Scientists, God and Logic

It's amusing to read blatently illogical constructs by "scientists", which are then assumed to be true, merely because the person is a scientist! lol...

Scientists have lots of crack-pot ideas, folks.

Let's take a look at one, for instance.

"Atoms don't have free will. Therefore we, who are composed of atoms, don't have free will."

This logical fallacy in this argument is called the "composition fallacy". It presumes that because the parts have or do not have property x, the whole does or does not have property x. For instance, "That object is made of paper. Paper is weak. Therefore, that object is weak." Corrugated cardboard constructions would beg to differ with that conclusion.

Furthermore, arguments by Appeal to Authority are rampant. Dr. Joe Shmo believes that "Free will" is located in our toes. He's a Nobel Prize Laureat, and ought to know.

On the other hand, metaphysical concepts are perfectly suited to "Beg the question". This logical delema occurs when we smuggle conclusions into assumptions. For instance, "Free Will" or "intellect" or "mind" or "Soul" can be used as functional equivalents. One can presume the other, because they are metaphysical. They are not "real"...they are experiential.

An object is not "red". It is composed of matter that reflects the specrum of electromagnetic radiation, which we preceive as "red". "Mind", similarly, is an experiential phenominon, as is "soul" or "intellect"...and "free will". "Free Will" is a metaphysical concept, describing the sensation of brain activity that governs behavior. It "felt" as if we could do anything! Therefore, we could have done anything!

This is a fallacy of "joint effect", where the behavior and the sensation of "free will" are both caused by a more fundamental, underlying brain activity. "Choice" is a sensation of a brain engaging in a reality simulation. The genes impel us in a direction. The sensation of "all the possibilities" and the stress release of a choice...teamed up with a a syllogistic fallacy of "IF I wanted to, THEN I could have done X" have created this cognitive delema.

Reality has no delema.

The fact is, YOU DIDN'T WANT TO!!! Your supposition is false, so the conclusion that Free Will is true becomes nuggatory.

"Unless they're philosophers (real PhD's in philosphy are difficult to argue with), it doesn't matter if they have an MD, PhD, or whatever. "

Seldom in my life have I heard more pointless banter than amongst "real" philosophers...a padded cell of cognitive reverie - beyond the reach of physical scrutiny, so as to be as compelling as an electic fog. Jolting, all around, but you can't quite sink your teeth in it.

"They're just regular guys like us blah blah blah'ing. LOL! With bigger words and more of an air of importance. "

Scientists have agenda too. In fairness, though, scientists are loath, typically, to introduce concepts that escape the purview of scietific inquiry...just as the hammer sees a world of nails.

To say "God did X"...leaves a scientists fidgeting...stressed...and finally asking, "Fine, well HOW DID GOD DO X?"

"God did X" puts a scientist out of a job.

"Scientists have lots of crack-pot ideas, folks."

It sure is interesting to sit here on our computers (invented by scientists) and read about scientists having crack-pot ideas.

"Scientists have agenda too. In fairness, though, scientists are loath, typically, to introduce concepts that escape the purview of scietific inquiry...just as the hammer sees a world of nails."

In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's very good evidence; my position is mistaken..." and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. This is how science works. A scientist must always be willing to say that the evidence has proven me wrong.

Are there a few scientists who have an agenda? Yes, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But I can only recall one time something like that happened in religion. That was when Pope John Paul II officially conceded that Galileo was correct when he said the Earth was not stationary and that it revolved around the sun.

Is it fair to be suspicious of an entire profession because of a few bad apples? Consider this... no one doubts that science actually works, whatever mistaken and fraudulent claim may from time to time be offered. Like it or not science delivers the goods.

'"God did X" puts a scientist out of a job.'

When you or a loved one gets sick, do you seek out a trained medical scientist? Please explain how saying that "God did X" puts anybody out of a job?

There are truly brilliant dedicated scientists out there in different fields who do wonderous things. But it seems to me that too often people act as if they are making the rules as opposed to discovering/observing them. Science is only man's way of learning about the world/universe, it's limited by the man's own limitations.

HELWIG wrote: (regarding scientists) "But it seems to me that too often people act as if they are making the rules as opposed to discovering/observing them. Science is only man's way of learning about the world/universe, it's limited by the man's own limitations."

Prof: I find that perception tends to come from the layman, not from scientists. It's typically layman who view scientists as making rules. Scientists are aware their theories are models of nature, not nature itself. To be a scientist is to be made accutely aware of the tentative nature of one's conclusions. What I think confuses some layman is the language science adopts out of necessity ("Laws" of this or that). When a scientist talks of a "Law" he understands it is a provisional model, whereas the layman interprets the language as meaning the scientist has created or discovered a Law.

Prof.

This thread is ignorant of what science is.

[edited]

ConnJudo,

Rastus - '"God did X" puts a scientist out of a job.'

"When you or a loved one gets sick, do you seek out a trained medical scientist? Please explain how saying that "God did X" puts anybody out of a job? "

If we were to be content with believing, "God did X", the inquiry into X is over. There's nothing to do. It's explained. For example,

Suppose we're talking about the origin of life. If we say, "God created Adam and Eve"...that's the end of the inquiry! There's no mystery to investigate. Science works with

A. Hypothesis to explain a phenominon.

B. Experimentation

C. Measurements/Observations

D. Conclusion

As these experiments pile up, models of reality emerge, which lend themselves to more probing hypotheses. If we remove the need for an hypothesis, A SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY IS STOPPED DEAD IN ITS TRACKS!...hence, the "puts scientists out of a job" comment.

prof,

Interesting observation. To add to your comments, if I may be permitted, the "theories" or "models" that become tried and tested become termed "laws". As you point out, scientists have created nothing.

I wrote earlier that science precedes philosophy. What I meant by that was to observe that, given the flavor of the day's physical model, the "why"'s and "how"'s of philosophy are shaped. e.g. In a Newtonian clock-work world, philosophy is profoundly altered wrt to Free Will. A forever expanding universe has theological implications.

The reason I created this thread, however, was not to suggests "scientists are fools" or "science is nonsense". It was merely to point out that scientists are just as bound by logical rules as are religionists. Quite frankly, scientists just make far less logical mistakes, because their trade trains them to think with more structured reasoning. They're not so prone to making leaps of logic.

Let's get back on topic - Free Will.

I've shown the logical fallacies in many of the "free will" arguments...the "begging the question", which amounts to circular reasoning.

I've also shown that the argument "atoms don't have free will...so therefore what's composed of atoms doesn't have free will" commits the composition fallacy.

The solution I've suggested is that free will is, in fact, an emotion. One "feels" as if he or she could have done X instead of Y. The logical flaw is this:

"If I wanted to do X, I could have."

Logic dictates that when an assumption is false, a syllogistic conclusion is automatically true. The above syllogism is, therefore, no proof or indication of free will at all. It's a logical blunder. Fact is, YOU DIDN'T WANT TO DO X!!!

Free Will is a concept, ultimately specious as the "soul". The proofs for its existence always "beg the question". Most of us have an intellectual blind spot to this point. It's kind of like trying to define time without use of temporal terms.

Free will and the soul do not exist.

Thanks.

lol

lol...

You capture the spirit of thoughtful inquiry, toddseney. You skill at eliciting measured, insightful discussion is dizzying...

"This thread was not about science, Helwig. It's about Logic. It applies to ScienTISTS as well as everyone else. You've contributed and have understood exactly nothing."

Then my mission has been accomplished.

I happen to know I have no Free Will!

I'm married.

(Snicker...Prof promptly gets rapped on knuckles with ruler by Rastus and is told to put his head down on his desk...)

BTW, I was under the assumption this thread was about Scientists, God and Logic. In which case I'd enjoy participating. But if it's about Free Will...I'm not inclined to spin my wheels, moving in circles on the subject.

Which would you like, Rastus? I don't want to distract from your discussion.

Cheers.

Prof.

Oh, heck, let's talk about whatever we want. That guy, Rastus, is too moody... ;)

[edited the obnoxious posts]

"I happen to know I have no Free Will!
I'm married. "

Lol, there is an argument I can relate to.

"You capture the spirit of thoughtful inquiry, toddseney. You skill at eliciting measured, insightful discussion is dizzying... "

And why should I bother? Any attempt I make to explain my position will be ridiculed by the ignorant, who prefer to contort logic like a pretzel.

"And why should I bother? Any attempt I make to explain my position will be ridiculed by the ignorant, who prefer to contort logic like a pretzel. "

This thread has the "no mocking rule" in effect.

Shoot, todd. I'm curious of your thoughts.

Right then. Let's get down to it gentlemen.

*Prof closes door to study. Methodically re-fills pipe with tobacco, with contemplative expression. Adjusts sleeves of smoking jacket. Folds hands on great oak debating desk and leans forward*

Good sirs,

First, on the subject of logic, and why I distrust purely logical proofs both from theists and non-theists alike:

An example: I've seen philosophically-minded theists attempt to prove the need for God in the creation of our universe, via logic. It never works. We don't need a logical solution to the origin of the universe. We need an empirical one. You see, logic is a handy way of ordering, investigating, and understanding the universe. That's all. It's just a tool. Truth does not come from logic, but rather from empiricism. Hence, when we find the empirical explanation for the origin of the universe, we will have our answer, whether it is logical or not.

I often find the same sort of tail-chasing arguments from non-theist philosophers...conclusions that seem confined to the logical ether; never really checking out well against empirical observation or actually advancing functional knowledge.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a big believer in logic: but not so big that I think logic predetermines reality. It's the other way round.

Moving on to science and the supernatural (as this thread pertains to Science and God), and this is sure to annoy theists:

We often hear the assertion that science can't apply to the religious/supernatural/non-physical/spiritual realm. The argument is that science applies to the physical/natural world but to try to apply scientific reasoning or standards to theological matters is to make some form of category mistake.

I think that those making such points are making a fundamental error concerning the nature of science and knowledge.

I'm positing here that science is basically a set of criteria concerning what counts as knowledge. Period. Not "knowledge of the natural world". These rules are a little fuzzy but would certainly include:

Falsifiability
Consistency with observed phenomenon
Repeatability

The criteria are all there for perfectly good reasons. For example falsifiability must be there because a proposition which is unfalsifiable is consistent with every conceivable state of affairs and hence can't be an explanation for any particular state of affairs.

Science's famous assumption of methodological naturalism is not an a priori assumption unfairly ruling out other areas (e.g. the supernatural), it is recognition that those other areas necessarily fail to meet the criteria for knowledge.

Some people like to claim that they are making some sort of supernatural connection that is outside the purview of scientific investigation. Remember that science is practiced by people – people who possess the same set of faculties as any other human, and science studies people as well. Thus, far from being deficient of something Theists may have, science comprises all the faculties of human beings AND augments many of those faculties (via instruments).

The conclusion is that the criteria for knowledge and "scientific knowledge" are essentially the same. This conclusion is often dismissed by theists as hubristic arrogance on the part of scientists, but it isn't. It's the logical conclusion of what science is.

The challenge for anyone wanting to allow non-scientific knowledge is to show how a proposition which fails to meet scientific criteria for knowledge can nevertheless still count as knowledge.

Discuss. :-0

Prof.

(BTW, I have swiped some of these thoughts from other critically-minded folks with whom I agree. And yes, I've left what seems to be some nice wriggle-room for attack on the ideas here...but that's half the fun).