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Posted by Harvey on May 3, 2002 02:58:09 UTC


***H: Faith would be that inductive reasoning is sufficient to solve a problem. You have reason to accept inductive reasoning, but this is reasoning pragmatic reasoning that doesn't establish that your predictions are true or even close to being true.......Well, we can throw out induction as unreliable (thus, destroying science), however this would be contrary to reason. We know the usefulness (pragmatic value) of induction, but we cannot show that this gives us truth or even approximate truth. M: No, I don't agree. I don't understand why making the admission that induction is unreliable would destroy science. All it would do is admit that the answers science recieves are not absolute, which most everyone already knows. As I said before, science DOES make some assumptions about the universe, but ADMITS that they are assumptions. The religiously faithful do not. If you can propose a better or more reliable system that our current science in divining the nature of the universe I'd be glad to hear it. Your argument seems to be "Well, science isn't perfect, and neither is faith, so they're even in validity" and I can't buy that.***

Well, how do you feel if someone says that you cannot justify any inductive argument, especially scientific assertions? Does that bode well for science? It is like going before a jury in court to convict a criminal of a crime and saying to the jury "if we assume this man is guilty, then we can convict him, and since we assume this man is guilty, therefore you should convict him". But, this is exactly what you wish to prove, that the man is guilty. You cannot go to the jury and ask them to assume guilt. In the case of science, you cannot assume scientific conclusions (near or approximate truth) without showing that this is exactly what you are providing. If you assume that with your core beliefs that you are providing approximate truths, then why isn't the theist allowed to assume that their core beliefs that they are providing truth? Is it only because science assumes it is providing approximate truth instead of absolute truth? But, why can you assume approximate truth in the first place? Approximate truth must have some guage of truth to know that it is only approximate. It is like saying that a swimming pool is approximately 12 feet deep, without knowing what you mean by 12 feet deep water. Without a successful justification of these core beliefs of science (e.g., induction), we simply have to assume on faith that science's core assumptions in the end provide approximate truth. On the other hand, what prevents from assuming the opposite - that science's core assumptions in end provide approximate errors to problems? Faith is that which takes us over the hurdle of justification and simply takes it for granted that our core assumptions are just (e.g., belief in induction, belief in our belief in a valid explanation, belief in God).

***I would suggest that the approach that minimizes the number of unjustified base truth statements would tend more in the right direction.***

And, this is suggestion is based on what? It is based on our pragmatic experience that limiting our assumptions is being more cautious. This is what makes our interaction with the world more meaningful to our senses. Again, this is all that theism tries to accomplish. It wants to make the world as meaningful as possible by accepting as few assumptions as possible. In any case, we should be careful since simply limiting our assumptions is not the most important criteria. We could quite easily limit our assumptions by denying an external world, but that would be sacrificing a great deal of meaning in terms of our interaction of the world. Since we are trying to make the world more meaningful by our assumptions, our first goal is to make the world meaningful. The second goal is to reduce the number of assumptions to accomplish the first goal since this optimizes our meaning which also jives with our experiences.

***H: [core assumptions of [scientific method]]: Induction, inference to the best explanation, definition of an explanation, unobservables as inferred, unobservables as constructed, Occam's razor, naturalistic approach, operationalism, H-D method, causation, criteria of a good theory, etc, etc. M: That's a pretty good list. Although, try as I might, I am incapable of envisioning a universe in which these principles do not hold in at least providing an estimation. Can you?***

Funny, a number of those concepts are very controversial and even denied by philosophers and scientists down through the years. For example, David Hume denied key aspects of the common conception of cause, induction, criteria of a good theory, etc. There is very little agreement on most of the items on that list. Operationalism, for example, is almost completely rejected.

So, you see, Mario. It isn't all that simple when you take a look at this 'scientific fundamentalism' that you are preaching. It looks good to many in the free literature that is passed out, but once you invite the scientific 'JW' into the house, you see the severe holes in the fundamentalist argument. I like religion, but I have my own, thank you very much. At this point you often see them scrape the dust off their feet as they leave your property. Oh well, life goes on. I guess they will just go to the neighbor's house across the way.

Warm regards, Harv

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