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Posted by Mario Dovalina on May 1, 2002 05:54:50 UTC

Look, Harv, I do understand what the basis of your argument is. I do, and I agree with you. I don't, however, agree with your conclusions. I've previously admitted that science is incomplete and will never give us the whole picture. We will never know any truth statements for sure. That seems to be your major point, but you take it too far. You take it to mean that since all human knowledge rests on incomplete and uncertain foundations, and since we can never know anything for sure, we might as well believe in something pleasant. Have I summed this up well? (and in less than 40 paragraphs) In order for your statement to be valid, however, you would have to add in the notion that all possible realities are equally probable, or else you would have to admit that the evidence discovered to support a certain theory increases the possibility of it being "closer" to the ultimate truth. (which is more probable: that the universe's shape is spherical or cuboidal?)

If you say that some ideas are more valid than others, it more or less means that our flawed human investigations can steer us in the right direction. In which case, evidential investigation is superior to non-evidential. Do you agree, and why the heck not? Don't you think that the fact that we have nuclear reactors suggests that we're at least in the right ballpark with atomic theory? We may never find out any truth statements, but we can find out the probable general direction of where they are. It's an asymptote.

So harv, do you consider all possible realities to be equal in probability or not? I need to know for this discussion to go much further.

A scientist is talking about use statements that are justified as a pragmatic (instrumental) practice. A theologian is talking about truth statements which is an entirely different issue.

Yes. I'm saying that looking for "truth" statements is a hopeless endeavor. The best we can hope for is to ESTIMATE truth using the reliability of the use statements.

Science can't discuss truth statements since nothing can tell us if something is true or not, we can only infer whether we agree with a truth statement based on the pragmatic success of certain use statements. The use statements, however, are ultimately based on some truth statements since we must accept some things as true in order for those statements to be useable.

Okay, so science isn't perfect. I haven't meant to say otherwise. Regardless, it's the best we have. Deducting the truth answers through the use answers we currently have may be somewhat inaccurate. Especially since, as you said, use statements rely on certain truth statements to function. Still, if any evidence contradicts the truth statement foundations, they will be modified to fit the new data. And then we're a step closer. The system may not be perfect, but it's a far cry from your suggestion to play pin the tail on the donkey.

***never once have I said that God doesn't exist.***

Your words have already betrayed you.

All I say is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Don't make me pull out the dragon in the garage thing again.

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