Thursday, November 3, 2011

Theologian Attempts Censorship After Losing Public Debate

No, the scientific answer is to definitely not assume the existence of a creator.

You're confusing "scientific" with "ontologically consistent". It is not scientific to posit any entity which is neither observed directly nor necessary to explain observed behaviour, and it is not unscientific to posit that such an entity does not exist on the basis of parsimony.

It's perfectly scientific to say there is not a mirror universe Earth which is totally inaccessible from our Earth which is currently the exact same as here except that Obama has a goatee, even though there is no evidence and there cannot be any evidence. Don't get caught up in the fact that the statement appears absolute. Consider a case where there can eventually be evidence: it's also possible that the first monkey given a typewriter after 2127 will produce the complete works of Shakespeare on that typewriter, but it's perfectly scientific to say that monkey will not, even though you can say that technically this is possible and you can argue that we won't really know until 2127 at the earliest.

Likewise, there could be a creator, but until you come up with any evidence then no is a valid scientific answer. "Maybe" is also somewhat valid, but only in an extremely unuseful sense, like "maybe Stonehenge was build by leprechauns, which left the world 300 years ago and erased all evidence of their existence save for their legends and stonehenge" or "maybe the universe was created last tuesday with our memories intact" or "maybe the entirety of modern history was an extreme random anomaly that appeared consistent by sheer chance, and we'll start getting more probable results now, basically resetting modern physics to square 1 (if we don't abandon it entirely)". The scientific answer to those is, no, that didn't happen, until and unless you give a good reason for these hypotheses.

I also don't give a shit whether somebody believes so long as they don't hurt anybody else, and I'm not going to try to "convert" them to atheism or anything, but you cannot usefully claim that science is neutral here. If somebody believes in god, fine. You don't have to go and drag science into it and try to claim that the belief is scientifically valid. Everybody is wrong about some things, so if you disagree, leave it at that. Science doesn't have a lot to do with why you believe a lot of other things either, eg. which book you believe is most entertaining (well, unless it's a science textbook...).

Honestly, you're pushing agnosticism pretty hard here, which seems a little contrary to your thing about pushing beliefs on other people.

Ontologically, I would agree that *any* reasonable person is strictly agnostic in the semi-useless sense that we're talking about. It's pretty much my definition of a reasonable, non-fundamentalist person, whether theist or atheist. That doesn't mean they haven't also taken a position, theist or atheist, and I that very few people truly, truly have not to at least some extent. And that doesn't mean it's scientific to entertain the positive and negative notions equally.


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