Encouraging religion to "beget" off!
Re-asserting the scientific method in the face of supernaturalism
January 2, 2011Posted by on
Religious apologists who actually understand the strength of the scientific method are compelled to try and undermine the scientific method itself to maintain the concept of “god”. But the scientific method is still the only way to understand the world we live in, even if their “rationalisations” were true.
For example, certain facts that give strong evidence of a time prior to 6,000 years ago, when god was supposed to have created the universe, are impossible to explain rationally from a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) standpoint. These “inconvenient truths” include:
- The existence of fossils and very ancient human artifacts
- Light from distant stars that would have needed to be created “in-flight” to account for our observations
- Radioactive isotope dating of rocks, using multiple independent isotopes
- Evidence of continental drift, and other geological evidence such as stratification and uplift (e.g. limestone hills)
- Genetic evidence for common ancestry
What these apologists do is turn logic on its head, by claiming that observed reality is an illusion and their illusion is the true reality. Of course their claims are usually phrased in ways intended to make them unfalsifiable (unsuccessfully in most cases).
So they will claim (without evidence) that the universe was created “just so” to give the illusion of a distant past. This particularly applies to light from stars, as well as fossils. Or that speeds and rates were different in the past, which applies to light speed and rates of radioactive decay. The fact that if these claims were true there would be other measurable effects, such as the altered rates of nuclear fusion affecting star formation and development, is ignored by the claimants and their dupes.
There are a set of related ideas that all deny reality and paint reality as the illusion, such as:
- Extreme solipsism (“I am real but everything else, including you, is a figment of my imagination”)
- A “Matrix” reality (we are trapped in an engineered simulation of some sort). Buddhism is a bit like this with its fear of “attachments” to the real world.
- Last Tuesdayism (the parody of Young Earth Creationism, that the entire universe was created last Tuesday along with false evidence and false memories)
- Young Earth Creationism itself
These claims all fall into a group of ideas that simply deny the evidence of our senses, then put up a delusory alternative – what could be called a “simulated reality”.
Even if any were true, that is still no reason to give up on the scientific method, because there is still the “simulated reality” to explore. And there remains the possibility that the simulation is not 100% accurate, and cracks, dislocations, aliasing errors, and the like, can be found that will reveal the little man behind the curtain.
The hard materialist approach is worth emphasising, because for too long atheists have said that they will change their minds if evidence of god comes to light. While this is true, it makes the atheist position appear to be a weak one, instead of merely being intellectually honest.
I think the time has come to lay down the truth that methodological naturalism is the ONLY way to understand reality, no matter what that reality may be.