Saturday, February 14, 2009

Covering an Annoyance

I've already done a few doggerel entries on this sort of thing, and should do a better job of directing woos there. But I'm going to consolidate a theme that just get so irritating to hear.

Methodological materialism, practiced by science, is an inherently INCLUSIVE philosophy. I don't know where "natural" and "supernatural" started in definitions, but science covers a definition of natural/material/physical that grows whenever we find something new. It wouldn't work otherwise. We look at anything that has effects on the universe. We look at anything that does stuff. That's why we don't bother with invisible, intangible dragons that breathe heatless fire. If something doesn't leave any evidence, why would you believe in it at all?

Take a look at the history of science and its advancement: Then-exotic forms of radiation, bizarre particles, invisible dark matter that can only be "seen" by its gravity, models of space and time that curve or change relative to the observer, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. There were all radical ideas that are taken for granted today. They were things that would have predictable effects, and when those predictions came true, they were accepted into the mainstream.

The reason we don't accept psychic powers, astrology, universe-designing gnomes, or evil alien overlords isn't just because they're weird. Weirdness doesn't put them in some other realm where Mr. Spock's tricorder can't pick them up. What gets us is that they don't have any supporting evidence. Alleged psychics fail to bend spoons with their minds when watched closely. Astrological predictions don't come true, or are too vague to be worth heeding. Hypotheses about universe designers don't explain anything or make predictions. Evil alien overlords never left behind any bits of metal with abnormal isotopic concentrations or whatever.

"Supernatural" claims that are supposed to actually mean something aren't beyond science, and you can't get us to pidgeonhole something as expansive as science into whatever artificial constrants you like to add to the definition.

9 comments:

Akusai said...

Damn skippy. I've run into this many times before even in real life: people who assign some sort of metaphysical limitations on science, so that it can't tell us everything about the world that we can know.

I usually dispel that notion by pointing out that science isn't an arcane ritual performed by very smart men in lab coats; science is, at its core, looking at shit. If something exists and we can observe it with either our own eyes or any of the myriad tools we have devised to aid them, then it falls within the purview of science. It's that simple.

John W. Locust said...

Who is this? I'M GONNA BRING THE HURTING ON YOU! You can't even analyze the central theme of my blog already. To you, sir, I say put up or shut up. Come up with some REAL arguments, idiot. Sheesh.

Also if you really want to soak in some of my debating material, you should consider purchasing my book. It's even been recommended by Christian apologists. You aren't as cheap as to consider that giving me some money somehow makes you subject yourself to my demigod egotism, now does it?

Anyways I have to get back to serious things. You know, like coming up with philosophical arguments and making tons of wasteful dataspace with stupid blog journals which amount to nothing. But hey, we're in an economic recession, everyone gets off easily!

Bronze Dog said...

Seems we have one of the fake atheists from that DC blog who doesn't like my brief presentation of how methodological naturalism works, and he's not saying why.

Doggerel #19 and #58 noted.

Personally, if all you speak in is thought-stopping cliches and acting like a straw man made up by Hollywood, I don't see much reason to bother with the whole book. Or, to summarize:

"I don't need to eat the whole egg to know it's rotten." -Mark Twain

Dunc said...

I call Poe.

John W. Locust said...

"Seems we have one of the fake atheists from that DC blog who doesn't like my brief presentation of how methodological naturalism works, and he's not saying why."

Gee, maybe that's because I don't like saying "why." Didn't it ever occur to you that it's better for certain people to find sanctuary in a corner and use that corner to jab at people's sensitive areas? That's my modus operandi, jack.

Bronze Dog said...

Locust: Didn't it ever occur to you that it's better for certain people to find sanctuary in a corner and use that corner to jab at people's sensitive areas? That's my modus operandi, jack.

Pretty much the theme behind Creationism: Shrink the claims down into the corner/gaps as science grows and do all the jabbing from a rhetorical/legal/cultural relativism angle, rather than from a philosophical or evidential one.

Akusai said...

Methinks he misunderstands the phrase "sensitive areas."

MWchase said...

So, um... Your self-admitted plan is to refuse to explain what actual problem you have with our position, preferring instead to bother us and our 'sensitive areas'?

Just making sure that your plan is to intentionally waste everybody's time.

Bronze Dog said...

Kind of reminds me of a troll who stopped by an Armored Core forum I hung out with years ago. His first post essentially boiled down to "AC is teh gay!!!111! Halo ROXXORS!"

Such a witty, intellectual fellow.