Science and the nonphysical/Does science arise from evidence or belief
You keep talking about a resistance to accept creationism. I agree there is a popular resistance to accept it being thaught at school as science, and that part of that resistance bases on atheists (and I would be part of that resistance if I lived in the USA, and am not atheist). But the professional scientific resistance to research creationism isn't a matter of belief, but of area: Scientists know how to do science, creationism isn't. Doing science consists on describing how things happen, not what makes them happen. It consists on using the scientific method, not History's methods nor Theology's methods.
E.g., we know particles are attracted following the law of gravity (among others), but don't care about who/what "commands" them to do it. Maybe Mahoma, maybe Athena and Jesus Christ's daughter, or maybe particles are just pieces of a big cosmic machine. Everyone can have his own explanation on this, but science doesn't care, nor does architecture, nor does computer programming. If you did some research and concluded that God (which one? yours?) invented a law of motion and commanded to all particles to follow it, congrats, you've done science (plus theology). If your conclusion is that God moves each particle individually and that the "apparent" law isn't but His mood for the past millenia, you've done theology, but not science (you cannot predict a thing, for example). Likewise, if you did some research and concluded that Jesus Christ himself, disobeying Budah's orders, sometimes alteres slightly bacterial DNA, so allowing them to evolve, you've done science + theology. If you concluded that God the Mischievous put bones of dinosaurs with feathers underground with the intention of fooling humankind, you've done only theology.
For scientists as proffesionals, as well as for architects, football players, and disk-jockeys, the existence of God (or Allah, or the greek Pantheon, or God and the Devil, etc, etc, etc) is perfectly possible because what they do has nothing to do with its existence or not. They all personally have some belief, and when it's time to work, scientists use the scientific method, architects design with wathever method they use, football players kick the ball the way they were thaught, and disk-jockeys put the music they know people like. Scientists don't care if it is God who is making all things to behave consistently, football players don't care if they are pointing to The Mecca when they kick, and disk-jockeys don't care about what song was sung last Sunday in the local church.
Science doesn't deny the existence of God. And it's not it hasn't been able to deny it: It is it doesn't care. Does He exist? Well. Doesn't He? Well as well. But if He exists (and you would be very lucky if the God that exists happened to be the one in which you believe), if He exists He has put the Earth in orbit around the sun, and He has created mutation. Deniyng mutation is not a matter of approach, or whatever, it is the same as saying the Earth is flat or the centre of the Universe: It is confronting the output of the scientific method, and, as I said, no theory has ever withstood doing it (and anyway it certainly wouldn't be scientific). If He has created mutation, evolution exists (since the other requisite, natural selection, is not even a matter of science, but of Maths - and you're certainly not going to challenge Maths too). So the only way a Creationist explanation of biology can be scientific, is indeed the same only way a non-creationist explanation can be scientific: Following the scientific method. And since, AFAIK, creationists deny evolution...
Science doesn't challenge any dogma for being a dogma. Science provides an explanation of how things work (not why ultimately do they work) which must be true and independent of dogmas. As long as your dogmas don't conflict with science, you can believe them. If they conflict with the output of the scientific method, you should better learn from History (or simply think about why the scientific method is the way it is - hint: it is because that's the only way -beyond Maths- to provide irrefutable statements). Science doesn't say "which is unprovable isn't true", nor "there are not unprovable things" (indeed, Maths have proved unprovability -see Gödel). It is not I see it: It is every scientist in the world sees it, because we know what our jobs are about. Those skeptics who challenge the existence of God arguing "science" don't know what science is about, and are certainly not scientists. But in the same way, if you investigate things assuming dogmas and call it "science", you don't know what science is about, and are not a scientist. Are your results worth teaching at school? Maybe. In science class? No. In Math? No. In Sport? No. In Religion? Yes, that's the place.
The means to study superfluids didn't exist until they were invented by humans. The difficulty is not in executing those means, but in inventing them (it's easy to heat something as much as you want, but to cool something to a temperature arguably never before reached anywhere in the whole history of the universe...). I can tell you a mean to study telekinesis right now: Sit people in front of objects, ask them to move them with their minds, and observe. I bet nobody will be able, so you won't have proofs. Then you can continue trying it, or change focus and go after the Sith, the Spaguetti Monster, or Moby Dick. The Giant Squid actually existed, and since we got the first body scientists began doing research with it. Until then, science didn't care (since nothing scientific could be done).
About time dilation, it happens that it isn't just a matter of human perception: It is an actual slowing down of time. One of the proofs is that very quick particles that should have disintegrated halfway down the atmosphere do reach the surface of the Earth (for them, their time isn't come, and the atmosphere is hence smaller for them -since their speed relative to us is the same as ours relative to them). Call it spiritual, or call it physical, or argue about how to call it with skepics; science doesn't care: It just states it is true. Science never dared to enter what seemed to be such a psycological territory until the Theory of Relativity predicted time dilation (it was a consequence, not a premise, of the theory -the same can be said of the famous E=mc2). Scientists tried to find ways to test it, and it was tested true. It is not somebody decided to study time and everybody respected it because it was not God. What happened was that, to account for a failure in meassuring Earth's absolute speed (the infamous Michelson-Morley's experiment), Einstein said "there's no absolute position nor absolute speed" and "everybody measures the same speed for light". But then, mathematics yielded veeeery strange results if that was true, one of which was time dilation.
"Will the scientific method evolve?" <- Once, in England, pelota (a Vasque sport) rules evolved and tennis was born. Tennis, albeit being waaayy more popular, is not pelota. "Was it invented in order to never get changed?" <- No, it was invented in order to its output never be challenged. It's not some obscure algorithm, it just consists on "are you sure? yes, try yourself and you'll see". That's the reason so many people like it: You can have 100% confidence on its results. Can it evolve? Well, I guess it can if the 100%-confidence thing remains... Although I cannot think of another way.
"Could repetition be a fair requirement for consciousness to be scientifically studied?" <- repetition is a requirement for everything that wants to be scientifically studied. It's not a matter of fairness but of confidence, as I said above. And as "science" isn't but a label (I call it "ciencia", for example), it turns out it is a matter of definition: So can repetition be a fair requirement for something to be studied in a way that requires repetition? Uhm...yeah. Repetition isn't a requirement for anything to be studied. Science is not the only field in which things are studied and research is done. It's popular, it has a reputation (thanks to the scientific method), etc., but it is not unique. You can study things in many ways; scientifically is one; you cannot study everything scientifically. Science doesn't says non-scientific studies are false, nor that they are less worthy. It says they are... non-scientific (and hence deniable).
"they are just calling attention for the same kind of data, and with the same ground reasonings that evolutionist make use - but to point out ANOTHER hipothesis" <- NOW I want to see such hypothesis, and see it not to contradicting existing data. I recall you that mutation is a fact, that natural selection is a fact (indeed a mathematical one), and that evolution is a fact (see w:Evolution as theory and fact). The Theory of Evolution (note it is not a hipothesis but a theory), which is what creationists challenge (because if they challenge the fact of evolution -w:Evolution as theory and fact- then they're not even reasonable), the theory says "as mutation plus natural selection would cause an evolution, and mutation is a fact, and natural selection is a fact, the reason of evolution is mutation joined with natural selection". Note that in Darwin times, AFAIK, mutation was not a fact, and nobody had thought before him that nature did "treat selection" (as we humans had been doing for a long time with our animals), so back then the theory was not as trivial (dare I say childish) as it is today.
I agree with you in that believing everything is in my mind is a bit too "agressive". Furthermore, it is not even scientific, since one cannot make any prediction based on this (so it's unfalsifiable, like believing in the Spaguetti Monster).
I also agree that Occam doesn't give veracity. But you cannot forget that if you assume God is responsible of nature's doings, then if you don't follow Occam, you must admit God is somewhy trying to fool you. Or testing your faith, if you prefer. Then, scaping science to discuss these things, why did He give us our reason? Didn't He intend us to use it?
"Humans will always tend to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms his preconceptions. This is a psychological law" <- I do agree. But consider that scientists are professionals, not kids inventing interpretations or politicians/priests/atheists trying to convince people. Newton studied gravity and (by mathematical derivations) predicted that something with sufficient speed would orbit the planet, never falling. And then he remembered the planets, and the moon, and said "hey! It's gravity doing it". Hundreds of years later, we could finally put things in orbit around the Earth, and no scientist was surprised. With time dilation the same thing happened: Relativity was proved long before time dilation could be directly tested. When we found out that muons moving very quick lived longer than slow muons, nobody was surprised (merely gratified of having finally seen it). If an existing theory explains some new observation, I see very reasonable (in addition of whatever psycological comfort it may cause) to not go searching for another explanation.
Why will asking an additional "why" tend for biased researches? In what way biased?
"how to directly provide an *objective* evidence of what is *subjective*? " <- That's why science cannot study subjective things. They certainly can be studied with rigour by other methods. Not science.
"Some time in the future (if there will be the INTEREST) science will research how to detect [psychic]" <- You cannot ask others to be interested in what you find interesting. Scientists are not servants, they try to bring money home by doing what they like: satisfying their (and others') curiosity. Why the obsession with science, anyway? Why not to do research in non-scientific ways?
"the ONLY ones we traditionaly have troughout our world cultures that INFORM how all things came to exist." Now science has discovered how many things came to exist. The only thing which remains to scriptures is why (as "by whom") they came to exist. Out of science, if one is going to research wether religious traditions are true, why focusing on the Christian branch your fathers thaught you? If you're from the USA and not catholic, that tradition is certainly one of the most recent "traditions" humankind has. And not a very common one, too, if we speak of number of adherents. If you're not intelectually dishonest then it must be because you, by some internal experience, believe that fortunately you are right and near everybody else is wrong (despite many many people having had similar experiences, which led them to think you are wrong). Are you Mormon?
Creationism should be classified as pseudo-science because, as all pseudo-sciences, it tries to convince people that it is scientific while not being. If they didn't, they will happily pass as theology, with no negative-sounding "pseudo" attached. If I have good knowledge of indian magic, but pretend to be a medic despite not being one, I will be labeled as a quack. The negative label is the risk of trying to benefit from the reputation of what I am not. If my purpose wasn't to mislead, but I simply didn't know I was not, I should have known better.
--Jorge 06:01, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
- Jorge - I would like to reply to all your comments (as you did to mines, thank you) but that would take me three or four days to finish. So maybe it will be good to concentrate in the main point which I understand both can clarify my point and also may lead to some neutrality, or balancing, on what we disagree. The point is over the correctness, or certitude, of science, but if I will miss some comment you think is also important to consider along with this one, please tell. Anyway I intend to comment all of them, eventualy or implicitly.
- As you asked me about, I will ask you back trying to make clear what I mean. From the evident broad scientific knowlegde you have demonstrated to have, I cannot see how can you consciously suggest (if not just for rhetorical effect) that science cannot be biased. I'm considering, for example, the personal beliefs of a scientist who may, when considering some set of collected data, have the insight of an explanation that is very similar, or suggestive, of what he had already learned about religion or psychic stuff. Maybe he found something very similar to a serpent biting its tail, or maybe some trinitary function. But, as he only believes in matter, he omits it and elaborates a second explanation that accords to what that scientific study have been using. Even if he was very tempted to at least comment about his insight, he could consider what his (also mainly materialist) fellows might think about him, and maybe also how could it influence his professional standing. And so, some reasonable opoturnity to start a possibly different kind of explanation in that study, which could favour the truth of a spiritual doctrine, is trashed. I am not a scientist myself, but could it be that such kind of situation have NEVER happened to a scientist? I also think in the fringe scientists, who are called by mainstream scientists to be biased themselves, and who pose several different scientific explanations and experiments - could it be that NONE of them had ever presented really important scientific corrections or improvements, anyway getting no attention from the mainstream scientific community, which might be tired of so much crazy pseudoscientists? So, are you really meaning that the scientific method is so perfect that by no imaginable means could it be used in some biased manner? Skytel 01:02, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
- Good morning and good carnival to you all... Thanks to your link yes, NOW I remember the Turkish astronomer, whose situation is very illustrative of what I have mentioned and more. Possibly, under the load of materialistic drives, the Turkish dictator sold his own culture for a little asteroid. Of course a creationist will hardly become disloyal to his particular set of beliefs in order to be successful in making science. I think some good fringe scientists may also had no success because of that. Good hint. Skytel 13:31, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
- I've got a particular comment here considering several BIG asteroids... (not on Turkey). But lets take care or JWSchmidt will name next section "Creationism and Little Prince". :-) Skytel 14:15, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
- I sometimes create new section headings (and even new pages) in order to help organize access to the discussion. My choices are very arbitrary, so please feel free to join in this task and help organize things. --JWSchmidt 16:47, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
- I've got a particular comment here considering several BIG asteroids... (not on Turkey). But lets take care or JWSchmidt will name next section "Creationism and Little Prince". :-) Skytel 14:15, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Hi Jorge. As I have already replied to some of your last comments I'm posting them for now, but still finding better to discuss possible science biasing first.
"What do you mean when you say "creationism is scientific"?" <- I mean that it is scientific first of all because is carried out by scientists, not theologans. They are mainly biologists and geologists, most of them truly religious, what makes not diference to science, as it does not matter what drives the scientists approach of phenomena, but just if his construct is repeatable/testable.
"E.g., we know particles are attracted following the law of gravity (among others), but don't care about who/what "commands" them to do it. Maybe Mahoma..." The crucial scientific concept that substitutes "spirit" and cannot be avoided is "force". If we ask a physicist what ultimately IS "force", he will end with something equivalent to "rate of change". If he pushes us to quantum physics, it will be "function operator". As both concepts are explanations (that just mean transformation or changing) for the absolute need of "force" to explain energy, or interactions, we so end with pure abstract concepts that are causeless, self-sustained and self-inteligent like "spirits". I understand it is not possible to avoid such problem (as the more abstract the "solution" the worse it is) because, as you have acknowleged, science is not able to discover what phenomena are, but just how phenomena behave. So we cannot *scientifically* tell what matter IS. And if we cannot scientifically define what a phonomenon is, we consequently cannot *scientifically* even assert it exists. Thus, from the scientific point of view, we all may just believe, be in matter, be in spirit. Or in both, like myself and many many others. To choose one of them alone demands quite an impossible sufficient explanation.
"Science doesn't deny the existence of God. And it's not it hasn't been able to deny it: It is it doesn't care." <- It should not care, indeed, but unfortunately its present methodology cannot prevent its developers (the scientists) to choose what kind of conjecture they prefer to found on any explanatory or working model. And, as science happened to develop outside religious occupations, the materialistic conjecture was given preference, naturally inforced by the economic needs.
"Are your results worth teaching at school? Maybe. In science class? No. In Math? No. In Sport? No. In Religion? Yes, that's the place." <- The problem here is in fact political. Simply there is a movement of religious people WANTING religion to be (also) scientific! As deep as possible. Personaly I do not find this necessary, but they have the right, as they CAN be (and already ARE being) scientific in the form of creationism. Creationism is a scientific movement (possibly the beginnging of a strong scientific school) with all the right to stay right beside the evolutionist school, to compete with it. Creationists are using scientific arguments, scientific revisions, scientific experiments and conclusions. There are sites abounded with such scientific works. And it doesn't matter if their spiritual conjectures are right or not: the way science developed, it suffices that history will tell which school will succeed better. So the only "reason" I'm seing for evolutionists to be resisting them (as here in WV) is because they come praying and shaking their scriptures, what remembers the turkish astronomer in the story of the... ahm, you know what one.
"The means to study superfluids didn't exist until they were invented by humans. The difficulty is not in executing those means, but in inventing them..." <- I hope I myself will invent how to study psychic energy, as I frequently think about. But of course much more (real) scientists are demanded to search for a way, in order to eventually (during my own life please) find out the answer. THE problem, you know, is finding nowadays university scholars WANTING it and finding safe to even speak about it. Unfortunately, they seem to don't give a single though on it. "I can tell you a mean to study telekinesis right now: Sit people in front of objects, ask them to move them with their minds, and observe." <- Boy... :-) - this would be like putting me to raise a lifting competition weight bar. It would prove once for all there is no such thing as muscle contraction.
"About time dilation, it happens that it isn't just a matter of human perception: It is an actual slowing down of time." <- I understand that if time is really just psychic (to ALL beings), no matter how many relations we find in its phenomena there will be no reason to conclude it is objective, or not subjective. Of course I cannot *objectively* prove to you it is not objective.
Coming soon: evolution of the scientific method and more... Skytel 21:12, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
"Can it (the scientific method) evolve? Well, I guess it can if the 100%-confidence thing remains... Although I cannot think of another way." <- In Wikipedia article scientific method we see under history section that the last considered advancement of the scientific method was by Karl Popper, being who introduced the importance of falsifiability. Now in article falsifiability we find further advancements by Thomas Kuhn and others, who criticize how scientists resist changing their paradigm (without what science does not truly develop), how falsification can get biased because of that, how it is socialy influenced and succeeding by merely being pragmatic. What means that, for example, if there possibly exists some physiological function importantly related to psychic phenomena, but which is not even indirectly related with biomedical research, it will hardly be discovered. So, what next advancements will emerge for the real progress of scientific production? I would specially ask what kind of improvement could favor some little less "democratic" policy about WHAT should be the AIMS of scientific *observation* to begin with?
"repetition is a requirement for everything that wants to be scientifically studied. It's not a matter of fairness but of confidence, as I said above." <- Couldn't repetition be just a primitive scientific provision that will remain till human intellect becomes better developed? I think much will be discovered simply through deeper *observational* ability, somehow likewise nowadays we gather scientific knowledge from the mainly descriptive sciences. "I call it "ciencia", for example." <- Oh, as myself either... :-) "Science doesn't says non-scientific studies are false, nor that they are less worthy. It says they are... non-scientific (and hence deniable)." <- If I understood well, I think this approach is what makes "non-scientic" studies to remain "non-scientific". Certainly we should always recognize what science is still not ABLE to say anything about, but not label it as definitely "non-scientific".
"NOW I want to see such hypothesis, and see it not to contradicting existing data." <- But they *contradict*. Although creationists have been working on a multidisciplinary fashion, they could be regarded as an internal (and awkward) trend in the evolutionist school that DECIDED to search scientific evidence which *corrects* some evolutionist claims. Besides conceptual/logical revision in many scientific areas, in biology/geology ones they had a major focus relating to carbon-14 radiometric datation, but others are getting more and more attention, like what shows this abstract at ICR, and which is very unlikely to be demonstrated as being not genuinely scientific. "I recall you that mutation is a fact, that natural selection is a fact (indeed a mathematical one), and that evolution is a fact" <- As there are fanatics about several scientific fields, there are them also in creationism, and only these dare to absolutely deny evolution and natural selection. What serious creationism do is to revise the data or reasonings that were used to reach conclusions, and add new researches. They do it *scientifically*, as other ICR articles can also demonstrate. OF COURSE, new trends tend to be resisted by main scholars in any scientific field, but we do not see those being censored with the label of "pseudoscientific" just because of that. So it is important to bear in mind that creationism is NOT a new science, but just new TRENDS in already existing sciences.
"scaping science to discuss these things, why did He give us our reason? Didn't He intend us to use it?" <- I understand we must follow the razor, but not obtusely assuming we can know WHEN some of our economic theorical constructs meets the divine economic standards. Probably, for some good scientists in the past it appeared to be more economical if atoms were just single tiny balls. But, well, God certainly always expect us to use our reason *intelligently*.
"If an existing theory explains some new observation, I see very reasonable (in addition of whatever psycological comfort it may cause) to not go searching for another explanation." <- Sorry, but I don't find this reasonable. An erroneous ideia can be usefull (practical) till someday we find out it was not that fantastic. We should expect for this. Even today (in its first stages) science already expects to be continuously self-correcting.
"Why will asking an additional "why" tend for biased researches?" <- Because of the mentioned psychological law. We tend to try finding answers from our own personal point of view. Scientists have no support in the present stage of the scientific method to help them being not tendentious. If we understand they in fact search according to previous scientific attainments (not personal ones), this would be particularly alike religious that think according to previous dogmatic determinations (not personal ones).
"That's why science cannot study subjective things. They certainly can be studied with rigour by other methods. Not science." <- Well, here the meanings of "objective/subjective" may become confusing. Any study must have an object, what is its subject of study. Psychology studies subjective "things", which are its subject objects. Indeed, what matters here is to accept, or not, subjective subjects as able to be objectively studied... Please excuse me if this is wrong in english.
"Why the obsession with science, anyway? Why not to do research in non-scientific ways?" <- I'm not obsessed, althought you may not intended to say it. But creationsts are obsessed, or at least almost that. I find they WANT it so much because science have been used by skeptics (including secondary teachers) to ADVOCATE against religious truths with relative success, instilling doubts in inocent religious youths that also suffers the influence of the materialistic media (which supports science). Personally I understand it would suffice to teach them (at home/church) HOW science just cannot say anything against religion. But, if they prefer, they have the right to get in science and strive to succeed as well.
"Now science has discovered how many things came to exist. The only thing which remains to scriptures is why (as "by whom") they came to exist." <- As the primitive men experienced the phenomenon of the rain, they certainly observed HOW it comes to happen: by "falling from heavy clouds". That was surely a correct "how" about the rain, and they may have been satisfied with just that. But, obviously, that was not ALL the "how" possible to be known about rain phenomena. Likewise, nowadays most scientists proudly think to totally know "how" many things comes to happen, without even considering that there MAY exist much more to be known in their "how", that might be easily discovered IF they just were a little more humble to search for MORE.
"...despite many many people having had similar experiences, which led them to think you are wrong). Are you Mormon?"<- No, but I could be. I believe (for more unplausible it can appear to be) that all religious traditions are interconected and show different aspects of the same spiritual reality. It is a matter of good will (faith) and much study to find out how apparently imcompatible doctrines are in fact very related.
"If I have good knowledge of indian magic, but pretend to be a medic despite not being one, I will be labeled as a quack."<- Certainly: you would still be labeled as a quack even if you did wonderfull healings. Of course your knowledge, then, even thought much strange, should suffice to grant you an honorifical medical title, despite in fact that could represent a cultural denigration to you.
"Creationism should be classified as pseudo-science because, as all pseudo-sciences, it tries to convince people that it is scientific while not being." <- I hope to have shown why creationism is actualy scientific. Wikipedia article creationism also provide general information about, showing its universality (not just christian), its consequent different quests, how it is criticized even by religious (in what I include myself), and how they have clear scientifical goals. This webpage  also summarizes their scientific standpoints in many areas, all referencing to specific scientifical works.
If even so anyone will still support creationism to be pseudoscientific, I invite him/her to present objective reasons for that, besides just plain personal concerns. --Skytel 04:29, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
- In my experience, the "scientifical works" cited at on this webpage are typical of sources cited by creationists. These sources do not include detailed scientific reports of data that can be subjected to testing and replication by other investigators. By claiming that such collections of sources provide a scientific foundation for creationism, creationists are only continuing their attempts to pass themselves off as practicing science without actually having joined in the scientific process of submitting their data for critical evaluation by other independent observers. --JWSchmidt 17:31, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
- Excuse me, but my experience in this field is exactly the contrary of yours. As we must leave factual support for those consulting this thread, I invite you to show any lack of normal scientific information in the *disponible* works at ICR. But lets put clearly that this discussion is NOT about whether creationism is right or wrong. Any new *scientific* trend can succeed or not. The question here is if creationism posits its standpoints *scientifically*, what I'm absolutely sure it does. --Skytel 17:53, 26 February 2007 (UTC)