Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Naturalism as alchemy
Yep, it's another comparison post, this time with G-man.
Tell you what, G-man - We need to take an example and examine the role/bounds of science based on it.
Example: The resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I don't know what you think about the various counterexplanations of that event, but IMHO they are all worse than lame. But they all have one thing in common - they strive to provide a naturalistic explanation for an event that is supernatural.
Science and God:
If science just concerns itself with physical phenomena, then seeking any explanations other than naturalistic ones would be overstepping boundaries.
Here's the deal - science should concern itself with physical phenomena AND NOTHING ELSE. But the problem we have is not scientific, it's philosophical.
Scientists can't run a lab experiment on the question of science's limits. It's a metaphysical question.
So I don't have a problem if science seeks naturalistic explanations, since that's all it can do! But I reject scientism, where science is seen as the only way to discover truth, or even the best way. It may be the best way to discover SOME truths, but in other arenas it's worse than worthless.
A theist might approach a particularly puzzling case and trumpet the folly of "assuming" a naturalistic explanation exists.
You wouldn't catch me doing that.
The exception is when God has said He did something. Like the resurrection, or the creation of the universe and life on earth in its fully-developed form. Try to apply pitifully limited naturalistic methodologies and instrumentation in order to "find the truth" (translation - prove God wrong), then we have a problem.
Trusting science: (slightly out of order)
Rhology seems to think this is childlike faith. It strikes me as a solid foundation.
What I'm saying is that I'd describe my own faith the same way.
In the past, murder mysteries have had natural explanations.
Of course, nobody's disputing that murders are performed by people or by rare bizarre (natural) accidents.
This is a terrible example since it's not under dispute.
Let's talk in terms of the Resurrection. Bring forward your best naturalistic explanation for it and let's see how well it does.
Alchemy has been shown to be not-valid.
Agreed, but you refuse to make the application, which is amazing.
A naturalistic theory of origins is alchemy, yet you don't think it's been proven invalid. Given enough time and the mix of the right chemicals, non-life becomes life. Medieval alchemists thought that, given enough time and the right mix of chemicals, tin becomes gold. What's the difference? Naturalism requires MUCH more complicated accomplishments, but at least there's several billion yrs to work with.
Life arising from non-life is not a case of values turning "into their opposites,
Ah, so "life" and "non-life" are not opposites? Come on.
He will find many answers to abiogenesis-related questions
Looked over your link. Pathetic. You're still ASSUMING it can happen; you've never observed it.
There's "complex organic molecules" and there's life. This is what I mean when I say promissory materialism.
A connect-the-dots puzzle begins to form if a link is hypothesized from amino acids to RNA to DNA etc
That's a huge assumption. And another example of alchemy - here you posit that randomness can become complex, specified order, just given enough time. You're cracking me up here.
"Lab science is also unqualified to make judgments on things that happened in the past, but that fact hasn't stopped it from doing so."
Direct your attention, please, to the Talk Origins response to this (apparently typical) claim.
Yes, read it. It doesn't even address my question. Maybe G-man linked to the wrong article.
The single biggest problem for "intelligent design," I would argue, is its vagueness.
ID makes no statement on the identity of the Designer.
To say it does is an egregious strawman. It is a methodology to detect the marks of design.
A hypothesis that is supported by every potential evidence does not help us narrow down what the real explanation might be.
Blow up ID's ideas about irreducible complexity and provide detailed Darwinian pathways for the formations of some of their prime examples and you're there - you've falsified it! Won't happen, but have fun trying. Many already have; I'm not impressed by what I've seen thus far.
And natural selection is much better described as a hypothesis that is supported by every potential evidence.
Consider two theories of planet movement: Rhology proposes that God moves the planets
God is the fundamental cause, but He uses natural means, forces, momentum, centripetal force, etc, to accomplish this.
But He is the "uniter" of all of those forces. Your worldview has to believe in these massively unlikely coincidences - and all agree that they are unlikely, as opposed to trying to assign likelihood to the statement "God exists", which is bogus.
I side with Isaac Newton.
Who was a theist.
The problem with proposing the supernatural is that it is separate from the natural.
Begging the question in favor of naturalism. Occam's Razor proposes nothing of the sort.
Evolution and mutation:
A more commonly accepted theory is that dinosaur-like animals evolved into birds.
Fine. Dinosaur-like animals, lizards, close enough. Dinosaur = "terrible lizard". Can we please just continue the conversation?
I pointed out that the process of microevolution is an accumulatory process.
And it's never been observed to turn one kind of organism into another kind.
Oh, but it will!!!! I'm sure of it. Otherwise the Darwinian Bible would be wrong, but we all know that's impossible!
No mechanism exists to halt or reverse the changes
None that you know of. But you can't prove such a negative statement. And it's far more reasonable to assume one is since such changes have never been observed.
Until such a mechanism is proposed, we must believe the changes accumulate over time and result in new species.
Yes, I know you must believe it. It's just sad to see such blind faith. But I'll give you this - at least you don't blow up buildings for your faith. OTOH, you naturalists generally give the all-clear for murdering babies, and alot of them at that! Come to think of it, you don't get any credit for that.
Mutations occur each generation. Most mutations are neutral; some are harmful. The harmful mutations kill off those with the mutations.
Great, that's just wonderful. Now provide some evidence that they cease being MICE at some point.
New species eventually become new families; "lizards" become birds.
I love the absolutely tremendous leap performed here. I hope you stretched out and warmed up before you attempted that!
Let me attempt a similar one - I've observed that my bosom burns from time to time while I'm thinking spiritual thoughts. Joseph Smith must be a prophet!!!!!!
I wish I knew what exactly he was referring to, because this is such a big issue.
DNA is a volume of information on how to build an organism that is not just a mass of useless tissue. You assume that this developed from unordered randomness. Alchemy.
His stance in the comment I'm responding to suggests he thinks of fossils as mere dusty bones. However, fossils have growth rings.
Henry Gee's In Search of Deep Time disagrees with you. I'd commend it to you. I believe the sr editor of Nature mag before I believe an anonymous blogger.
In closing, G-man would have us believe that naturalism will one day find all these answers. He would have us hold to patently absurd ideas and alchemy. Order comes out of non-order, given enough time. Life comes out of non-life, given enough time. Birds come out of lizards, given enough time. His naturalist compatriots like to have laughs at the expense of blind foolish fundies. I'll go ahead and enjoy a few of my own at the bizarre doctrine that is modern naturalism.