Home » Intelligent Design, Naturalism, Science » Science can be done “by ignoring God,” but what follows? — a response to Torley

Science can be done “by ignoring God,” but what follows? — a response to Torley

Responding to The oximoron of the multi-universes in “Methodological naturalism and evidence: A response to niwrad,” I noted,

Methodological naturalism is treated as an axiom. When it is asserted, it stands in for evidence. That is why evidence for multiverses is not considered necessary.

Recently, Vince Torley responded aptly to Jerry Coyne’s rant against a sign at a California museum, the gist of which rant is that “science is done by ignoring God.” Torley highlights the seminal work of three scientists a century ago and more, Kelvin, Maxwell, and Joule—who most certainly did not ignore God.

He concludes,

Given the testimony of these three great scientists, Professor Coyne’s statement that “science is done by ignoring God” stands exposed for what it is: a hollow piece of dogmatism. No, Professor Coyne, science is done by following the evidence wherever it leads.

Yes, and that raises the very point I noted in A response to niwrad: Methodological naturalism (MN) enables one to dispense with evidence at key points because MN stands in for evidence.

In cosmology, MN functions as the Copernican Principle, fathering new (life-friendly) Earths, their life, their intelligent life, and the many new universes that dwarf ours—without any current evidence in the conventional sense.

Yet it is science to believe and anti-science to doubt.

And I have not even begun to catalogue, in “Science Fictions” at ENV the many more bizarre claims in fields ranging from cosmology through origin of life and human origins—just for a start. Kelvin, Maxwell, and Joule would certainly not recognize such claims as part of science, but they are regarded that way today.

Recognition of bizarre claims poorly supported by evidence may be an unavoidable outcome of science “done by ignoring God.” That could be true regardless of how one envisions God. For the early science greats, God was, among other things, a guarantor that ultimate reality makes sense and that facts and evidence matter.

The physical universe cannot play such a role. The belief that we are all, at bottom, mere flickering manifestations of that universe clearly does not give us much motivation to even value the role. And, whatever it may have done in the past, that is what methodological naturalism is doing to science today.

Science “done without God” needs no evidence and need not even make sense. it just needs a number of key people to agree that it is “science.”

– O’Leary for News

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6 Responses to Science can be done “by ignoring God,” but what follows? — a response to Torley

  1. I agree that Dr.Coyne’s response to the Sign by a donor is down right stupid and unwarranted, but you should also note that God cannot be cited as a explanatory factor for a phenomenon. My comment from another thread :

    Dr.vjt,
    You and others have pointed out in other threads that God can create His own rules because it is His own universe, so don’t you think if God is considered as a explanation or solution for a phenomenon, it will lead to wrong conclusion? If there is no invariant rule, it is like tampering with the evidence to fit a preconceived solution.

  2. ‘Science “done without God” needs no evidence and need not even make sense. it just needs a number of key people to agree that it is “science.”’

    Don’t be nasty.

  3. They don’t conduct science by ignoring god, but rather by insisting that god doesn’t exist.

    Simply ignoring God would allow one to reach a conclusion of best explanation via ID; one must be actively denying that any such entity exists to invoke copernican principles. There is simply no current evidence to give reason to conclude that the Earth and life is “average” or “no big deal.”

    All current evidence suggests otherwise.

  4. Hi selvaRajan,

    Thank you for your post. You argue that since God can create whatever rules He chooses, then invoking God as a explanation for a phenomenon will lead to a wrong conclusion, adding: “If there is no invariant rule, it is like tampering with the evidence to fit a preconceived solution.”

    First, God can create a universe with whatever rules He likes, but having created it, those rules are then part-and-parcel of the way things are, barring supernatural intervention.

    Second, as I’ve argued in recent posts of mine, the scientific enterprise presupposes the existence of rules in the natural world, where the various kinds of natural objects conform to these rules all – or almost all – of the time.

    Third, it’s legitimate to ask where the rules we find in our world come from. And since, as I’ve argued in previous posts, these rules can only come from a mind, and since the multiverse itself appears to be subject to rules, we are therefore forced to look for a Mind beyond the multiverse – i.e. a Mind which transcends space, time and matter of any sort. Such a Mind might reasonably be described as God.

    I don’t think that reasoning in this way is “preconceived”; it’s just searching for a satisfactory explanation for the way the world is. The Being we are forced to posit in the end is a free agent who could have chosen to make a different world – but only this Being can explain why we have a world with rules at all.

  5. It’s funny that materialists feel free to posit a scenario whereby the entire universe may be a virtual simulation in a gigantic computer (which would mean that the programmers are Gods), and yet they balk at the idea that there might be a powerful being or beings who created the entire universe with its universal laws and set it in motion. Which is harder to do, creating a gigantic computer and a complex simulation of the universe or simply creating the universe? Why would powerful beings bother to create a simulation if they could just as easily create the real thing? The universe is really a gigantic machine with many parts. Why create a machine within a machine?

    The problem with materialists is not that they are against the idea of God. They’re just against the idea of the Christian God, a God described to them by various Christian sects and churches. But who’s to say that Christians have the correct description of God? Why be against God just because you have a bone to pick with Christians or whomever?

  6. Dr.vjt @ 4,

    …but having created it, those rules are then part-and-parcel of the way things are, barring supernatural intervention

    Aren’t we already testing our hypothesis based on those rules? God would be a higher order solution for how the rules came into existing, but where is the need to bring in God for testing why a phenomenon happens based on set of invariant rules?

    Hi Maou @ 5

    It’s funny that materialists feel free to posit a scenario whereby the entire universe may be a virtual simulation in a gigantic computer

    Groups of scientists have their own theories, which are promoted by them, but ultimately the theory is accepted and adopted by science only if an experiment or observation proves the theory.
    In case of universe as a simulation theory, if the ultra-high-energy cosmic ray detector (which might be invented in near future) shows that the underlying lattice of space-time is has length greater than Planck length, then we may be living in a simulated universe. Of course if there is no prove of that, the theory will die and fall out of favor naturally.

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