Friday, June 04, 2010

Campus Discourse Not Open and Free

If science is such a preferred way of doing things, why must it quash debate.  Global warming is decided.  Evolution is decided.  Can't discuss supernatural unless it is a natural kind of supernatural (other universes, other species from other planets.)  Opinions contrary to the current liberal and scientific politically correct way of thinking is booed and hissed and threatened with violence.  The haters of today are primarily unbelievers who hate believers or those who disagree with them and desire to shut them up.  Very likely much of this hate derives from the fear of the unknown, since they may be like my neighbor, who says I'm the only conservative he knows.

Not to say that there have never been haters or bigots in religious circles.  But you would have us believe that science is perfecting man.  Seems like the pride factor is creating a new kind of monster. 


Bernardo said...

Science assumes naturalism.

If you don't assume naturalism, you're not doing science. What you're doing might not be wrong, it might even be useful... but it's not science. Science got where it got because it kicked the supernatural out. And now science has to defend the fort.

That's why creationism has to be kept out of scientific forums: Because it ISN'T science.

This isn't about shutting anybody up. It's just about restrictive the kind of discourse that happens on a certain kind of platform. Everyone is free to create their own platform and say whatever they want, and I value that.

If a university wants to start a department to investigate creationism, or if someone wants to start a journal to publish papers about it, then hey, have at it. But if you call it "science", then real scientists will say that you don't know what "science" is, and they will be correct.

The core claim of creationism is that "no causal naturalistic model could explain this and this". The goal of science is to create causal naturalistic models to explain everything. Therefore, science and creationism (or any other belief that claims "spirits did it") are fundamentally at odds with each other.

I mean, what if I created an "ism" that claimed that you CAN'T KNOW whether neutrinos have mass. Let's call it "A-neutrino-gnosticism". Proponents of aneutrinognosticism say that scientists are arrogant for thinking they can naturalistically model anything. Proponents of aneutrinognosticism say that the spirits behind the behavior of neutrinos are not measurable, fundamentally unknowable, and unpredictable: There's no way that causal naturalistic mechanisms could explain the behavior of neutrinos! It would be impossible to present a paper at a physics conference with the premise "There's no way that causal naturalistic mechanisms could explain the behavior of neutrinos". This is not because the physicists are "censoring" you or trying to shut you up. It's because such a premise assumes that the whole mission of physics research is a hopeless one - and it assumes this for no good reason, just because "I like believing in spirits, and I want the spirits that I believe in to have some kind of influence in the universe".

Similarly, try to present a paper at a conference, or to get a research grant, to investigate the possibility that AIDS is caused not by HIV but by unpredictable, unknowable, undetectable spirits. I mean, CLEARLY scientists don't understand the disease, otherwise we would have cured it by now, right? So it can only be supernatural spirits! Would you really blame doctors and biologists for keeping you out of their forums?

There are many many many questions in science that are not settled. Many many people are employed full-time all over the world, by universities and companies and other organizations, to try and find answers... and then to publish and present those answers so that other scientists can criticize and debate them. Sure, people are human and they have biases, so a better answer sometimes takes a while to catch on, but this peer-review process is all about the fact that things are not "settled", about how people need to debate in order for a better answer to emerge.

It's just that when you walk in claiming "Your whole naturalistic enterprise is hopeless. Who wants to debate me on that?", you're not going to get a lot of takers. Especially given all the technologies we got from assuming naturalism.

Randy Kirk said...

When science was created (by Christians seeking to know more about the nature of God) Supernatural activity was not defined out of the pursuit of knowledge. There truly is not reason to define science in this way other than to fit the preconceived notion of those who don't believe.

The passionate effort to keep creationism or other supernatural thinking out of the classroom and the lab is indicative of an understanding by those who are so impassioned that if God must be inserted as creating stuff or controlling stuff or involving himself in the affairs of earth and the universe, then the atheistic account of things fails. Kind of like when those in power over the centuries have tried to destroy books or people who thought differently.