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New book: The left’s stealth war to redefine science

And you thought it was all coming from the right?

In “Stealth war to redefine science” (USA Today, September 27, 2012), Alex Berezow, editor ofRealClearScience, and Hank Campbell, founder of Science 2.0 argue that “social sciences” are not really sciences:

Not all studies within the hard sciences measure up. The majority of studies do, though. However, while there are notable exceptions, a substantial proportion of studies in the social sciences are not considered scientifically rigorous because the human experience is highly subjective and changeable across culture and time.

Second, the politics. It’s not a secret that academia, particularly the humanities, skews heavily left.

A recent survey by economics professor Daniel Klein revealed that Democrats outnumbered Republicans by a whopping 30-to-1 ratio in anthropology; 28-to-1 in sociology; nearly 10-to-1 in history; and nearly 7-to-1 in political science. In economics, which is widely considered “conservative” by other social fields, Republicans are merely outnumbered 3-to-1.

As psychology professor Jonathan Haidt, the liberal-turned-centrist would say, “This is a statistically impossible lack of diversity.” Yet, some progressives in academia and the news media justify it by referring to Democrats as “pro-science” and the Republicans as “anti-science,” rather than addressing the obvious lack of political tolerance in the modern world of universities. That partisanship has brought with it a willingness to discard science that refutes pet ideological causes appealing to the left. [Tell us something else we don't know ... ed.]

Thus, attempts to legitimize alternative medicine, to demand labels for genetically modified food and to ban plastic bags have taken hold.

An atmosphere like that invites scandals around misuse of data, such as the ones we’ve covered in recent years.

They have a new book out, Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left:

Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left

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29 Responses to New book: The left’s stealth war to redefine science

  1. Semi-OT: Michigan Professor Strips Naked In Class, Shouts ‘There Is No F–king God’
    By Noel Sheppard | October 02, 2012
    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/n.....z289SI2v8h

  2. Professors, our moral and intellectual superiors. Plato and Aristotle would be SO proud of our Michigan university boyo.

  3. 3
    Kantian Naturalist

    A few points:

    (1) I really don’t think it’s decent to poke fun at “professors” because someone had a mental breakdown in class. The vast majority of college and university professors work hard, take their jobs seriously, and are dedicated to their students and to their research.

    (2) According to the table of contents, Berezow and Campbell are taking aim at the hysteria directed against GMOs, the anti-vaccination crowd, the alternative medicine people, and PETA’s hostility to animal experimentation. They have no objection to Darwinian theories of evolution, to embryonic stem-cell research, or to anthropogenic global warning — at least, not from what I can tell in their table of contents and first few pages.

    (3) They’re using “progressive” in what looks to me like an idiosyncratic way, as people who prefer both economic and social authoritarianism, as the diametrical opposite of “libertarians.” They cite David Nolan’s work here, who influenced The World’s Smallest Political Quiz. (I score as a “leftist-liberal” on the quiz, quite opposed to “statism”)

    Which is to say: Berezow and Campbell are defining “progressive” by using a tool invented by a libertarian political activist and politician (indeed, the founder of the Libertarian Party in the US, interestingly enough) which, in somewhat less partisan hands, is a position referred to as “statism”. I think it’s fair to say that this is a non-standard usage of the term “progressive.”

    (4) Whether or not conservatives are under-represented in academia is actually quite contentious, since the most rigorous study yet conducted is not without certain flaws. It also isn’t entirely clear why that would be a bad thing. No doubt socialists are under-represented on Wall Street. There’s quite likely a high degree of self-selection in both cases.

  4. Kantian, while I certainly have compassion on the man’s metal condition, and pray that he might reach out for and find God in this time of humiliation for him, it is perhaps relevant to point out that atheists, on a whole, are more irrational than Christian Theists:

    Look Who’s Irrational Now
    Excerpt: “What Americans Really Believe,” a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....54585.html

    Sure Christianity also has it fair share of mentally unbalanced people, but this higher tendency towards irrationality on the atheists part, pointed out in the preceding study, should really be no surprise at all:

    The Great Debate: Does God Exist? – Justin Holcomb – audio of the 1985 debate available on the site
    Excerpt: The transcendental proof for God’s existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist worldview is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist worldview cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes. In that sense the atheist worldview cannot account for our debate tonight.,,,
    http://theresurgence.com/2012/.....-god-exist

    Random Chaos vs. Uniformity Of Nature – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6853139

    Epistemology – Why Should The Human Mind Even Be Able To Comprehend Reality? – Stephen Meyer – video – (Notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/32145998

    Do the New Atheists Own the Market on Reason? – On the terms of the New Atheists, the very concept of rationality becomes nonsensical – By R. Scott Smith, May 03, 2012
    Excerpt: If atheistic evolution by NS were true, we’d be in a beginningless series of interpretations, without any knowledge. Yet, we do know many things. So, naturalism & atheistic evolution by NS are false — non-physical essences exist. But, what’s their best explanation? Being non-physical, it can’t be evolution by NS. Plus, we use our experiences, form concepts and beliefs, and even modify or reject them. Yet, if we’re just physical beings, how could we interact with and use these non-physical things? Perhaps we have non-physical souls too. In all, it seems likely the best explanation for these non-physical things is that there exists a Creator after all.
    http://www.patheos.com/Evangel.....#038;max=1

    The following interview is sadly comical as a evolutionary psychologist realizes that neo-Darwinism can offer no guarantee that our faculties of reasoning will correspond to the truth, not even for the truth that he is purporting to give in the interview, (which begs the question of how was he able to come to that particular truthful realization, in the first place, if neo-Darwinian evolution were actually true?);

    Evolutionary guru: Don’t believe everything you think – October 2011
    Interviewer: You could be deceiving yourself about that.(?)
    Evolutionary Psychologist: Absolutely.
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....think.html

    Evolutionists Are Now Saying Their Thinking is Flawed (But Evolution is Still a Fact) – Cornelius Hunter – May 2012
    Excerpt: But the point here is that these “researchers” are making an assertion (human reasoning evolved and is flawed) which undermines their very argument. If human reasoning evolved and is flawed, then how can we know that evolution is a fact, much less any particular details of said evolutionary process that they think they understand via their “research”?
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....their.html

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” – Charles Darwin – Letter To William Graham – July 3, 1881

    “One absolutely central inconsistency ruins [the popular scientific philosophy]. The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears… unless Reason is an absolute, all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based.”
    —C.S. Lewis, Is Theology Poetry (aka the Argument from Reason)

    In fact Nebuchadnezzar, in the Bible, learned the hard way that God is the foundation of all reason:

    ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’ (verse 30).

    The thought had no more than passed through his mind when the announcement of the commencement of his humiliation came to the king. His sovereignty was to be removed. His sanity was to be taken away. He who thought himself better than other men was now to be considered unworthy to dwell among men. Henceforth, he would dwell among the cattle, eating grass like the beast of the field. This would take place for seven years, until that time when the king recognized the sovereignty of God over men and kings and kingdoms, and his sanity returned.
    http://bible.org/seriespage/ne.....niel-41-37

    Verse and music:

    Romans 12:2
    Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

    Healing Begins: Music Video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LartL77Nuqs

  5. Sounds like this guy was having trouble convincing himself that there is no God.

  6. Wow, that is shocking beyond belief, disparaging the choice of the public to have GM food labelled as such.

  7. OT: “No stretching of the demonstrated technology is required to envision computer consoles installed in every home and connected to public-utility computers through the telephone system.”

    – Scientific American, September 1966

  8. 8
    Kantian Naturalist

    I don’t know what their views are on GMOs. I might have misread what I came across. All I was trying to point out is that they don’t have any trouble with Darwinian evolution.

  9. OT: Biomimetics – Engineers harness photosynthetic proteins for nano-circuits

    Solar cell consisting of a single molecule: Individual protein complex generates electric current – October 2, 2012
    Excerpt: The (photosynthetic) proteins represent light-driven, highly efficient single-molecule electron pumps that can act as current generators in nanoscale electric circuits.
    Photosystem-I exhibits outstanding optoelectronic properties found only in photosynthetic systems. The nanoscale dimension further makes the photosystem-I a promising unit for applications in molecular optoelectronics.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-10-s.....otein.html

  10. Kantian –

    One thing to keep in mind is this – if this was a Christian professor, who went buck naked shouting “God exists and you must believe in him”, this would be an instant national story. Kind of the way the media continually covers whatever idiotic thing the Fred Phelps family does.

    But, I think a deeper point, which relates the story in the post to the story about the professor, is this. There is no “war on science” being waged by conservatives. There is, however, quite a bit of pushback to the idea that professors as a class should have epistemological authority over the rest of us, ignoring the epistemological status of actually living in the real world and thinking for oneself. What the left wants to do is have us all worship anything marked as “science”, and then be the gatekeepers over that label. *This* is what conservatives are waging war on.

    Academia is home to just as many clueless nut-jobs as anywhere else, and there are plenty of ultra-smart people who have never set foot in a classroom. As News suggested, there is no reason to regard them as our moral and intellectual superiors – we can respect their work without worshipping it.

  11. Of ‘serendipitous’ note:

    Letters From the Dead: Antony Flew Posthumously Defends “There is a God” Through Letters Recently Made Public
    http://news.yahoo.com/letters-.....39898.html

    It is interesting to note that the late leading atheist Anthony Flew was immediately accused of being senile by fellow atheist when he admitted that the intelligent design being found in life pointed overwhelmingly towards God. Here is a interview with the late Flew:

    Anthony Flew – The Honest Ex-Atheist – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbyTwmaJArU

  12. 12
    Kantian Naturalist

    JohnnyB, the scenario you describe here, both about academia and the left, is so completely alien to my own experience that I’m not really sure how we can have a productive conversation.

    But, for the sake of trying, here’s how things look from my limited and subjective point of view:

    (1) I don’t know of anyone in higher education who thinks of him or herself as “morally or intellectually superior” to those who are not employed in higher education. (And, in case it’s not perfectly obvious, I’m in the business — sort of.) Academics think of themselves as experts in their chosen fields of expertise, of course, but I don’t know of any who regard that expertise as translating into superiority of any sort, intellectual or moral. (I don’t even know what “moral superiority” would be, although my family’s rabbi comes close — she’s one wise old lady!)

    (2) There is very little, if anything, that deserves to be called “the left” in the United States. Noam Chomsky is better known outside of the US than he is in it; the Green Party has about 300,000 members; the International Socialist Organization, which is the largest Communist organization in the US, probably has a lot fewer members than the Greens.

    No one can have much power, wealth, or influence in the United States without paying fealty to “the free market”, and it is precisely that which the left opposes, because the left believes that the “freedom” of “the free market” is a delusion and a lie that legitimizes exploitation, inequality, and misery.

    As you can see, we’re coming at this issues from quite different perspectives. Whether a conversation would be productive is a decision I leave to you.

  13. Kantian -

    I always feel conversations are productive. I graduated from a radical-left-wing seminary (about 1/3 marxist from my professors), so I am familiar with the leftist critique of conservative ideas.

    As for the definition of the “left”, if you define it narrowly, then there aren’t that many people. But that’s true of any movement. I define “left” as basically the modern national Democratic party, but not the party of JFK. My grandparents are democrats – they aren’t leftists. Lieberman is a non-leftist democrat, Bill is a non-leftist democrat, Hillary is a slightly-leftist democrat, Obama is a pretty far leftist democrat, etc. As for power, the left currently controls the presidency, half the judiciary, and half of congress.

    As for “paying fealty to the free market”, that’s only partially true. As the current president has shown, you can get away with pretty much anything just by choosing the right words.

    But going back to the issues, the most important thing about leftism is leftism’s own ideas – power structures. Because of the power structures in place, the government can do much that is at odds with the majority of the people and get away with it.

    As for the intellectual superiority of the academics, they don’t view themselves *individually* as being morally superior, but they do view themselves *collectively* as being morally superior. They do in fact discount the experience and viewpoints of ordinary people. For a definition of “moral superiority”, it is basically the idea that people with lower education have naturally less-morally-sound ideas, and should take their moral opinions from academics and politicians.

  14. The subjects mentioned with these stats are things nobody cares about.
    It would be the the left in them more.
    anyways its about conservative/liberal and not parties.
    It also follows identities as in ethnic/foreign/sex/urban/rural.
    Its not science loving but identity that determines thee kids direction .
    i find no surprise and welcome it.
    social studies and the rest are not intellectually important and probably no one normal has passion for it.
    It’s just what one would expect for subjects based on wrong assumptions and so less able to correct themselves.
    If they were equally conservative etc etc then they would be able to say they have smart people backing up their ideas.
    Instead the demographics lead open the charge they are represented by the less intellectually able people if i may say so.
    A ha. tHats why they explain nothing well and get it wrong.
    Its the wrong people getting the degrees.

    It doesn’t matter ones politics as long as its all fair and square.
    It still comes down to making the case on any issue.
    High education has never been a cross section of the nations.
    It never will be.
    Authority on issues of contention must be the evidence and not the demographics.

  15. Kantian states:

    the scenario you describe here, both about academia and the left, is so completely alien to my own experience,,,

    Actually he is dead on. On top of that your preferred, but unsubstantiated and destructive, philosophical basis (Kant) is at the root of the left as johnnyb has laid it out:

    The Impact of Immanuel Kant and a Christian Response
    http://philosophyforchristians.....an_25.html

  16. 16
    Kantian Naturalist

    Bornagain77: Firstly, just insisting that JohnnyB is right, without offering any additional reasoning, isn’t terribly persuasive. Secondly, that website is one of the worst things about Kant I’ve ever read. (The comments aren’t as bad, but still make a lot of mistakes.)

  17. “Firstly, just insisting that JohnnyB is right, without offering any additional reasoning, isn’t terribly persuasive.”

    Well By-Golly Kantian, you’ve taught me well, I’ve no need to back any claims up with empirical evidence or sound reasoning. :) Indeed you ignore your preferred naturalistic philosophy cannot even ground reasoning, thus once again why should I care what you think?

  18. As to the site you find so deplorable, I find that strange for you to claim, because you yourself seem to follow the basic outline of his main criticism to a tee in that you have no empirical basis to support ‘self-organization, and in fact, whether you agree or not, you are forced to reduce the power and conclusions of reasoning (the power of mind itself) to some inconsequential platonic realm in which all conclusions of reasoning are mere twaddle that is in reality subject to whatever whims the one who holds your position wants to be true. i.e. you have no check to correct or falsify your starting belief!

  19. 19
    Kantian Naturalist

    Bornagain77,

    I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not, but the view which you criticize under the term “materialism” is better known as Epicureanism (see here). Since I’m not an Epicurean, I don’t recognize any of my own views in what you describe as “materialism.” Now, if you would like me to articulate my own views, and my critique of Epicureanism, I’d be happy to do so.

    As for whether or not self-organization theory has any “empirical” support, that depends on what one means by “empirical.” The theory has some support from computer modeling. Does that count as “empirical”? Frankly, I can see an argument being made either way, but my inclination is to say that computer models are an interesting sub-class of experiments. Quite likely many of our epistemological positions about experiments do not extend to computer models, but they are still quite valuable sources of information. Hmmm. I’ll have to think more about this.

  20. Kantian, to demonstrate how detached from reality you are with your preferred naturalistic scenario, whether materialistic or otherwise, I point out that you have no empirical basis for self-organization to which you retort “The theory has some support from computer modeling”,,, Now Kantian this ‘computer modeling’ is completely insane for to appeal to, for the point you are wishing to make for naturalism (of whatever flavor), since, clearly, a human mind is directly involved in the programming of the computer! Indeed from what I can make of your philosophy, you have insulated yourself from empirical accountability, thus explaining your bizarre view of denying that empirical evidence and metaphysics are intractably bound together. i.e. there can be ZERO unexplained discordance between the two!

    Of note: In order for man to unlock the secrets of the universe through the power of reasoning it was necessary for the founders of modern science to first presuppose that the universe itself was established by the power of a reasoning mind!

    notes:

    Why should the human mind be able to comprehend reality so deeply? – referenced article
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qGvbg_212biTtvMschSGZ_9kYSqhooRN4OUW_Pw-w0E/edit

    Alan Turing and Kurt Godel – Incompleteness Theorem and Human Intuition – video (notes in video description)
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/8516356/

    Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion – Michael Egnor – June 2011
    Excerpt: The scientific method — the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature — has nothing to so with some religious inspirations — Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47431.html

    The Origin of Science
    Jaki writes: Herein lies the tremendous difference between Christian monotheism on the one hand and Jewish and Muslim monotheism on the other. This explains also the fact that it is almost natural for a Jewish or Muslim intellectual to become a patheist. About the former Spinoza and Einstein are well-known examples. As to the Muslims, it should be enough to think of the Averroists. With this in mind one can also hope to understand why the Muslims, who for five hundred years had studied Aristotle’s works and produced many commentaries on them failed to make a breakthrough. The latter came in medieval Christian context and just about within a hundred years from the availability of Aristotle’s works in Latin..
    As we will see below, the break-through that began science was a Christian commentary on Aristotle’s De Caelo (On the Heavens).
    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/aug.....rigin.html

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    The God Particle: Not the God of the Gaps, But the Whole Show – Monday, Aug. 2012
    Excerpt: C. S. Lewis put it this way: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.”
    http://www.christianpost.com/n.....how-80307/

    Christianity Gave Birth To Each Scientific Discipline – Dr. Henry Fritz Schaefer – video
    http://vimeo.com/16523153

    The Judeo-Christian Origin of Modern Science – Peter Hodgson – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYP4dqkmXDg

    The Evolutionary Informatics Lab: Putting Intelligent Design Predictions to the Test – Casey Luskin – February, 2012
    Excerpt: The work of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab demonstrates that ID proponents are capable of producing innovative techniques for tackling questions related to intelligent design and evolution. First, the lab developed a methodology for studying the degree to which information is smuggled into evolutionary algorithms. Then, the researchers applied that methodology to various well-known programs like ev, Avida, and Dawkins’ “Weasel Simulation,” and successfully identified sources of “active information” in each. As the lab’s website promised, their research has shown that even the best efforts of ID-critics cannot escape the fact that intelligence is required to generate new information.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56061.html

    etc.. etc.. etc..

  21. 21
    Kantian Naturalist

    JohnnyB,

    I’m puzzled at your claim that

    Bill is a non-leftist democrat, Hillary is a slightly-leftist democrat, Obama is a pretty far leftist democrat, etc.

    I don’t see that many differences between Obama’s policies and Clinton’s policies. I tend to see Obama as a slightly-left-of-center Democrat, very much in the Clinton mold. This is particularly true of his economic team, which is mostly made up of Clinton’s old advisers. If Obama were “pretty far leftist,” he’d be taking the advice of Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, or Robert Reich, which he clearly isn’t. (Even then, I’d balk at the suggestion that hard-core neo-Keynesians are “pretty far left,” but I’ll leave that one be.)

    Now, it’s true that Obama adopts a ‘progressive’ attitude towards ‘culture war’-sort of issues — esp. with respect to civil rights for homosexuals (e.g. instructing the Justice Dept not to enforce DOMA, repealing DADT) — and he’s a luke-warm progressive (by my lights) on environmental policy. And for some people, it’s the culture war that matters. What makes me particularly appalled by Obama, though, and this is central to why I don’t think he’s a genuine leftist, is the predator-drone program being used to kill civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere. Heck, I might as well come right and say it: as far as I’m concerned, Obama is as guilty of committing war crimes as Bush was. In a perfectly just world they’d be in adjoining cells, awaiting trial in the Hague.

  22. 22
    Kantian Naturalist

    Bornagain77,

    What it means, for me, to be a “Kantian naturalist”, is to be committed to a couple of different claims:

    (1) the rejection of the transcendental ideality of space and time (that’s the “naturalism” part)
    (2) the irreducibility of normativity (‘the space of reasons’) to the natural world (that’s the “Kantian” part).

    From (1) follows that (i) our cognitive and perceptive capacities are not screened off from things-in-themselves and (ii) the progress of empirical knowledge is best understood as asymptotic approximation towards things-in-themselves.

    From (2) follows that “the space of reasons” — “the game of giving and asking for reasons,” as Brandom puts it — cannot be reduced to, or analyzed in terms of, any set of claims about brains, neurons, molecules, etc.

    Now, (2) does not entail that the space of reasons cannot be explained. I think that one could give a naturalistic explanation of how it is that we came to be rational, sapient beings. But that explanation would not, could not, show that there is no such thing as rationality.

    A further Kantian move I’m willing to make is to think that there’s a very deep connection between morality and rationality, insofar as (i) I think that the essence of morality is captured by the categorical imperative, and (ii) the categorical imperative is grounded in rationality itself.

    I’m willing to have a good, fun argument about these claims, but please note that there’s also a lot in Kant I’m not committed to, and likewise with naturalism. My version of Kantian naturalism is mostly indebted to Wilfrid Sellars and to Theodor Adorno, but I don’t agree with everything that either of them say, either.

    Then there’s this claim:

    In order for man to unlock the secrets of the universe through the power of reasoning it was necessary for the founders of modern science to first presuppose that the universe itself was established by the power of a reasoning mind!

    In general, I accept this as a historical claim — though of course it’s also worth pointing that several schools of ancient Greek and Roman thought accepted that the universe is the product of a reasoning mind, but didn’t have “science” in the modern sense, because they didn’t have the idea of constructing experiments to test their speculations.

    In any event, it’s not really clear to me what the point of this claim is supposed to be, besides being an interesting point about the history of science. Is the argument supposed to be that because, at first the idea of science depended on theistic metaphysics (“deciphering the Book of Nature”), then the idea of science is fundamentally unintelligible without that metaphysics?

    Whatever the plausibility of that line of thought — and I’m highly dubious — I think it makes more sense to begin with a picture of empirical knowledge as being essentially both fallible and corrigible (“correctable”). And while it’s historically true that this picture at first made sense in terms of the doctrine of progressive revelation, I don’t understand why the self-correcting, fallible-but-corrigible picture of empirical knowledge is supposed to be, somehow, unavailable to naturalists.

  23. Kantian, despite your intellectual weaving and dodging, your commitment to naturalism is what kills you epistemologically, period!!!

    as to empirically fleshing out the very ‘non-naturalistic claim’ that the Judeo-Christian worldview was necessary for the foundation of science, on top of the references already cited establishing that very embarrassing historical fact against naturalists (and all other religions for that matter), I would like to add the very non-naturalistic claim that Jesus Christ’s victory over death signifies the fulfillment of modern science:

    i.e. I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    The expansion of every 3D point in the universe, and the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe to each point of conscious observation in the universe, is obviously a very interesting congruence in science between the very large (relativity) and the very small (quantum mechanics). A congruence that Physicists, and Mathematicians, seem to be having a extremely difficult time ‘unifying’ into a ‘theory of everything’.(Einstein, Penrose).

    The conflict of reconciling General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics appears to arise from the inability of either theory to successfully deal with the Zero/Infinity problem that crops up in different places of each theory:

    THE MYSTERIOUS ZERO/INFINITY
    Excerpt: The biggest challenge to today’s physicists is how to reconcile general relativity and quantum mechanics. However, these two pillars of modern science were bound to be incompatible. “The universe of general relativity is a smooth rubber sheet. It is continuous and flowing, never sharp, never pointy. Quantum mechanics, on the other hand, describes a jerky and discontinuous universe. What the two theories have in common – and what they clash over – is zero.”,, “The infinite zero of a black hole — mass crammed into zero space, curving space infinitely — punches a hole in the smooth rubber sheet. The equations of general relativity cannot deal with the sharpness of zero. In a black hole, space and time are meaningless.”,, “Quantum mechanics has a similar problem, a problem related to the zero-point energy. The laws of quantum mechanics treat particles such as the electron as points; that is, they take up no space at all. The electron is a zero-dimensional object,,, According to the rules of quantum mechanics, the zero-dimensional electron has infinite mass and infinite charge.
    http://www.fmbr.org/editoral/e....._mar02.htm

    Quantum Mechanics and Relativity – The Collapse Of Physics? – video – with notes as to plausible reconciliation that is missed by materialists (Please note; the ‘infinity problem’ is focused primarily in black holes)
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6597379/

    Moreover, this extreme ‘mathematical difficulty’, of reconciling General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything’, was actually somewhat foreseeable from previous work, earlier in the 20th century, in mathematics by Godel:

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    the unification, into a ‘theory of everything’, between what is in essence the ‘infinite Theistic world of Quantum Mechanics’ and the ‘finite Materialistic world of the 4-D space-time of General Relativity’ seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man. Dr. William Dembski in this following comment, though not directly addressing the Zero/Infinity conflict in General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, offers insight into this ‘unification’ of the infinite and the finite:

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31 – William Dembski PhD. in Mathematics and Theology
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”
    http://www.designinference.com.....of_xty.pdf

    ,,,Also of related interest to this ‘Zero/Infinity conflict of reconciliation’, between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, is the fact that a ‘non-local, uncollapsed’ photon, in its quantum wave state, is mathematically defined as ‘infinite’ dimensional/information state,,,

    Wave function – wikipedia
    Excerpt “wave functions form an abstract vector space”,,, This vector space is infinite-dimensional, because there is no finite set of functions which can be added together in various combinations to create every possible function.

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single (photon) qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    ,,Moreover there is actual physical evidence that lends strong support to the position that the ‘Zero/Infinity conflict’, that we find between entropic General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, was successfully dealt with by Christ,,,

    THE EVENT HORIZON (Space-Time Singularity) OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN. – Isabel Piczek – Particle Physicist
    Excerpt: We have stated before that the images on the Shroud firmly indicate the total absence of Gravity. Yet they also firmly indicate the presence of the Event Horizon. These two seemingly contradict each other and they necessitate the past presence of something more powerful than Gravity that had the capacity to solve the above paradox.
    http://shroud3d.com/findings/i.....-formation

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection? by Chuck Missler
    Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically.

    Particle Radiation from the Body – M. Antonacci, A. C. Lind
    Excerpt: The Shroud’s frontal and dorsal body images are encoded with the same amount of intensity, independent of any pressure or weight from the body. The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image. Radiation coming from the body would not only explain this feature, but also the left/right and light/dark reversals found on the cloth’s frontal and dorsal body images.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/19tGkwrdg6cu5mH-RmlKxHv5KPMOL49qEU8MLGL6ojHU/edit?hl=en_US

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy, and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Holographic Pictures, Articles and Videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

  24. Thus, when one allows God into math, as Godel clearly indicated must ultimately be done to keep math from being ‘incomplete’, then there actually exists a very credible reconciliation between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity into a the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything’! Yet it certainly is one that many dogmatic Atheists will deny the relevance of.,,, As a footnote; Godel, who proved you cannot have a mathematical ‘Theory of Everything’, without allowing God to bring completeness to the ‘Theory of Everything’, also had this to say

    The God of the Mathematicians – Goldman
    Excerpt: As Gödel told Hao Wang, “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.” – Kurt Gödel – (Gödel is considered by many to be the greatest mathematician of the 20th century)
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    “Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature.”
    St. Augustine

    While I agree with a criticism, from a Christian, that was leveled against the preceding General Relativity/Quantum Mechanics/Shroud of Turin video, that God indeed needed no help from the universe in the resurrection event of Christ, I am none-the-less very happy to see that what is considered the number one problem of Physicists and Mathematicians in physics today, of a ‘unification into a theory of everything’ for what is in essence the finite, entropic, materialistic world of General Relativity and the infinite Theistic world of Quantum Mechanics, does in fact seem to find a successful resolution for ‘unification’ within the resurrection event of Jesus Christ Himself. It seems almost overwhelmingly apparent to me from the ‘scientific evidence’ we now have in hand that Christ literally ripped a hole in the finite entropic space-time of this universe to reunite infinite God with finite man. That modern science would even offer such a almost tangible glimpse into the mechanics of what happened in the tomb of Christ should be a source of great wonder and comfort for the Christian heart.

    Centrality of Each Individual Observer In The Universe and Christ’s Very Credible Reconciliation Of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/17SDgYPHPcrl1XX39EXhaQzk7M0zmANKdYIetpZ-WB5Y/edit?hl=en_US

    Verse and music:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Natalie Grant – Alive (Resurrection music video)
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=KPYWPGNX

  25. 25
    Kantian Naturalist

    If one begins with a Cartesian conception of epistemology* and an Epicurean conception of nature**, then that would indeed be a circle that can’t be squared. The former leads to skepticism (unless one assumes God***), the latter to nihilism.

    But, since I reject both the Cartesian conception of epistemology in favor of pragmatism (heavily influenced by Kant, Peirce, and Sellars), and the Epicurean conception of nature in favor of a sort of modified Aristotelianism, then I simply don’t face the problem that you think I face. At any rate, you have not yet convinced me otherwise.

    Apart from that, I’m afraid I simply don’t have the competence to discuss quantum mechanics or Christology.

    *: roughly, thinking that (i) all we are immediately aware of its own our mental states and (ii) all empirical knowledge must be grounded in “first principles” that are indubitably Given to the mind.

    **: roughly, “atoms and void”, as Democritus put it, with a little bit of randomness (the clinamen or “swerve”) thrown in.

    ***: strictly speaking, Descartes thinks that the existence of God can be proven a priori, but this proof requires assumptions about causation and about infinity which don’t hold up.

  26. Sounds like a bunch of self deception, intellectual posturing, and rationalization to me. Especially given your empirical failure to substantiate the one lonely claim about reality you were willing to put forth, ‘self-organization’. i.e.

    Gary Wright – Dreamweaver (1976)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nn0L6055gs

  27. Kantian -

    I understand your confusion. But you have to remember, things on the level of predator drone strikes is very *common* for leftists once they get into power. The ideals of liberalism are firmly in the conservative spectrum. Leftists use the language, and they criticize conservatives for any deviation, but the hard truth is that leftism isn’t as liberal of a notion as it sounds on paper, and you wind up having to become totalitarian to enforce it. This is a common problem rooted in the misunderstanding of human nature. Leftists tend to think of people as naturally good, if only the power structures didn’t make them bad. They, in essence, externalize sin. Conservatives realize that the good and bad is within each person (a combination of the imago dei and original sin), and there is a limit to what a government can do before it too is problematic. Conservatives are wary of any accumulation of power because it is too easy for an evil person (or even a good person!) to take advantage and use it to their own ends. Liberals think that accumulation of power to remove evil power structures is good because they don’t believe that they are capable of the sin that they see in others.

    Obama is a leftist not because he lives up to the rhetoric of the leftists, but because, as is almost universal among leftists who attain power, he believes the rhetoric makes him immune from being its target. Leftism is problematic because it is the root of its own destruction. It blinds people to the true problem of humanity – sin in our own lives.

    A good book on the subject is Niebuhr’s “The Irony of American History”. Obama said that Niebuhr was his favorite philosopher, but I don’t see any of Niebuhr’s ideas actually coming through.

  28. 28
    Kantian Naturalist

    JohnnyB,

    I’m not a Christian (obviously), but I admire Niehbur, and I agree with you that Obama’s reported admiration for Niebuhr is not in evidence.

    In fact, I have no interest in defending Obama’s policies or rhetoric. As a “True Leftist”, Obama will not be getting my vote. (If I lived in a “swing state”, I might feel differently.)

    I’ll respond further if I feel the urge do so.

  29. KN,

    Most of us were not Christians :)

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