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The philosophical conception of god in the age of reason and science.

 
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 09:40 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;167920 wrote:
I might have. But I also love a crisp clean equation. I get off on the notion of Turing machines as well. Give me perfect clarity. And also give me the beauty of a woman, to use an example we can all relate to. Does the beauty of a woman on planet Earth reduce to sentences or equations? I think not.


Oh, c'mon. Give me a break! No it doesn't, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. Does the taste of cheese reduce to the taste of curds a whey? No, it doesn't. So now, can we go on. What is this? Lit. 101?
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 09:42 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;167930 wrote:
Oh, c'mon. No it doesn't, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. Does the taste of cheese reduce to the taste of curds a whey? No, it doesn't. So now, can we go on. What is this? Lit. 101?


Hey, I know how simple the idea is. But I think it's significant. We hammer away at questions of god and science forgetting that none of these linguistic/mathematical explanations have much to say, really, about the most important aspects of life. Science can help us achieve certain technical goals. And myth can point toward better values. But life remains life, beneath all these abstractions. Smile
Jebediah
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 09:47 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;167931 wrote:
Hey, I know how simple the idea is. But I think it's significant. We hammer away at questions of god and science forgetting that none of these linguistic/mathematical explanations have much to say, really, about the most important aspects of life. Science can help us achieve certain technical goals. And myth can point toward better values. But life remains life, beneath all these abstractions. Smile


They have something to say, but it is after we have already had raw experience. We can learn a lot by thinking about ethical issues, but we better have seen them in action and felt the emotions. And literature and such can widen our view.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 09:48 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;167931 wrote:
Hey, I know how simple the idea is. But I think it's significant. We hammer away at questions of god and science forgetting that none of these linguistic/mathematical explanations have much to say, really, about the most important aspects of life. Science can help us achieve certain technical goals. And myth can point toward better values. But life remains life, beneath all these abstractions. Smile


Oh baloney! anesthesia when you need surgery is the most important aspect of your life, at least for then. And an antibiotic when your child has a severe infection, is more important than any book. All of us are above the fray until we get into the fray. And understanding and analyzing is at least as important as myths, and for my money, a lot more.
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 09:48 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;167934 wrote:
They have something to say, but it is after we have already had raw experience. We can learn a lot by thinking about ethical issues, but we better have seen them in action and felt the emotions. And literature and such can widen our view.


I agree with all of this. No argument.

---------- Post added 05-23-2010 at 10:54 PM ----------

kennethamy;167935 wrote:
Oh baloney! anesthesia when you need surgery is the most important aspect of your life, at least for then. And an antibiotic when your child has a severe infection, is more important than any book. All of us are above the fray until we get into the fray. And understanding and analyzing is at least as important as myths, and for my money, a lot more.

I'm not saying that technology is unimportant. By the way, your mention of anesthesia is a great example of how something ineffable like pain is hugely important.

The myths have been important for good or evil in the political organization of humans that made science possible in the first place. We have to look at the evolution of mankind, I think. We are naturally poetic creatures, who only with difficulty learned to think in terms of "F =MA." We've only had the "=" for a few centuries. Imaginary numbers were met with suspicion. I love concept and technology. I think computers are perhaps our supreme invention. But myth is the spontaneous creation of the "unconscious" or call it what you will. And myth extends well beyond religion. We have a society enthralled by anorexic celebrities. We have xenophobic nationalisms that encourage us to start wars. Technology gives us power. And myths, religious or secular, for good and evil, steer that power. We can't neglect either one. They are in a relationship. We are creatures of myth and value, and some of our myths are friendlier than others. :Glasses:
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:09 pm
@prothero,
Zetherin;167876 wrote:
See, no matter what rational explanation you give a spiritualist, they will immediately denounce said rational explanation in favor of believing in something which is beyond their intellect.


Well - I don't regard myself as 'a spiritualist', that conjures up images of seances or TV mediums. In fact a sense of the mystery is surely a pre-requisite for any kind of fundamental science. The intellect is a remarkable thing, but even so, there are many things we cannot know, and many are not even terribly remote. We don't know what is going to happen tomorrow; we can predict but you never know. (Last time I had this argument with a guy he thought I was talking through my hat. As it happens, that same afternoon he flew to Taiwan for a conference. The next morning there was an earthquake in Taiwan. I didn't say anything, mind you.)

I don't think the stance of 'what mystery?' denotes anything more than complacency. Any scientist worth his salt is painfully aware of all the things we don't know.

Then there is the whole realm of 'tacit knowledge' which Polanyi documented. A lot of this is also beyond, or prior to, the intellect. In fact if equate 'intellect' simply with 'rational or conscious thought' then the odds are you haven't got one.:bigsmile:
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:15 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;167936 wrote:
I agree with all of this. No argument.

---------- Post added 05-23-2010 at 10:54 PM ----------


I'm not saying that technology is unimportant. By the way, your mention of anesthesia is a great example of how something ineffable like pain is hugely important.



What is ineffable about pain? I can describe my pain to a physician. Not as well, perhaps, as professional wine taste like Robert Parker can describe the taste of his wines, but he has had a hell of a lot of practice at it, and wine tastes have built up quite a rich vocabulary by which to describe the taste of wines. Certainly wine-tasting is not ineffable. If anything, it is too effable.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:24 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;167945 wrote:
What is ineffable about pain? I can describe my pain to a physician. Not as well, perhaps, as professional wine taste like Robert Parker can describe the taste of his wines, but he has had a hell of a lot of practice at it, and wine tastes have built up quite a rich vocabulary by which to describe the taste of wines. Certainly wine-tasting is not ineffable. If anything, it is too effable.


Oh, we can say "it hurts!" Obviously. If a paramedic felt the pain of an accident victim directly, though, s/he might not be able to get the wounded out of the car. As far as wine tasting, I wonder if we would all be happy sharing one glass of wine. The poetic guy could drink it and the rest of us could just listen to his description. It's quite economical, too. We could also stop wasting money on concerts. Let's just read the reviews. No need to fall in love, either. We can just read about it. Smile

---------- Post added 05-23-2010 at 11:28 PM ----------

jeeprs;167943 wrote:
Any scientist worth his salt is painfully aware of all the things we don't know.

I do think this is a great point.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:28 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;167898 wrote:
But what reason is there to think that descriptive laws have a purpose?


Excellent one-paragraph response, by the way.

We now have the scientific power to create artificial life, alter our genetic profile, change the climate, create massive new weapons systems, by our understanding of these descriptive laws. But at the same time, most of the contributors to this forum will deny that there is an objective morality. I see a conflict here. I don't have time to elaborate right now, but I will come back to it.
0 Replies
 
TuringEquivalent
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:32 pm
@prothero,
prothero;120939 wrote:
I submit the concept of god (western monotheism) as originally formulated by the medieval scholastics is not adequate or coherent in an age of science and reason. The traditional, orthodox or classical attributes of god were derived from a fusion of Greek philosophical notions of perfection and Hebrew conceptions of the divine.
From the Greeks we got such attributes as omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence and eternal, changeless and impassive. This was at least partially based on Plato's notions of eternal changeless forms and Aristotle and the conception of the heavens as perfect spheres in circular orbits.
From the Hebrews were derived a personal god, judge, ruler, lawgiver but also a god offering protection and seeking justice and mercy.

The underlying worldview on which this classical notion of god was founded has been dramatically altered in the age of reason and science and yet the classical conception is still the dominant portrayal of god in established western religions.

In the old world view-
- the earth was young
- The species were fixed and specially created
- The earth was the center of the universe
- Man was the crown and purpose of creation.
- The universe was 3 story, heaven, earth and underworld
- Natural events were unexplainable mysteries

In the new world view
- the earth is ancient 4.5 billion yrs and the universe 14 billion years
- species are not fixed and mass extinctions and emergence of new species occurs
- the earth is an ordinary planet around an ordinary star in no special location
- Man is just another and recent species who recently appeared and evolved from lower primates
- The universe is unimaginably vast and there is no location for heaven or hell
- Nature is perceived as operating according to fixed immutable laws and revealed religion and supernatural intervention are largely rejected.

I am interested in altered conceptions of god which do not conflict with the modern worldview. I am primarily interested in philosophical conceptions of god from people who still allow for theism as a rational possibility. Is it possible to formulate a rational philosophical conception of god which does not conflict with experience, reason and science? Remember speculations do not have to be confirmed or even confirmable by science to remain possibilities. This is god as a philosophical speculation or conception not god as a scientific hypothesis.

As a start: I will suggest that god acts through nature and natural process. That nature is inherently self organizing and that order, complexity, life, mind and experience have emerged as part of a divine purpose or divine plan. God is not all powerful but very powerful. The primary divine value is creativity, to bring value from the primordial chaos and the formless void. Creation is an ongoing process not a completed act.




Here is a solution:

The laws of nature is created as an idea in the mind of God that comes law.
The world exist, because of those laws framed mathematically.
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:38 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;167950 wrote:
Oh, we can say "it hurts!" Obviously. If a paramedic felt the pain of an accident victim directly, though, s/he might not be able to get the wounded out of the car. As far as wine tasting, I wonder if we would all be happy sharing one glass of wine. The poetic guy could drink it and the rest of us could just listen to his description. It's quite economical, too. We could also stop wasting money on concerts. Let's just read the reviews. No need to fall in love, either. We can just read about it. Smile

---------- Post added 05-23-2010 at 11:28 PM ----------


.


You just think that something is ineffable because the experience cannot be produced in others by words. If that is what "ineffable" means, then sure. But whoever thought (except for you) that unless the words actually produce the experience you have in others, what you taste or feel is ineffable? Only you. Of course, if you make it impossible for the taste or for the feeling to be effable (by definition) then, presto! It is ineffable. But that is not because it is ineffable. It is because that is how you have defined it. You made it ineffable. "I simply cannot describe it. You had to have been there!" Well, maybe, But maybe not.
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 10:41 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;167956 wrote:
You just think that something is ineffable because the experience cannot be produced in others by words. If that is what "ineffable" means, then sure. But whoever thought (except for you) that unless the words actually produce the experience you have in others, what you taste or feel is ineffable? Only you. Of course, if you make it impossible for the taste or for the feeling to be effable (by definition) then, presto! It is ineffable. But that is not because it is ineffable. It is because that is how you have defined it. You made it ineffable. "I simply cannot describe it. You had to have been there!" Well, maybe, But maybe not.


I didn't make it ineffable. I didn't make myself, or my ability to experience sensation and emotion of every kind, and learn to call this experience "me."
I feel you are dodging something here. Clearly our experience does not consist only of thought, which your post here seems to imply. Life is more than thought. It is also sensation and feeling. No metaphor or equation is even of the same "substance" (I am forced to use some word or other...)
What does an abstract answer, be it scientific, mystical, or literary, have in common with sensation/emotion? Clearly there is a relationship. Human experience is perhaps even the collision of concept (discrete) and sensation/emotion (continuous).

Like I said, it's a simple thought. But indeed, all of our sensation and emotion has an aspect that is ineffable. To "live in the moment" is largely to live with a sensitivity to that which our abstractions cannot communicate. I also mention that envy and hatred are largely related to abstractions. However, I don't want to sidetrack this thread. So we can discuss this in "ineffable."Smile
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 12:43 am
@Reconstructo,
Jebediah;167865 wrote:
Science doesn't explain everything, it's capacity and our capacity for understanding the world is limited. Our ability to figure out the world by reasoning is also very limited. Religion and certain kinds of philosophical thinking attempt to reason about what what we can't know. Why attempt to reason about something that's out of our reach? Why have beliefs about it?


'reasoning about what we can't know' - religious philosophies of various kinds claim to provide a relationship with 'the origin of being' or 'the source of being' or 'The One', or 'The All'. So you seem to be saying that even though we know science doesn't know everything, and that there are limits to what we can know by way of reason, we nevertheless know enough to know that such notions, or indeed the very idea of 'revelation' itself, cannot be trusted.

Do you think that is a valid conclusion?

Incidentally, lovely counter-factual quote from St John of the Cross about the nature of 'mystic rapture' - I put this one in especially for all the science buffs:

Quote:
He who really ascends so high annihilates himself, and all his previous knowledge seems ever less and less; his knowledge so increases that he knows nothing, all science transcending.

This knowing that knows nothing is so potent in its might that the prudent in their reasoning can never defeat it; for their wisdom never reaches to the understanding that understands nothing, all science transcending

This sovereign wisdom is of an excellence so high that no faculty nor science can ever unto it attain. He who shall overcome himself by the knowledge which knows nothing will always rise, all science transcending.

And if you would listen, this sovereign wisdom does consist in a sense profound of the essence of God; it is an act of His compassion, to leave us, nought understanding, all science transcending.


Might put it on a decorative card and mail to R. Dawkins.:bigsmile:

Jebediah;167865 wrote:
We can't predict the future very well, hardly at all. So why believe that our horoscope is meaningful?


Who mentioned astrology?


Jebediah;167865 wrote:
And jeeprs, I still don't understand what you think about the law/lawgivers thing. Descriptive laws don't have a lawgiver, and the laws of nature are descriptive laws.


The argument from 'law' to 'lawgiver' is an example of abductive inference, that is, reasoning from effect to cause. I don't think I will open that particular topic at this point, as it is a very large area of debate in its own right. BUt I think that abductive inference is quite valid, especially in this context.

Jebediah;167865 wrote:
I read a bit in SciAm where they showed that they could eliminate (I think this was it) one of the 4 basic forces of the universe, and by tweaking another the universe could still theoretically exist.


I wonder how you would test that out? Wouldn't you need to create a universe to verify it? Last time I checked, we can't create a cure for the common cold. Why think we could create a universe?:bigsmile:
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 06:59 pm
@MMP2506,
MMP2506;125650 wrote:

I think Augustine said it best: God is radically simple.

This is fascinating. In the O.T., the God-voice says "I am what I am." Right? Now this is tautology. What does tautology suggest? That there's nothing to say.

If a person wanted to, and felt the need to integrate yesterday's theology, they could relate the God-concept to sensation-emotion or qualia. Personally, I don't need the word "God" as it is indeed just a word. And if "God" is radically simple, perhaps "he" doesn't need a name at all. We are all immersed in this same world as individual speaking beings. We can use our inherited language to exchanged abstractions. But under the smoke of our abstractions, the sensual-emotional lies ineffable. And by ineffable I don't mean that we can't call the grass "green" but rather that the greeness of grass (behind the word) is not itself lingual or abstract. There's nothing to say about it because what it is isn't the least bit conceptual, not in itself, although we automatically attach our concepts to it usually. Does this tie in with Heidegger's Being?

---------- Post added 05-24-2010 at 08:04 PM ----------

MMP2506;125650 wrote:

The Father of phenomenology himself, Edmund Husserl, began as a mathematician, then switched to philosophy after he began understanding the power of universals throughout history, and this was as recent as the early 1900s.

Math could very well end up being the most perfect vehicle for the universal truth.


I think math is something like the limit of human abstraction, so it makes sense that it would contribute to this discussion. Also, it's the most efficient language, I think, but it pays for this by limiting that which it treats of. Would you say the essence of math, in this regard, is the absence of metaphor?

I'm quite fascinated by the use of "logos" in the gospel of John. Obviously this seems to come from pre-christian possibly philosophical sources. And obviously it ties in with our modern linguistic obsessions. "Truth is a property of sentences."

One other thing, logos is basically the same "thing" as abstraction. We have a layer of logos in our experience, from which science, philosophy, and religion is made, and a layer of "qualia" which is simply something other than language. I don't have any great proposals as to the meaning of it all. Just opening a dialogue.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 07:06 pm
@prothero,
well you're on the far side of philosophy at this point, heading into the mystical. Mysticism is the direct awareness of the radical simplicity of God. There are not many other mystically-inclined contributors on the Forum.

In keeping with the Augustinian quotation above, the best source within the European (as distinct from Oriental) traditions is undoubtedly Meister Eckhardt. I am pleased to note that he was indeed mystical enough to have been called a heretic by the Catholic Church.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 07:07 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;167958 wrote:
I didn't make it ineffable. I didn't make myself, or my ability to experience sensation and emotion of every kind, and learn to call this experience "me."
I feel you are dodging something here. Clearly our experience does not consist only of thought, which your post here seems to imply. Life is more than thought. It is also sensation and feeling. No metaphor or equation is even of the same "substance" (I am forced to use some word or other...)
What does an abstract answer, be it scientific, mystical, or literary, have in common with sensation/emotion? Clearly there is a relationship. Human experience is perhaps even the collision of concept (discrete) and sensation/emotion (continuous).

Like I said, it's a simple thought. But indeed, all of our sensation and emotion has an aspect that is ineffable. To "live in the moment" is largely to live with a sensitivity to that which our abstractions cannot communicate. I also mention that envy and hatred are largely related to abstractions. However, I don't want to sidetrack this thread. So we can discuss this in "ineffable."Smile


Look, if you arbitrarily erect a standard for effability, and then show that something cannot meet that standard, then, of course, you have shown ineffability.But then, the question is whether your standard is correct. Of ourse, if you stipulate it as correct, than that is what you have done. I have suggested that, for example, how a wine tastes is not ineffable since wine tasters can describe in some detail how a particular wine tastes. If by your particular standard that still does not make the taste of wine effable, then fine. But that is in terms of your particular standard of effability. Wine tasters do not consider the taste of wine ineffable.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 07:08 pm
@prothero,
"Nothing hinders the soul so much in attaining to the knowledge of God as time and place. Therefore, if the soul is to know God, it must know Him outside time and place, since God is neither in this or that, but One and above them. If the soul is to see God, it must look at nothing in time; for while the soul is occupied with time or place or any image of the kind, it cannot recognize God." (Excerpt from sermon: "The Nearness of the Kingdom," translated by Claud Field, Christian Classics Ethereal Library)
0 Replies
 
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 07:16 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168340 wrote:
well you're on the far side of philosophy at this point, heading into the mystical. Mysticism is the direct awareness of the radical simplicity of God. There are not many other mystically-inclined contributors on the Forum.

Even if "mystics" were to sympathize with what I'm speaking of, I personally resist association with the term. In the past, I wouldn't have. But I now see the danger in all abstract wrappings of this sort of thing. Because I'm really just talking about everyday experience, which is the opposite of what many associate with the "mystical."

Don't get wrong. I'm all for a perception of beauty and the valuing of other human beings. But I fear that the adoption of any term with religious associations can only distract from the commonness of what I'm pointing at.

I see your point. And I suspect that the writer of the Tao, for instance, was quite aware of sensation-emotion beneath abstraction. I don't in the least resent your post, of course. I hope you see why I resist association with the term, though. Smile

---------- Post added 05-24-2010 at 08:18 PM ----------

jeeprs;168340 wrote:

In keeping with the Augustinian quotation above, the best source within the European (as distinct from Oriental) traditions is undoubtedly Meister Eckhardt. I am pleased to note that he was indeed mystical enough to have been called a heretic by the Catholic Church.

Great link. Thanks. I've heard something about him, but never closely investigate. I see he was influenced by Nicholas of Cusa, which is interesting...

---------- Post added 05-24-2010 at 08:21 PM ----------

jeeprs;168343 wrote:
"Nothing hinders the soul so much in attaining to the knowledge of God as time and place. Therefore, if the soul is to know God, it must know Him outside time and place, since God is neither in this or that, but One and above them. If the soul is to see God, it must look at nothing in time; for while the soul is occupied with time or place or any image of the kind, it cannot recognize God." (Excerpt from sermon: "The Nearness of the Kingdom," translated by Claud Field, Christian Classics Ethereal Library)


Very nice quote. Perhaps you know that Hegel associated time with concept. He called [qualia, the ineffable] "space" or spatial being, and concept "time." Time/concept/desired future shapes/directs human activity in space. Man is the knife that the Project (time, or the desire concept) uses to cut its shapes into space. Just a metaphor, of course. Now the concept is of course just "logos." And this is another reason that the atheist (in common terms) Hegel could call Christianity the absolute religion. Man is logos incarnate. Or as Hegel calls him: the empirically existing Concept (system of concepts).
0 Replies
 
Jebediah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 07:31 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;167990 wrote:
'reasoning about what we can't know' - religious philosophies of various kinds claim to provide a relationship with 'the origin of being' or 'the source of being' or 'The One', or 'The All'. So you seem to be saying that even though we know science doesn't know everything, and that there are limits to what we can know by way of reason, we nevertheless know enough to know that such notions, or indeed the very idea of 'revelation' itself, cannot be trusted.

Do you think that is a valid conclusion?


What we do know points to them being false. But we have limits on what we know so there is no certainty in concluding that.

Quote:

Who mentioned astrology?
Do you think astrology is false?

Quote:

The argument from 'law' to 'lawgiver' is an example of abductive inference, that is, reasoning from effect to cause. I don't think I will open that particular topic at this point, as it is a very large area of debate in its own right. BUt I think that abductive inference is quite valid, especially in this context.
Is this a fancy way of saying it's a hunch? I don't think it's a real argument.

Quote:
I wonder how you would test that out? Wouldn't you need to create a universe to verify it? Last time I checked, we can't create a cure for the common cold. Why think we could create a universe?:bigsmile:
Now you want to test things? That is your standard?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 10:16 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;168355 wrote:
What we do know points to them being false. But we have limits on what we know so there is no certainty in concluding that.


A lot depends on the way you approach the subject matter, though. To begin with, where are the data? In what discipline would you look for information about the nature of spiritual/religious views of the nature? I don't think it is well represented in modern philosophy. Personally I think comparitive religion, anthropology, and pre-modern and Eastern philosophy are much more fertile sources of information. Such an approach shows some basic presuppositions that are frequently made by moderns in regard to these matters, owing to their specific religious background.

Jebediah;168355 wrote:
Do you think astrology is false?


I have no interest in it, - I was curious as to why you mentioned it. I presume it was because you thought that as I am a spiritual type, it is natural for me to believe it.

Jebediah;168355 wrote:
[re: abductive inference] Is this a fancy way of saying it's a hunch? I don't think it's a real argument.


Quote:
Reasoning from experience and linking cause to effect developed over several centuries and became a recognized scientific method of causal inference. It has been a part of science since the Scientific Revolution..... Over the course of the development of modern experimental science, Western culture learned to rely on sensory experience to gain knowledge about natural phenomena. By following experience scientists learned to infer causes from effects, i.e., to work backward from the character of the effects to the cause.

A cause is that necessary and sufficient condition that alone can give rise to the occurrence of a given event. And it does not matter if the cause is natural or intelligent. In the words of David Hume, who gave a formal analysis of this approach, "From causes which appear similar we expect similar effects." Later in the same book he added, "the same rule holds, whether the cause assigned be brute unconscious matter, or a rational intelligent being."


The inferential methods we usually learn in school are deductive, i.e., inference from the general to the particular, and inductive, i.e., inference from the particular to the general. There has always been a third method of inference, though not clearly described and formally analyzed until the 1870s, this being abductive, i.e., inference from experience. The method of abductive inference is particularly important in the historical sciences, reasoning backward from phenomena to the cause.


...The abductive method gives us a way to approach phenomena and be completely open to either natural or intelligent causes. The assignment of causal category depends on the character of the effects. To illustrate the method, suppose we are detectives investigating someone's death. Is this a case of death by natural causes (accident) or death by design (murder or suicide)? We do not know the answer in advance. We must investigate and find out. If we announced before beginning our investigation that death must have been accidental (natural), others would be justified in objecting that we had illegitimately restricted the field of possible causes.


An important purpose of the investigation is to determine whether this was a case of intelligent cause (murder or suicide) or natural death. We need a method that is open to either possibility. The abductive method of reasoning backward from the effects considers and evaluates various candidate natural and intelligent cause hypotheses, and eliminates those that do not agree with experience. Such openness to the full spectrum of natural and intelligent cause scenarios gives confidence that the abductive inference does yield the best explanation.


Despite the above explanation, some people, especially among scientists, suggest that science may not entertain intelligent causes. This notion is certainly mistaken. The abductive inference is very much at home in modern science. Retrospective causal reasoning is routinely used by NASA scientists as they explore the heavens looking for signs of intelligence in their SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) program. If signals from space conveyed artificial electromagnetic pulses sent in code to give, for example, the first thousand digits in the transcendental number 3.14159..., this would be considered so improbable an occurrence that we concur that intelligence had sent it. If scientists ever receive radio signals that are distinguished from noise and have the indicia of intelligence, we can surely expect a jubilant announcement from Washington.
Source

Jebediah;168355 wrote:
Now you want to test things? That is your standard?


If it is a scientific hypothesis, it should be testable. If it is not testable, how is it a scientific hypothesis? People will entertain all kinds of ideas, such as the multiverse, which are completely untestable, just because it sounds scientific, whereas if it sounds 'religious' they will not even be prepared to consider it, even if there are grounds for it. In other words, many people are quite prepared to believe in aliens, but completely unwilling to accept that there might be other planes of reality which intersect with this one.

Actually there is an amusing illustration of this in a debate between theologian Alister McGrath and Richard Dawkins. Dawkins says, at one point, that he would be actually prepared to entertain the idea of a deity, if it were conceived of as a super-intelligent alien species that were advanced enough to engineer evolutionary processes. He said that he has no evidence that such beings exist, but it is not something he would rule on principle. Whereas God is something he rules out in principle, because (he says) if God exists, he must be infinitely complex, on the grounds that a complicated thing (i.e. living organism) can only be created by a more complicated thing. So he is totally at a loss to understand how theologians can say that God is 'completely simple'. And therefore, they must be wrong. (I think I have represented his reasoning OK here.)
 

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The Book Of Revelations - Debunked - Question by mark noble
The Trinity (a discussion) - Discussion by Smileyrius
Are you sane? - Question by Looking4Truth
Jesus, what did he really say? - Discussion by Sins Of The Wicked
Is free-will an illusion? - Question by MoralPhilosopher23
Questions for those of faith - Question by MoralPhilosopher23
coincidences - Discussion by mikeymojo
 
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