Monday, August 25, 2014

Science Redux

David Berlinski does what I can’t (but certainly tried to) in a Peter Robinson interview appropriately entitled Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions. He quotes from his book The Devil’s Delusion:
“In many respects, the word ‘naturalism’ comes closest to conveying what scientists regard as the spirit of science: the source of its superiority to religious thought. But what reason is there to conclude that everything is, to quote philosopher Alexander Byrne, ‘an aspect of the universe … revealed by the natural sciences’? There is no reason at all.”
He comments on the validity of certain scientists’ claim to authority:
“The comparable claim would be, ‘(a) I’m a scientist; (b) I’m an expert on contract law’. You’re an expert on contract law because you’ve studied particle physics? Give me a break. An expert on the existence of God because you’ve studied particle physics? I request the same break, the same suspension of belief, the same absence of commitment to whatever it is you’re saying.”
Then he goes after Darwin:
“Suspicions about Darwin’s theory arise for two reasons: the first, the theory makes little sense; the second, it is supported by little evidence.”
while pointing out the screamingly obvious:
“No one on my side of the table is saying, ‘It’s impossible that it could’ve happened that way’. What we’re saying is that the evidence is remarkably — remarkably — constrained, meagre, insufficient, inadequate, lacking in all forms of analytic sufficiency.”
There is a short version (cued to around the 43 minute mark for Robinson’s payoff question) and a long version, both very much worthy of your consideration.

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