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Scientists are BAFFLED!

Dan Phillips had a blog post about some recent news and events that have completely baffled scientists. I haven’t read the articles (yet). Dan’s comments are worth a look, however.

But you say, they proceed empirically, by experimentation. Correct — experiments resting on mountains of unproven and unprovable assumptions. The whole notion of “experimentation” assumes a continuity to the universe that they have no right to assume, on their premises. Do a test, and X occurs. What have you proven? That X occurred once. Repeat the test 300 times, and X occurs each time. What have you proven? That X occurred 300 times. Nothing more, nothing less.

Further, you don’t really know what caused X to occur. The whole notion of causation is itself an assumption, unproven and unprovable.

Scientists can only ever have confidence that something will happen a certain way, but they can never really know for certain.

I think that the difference between the scientist and the Christian is that we at least accept that it is not our place to know everything.

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About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on May 19, 2010, in Science. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. “Correct — experiments resting on mountains of unproven and unprovable assumptions.”

    That’s absolutely true. But the assumptions of scientists are usually universally deemed reasonable. Like that two parallel lines will never meet. These assumptions have often been made, independently, all around the world. Think about Maya astronomers vs European astronomers. They shared some scientific discoveries, but absolutely nothing in their faiths. I’m not sure religion can claim to have such universality.

    “Do a test, and X occurs. What have you proven? That X occurred once. Repeat the test 300 times, and X occurs each time. What have you proven? That X occurred 300 times. Nothing more, nothing No one is denying that. All that we are claiming is that X is more likely to occur again since it has occurred so often. The underlying assumption is “what you will observe will not be out of the ordinary, will be what usually happens”.

    Isn’t that a reasonable assumption? I claim that it is also universally accepted. If you are in some location during 5 years and it hasn’t rained even once, you will expect it not to rain in the coming year. It’s not a far-fetched conclusion.

    “Further, you don’t really know what caused X to occur. The whole notion of causation is itself an assumption, unproven and unprovable.”

    Scientists know that. They sometimes conduct test to rule out possible correlations. They never believe what they have come up with is perfect, always accept that one day they may be proven wrong (Richard Dawkins thinks he will be wrong mostly on scientific issues, though not too much on moral issues). In my class, a professor told us (we had an experimental (observational) assignment) that at the end of the day we would never be able to prove our theories.

    “I think that the difference between the scientist and the Christian is that we at least accept that it is not our place to know everything.”

    In what way is that true? Which group believes things without evidence, on faith? Scientists will never claim something without evidence. Take the origin of life as an example. There are theories, no assertions amongst scientist. But Christians have it all figured out, “God did it”. I’m an agnostic (and most scientists are, Richard Dawkins only calls himself an atheist because he thinks “agnostic” sounds like “50-50 probability”), I’ll be the first to say that you may be right about everything. But there is no evidence to support your claims, for instance that the Bible is a book written by God. Which group refuses to admit: “we don’t know, let’s do further research”? I think it’s ok to criticize scientists, they criticize themselves. But religious people are the ones who believe they know everything, not scientists. What religious people admit they do not know, they say is “in God’s hands”, or “a mystery”, sometimes discouraging any searching.

  2. Scientists are baffled by lots of things. If we knew everything there wouldn’t be any science to do. This state of affairs is not some kinda of haha-gotcha against science!

    “The whole notion of “experimentation” assumes a continuity to the universe that they have no right to assume, on their premises. ”

    Well on some rather remote philosophical level, the issue of inductive reasoning remains unsolved, sure. But if an apple falls towards the ground 300 times, are you going to take seriously the notion that the next one will launch into low earth orbit? It’s a perfectly good assumption to go on that further apples will fall.

    Those who understand science know the conclusions reached are provisional. We can live with whatever kind of Capital T Truth certainty we might be lacking.
    .

  3. “I think that the difference between the scientist and the Christian is that we at least accept that it is not our place to know everything.”

    I just thought of a better answer. Why don’t I come up with them on the spot?:

    I would correct your sentence to:

    “I think that the difference between the scientist and the Christian is that we at least accept that it is not our place to know ANYTHING.” Hahahaha!!! God knows it for us!!!

    I’m just joking, I know most Christians don’t believe that, though some do.

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