Everything in Universe can be explained by natural means?

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
User avatar
AttentionKMartShoppers
Ultimate Member
Posts: 2163
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:37 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Location: Austin, Texas
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 1 time
Contact:

#16

Post by AttentionKMartShoppers » Mon Apr 18, 2005 9:27 pm

Blind Faith:
The same can go for the origin of the universe. Just because we dont know how it is created, or how it is maintained is not to say that one day we won't find out.
Quote:
Well, because without a God, life seems to be watered down to nothing. We would come into the world with no purpose and we would die with no purpose.


Why not? It seems more logical than an all powerful omnipotent creator? I mean there are dozens of examples of organisms serving no purpose. Just look at the Platypus.

Why is this such a frightening concept anyway? I mean sure it's a little scary but once you accept that everything ends one day. It's not to bad.
The Platypus is a living Swiss Army Knife, not a useless creature. And, Darwin, I doubt you actually live with your statements here....do you live as if there is no purpose?
I've heard many Buddhists say the same thing but they dont believe in Jesus as the Messiah. How do you know that you are right and that they are wrong?
Is their experience something they can verbalize? Many people have experiences...they just can't verbalize it, put it into words, or anything...but we can....we can say that, once we accepted Christ, we had peace (in my case), or when I read this verse, I realized this and that about my life. (just a question)
The same reasons most Christians do. Only when the majority of people believe in an ideal can we truly hope to change and broaden our thinking. If less time and energy went into organised religion and went into things that were worthwhile we can make the world a better and much safer place for those not lucky enough to live in first world countries

But, Darwin, there is no purpose to life, remember? Contradicting ourselves are we?
"My actions prove that God takes care of idiots."

He occasionally stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened.
- On Stanley Baldwin

-Winston Churchill

An atheist can't find God for the same reason a criminal can't find a police officer.

You need to start asking out girls so that you can get used to the rejections.
-Anonymous

User avatar
Alien
Familiar Member
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:25 am
Christian: No
Location: Turin, Italy
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

#17

Post by Alien » Thu May 19, 2005 8:16 am

Felgar wrote: My only thought is that the statement "Everything in Universe can be explained by natural means" is a statement of faith, no different than the belief in a loving creator. Since everything in the universe has not yet been explained by natural means, the statement is merely the atheist's belief that everything one day can be explained by natural means. It's simply a matter of putting one's faith in science over one's faith in a higher power.
Yes, at first glance the statement "Everything in Universe can be explained by natural means" seems to be a statement of faith.

And I think it is.

However, if you falsify the statement, then it means that there is something in the universe that can be explained by supernatural means.
But, if there is something that can be explained by supernatural means, it means that it is anyway explained. And, when explained, it is no longer supernatural by definition.

Therefore, no need for supernatural. Only phenomena waiting for an explanation. And what seems to be supernatural becomes, sooner or later, explainable and therefore natural.

I am an agnostic and not an atheist: I don't make any statement of faith. I suspend my judgement on a phenomenon until a scientific (natural) explanation arrives. But, in the meanwhile, I don't call supernatural what just seems supernatural but is simply unexplained. Science proceeds without statements of faith.

Felgar
Esteemed Senior Member
Posts: 1143
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:24 am
Christian: No
Location: Calgary, Canada
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

#18

Post by Felgar » Thu May 19, 2005 12:10 pm

You are making the statement that anything supernatural is merely unexplained natural phenomena. That is a statement of faith. A false one too, as far as I am concerned.

User avatar
Forge
Valued Member
Posts: 345
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 7:39 pm
Christian: No
Location: Watching you
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

#19

Post by Forge » Thu May 19, 2005 8:23 pm

AttentionKMartShoppers wrote:The Platypus is a living Swiss Army Knife, not a useless creature. And, Darwin, I doubt you actually live with your statements here....do you live as if there is no purpose?
I beg to difer. Platypusses (Platypusi? Platypi?) are quite harmless.
But, Darwin, there is no purpose to life, remember? Contradicting ourselves are we?
As an experience, read Christian fiction and atheistic fiction (i.e., Narnia versus The Stranger.) You'll find Christian fiction is richer, while atheistic (existential, nihilistic, deconstructionist... pick the flavor!) are all about the little bastard human raging against the fatherless void.

Besides, of we're nothing but buzzing atoms--not to say we're not buzzing atoms, but nothing but buzzing atoms--why listen to ourselves at all? If my brain-atoms buzz one way, who's to say X or Z is true or false?

As a little last statement, it is said it is harder to die as an atheist than to die as one. A meaningless death robs life of meaning.


By the way, Darwin, I think Darwin rocks too. I just don't think his theories disprove God or his powers.

User avatar
Alien
Familiar Member
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:25 am
Christian: No
Location: Turin, Italy
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

#20

Post by Alien » Fri May 20, 2005 6:25 am

Felgar wrote:You are making the statement that anything supernatural is merely unexplained natural phenomena. That is a statement of faith. A false one too, as far as I am concerned.
Not really. And not even the opposite.

I am saying that what is unexplained is not necessarily supernatural. These two categories are not synonyms.

At the beginning of human history, very little was explained and many things were unexplained. We humans always tended to think that what is unexplained is supernatural.
As long as history went on, several unexplained became explained, in scientific terms. This means that what seemed to be supernatural, but it was just unexplained, resulted to be explained and therefore natural.

What is unexplained today may still seem supernatural, but I prefer to consider it unexplained. When an explanation arrives, then it becomes clear that it is natural. Simply saying that it is supernatural is not an explanation. It leaves the topic within the "unexplained" area.

Therefore, I simply wait until someone gives an explanation. If the explanation is sufficiently supported, then it is actually an explanation. Otherwise it is not really an acceptable explanation.

Felgar
Esteemed Senior Member
Posts: 1143
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:24 am
Christian: No
Location: Calgary, Canada
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

#21

Post by Felgar » Fri May 20, 2005 7:40 am

Alien wrote:I am saying that what is unexplained is not necessarily supernatural.
Yes, this is correct. But also things that are unexplained are not necessarily all natural, yet that is the position that you are advocating. I stand by my conviction that you are making a statement of faith by claiming that all unexplained things have the potentially to be scientifically explained (and are therefore natural). All you're really doing is denying that a supernatural realm exists, and you're doing it based upon flawed logic that because some things formerly considered supernatural have been learned to be natural, all unexplained things will eventually be understood by natural means. It's a flawed application of induction.
Alien wrote:What is unexplained today may still seem supernatural, but I prefer to consider it unexplained.
I know, you are taking it on faith that what may seem supernatural today will one day be explained by scientific means. Which is fine, you can place all your faith in science if you want, but then again if I'm not mistaken we still don't know how cats purr.

User avatar
jerickson314
Established Member
Posts: 243
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 7:50 pm
Christian: No
Location: Illinois
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

#22

Post by jerickson314 » Fri May 20, 2005 8:52 pm

Felgar wrote:All you're really doing is denying that a supernatural realm exists, and you're doing it based upon flawed logic that because some things formerly considered supernatural have been learned to be natural, all unexplained things will eventually be understood by natural means. It's a flawed application of induction.
In fact, science as many define it only seeks naturalistic explanations. Thus, we will have examples of events science assigns a naturalistic cause, and we will not have any examples at all of events science assigns a supernatural cause. This remains true even if there are a large number of events with a solely supernatural cause.

User avatar
Forge
Valued Member
Posts: 345
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 7:39 pm
Christian: No
Location: Watching you
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

#23

Post by Forge » Fri May 20, 2005 9:03 pm

jerickson314 wrote:In fact, science as many define it only seeks naturalistic explanations. Thus, we will have examples of events science assigns a naturalistic cause, and we will not have any examples at all of events science assigns a supernatural cause. This remains true even if there are a large number of events with a solely supernatural cause.
That's why "science disproves God/miracles" is a fallacy.

Felgar
Esteemed Senior Member
Posts: 1143
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:24 am
Christian: No
Location: Calgary, Canada
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

#24

Post by Felgar » Fri May 20, 2005 11:42 pm

I agree with both of you, Forge and jerickson.

User avatar
Alien
Familiar Member
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:25 am
Christian: No
Location: Turin, Italy
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

#25

Post by Alien » Tue May 24, 2005 7:07 am

Interesting is that I am always in the difficult position of partly agreeing/disagreeing with Atheists and simultaneously (even for opposite reasons) partly agreeing/disagreeing with Believers.

Look:
Felgar wrote:But also things that are unexplained are not necessarily all natural, yet that is the position that you are advocating.
It was not my intention to say that. This is the Believer's position.

· A Believer says that unexplained things can be natural or supernatural.
· An Atheist says that unexplained things are surely only natural.
· I'm saying that there are unexplained things, nothing more.

But, explained things are all natural!

This is my understanding of the agnostic philosophy, and I advocate it. Let's say that I don't sufficiently know about the unexplained to call it supernatural.
Felgar wrote:I stand by my conviction that you are making a statement of faith by claiming that all unexplained things have the potentially to be scientifically explained (and are therefore natural). All you're really doing is denying that a supernatural realm exists, and you're doing it based upon flawed logic that because some things formerly considered supernatural have been learned to be natural, all unexplained things will eventually be understood by natural means. It's a flawed application of induction.
Please don't give me statements that I don't really claim as mine.

As you know, I don't like to make any statement of faith; therefore, I cannot really state that all unexplained things will be scientifically explained. I agree with you. But, again, unexplained are just unexplained, and not supernatural.

Science cannot explain everything and does not pretend to.

Actually, I also don't think I am inducting anything. I am simply ascertaining that in the past all unexplained things that became explained have got a scientific explanation, therefore can be called "natural" by definition. If the history of science is such that there were always natural explanations, I am entitled to consider that this will probably continue in the future.
Felgar wrote:I know, you are taking it on faith that what may seem supernatural today will one day be explained by scientific means. Which is fine, you can place all your faith in science if you want, but then again if I'm not mistaken we still don't know how cats purr.
Again, it's not faith. It's experience from the past, extrapolated into future. Therefore it not faith, but confidence.

It's very much different.

Nevertheless, the real point here is a slightly different one:

1. We all agree that there are unexplained things.
2. We all agree that unexplained things should be explained (humans are curious).
3. We don't all agree that there are natural and supernatural explanations.

Item 3 means that I don't personally consider supernatural as an explanation, because, as said in another thread, this is not objective and therefore not universally valid.

jerickson314 wrote:In fact, science as many define it only seeks naturalistic explanations. Thus, we will have examples of events science assigns a naturalistic cause, and we will not have any examples at all of events science assigns a supernatural cause. This remains true even if there are a large number of events with a solely supernatural cause.
I also agree, but only to the first parts. The last sentence has no meaning for me (where are these large number of events? They are part of the unexplained, and therefore, for me they are neither natural nor supernatural).

Again, science cannot disprove supernatural.
I agree.
But science always gives natural explanations that are universally valid. Therefore, supernatural is a pure act of faith.

User avatar
jerickson314
Established Member
Posts: 243
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 7:50 pm
Christian: No
Location: Illinois
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

#26

Post by jerickson314 » Tue May 24, 2005 7:24 am

Alien wrote: · A Believer says that unexplained things can be natural or supernatural.
· An Atheist says that unexplained things are surely only natural.
· I'm saying that there are unexplained things, nothing more.

But, explained things are all natural!
What about things that will be explained in the future? Do they change from non-natural to natural? No. Belief has no effect on truth, except in certain cases when talking about the future (e.g. the placebo effect).

The Believer says that unexplained things can be natural or supernatural, and would assert that we do not know which for many things. This is much like saying it's just "unexplained". It seems you go a step further and say that not only do we not know which is true, but neither is true or false until an explanation is found. This doesn't really make any sense.
Alien wrote:This is my understanding of the agnostic philosophy, and I advocate it. Let's say that I don't sufficiently know about the unexplained to call it supernatural.
Just because you don't know enough to call it "supernatural" doesn't mean it isn't.
Alien wrote:As you know, I don't like to make any statement of faith; therefore, I cannot really state that all unexplained things will be scientifically explained. I agree with you. But, again, unexplained are just unexplained, and not supernatural.
No, they are unexplained and might be supernatural. Again, belief does not usually affect truth. The earth was round long before people knew it was.
Alien wrote:Science cannot explain everything and does not pretend to.
Right. This is where most people come from when they declare intelligent design to be "unscientific". That's why I wonder if it might be unscientific but nonetheless true.
Alien wrote:Actually, I also don't think I am inducting anything. I am simply ascertaining that in the past all unexplained things that became explained have got a scientific explanation, therefore can be called "natural" by definition. If the history of science is such that there were always natural explanations, I am entitled to consider that this will probably continue in the future.
Right, it may continue, but there will always be things we can't explain. It might be like if we explored the rational numbers on the number line. There would always be more to find, but the irrationals would continue to exist.
Alien wrote:It's very much different.

Nevertheless, the real point here is a slightly different one:

1. We all agree that there are unexplained things.
2. We all agree that unexplained things should be explained (humans are curious).
3. We don't all agree that there are natural and supernatural explanations.

Item 3 means that I don't personally consider supernatural as an explanation, because, as said in another thread, this is not objective and therefore not universally valid.
No, it's quite objective and universally valid. What if God did create the world using supernatural means? This would be true for all people at all times living in all places, whether they had any way to ascertain so or not. It just might not be universally provable. There's a huge difference.
Alien wrote:I also agree, but only to the first parts. The last sentence has no meaning for me (where are these large number of events? They are part of the unexplained, and therefore, for me they are neither natural nor supernatural).
The events that were supernaturally caused. Whether we can know if they are supernatural or not, they are supernaturally caused.
Alien wrote:Again, science cannot disprove supernatural.
I agree.
But science always gives natural explanations that are universally valid. Therefore, supernatural is a pure act of faith.
Partially right. Supernatural may be an act of faith, but here it can be the act of faith that leads to the objectively correct results. Then again, we do have evidence for the Christian faith that is objective, such as the Resurrection and fulfilled prophesy. Thus, if we can believe the Bible, supernatural explanations must be true in certain cases by inference. This is only partially an act of faith; it is not completely ungrounded in reason.

Felgar
Esteemed Senior Member
Posts: 1143
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:24 am
Christian: No
Location: Calgary, Canada
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

#27

Post by Felgar » Tue May 24, 2005 8:30 am

Alien wrote:
Felgar wrote:But also things that are unexplained are not necessarily all natural, yet that is the position that you are advocating.
It was not my intention to say that. This is the Believer's position.

· A Believer says that unexplained things can be natural or supernatural.
· An Atheist says that unexplained things are surely only natural.
· I'm saying that there are unexplained things, nothing more.

But, explained things are all natural!
My statement was poor grammar. I meant to say that I am of the position that there may be unexplained things that are not natural. You are living your life under the opposite assumption that there is nothing supernatural (You don't claim to be, but you are - I'll adress this in a bit). I'm just trying to show you how this is a position of faith, whether you would like it to be or not.

Jerickson dealt with the rest of the post effectively, I think. His general point that beliefs and knowledge are independent of actual truth is quite true.
Alien wrote:As you know, I don't like to make any statement of faith; therefore, I cannot really state that all unexplained things will be scientifically explained. I agree with you. But, again, unexplained are just unexplained, and not supernatural.
So having to admit that science cannot hope to explain everything, you are left clinging to a semantic definition as "unexplained, and not supernatural." Tell me what is the difference between something that cannot be scientifically explained and something that is supernatural? And why are you willing to preempt seeking real truth in lieu of a weak are arbitrary classification of those things that we cannot explain? How has your life been enriched by this philospohy?

jeff
Newbie Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 7:21 pm
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

#28

Post by jeff » Tue May 31, 2005 4:37 pm

I would like to post a general reply to this topic. I have noticed a prominent misconception that is often rooted in discussions of this sort. There is a tendency to make a virtual "holy gail" out of the discipline of scientific inquiry. People often tend to use the standard of "scientific evidence" as the only viable evidence in existence. If this were the case then virtually nothing in the realm of history could ever be determined because these events are not repeatable. The events described in the Bible (or any other book claiming to be history) fall into this category and claim to be written (for most part) by witnesses (or by those talking to the witnesses) to these events. As with all such records you have to test the credibility of the people involved and determine if they seem to be reliable or not. If they seem to be credible in the areas that you can confirm then it is not logical to automatically reject their reports about those things that cannot be validated (such as the miraculous). To do so is an a priori judgement based on an individuals personal feelings and is not the "scientific" thing to do. The Bible doe indeed provide the explanation for the miraculous. Someone may not like the explanation but that is not to say it is not a valid one. That is not to say that all reports of the miraculous throughout human history are authentic but because some have been proven false is not to say that this proves all reports are false. Each has to be taken individually.

Science has been very good at explaining very much. It can tell us how the universe operates under certain rules but cannot tell us where those rules came from and why they are the way they are so that life can exist. It can tell us how life operates but cannot tell us how it came to exist. In fact the most current findings in the area of the origin of life point away from a naturalistic origin. It can probe the mind and how it works but cannot explain how consciousness and personality came from purely inanimate compounds. It cannot even tell us how if "survival of the fitess" was the normal mode of survival where the concept of good and evil came from. There is much that science is good at but it is not the be-all and end-all of evidences.

Science itself uses the discipline of adduction, or the use of past experiences to recognize whether something is more likely to be a product of a purely naturalistic process or one of intelligent design. The SETI program is a perfect example. It is assumed that if a repeating pattern of signals is found coming from space that it would come from an intelligent source. Why is that? Because we know that nature does not produce such signals.

User avatar
Forge
Valued Member
Posts: 345
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 7:39 pm
Christian: No
Location: Watching you
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0
Contact:

#29

Post by Forge » Tue May 31, 2005 6:05 pm

jeff wrote:Science itself uses the discipline of adduction, or the use of past experiences to recognize whether something is more likely to be a product of a purely naturalistic process or one of intelligent design. The SETI program is a perfect example. It is assumed that if a repeating pattern of signals is found coming from space that it would come from an intelligent source. Why is that? Because we know that nature does not produce such signals.
Just to clarify, make sure it's noted that orderly SETI signals are the ones that are accepted. If SETI gets 101010001010110111101010110, that's not very orderly. However, if somehting like 10100100010000100001, etc appears, they can make a conclusion.

Then again, I'm just expounding religous teachings to the temple singers. :D

User avatar
Alien
Familiar Member
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:25 am
Christian: No
Location: Turin, Italy
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

#30

Post by Alien » Tue Jun 07, 2005 5:48 am

jerickson314 wrote: What about things that will be explained in the future? Do they change from non-natural to natural? No.
Of course not, they change from unexplained to explained.

It's a very simple position. And there were many examples in the past of unexplained that became explained (motion of planets, origin of wind, etc). Even more, all scientific phenomena were more or less converted from unexplained (apparently non-natural) into natural.
jerickson314 wrote: The Believer says that unexplained things can be natural or supernatural, and would assert that we do not know which for many things. This is much like saying it's just "unexplained". It seems you go a step further and say that not only do we not know which is true, but neither is true or false until an explanation is found. This doesn't really make any sense.
I am not sure I understand you here.

However, I have an example about my position: if I look at the statement "Mr. A and Mr. B are able to communicate each other by telepathy", I can say it is unexplained.

Your position seems to me that this might be either a supernatural or a natural phenomenon.
My position is that this is just unexplained, and nothing more. Not natural, not supernatural. If anyone will be able to scientifically show and explain this phenomenon, then I will call it natural.
jerickson314 wrote: Just because you don't know enough to call it "supernatural" doesn't mean it isn't.
In principle, yes.
But, because I don't know enough, I don't dare to call it natural or supernatural.

Having accepted your sentence, I can even "reverse" it and you should accept this one on your turn:
Because you don't know enough about it, you cannot call it supernatural.
jerickson314 wrote:
Alien wrote:It's very much different.

Nevertheless, the real point here is a slightly different one:

1. We all agree that there are unexplained things.
2. We all agree that unexplained things should be explained (humans are curious).
3. We don't all agree that there are natural and supernatural explanations.

Item 3 means that I don't personally consider supernatural as an explanation, because, as said in another thread, this is not objective and therefore not universally valid.
No, it's quite objective and universally valid. What if God did create the world using supernatural means? This would be true for all people at all times living in all places, whether they had any way to ascertain so or not. It just might not be universally provable. There's a huge difference.
I disagree here.

What is supernatural cannot be objective by definition. And the proof is that I don't share this opinion!

For example, I know a lot of Christians who have different opinions (I would say different faiths) about supernatural facts like the virginity of Jesus' mother, or his resurrection, and so on. These are supernatural for some Christian and not supernatural for others. Even, there are facts more supernatural than others.

I therefore understand these phenomena as subjective and not objective.

The statement "God created the world using supernatural means" to me is unexplained.
Same as the one "God created the world using natural means". Unexplained. Not natural and not supernatural.
jerickson314 wrote:
Alien wrote:I also agree, but only to the first parts. The last sentence has no meaning for me (where are these large number of events? They are part of the unexplained, and therefore, for me they are neither natural nor supernatural).
The events that were supernaturally caused. Whether we can know if they are supernatural or not, they are supernaturally caused.
If they were supernaturally caused, they would be supernatural by definition.
jerickson314 wrote: Supernatural may be an act of faith, but here it can be the act of faith that leads to the objectively correct results. Then again, we do have evidence for the Christian faith that is objective, such as the Resurrection and fulfilled prophesy. Thus, if we can believe the Bible, supernatural explanations must be true in certain cases by inference. This is only partially an act of faith; it is not completely ungrounded in reason.
I can't see evidences for acts of faith. If there are evidences, then a fact is scientifically explained and it becomes natural. Science, by its own definition, deals only with natural phenomena.
Felgar wrote: I meant to say that I am of the position that there may be unexplained things that are not natural. You are living your life under the opposite assumption that there is nothing supernatural (You don't claim to be, but you are - I'll adress this in a bit). I'm just trying to show you how this is a position of faith, whether you would like it to be or not.
At a first look, what you say might seem logical.
However, I honestly don't like the attribute you are giving to the concept of "faith". Our disagreement here is uniquely focused on the meaning of "faith". Therefore, by using this different meaning for the concept of faith, you can say that I am doing an act of faith.

But, in my meaning, I can show you that I am not doing it.
I mean, "faith" is not a concept that can be used symmetrically in positive and negative fields. It is an absolute concept. Like the absolute algebraic concept, it has no sign.
You can have faith in something only in a positive way, and not in a negative way. You can believe that something exists, or existed (happens or happened), but you cannot have faith in something non existing or not happening. I see it as a nonsense.

As an example: I think you don't believe that Zeus and the other greek gods exist.
You have no faith in greek gods. Right.
Therefore, I cannot say that you have faith in their non-existence. The fact that you have no faith is not an act of faith!
Felgar wrote: Jerickson dealt with the rest of the post effectively, I think. His general point that beliefs and knowledge are independent of actual truth is quite true.
I don't dispute that.
I am saying that the scientific method can better approach the actual understanding of the world, than beliefs.
Felgar wrote: So having to admit that science cannot hope to explain everything, you are left clinging to a semantic definition as "unexplained, and not supernatural." Tell me what is the difference between something that cannot be scientifically explained and something that is supernatural?
Strictly speaking, the answer to your question cannot be other than "None". There is no difference between "cannot be scientifically explained" and "supernatural".
But, I would not say that science cannot explain something. I would say that science does not explain something. Here there is a big difference, perhaps not immediately visible. I have never been in New Zealand. This does not mean that I am not able to go to New Zealand, but simply that I have not done it.
Felgar wrote: And why are you willing to preempt seeking real truth in lieu of a weak are arbitrary classification of those things that we cannot explain? How has your life been enriched by this philospohy?
I simply look for scientific explanations, for everything. And, as I said in my first posts here, I am trying to understand how it is possible (looking at the title of this site) to mix science with faith. The two concepts are foreign each other.
jeff wrote: People often tend to use the standard of "scientific evidence" as the only viable evidence in existence. If this were the case then virtually nothing in the realm of history could ever be determined because these events are not repeatable. The events described in the Bible (or any other book claiming to be history) fall into this category and claim to be written (for most part) by witnesses (or by those talking to the witnesses) to these events. As with all such records you have to test the credibility of the people involved and determine if they seem to be reliable or not. If they seem to be credible in the areas that you can confirm then it is not logical to automatically reject their reports about those things that cannot be validated (such as the miraculous). To do so is an a priori judgement based on an individuals personal feelings and is not the "scientific" thing to do. The Bible doe indeed provide the explanation for the miraculous. Someone may not like the explanation but that is not to say it is not a valid one. That is not to say that all reports of the miraculous throughout human history are authentic but because some have been proven false is not to say that this proves all reports are false. Each has to be taken individually.
Science does not apply only to unrepeatable events. I am born, 51 years ago, and this is surely unrepeatable. The fact that I am here, gives me almost 100% confidence that I was somehow born. Other facts can be scientifically supported by 99% or even 70% confidence or something like that (for example, I might have had a different father, and so on).

As said, science will never give absolute 100%, but I prefer a 90% confidence in something than unexplained or unsupported. And a book like the Bible does not give me a high level of scientific confidence. As you said, there are explanations in the Bible, and someone may like them or not: my point is that these explanations are not scientific, and therefore they are not objective (I can invent any book similar to the Bible). And if they are not objective, they are not really explanations. You have to accept them, as an act of faith, or to reject them.

As an example, the described Sodoma and Gomorrha destruction can be associated to at least three explanations:

1. the one given by the Bible itself (God intervention)
2. the one associated to a nuclear weapon explosion
3. the one associated to a metaphorical image written by a human author

These are all explanations, at a first approximation. They can be called theories.

Theory #1 is supernatural because it does not use any scientific explanation
Theory #2 and #3 are both natural. But, whilst theory #2 needs to explain many other uncertainties, theory #3 has a better level of confidence.

If you accept #1, you make an act of faith
If you accept #2, you are left with unexplained parts
If you accept #3, you are moving at the highest level of scientific confidence
jeff wrote: Science has been very good at explaining very much. It can tell us how the universe operates under certain rules but cannot tell us where those rules came from and why they are the way they are so that life can exist. It can tell us how life operates but cannot tell us how it came to exist. In fact the most current findings in the area of the origin of life point away from a naturalistic origin. It can probe the mind and how it works but cannot explain how consciousness and personality came from purely inanimate compounds. It cannot even tell us how if "survival of the fitess" was the normal mode of survival where the concept of good and evil came from. There is much that science is good at but it is not the be-all and end-all of evidences.

Science itself uses the discipline of adduction, or the use of past experiences to recognize whether something is more likely to be a product of a purely naturalistic process or one of intelligent design. The SETI program is a perfect example. It is assumed that if a repeating pattern of signals is found coming from space that it would come from an intelligent source. Why is that? Because we know that nature does not produce such signals.
Science can explain what are the rules of the universe, but certainly not "why" there are these rules and not others.
I agree.
But, to me it is of little (if not null) importance the question "why?" compared to the "how?". Simply because a universe MUST have rules in order to evolve. If I imagine a universe without rules, then this would not evolve at all. We would not be here enjoying discussions.
This is totally sufficient. I want to get answers to "how?" and not to "why?". And science, as said, can give me answers, even if partial, about how life started or evolved.

I disagree to your considerations about the SETI example.

Science does not distinguish between products of naturalistic processes and products of intelligent design, simply because there is no need for the concept of intelligent design. What might seem as intelligent design to your eyes (as perhaps my posts here, or an airplane, or a software program) is still the product of natural processes. Human mind is natural, therefore also its products are natural.

What distinguishes an intelligent design from an unintelligent design? What is a design?

A SETI signal might be produced by a quasar, or excited atoms, or by alien minds, or whatever. But, also alien minds would be natural and therefore the signal would be naturally produced in this universe.
Therefore, ANY SETI signal is natural ( whether it is 1001001011011100011110101... or 101001000100001...). The point is to know and understand HOW it was produced, not whether it is natural or intelligent, that is a useless and even misleading distinction!

Post Reply