Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why Trust Science? Pt. 3 of a 2-Parter

Just a footnote, really, about fallibility. A lot of people seem to think science is infallible, or thinks its infallible, or acts like its infallible. These people are talking out of their hat. They have no idea what science is, or how it works.

Science does not pretend to infallibility, and indeed: scientists have no use for infallibility. As Sir Karl Popper put it ages ago, in his paper Science as Falsification: "Irrefutability is not a virtue of theory ... a theory that cannot be refuted by any possible event is non-scientific." Just so.

Moreover, scientists know science is fallible because scientists know science is a human endeavor. Humans active in any system, using any organized method, will quite naturally be fallible in their use of it. Fallible in their observations, fallable in their interpretations. Well-designed systems and methods are built to take this human fallibility into account.

The scientific method is exemplary in this regard. It not only takes human fallibility into account, it harnesses it to drive human understanding. Fallibility is the engine of the scientific method. Scientists engaged in active science are always in disagreement with each other in the places science can't yet reach, to test. Science runs by coming up with as many plausible theories as possible. Science knows that between the various competing theories advanced, there are always wrong theories in play. Science knows theory is subject to refutation by evidence, and science deliberately sets in motion all possible events, purposely, with the goal to falsify theory. To prove it wrong, any way they can.

By designing experiments to conclusively test between competing theories, science discards theory that proves false. By the same continuing experimental means, science refines and better-defines promising theory, until a workable, useable truth is established about what reality actually is - and how it works. And how it can be worked.


Jen said...

Ah, yes. I love Popper for that essay. He was making some points about intellectual integrity.
You can study literature, or history, in a way that is scientific by Popper's standards ... and you can study industrial melanism in a way that is unscientific.
I realize that what you describe here is the ideal and it's what all scientists THINK they do. The fact is, some do and some don't. Just as some academics do and some don't. See my comments in response to your first of three.

Jen said...

I highly recommend Darwin on Trial, by Philip Johnson. Johnson is a lawyer. He logically analyzes the arguments of leading propopents of the theory of evolution. What it boils down to is this: There are huge problems with this theory ... but it's the best explanation we have for how life and intelligence came into being. It's the best explanation we have, because we have already ruled out, a priori, any kind intelligent design.
So, yeah, I trust the testimony of astronomers ... but not physical anthropolgists.

dogimo said...

I recommend Stephen Jay Gould - just about anything I am sure, I haven't read it all, but all I've read is lovely. The Panda's Thumb is a neat collection of essays on biology that also continually highlights one of Gould's pet themes, something he continually insists on, near and dear to my heart: the fallibility and humanity of scientists, and the wrong many would-be critics and supporters of science do when they target or tout its supposed infallibility.

Huh. Jen, I believe in a God who created the universe and every lesser mechanism in it. But God's mechanisms are in many cases visible to us, are they not? Discoverable? Explicable? We are created in God's image after all: we are created creative beings.

It doesn't require any a priori ruling out of God to see that evolution by means of natural selection is the best mechanism we have described.

Whether we look at a storm or the stars or a living cell, all things transpire (and transpired) some way. If we wish, we can simply speak of the source: and give glory to God! But it is also a beautiful thing to turn our hands and eyes to understanding the mechanism. God is not the mechanism, even though God created it. God is not lightning, God is not a supernova. It is no insult to creation to wish to know, and the universe is laid out before us, beautiful and discoverable.

People should not busy themselves in history who have no interest in history. Nor should people busy themselves in astronomy, or biology, if they lack the interest. But whatever we wish to know and to do - there is much good work in this world, waiting for our efforts. In any field of human knowledge, as long as our work is a search for truth, we do good work.

Jen said...

I know you believe in God, Dogimo. I'm not arguing with you to convert you to anything other than greater sense-making. Having gotten to know you a little bit, I think you are open to this.

So, that said ... I'm sorry, natural selection just is not powerful enough a mechanism to create new organs, let alone new species. It is a conservative force. It usually keeps most of the members of a population average.
Sure it can change the overall makeup of a population, when outside circs change, but it can only prune the genetic material that is already there. It cannot create new genetic material. Mutations are too rare and almost always harmful.

Often, when people discover God's mechanisms, they are actually discovering His mechanisms, and it is a beautiful thing to watch because they are beautiful things being researched and described.
But natural selection is an idea that makes less sense the more that is learned about organic chemistry, DNA, and the fossil record. This particular sacred cow is being clung to because the alternative is considered unacceptable.
It would be possible to study inheritance without trying to pretend that it is the same process that caused all species to come into being. It would still be fascinating - nay, even more fascinating.

But I don't know why I'm wasting my keystrokes. My eloquence is surely no match for Gould.

Good rapping with you.

dogimo said...

My eloquence is no match for Gould either! Where I have eloquence, he has clarity of thought. You should see him lay into Dawkins, if you were interested! Well, "lay into" may be an exaggeration - Gould was a pretty gentle soul! - but he does do a number.

It's good rapping with you too. I admit, I disagree with you on the difficulty of evolution creating an organ...

(the evolution of the eye, for instance)

...but you needn't say sorry! It really seems easy and plain to enough to me how it could happen, and where I can see the way clear myself, it won't bother me if someone tells me there's no way.

Proving how each step literally did occur from the fossil record is of course another matter! Especially with soft tissue. But the mechanism itself is pretty easy: tiny steps, for billions of generations. No one step is very much of a leap.

dogimo said...

Anyhow, you are quite right I'm open to conversion to greater sense-making! :-)

I wouldn't worry too much about natural selection, though. Right now, evolution by means of variation and natural selection is simply the best description that has been advanced to match what we see in reality. It is by no means a done description - even among atheists, there is a plurality of opinion as to precisely how it works, and has worked. There's no need to rush to judgment. It's working itself out, as it has been and will continue to do so. If a better theory emerges, it will be embraced - just like ancient earth-centric theories gave way to Copernicus, just like Newton's theories gave way to Einstein's. We are on a proper course for a human endeavor, an endeavor that at its heart has no disrespect to God in it - however some may misuse and misinterpret it. Can anyone show me the tenet of natural selection theory which, if true, would tend towards undermining belief in God?

The theory will work itself out, and in the mean time - who cares? Is biology more sacred than physics or chemistry? God was certainly capable of creating a purely natural system for this: one which would not require constant miraculous adjustment and intervention throughout, in order for it to work. What difference would it make if God elected to do so?

Honestly, I wonder what people's problem is with natural selection. To hear some people talk, natural selection would somehow disprove God, if it were true - and so they fight to prove natural selection untrue. Like God needs help securing God's existence. But even Darwin wrote: "It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man may be an ardent Theist & an evolutionist."

There's nothing in natural selection that even remotely opposes God, or belief in God.

Jen said...

OK. I read your "evolution of the eye" post.
The miracle happens in the paragraph where the light-sensitive spot "mutates" into a variety of different structures, depending on the creature's needs.
You mean there's a sudden mutation and, presto, you've got not only a lens, but an organ and a brain that can receive and interpret clear images from that lens? A lens is diffent in kind from a sensitive spot. A light-sensitive will never become a lens by getting "more so." It would have to change completely.

Jen said...

This is how problems posed to the idea of natural selection producing organs are typically answered: "We can IMAGINE how it COULD have happened - therefore it must be possible." That is a far cry from demonstrating how it actually could happen. Usually that is left a bit more vague - and with good reason.
Irreducible complexity. You cannot gradually develop, say, a mousetrap. For a mousetrap to work at all, all the components must be present, and they must all be functioning. Otherwise, it will not work. And in natural selection, anything that doesn't work gets deleted. It does not hang around waiting for other components to show up so that it can start working.
That argument is from the book Darwin's Black Box.

Jen said...

Why do people think natural selection being the source of all species, implies an attack on God?
1/ It is usually advanced by committed materialists.
2/ They usually ridicule the idea of special creation with a boring insistence that the physical world is all there is, and anyone who says otherwise is stupid or evil.
3/ They will not even consider Intelligent Design, because it sounds too much special creation adn the God of the Bible. I can't remember if it was Gould or Dawkins who, on his blog, refers to ID proponents and "IDiots." That vitriol is not just coming from "I think my idea is a better explanation than your idea, at this time."
4/ If we accept natural selection in the context of strict materialism, then it undermines not only belief in God, but in any sentient beings whatsoever. Spirit, sentience, is an illusion. The real action is all in our genes.
You seem to be a non-materialist believer in natural selection. That's certainly possible, but it's not the norm I would say. (Though there are a lot of pantheistic n.s. believers.) And, frankly, without strict materialism, it's not necessary to believe in natural selection. At that point, it makes more sense to believe that all the genuses we see were created as themselves, and have been around, more or less unchanged, since then, undergoing microevolution in response to environmental pressures. It removes many huge problems, and it requires no divine intervention in the history of biology.

Jen said...

Biology is no more sacred than any other branch of science. I'm focusing on it, because it is where the strongest (and most logically inconsistent) intellectual rebellion against God is being launched.

dogimo said...

We can talk about evolution of the eye on that post, if you really want to. I was trying not to make it ten times as long. The point was to refute the daft idea that a rudimentary organ can be of no survival value.

dogimo said...

>"You seem to be a non-materialist believer in natural selection. That's certainly possible, but it's not the norm I would say."

In terms of natural-selection-accepting God-believers, I got a pleasant surprise just a couple days ago when I found out it is in fact pretty widespread. The idea being God created all things, including all natural processes within the universe. My theory is: that God did a good job. And that therefore we should expect most natural processes to function without constant and necessary miraculous intrusion. Certainly it was in God's ability to do this. Certainly it would be an insult to God to claim God couldn't have done this. The question remains: why should it serve God's purpose not to design things to operate naturally?

A great body of believers in God, including large Christian churches, sees no opposition to God in the idea of natural selection.

When you answered your question "Why do people think natural selection being the source of all species, implies an attack on God?" - you give four reasons having to do with people. I more meant to ask about the theory. I believe there is no answer but "No" to this question: Is there any tenet in natural selection theory which contradicts the existence of God, or is opposed to belief in God?

dogimo said...

Jen, I can understand your frustration with science: it is science's frustration with science as well. Scientists deal every day in the disappointing fact that they do not have perfection, ironclad proofs, certain and absolute and final truths to work from. All science can make do with is the best explanation it can get from nature, so far. Science is doing fine if it can say, "We can IMAGINE how it COULD have happened," - that's a "theory"! Science doesn't treat theory as a fait accomplit, but as springboard for further proof or disproof: "If how we IMAGINE it is correct, then we can expect to see this, this, and this - if so, then on from there! If not, then the theory is in trouble." Science works with the best available description of reality it can get from nature.

To me, it can only be good news that leading proponents of intelligent design claim their movement is not religious. That it is purely a scientific theory. Excellent! I have confidence their efforts must surely bring at least some evidence to the table from nature, evidence that will improve the state of current theory for us all. Evidence from nature is what supports and challenges theory, and theory develops thereby.

Best news of all: there's no rush. It's only science. Nothing of major importance is being discussed, only evolutionary biology.

No souls are at stake. Belief in God's existence is not at stake - or it ought not to be. Natural Selection may be entirely true and yet God may exist. Even Darwin said so - certainly, anyone who believes in God ought to agree with Darwin on at least that point. Should any believer's detestation of a theory be more forceful than their belief in God?

Jen said...

Thanks for hanging in with me.

Regarding the eye post, I agree with you that a rudimentary organ can still be useful. I still don't think it's been demonstrated that it's likely to mutate into a completely different, advanced organ, but OK, you think such mutations are likely.

Of course there is nothing in the theory of natural selection itself that requires atheism. But I think it's pretty important that it was originally developed, welcomed, and promoted by people who are desperate to find an alternative to special creation. (About Darwin professing belief in God, I am not well-informed enough to carry on such a debate. Not here, anyway.)

Once the theory has been backed by nearly all the experts/authorities, then of course quite a few people who believe in God are going to accept it. And if we are taught it all our lives, it comes to seem very plausible, even if it is fact very unlikely.

About "we can imagine it" being just the same as theory .... I appreciate your point. However, in science theory has to be detailed enough to be testable, no? You cannot just keep your theory vague enough that "somehow" you get a beneficial mutation that still allows the creature to reproduce with others of its kind often enough to pass on this mutation ... etc. If you find that genetic mutations are very rare and almost always harmful, you have a problem. YOu must demonstrate a beneficial mutation being passed on (even one? anywhere?). Even granted that you could special-order nonfatal mutations to happen at the right rate, you must still propose a series of such mutations and show how they could lead to the development of a complex organ such as an eye, wing, trunk, or feather.

I'm sorry if this sounds terse. I don't mean it to be. I have limited time to write it.

Jen said...

OK, now for the more interesting of your comments ...

I agree that God created all things, including all natural processes. And of course He did a great job. I believe that inheritance is one of these natural processes. The way it works is ... like produces like. I find inheritance fascinating. I don't think the theory of natural selection makes sense given what we know about DNA and biochemistry.

"We should expect most natural processes to function without constant and necessary miraculous instrusion." Where is the constant and necessary miraculous intrusion in special creation? Special creation just means He made all the critters - probably not all species, but basic types - at the beginning (the point at which you would say He kicked off evolution). So, He made a generic dog, and it went and became all the breeds of dog, plus wolves, coyotes, dingos, maybe foxes. He made one generic funny-looking critter and it became alpacas, llamas, and camels. There is no mirculous intervention in that.

Perhaps, in response to this, you will talk about the Cambrian explosion and the different geological periods, and ask how these fit into a one-time creation event. I have not figured out my position on that, but I am not a committed young-earther. I don't think the language of Genesis calls for literal days at all. So I have no problem with creation week taking a really really long time. I do think the Cambrian explosion is a problem for the theory of evolution, because it's not gradual, it's sudden. You go from having not very many animals to suddenly having many different, complex varieties.

Regarding ID, I have read little except Darwin's Black Box. It is written by a biochemist who is not a believer. He contends that the complexity of living things at the molecular level makes evolution very unlikely, although he doesn't offer a better answer for how they came to be. For example, I particularly remember his description of an amoeba's flagellum. On the molecular level, that little tail is actually attached by an elaborate gear made of molecules. I also remember that the chemistry of seeing involves a "cascade" of chemical reactions, one causing the other, such that it would be almost impossible for such complexity to evolve.

If I wasn't lazy, I would Google the book and tell you the guy's name. But, it's late.

Jen said...

I am glad that, for reasonable people like you, neither belief in God is not at stake in this debate. I agree that, properly viewed, it is not. However. This whole debate is ROUTINELY used to slander God His people. It is used to make belief in God equivalent with anti-intellectuallism. It is used to disparage the trustworthiness of the Bible ... either directly or through "death by a thousand qualifications." E.g. The text is not false, per se, it's just meant so poeticially that it doesn't really mean anything.

For example, it was either Gould or Dawkins I think who wrote that the theory of evolution should be no threat to "religion" because "science and religion deal with different things. Science deals with reality. Religion deals with human purpose ... etc."
Yes, your religion need not be threatened by our discoveries of reality, because it has nothing to do with reality! We deal with reality, and you live in your little fantasy world. This is common. And it is a stumbling block to people of intellectual integrity who would like to believe in God. They are led to believe they can have one or the other, but not both.

dogimo said...

Darwin didn't claim belief in God, he merely observed there was nothing about evolutionism that opposes such belief. Darwin said his feeling swung back and forth, but that even at its least-belief extreme, he never reached the point of being "atheist," with the view that there is no God. His later-life tendency was very pronouncedly that God's actuality is too cosmic a thing for him or any human being to pronounce authoritatively upon. Ant cannot pronounce upon the aspects of dog.

But top, topper, topmost point: Darwin was clear that such a careful stance was his own pure opinion, and that evolutionism's hard bottom line is: nothing in evolutionism opposes belief. Evolutionism is compatible even with strong, devout belief in God. He argued with people on that point. He thought it was absurd a person could claim evolutionism opposes God - or has anything at all to say about the topic of God. It does not. And Darwin had (and we all continue to have) major, prominent evolutionists to point to - who are not only scientists, but strong God-believers. Evolutionists who built and shaped and contributed evidence and support to the theory. God-worshippin' theists.

And no reason not!

dogimo said...

Theory must be testable? Well, theory does make definite claims, but those claims are not always testable at present time. Much of early quantum theory, for example, was derided in the 60s, 70s - "we can't test this! Waste of time!" It is only now becoming testable with our leaps in supercolliders, and all that early, pre-testability work is guiding us shockingly straight and true. Theory, even when not yet testable, must make claims that are at least open to the possibility of being refuted. As our pal Popper observed, "a theory that cannot be refuted by any conceivable event is non-scientific." The theory of evolution is that reproduction always includes variation, that variation is heritable, and that variations with a positive survival benefit have a tendency to proliferate. These claims are not vague, they are testably true. But here might be some examples of as-yet-untestable assertions about evolution:

- a useful organ can not, by means of minor, tiny, successive changes over generations, acquire a new and beneficial use.

- if a population of organisms divides geographically, the accumulation of thousands of years of genetic variation cannot become a boundary to interbreeding, between populations. ("speciation")

These claims are definite, and sweeping. Are they possibly valid? Sure. But next to evolutionism's simple, definite, demonstrably well-supported claims, such sweeping claims as these cry out for at least some demonstration, before we should credit them as plausible. And it's hard, because by their nature, claims such as these latter two are hard to test or to demonstrate. Invalid? No not necessarily. Unsupportable? Well, so far they are definitely unsupported claims.

Unlike the claims of evolutionists, for which a large and varied body of support exists. Not the same as proof. But the claims of evolutionists are actually quite modest by comparison. We know and can demonstrate variation does occur. We know and can demonstrate variation is heritable. We do know and can demonstrate that an already-useful organ or structure can, with a tiny morphological change, become adapted to a new and newly beneficial use. For specific organs and structures, we are even able to isolate the very gene whose tiny alteration cues such a specific change (Gould's The Panda's Thumb outlines several of these in very charming case studies. I honestly don't know whether that dude believed in God or not. He was fervent in his staunch embrace of suspension of judgment, but I really don't know what his heart of hearts had to say to him on the topic. He sure did shine with the light of God's love, for all of God's creatures and for we humans especially. His combination of tact, clarity, and cheerful cantankerousness is missed).

But such support, such demonstration, is not what science calls proof - not in the sense of conclusive, not in the sense of final. It's still only: examples that fit the theory. It's only: evidence with a tendency to support. For science, ONE clear and demonstrable example that outright contradicts the theory kills the theory - or forces its major revision. Work will be done either way, to test the observed contradiction and its reproduceability, in-depth. One instance of proven contradiction is final, conclusive death to the theory as it had been formulated.

But no amount of examples that fit and support it can "prove" the theory. They merely illustrate what it describes. And the theory remains: open to refutation, always. A theory may be the best and most plausible description advanced, but it has made definite claims about reality - and for science, reality always has the final say. When it can be gotten to SPEAK UP anyhow!


You see, these things - science at its core, which is to say, science well-used - are why I love science!

dogimo said...

Your point about evolutionism wrongly used, misused to slander belief (when nothing in the theory can even address belief) - this is a sure thing. Definitely, I agree that evolutionism is so misused. Evolutionism is a great and good thing, and its misuse does not count against it.

For belief in God, too, is a great and good thing, and its misuse is legion. Crusades, Inquisitions. Jihads. Witch-hunts. The shunning and shaming and expulsion of one's neighbors, the condemnation and damnation of human beings by human beings - when we are not the judge of souls, very nearly all religion is united in that fact! There are pervasive, inhumane, irreligious, diabolically awful mis-uses of belief in God, and these mis-uses are the cause of so much horror and despair. so much suicide, homicide and genocide, that there are those who argue belief in God is wrong. Evil.

You cannot use a good thing's misuse to argue against the thing. As a muslim might put it: "Subhan'Allah."

God is devoid of the evil that men accuse God of.

Yes. Just so. A beautiful and succinct statement, one that is tantamount to the rite of Christian baptism, rejecting Satan, and all his empty works of accusation. Satan's work is to accuse good and God of evil. Our work is clear.

I say, Subhan'Darwin. For it is clear that Darwin, too, is devoid of this particular evil which he is accused of. Evolutionism has not one mote or iota of opposition in it, to belief in God. Only evolutionism misused could be claimed to.

dogimo said...

I will bid adieu for the moment with a bold, saucy, UNSOPPORTABLE CLAIM!!!

Theology's a science.

Aheh. Aheh heheh aheheheehehe!


Apologies. Diabolical laughter: not a specialty.

But anyway Jen, talking to you usually makes me pretty glad. Thanks for the patience you have. There's never doubt in my mind that you and I at least, are on God's side - even if you might not agree with me that Dawkin's is one heck of a knight in our fight. But that's all cool, and not my call. We're all ground-pounders down here, we're infantry and cavalry, primarily - artillery, sure. I'm willing to leave the awarding of combat medals and commendations to specific soldiers all in the hands of the commander-in-Chief, and meanwhile, fight alongside all those who I can see are giving the bad guys - and the misuses - a right pounding.

OK sit tight and huddle in the trenches folks. I'm calling in air support!!

dogimo said...

OOO! OOO! I have one! On the science "vs" religion, reality "vs" purpose bit -

Science deals exclusively with observable reality, and attempts to describe its discoverable aspects, using predictive theory to make definite claims that are ultimately subject to reality's disproof.

God, on the other hand, created observable reality. All of spacetime.

Spacetime is putatively infinite. For the sake of argument, let's say sure: spacetime's infinite. Spacetime, observable reality, this is science's scope. Science's scope is infinite, but its claims must be proscribed by its rigor. Science's probative value is utterly dependent on its rigor.

God, on the other hand, is infinitely bigger than spacetime. Before observable reality was, God was. And beyond every direction and dimension in which spacetime unfurls - God transcends.

Now these are most definitely claims about reality. Science's point is that they are claims that are not within observable reality, and that they are untestable claims.

Science has a lot of good points. Well-used, science is (as was said by the ancient Greeks) one bad mammah-jammah. Or Greek mumbo jumbo to that effect.

dogimo said...

Shiite. I forgot the succinct part. Somewhere in there was a succinct part. OO! OK!

Science deals with reality. God created reality. Deal with it, science!!

dogimo said...

"unsopportable", sheesh

Jen said...

Wow. This could go on for weeks. Or months. And it would be fun and educational. But I've got to bring this plane down. I'm spending hours writing to you when I ought to be sleeping, or eating, or praying, or all three. So this next post will be my absolutely last on the subject. This next post will be things that I just couldn't resist responding to, even tho I know that they will lead to more such things.

Jen said...

YES ! Theology IS a science! Used to be called "the Queen of Sciences," back in the day. And, I would say, it does deal with reality, and it does make claims that are as falsifiable/testable/supportable as any made about how creatures evolved in the past. Just with different types of evidence.

I would add, any serious field of inquiry could be called a science. Lit crit, for example. (My fave)

Re: the following two claims you attribute to me:

- a useful organ can not, by means of minor, tiny, successive changes over generations, acquire a new and beneficial use.

- if a population of organisms divides geographically, the accumulation of thousands of years of genetic variation cannot become a boundary to interbreeding, between populations. ("speciation")

... I do not make either of these claims. The first claim requires the useful organ to already exist, so I have no problem with it.

The second claim, speciation ... of course. That results in two populations that descended from a common ancestor. Yes, we see this. E.g. horses, donkeys, zebras, etc. However. No new genetic material has been created. Each of those populations has LESS variety in their genome than did the original ancestor. Sure it happens, and technically, they are new species, but they still look a lot alike (they are still birds, or they are now horses and donkeys, for example). This is not the same as a completely new species coming into being, one with previously unheard-of organs, abilities, etc. It is a loss of variety in certain geographic areas, not a gain.

Finally, about Gould's case studies. If I'm not mistaken, these types of case studies are largely speculation. "This is how we think it could have happened ..." Fun to read, sure. They seem like support if you already think such things are possible. But as you say, they are not proof. And it's hard to imagine how they could be proved, since they are assertions about things that happened in the past.

(Even if you identify a gene that gives a creature a certain trait, that is not the same as demonstrating that the gene came into being through a mutation. Maybe it was always there in the common ancestor, but it got lost in other descendant populations.)

OK, enough. I am once again neglecting my duties for this interesting but ultimately not very useful debate. I see that I will never convince you, and that we will remain friends.


PS You can sure reply to my replies. I will have to use every ounce of self-discipline not to keep the thread going ...

dogimo said...

OK, okay - critically speaking. Dead level. Theology.

It's not an art.

If it's a science, so be it. Call it such if its fans wish to so dig it. "Dig" short for dignify. But if it be a science, it is entirely off-method, which to me puts it in another category. If I had to class it, it's -

Theology is academia as a form of prayer.

Rigorous, studious, strictly logical (at its best), but utterly unsupported empirically unless one accepts pure witness (basis no longer available for inspection) as evidence. And I don't. Because it doesn't help me to stoop that low. It doesn't help theology, either, for me to grab its head and push it to mud, like that stuff'll stick. It doesn't help me to lower my standards for what science is. No offense to academia or to prayer! But theology is a STRONG and self-powerful field, one that needs no additional dignification. One that doesn't need us dragging in laurels by association.

The reason it would "dignify" theology to call it a science, is due to one thing only: the credibility that the word "science" has acquired, purely through its association with the method. And theology has absolutely no parts of the scientific method.

Science is worth approximately (i.e. exactly) jack nil, apart from the method. The method is strictly empirical, and rigorously dependent on basis that remains available for inspection.

That was me, getting the strict discipline of criticism out of the way. Such shit's also trivia. Classification of disciplines, seriously. Talk about some non-salvific drivel.

Tee he, but I do so very much mean it to. And I love theology! Which I'm sure you know. I may not be a theologian, but I'm at very least a theologue.

Theology is academia as a form of prayer? Well and good.

Science is reality as a form of worship. Oh, you can object. But plenty of our worshippers go through the empty forms of observance, without really knowing God. At least the scientists who go through their empty forms of observance, unknowing of God as they practice, are paying close attention to the observance part.

I hope and pray they pay close enough attention to catch on. Just as I hope and pray for the candle-lighters, incense-sniffers and wood-pulp thumpers who need to stop watching the flame and the writing and really listen for the still small voice of the Word.

There's actually a ridiculous amount of hope for us all! I leap for joy, when I consider the justice and try to fathom the mercy of the lord. Yea though I fear for myself, of course.

Cocky as I am, I'll be last up there for sure if I get in.

dogimo said...

The previous post is a tiny, teensy, one single nit pick of - WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT - my own bold unsopportable [ sic ] assertion! That theology is a science. That's me disagreeing with ME, not you! Apologies for talking over you, to myself.

See, I realized after asserting so why it stuck in my craw. So consider the above one single and easily by-passable self-picked nit, and no reason or need to continue past it.

Blessings to you as well. We agree on all the important things, I suspect from the evidence (in conversation, much more is at stake than the laws of the pffffft! universe, and so witness is admissible!).

Science is not the important stuff. It's only got an infinite scope, and only along 4 extended and



I can't remember how many unextended dimensions there are.

Okay, I looked it up. The answer is: "DING! DING! DING! DING!" - WHO CARES. That's a tangent for its own separate post, with relevance to no one who knows, and everyone who ought to know better but let's not be so hard on myself there son. I'll learn. One day, I will learn.

dogimo said...

Oh, sorry, I can't let this pass.

I didn't attribute those two claims to you. If you're not familiar with them, though, they're pretty widely flung around by anti-evolutionists - of which you are by no means the only one I'm fond of - and just as easily crushed like grapes, so you're better off disclaiming them. As you sort of do. Or at least, disowning them.

If you'd made either of those claims, I'd've pinned them to you. It would have been only fair. I'm glad you didn't.

I do understand how you could have taken it as implication! I take no umbrage, I never mind. But the thing to know about me is, honestly? I never imply. Literalism, literalism is my style and more than that, my armor and my strength, more my forte, really - and my fort. My judgment and defense, my home field, and my court.

And you're quite right to disown, you'd be best off to leave those two weak claims entirely alone. Every organism has useful organs. Every useful organ may - and many do - acquire by one tiny, identifiable-to-the-specific-chromosome-of-the-genome morphological change, a new and beneficial function that its immediately genetically-previous iteration utterly lacked. A function utterly absent in that previously entirely-functional organ. A function that is adaptive, and opens new vistas for the specimen to thrive - niches which its offspring proliferate into, and through, and within which specimens the responsible organ comes along for the ride, over all the following generations growing and thriving and getting more specialized, and - can I just say, evolving? - as it goes. I can say evolving! Of course I can. It's only microevolution, after all. Nothing controversial there.

Step back a bit from microevolution though, uh-oh. Tiny steps. Tiny steps. Tiny steps.

Macroevolution is heresy to evolutionists too, you know. There really is and can be no such thing, as "macro"evolution. Tiny steps. Tiny steps.

Now, that business with tiny morphological change opening up an existing functional organ to new applications is not mere theory. It is documented - embodied in thousands, undoubtedly millions if you could lump all the living in with the fossilized specimens across multiple genera and kingdoms - fact.

And if I may now paraphrase Shaquille O'Neal, I do admit I may sometimes say more or other or worse or badly, compared to my intent, but in terms of try, I never imply. I stand by that, to the best I can and:

"Don't funk the fake on the dunky stuff."

- Not Shaquille O'Neal

You're a good sport, Jen. I'm a jackass, but I do mean well, and it all.

G'night though. There's no rush in these lives. We've got another coming they say. Let's hope no time soon, there's good work to do, and we like that.