Debate (Do the findings of science entail that Christianity is false?): John’s second rebuttal.

Debate (Do the findings of science entail that Christianity is false?): John’s second rebuttal. December 8, 2014

Here is John’s second rebuttal.  Closing rounds up next.

My opening.
John’s opening.
My first rebuttal.
John’s first rebuttal.
My second rebuttal.

JT says ‘This is how things “can be proven false” in terms of scientific falsifiability and John does nothing to explain why false, by scientific standards, should work any other way.’    I’m not offering any prescription on how science should work.  I am just showing that your falsifiability criterion is clearly inadequate and I am asking you to show how to use it.

JT’s attempt to get out of his “self-contradiction” fails.  The way JT chooses to shoot down the deduction showing that his argument is self-contradictory, is by taking issue with step 3 “The findings of science are false.”  What an odd point of attack for somebody who believes that science is falsifiable.  OK.  Let’s start by admitting “the findings of science” is a general, vague term.  That said, since JT contends science is falsifiable, and even scientific hypotheses are falsifiable, I saw no reason to exclude “the findings of science” from being falsifiable.

Indeed history is replete with examples of “the findings of science” being false.  I already gave a bunch of examples.  Since I was unsure about how many scientists would need to concur, I gave the “discovery” of Vulcan.  Since I was unclear about what counts for sufficient grounds for verification, I suggested the “discovery” of Phlogiston.  I also offered the evidence for the Earth being stationary (that was held by the majority of the scientific community for a few hundred years.)   I could also offer Newton’s findings proving an absolute infinite space (that was also held by the scientific community for a few hundred years.  It’s funny that the belief in an infinite space conflicts with measurements of Mercury’s perihelion but it does.)  We will examine the current conflict between Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle and General Relativity later and see something has to give.

If science is falsifiable, and that is JT’s belief (I am agnostic about that) why shouldn’t there be “false findings” in science now?  Surely science has not just changed it stripes?  JT says science is falsifiable, but every time there is a refuting instance cited he has faith that science will resolve the anomaly.  The laws of science as JT depicts them are certainly tenacious in the face of conflict.

Wow JT.  No need for a multimedia show.  I never said the isotropy problem is a refuting instance.  I, like many other Christians, accept, believe, have no issue with, “the Big Bang.” I said “You might dislike my citing the isotropy problem (aka the horizon problem) as a legitimate problem for the ‘big bang’ scenario, but it is.   Here, look at it yourself:  If it’s not a difficulty, why would Alan Guth waste his energy trying to solve it?    If it is a difficulty, what makes it not a falsifiable instance?  The uniformity of background radiation is contrary to the expected result.   JT – please explain the difference between such unexpected problems and falsifying instances.  If you can’t, and you have not so far, then your criterion establishes the uniformity of background radiation as a falsifying instance for a big bang scenario.”   It is interesting that Guth is working on an inflationary model to resolve the anomaly rather than considering the theory “falsified”.

All I called the isotropy problem, big surprise, is a problem.   I was asking for the difference between problems (anomalies) in science  and  falsifying instances.  You haven’t yet explained the difference.

I, like everyone else, find the discovery of Gravitational Waves incredibly exciting.  If the discovery of “Gravitational Waves” is confirmed, the inflation scenario will have been verified.  Still, it looks like you – JT – are jumping the gun a little bit.  Surely the scientific process (as oppose to faith in Jesus, which is religious not scientific) will actually confirm the results and/or corroborate the results before accepting the results. Hence inflation has not yet provided the key to resolving the isotropy problem but perhaps we are in the process of doing so.   It very well looks like it will, but the let scientific process work first.

Anyway JT’s way to dismiss the supernatural, is by pointing out that it conflicts with well- established scientific findings.  It needs to be proven that there is nothing which has or can intervene with the operation of the natural world.  In other words, as will soon be explained, JT needs to show that we live in a “closed” universe.  Twentieth century atheist philosopher JL Mackie noted “What we want to do here is to contrast the order of nature with a possible divine or supernatural intervention. The laws of nature, we must say, describe the ways in which the world—including, of course, human beings—works when left to itself, when not interfered with. A miracle occurs when the world is not left to itself, when something distinct from the natural order as a whole intrudes into it.”  So, to follows Mackie’s line of reasoning, there are two beliefs about what type of universe that we live in:  We could live in a closed universe, where the laws of science would handle and sufficiently determine any and all occurrences (no interference,) or we could live in an open universe, where the laws of science would not handle and sufficiently determine any and all occurrences.

You can be an atheist and believe in an open universe.  It is logically possible, for instance, for an atheist to believe that he can think (a mental event) his heart into beating faster (a physical event.)  Somebody who believes in a closed universe – atheist or whatever – believes that only natural physical events (say agitated c-fibers) can cause a heart to beat faster.  The point of this example is not to persuade you whether or not we live in an open or closed universe, just that debate about whether or not we live in an open or closed universe is a distinct problem from whether or not a deity (or deities) exist.

Let’s take a quick look at quote where JT is assuming a closed universe; “This experiment is run every time a grown man goes for a swim, and in every instance the bible’s claim has been proven scientifically false.  You’re the one saying that the experiment misses a particular variable, but you offer no evidence for this variable’s existence (instead, you label it supernatural, a type of thing that cannot be scientifically useful even if it were out there somewhere).  And you have no evidence that your experiment showing a different outcome was ever run.” Most (although there are always a few crazy ones) who accept the occurrence of a miracle are not saying that a physical law, such as the law of buoyancy, is false.  The law is accepted but something intervened.

There were witnesses to an event.  That normally counts for evidence.  In a closed universe, it simply is  not possible to observe something that runs contrary to a natural law.  It looks as though JT’s options are for him to either consider the natural law falsified by witnesses (but he’s not going to do that, nor should he), believe that there is a scientific explanation for the observations (but then he’d be asserting even more since he would have to argue for the explanation),  believe we live in an open universe after all, or he may choose to dismiss the observations, and dismiss there non-scientific explanations, since he believes science explains all in a closed universe.

Is the event repeatable?  Clearly not.  Were it repeatable it would be lawlike.  Are only lawlike occurrences possible?  Well, clearly JT thinks so.  The point is that if you, JT, want to demand only physical laws can explain physical events then the onus is on you to show that we live in a closed universe.  And you have not done that.

Here’s the thing JT.  I can offer witnesses and testimony to back up the miracles of Jesus.  At the end of it all, all you can offer is a metaphysical principle since physical laws were not in dispute.

JT says about the conflict between Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and General Relativity; “The apparent contradiction is not due to a conflict in the findings of science, as John would have us believe, but rather to our lack of information.”  Isn’t that cute.  Due to his faith in a closed universe, due to his belief that any and all problems in science will be resolved, JT has decided a priori where the fault lies.

Recall a conflict that was illustrated between Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and Einstein’s equations of General Relativity.  By fiat JT solves the difficulty of scale between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics; “We don’t yet know which of these QG [Quantum Gravity] theories are correct, but it is reasonable one say the conflict has been definitively resolved.”  It has?  Huh?

Has any Quantum Gravity theory been verified yet? No?  Then a not yet existent Quantum Gravity theory is simply not in any position to resolve a conflict.  The conflict again:

According to General Relativity:  A singularity in a black hole would have a 0 radius.  That may, or may not, be true.  We don’t know.  A measurement has not been performed.

According to Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty: A singularity in a black hole would have a radius 10-73m.

Both predictions might be wrong, but both predictions cannot be right. And deciding that General Relativity, or Heisenberg’s principle, is simply wrong before any measurement is simply unscientific.

“The findings of science” have to be final, coherent, and no longer open to revision, in order to entail that Christianity is false.  The reason that the findings of science must be final, coherent, and no longer open to revision in order for the findings of science entail Christianity is false can be illustrated in a simple syllogism using the law of modus tollens.

1)      In order for something to be refute anything as false, that something must be established to be true (eg final, coherent, and no longer open to revision.)

2)      The findings of science, as would follow from the progressive nature of science, is open to revision, and are not established as true.

3)      Therefore, by modus tollens, the findings of science do not show Christianity to be false.

Considering it has not be shown that we live in a closed universe, it is not fair to conclude that the findings of science have refuted Christianity.

Considering science has conflicts, changes, revisions, the findings of science cannot show that Christianity is false.

Considering JT’s argument is self-contradictory, he is not any position to argue that the findings of science show that Christianity is false.

Perhaps JT should have been working on an argument to prove that we are in a closed universe, rather than wasting his time playing some hallucinated game of wac-a-mole.

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