• Christianity is not responsible for science

    Tihs has come up in conversation elsewhere, so I thought I would resurrect this old post from my old, old blog.

    I have recently been involved in an argument online which is a very common argument and one which annoys me just a little. It is also an argument which I have had many times before with Christians. The claim goes something like this:

    “Christianity is responsible for the development of science.”

    The word science can be swapped with hospital, charity, education and so on. In the case in hand, there were statements such as:

    “the essential neccessity of Christianity to the origin of science.”

    So on and so forth.

    I would like to take umbrage to this point and attempt to properly refute it. Firstly, let us look at a comment such as this:

    “I think the problem with the idea that Christian’s emotions overwhelm their intellect is that some of the greatest intellectuals of all time were very religious people. Aquinas, Augustine, Ockham, Copernicus, Bacon, Pascal, Newton, Fermat, Mendel, Lemaître and of course Francis Collins who has already been mentioned. There are thousands more that could be mentioned. “

    The commenter has listed a bunch of people who were intelligent and Christian. The modern world at those periods in time, the world which was most advanced for a number of reasons, was Christian. That means that any intellect who came out of those societies was BY DEFAULT Christian. This is an almighty fallacy. The most populous and advanced society was Christian and thus its great people were Christian. They were NOT great and intelligent BECAUSE they were Christian!

    This is such a common mistake.

    It is also notable that the poster forgot to mention the great thinkers from Islamic (Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Ghazali etc) and great Chinese thinkers (Confucius, Mencius, Xun Zi, Zhu Xi, Wang Yangming, Lao Zi,  Zhuangzi,. Liezi,, Mozi, Shang Yang, Han Fei, Li, Si, Huineng) probably because of his European-centric / Christian bias. This is simply cherry-picking the successes that took place under Christianity whilst ‘forgetting’ others under different religions.

    A classic example of the confusion of correlation with causation.

    Secondly, even under Christianity, science did not flourish for 1500 years. This is a refutation of the claim, surely, and stands on its own merit!

    Thirdly, discoveries such as formal geometry developed under polytheism. This does not mean that polytheism was responsible for formal geometry. The earliest mathematical principles were discovered by the Greeks, and not the Christians. This is a correlation fallacy. Here is a quote from wiki on the entry for the history of the scientific method:

    BC

    c. 2000 BC — First text indexes (various cultures).[citation needed]

    c. 1600 BC — An Egyptian medical textbook, the Edwin Smith papyrus, (circa 1600 BC), applies the following components: examination, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, to the treatment of disease,[1] which display parallels to basic empirical methodology.[2]

    c. 400 BC — In China, Mozi and the School of Names advocate using one’s senses to observe the world, and develop the “three-prong method” for testing the truth or falsehood of statements.

    c. 400 BC — Democritus advocates inductive reasoning through a process of examining the causes of sensory perceptions and drawing conclusions about the outside world.

    c. 320 BC — First comprehensive documents categorising and subdividing knowledge, dividing knowledge into different areas by Aristotle,(physics, poetry, zoology, logic, rhetoric, politics, and biology). Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics defends the ideal of science as necessary demonstration from axioms known with certainty.

    c. 300 BC — Euclid’s Elements expound geometry as a system of theorems following logically from axioms known with certainty.

    c. 200 BC — First Cataloged library (at Alexandria)[edit]1st through 12th centuriesc. 800 AD — Jābir ibn Hayyān designs controlled experiments.1021 — Alhazen introduces the experimental method and combines observations, experiments and rational arguments in his Book of Optics.c. 1025 — Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, develops experimental methods for mineralogy and mechanics, and conducts elaborate experiments related to astronomical phenomena.1027 — In The Book of Healing, Avicenna criticizes the Aristotelian method of induction, arguing that “it does not lead to the absolute, universal, and certain premises that it purports to provide”, and in its place, develops examination and experimentation as a means for scientific inquiry.

    This clearly illustrates that the scientific method was developing outside of Christianity. Christianity (well, scientists who may well have been Christian) may well have continued to refine these ideas, but it was not responsible for the scientific method. Indeed, without this foundation, that further knowledge would not have been discoverable.

    You need to properly understand causality to understand why things happen. Causal lines are much longer. There is also the difference between necessary causation  and sufficient causation. Wiki:

    Causes are often distinguished into two types: Necessary and sufficient.[8] A third type of causation, which requires neither necessity nor sufficiency in and of itself, but which contributes to the effect, is called a “contributory cause.”[9]

    Necessary causes:

    If x is a necessary cause of y, then the presence of y necessarily implies the presence of x. The presence of x, however, does not imply that y will occur.

    Sufficient causes:

    If x is a sufficient cause of y, then the presence of x necessarily implies the presence of y. However, another cause z may alternatively cause y. Thus the presence of y does not imply the presence of x.

    Contributory causes:

    A cause may be classified as a “contributory cause,” if the presumed cause precedes the effect, and altering the cause alters the effect. It does not require that all those subjects which possess the contributory cause experience the effect. It does not require that all those subjects which are free of the contributory cause be free of the effect. In other words, a contributory cause may be neither necessary nor sufficient but it must be contributory.[10][11]

    To establish that Christianity is responsible for science, one must prove it is the necessary cause, a task which is not only virtually impossible even if it was, but is demonstrably incorrect given what we do know about how science and the scientific method came about.

    Furthermore, the dark ages DID actually happen. Treatises were being written which actually lamented the loss of scientific knowledge. Take the example of the Archimedes Codex having the ink scraped off and hymns written over it! During this period there was no scientific progress, and actually a regress. This period must not be conflated with the middle ages. Many Christians claim that the Dark Ages actually saw much progress. It didn’t. [I think Richard Carrier might be contributing a chapter on this to Loftus’ new book.]

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    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce

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    • Uh, Jonathan, you must be ignorant to how science is the domain of Christians. Like John Hagee, for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQqQ_-i9VqA#t=107

      The Blood Moon’s, man; Jesus is about to do something FUCKING HUGE!

      • Sarah Palin

        Propose to me?

        • enigel

          Are you a virgin?

          • Sarah Palin

            Me and Jesus fucked already… so no…

            • Void Walker

              The images….they burn!

            • Sarah Palin

              ;)

            • enigel

              So sorry for your retard son you had with Jesus.
              I know Jesus was a retard too, even God wanted to kill Him.

            • Sarah Palin

              Yes, it was very rude of god… but I got rid of him if you know what I mean…

            • Void Walker

              Sarah, are you and jesus the same poster?

            • Sarah Palin

              Jesus the poster? Whose that?

            • Sarah Palin

              I was referring to Jesus the person

            • Void Walker

              :-D Are you posting as both jesus and palin?

            • Sarah Palin

              who is Jesus the poster?
              No, I was referring to Jesus the historical person.

            • Void Walker

              Oh, my apologies. I thought you both jesus and palin, posting as two different people. Sorry I was presumptuous :-/

            • Sarah Palin

              eh, its okay, people mistake me for jesus when I am out in Alaska all the time. its strange really…

            • Void Walker

              Ha :) you are and odd duck my friend….

            • Sarah Palin

              (‘>’)
              *quack*

    • Void Walker

      I hate when Christians try to claim this.

      The logic is astounding. X scientist was a Christian. Therefore, Christianity begat science!

      Sigh.

      • Sarah Palin

        Yes, its FUCKING ANNOYING AS FUCK!
        >:-(

    • Luke Breuer

      They were NOT great and intelligent BECAUSE they were Christian!

      How do you know this? You are very correct that correlation ⇏ causation, but it’s almost as if you’re making the opposite error: correlation ⇒ ¬causation. So what is your justification for this “NOT”?

      It is also notable that the poster forgot to mention the great thinkers from Islamic […] and great Chinese thinkers

      There is a very big difference between:

           (1) Christianity is a necessary condition for modern science.

           (2) Christianity has aided modern science.

      (2) is, of course, the antithesis of the falsified conflict thesis. You even mention “Contributory causes”.

      Secondly, even under Christianity, science did not flourish for 1500 years. This is a refutation of the claim, surely, and stands on its own merit!

      Is it? Jonathan, is this really good history, to make a trite statement like this? I’m serious: do you really think you can just throw this statement out there, and have it result in truth-seeking?

      Furthermore, the dark ages DID actually happen.

      Really, you used that term—”dark ages”? I recently attended a talk by Richard Carrier in SF; he admitted that Christianity didn’t cause the “dark ages”, so much as it didn’t prevent them. But yeah, see Wikipedia’s Dark Ages (historiography). Haven’t we been over this one before?

      During this period there was no scientific progress, and actually a regress.

      From WP: Middle Ages:

      Others argue that reason was generally held in high regard during the Middle Ages. Science historian Edward Grant writes, “If revolutionary rational thoughts were expressed [in the 18th century], they were only made possible because of the long medieval tradition that established the use of reason as one of the most important of human activities”.[321] Also, contrary to common belief, David Lindberg writes, “the late medieval scholar rarely experienced the coercive power of the church and would have regarded himself as free (particularly in the natural sciences) to follow reason and observation wherever they led”.[322]

      • Er, because holding a worldview DOES NOT causally make someone intelligent, by every single definition of intelligence. I suggest you rethink your post there.

        • Luke Breuer

          How does “holding a worldview” not involve “believing certain things”, and how does intelligence not depend on which specific things are believed?

          • Void Walker

            Luke, where are you going with this? If I’m going to chase you down the rabbit hole, I’d at least like to know where we’ll end up, ultimately.

            • Luke Breuer

              Why do you think I know precisely where we’ll end up? I was honestly surprised at Jonathan’s claims. And he was very surprised at mine. Given this clash, I figured there was something to learn about why we differ so strongly.

            • Void Walker

              Oh, I see. I’ll leave you two to have at it, then.

            • Sarah Palin

              Luke is a derp
              :>

            • Void Walker

              But he’s a fun derp!

          • Sarah Palin

            Luke, to be a successful scientist, one must be able to discover the mystery behind why things like rainbows, lightning occur and the like.
            I do not see how Christianity can be said to be of any importance when discussing the advancement of science. What is of prime importance is the person himself/herself rather than their metaphysical beliefs. I am certain that someone as religious as Isaac Newton would not have discovered all that he had if he lacked the brain power to do it. Neither would Einstein, or Stephen Hawking, or the people who created the CD in Japan. While it may be the case that there were Christian scientists that have advance the scientific understanding, there have been times when the intellectual powerhouse was not in Christian dominated Europe, but in places like India, and China, and many other places that had virtually no concept of a monotheistic personal god. There are more important factors than religious culture that contribute to scientific understanding.

            • Luke Breuer

              I do not see how Christianity can be said to be of any importance when discussing the advancement of science.

              Christianity, like much religion, is largely about relationship: between human and (a) other humans; (b) nature; (c) self; (d) God. Suppose we omit (d) for now. There’s still a lot to religion if you do that—although I’d claim that removing (d) will cause an eventual crumbling of everything else. But (a)-(c), at the very least, are very relevant to the modern enterprise of science. For example, see Top U.S. Science Official Resigns in Anger.

              How people relate to one another in the modern enterprise of science is incredibly important. Christianity has some things to say about this. And should you suppose that psychology and sociology and scientific ethics can take over any role Christianity might play: you might be right, but it isn’t at all clear that this has happened. I suggest taking a look at the introduction (2.3 pages long) of Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences; this Google books link might work. In short, as of 1988, neither theoretical psychology nor sociology was delivering the goods. The author—a clinician—identifies the lack of focus on narrative as a big part of the problem. Well waddya know, the Bible and many religions are huge on story. And guess what? There’s lots of evidence that the mind is almost designed to run on story. For a book with cogsci research to back it up, see 1998 The Literary Mind: The Origins of Thought and Language.

              What is of prime importance is the person himself/herself rather than their metaphysical beliefs.

              Why do you think these can be completely separated? I am very curious in learning the justification for this claim of yours.

            • Sarah Palin

              Luke you claim that Christianity is of significance to the promotion of the sciences, but you ignore the fact that there have been civilizations that, were in one time, the intellectual power houses of the world. Such places, like ancient Greece, ancient India, ancient China, etc. I stand by my statement that Christianity is not the prime source of scientific advancement, but the of the scientist himself or herself.
              To make matters more clear for you, metaphysical world views are nothing more than preconceived prejudices if they can not be defended.
              Take for example general relativity and William Lane Craig’s opposition to it. He rejects that time is relative, so as to defend his own belief in absolute time, and the belief in creation ex nihilo. He has a fringe belief that no one in the physics community would ever take seriously, and is even in the minority when it comes to the philosophy of time. All because he is a Christian that has the so call “truth” and will reject anything that ends up being threatening to that “truth.”
              If anything, religion is a motivational factor in either misconstruing the facts or to be deceptive when taking about them when it turns out that they are in opposition to your world view.

            • Luke Breuer

              you ignore the fact that there have been civilizations that, were in one time, the intellectual power houses of the world.

              Do I? I’d like to see how you got this impression, especially given my differentiation between (1) and (2) in my root comment.

              He rejects that time is relative,

              Does he? Or does he simply argue for a preferred inertial reference frame? The latter is established by cosmic microwave background radiation; see Is the CMB rest frame special? where does it come from? for example. I’d prefer some actual quotations of WLC at this point, Sarah. Otherwise, let’s not get dangerously close to misreprsenting WLC. Oh, and I recently read about some of this stuff in Divine Intervention: Metaphysical and Epistemological Puzzles. He didn’t portray WLC in the light you have, even though he took serious issue with some of the stuff WLC said. So I’m inclined to think that you don’t really understand WLC’s position on this particular matter.

            • Sarah Palin

              Luke you seem to think that Christianity had any involvement with the progress of science… I am confused how to even take you seriously. Think for a moment, how can a scientist do any science when he does not even understand that science adheres to methological naturalism? Is Christianity methological naturalism? Obviously not. Any person lucky enough to have the smarts, and the time to think, can be a scientist. What does Christianity have to do with this? It is up to the person himself or herself to make those advancements in science, and not their religious persuasions.

              Next, you CHARGE me with not understanding Craig’s position of time?

              It’s worth noting that this “A Theory” of time, or “Lorentzian” interpretation of Special Relativity is based upon a concept that has been stuck in the trash bin of physics for over a century: the luminiferous aether. The aether was supposed to be this substance that permeated all of space, which served as an absolute reference point for bodies in motion. Einstein, in showing that the speed of light remains the same for all observers, proved that the aether doesn’t actually exist. From Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

              Today LET [Lorentzian Ether Theory] is often treated as some sort of “Lorentzian” or “neo-Lorentzian” interpretation of special relativity. The introduction of length contraction and time dilation for all phenomena in a “preferred” frame of reference (which plays the role of Lorentz’s immobile aether), leads to the complete Lorentz transformation. Because of the same mathematical formalism it is not possible to distinguish between LET and SR [special relativity] by experiment. However, in LET the existence of an undetectable ether is assumed and the validity of the relativity principle seems to be only coincidental, which is one reason why SR is commonly preferred over LET.

              In other words, this “interpretation” of special relativity, as Craig calls it, requires the assumption that this “aether” actually exists. Plain old special relativity does away with this assumption and works just as well as LET, thus there is not a legit physicist in the world who actually thinks the “aether” really exists, which is required for absolute references in space and time. That’s Occam’s Razor for you: do not multiply assumptions beyond necessity.

              Craig wants to believe that there is some sort “absolute” reference point for all of spacetime, even if we can’t measure it or observe it. Why? Not because there’s a lick of evidence for it, not because any actual physicists think it’s true, but because his stupid theology requires it. Seriously: this guy is advocating the adoption of a theory that’s been in the trash bin for over a century just because his theology needs it. Pathetic.

              And what really grinds my gears is that Craig tries to portray the contrary position as fringe, as if his view reflects that of mainstream physicists. Really? Craig’s actually advocating a philosophy that is based on the existence of the luminiferous aether…. fucking hell….

              Here you go:

              http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=11530
              http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/525/1/presentism_and_relativity.pdf
              This website contains the quotes you need, and the second url is a link to scholarly criticism towards Craig’s nonsense.
              My favorite quote from the scholarly url link is the following:
              “Because of his metaphysical and theological predilections, Craig wants to resurrect the notion of a preferred frame of reference in physics. We want to show —no more and no less — how forcefully the physical evidence militates against such a return to the days before Einstein. We claim (see sec. 11 below) that the argument from physics against Craig’s metaphysically
              motivated proposal is on a par with the argument against proposals to return to the days before Darwin in biology or the days before Copernicus in astronomy.”

            • Luke Breuer

              Think for a moment, how can a scientist do any science when he does not even understand that science adheres to methological naturalism?

              I thought all that was required to science was to (i) compactly explain phenomena; and/or (ii) predict new phenomena and then verify the prediction. Why is methodological naturalism required? Where is the philosophical argument that renders it necessary?

              What does Christianity have to do with this?

              Science requires more than rationality to succeed. Honesty comes to mind. Having sound intuition comes to mind, and how that works—how hypothesis formation works—is something that is still not well-understood. If it were, we’d have hypothesis-forming machine learning. We need a society which values long-term research, as Neil DeGrasse Tyson pointed out and repeatedly points out. We need people who will work together in an interdisciplinary fashion, respecting the fact that maybe there are multiple ways to look at a problem. There are many character traits which Christianity advocates, which are important for the pursuit of modern science. That you don’t see this is mind boggling. Perhaps you think I asserted (1) instead of (2) in my root comment?

              It’s worth noting that this “A Theory” of time, or “Lorentzian” interpretation of Special Relativity is based upon a concept that has been stuck in the trash bin of physics for over a century: the luminiferous aether.

              I found the following via Mike D’s William Lane Craig tries to be a physicist… again:

              Today LET [Lorentzian Ether Theory] is often treated as some sort of “Lorentzian” or “neo-Lorentzian” interpretation of special relativity. The introduction of length contraction and time dilation for all phenomena in a “preferred” frame of reference (which plays the role of Lorentz’s immobile aether), leads to the complete Lorentz transformation. Because of the same mathematical formalism it is not possible to distinguish between LET and SR [special relativity] by experiment. However, in LET the existence of an undetectable ether is assumed and the validity of the relativity principle seems to be only coincidental, which is one reason why SR is commonly preferred over LET.

              What’s the problem with this Ether? It reminds me of the pilot wave of De Broglie–Bohm theory. Perhaps you should precisely define what you mean by “He rejects that time is relative,”?

            • Sarah Palin

              Damn! you made me so upet I forgot to link the quote from the a unicormist blog/ with a link along with the digital link for the proof that A theory of time is the minority view within the philosophical community.

              Also here is the link proving that Craig is in the minority in philosophy.
              http://philpapers.org/surveys/results.pl
              Also here is a video (check out his stuff its great- he is a philosopher)

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CByseBjvipU&feature=player_embedded

              don’t forget these:

              http://commonsenseatheism.com/
              http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/525/1/presentism_and_relativity.pdf

            • Luke Breuer

              Also here is the link proving that Craig is in the minority in philosophy.
              http://philpapers.org/surveys/results.pl

              LOL:

              Time: A-theory or B-theory?

              Other 542 / 931 (58.2%)
              Accept or lean toward: B-theory 245 / 931 (26.3%)
              Accept or lean toward: A-theory 144 / 931 (15.5%)

              So, what’s in that “Other”? The B-theory is also “in the minority in philosophy”.

              Also here is a video (check out his stuff its great- he is a philosopher)

              I despise videos that could have been written and require 1/5 of my time. But I know some people are visual/auditory learners—I’m just not. And with no proper annotation technology or transcripts that run with videos, they are much more tedious to critique. It’s as if they were meant to be uncritically consumed.

              ALso proof that science requires methological naturalism (note: ontological naturalism is NOT methological naturalism)
              http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/MethodologicalNaturalism.htm

              And here’s part of Kenneth Pearce (Phil PhD)’s Leibniz’s Theistic Case Against Humean Miracles:

              The argument from divine rationality (Theodicy 337). According to this argument, the occurrence of LBEs in a theistic universe would show that God is less than perfectly rational. As Leibniz puts it “the wise mind always acts according to principles; always according to rules, and never according to exceptions” (tr. Huggard). (There follows a discussion of the possibility of multiple conflicting principles, but I’m going to ignore that today.) Another way of thinking about this is to say that it’s not as if God created the sort of universe in which the Red Sea doesn’t part when Moses raises his staff, then later decided to part the Red Sea anyway. If that was the case, then God would be changing his mind and/or acting erratically. Rather, if the parting of the Red Sea occurred then the classical theist (I take it that being a classical theist involves belief in divine atemporality, and so divine knowledge of future contingents) should say that God intended it all along and created the world with that intention in mind. If God is perfectly rational, this should be a principled intention as opposed to an arbitrary one, and if God is perfectly wise then he shouldn’t have to temporarily repeal the laws that he has willed in order to accomplish his purposes. As such, the classical theist should hold that no LBEs occur.

              So according to Pearce’s interpretation of Leibniz’s, there seems to be zero difference between the scientifically relevant aspects of methodological naturalism, and this interpretation. I think I agree with this interpretation.

              From that article you cited:

              On the other hand, a scientist who, when stumped, invokes a supernatural cause for a phenomenon he or she is investigating is guaranteed that no scientific understanding of the problem will ensue.

              I’m reminded of Ard Louis’ BioLogos Whitepaper:

              Perhaps the most spectacular early success of Isaac Newton’s theory of gravitation was its natural explanation for Johannes Kepler’s observation that the planets orbit the sun in elliptical orbits. But upon further reflection, some nagging problems emerge. The perfect elliptical orbits are only valid for an isolated planet orbiting around the sun. Gravity works on all objects, and so the other planets perturb the motion of the Earth, potentially leading to its ejection from the solar system. This problem vexed Sir Isaac, who postulated that God occasionally “reformed” the planets, perhaps by sending through a comet with just the right trajectory.

                  In a famous exchange of letters, cut short only by his death in 1716, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz took Sir Isaac to task for his view. He objected that:

              if God had to remedy the defects of His creation, this was surely to demean his craftsmanship.

              And moreover that:

              ..when God works miracles, he does it not to meet the needs of nature but the needs of grace. Anyone who thinks differently must have a very mean notion of the wisdom and power of God.

              In other words, the regular sustaining activity of God, as evidenced by natural laws, should be sufficient to explain the regular behavior of the solar system, without the need for additional ad-hoc interventions. Making it right the first time is more glorious than having to fix it later. Moreover, when God deviates from his regular sustaining activity to perform miracles, he does so for soteriological reasons, not to repair nature.

              So, how was Isaac Newton’s research, Sarah? Piss-poor because he wasn’t a methodological naturalist? And what about Leibniz’s reply, as a strongly believing Christian? Shocking? Only if you know about nothing about the history of Christian thought. Hopefully you weren’t shocked by it.

            • Luke Breuer

              P.S. Time and the Kalam Cosmological Argument was a neat article. I’ve been sort of goaded into learning more about time; only in the past month or two did I learn about the B-theory of time, although I’d seen it not-by-name in some physics I’ve studied. I have Real Time II checked out from the library, but haven’t read it yet…

            • Luke Breuer

              One more thing: do you know anything about the growing block universe, and how scientists view it?

            • @LukeBreuer:disqus , this is a pretty good synopsis of wlc’s position. I think you might be affording Craig too much charity.

            • Sarah Palin

              Hi Pearce!
              Exclaimer: There is a quote from the a unicormist blog/ with a link along with the digital link for the proof that A theory of time is the minority view within the philosophical community. Luke made me so effing mad saying that I knew nothing about Craig and his slimy ways that I forgot to add the link to the quotes. I think that Luke was trying to insinuate that I was plagiarizing somewere on here.

              Also here is the link proving that Craig is in the minority in philosophy.
              http://philpapers.org/surveys/
              Also here is a video (check out his stuff its great- he is a philosopher)

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?…

              don’t forget these:

              http://commonsenseatheism.com/
              http://philsci-archive.pitt.ed

              ALso proof that science requires methological naturalism (note: ontological naturalism is NOT methological naturalism)
              http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersI.
              If Luke is interested, tell him to read this okay?

            • @LukeBreuer:disqus

              I think Craig’s position is well set out in his books and on his Q&A. The problem is that his position requires adopting evidence which is both unfalsifiable and untestable and requires positing contrary evidence is illusory.

              What CA has and will set out is that this is cherry picking his science. When it works for him, he lauds it big time in an evidentialist fashion. When it doesn’t, he retreats to metaphysics and claims that trumps science, whilst at the same time using theories which are unscientific in a Popperian sense.

              It is a rather disingenuous use of science. A fair weather scientist.

            • Sarah Palin

              Okay
              :D I hope to buy your book when I comes out. I love reading on the kalam argument. What do you think of second video I sent you where the philosopher tackles Craig’s disregard of mereology? Is mereological atomism a strong or weak refutation of the KCA?

            • Thanks for the feedback!

              Did you read my posts on the KCA?

              http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2012/09/10/the-kalam-cosmological-argument-and-william-lane-craig-1/

              and

              http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2012/09/14/the-kalam-cosmological-argument-and-william-lane-craig-2/

              I think mereological nihilism is an utterly key point to the debate. It is largely about existence properties and ontology.

            • Dante

              @johnnyp76:disqus
              I disagree. I think Craig is fine with science. Craig does not say there is any problem with special relativity. He just has a different physical interpretation of it than certain theorists. Both interpretations are empirically adequate. Craig’s problem is not with the science or the results of the experiments. Its the philosophical assumptions (the verificationist ones) underlying the Mikovski interpretations.

            • Take cosmology. Craig lauded what was consensus because it was consensus and supported his thesis (eg BGV). But then when something doesn’t, you can’t criticise him for it because, he claims, metaphysics is more important and trumps science, It means he holds minority scientific positions (time is actually scientific as much as metaphysics, btw. You keep assuming it is metaphysical) when it suits him, and decries them, in, say, cosmogony.

              The consensus on physicists is that the laws of motion are Lorentz invariant, that’s a non starter for the A Theory. But, “On this view Lorentz invariance is merely apparent not real.” – WLC

              This is a bizarre appeal, since any contradictory nature is apparently an illusion. C’mon?! Seriously? That’s very convenient. Tie dilation and length contraction are seen in utterly different ways because this fits better with A theory which fits better with HIS understanding of God.

              You keep saying that he has good non-theological reasons to defend this. But have you seriously entertained the arguments against his position. After all, none of us want to be victim to confirmation bias.

              And now there is physical evidence to support B Theory, too:

              https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/d5d3dc850933

              http://arxiv.org/pdf/1310.4691v1.pdf

            • Dante

              @johnnyp76:disqus
              1)Craig has no problems with the science of relativity. He just has a different ontology of it than some theorists. About consensus,we can have good reasons to doubt the conclusion if the majority of people who reached it were using faulty methodologies to arrive at the conclusion. Craig shows that the majority of theorists who adopted this interpretation of SR were working under verificationist assumptions, which have been shown to be false.
              If you think that Borde-Guth-Vilenkin were using faulty methodologies when they formulated their theorem , you should show that.
              Questions of the nature of time are more metaphysical than scientific.
              2) Your point would be valid if B-theorists didn’t claim that things were illusory under their theory. But they do all the time. For just one example , they claim our experience of distinctions between past , present and future is an illusion and all are equally ontologically real.
              3)I’m actually withholding judgement on which view of time is correct for now. I think you guys are misrepresenting Craig here and his claims are certainly defensible.
              The circularity claim is certainly false because Craig gives many independent arguments for tense not involving God. Do you concede this?

            • Sarah Palin

              These are questions that you are going to have to deal with if you want to get involved with Craig and his favorite argument (aka the kalam cosmo. argument) and you should capitalize Craig’s lame responses when you publish your book that I will buy :D:

              So how does god, from a state in which nothing exits other than himself, (so neither time or anything else exists), create time; wouldn’t he be functionless in that situation?

              If everything that begins to exist needs a cause then what caused the beginning of the series of events in God’s temporal career since time began? Premise 1 demands that there be such a cause. Yet, if there was one, it must in turn have a had a cause, and that another, and so on ad infinitum. However, Craig does not believe that an actual infinite of temporal events exist.

              Craig’s answer is largely unpersuasive:

              So that Craig doesn’t straw man you, PLEASE look at his site, and be aware of his slimy nature. He will strike at anything and then scoff at how dull your arguments are (i.e. the way he tried doing to the topic of mereology see this video by a philosopher https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=a50XrpoNElo)
              I warn you because I sooooooooo want to buy your book ,and I was extremely impressed with your online article on debunking Christianity when you wrote about the kalam.
              ).

              http://www.reasonablefaith.org/god-time-and-creation

            • Dante

              @disqus_jFtYWqYwjM:disqus
              If everything that begins to exist needs a cause then what caused the beginning of the series of events in God’s temporal career since time began?
              You misread the premise. The premise is every thing that begins to exist has a cause. Its says that things cannot come into being from nothing. It has nothing to do with events of decisions.

            • Dante

              free will=/= things coming into being from nothing.

            • Not as according to agent causalists like Chisholm and Kane who even use the language of prime movers. This is what LFWers often mean, including apologists like Randal Rauser.

              “Each of us, when we act, is a prime mover unmoved. In doing what we do, we cause certain events to happen, and nothing — or no one — causes us to cause these events to happen.” (Chisholm 1964, p. 32)

              “Free will…is the power of agents to be the ultimate creators or originators and sustainers of their own ends or purposes…when we trace the causal or explanatory chains of action back to their sources in the purposes of free agents, these causal chains must come to an end or terminate in the willings (choices, decisions, or efforts) of the agents, which cause or bring about their purposes.” (Kane 1996, p. 4)

            • Dante

              If what you say is true these guys are saying certain events (ie free choices) are not caused in a deterministic sense.
              It does not say things like bicycles or planets or universes can come into being from nothing.

            • It gets a bit complex, but the gist of one of the criticisms of the kca is that causality is only one matrix, one chunk if you will, which cannot be quantised, especially given relativity. All things, on a standard model BB are caused by that one start (if indeed that happened). You cannot make a rule from 1 thing and apply it to itself. It becomes both circular and invalid.

              The KCA suggests there cannot be uncaused causality – or causal chains with no antecedent causality. BUT LFWers say that every free decision is an uncaused causal chain, with the agent creating it as a prime mover. The KCAer cannot be a LFWer!

            • Dante

              “or causal chains with no antecedent causality.”

              The Kalam proponent is not committed to this. All he is committed to is that something can’t come from nothing.

            • Which is what that entails.

            • Dante

              @disqus_jFtYWqYwjM:disqus
              Yes , you really do misunderstand his position. Read his books.
              1) you’re unfairly conflating the original aether theory with the neo-Lorentzian view. There are moden neo-Lorentzian physicists
              2) He offers many independent and non-theological reasons to reject the B-theory of time in his books

            • Dante

              @disqus_jFtYWqYwjM:disqus
              You very seriously misrepresent Craig here. Stop lying. Craig has no problem with general relativity. He rejects the realist Minkovski interpretation of special relativity (not even general relativity) that some theorists have proposed. There is no clear consensus in the phil time community as to which view is correct.
              There are many atheists , such as Q. Smith , Tooley , Guminski who are A theorists and reject the B theory on philosophical grounds. Are these atheists just secret Christians/

    • f_galton
    • Andy_Schueler

      It is a very well known story but for those who haven´t heard it before, it´s worth quoting:

      The familiar story of Isaac Newton and Pierre Simon de Laplace is a classic example of the God-of-the-gaps argument. Newton devised a mathematical equation for the force of gravity that he used to explain and predict the motions of planets with outstanding accuracy. With pencil and paper, the orbit of the planets around the sun could be calculated with great precision. But planets also have gravitational interactions with each other, not just with the sun. For example, when the Earth passes Mars in its orbit around the sun, there is a small but significant gravitational interaction between Mars and Earth. Because these tiny interplanetary interactions occur often — several times per year in many cases — Newton suspected that these gravitational perturbations would accumulate and slowly disrupt the magnificent order of the solar system. To counteract these and other disruptive forces, Newton suggested that God must necessarily intervene occasionally to tune up the solar system and restore the order. Thus, God’s periodic special actions were needed to account for the ongoing stability of the solar system.

      Newton also thought that God was necessary to explain how the planets all happen to be travelling around the sun in the same direction and in the same plane. His theory of gravity was entirely compatible with planetary motions in any direction and with orbits tilted at any angle to the sun. But this is not what we find. The planets travel in the same direction, and almost all of their orbits are in the same plane. The planets move around the sun like runners on a track: very orderly. Newton thought only God could have set things up so elegantly:

      “The six primary Planets are revolv’d about the Sun, in circles concentric with the Sun, and with motions directed towards the same parts, and almost in the same plane. […] But it is not to be conceived that mere mechanical causes could give birth to so many regular motions. […] This most beautiful System of the Sun, Planets, and Comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” 2

      In both of these examples — one related to the ongoing motion of the planets and the other related to the origin of the motions — Newton is employing textbook God-of-the-gaps reasoning. Scientific theories are proposed to explain as much as possible, and then God is brought in to cover any remaining unexplained gaps in the explanation.

      We now know that Newton was wrong on both counts. The gravitational perturbations that planets experience are so completely balanced that they average out to zero over time. The net result is that the planetary motions are stable; they do not deteriorate over time. And it was a straightforward application of Newton’s theory that revealed this. Newton simply had not done all the calculations to see if his intuition was right. The same was true for the orderly motion of the planets. Newton had no concept of how solar systems could form on their own or what the planetary motions would be like in naturally forming systems. Astronomy simply had not developed to this point. In the decades after Newton, astronomers discovered that solar systems form naturally from large clouds of rotating matter. Therefore, a large, slowly rotating cloud collapses under its own gravity, and it tends to flatten into something like a pancake. Saturn’s rings are an interesting example where the cloud is still present. The material collects into big clumps in the plane of the pancake. After the process is completed, a collection of clumps all travelling in the same direction and in the same plane exists — just like our solar system.

      Such episodes in the history of science are not unusual. In fact they are so common that the phrase God-of-the-gaps has been coined to label the process of invoking God to account for natural phenomena that is not explained by science. The dangers of such God-of-the-gaps reasoning were highlighted a century after Newton by a situation involving the French mathematician Pierre Simon de Laplace who held a bureaucratic post in Napoleon Bonaparte’s administration. Laplace was the beneficiary of a remarkable century of progress in refining and extending Newton’s laws of motion and expanding the vision of what was going on in space. As a result, he was able to write a wide-ranging text explaining the mechanics of the heavens without invoking divine intervention.

      Source.

      That nicely illustrates what happens when a brilliant theistic scholar follows a train of thought that makes only sense to a theist and not to a non-theist.

      • Sarah Palin

        “I had no need for that hypothesis” -Sarah Palin

    • A very solid post making a point that hardly should need to be made at all.

      The basics of the scientific approach to understanding reality were developed by Babylonian and Greek thinkers before Christianity even existed. That in itself shows that Christianity was not necessary for science to develop. The fact that science in the West pretty much stagnated from 400 CE, when Christianity became firmly dominant, until the Renaissance when its grip began to loosen, argues that Christianity was an inhibiting factor and that science would now be much more advanced if it had never existed.

      In fact, the development of science was probably inevitable in the long run no matter what religions existed or didn’t exist, just because it’s such a powerful tool for discovering important things, and the basics of how to do it would occur to intelligent people sooner or later in any culture advanced enough to have developed logical thinking.

      If people think Christianity was necessary for science to develop, what about intelligent life on other planets where Christianity presumably wouldn’t exist? Do they think such beings would be doomed never to develop science, no matter how intelligent they were?

      • Sarah Palin

        They might insist that god gave them an alien version of Jesus and then they promptly discovered atomic theory :>

    • Sarah Palin

      I, Sarah Palin, am responsible for science.

    • Sarah Palin

      Exactly how does your blog get so many trolls Pearce?
      I’ve had the misfortune of meeting so many in such small amount of time….
      :(

      • Luke Breuer

        Why do I sometimes see “Sarah Palin” upvoting your comments?

        • Void Walker

          :-D My thoughts exactly…

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