Tom Gilson

Because “Because God said so” could be the answer for everything…

When Doug wrote this on the Discover Magazine blog, the magazine thought it was good enough to warrant printing it in their December issue:

“Because God said so” could be the answer for everything. While [sic] go to school anyway? Just teach our kids that phrase. No need to go to medical school, no need to study economics. Everything is because “God wants it that way,” so don’t bother thinking, questioning, challenging.

The problem with “because God said so” seems to be this: that if one can resort to it as an answer, then one no longer needs to think about interesting or difficult issues. One already has the answer. The better way instead is to continue thinking, questioning, challenging.

As one who believes in God as the ultimate explanation behind all other explanations, I find this ironic. Here’s why. First, it is highly, shall I say entirely, theoretical. It pays very little (shall I say none at all) attention to empirical reality. It’s the answer that “could be” the answer for everything. Is there any evidence that anybody in the history of the earth has actually taken it to be the answer for everything? Is there any evidence that this theory is borne out in reality; that people who believe God is the explanation behind all other explanations are any less curious about the way the physical world works?

The list of theists in science is enormously long. These are men and women who did not stop “thinking, questioning, challenging” on account of having “God said so” as part of their mental furniture. The list includes Bacon, Newton, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Boyle, Kelvin, van Leeuwenhoek, Faraday, Maxwell, Cuvier, Gregor Mendel, Gingerich, Collins, and many more.

On this, Doug (and by extension, the magazine that highlighted his comment) is long on theory and short on empirical evidence. It seems as if a theoretical pronouncement is enough to cut short any real investigation into the matter. Let’s phrase it this way. Is it wise or unwise for science to recognize even the possibility of a God? Doug would say no. Here’s why. It’s Because ‘”Because God said so’ could be the answer for everything.”

There are too many becauses there, though, so it’s a bit confusing. Let’s code it this way. We’ll replace

“‘Because God said so’ could be the answer for everything”

with simply

“B.”

Doug’s statement in this abbreviated form, not intending to change it at all, is

“B.” While go to school anyway? …

So the reason Doug would not want science to admit the possibility of a God in natural events is “Because ‘B.'”

Doug (and Discover) don’t know whether “B” is true in empirical fact; they seem to ignore the plain reality that it is in fact false. But on their view, it appears there’s no need to study this through available means like social research. There’s no need to explore whether God has any place in science; there’s no need to wonder whether God has any place in any individual scientist’s approach to reality. There’s a ready-made answer right at hand. There’s no need to bother thinking, challenging, questioning, because they can always just say “Because ‘B.'”

It’s a wimpy argument, self-referentially weak. Why?

Because (with respect to theism in science) “‘Because God said so’ could be the answer for everything” could be the answer for everything. Why go to school anyway? Just teach our kids that phrase. They’ll never have another reason to think about God, or about any evidence relative to God in nature, or about whether a scientist’s attitude toward God affects his or her professional work. Everything is because “‘Because God said so’ is the reason for everything,” so don’t bother thinking, questioning, challenging.

I know, the phrasing is a bit convoluted, but I hope you get the point. Doug has a nice catchphrase that he thinks shows the other side has an out from thinking things through; but his catchphrase seems itself to have been an out that kept him (and the magazine) from thinking his own theory through.

The final irony: there’s no evidence that “Because God said so” ever hindered anyone’s scientific curiosity. We do have evidence, though, that “Because ‘B'” actually causes people to believe they don’t need to think these things through. It’s right there in front of you.

P.S. Just for the sake of entertainment, please be sure to read the rest of Doug’s comment. I wonder how much thinking, questioning, or challenging he has subjected his own theories to. I wonder if he knows the hydraulic problems relating to the giraffe’s neck he has bypassed, for example; and how much he has questioned his own understanding of “creationism,” and how it relates to contemporary challenges to evolutionary theory.

Commenting Restored

The comment function here has been out of service, possibly causing frustration, for which I apologize. You can comment again now, and it will save and post as it should do. First-time commenters' comments will not appear, however, until approved in moderation.

14 thoughts on “Because “Because God said so” could be the answer for everything…

  1. This is brilliant. There is, however, (even more) unfortunate irony in the fact that the large proportion of the (other :-)) “Doug”s out there have neither the ability nor the inclination to understand this very important argument.

  2. “Is there any evidence that this theory is borne out in reality; that people who believe God is the explanation behind all other explanations are any less curious about the way the physical world works?”

    The ID movement is the perfect example.

    “The list of theists in science is enormously long. These are men and women who did not stop “thinking, questioning, challenging” on account of having “God said so” as part of their mental furniture. The list includes Bacon, Newton, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Boyle, Kelvin, van Leeuwenhoek, Faraday, Maxwell, Cuvier, Gregor Mendel, Gingerich, Collins, and many more.”

    Statistical trends cannot be disproved by examples.

    “Is it wise or unwise for science to recognize even the possibility of a God? Doug would say no. Here’s why. It’s Because ‘”Because God said so’ could be the answer for everything.””

    Except he doesn’t say that.

    “Doug (and Discover) don’t know whether “B” is true in empirical fact; they seem to ignore the plain reality that it is in fact false. ”

    The part you have copied doesn’t show that. He isn’t adressing that- he is faulting theism for being anti-curious,

    “There’s no need to explore whether God has any place in science; there’s no need to wonder whether God has any place in any individual scientist’s approach to reality.”

    The same could be said of fairies. Or gnomes.

    “The final irony: there’s no evidence that “Because God said so” ever hindered anyone’s scientific curiosity. ”

    You must not have heard the phrase “things not meant for man to know”.

    “I wonder if he knows the hydraulic problems relating to the giraffe’s neck he has bypassed, for example; and how much he has questioned his own understanding of “creationism,” and how it relates to contemporary challenges to evolutionary theory.”

    Wow… an ad hominum argument.

  3. Samuel,

    Your technique is the one-liner. I’m going to use this comment to show you some things you need to know about that technique. I am going to call on you to use more thought, more care, and more regard for the other person when you answer.

    “Is there any evidence that this theory is borne out in reality; that people who believe God is the explanation behind all other explanations are any less curious about the way the physical world works?”

    The ID movement is the perfect example.

    I could easily say, “No it isn’t.” I’m sure that wouldn’t satisfy you, because you don’t agree with me. You would want me to adduce some evidence to support that claim.

    Surely you know that if you say, “The ID movement is the perfect example,” those of us with whom you are conversing here might also disagree, and might also want you to adduce some evidence. Lacking that, it’s little better than “So’s your old man!”

    “The list of theists in science is enormously long. These are men and women who did not stop “thinking, questioning, challenging” on account of having “God said so” as part of their mental furniture. The list includes Bacon, Newton, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Boyle, Kelvin, van Leeuwenhoek, Faraday, Maxwell, Cuvier, Gregor Mendel, Gingerich, Collins, and many more.”

    Statistical trends cannot be disproved by examples.

    Here your one-liner leaves out a lot. I mean, really a lot. What is the statistical trend of which you speak? What is the evidence for it? Did you notice, perhaps, that in my blog post I had actually called for an empirical study of the supposed trend toward non-curiosity among theists?

    “Is it wise or unwise for science to recognize even the possibility of a God? Doug would say no. Here’s why. It’s Because ‘”Because God said so’ could be the answer for everything.””

    Except he doesn’t say that.

    Of course he doesn’t say it in exactly those words. I think it’s strongly implied, however. Do you disagree? Explain it, please!

    “Doug (and Discover) don’t know whether “B” is true in empirical fact; they seem to ignore the plain reality that it is in fact false. ”

    The part you have copied doesn’t show that. He isn’t adressing that- he is faulting theism for being anti-curious,

    That’s a little bit closer to a substantive response, Samuel. At least it’s two sentences! You see, it is substantive discussion that I’m trying to encourage here. Now, it does seem to me that the part I copied shows this: they are treating the matter on a theoretical level, without regard to the empirical question of whether theists are indeed anti-curious. They are not paying attention to whether or not “B” is true in fact. They obviously think that “B” is true; they probably think that it should be true, but they show no evidence that it actually is true. I think it’s false, for lots of reasons. There is the list of science greats I gave earlier. There is also the fact that some 40% of scientists in surveys say they believe in God. That “B” should result in non-curiosity is an unsupported theoretical supposition.

    “There’s no need to explore whether God has any place in science; there’s no need to wonder whether God has any place in any individual scientist’s approach to reality.”

    The same could be said of fairies. Or gnomes.

    And your point is? That’s a one-liner that makes me really wonder if you understood the context of the quote you were answering. Did you notice I was presenting what I took to be Doug and Discover’s position in that line? So for you to say that they could say the same of fairies or gnomes is just to give me a further opportunity to point out that they are misunderstanding the matter of God and science. You have not addressed a thing with respect to my position. Or if you think you have done so, then in your one-liner approach you have failed to explain just how you have addressed my position.

    “The final irony: there’s no evidence that “Because God said so” ever hindered anyone’s scientific curiosity. ”

    You must not have heard the phrase “things not meant for man to know”.

    Well, of course I’ve heard the phrase! Now, how do you think that affects man’s exploration of reality, in actual practice? My observation is that it’s not a curiosity-stopper among any persons I’ve met. It’s a statement that’s resorted to only in cases of extreme mystery, things that science cannot pretend to answer either, the big “why” questions of life.

    Wow… an ad hominum argument.

    Well! Huh! Here’s what I have to say to that, Samuel: So’s your old man!

    See how satisfying that is? (Not.)

    I did that just to demonstrate how unsatisfying it can be.

    Actually it wasn’t an ad hominem argument, because it wasn’t part of an argument. To use the ad hominem is to suggest that a person’s argument or position is wrong because of some flaw in the person. I had already finished my argument in which I was proposing to show that Doug’s position was wrong. This was quite literally and intentionally a P.S.

    Samuel, I’m really calling on you to step up to the plate and deliver some actual arguments in response to other arguments, if you’re going to respond at all. In reality, you haven’t offered us anything here substantive that deserves a response, as I’ve tried to explain in some detail. The reason I’ve taken all this time is because I’m hopeful you will take some advice. The advice here is not primarily that I think you have the wrong position, but that if you’re going to express your position, you really ought to do a better job of it.

  4. Problems continue with quoting.

    “Your technique is the one-liner. I’m going to use this comment to show you some things you need to know about that technique. I am going to call on you to use more thought, more care, and more regard for the other person when you answer. ”

    First of all, you commit a logical fallacy- you go after the packaging of my responce instead of my content.

    Second, you don’t seem to understand logical arguing. Logic, unlike evidence which requires reems of data, can be disproven with a single error. It doesn’t require long replies which often go off on tangents and never answer the origional question- a logical argument can be finished in an afternoon.

    Your desire to write long winded answers would be appropriate for an evidentary subject and useful for a thesis. However, logical arguments are concise and to the point.

    “I could easily say, “No it isn’t.” I’m sure that wouldn’t satisfy you, because you don’t agree with me. You would want me to adduce some evidence to support that claim.

    Surely you know that if you say, “The ID movement is the perfect example,” those of us with whom you are conversing here might also disagree, and might also want you to adduce some evidence. Lacking that, it’s little better than “So’s your old man!””

    This is an example of dealing with answers by themselves and ignoring the topic. The point of the topic is that some believers use God to answer questions without actually answering them. The ID movements basis is that things are irreducably complex which means that “Goddidit”.

    It is posted as a single example to show that there are cases. It is not intended to show that it is always the case, but rather that such a situation does occur.

    “Here your one-liner leaves out a lot. I mean, really a lot. What is the statistical trend of which you speak? What is the evidence for it? Did you notice, perhaps, that in my blog post I had actually called for an empirical study of the supposed trend toward non-curiosity among theists?”

    The statistical trend is that theists can use “Goddidit” as an explanation and avoid curiosity. By definition, this can ONLY apply to theists. I have given an example to show that it does happen- the only question is frequency.

    “Of course he doesn’t say it in exactly those words. I think it’s strongly implied, however. Do you disagree? Explain it, please!”

    You think it is strongly implied? You are only ablidged to rebut arguments other people ACTUALLY make, not ones you think they do. To do the second is a logical fallacy known as strawmanning.

    If he doesn’t say something, he doesn’t say it. There is no more explanation to it than that.

    “That’s a little bit closer to a substantive response, Samuel. At least it’s two sentences! You see, it is substantive discussion that I’m trying to encourage here. Now, it does seem to me that the part I copied shows this: they are treating the matter on a theoretical level, without regard to the empirical question of whether theists are indeed anti-curious. They are not paying attention to whether or not “B” is true in fact. They obviously think that “B” is true; they probably think that it should be true, but they show no evidence that it actually is true. I think it’s false, for lots of reasons. There is the list of science greats I gave earlier. There is also the fact that some 40% of scientists in surveys say they believe in God. That “B” should result in non-curiosity is an unsupported theoretical supposition.”

    First of, substantive discusion requires a subject worthy of argument. This isn’t one. Belief in God has often been used as a crutch to explain thing.

    This isn’t showing evidence for why there is no reason to believe in God, because there are 2 of arguments needed for antitheism to be a valid position- truth and harm. This belongs to the second category.

    The list of science greats occur in times when the populance was overwhelmingly theistic. They are also noted for the individuals having been naturally curious and gifted.

    In modern times 40% of scientists are theists… which first off is a useless number. Do you mean worldwide? Because world-wide atheists and nonreligious is 14%… which shows that atheists are more likely to be curious about the natural world than theists.

    Such a conclusion would be invalid due to the fact that scientists and religious belief is not spread evenly accross the globe. A better example would be individual countries, where, in fact, the portion of atheists in the sciences is higher than the population.

    According to wiki, the amount of non-religious in the US population is 10%- amoung the natural sciences is 72% and amoung the National Academy of Sciences is 93%.

    “And your point is? That’s a one-liner that makes me really wonder if you understood the context of the quote you were answering. Did you notice I was presenting what I took to be Doug and Discover’s position in that line? So for you to say that they could say the same of fairies or gnomes is just to give me a further opportunity to point out that they are misunderstanding the matter of God and science. You have not addressed a thing with respect to my position. Or if you think you have done so, then in your one-liner approach you have failed to explain just how you have addressed my position.”

    Another complete lack of comprehension on your part. Science excludes God because he is supernatural… as well as all these other things. You think scientists should “consider this” even though it discounts all the other myraid magic explanations. Advocating differant standards is hypocracy.

    God is as much a supernatural entity as all others with a lack of understanding (how the universe began) used to justify him. He is no different than any other except because you believe his is necesary… somhow failing to have heard of the fallacy of arguing from ignorance.

    “Well, of course I’ve heard the phrase! Now, how do you think that affects man’s exploration of reality, in actual practice? My observation is that it’s not a curiosity-stopper among any persons I’ve met. It’s a statement that’s resorted to only in cases of extreme mystery, things that science cannot pretend to answer either, the big “why” questions of life.”

    I gave ID as an example with its “irreducible compexity”. A more personal example would be stem cells. Thanks to people like you, I will never be able to see my grandfather again because we would be “playing God”.
    http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread140411/pg1

    I’m sure you can easily find more examples.

    As for “why”, you are assuming there is an answer to why.

    “Well! Huh! Here’s what I have to say to that, Samuel: So’s your old man!”

    ““I wonder if he knows the hydraulic problems relating to the giraffe’s neck he has bypassed, for example; and how much he has questioned his own understanding of “creationism,” and how it relates to contemporary challenges to evolutionary theory.””

    It is nice to see you were honest enough to quote the statment I was responding to. After all, we wouldn’t want to lie and cheat because our case was so weak, would we?

    If you look at the above quote, your responce to his accusation… it to say “well, you do it too”. Which is a logical fallacy, but not an adhominum attack. If you had brushed up on logical fallacies, you might have known that it is known as the Ad Hominem Tu Quoque fallacy. Small differance, but revealing- you hadn’t been listening to my arguments or considering rebuttals.

    “I had already finished my argument in which I was proposing to show that Doug’s position was wrong. This was quite literally and intentionally a P.S.”

    It was included as part of your argument. Or do you think that your PS get to ignore logical requirements?

    “Samuel, I’m really calling on you to step up to the plate and deliver some actual arguments in response to other arguments, if you’re going to respond at all. In reality, you haven’t offered us anything here substantive that deserves a response, as I’ve tried to explain in some detail. The reason I’ve taken all this time is because I’m hopeful you will take some advice. The advice here is not primarily that I think you have the wrong position, but that if you’re going to express your position, you really ought to do a better job of it.”

    Your “substantive argument” is nothing of the sort. If you were to argue that a free market health care system is better because, althouh less people get treatment due to triage, more medical technology is fast fowarded to treat the rich, thus saying more people in the long run than we might have something worthy of a substantive argument. As it is, your argument is that “Goddidit” has never been used as an explanation to stop questioning, despite the fact that there are strong correlations between religious belief and anti-intellectualism in the US.

    You also declare that science needs to be willing to use God as an explanation… even though science has no reason to do so. Why should it? It uses explanations that answer quesions, provide predictions and generate more question. God doesn’t do any of those things.

    Nothing you have said requires anything more than a cursory rebuttal. Your arguments fall apart too easily.

    For example you try proving a negative which is impossible, you’d need a statistical correlation to answer him, but you respond with a list of examples. You quite literally do not understand how to respond correctly to arguments.

    Long, drawn out comments use up time and are unnecesary when people are familiar with the jargon that comes with logical argumentation. You are not and hence this rebuttal was necesary.

  5. Samuel,

    First of all, you commit a logical fallacy- you go after the packaging of my responce instead of my content.

    I was doing two things in my last comment. The main thing was that I was trying to show you that your technique in argument was seriously lacking. That was not “going after the packaging,” that was me trying to help you with your approach. It was coaching.

    In a lesser way I did respond to your content, as for example when I responded to what you said about statistical evidences. By the way, near the end of your comment you wrote,

    For example you try proving a negative which is impossible, you’d need a statistical correlation to answer him, but you respond with a list of examples. You quite literally do not understand how to respond correctly to arguments.

    That’s twice now that you’ve failed to read what I wrote. In the original post I said it would sure be helpful if someone did the social research that needs to be done on this topic. I also pointed out that he is assuming something to be true that cannot be shown to be true without the (statistical) social research. I repeated that again in my last comment.

    Second, you don’t seem to understand logical arguing. Logic, unlike evidence which requires reems of data, can be disproven with a single error. It doesn’t require long replies which often go off on tangents and never answer the origional question- a logical argument can be finished in an afternoon.

    That is true for deductive argumentation, but not for inductive, which is what you were primarily doing. I think the difficulty with understanding logical arguing may be on the other end this time.

    Your desire to write long winded answers would be appropriate for an evidentary subject and useful for a thesis. However, logical arguments are concise and to the point.

    Tell that to Immanuel Kant.

    This is an example of dealing with answers by themselves and ignoring the topic. The point of the topic is that some believers use God to answer questions without actually answering them. The ID movements basis is that things are irreducably complex which means that “Goddidit”.

    No it isn’t. That is incredibly over-simplified as a description of ID, and ignores the fact in question, which is that even if “God did it,” we can still fruitfully explore what he did in the natural world.

    The statistical trend is that theists can use “Goddidit” as an explanation and avoid curiosity. By definition, this can ONLY apply to theists. I have given an example to show that it does happen- the only question is frequency.

    The only question is frequency?? That’s indeed the question! What evidence do you actually have of frequency, for pete’s sake? Just because only theists can commit this error is no evidence that any of us do!!! How can you argue statistically with absolutely no hint that you even know if anyone has ever gathered the statistics?! This is simply outlandish!

    In modern times 40% of scientists are theists… which first off is a useless number.

    You proceed from this jumping off point to show that theists are less curious than non-theists. Let me explain some things to you.

    First, you’re using a correlation to try to show causation (being a theists makes a person less curious about the natural world). You ought to know better than that. There could be many, many other variables entering into it.

    Second, the number is not useless, because it supports my point that theists may and very often are productive in science. If 40% of scientists are theists, then there are a lot of theists out there who are productive in science. That was the only point I was trying to make.

    First of, substantive discusion requires a subject worthy of argument. This isn’t one. Belief in God has often been used as a crutch to explain thing.

    First: read Nietzsche on God: he knew it was a worthy subject, even though he was strongly a disbeliever.

    Second: if God is not a worthy subject–if the object of millions of people’s strongest devotion is not a worthy subject–then what is?

    Third: If this isn’t a worthy subject for substantive discussion, then recognize that the purpose of this blog is substantive discussion regardless. It’s not a place for lobbing in one-liner firecrackers. Substantive arguments are welcome here, but if you don’t think you ought to spend your time writing them, then don’t. That’s fine. But what you’ve been doing here is not fine.

    Regarding God and his place in the scientific pursuit: you are correct in saying that science cannot study God. I may not have written this clearly enough in this thread. To exclude God from science is fine, since science ought to work within proper bounds. To exclude God from all pursuit of knowledge (and science is not the only discipline for pursuing knowledge) is to assume that one knows before having studied. And to assume that because God cannot be studied through science, that therefore the natural world cannot have been influenced by God, is to misunderstand the limits of science within the larger pursuit of knowledge.

    Now, back to your approach:

    1. You have accused me more than once of not understanding how to answer a statistical argument. You might be interested to know I am currently analyzing a set of social research data. Statistical methods I’m using include factor analysis and multiple regression. I’d be interested to know if that’s familiar territory for you.

    2. You have accused me of absolute ignorance in regard to logical argumentation. No, I am familar with all the “jargon,” as you put it, that you have employed here. I also know the difference between inductive and deductive argumentation (see above). I also know that a P.S. is not necessarily part of an argument, even if it’s written on the same page as an argument. I know that logical arguments sometimes take more than one or two sentences to express. I know that if I call for someone else to task for failing to support a case statistically, it’s silly for someone to try to rebut me by saying I haven’t presented a statistical case. I know that even if “belief in God has often been used as a crutch to explain thing [sic],” that certainly doesn’t mean God, and his relationship to science, are unworthy of argumentation. (Just because an explanation can be misused in one context does not mean that it is misused in every context where it is brought forth.) You’ve accused me of misunderstanding the use of statistics, when you yourself took a correlation as support for a causation argument. You have pointed to “another complete lack of comprehension” on my part.

    3. In sum, on this page, you have had this to say about me:

    you don’t seem to understand logical arguing.

    Another complete lack of comprehension on your part.

    somhow failing to have heard of the fallacy of arguing from ignorance.

    we wouldn’t want to lie and cheat because our case was so weak, would we?

    You quite literally do not understand how to respond correctly to arguments.

    Long, drawn out comments use up time and are unnecesary when people are familiar with the jargon that comes with logical argumentation. You are not and hence this rebuttal was necesary.

    You have contempt for the topic, and you are treating me as the blog host here with what may also be described as contempt, and you don’t even think it’s worth arguing over.

    This is not living up to the coffee at Starbucks standard, Samuel—and that’s the standard I set for visitors to be invited to the discussion here.

  6. I clicked over to Timothy’s blog and noticed this relevant blog post — John F. Haught: The Meaning of Explanation, and this one — Mechanism & Agency

    “Haught asserts that the New Atheists are guilty of “explanatory monism”, which is when one assumes “that there is only one explanatory spot avaliable, namely, the one shaped to look for physical causes.”

    Science can look for one kind of explanation, but it shouldn’t deny that other explanations might exist alongside the one they found.

    Give it a look.

  7. I was doing two things in my last comment. The main thing was that I was trying to show you that your technique in argument was seriously lacking. That was not “going after the packaging,” that was me trying to help you with your approach. It was coaching.

    A tip for our readers- you’ll look long and hard and you STILL won’t be able to find a more insulting paragraph.

    That’s twice now that you’ve failed to read what I wrote. In the original post I said it would sure be helpful if someone did the social research that needs to be done on this topic. I also pointed out that he is assuming something to be true that cannot be shown to be true without the (statistical) social research. I repeated that again in my last comment.

    Your first responce was to argue with examples… either you didn’t understand or you were responding with the fallacy of ridicule.

    And studies do NOT have to be done- all that needs to be shown is that there are individuals who are theists and they are non-curious due to their theism. That has been shown. All that a survey would show is how much.

    That is true for deductive argumentation, but not for inductive, which is what you were primarily doing. I think the difficulty with understanding logical arguing may be on the other end this time.

    That is great for you. However, remember what we are doing? You are responding to an assertion. All you need to show is a single flaw in his line of argument.

    Tell that to Immanuel Kant.

    He is dead. More on subject, his books are short compared to the length evidentary based books go to.

    No it isn’t. That is incredibly over-simplified as a description of ID, and ignores the fact in question, which is that even if “God did it,” we can still fruitfully explore what he did in the natural world.

    This is one of the many reasons I have been holding you in barely conceled contempt. You assert that this is an oversimplification and we can still explore the natural world… without saying how.

    You do know about vestigial organs- how is ID going to explain those? Let me guess- evolution still occurs, it is just that the start was triggered by God and was guided… which miraculously has the same results as unguided evolution.

    Seriously, there are differant types of claims. You are making the claim that the majority of the scientific establishment is wrong. You have to show how the new theory more accurately conforms to the data, has greater predictive power AND can explain why the previous theory worked for so long. ID proponets have not been able to do that.

    The only question is frequency?? That’s indeed the question! What evidence do you actually have of frequency, for pete’s sake? Just because only theists can commit this error is no evidence that any of us do!!! How can you argue statistically with absolutely no hint that you even know if anyone has ever gathered the statistics?! This is simply outlandish!

    Frequancy refers to how often something occurs. Even zero would count. Obviously, I am not refering to zero- I am refering to non-zero amounts. I gave an example of a theist displaying this behavior using theism to justify it.

    And it isn’t outlandish. This is a case where someone is trying to show a leads to b. They need to give one example where a lead to b and they can show that there is a connection.

    Example- communism leads to violence in the name of communism. Case- cultural revolution, where communism was the justification to root out the “backward reactionaries”.

    Obviously, it would take more to show that communism leads to significant violence, but that is the job for a statistical study.

    You proceed from this jumping off point to show that theists are less curious than non-theists. Let me explain some things to you.

    First, you’re using a correlation to try to show causation (being a theists makes a person less curious about the natural world). You ought to know better than that. There could be many, many other variables entering into it.

    Second, the number is not useless, because it supports my point that theists may and very often are productive in science. If 40% of scientists are theists, then there are a lot of theists out there who are productive in science. That was the only point I was trying to make.!

    Except I wasn’t. I was rebutting your point that theists were in science in enough numbers to show that they were at an equal rate. I am well aware that correlation doesn’t equal causation.

    Your point is also a strawman- I never said theists were all non-curious, just that the two are linked. The fact that the number of scientists whole are theists is less than in society and drops as you advance suggests the opposite of your findings.

    First: read Nietzsche on God: he knew it was a worthy subject, even though he was strongly a disbeliever.

    Nietzsche was wrong.

    Second: if God is not a worthy subject–if the object of millions of people’s strongest devotion is not a worthy subject–then what is?

    I gave an example. The general criteria is it must be something rational people can disagree upon and have an effect on people’s lives. Wait, you mean something worthy of study, not something worthy of a serious discussion? Why do you keep strawmanning me? Anything is a worthy subject of study if someone is curious.

    Third: If this isn’t a worthy subject for substantive discussion, then recognize that the purpose of this blog is substantive discussion regardless. It’s not a place for lobbing in one-liner firecrackers. Substantive arguments are welcome here, but if you don’t think you ought to spend your time writing them, then don’t. That’s fine. But what you’ve been doing here is not fine.

    We can’t ban you for disagreeing with us, but that is what technicalities are for!

    Note that I am well aware that non-serious subjects can be subjects of discussion (what do you think SD.net is about?). However, the fact of the matter is that you are making claims. And all I need to do is show that the line of thinking you are following is broken. There is no need for anything more substantive than that. Rebuttals only need to be longer if I am also trying to prove something. Given the ridiculous ease of this subjest, it didn’t take much.

    Regarding God and his place in the scientific pursuit: you are correct in saying that science cannot study God. I may not have written this clearly enough in this thread. To exclude God from science is fine, since science ought to work within proper bounds. To exclude God from all pursuit of knowledge (and science is not the only discipline for pursuing knowledge) is to assume that one knows before having studied. And to assume that because God cannot be studied through science, that therefore the natural world cannot have been influenced by God, is to misunderstand the limits of science within the larger pursuit of knowledge.

    Except science is the study of reality. If God isn’t under science he doesn’t exist. Yes, I know that ideas aren’t under science, but they don’t have any true existance- they merely exist in our minds. Things may be true or false, but Truth itself does not exist in the real world. It is a concept- an idea. And all ideas, no matter how well they may correspond to the world are just that- ideas.

    1. You have accused me more than once of not understanding how to answer a statistical argument. You might be interested to know I am currently analyzing a set of social research data. Statistical methods I’m using include factor analysis and multiple regression. I’d be interested to know if that’s familiar territory for you.

    Nope. Of course, I judge you by what you say, not what you claim. Given that your responce to a claim that there was a connection was to give counter examples, you either didn’t understand or you were intentionally commiting the fallacy of ridicule (note that ridicule isn’t bad, but should come after your case has been proven).

    I prefered to believe that your error was unintentional instead of deliberate.

    2. You have accused me of absolute ignorance in regard to logical argumentation. No, I am familar with all the “jargon,” as you put it, that you have employed here. I also know the difference between inductive and deductive argumentation (see above). I also know that a P.S. is not necessarily part of an argument, even if it’s written on the same page as an argument. I know that logical arguments sometimes take more than one or two sentences to express. I know that if I call for someone else to task for failing to support a case statistically, it’s silly for someone to try to rebut me by saying I haven’t presented a statistical case. I know that even if “belief in God has often been used as a crutch to explain thing [sic],” that certainly doesn’t mean God, and his relationship to science, are unworthy of argumentation. (Just because an explanation can be misused in one context does not mean that it is misused in every context where it is brought forth.) You’ve accused me of misunderstanding the use of statistics, when you yourself took a correlation as support for a causation argument. You have pointed to “another complete lack of comprehension” on my part.

    I judge you by what you have said- not your degrees or jobs you may hold. You seem to think a PS isn’t part of the argument… even though the odds of the other participant reading your argument are effectively zero and so that it would only be read by people you were trying to convince.

    The differance between inductive and deductive arguments are absolutely irrelevant here. Doug is making a claim, you are rebutting it and I am showing how your rebuttal is flawed.

    Logical arguments may be long, but displaying where a person made a logical error is not.

    This subject was not about the existance of God and thus the “doesn’t invalidate the question” is irrelevant. Combined with the fact I addressed this in my previous post and I continue to doubt you are actually responding to my arguments.

    I wasn’t confusing correlation and causation- I was showing that the example you gave showed the exact opposite of what you were aiming for.

    You have contempt for the topic, and you are treating me as the blog host here with what may also be described as contempt, and you don’t even think it’s worth arguing over.

    This is not living up to the coffee at Starbucks standard, Samuel—and that’s the standard I set for visitors to be invited to the discussion here..

    I know, and why would I have contempt? Lets look at one of the examples.

    we wouldn’t want to lie and cheat because our case was so weak, would we?

    That seems to be insinuating you are being less than honest. Where would I get that impression?

    ““I wonder if he knows the hydraulic problems relating to the giraffe’s neck he has bypassed, for example; and how much he has questioned his own understanding of “creationism,” and how it relates to contemporary challenges to evolutionary theory.””

    Wow… an ad hominum argument.

    “Well! Huh! Here’s what I have to say to that, Samuel: So’s your old man!”

    It is nice to see you were honest enough to quote the statment I was responding to. After all, we wouldn’t want to lie and cheat because our case was so weak, would we?

    In short, you made a logical fallacy, I called you out on it and rather than responding with something “substantive” as you like to say, you responded with “well that is too”… except unlike EVERY SINGLE OTHER RESPONCE, you left out what I was responding to. I proceded to accuse you of dishonesty which you took offense to.

    The evidence is quite clear- you made an Ad Hominem and then attemtpted to ignore the fact for your rebutal. There is no innocent explanation.

    The only justification you have provided is that PS don’t need to follow the rules of logical argumentation… even though this could NOT have been a reminder due to the fact that there is no chance Doug would read it, but was meant only to counter his argument on your blog.

  8. Except science is the study of reality. If God isn’t under science he doesn’t exist. Yes, I know that ideas aren’t under science, but they don’t have any true existance- they merely exist in our minds. Things may be true or false, but Truth itself does not exist in the real world. It is a concept- an idea. And all ideas, no matter how well they may correspond to the world are just that- ideas.

    Your entire comment is predicated on a reality that you say doesn’t truly exist – namely ideas. You say ideas correspond to the world, but how can something that doesn’t truly exist correspond with anything? Hmmm…

  9. Tim, it wouldn’t hurt me. However, it is part of a tactic known as “shifting the middle”

    Steve, the “mechanism and agency” one was poor. Mechanisms don’t need explanation and so God is reduced to making the Universe and letting it run, deist style. Which is nothing like Christianity.

    As for “The meaning of the explanation”, I understood what he is trying to convey a long time ago. the thing is that the author AND the press are both part of a process- without either there would be no book.

    Mechanisms like evolution aren’t like that- they are whole.

    Also,

    Science can look for one kind of explanation, but it shouldn’t deny that other explanations might exist alongside the one they found.

    Sociology, psychology and the like are sciences.

  10. Samuel, your “barely conceled contempt,” as you put it here, and your insinuations that I am being less than honest, do not meet the “Starbucks standard” I alluded to in my last comment. Your seat at this table is no longer available to you.

    I have only one very short rebuttal to your last long comment. I was originally going to just quote this line as an exemplar of your argument, and let readers draw their own conclusions from it. I decided, though, that I ought to at least say something about it.

    Except science is the study of reality. If God isn’t under science he doesn’t exist. Yes, I know that ideas aren’t under science, but they don’t have any true existance- they merely exist in our minds.

    Many philosophers and scientists have tried to come up with a reliable definition of science, the necessary and sufficient conditions that demarcate science from non-science. They have concluded that there is no such clear line of demarcation, and thus no hard-and-fast definition for science.

    You say, though, that science is “the study of reality.” That’s a pretty broad definition, Samuel. I studied music as an undergrad. Was that study “science,” or was the music I was studying not part of reality?

    Phrased differently: is reality defined as that which science can study? If so, are the ideas of mathematics real? Science relies on mathematics, it uses it, but math is not “under science.” If anything it’s the other way around.

    If there is a god who is under science, then that god doesn’t exist. But the true God existed before nature. I think it’s more than safe to say that at that time he was not “under science.” And he still isn’t, for he is outside of nature and above it. Science is not and never will be the god over God.

    That’s all I have to say about your most recent comment. I do not believe further words between you and me would be fruitful. As for trying to speak for the sake of other readers, I will instead let them draw their own conclusions.

  11. Mechanisms don’t need explanation and so God is reduced to making the Universe and letting it run, deist style. Which is nothing like Christianity.

    Why don’t they? The whole point of the post on mechanism and agency is to show that such arguments are barred from telling us whether or not an agent exists. Take the example that Haught offered. A book can be explained in several ways. One is that a printing press stamped some letters on paper. Still another is that the author had the intention to write a book. These two explanations do not conflict, they are complementary. You are assuming that there is one explanatory spot avaliable, something that Haught calls “explanatory monism.”

    I don’t see how this would entail a deist god. Deism is the belief that God does not act in the universe. Regardless of the mechanism that he chooses to act through, if God does indeed act, then He is not deistic. To some extent, the mechanisms behind miracles can vary.

    As for “The meaning of the explanation”, I understood what he is trying to convey a long time ago. the thing is that the author AND the press are both part of a process- without either there would be no book.
    Mechanisms like evolution aren’t like that- they are whole.

    If the author and the press are both part of the same explanation, then why can’t God and evolution be part of the same explanation? Author is to press as God is to evolution (assuming that it’s true!).

Comments are closed.

Subscribe

Subscribe here to receive updates and a free Too Good To Be False preview chapter!

"Engaging… exhilarating.… This might be the most surprising and refreshing book you’ll read this year!" — Lee Strobel

"Too Good To Be False is almost too good to be true!" — Josh McDowell

Purchase Here!

More on the book...

Discussion Policy

By commenting here you agree to abide by this site's discussion policy. Comments support Markdown language for your convenience. Each new commenter's first comment goes into moderation temporarily before appearing on the site. Comments close automatically after 120 days.

Copyright, Permissions, Marketing

Some books reviewed on this blog are attached to my account with Amazon’s affiliate marketing program, and I receive a small percentage of revenue from those sales.

All content copyright © Thomas Gilson as of date of posting except as attributed to other sources. Permissions information here.

Privacy Policy

Clicky