Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
Morny
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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#16

Post by Morny » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:37 pm

Kurieuo wrote: There is no controversy between philosophy and science, except in the head of "scientists" who don't know what their methodology is grounded upon.
You're still not addressing the original issue. Byblos's false claim is that conflict exists between MN and science. Not sure why you seem to be disagreeing with me on this simple point. (Maybe you didn't understand?) As much as you dislike MN, you must nevertheless admit that science unequivocally embraces MN. If you disagree with my point, give a counterexample.

And scientists know exactly what their methodology is and why that methodology is productive. Do you really think that Steven Weinberg, Richard Feynman, et.al. are somehow confused about such matters?
Kurieuo wrote: If the some of the people you'd have me discuss with aren't aware of the branch they sit upon, then why would I sit down with them to entertain a discussion while they saw it off?
To maybe learn something? (Make sure to sit on the half of the branch closer to the trunk.)

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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#17

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Jan 11, 2016 5:58 pm

Morny wrote:
Kurieuo wrote: There is no controversy between philosophy and science, except in the head of "scientists" who don't know what their methodology is grounded upon.
You're still not addressing the original issue. Byblos's false claim is that conflict exists between MN and science. Not sure why you seem to be disagreeing with me on this simple point. (Maybe you didn't understand?) As much as you dislike MN, you must nevertheless admit that science unequivocally embraces MN. If you disagree with my point, give a counterexample.

And scientists know exactly what their methodology is and why that methodology is productive. Do you really think that Steven Weinberg, Richard Feynman, et.al. are somehow confused about such matters?
I did miss that.
And I guess it'd need unpacking Byblos' view of what "MN" is and "science".
I often feel that "science" is a term used to glibly by people. It's rather complicated to define.
Hence why there is an entire area called "philosophy of science".

Sadly, many scientists start their work without examining the very methodologies they follow.
Kind of like people who unquestionably follow the rules. But, then, why do those rules exist? Are those rules valid?
When asking these kinds of questions on MN, then these aren't ones scientists can use science to answer.
This is the reason why I argued you won't/shouldn't found a peer-reviewed article questioning MN.

I'll say, MN can be a productive methodology within science.
It's a main method used, but its presuppositions may not always lead to truth.
If truth is what one is pursuing via science, then one should keep that in mind and utilise MN when relevant to do so (e.g., physical sciences), but perceptive enough to understand its limits (CSI, although I know you disagree that MN has any limits there).
Morny wrote:
Kurieuo wrote: If the some of the people you'd have me discuss with aren't aware of the branch they sit upon, then why would I sit down with them to entertain a discussion while they saw it off?
To maybe learn something? (Make sure to sit on the half of the branch closer to the trunk.)
Thank you, I'll be sure to cling to the trunk. ;)
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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#18

Post by Morny » Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:16 am

Kurieuo wrote:
Morny wrote:
Kurieuo wrote: There is no controversy between philosophy and science, except in the head of "scientists" who don't know what their methodology is grounded upon.
You're still not addressing the original issue. Byblos's false claim is that conflict exists between MN and science. Not sure why you seem to be disagreeing with me on this simple point. (Maybe you didn't understand?) As much as you dislike MN, you must nevertheless admit that science unequivocally embraces MN. If you disagree with my point, give a counterexample.

And scientists know exactly what their methodology is and why that methodology is productive. Do you really think that Steven Weinberg, Richard Feynman, et.al. are somehow confused about such matters?
I did miss that.
And I guess it'd need unpacking Byblos' view of what "MN" is and "science".
I often feel that "science" is a term used to glibly by people. It's rather complicated to define.
Hence why there is an entire area called "philosophy of science".

Sadly, many scientists start their work without examining the very methodologies they follow.
Kind of like people who unquestionably follow the rules. But, then, why do those rules exist? Are those rules valid?
When asking these kinds of questions on MN, then these aren't ones scientists can use science to answer.
This is the reason why I argued you won't/shouldn't found a peer-reviewed article questioning MN.

I'll say, MN can be a productive methodology within science.
It's a main method used, but its presuppositions may not always lead to truth.
If truth is what one is pursuing via science, then one should keep that in mind and utilise MN when relevant to do so (e.g., physical sciences), but perceptive enough to understand its limits (CSI, although I know you disagree that MN has any limits there).
I think we've found common ground.

Moreover, as another point of our agreement, I never claim that MN is a sufficient basis from which to discover all truths about the natural world. I usually say something like, "MN is a provisional assumption that nevertheless has been, and continues to be, spectacularly successful." So MN sets a very high bar for any potential replacement.

I do have a clarification about your last sentence above about MN and CSI (I'm assuming you mean "Complex Specified Information" for the detection of design). My problem with Dembski's CSI has nothing to do with the efficacy or sufficiency of MN. Dembski's argument itself is fatally flawed, and no shortage of mathematicians/biologists have pointed out where those glaring basic flaws are. Most importantly, curious normal people can also understand those flaws with a bit of work.

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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#19

Post by Kurieuo » Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:44 pm

No, CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) stuff which requires detecting intelligence. ;) That is, if within MN we look for natural explanations without any intelligent intervention rather than just excluding "supernatural" intervention.

As for the other CSI (complex specified information), it is perhaps as fatally flawed as MN when it comes to pursuing truth of one foundational question: Are we dealing with intelligent design or not? Hear me and my example out though.

For example, we all understand the butterfly effect right, and the possibility that a butterfly here or there can cause ripples throughout time that'd alter the future and what would have otherwise been. Let's just say, what if a butterfly didn't land on a Japanese soldier's arm distracting him from missing a shot say on George Bush in WWII. Just an example. No president called George Bush, no son thereafter as president either, possibly no Iraq invasion, Saddam Hussein or his sons still in control, no or a weaker ISIS... and presumably Democrats and everyone (if they're right) may have ended up a lot more happy. Like I say, just an example.

Now, in every way, the butterfly distracting the Japanese soldier seems entirely random. BUT, what if some super-intelligent being who created and the world and could foretell the future carefully organised the world to unfold that particular butterfly to be born in just the right place, so as to land on the Japanese soldier who then missed his target. Is there anyone who can tell whether such a "natural" event was actually by design? Even what appears naturally occurring can be designed. And what appears designed, well could just be a random natural event. That is a fatal flaw in both directions.

You see the "glaring flaws" in ID thought, but it all really boils down to an uncertainty factor on one question. And yet, on this question the knife cuts both ways. ID with it's philosophy, which is what it really perhaps is, is trying to just open up scientific inquiry with a wider view brought to the table. This could be beneficial. For example, if psudeogenes or vestigal organs have complexity detected within them -- then researching them as having a real purpose and trying to find out what such is -- well it seems to me the ID philsophy here is beneficial to science.

I'm inclined to say the ID isn't science, but neither is MN. Rather, they're frameworks if you will that a brought to the table. Each can have benefits, and each can have flaws. For example, it makes no sense to adhere to MN in trying to work out how Mt Rushmore formed -- if we extend MN to exclude human intelligent causes and not just God. Equally, many things might have a design appearance when in fact such are probably random or as I believe non-controlled events God allows to unfold in the natural world which He sustains in existence. But then, such a framework can also result is really poor science in the hands of those who use it more liberally -- such as Zeus is angry which is why there is lightening. Here MN has much benefit in giving us a truer understanding of lightening.

As a side, for me there is truly nothing random. Everything is designed. All is either planned, allowed or tolerated for a time within boundaries of natural laws which God holds together. Playing out towards a final end.
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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#20

Post by Morny » Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:36 pm

Let's try to expand our common ground ...
Kurieuo wrote: No, CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) stuff which requires detecting intelligence. ;) That is, if within MN we look for natural explanations without any intelligent intervention rather than just excluding "supernatural" intervention.
Not sure what you're saying, because MN does include natural intelligent causes, e.g., for effectively investigating Easter Island statues, Mt. Rushmore, Stonehenge, SETI, and evil-doers on TV crime shows. And we already have lots of science about how the corresponding intelligent agents might and do behave, i.e., we can form testable scientific theories about these intelligent mysteries.
Kurieuo wrote: Now, in every way, the butterfly distracting the Japanese soldier seems entirely random. BUT, what if some super-intelligent being who created and the world and could foretell the future carefully organized the world to unfold that particular butterfly to be born in just the right place, so as to land on the Japanese soldier who then missed his target. Is there anyone who can tell whether such a "natural" event was actually by design?
Again, no one claims that MN is flawless or sufficient, which is why science only provisionally assumes MN. MN merely asks whether that one butterfly's act is a statistically reasonable natural occurrence to explain the missed shot. And the answer is clearly "yes".

We can believe in a supernatural explanation of the butterfly's act for some higher plan or moral purpose, but we also must admit that the natural explanation is consistent with natural laws. For science to reject MN, we need to find something much better than the butterfly example.
Kurieuo wrote: You see the "glaring flaws" in ID thought, [...]
Incorrect. I don't have a problem with ID's general approach. In fact, I hope someone finds something rigorous. But what I do have a problem with is that specific ID arguments have been poor. For just one example, Dembski has refused for years to constructively respond to any of the glaring flaws in his probability calculations.

Don't believe(disbelieve) someone, just because you agree(disagree) with their conclusions. Understand their arguments, then decide.
Kurieuo wrote: I'm inclined to say the ID isn't science, but neither is MN.
You're not allowed to re-define science. Use a different word, if you want to define a new discipline.
Kurieuo wrote: As a side, for me there is truly nothing random.
Repeating the exact same quantum experiment can produce 1 of 2 outcomes with equal probability, with no way to determine which of the 2 outcomes will happen next. How is that behavior not truly random?

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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#21

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:48 am

Morny wrote:Let's try to expand our common ground ...
Kurieuo wrote: No, CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) stuff which requires detecting intelligence. ;) That is, if within MN we look for natural explanations without any intelligent intervention rather than just excluding "supernatural" intervention.
Not sure what you're saying, because MN does include natural intelligent causes, e.g., for effectively investigating Easter Island statues, Mt. Rushmore, Stonehenge, SETI, and evil-doers on TV crime shows. And we already have lots of science about how the corresponding intelligent agents might and do behave, i.e., we can form testable scientific theories about these intelligent mysteries.
Kurieuo wrote: Now, in every way, the butterfly distracting the Japanese soldier seems entirely random. BUT, what if some super-intelligent being who created and the world and could foretell the future carefully organized the world to unfold that particular butterfly to be born in just the right place, so as to land on the Japanese soldier who then missed his target. Is there anyone who can tell whether such a "natural" event was actually by design?
Again, no one claims that MN is flawless or sufficient, which is why science only provisionally assumes MN. MN merely asks whether that one butterfly's act is a statistically reasonable natural occurrence to explain the missed shot. And the answer is clearly "yes".

We can believe in a supernatural explanation of the butterfly's act for some higher plan or moral purpose, but we also must admit that the natural explanation is consistent with natural laws. For science to reject MN, we need to find something much better than the butterfly example.
Kurieuo wrote: You see the "glaring flaws" in ID thought, [...]
Incorrect. I don't have a problem with ID's general approach. In fact, I hope someone finds something rigorous. But what I do have a problem with is that specific ID arguments have been poor. For just one example, Dembski has refused for years to constructively respond to any of the glaring flaws in his probability calculations.

Don't believe(disbelieve) someone, just because you agree(disagree) with their conclusions. Understand their arguments, then decide.
Kurieuo wrote: I'm inclined to say the ID isn't science, but neither is MN.
You're not allowed to re-define science. Use a different word, if you want to define a new discipline.
Kurieuo wrote: As a side, for me there is truly nothing random.
Repeating the exact same quantum experiment can produce 1 of 2 outcomes with equal probability, with no way to determine which of the 2 outcomes will happen next. How is that behavior not truly random?
Regarding what Methodological Naturalism does or doesn't include, keep in sight my words: "if within MN we look for natural explanations without any intelligent intervention rather than just excluding "supernatural" intervention".

We had in the distant past a discussion about what I'd call a philosophical neutral Methodological Naturalism, which I think is more etymologically correct and keeps out ANY intelligent intervention. On the other hand, you then argued such an idea of Methodological Naturalism is wrong and that it only excludes God's activity, and so can and does include human intelligence since we do evidently experience us existing in the "natural" world.

I agree, that your interpretation of MN is the correct and popular understanding. Thus, MN is not philosophically neutral at all, but sets up a framework that I believe isn't true. As I mentioned, this may lead to wrong answers, or even thwart deeper investigation if it is accepted that something has no purpose (e.g., vestiges) so not worth investigating.

On the other hand, Intelligent Design also is not philosophically neutral. It too sets up a framework that many Naturalistic scientists believe is untrue, and unnecessary. The worry here too is that the answer will always be a "God did it" rather than truly undertaking scientific investigating.

NOTE, however, in both... while the frameworks already include metaphysical assumptions (either God's existence or lack thereof), these frameworks rarely if at all usurp the methodological scientific work being undertaken. Not until one is trying to prove God or rule out God, do these frameworks start becoming troublesome. Seriously though, science is perhaps the last area one would turn to in order to prove or disprove God's existence. Philosophy is much more the area. ;)

Despite my endorsing the Evidence from Science for God website, which is kind of quite dated but I think is still good, it is more about presenting a compatible view of science with particular positions within Christianity -- rather then really proving God's existence. It is an apologetic (defense) website. Science is mentioned here and there, to not really prove God's existence, but rather largely defend and at most hint to God's existence. I mean the "big bang" singularity in itself, has long puzzled physicists.

To get back on track, with people who believe in God, it is generally believed that God put in place and sustains natural orderly laws. This was the premise taken to the table in scientific work carried out by Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Boyle, and Pascal. All of whom were Christian and interested to further understand how God set things up.

Intelligent Design as a framework isn't so much about proving God, or at least it can't really be, since it already kind of sets out with such an "Intelligence" already existing. It allows for true design to be presumed rather than an imitation design (since perhaps Darwin who wrote of "natural selection" imitating design).

What I'd propose then is that the metaphysical sentiments be called a non-issue, and to just let scientists do science with whatever philosophical framework they bring to the table. So long as it doesn't impede their scientific investigation. What ramifications does that have on Methodological Naturalism given its philosophical bias I don't know? y:-/

Many Atheists and Agnostics believe thorough-going Christians or Theists can't do this, but history and even the scientists today (many of who believe God exists or some supernatural force) proves otherwise. Equally on the other side there is skepticism towards those who rule out god, that they'll be led up all sorts of absurd paths -- like if someone really did try to prove how Mt Rushmore formed based upon natural physical laws.

You have quackery science for sure. And I'll freely admit there is much pseudo-science pushed by religious people. Many are not in that category. And to be equally fair, I also see a very think cloud and fog that naturalistic philsophy wrongly places over people and science in general. It considers itself the policeman of this or that idea or explanation that can be tolerated regardless of whether its metaphysical considerations are wrong.

*shrug*
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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#22

Post by patrick » Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:05 am

Morny wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:Sometimes people are more concerned about "peer review" than truth.
So no example?

OK, then name one scientist who cares more about peer review than truth.
I've volunteered in a couple of labs and can tell you that, for many of them, funding is more important than truth. :ewink:

Not much of a leap from there.

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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#23

Post by Morny » Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:07 am

patrick wrote:
Morny wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:Sometimes people are more concerned about "peer review" than truth.
So no example?

OK, then name one scientist who cares more about peer review than truth.
I've volunteered in a couple of labs and can tell you that, for many of them, funding is more important than truth. :ewink:

Not much of a leap from there.
My statement was obviously rhetorical. Your "Not much of a leap from there" doesn't seem to be. What if I had made the ridiculous statement:
I've been around Christians all my life and can tell you that, for many of them, money is more important than truth. :ewink:

Not much of a leap from there.

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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#24

Post by RickD » Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:23 am

Morny wrote:
My statement was obviously rhetorical. Your "Not much of a leap from there" doesn't seem to be. What if I had made the ridiculous statement:
I've been around Christians all my life and can tell you that, for many of them, money is more important than truth. :ewink:

Not much of a leap from there.
Morny,

Fwiw, that's not a ridiculous statement. I've been a Christian for most of my life, and I've been around Christians for most of my life. And I can tell you that for many of them, money is more important than truth. Or at least, for many of them, money is more important than just about anything else in their lives.

The love of money is the root of all kind of evil.
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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#25

Post by patrick » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:17 am

Fair enough, Morny. I missed the part where you wrote off that question as rhetorical. Reading further, I don't think our views are all that different. It seems you'd rather we bundle the philosophy that most scientists take when performing their studies as part of science, rather than simply the assumptions necessary for our current body of knowledge to mean anything (re: "no one claims that MN is flawless or sufficient" and "use a different word, if you want to [exclude MN from the definition]").

Personally, I see the assumption that the causes are natural but not supernatural to be unnecessary to uphold the body of knowledge we've collected so far. Imo, what is necessary is the assumption that there is order to the universe, that we don't throw up our hands and assume that the laws of the universe work sometimes but not other times without reason, and that we don't invoke a more complicated explanation when a simpler one will do.
Morny wrote: Repeating the exact same quantum experiment can produce 1 of 2 outcomes with equal probability, with no way to determine which of the 2 outcomes will happen next. How is that behavior not truly random?
I think it would be fairer to say that we can't fully explain quantum probability at this time. I'm a bit surprised to see this assumption, as it sounds a lot like you're saying there can't be a simple explanation for this. Isn't this what we're trying to avoid with hastily invoking supernatural explanations?

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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#26

Post by Morny » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:17 pm

RickD wrote:I've been a Christian for most of my life, and I've been around Christians for most of my life. And I can tell you that for many of them, money is more important than truth. Or at least, for many of them, money is more important than just about anything else in their lives.
Yes, I agree with your point. Maybe I should clarify the point I was making. I've also seen, first hand, corruption among religious people. However, I don't let that become the excuse to diminish the good that can come from the basic concepts of their religion. And a religious framework certainly does not disqualify anyone from top level scientific work.

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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#27

Post by Morny » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:22 pm

patrick wrote:I think it would be fairer to say that we can't fully explain quantum probability at this time. I'm a bit surprised to see this assumption, as it sounds a lot like you're saying there can't be a simple explanation for this. Isn't this what we're trying to avoid with hastily invoking supernatural explanations?
Right. Science/MN is always tentative. So when I say, "no way to determine", I imply that "all the evidence so far indicates that we have no way to determine [...]."

After almost 100 years of evidence from active experimentation, we still seem to be faced with unavoidable and intrinsic randomness at the foundational quantum level. So, believing that "there is truly nothing random", is a curious notion.

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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#28

Post by Kurieuo » Sat Jan 16, 2016 4:03 pm

Morny wrote:After almost 100 years of evidence from active experimentation, we still seem to be faced with unavoidable and intrinsic randomness at the foundational quantum level. So, believing that "there is truly nothing random", is a curious notion.
I'm not sure anything could ever be said to be random, without first knowing which philosophy is true.

Re: quantum events, are they truly Random or Observer Dependent?
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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#29

Post by Morny » Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:29 am

Kurieuo wrote:
Morny wrote:After almost 100 years of evidence from active experimentation, we still seem to be faced with unavoidable and intrinsic randomness at the foundational quantum level. So, believing that "there is truly nothing random", is a curious notion.
I'm not sure anything could ever be said to be random, without first knowing which philosophy is true.
No one can be sure of anything. But not giving provisional assent to nearly a century of scientific evidence for foundational randomness seems more like uneasiness about stepping on a potential slippery slope.

Not sure why God playing dice with the universe might be a problem though.

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Re: Why is there a conflict between religion and science?

#30

Post by Kurieuo » Sun Jan 17, 2016 3:32 pm

Morny wrote:
Kurieuo wrote:
Morny wrote:After almost 100 years of evidence from active experimentation, we still seem to be faced with unavoidable and intrinsic randomness at the foundational quantum level. So, believing that "there is truly nothing random", is a curious notion.
I'm not sure anything could ever be said to be random, without first knowing which philosophy is true.
No one can be sure of anything. But not giving provisional assent to nearly a century of scientific evidence for foundational randomness seems more like uneasiness about stepping on a potential slippery slope.
What is this scientific evidence for foundational randomness?

It seems to me science especially at the quantum level actually stumbled into something more than this.
An observer effect, not randomity. You're also leaving out necessity.

Clearly, you're overstating things. Perhaps your philosophy made you slip all the way down that slope? ;)
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