of its subject. Therefore for him Metaphysics which seeks to explain what is, in both the spiritual and natural worlds, was the highest science (this is why its called "first philosophy" sometimes), followed by physics which seeks to explain the natural world only. All other science procede down the chain. The study of biology, psychology, chemistry, mathematics, whatever... are under the heading of physics since they concern the operations of the natural world.
The spiritual world was considered a more dignified topic than the natural world.
St. Thomas kept this hiearchy except he placed all of philosophy, including metaphyics as the "handmaiden of theology" since the study of the nature of God is the most dignified topic of all.

If science is to be seen as subordinate to faith, then I still do not see why it should be perceived as intrinsically limited, given that it tries to explain a different order of existence.

Kevin V. Wrote:This yields probable answers based on evidence. The more evidence, the more probable your answer but since you cannot ever test EVERY CASE your answer is NEVER absolutely sure.
This is the kind of reasoning used in the scientific method and therefore science is NOT exact, only the best answer we have given the evidence.

As I have said above, science “only permits the affirmation of hypotheses, and not of definitive truths”, as it is based on deductive reasoning verifying an initial induction.

Kevin V. Wrote:You should study Aristotle's logical treatises, constituting what was later called the "Organon", contain the first systematic treatment of the laws of thought in relation to the acquisition of knowledge. They form, in fact, the first attempt to reduce logic to a science, and consequently entitle their writer to be considered the founder of logic. They are six in number and deal respectively with:
  • Classification of Notions,
  • Judgments and Propositions,
  • the Syllogism,
  • Demonstration,
  • the Problematic Syllogism, and
  • Fallacies.

Thank you very much for your suggestion. I have already worked a little with the Posterior Analytics, as they are surprisingly relevant to modern logic and scientific reasoning.
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#16
GrumpyTroll Wrote:In what way does nature reveal Him? No observation of nature can bring one to the sure conclusion that God exists.

Well, to quote the Holy Father (see the first page of this thread and the posting of the Wednesday address that deals with creation):
Quote:As Psalm 18(19) stated, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft. One day to the next conveys that message; one night to the next imparts that knowledge" (verses 2-3). There is, therefore, a divine message, secretly inscribed in creation and sign of the "hesed," of the loving faithfulness of God who gives to his creatures being and life, water and food, light and time.

One must have clear eyes to contemplate this divine revelation, recalling the warning of the Book of Wisdom, which invites us to know the Creator by analogy "from the greatness and beauty of created things" (Wisdom 13:5; cf. Romans 1:20). Prayerful praise then flows from contemplation of the "wonders" of God (cf. Psalm 135[136]:4), displayed in creation and is transformed in a joyful hymn of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.
You can argue with the Pope and Scripture and Aquinas and the Fathers of the Church, but they all say the same thing about this matter. 
 
Quote:See, for example, The Flagellum Unspun: The Collapse of "Irreducible Complexity" by Kenneth R. Miller (the Catholic author of Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution).
 
Break it down more: where does the information come from that arranges the proteins in the DNA?
 
Quote:Science cannot definitely explain everything, nor does it pretend do, but it allows for the elaboration of likely explanations of observed phenomena. The scientific method can be perceived as a limited tool solely insofar as it only permits the affirmation of hypotheses, and not of definitive truths; but this understanding of the scientific method can be seen as flawed, given that any theory can be proposed for the explanation of an event, and this hypothesis will be built on, verified, refuted partially or entirely and so on as the scientific process is engaged.
 
Science definitely can't explain everything, but some scientists presume to fully explain complex biological mechanisms and all of biodiversity by natural selection alone.
 

Quote:Natural selection as an explanation for the biodiversity that we see today is testable to the extent that it is verified.
 
This is absolutely false. The mechanism of natural selection is verified; that is serves as the "explanation for the biodiversity that we see today" is not verified and can't be proved. It is unverifiable and unprovable.

 
Quote: Science can explain what we see, and the problem lies not within the hypotheses it advances, but in the denial of these by many, in no way idiots, who believe that the scientific method can be aborted as soon as an attempt to introduce the concept of a Designer can be made. Natural selection cannot be called a lousy guess, given that the probability that it is true is very high and increasing with further scientific observation. Positing a Designer is the wall that is such an attempt to halt scientific inquiry by referring to it at limited, and a pretty arbitrary wall at that. It is unscientific to recognize the possibility of that wall in the first place, because it is stating that science can put forward no hypothesis for the explanation of a given observation, which it always can.
 
Again, no one denies the reality of natural selection. And I am totally puzzled as to why you believe that positing a Designer is a) arbitrary (there either is One or there isn't) and b) serves to halt scientific inquiry. Plenty of Catholic scientists throughout the ages posited a Designer and did a lot of good science. The only difference is that the Catholic sees science as an adventure into God's Mind, exploring how He made things the way He did, while for the atheist, it's an attempt, apparently, to explain Him away -- excluding the very possibility of Him -- by focusing on sheer mechanisms. An ex. from one of the sites you linked to:

Quote:"In 1990 one might have argued that the body's left-right asymmetry could just as well be explained by the intervention of a designer as by an unknown molecular mechanism. Only a decade later, the actual molecular mechanism was identified (Stern 2002), and any claim one might have made for the intervention of a designer would have been discarded. The same point can be made, of course, regarding any structure or mechanism whose origins are not yet understood."
Understanding the mechanism of something doesn't explain how the mechanism was set up in the first place (i.e., understanding a mechanism doesn't mean its "origins" are understood), how the information necessary for its arrangement came to be -- and observing the molecular mechanism in no way obviates a Designer or makes One superfluous. It's silliness, like someone who'd think, "Well, there must not be, can not be, a God Who created the stars because I've calculated how to predict their movement. Why, to posit that God designed the stars would make studying them (for some reason I can't imagine yet, but it's the 'scientific' thing to say) ridiculous. Science would stop!"
 
Further, you contradict yourself by saying that it is "unscientific to recognize the possibility of that wall in the first place, because it is stating that science can put forward no hypothesis for the explanation of a given observation, which it always can" -- after you'd just said, "Science cannot definitely explain everything, nor does it pretend do."  If some scientist believes it is unscientific to even consider the possibility that God exists, then he is eliminating a hypothesis which he can't disprove but for which there is evidence, and is attempting to explain everything through natural mechanisms alone, undoubtedly, if he is typical, while intimating that anything "less" (ahem) would be ridiculous, unscientific, dangerous to science, etc.
 
Now, since you, presumably, believe that God exists and that He (at least) created something ex nihilo (a primordial pudding perhaps), AND you posit here that science can't go there but must act as if that can't possibly be true, then isn't that a rather schizophrenic way to live? I don't see how a person can divide himself up that way. It's rather like people who divide themselves up into their "religious selves" and their "political selves." Truth is seamless. If you believe that God exists, and you are science-minded, too, I don't see how you can see assuming His existence as the death of science. He's the God of science, man.
 
P.S. Re. one of the links you posted: I note, too, the mischaracterization of the views of proponents of ID: "Their view requires that the source of each and every novelty of life was the direct and active involvement of an outside designer whose work violated the very laws of nature he had fashioned." -- this isn't true. All are aware that novelty arises in nature through random mutations and, over time, natural selection.
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#17
VoxClamantis Wrote:
GrumpyTroll Wrote:In what way does nature reveal Him? No observation of nature can bring one to the sure conclusion that God exists.

Well, to quote the Holy Father (see the first page of this thread and the posting of the Wednesday address that deals with creation):
Quote:As Psalm 18(19) stated, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft. One day to the next conveys that message; one night to the next imparts that knowledge" (verses 2-3). There is, therefore, a divine message, secretly inscribed in creation and sign of the "hesed," of the loving faithfulness of God who gives to his creatures being and life, water and food, light and time.

One must have clear eyes to contemplate this divine revelation, recalling the warning of the Book of Wisdom, which invites us to know the Creator by analogy "from the greatness and beauty of created things" (Wisdom 13:5; cf. Romans 1:20). Prayerful praise then flows from contemplation of the "wonders" of God (cf. Psalm 135[136]:4), displayed in creation and is transformed in a joyful hymn of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.
You can argue with the Pope and Scripture and Aquinas and the Fathers of the Church, but they all say the same thing about this matter.

I do not deny that the magnificence of nature leads the contemplating believer to praise that of God, only that it does not contain definitive proof of His existence, though it could bring the sincere agnostic to belief in the Creator.

VoxClamantis Wrote:
Quote:See, for example, The Flagellum Unspun: The Collapse of "Irreducible Complexity" by Kenneth R. Miller (the Catholic author of Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution).

Break it down more: where does the information come from that arranges the proteins in the DNA?

The proteins are arranged in the DNA thanks to DNA polymerase, which is programmed to add nucleotides to the synthesised strand corresponding to that paired with the nucleotide of the transcribed brand, with nucleotides taken from the environment in which the cell is situated (if I recall correctly!).

VoxClamantis Wrote:
Quote:Science cannot definitely explain everything, nor does it pretend do, but it allows for the elaboration of likely explanations of observed phenomena. The scientific method can be perceived as a limited tool solely insofar as it only permits the affirmation of hypotheses, and not of definitive truths; but this understanding of the scientific method can be seen as flawed, given that any theory can be proposed for the explanation of an event, and this hypothesis will be built on, verified, refuted partially or entirely and so on as the scientific process is engaged.

Science definitely can't explain everything, but some scientists presume to fully explain complex biological mechanisms and all of biodiversity by natural selection alone.

That is because natural selection is an adequate theory for the explanation of biodiversity.

VoxClamantis Wrote:
Quote:Natural selection as an explanation for the biodiversity that we see today is testable to the extent that it is verified.

This is absolutely false. The mechanism of natural selection is verified; that i[t] serves as the "explanation for the biodiversity that we see today" is not verified and can't be proved. It is unverifiable and unprovable.

Is there much verification of natural selection besides the biodiversity that we see today?

VoxClamantis Wrote:
Quote: Science can explain what we see, and the problem lies not within the hypotheses it advances, but in the denial of these by many, in no way idiots, who believe that the scientific method can be aborted as soon as an attempt to introduce the concept of a Designer can be made. Natural selection cannot be called a lousy guess, given that the probability that it is true is very high and increasing with further scientific observation. Positing a Designer is the wall that is such an attempt to halt scientific inquiry by referring to it a[s] limited, and a pretty arbitrary wall at that. It is unscientific to recognize the possibility of that wall in the first place, because it is stating that science can put forward no hypothesis for the explanation of a given observation, which it always can.

Again, no one denies the reality of natural selection. And I am totally puzzled as to why you believe that positing a Designer is a) arbitrary (there either is One or there isn't) and b) serves to halt scientific inquiry.

I do not believe that positing a Designer is arbitrary, I believe that it is done somewhat arbitrarily in the course of scientific explanation of observed phenomena; neither do I believe that positing a Designer serves to halt scientific inquiry per se, but only when it is used to try to explain away things that can be very well accounted for by science.

VoxClamantis Wrote:Plenty of Catholic scientists throughout the ages posited a Designer and did a lot of good science.

They did not, however, try to explain observed events both through and as a conclusive proof of the existence of God.

VoxClamantis Wrote:The only difference is that the Catholic sees science as an adventure into God's Mind, exploring how He made things the way He did, while for the atheist, it's an attempt, apparently, to explain Him away -- excluding the very possibility of Him -- by focusing on sheer mechanisms. An ex. from one of the sites you linked to:
Quote:"In 1990 one might have argued that the body's left-right asymmetry could just as well be explained by the intervention of a designer as by an unknown molecular mechanism. Only a decade later, the actual molecular mechanism was identified (Stern 2002), and any claim one might have made for the intervention of a designer would have been discarded. The same point can be made, of course, regarding any structure or mechanism whose origins are not yet understood."
Understanding the mechanism of something doesn't explain how the mechanism was set up in the first place (i.e., understanding a mechanism doesn't mean its "origins" are understood), how the information necessary for its arrangement came to be -- and observing the molecular mechanism in no way obviates a Designer or makes One superfluous. It's silliness, like someone who'd think, "Well, there must not be, can not be, a God Who created the stars because I've calculated how to predict their movement. Why, to posit that God designed the stars would make studying them (for some reason I can't imagine yet, but it's the 'scientific' thing to say) ridiculous. Science would stop!"

Allow me to quote from the very article you cite as an example of an atheist attempt to explain God away:
Quote:When three leading advocates of intelligent design were recently given a chance to make their case in an issue of Natural History magazine, they each concluded their articles with a plea for design. One wrote that we should recognize "the design inherent in life and the universe" (Behe 2002), another that "design remains a possibility" (Wells 2002), and another "that the natural sciences need to leave room for design" (Dembski 2002b). Yes, it is true. Design does remain a possibility, but not the type of "intelligent design" of which they speak.
As Darwin wrote, there is grandeur in an evolutionary view of life, a grandeur that is there for all to see, regardless of their philosophical views on the meaning and purpose of life. I do not believe, even for an instant, that Darwin's vision has weakened or diminished the sense of wonder and awe that one should feel in confronting the magnificence and diversity of the living world. Rather, to a person of faith it should enhance their sense of the Creator's majesty and wisdom (Miller 1999). Against such a backdrop, the struggles of the intelligent design movement are best understood as clamorous and disappointing double failures – rejected by science because they do not fit the facts, and having failed religion because they think too little of God.
I would have to say that Mr Miller has summed up my position quite well, and, as I said in my initial post in this thread, science can be seen as ad maiorem Dei gloriam; that is certainly my point of view as a believer.


VoxClamantis Wrote:Further, you contradict yourself by saying that it is "unscientific to recognize the possibility of that wall in the first place, because it is stating that science can put forward no hypothesis for the explanation of a given observation, which it always can" -- after you'd just said, "Science cannot definitely explain everything, nor does it pretend do."

I see no contradiction there; I should have emphasised the term definitely. Science always can put forward a hypothesis for the explanation of a given observation; and as it only posits hypotheses, it cannot definitely explain everything (as its critics say it claims), nor does it pretend do (as falsifiability is a scientific principle).

VoxClamantis Wrote:If some scientist believes it is unscientific to even consider the possibility that God exists, then he is eliminating a hypothesis which he can't disprove but for which there is evidence, and is attempting to explain everything through natural mechanisms alone, undoubtedly, if he is typical, while intimating that anything "less" (ahem) would be ridiculous, unscientific, dangerous to science, etc.

Scientists do not believe that it is unscientific to “consider the possibility that God exists”, simply because the existence of God does not belong to the domain of science; they do believe that natural phenomena can be explained by natural mechanisms, and some believe that these natural mechanisms are laws put in place by God.

VoxClamantis Wrote:Now, since you, presumably, believe that God exists and that He (at least) created something ex nihilo (a primordial pudding perhaps), AND you posit here that science can't go there but must act as if that can't possibly be true, then isn't that a rather schizophrenic way to live? I don't see how a person can divide himself up that way. It's rather like people who divide themselves up into their "religious selves" and their "political selves." Truth is seamless. If you believe that God exists, and you are science-minded, too, I don't see how you can see assuming His existence as the death of science. He's the God of science, man.

I believe that God exists and that all that exists outside God was, in its whole substance, produced out of nothing by God, but nowhere did I posit that science must act as if that cannot possibly be true; I say only that science must explain natural events independently of this truth, because God has written the laws of nature when He created the Universe.

VoxClamantis Wrote:P.S. Re. one of the links you posted: I note, too, the mischaracterization of the views of proponents of ID: "Their view requires that the source of each and every novelty of life was the direct and active involvement of an outside designer whose work violated the very laws of nature he had fashioned." -- this isn't true. All are aware that novelty arises in nature through random mutations and, over time, natural selection.

You would have to tell that to the writer of the article in question. [Image: wink.gif]
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#18
Quote: only that it does not contain definitive proof of His existence,

To simplify extremely, because I am not a philosopher nor am I a theologian, the visible world certainly does contain definitive proof of the existence of God. This is because the visible world exists, as we can see. We can observe a tree and see that it exists. Consequently, because it exists, we therefore know that God exists. We can know this because of dependency, the fact that the universe is created by God, and that God's creation is the only thing which holds it in existence. We can also know this on the basis of motion, because life is rife with motion, and it had to come from somewhere, citing the famous dictum of "the object at rest tends to remain at rest, the object in motion tends to remain in motion, unless outside forces influence them." Therefore, if we trace "motion" back far enough, there had to have been an outside force to impact it, and this is God. (I'm not trying to prove these things for you, by the way, I'll let St. Thomas do that in his Summa, with the five proofs given for God's existence; I'm just briefly summarizing.) If we deny that man can deduce the existence of God from pure natural reason (which necessarily derives from an observation of the world, since all knowledge comes through the senses,) then the Church says that we are heretics. The idea of "blind faith" has no place in Catholic theology; that is a Protestant and Mahometan notion.

As God created the world, that means that He designed and created everything within it. All of existence and truth is therefore of God, and is unified, just as God is unified. What this means is that truth cannot contradict itself. Since this is the case, it is impossible to be "unscientific" by attributing something to God, because He certainly created everything that is.
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#19
When it comes to science, I try to keep in mind what God said in the 38th chapter in the book of Job to keep some humility in the face of creation and realize we don't have all the answers..

"Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said: "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.

"Were you there when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone-- while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? "Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt'?

"Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it? The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; its features stand out like those of a garment. From the wicked their light shall be taken away, and the high arm shall be broke"

"Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the darksome doors? Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. "What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years! "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?

"Who gave a course to violent showers, or a way for noisy thunder, that it should rain on the earth where no man lives, a desert with no one in it, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass? Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen? "Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God's dominion over the earth? "Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, 'Here we are'? Who has put wisdom in the heart of man? or who gave the cock understanding? Who can declare the order of the heavens, or who can make the harmony of heaven to sleep? When was the dust poured on the earth, and the clods fastened together?? "Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in a thicket? Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?"

 
 




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#20
In my opinion, it seems that too often an unnecessary and unnatural wall or separation is set up between science, faith and God. This is something Dr. Diane Moscar touched upon in her article titled, 'The Scientific Revolution';

"One other point needs to be stressed if we are to appreciate some of the truly revolutionary consequences of the changes that began in the seventeenth contury, and it has to do with the very definition of science. For the Greeks and their Western cultural heirs, science meant "certain knowledge through causes," and included all types of investigation that produce certitude. Ancient and medieval thinkers took as the obeject of their study all of reality; not just the study of nature, but theology, philosophy, ethics, politics, and many other disciplines were called sciences. These sciences were arranged in a heirarchy according to their objects. Natural science was the lowest of the sciences because it dealt only with material things, while the sciences dealing with man, such as phsychology and ethics, were higher. All these disciplines, however, deal with things that change. There were other sciences, higher still in the classical heirarchy, that deal with things that do not change: with being itself, and with God. We call these sciences metaphysics and theology. Different methods were used for each discipline, but all were considered sciences, and they were approached through their causes.

This question of causality may seem a bit difficult, but it is crucial to understanding the gulf that opened in the Western mind, beginning in the seventeenth century, between how earlier thinkers had approached reality and how modern man looks at it. The Greeks and their intellectual descendents approached anything they wanted to know through four causes: material, formal, efficient, and final. They used the example of a statue to illustrate the operation of the causes. The material cause of a statue of Zeus in the marble from which it is made; the formal cause is the shape it takes, as an image of the god; the efficient cause is the sculptor who imposes the form on the marble; the final cause - the ultimate one, governing all the rest - is the purpose for which the statue is made: to be set up in a temple, for instance. In analyzing the operation of these causes in the objects they studied, the ancients accpeted the fact that for most of the things they observed they would be able to determine only the first three causes; physicas, biology, and astronomy, for instance, are incapable of providing information about final causality - their ultimate origin and purpose. For answers to those questions, the scientists turned to the higher sciences of metaphysics and theology.
Now how does the thinking of modern scientist differ from what I have just described? It would seem to diverge in almost every way. To begin with, only the study of material things is is now considered 'science," and it is generally much more highly esteemed than philosophy, theology, or any other field that the Greeks would have put at the top of their list. No modern thinker would consider philosophy or theology sciences, or think of them as productive of any type of certitude whatever. In fact, a major consequence of the Scientific Revolution was the divorce of natural science from philosophy and theology, and its eventual increase in status to the most highly valued field of study.
What about the four causes? Modern scientists still consider the matter and form of the things they investigate, as well as the proximate causes that affect them. What they repudiate, out of a sort of unspoken agnosticism, is final causality. It is ironic that what most interested Greek and Christian scholars was the true purpose of things - the ultimate Why - while contemporary thinkers are either totally uninterested in such questions or or think that qua scientists they have no business thinking about them. The modern scientific mind, in fact, denies the reality of nonmaterial causes and is thus reduced, should it be interested in final cuasality at all, to the futile exercise of looking for ultimate explainations in matter itself. I recall a modern textbook author who described how Roger Bacon accurately diagramed the working of the human eye and dsicovered the details of its operation. He remarked, disparagingly, however, on Bacon's comment that the seven parts of the eye were like the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, allowing supernatural light into the soul as natural light enters the body. For the modern writer, Bacon was dragging religion into what should have been a religion-proof scientific discussion; for Bacon, the delight of his discoveries included seeing the glory of Creator reflected in the details of His Creation.
We must not ignore the real scientific breakthroughs that resulted from the Scientific Revolution, such as the development of the experimental method, the use of mathmatics to formulate scientific propositions, and the invention and the use of new scientific instruments. All of this made possible enormous strides in modern science and technology. It could have occured, however, without the rupture with the past and the radical change in the mentality that accompanied the progress of the Revolution. To sum up its long-term consequences, we can observe that the old worldview that saw distinction but not conflict between faith and reason, or between theology and biology, that took all of reality, material and immaterial, as the object of its study, was destroyed. Science and philosophy parted company, and the work of old-fashioned thinkers such as Aristotle and Aquinas, who harmonized the many disciplines, was rejected. The emphasis on final causality, the answer to the ultimate Why, was abandoned in favor of the descriptive How - how it operates, not why it is there in the first place. Somwhere I read this shift described as a denial of the concept "That the world has a purpose more profound than its description." That is beautifully put, but the source eludes me; possibly it is from an article by Father Jaki. Natural science rose from the humblest area of research to its current position as standard for all others: science (narrowly defined) became the measure of all things, the final arbiter of truth, so that we may now say, "Scientists tell us..." or "A scientific study has shown..." when we really want to clinch and argument. This new science ios defined so as to exclude all causality that is not material. The scientists is the new high priest of arcane knowledge (and if he is a rocket scientists, well! You can't get wiser than that, can you?). . . . .
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