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By George Atkinson

"Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense." - Chapman Cohen.

This is the most illogical statement that atheists put forth. The second most illogical one is by Stephen F. Roberts ("I contend we are both atheists...") but that one deserves it's own post.





The statement that science can kill off gods is flatly wrong. Not because I believe God is real, but because it's premise is incorrect, as I will attempt to demonstrate.

Science cannot confirm a miracle. It can only falsify some purported miracles to a certain degree of accuracy. This is a direct challenge to this post called: "Supernatural"
http://new.carmforums.org/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=104&topic_id=23650&mesg_id=23650&page=

Example 1:
Levitation

If a man were to levitate, science could falsify this "miracle" if the scientists were to discover a natural explanation for the supposed miracle. Keep in mind, I don't mean if they were to discover a natural possibilty, but rather they would have to discover the specific natural cause, not simply show that "x" could be explained by "y". They have to show objectively that "y" happened. Perhaps they were able to show that it was definitely a hologram, or he used strings/cables, a platform, mirrors etc.. But if after much study, no known natural phenomenon can account for the levitation, science cannot confirm that a miracle took place. "Mysteries are not yet miracles." Since science must be observable and objectively verifiable then science would be overreaching if it were to make an unsupported claim concerning the mechanism responsible for the apparent levitation.

This is why gods are not 'fragile things that science can kill off. Science can only kill off gods that don't actually exist (which is their point, since gods don't exist, they can all be killed systematically, as we gain more scientific knowlege about the world around us) However, this being the case, I have not seen even a single god, real or otherwise, that science has killed. And how could it? Can science show that walking on water is impossible and thereby kill off another god? No. This is because what may be impossible for a mortal, would not necessarily be impossible for a deity. Note 1: sometimes when I say something like this, atheists hear what they want to hear, in other words, they think I'm saying that since science cannot verify a miracle is real, then it is. And if they can't falsify a miracle, then it is real. I'm not saying either one. I'm simply stating a fact, science cannot make an unscientific claim such as "a supernatural miracle has taken place.". Nor should it be expected to. For this same reason, the Australian Skeptical Society will never have to pay the $1,000 they have 'offered' for anyone to demonstrate a verifiable miracle.
Example 2:
Science's particular degree of accuracy.

Note 2: Science is not infallable. We all know this. Even data that we believe to be factual, still must be interpreted by humans who have built in presuppositions (which might be correct, or could be incorrect). Our data could be contaminated, either by physical contaminants or nonphysical contaminants, such as personal bias or "background noise". An example of background noise contaminating some data would be using a ballplayers RBI (Runs Batted In) total to determine if he's having a good year at the plate or not. Reason being, the RBI total is a statistic that is codependant upon other factors outside the ballplayers control. If no one gets on base in front of him when he comes to the plate, then he doesn't have as many RBI opportunities as the next guy. It's also codependant upon other player's ability to make good baserunning decisions. Hopefully these factors will balance out over the course of a season, so this is not a useless stat, it can be quite effective, but only if we are aware of the background noise and it's potential effect on the data.
Example 3:

Possibilities VS. Reality.

Sometimes science overreaches when it improperly concludes that a particular possibility is actually what happened, even though it cannot be confirmed objectively. Occam's razor is a brilliant tool for ruling out completely valid possibilities, and prefering one over another because it is easier to believe (read: simpler, according to the naturalistic paradigm). (The great irony is that Occam was a Christian, so all this time skeptics have been using his 'razor' out of context!) For example, using the previous example of levitation, let's say science cannot confirm that a miracle took place, and nor can it falsify that the levitation actually ocurred (ie: they found no natural explanation) however, even though they did not find any cables, they did discover some eye-bolts in the floor and ceiling which would, if deception was used, be in the proper alignment for pulling off the trick. Then they re-enact and prove that it is possible to recreate the supposed miracle. Then they conclude that the miracle was falsified. This example was pretty cut and dried, because in the analogy, we have the benefit of hindsight, but in the case of evolution scientists may feel they have shown certain things are possible, but they have not objectively demonstrated that these things are actually what ocurred.
Example 4:

Let's kill off a god, shall we?

What if there was a ridiculous belief that a group of people held which said that there is a pit exactly 1 mile below Babylon that contains the souls of all Babylon's enemies who have fallen in battle? Armed with this info, couldn't scientists, knowing that Babylon was modern day Baghdad, drill down exactly 1 mile below the heart of the city and using various geologic tools, determine that this is false? What if they discover that there is an underground aquifer that is three times the size of Baghdad, and it spans from a depth of 1/2 mile below the surface to the 3 mile mark? There is a huge underground body of water which feeds springs, geysers, and fountains. Wouldn't this be yet another god, or religious idea that a whiff of science was able to kill off?
At first glance, it seems like science has falsified this claim, but why has it not? If you guessed "incorrect presupposition" then you would be absolutely correct! The scientists failed to realize that there is nothing that mandates the souls be physical things. If it is a spiritual entity, then it would be housed in a supernatural pit, or at least it *could* be supernatural. And I think that if they approached the believers of this religious group with this stunning new revelation, they would most likely laugh hysterically at these "fools" who improperly thought that souls are a physical property. Now, obviously, I wouldn't believe these religious people, and neither would the atheists, but the difference is that I would use faith to determine this was incredible, the atheist's would convince themselves that they have 'proof' or 'material evidence' that it's false. Adding even more credence to naturalism.
Conclusion:

At the end of the day, science cannot confirm a miracle took place. They can *sometimes* falsify certain purported miracles, but only if their presuppositions are not illogical. And it is not sufficient to discover natural possibilities, because as I pointed out to TomA, there is nothing for which there could not be a natural explanation.
Name one thing that could not be explained by some known natural explanation, a hallucination, a dream, a mass hallucination, drunkenness, illusion, hologram, mirage, a coma, power of suggestion, flashback, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or something else. So possibilities are insufficient, we need the actual cause to be confirmed by science. And getting scientists to the point where they say "We don't know." is insufficient to rule in favor of the supernatural. Because remember: Mysteries are not yet miracles. What does this mean to the average Christian? Well, only this: When an atheist challenges you with "If the supernatural exists, why can't you provide us with examples that we can verify?" Then what they are really asking for is the supernatural, to be 'natural'. They want to evaluate the effectiveness of a cough syrup, but they stipulate that you must submit your sample in chewable tablet form. Requiring that the supernatural be confirmed by the science, is the same as saying to a mute: "I will not believe you are dumb, unless I hear it come out of you mouth." They have stacked the deck. If he speaks, he's not mute, if he does not speak, then he has not met the burden of proof. It's illogical but safe. This is why I say the Australian Skeptic Society might as well make it million since they will never have to pay. Natural things are verified via science, and supernatural things are verified via the spirit realm.

 


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