metaphysics from Re: Phil Johnson

From: bivalve (
Date: Tue Oct 02 2001 - 19:49:31 EDT

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: Not [Re: Phil Johnson]"

    >Do the following beliefs constitute a metaphysical background to the way I do my research?
    >1) A belief in cause and effect in the macroscopic world (geology done on a scale of things visible with an electron microscope and larger, up to and including laboratory chemical analysis of rocks, and field interpretations of outcrops based on lab experiments or real time real world measurements of processses and their results).
    >2) A belief in the rules of deductive logic applied in cases where I believe or know all the variables have been accounted for and therefore only one answer is possible.
    >3) A belief in the rules of inductive logic where I can not eliminate all the variables or possibilities but can show by that some processes did not cause the effect I am seeing and that one or more other could have caused it?
    >It seems to me these are metaphysical assumptions which form the background to my work. But perhaps not; maybe they are something else. I welcome comments from any who have an opinion.<

    Yes, they are metaphysical assumptions. They cannot be tested by your experiments; rather, they form the background to your experiments. Science relies on such assumptions as these. The assumptions (to rephrase):
    1. there is objective reality (questions about creation have right and wrong answers)
    2. we can detect it (observations have some meaning)
    3. it remains reasonably constant (observations are generally replicable)

    underly both science and everyday life. For example, I am currently assuming that my visual and tactile perception of a keyboard, monitor, desk, and chair have some correspondance to real objects and that they will behave in accordance with prior experience.

    These assumptions are readily justified from Genesis 1. If a good, rational, and wise God created everything and gave us responsibility as stewards, we should be able to analyse our environment and manipulate it, with predictable results. If everything just happens to exist, then these are much more difficult to justify, except on the post-hoc reason that they work.

    Philosophies that try to deny objective reality, though often popular, collide with everyday experience. If a deconstructionist tries to argue that words have no objective meaning, he is contradicting himself in his effort to convey the meaning of deconstructionism. Likewise, absolute skepticism (i.e., nothing really exists) is violated by attempting to present the idea. On a more popular level, few want absolutes moral standards for their own behaviour, yet no one wants flexible standards when someone else's behaviour negatively impacts oneself.

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