# Re: [asa] Undoing the war on science

From: David Clounch <david.clounch@gmail.com>
Date: Thu Dec 04 2008 - 22:03:59 EST

On Fri, Dec 5, 2008 at 10:59 AM, John Walley <john_walley@yahoo.com> wrote:

> Agreed. The scientific method including MN protects all of us by keeping
> distinct what we can know emperically from what we can know by other means.

John,

I think I probably disagree with you here. There is a lot of science that we
know non-empirically.
We know those parts of science from drawing inferences. I suspect that by
"other means" you refer to things we know from outside science altogether.
That would leave only a dichotomy of two parts, when in fact there are more
parts. At least 3 parts: 1) science we know empirically, 2) science we know
non-empirically, 3) non-scientific knowledge.

There's more. Such as (4) what is knowable but unknown. Any given unknown
might fit any of the 3 above.

If MN divides 1&2 then it is just the scientific method. If it divides 2&3
then it is not equivalent to the scientific method per se but is perhaps
something else.

One question might be about origins that fits #3 but it is unknown whether
it is 100% natural or if it is unnatural. #1 doesnt apply. #2 might
apply. Or #3 might apply. But if MN stops us from evaluating the
questions, ie, figuring out how to differentiate between 2 & 3 then it
becomes a barrier to science.

Whats worse, if something is a #4, but could be a #2, but MN prohibits it
from moving to #2, then MN becomes a science stopper.

I have a problem with dividing 2&3 when 3 has nothing whatsoever to do with
God or anything transcendental, but is merely knowledge which is difficult
to frame within science. Perhaps there is a 3A and a 3B, where 3A is all
natural knowledge, and 3B allows or is entangled with belief in something
transcendental. Ok, does MN divide 3A and 3B? If so, then does MN have
anything to do with a division between 1&2 or 2&3A? I'd say no. Others
might differ.

My belief is MN is a firewall between 3A and 3B. That is why to me it is
religion. Only, as George Murphy says, when someone tries to inject God
from 3B to 3A (if I understand him) does MN come into play. But lots of
origins science can be done in the realm of interaction between 1,2,and 3A
without raising *any* questions about God or transcendental belief. Thats
where I think investigations into statistical mechanics (and into tools that
inform us of the differences between apparent design versus real design)
fit. These latter have nothing whatsoever to do with questions about God
until the philosophers and theologians get involved.

But I admit I have only a primitive and rudimentary understanding of these
questions. I am waiting for the Poe's and Plantinga's of the world (to name
a few) to give us better visions.

Best Regards,
David Clounch (ASA member)

> This is no threat to the faith and is still in fact consistent with a
> rational Designer.
>
> Railing against this is the kneejerk reaction. When we as the church get
> this mote out of our eye then we will be more effective at getting the
> vallid specks that you mention below out of the eyes of the atheists.
>
> Schwarzwald is right that the definition of science is in play and that is
> possibly the true war going on, each side is fighting for the imprimatur of
> science to support their non-scientific positions. But tit for tat is not
> productive and no responsible way to engage in this debate. The church has
> while it may be in fact rational and logical, it is not scientific, it is a
> faith position.
>
> Thanks
>
> John
>
>
> --- On Thu, 12/4/08, David Clounch <david.clounch@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > From: David Clounch <david.clounch@gmail.com>
> > Subject: Re: [asa] Undoing the war on science
> > To: john_walley@yahoo.com
> > Cc: asa@calvin.edu, "gordon brown" <Gordon.Brown@colorado.edu>
> > Date: Thursday, December 4, 2008, 4:17 PM
> > I think John is on to something.
> >
> > From the article:
> >
> > "It is an attitude, a stance towards measuring,
> > evaluating and describing
> > the world that is based on skepticism, investigation and
> > evidence."
> >
> > I have found that people who talk about evidence are
> > accused of being
> > creationists merely for talking about evidence as a
> > subject.
> >
> > I have found that skepticism is simply not allowed. It is
> > punished by
> > personal attack.
> > I'm thinking Dean Kenyon (Biochemical PreDestination,
> > SF State, did I get
> > the name right?),
> > Jerry Bergman, Gonzalez. The list gets longer. By
> > punishing them the
> > western secular monolith (and arguably the academy itself)
> > doesn't have to
> > deal with their uncomfortable skepticism and dissent.
> >
> > For example, let me give a personal anecdote. Arthur
> > Strahler,
> > Understanding Science, p 138, discusses quality of
> > hypothesis, and shows a
> > graph from Percy Bridgeman, Harvard professor and Nobel
> > Laureate. Between
> > meetings I showed the graph to a member of the Minnesota
> > Science Standards
> > Committee, Jamie Crannel, and he immediately leaped to the
> > conclusion that
> > the graph is some sort of creationist conspiracy. What is
> > behind that?
> > Could it be *gasp* Politics? Could he have been on the
> > committee because
> > he was on a mission to bash demon creationists? I mean,
> > of course
> > everyone knows that anyone who questions the words of the
> > high priests
> > must by definition be a demon creationist, right? My point
> > is, this was a
> > government policy maker with a background in teaching high
> > school chemistry
> > bashing a graph from a Nobel Laureate. Very
> > disappointing. Maybe he is
> > actually a Bush administration official in disguise?
> >
> > Speaking of evidence, does the article on the horrible
> > Bushies actually
> > establish the connection between high level policy making
> > Bush
> > Administration officals and layers of middle management
> > bureaucrats who
> > broke the arms of all those who allegedly resigned in
> > frustration? What
> > they are claiming might be true or it might not be true,
> > but where did the
> > authors show any evidence to back up their position?
> > Maybe my browser
> > jumped to the wrong web page? I do agree with Olivia on
> > one point.
> > World-View taints everything. It is a legitimate issue.
> > Could it be this
> > is why the scientific method's effect (or side effect)
> > is so important:
> > Elimination of personal biases?
> >
> > Cheers,
> > -Dave C (ASA member)
> >
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 8:53 PM, John Walley
> > <john_walley@yahoo.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Although there is a kneejerk "war on
> > science" reaction from the church,
> > > this reveals that the authors of this article have a
> > war of their own, on
> > > Christian values.
> > >
> > > John
> > >
> > >
> > > --- On Wed, 12/3/08, gordon brown
> > >
> > > > From: gordon brown
> > > > Subject: Re: [asa] Undoing the war on science
> > > > To: asa@calvin.edu
> > > > Date: Wednesday, December 3, 2008, 9:26 PM
> > > > On Wed, 3 Dec 2008, John Burgeson (ASA member)
> > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> > http://judson.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/02/back-to-reality/?th&emc=th
> > > > >
> > > > > is an interesting essay on "the war on
> > > > science."
> > > > >
> > > > > -- Burgy
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > > Although I agree with most of this article, I
> > disagree with
> > > > the assertion that abstinence-only sex education
> > is an
> > > > assault on science. Maybe, as they say, it
> > doesn't work,
> > > > but there is no reason why it must involve
> > denying the facts
> > > > of science.
> > > >
> > > > Gordon Brown (ASA member)
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > To unsubscribe, send a message to
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> > > > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the
> > body of the
> > > > message.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu
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> > the message.
> > >
>
>
>
>

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Received on Thu Dec 4 22:04:49 2008

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