Enough of This Utter Nonsense, On Knowing the Supernatural
A Christian commented on a recent post having to do with how science could know the supernatural:
Let’s posit for a moment that the supernatural does exist. It then follows that science, which by definition focuses on the natural, would have absolutely no means to measure it or detect it. It could thus never serve as a method and no scientific protocol could ever be established to rule it out, regardless of how real the supernatural would be.
Oh my gosh, believers have just pawned us god-hating atheists now, haven’t they? *Throws in the towel in defeat.* Wait, on second thought, this is utter hogwash and it should be easily seen. So here goes.
Let’s grant that science by its very nature cannot detect the supernatural, or better, a supernatural being, since that’s surely what he believes. Why would it bother anyone if this is the case? I see nothing problematic about this conclusion at all. If science cannot detect a supernatural being then science cannot detect a supernatural being. It’s only a problem for a particular kind supernatural being, one that wants to be detected, and/or one whom we need to detect in order to live a good life both here and later in the afterlife. Without these additional characteristics a mere supernatural being is an unnecessary hypothesis, one we can safely live without.
So we need to additionally suppose that a supernatural being wants to be detected and/or that we need to detect her in order to live a good life both here and later in the afterlife. Well then, whose fault is it if we cannot detect her through science? It wouldn’t be the fault of science. It can only detect the detectable based on the standard rules of evidence-gathering. So if science cannot detect the supernatural and she wants detected then the fault for this state of affairs is laid clearly on her back. No one else is to blame. In fact, it must be what she wants, even though believers have been reduced to making stupid arguments in defense of religious experience as evidence for their three-in-one incarnating atoning resurrecting God. They have been reduced to looking like fools, since William Lane Craig still has not answered my challenge regarding the so-called testimony of the inner witness of the Spirit. I don’t suspect he can. I don’t think any believer who accepts the inner witness of the Spirit as reliable testimony can answer my challenge. Give it a go, someone, will you?
Does anyone not get this?
Let’s go deeper. Let’s think outside the present realities for a moment, something required when comparing any given hypotheses. The whole idea that science cannot detect the supernatural is a hindsight Christian rationalization for justifying the Christian faith due to the onslaught of modern science. Prescientific superstitious people would never have said this, primarily because modern science had not yet arisen. Anything that could not be explained by the science of their day was considered an act of God. Their God was constantly intervening in their world, even causing the sun to rise every morning. “You want scientific evidence that God exists?,” they would ask. “You can see it every single morning when the sun rises,” they would answer. This was considered “scientific” evidence in the minds of believers because, as always with believers, scientific evidence is considered by them to be the lack of scientific evidence. Get it? I don’t either. This is the basis for a great deal of pseudoscience, something I’ve written on before right here, which has gotten the 3rd highest hits at DC in seven years of Blogging.
Not only this, but if we believe the Bible then anyone who wanted scientific evidence for God would just have to sail in Noah’s boat, or cross the Red Sea with Moses, or live for forty years in the wilderness on manna and be led by a pillar of smoke by day and fire by night. They could go to the circus where for an extra shekel Balaam’s ass would talk, or in the booth next to it they could see Elisha’s actual axe head float in a tub of water. They could follow Jesus around, or Paul, or Peter, and see blind men who were healed, and dead men who lived to tell stories about their After Death Experience (ADE vs NDE).
So when Christians admit science cannot detect a supernatural being what they’re doing is conceding the whole argument. They’re conceding science has correctly concluded that a supernatural being cannot be detected. Let. This. Point. Sink. In. Breathe slowly and deeply if you feel like fainting. Get some smelling salts on hand. Sit down if you must. For if science could detect a supernatural being then Christians would be crowing about it. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. Don’t try to Billy Goat me to death with your endless “buts.” I know them. I’ve used them myself in defense of an indefensible faith. There are no ifs ands or buts about this.
To drive this point deeper, if there is a supernatural being who wants us to detect her then she could have either, 1) kept modern science from arising in the first place, or 2) kept on providing scientific evidence in verifiable miracles in the same ways we read in the Bible. Such a supernatural God could easily have kept modern science from arising merely by keeping any thought of scientific progress away from the minds of people who were close to attaining such a thought. See, that was easy. *Snap* You’re now stupid. Or, much more interestingly, such a God could have created an earth as a flat disk in a much smaller universe just as we find described in the Bible, with the sun moon and stars created on the fourth day to revolve around the earth, with no amphibians so evolutionary science could not have arisen.
Christians, could your God have done this or not? Yes or no? Now then, please tell us all why the rise of modern science is a much greater value to your God then the loss of so many billions of people to hell. You do realize that modern science is one of the major factors reasonable people all over the world think your faith is bunk, don’t you? Of course, that’s why you reject the other religious faiths as well. Ahhhh, the good ‘ole double standard days which will end soon, but we’ll have to wait for my soon to be released book The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True.
Isn’t it funny that the more science has explained the fewer and fewer miracles believers claim to have experienced, exactly in the same way that science has dis-confirmed the existence of UFO’s from Mars?