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Posted by Abraham Smith/">Abraham Smith on November 10, 1999 23:21:01 UTC
Dear Mr.xxxxx, I will review what you have written in your letter below. I am also sharing my response with others. As I have stated many times, if anyone does not want future letters, please indicate to me your desire and I will be happy to honor it.
In a message dated 8/31/99 12:10:38 AM Central Daylight Time, xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
I will try to address all your points and clear up my view as best I can. My position is not that only scientists can tell us about reality.
And what part of reality does science not address? Please answer!
> That's a misrepresentation. What I said was that scientists are best suited to decide on the validity of SCIENTIFIC data, hypothesis and theories.
In your opinion, what part of reality lies outside the realm of "SCIENTIFIC data, hypothesis and theories?"
>Reality can be discussed by anyone, philosophers, historians, theologians, etc. I am myself not a scientist but consider it a small interest. Of course everyone is responsible for his opinions, including science.
How do you define science? Is science nature plus nothing? Does science exclude intelligent options as an explanation?
> I do not rely on the authority of the scientist because their viewpoint itself has to be upheld through reason.
How would you define "reason"? To some people, "reason" embraces only naturalism (the philosophy that nature is all there is). My question has been and is, "How does one know that reality(what is real) is restricted to nature plus nothing?" If reality is more than the natural world, then it would be unreasonable to exclude non-natural causes as a beginning point to "reason".
>This is what makes science such a strong field. It is very democratic. Hypothesis are available for peer review and criticism.
I beg to differ with your above conclusion. Most scientist are naturalist and will not consider an intelligent option no matter how strong the evidence is. Evidence for an intelligent cause is strong when natural explanations can be weeded out by the evidence. If one finds a computer on a distant planet, such a person would not restrict their options to how the wind, rain, or other forces and processes of nature could produce such a thing. This is the reason that atheist (and co-discover of the DNA molecule) Francis Crick advocates that life did not originate on this planet. There is abundant evidence that life could not have originated on this planet. There is no evidence of an organic soup. But such a "soup" is indespencible to a naturalistic explanation of the origin of life.
In that most scientist carry the bias that intelligent options must not be considered, their "peer review" is worthless. They will accept anything no matter how rediculous as long as a Higher Intelligence is not involved. I've heard and read where evolutionary scientists have stated that if one were to reject their theories, one must put something in its place. This is so foolish and absurd!!! If evidence is lacking for an idea, let's reserve our opinions until we have an idea that is backed by evidence. It makes no sense to accept an bad idea(one that is not supported by evidence) because you don't have anything better!
>It's true that scientists come along who have alterior motives, who want to prove something for the sake of fame or other selfish reasons. Those proposals, if in fact untrue, are eventually weeded out.
The truth of the matter is that you do not know if it will be weeded out or not. How could you know this? Please tell me! Tell me how many of the theories that are taught today are wrong? Are you confident that there is no theory taught as fact today that will be disproven tomorrow? If not, then how many of these theories exist? You don't know do you? But you must know in order for you to determine what is the "batting average" of scientific correctness!! In fact, you really do not know if some theories weeded out may in fact be found to be correct. What you are doing is expressing your FAITH in naturalistic "science."
I believe that selfish motives are not the only reason that naturalistic scientists miss the mark of reality ( what is real). They are biased against intelligent causes as an explanation for origins. Peer review only means that the review ensures that a non-intelligent option must be accepted. This is done on the basis of bias not science.
>You say that many scientists operate under the assumption that naturalism is all there is. I think this statement is based on your misunderstanding of science. Science only deals with the natural world.
According to who? Why must science be restricted to the natural world. The word "science" is a synonym for knowledge!! Why should knowledge be restricted to natural processes? Having said this, I affirm that natural causes should be accepted where they can. But evolutionary scientists go beyond this to say that the very reason why we have natural laws is because of nature and no more. I contend that we may reasonably infer from the evidence that all the universe is the result of something external to the universe and natural processes. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is powerful evidence that all of the universe is the result of an external source. I now insert a comment of mine to another gentleman who seems to think as you do.
He said, "Why don't you try to prove the existence of God?"
My response to him: ============================================================= That is so easy to do! There are many forms of proofs that show clearly that a Higher Intelligence is needed for the explanation of the origin of the universe and life itself. First, the universe is a closed system as evidence would indicate. There is much order in the universe. If the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is correct, then the universe as a whole should be following it. As a whole we can see order in the universe (disorder too of course). The natural tendency of all things is to go toward disorder. Isaac Asimov was an atheist. But he stated what the 2nd Law is all about." He said, "Another way of stating the second law then is: 'The universe is constantly getting more disorderly.' Viewed that way we can see the second law all about us. We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself, it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily. Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our own bodies in perfect working order; how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out--all by itself--and that is what the second law is all about."
If the natural laws are all we have ever had, and nature in accordance with those laws is leading to the inevitable death and destruction of the universe, how did we get the order in the first place? In addition to this, this planet has been shown on all accounts to be a rare place for conditions suitable for life. So a great test for whether life can arise by chance anywhere would be whether it could or did arise by chance here. But the atheist and co-discoverer of the DNA molecule suggests that life must have originated else where. Why did he do that? Hear him:
"..Nobel Prize winner, biochemist Francis Crick, in his recent book, Life Itself, concedes: 'An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.'"
If Francis Crick is right, then those who believe in a natural origin of life on this planet are either dishonest or are not "armed with all the knowledge available to us now." I'd like to believe that the latter is more the correct answer.
There are so many conditions in order to have a place for life to exist. On a regular basis, scientists are finding out more and more features of this planet necessary for life to exist. The implication is that this would be true else where as well. If Francis Crick is right about life arising naturally being a miracle, then it would be a miracle anywhere. That requires a God. If everything started in the "Big Bang," the explanation of life on this planet or anywhere in the universe would be by intelligent design. And that intelligent Being would necessarily be external to the universe. =============================================================
>That's what science is. It cannot, by definition, deal with anything supernatural. If science were ever to say that the explanation of a phenomenon has to lie in the supernatural realm it would exclude any natural explanations which it is supposed to find. It's reaction to complicated phenomenon has to be to wait for better data down the road.
As I have mentioned before, such a restriction on science is the result of naturalistic bias. You said, "It's reaction to complicated phenomenon has to be to wait for better data down the road." Such a statement in practice means that rediculous theories are accepted with no empirical confirmation. An intelligent option may be established by scientific evidence. That is why Francis Crick contends that life originated else where and was sent here by a higher civilization. His science ruled out a natural explanation leaving only an intelligent choice. Of course his intelligent source is not supernatural. We have evidence for an external Intelligent Source, if evidence indicates that the origin of the universe as a whole was external to it.
>Supernaturalism, by definition, is the unprovable, incomprehensible, etc. (if it were provable, it would be part of the natural world). Science would clash with this world and fall to pieces. Many scientists religious views are therefore irrelevant.
This definition is not one that is necessarily true. As I mentioned above, if a natural explanation can be ruled out by the evidence, then an intelligent option is all that is left. If that intelligent option is for the universe, then a supernatural option has been proven.
> You make it sound as if one scientist is somehow designated to reveal to humanity how something "works" and then to show how it "came to be". Sometimes there are many decades or even centuries between your two categories.
I contend that there is not one scientist who has ever presented any sound evidence for a naturalistic origin of anything!!! No one doubts that scientists show how things works. But all to often, when these scientists are presenting their explanations for how it "came to be," they often clash with the sound evidence of science of how it "works." What is so pitiful about this situation is that many scientist view these mythical explanations as "progress." This is a disservice to science! Actually, It is a shame!!
I agree with Carl Sagan when he said, "Not all scientific statements have equal weight." Because of the millions of observations and experiments, he noted that the first and second laws of thermodynamics, the law of angular momentum, and Newtonian dynamics are on secure ground. Wouldn't it be a shame to pretend that other conclusions(origins' theories) have as much backing (confirming experiments and observations, and virtually no negating evidence) as the above illustrations?
> Uncountable scientists get their say before something is elevated to theory.
It makes no difference if one trillion scientists "get their say," if they are all bound to naturalism, thus biased.
> Furthermore, knowing how something works, happens to often tells us about its origin or vice versa. To use your example about the solar system: There are basic agreements about what the data tells us.
Would you please use my example (the solar system) and tell me how "knowing how something works," has "to often told us about its origin or vice versa?"
>Of course science does not deal in absolutes and scientists will be the first ones to tell you that. Even simple theories such as the one telling us that the earth is round, are not shelved to the "infinitively proven" category. It would automatically reject future data that could tell us otherwise.
There is a great gulf between evidence for the roundness of the earth and origin of the solar system theories. There is no comparison. And what is there about the evidence for the roundness of the earth that suggests something about its origin? I believe that there is an absolute that naturalistic scientist "deal" in. That absolute is that they will not accept an intelligent option to anything even though they are looking for signals of extraterrestrial life. If a higher Intelligence is real, wouldn't it be foolish to make my definition of science such that intelligent sources are excluded from the realm of reality? Is that reason?
> I don't know enough about the origin of our solar system, and how we know it. But I know we can observe similar processes elsewhere and that there is sufficient data to come to a reasonable conclusion, even if only temporary.
Would you please give what processes you are talking about? I don't believe in the slightest that you or any other person has "sufficient data to come to a reasonable conclusion." Please see Cameron, A. G. W. (1988) "Origin of the Solar System," Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 26, 441-472. When you said that you don't "know how we know it," you should have said you don't know "whether" we know it!
>I suspect that scientists often agree on basic principles and disagree on specifics. I don't know why this is a problem for you.
This ought to be a problem for anyone who says that "science deals with facts and religion deals with faith." In making the above statement, you simply affirmed that you are operating on faith like the religionist. If you "knew" what scientist agree upon, you would not have to "suspect."
>>>And will anyone rule out such a possibility because their guiding philosophy tells them that they should not accept the existence of a higher Intelligence?
>>and another to say that no document could be of God.
>On the other hand, if you "know" that God can not be proven to exist, then would you show your evidence for such a conclusion?
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