Friday, August 8, 2014

Of Pseudoscience and Paradoxes and Cabbages and Kings

On paradoxes:

I'm on record as having stated that paradoxes are always either a misuse of language or a misunderstanding of a logical presentation.  I will add that they can also simply be a lie.

For example: which came first, the chicken or the egg? This was never a paradox under any terms.  If you accept the scientific explanation of evolution, the the egg came many millions of years before the first chicken. In fact, before the first bird. On the other hand, if you accept some variation of special creation, then the chicken came first. God, or the gods, created chickens. Later these chickens laid eggs.

Either way no paradox.

Addendum: I just watched the video that was attached to the original post. In it, the posters take a very long, and I admit amusing, time to make a point which declares the egg, in fact, came first in a rather different way than the simplified manner I stated above.  They ignore the fact that there is not even a paradox for creationists.

My point being that this, like all paradoxes, was always a misuse of language or of logic.  In other, words,  the logical eqivalent of a visual trick, a trompe l'oeil.

On pseudoscience in "science class" in religious schools:

Why don't the ultra religious have the honesty to admit that their beliefs are religious not scientific? If they are correct, why lie about it?  If they are wrong, why persist?  Why appeal to a warped falsification of science if science is so wrong?

Why can't they be honest about their most cherished beliefs?  The only credible answer, I think, is that they themselves doubt their beliefs.  If their faith was strong, they would let it stand on it's own.  They shore this faith up with pseudoscience because they have doubts and need to convince themselves that science is on their side.

That is sad for many reasons.  I make no scientific claims regarding my mystical experiences. They are internal, subjective and not amenable to scientific verification. Since I have confidence in their reality, I see no need to seek outside confirmation.  (Or conformation, as spell check had it!)

I start from the foundation that reality is real and facts are real.  We know this to be true because when we base our actions on   fact, things work as predicted. You can test a fact.  You can perform an experiment to see if something is real. 

That means that evolution is as real and factual as science can make it.  Look  around you and see how accurate science is.  Our world has been built by science.

But I could just us honestly say I start from my knowledge that God is real and present. This is not an objective, testable belief. Unlike science, this is something one knows inside oneself. It's not testable because God is, by definition, beyond the ability of science to test. This is because God is supernatural, in the old sense of that word. Super meaning above or beyond natural. Science can only test that which is natural.

In short: I have no doubt that God is there and loves us and cares about us. I also have no doubt that evolution is as science has described it to be. And I don't see any contradiction in those two beliefs.  This world operates on a scientific basis, and God is present throughout this world trying to guide us to make appropriate decisions within the framework of the scientific reality we inhabit.

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