Monday, August 08, 2011

Rah Rah Science, care of the Discovery Channel

As I was watching the discussion following last night's Discovery broadcast of "Curiosity," a program which, among its other problems (like being basically a cheerleading session for atheism), portrayed Hawking's views as agreed upon, settled science, physicist Sean Carroll voiced a belief that has become a common meme among a certain variety of atheist scientist: that if religious truth claims have effects in the objective, physical world, then they come within the purview of scientific analysis.

This belief is fine as far as it goes. But what ends up happening with secularists like Carroll is that it is only negative conclusions about religion and the supernatural that are admitted into the scientific discussion; positive conclusions need not apply. Not only that, but, using their methodology, negative conclusions are assured. Just go back to Carroll's recent discussion of the immortality of the soul:
If you claim that some form of soul persists beyond death, what particles is that soul made of? What forces are holding it together? How does it interact with ordinary matter?
In other words, any supernatural entity must comply with exclusively natural criteria, in which case, well, it wouldn't be supernatural any more, would it? So, under Carroll's method of verifying supernatural entities, a negative outcome is the only outcome possible. The game is fixed from the beginning.

This also means, ironically, that naturalism, under this methodology, is unfalsifiable--the favorite demarcation criterion of secularists between science and non science. In other words, under their own definition, this kind of naturalism is not science, since it is not falsifiable.

It's a crazy world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

According to your post, it seems the concept of the "supernatural" constitutes a rhetorical tautology that conveys no useful information and is unfalsifiable.

It seems to me that the game was not fixed by the scientists, but by the preceding definition and declaration that a particular phenomenon is "supernatural".

Scientists have successfully demonstrated that many phenomena that were once viewed as supernatural (lightning, epileptic seizures, etc) are natural by the type of questioning put forth by Sean Carroll. The problem with the immortal soul is that it isn't a phenomenon at all. No soul has been directly or indirectly observed. It is a conjecture that comes from the fear of death.