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Creationism and other doctrines. Was Mindforth

Bruce Rennie bruce.rennie at shell.com.au
Thu Dec 19 17:19:57 EST 2002

alex_mcd at btopenworld.com (Alex McDonald) wrote in message news:<b57b10b6.0212190531.194af1be at posting.google.com>...
> bruce.rennie at shell.com.au (Bruce Rennie) wrote in message news:<8d821729.0212181906.84bfe68 at posting.google.com>...
> > "Alex McDonald" <alex_mcd at btopenworld.com> wrote in message news:<atqt4c$i9l$1 at knossos.btinternet.com>...
> > > 
> > > The laws of physics appear to be the same whereever we look in the
> > 
> > An act of faith is expressed in this statement, as we are unable to go
> > there and make tests. We are not able to acertain that other effects
> > are taking place that hide what is going on. Any assumptions are
> > matters of faith.
> You confuse testing locally and applying globally. We do not need to
> "go there" to demonstrate:
> . ice on Mars
> . oxygen, carbon, iron etc in the bodies of stars
> In general, theories that are verifiable locally appear to apply
> globally. This does not require faith. It is the way things appear.
> What assumptions are being made?

My point is that an assumption is made that what is verifiable locally
is applied globally. It has not been proven true in each and every
case but is assumed. And for many people that assumption is not
questioned ever. This is the act of faith.

> > > But for black holes, this is not true. We know, for instance, the mass, the
> > > spin and the entropy inside a black hole -- without looking inside. And some
> > > testable theories (presently untestable give the limitations of technology,
> > > but as they are testable they are scientific) claim that physical law is the
> > > same inside a black hole as outside, right up to the point of the
> > > singularity where quantum gravity takes over.
> > 
> > An interesting statement, testable and untestable. Again an assumption
> > is being made as to the testability of something. If we can't test it,
> > it is not testable. 
> If the last sentence here paraphrases what you think I said, then I
> disagree. I didn't say that.
> > If we create a test but can't perform the test,
> > does this make it science or faith.
> Scientific speculation. Science, in fact, because that's it's nature.

Speculation is not the problem. It only when speculation becomes the
prevailing belief and is treated as truth that the problem arises.
> I propose statement "A". "A" requires to pass at least the following
> test: is it falsifiable? If it is not falsifiable, then statement "A"
> is not scientific. However, it may be falsifiable at some point in the
> future. Right now, we may wish to call it scientific speculation, but
> it is not an absolute article of faith. We do not believe it to be
> absolutely true. (I believe this may not be true of mathematics, where
> axioms "define" the "truth", but I'm sure someone will correct me if
> I'm wrong.)

I don't have a problem with the above. This is what I was taught as
creating a hypothesis - an integral part of the scientific method.

> However, statement "A" may be very helpful in expanding our
> understanding, and we may use it (have a degree of faith in it, if you
> like) if it appears to correctly predict what has previously been
> unexplained.
> The following examples might help.
> 1. "Newton's theory of gravitation is correct". A scientific
> statement; falsifiable (and false).
> 2. "Einstein's theory of gravitation is correct." A scientific
> statement; potentially falsifiable (and not yet falsified, although
> there are situations where it's recognised it doesn't apply).
> And that is about as good as it gets. Scientific theories come and go,
> but that's in the nature of science. We understand that theory X is
> the best we've got; then someone shows that it doesn't work under
> circumstance Y. And so we move on.
> We still use Netwon's description of gravitation when we sling
> satellites around distant planets. It's not "absolutely true", but
> it's true enough in this case.
> But Newton's theories can't explain the bending of light accurately --
> Einstein's do. And so far, relativity is as good as it gets. It's not
> "absolutely true" either, as it doesn't appear to apply down inside
> black holes, or at the beginning of time.

Again the above is part and parcel of the scientific method.

> But I can't follow you to the next step. 
> 3. "Therefore, because it is inexplicable, there is a God". Not a
> scientific statement; not falsifiable.

Agreed the above statement is not science but it is a philosophical
viewpoint and as such is outside the realms of the scientific method.

For me many explicable things demonstrate that there is GOD. That is
not scientific nor would I expect it to be - it is a personal
experiential view of the universe and life. As such it does fall in
the realm of faith - by whatever narrow or broad definition you want
to use.

Science has not and as far as I know cannot deal with many areas such
as Love, Family, Self-Sacrifice, Greed, Sin, War, Hate, Joy, Peace,

> That is truly an act of faith.
> ---
> Regards
> Alex McDonald

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