Philosophy aims at clarification and understanding. What marks out an investigation as philosophical is its concern
to provide ultimate explanations and understanding, or failing this, to find some other final or halting description, such as ‘mystery’ or ‘brute fact’ or simply “for the moment unanswerable”.
Or you might suggest a speculative answer. For some reason it sometimes seems to me, that we have trouble to live with unanswered questions.
In my previous lecture I already pointed at the option, that not every sentence, which looks like a question, is a meaningful question.
An other often observed line of thinking is, that when there can’t be found a scientific explanation, there still can be another explanation: a supernatural one.
This is what J.J.C. Smart in his “Atheism & Theism” (2003) called a “God of the gaps”. As he wrote:
To argue for theism on the basis of gaps in scientific explanation is a risky endeavor, since the gaps may be filled in.
Thus Newton held that God would have to readjust the motions of the planets from time to time as the perturbations due to their mutual accelerations built up.
Later La Place proved the stability of the solar system.4 E.W. Barnes was a fine mathematician who became a theologically modernist and skeptical bishop.
Nevertheless, more than sixty years ago he wrote ‘The mystery of life is unsolved, probably insoluble’.
If he had known of all the developments in biochemistry and molecular biology that have occurred in more recent times
he would no doubt have thought the mystery to have at least been greatly diminished.( pg.152)
When you look at history, there yet may be some hope on ultimate explanations and understanding.
In the early days of mankind, I guess, for almost everything was a supernatural explanation.
Step by step our rational and scientific mind came up with other kinds of explanations.
Consequently the realm of the supernatural is getting smaller and smaller and the realm of scientific explanation grows and grows.
In the Australia, US and Europe this has lead to an extensive debate on theism and atheism. In other areas it seems to lead to violence and plain murder to “defend” the particular theism.
As I have said already several times, it is totally uninteresting for each of us to declare how important we think it is to be a theist or an atheist.
That is not the focus of this project. What I am focused on here is to study the reasonings and arguments which are used in the debate.
Or to use J.J. C. Smart’s words regarding the goal of his debate with J.J. Haldane in “Atheism & Theism”:
“Sympathetic understanding of one another’s position is what I here aim for.”
To which I would add, that maybe history may show, what the ultimate explanations are in this debate
On some website on Atheism I found a nice explanation of how to get a sympathetic understanding of one another’s position.
Take your time to read the flowchart closely.
A quintessential feature of such a discussion is EVIDENCE. In the atheism vs. theism debate is the legitimacy of evidence an important issue.
Let me state at least one condition for evidence to be legit: it has to be observable and verifiable,
not only for the person who offers something as evidence, but also for independent others.
Thank you…. the floor is yours….. ^_^
Corona Anatine: ok
herman Bergson: Nothing much controversial here today, I guess :-)
Corona Anatine: it’s what you said earlier Herman
Corona Anatine: the bit about
herman Bergson: Which was Corona?
Corona Anatine: scientific explanation, there still can be another explanation: a supernatural one.
Corona Anatine: well
Corona Anatine: that is impossible because
Corona Anatine: if its explainable then its natural
herman Bergson: that is begging the question....
Corona Anatine: something that is supernatural by definition cannot be explained
herman Bergson: a lot of people are convinced there are supernatural explanations where science stops...
Jakey Fitchbutt: I think what he meant that in the gaps between observable fact, people tend to fall into supernatural theories, like Creationism
herman Bergson: Just take Intelligent Design ideas
Daruma Hermine Boa: science stops a lot;-) we are all only humans, and scientist have to find new things.
herman Bergson: Exactly Jakey....
herman Bergson: It is not that I personally support supernatural explanations...
Corona Anatine: but 'supernatural is not an explanation it is evasion of explanation
herman Bergson: But theists definitely do
Daruma Hermine Boa: Finding a proof is not possible, cos there is no real proof in life
Corona Anatine: in my opinion
Jakey Fitchbutt: there are huge gaps in science, yet the areas between those gaps are growing rapidly outward
herman Bergson: Exactly Corona...in your opinion....
Daruma Hermine Boa: the "proof" is only for our fears of the unknown
herman Bergson: and the goal of this project is to analyze such an opinion :-)
Corona Anatine: i though you would appreciate the rider
Daruma Hermine Boa: ;-)
herman Bergson: Yes Daruma....
Jakey Fitchbutt: I've been having issues with images loading, can you please send me a copy of the chart?
herman Bergson: what puzzles me often is why people can not accept the "no answer present" outcome
herman Bergson: let me check Jakey....
Daruma Hermine Boa: true herman. we have to learn that.
Marco Visage: Currently, I'm not aware of any scientific body that can effectively disprove nor prove a theistic point of view, so this seems to mean a theist's point of view could be valid
herman Bergson: That is an often heard statement Marco...and indeed you are right...
Corona Anatine: well in theory scientists do accept a 'no answer possible' outcome/conclusion
Jakey Fitchbutt: not knowing drives us nuts, not having any info is where we get paranoid and light torches and grab the pitch forks :P
herman Bergson: So let the theist proof that he is right....
Corona Anatine: indeed but the theist is trapped by their own arguemtn
Corona Anatine: that 'god' is unknown and unknowable etec etc
herman Bergson: It was Bertrand Russell who already said in Problems of Philosophy
Jakey Fitchbutt: thank you for the chart :)
herman Bergson: that the goal of philosophy to learn to live with uncertainty
herman Bergson: But people get pretty nervous now and then when you question their certainties :-)
Daruma Hermine Boa: Sometimes the problem is, the scientist are not really open minded. Most of them are money driven
Marco Visage: Science (if done properly and well) can only comment on what is scientifically verifiable. All else is just not within the realm of explainable science. A scientist can't say with certainty something does not exist but they could perhaps say something probably does not exist based on our current scientific knowledge
Corona Anatine: that a very sweeping statement
Daruma Hermine Boa: Money to get for their projects and not so interested in searching for real answers
herman Bergson: But it is a bit odd to spend time on debating what NOT exists...
Jakey Fitchbutt: I don't agree that the position with the most evidence must be true. Evidence is corrupted constantly by the researcher's desired outcome, government/religious preasure, or even by ignorance of other possibilities
herman Bergson: or can not be proven to exist
Chantal is offline.
herman Bergson: Ahhh I waited for that observation Jakey...
herman Bergson: Indeed..evidence is a nice word....
herman Bergson: But we have not yet really defined where it stands for
Corona Anatine: oh many scientists would prefer no time at all debating the non existant but those who do force the issue
herman Bergson: observable, verifiable...
Daruma Hermine Boa: true jakey
Marco Visage: Shall we say evidence must be based reliably on our senses to begin with?
Janette Shim is offline.
Corona Anatine: currupted evidence is not evidence then
herman Bergson: But Jackey this is in fact not a philosophical argument in the debat...
Jakey Fitchbutt: because our senses are always right?
Daruma Hermine Boa: are they?
Corona Anatine: for things are senses can experience yes
Max Chatnoir is online.
Daruma Hermine Boa: which sense on which level?
herman Bergson: No I mean the fact that evidence is corrupted for instance...
Daruma Hermine Boa: we do not use half of our senses we could use
Corona Anatine: but some of the leading edge of physics and others sciences concernes things that we can have no direct experience of
herman Bergson: When we speak of evidence we actually pose a epistemological question....
Jakey Fitchbutt: this is going to go down a different road, about the millions of things our eyes cannot actually see.. so back to the debate :D
herman Bergson: Evidence is what we can KNOW
Corona Anatine: such as quarks and extra solar planets
Marco Visage: Agreed, Fitch
Bejiita Imako: ㋡
Daruma Hermine Boa: and mind can not think;-)
Bejiita Imako: science is complex indeed,
Daruma Hermine Boa: and so we are
Daruma Hermine Boa: its all about it
herman Bergson: There is a difference between knowledge and belief....
Daruma Hermine Boa: that belongs together
Bejiita Imako: but id say true science is all about known and proven facts
Daruma Hermine Boa: u can not separate that
herman Bergson: And that is what we first have to clarify...
Corona Anatine: science is not complex at al - it just that results of it that are
Bejiita Imako: we know it is like this because we have observed it
Daruma Hermine Boa: peeps are what they believe
Daruma Hermine Boa: the world is what humans believe
Corona Anatine: not so
Bejiita Imako: then its scientifically true sort of, if we have not misinterpreted what we have observed that is
Marco Visage: I am curious as to what knowledge a theist or even an atheist has to support their view, regardless of their beliefs
Corona Anatine: the world is what it is regardless of what humans believe
herman Bergson: Yes Marco.....that is really a question...
herman Bergson: But to say that we just are what we believe is absolute relativism...an epistemological position
Jakey Fitchbutt: I would define evidence as observable, and comparable to something prerecorded so we can verify it is similar or different
Daruma Hermine Boa: the world is, what we see. we struggle and try to find out what we really see. that is science
Corona Anatine: asuming for the sake of argument that 'god' does not exist in the real world- then no amount of belief will make it true
Bejiita Imako: exactly
Marco Visage: Yes, so belief is not evidence?
Corona Anatine: no totally not
Daruma Hermine Boa: so for me there is never a real proof of anything, only a strep to the next level
Marco Visage: (not playing devil's advocate, only a question)
herman Bergson: But what is the REAL world, Corona...
Jakey Fitchbutt: careful..
Corona Anatine: that is a moot point Herman
Corona Anatine: but
Max Chatnoir: Reality is what doesn't go away if you stop believing in it.
Corona Anatine: a real world does exist at soem level
herman Bergson: Kant would say that we even can not know Das Ding an Sich.....reality as such....only how it appears to us
Corona Anatine: whether we can know it or not
Daruma Hermine Boa: yo herman, schön gesagt;-)
herman Bergson: A Materialist would say that indeed Corona...
Jakey Fitchbutt wonders if I can logout of Reality, do a Clean Install, and start over
CB Axel: LOL
Daruma Hermine Boa: lol Jakey
Bejiita Imako: hahah
CB Axel: People who believe in reincarnation say you can, Jakey.
herman Bergson: If you believe in Reincarnation you can Jakey ^_^
Daruma Hermine Boa: who knows...
Bejiita Imako: ㋡
CB Axel: ^5, herman
herman Bergson: Well said CB :-)))
Corona Anatine: or anyone - the 'true reality ' might not be material
Marco Visage: So from a materialist perspective, reality is as it is regardless of what we think
herman Bergson: I would say, yes Marco
Corona Anatine: but it is external to us and what we believe [or even possibly can ever know]
herman Bergson: That we see it differently than a dog or a bat does, doesn’t change anything
Corona Anatine: exactly Herman
Daruma Hermine Boa: i think it changes that there is no real reality^^^
Marco Visage: However, perhaps a theist's experience of their beliefs has a physical effect on them (chemically in the brain)
herman Bergson: The relation brain - belief is a whole chapter on its own:-)
Daruma Hermine Boa: not only belief also your own world. your learnings etc
Daruma Hermine Boa: your surrounding
Daruma Hermine Boa: waht u read
Corona Anatine: but there is a 'real ' reality of some form - even if its just disembodied thoughts floating in 'nothing
Daruma Hermine Boa: which friends u have tec
herman Bergson: For now, our main question is: what is legitimate evidence....
Daruma Hermine Boa: °°°°
Marco Visage: Ahh
.: Beertje :.: can there be evidence?
Daruma Hermine Boa: nö
Daruma Hermine Boa: in my world
herman Bergson: the judge in court believes so, Beertje...:-)
.: Beertje :.: but we are not in court here
Daruma Hermine Boa: the court... has absolutely no evidence. believe me
Corona Anatine: there prob can be legit evidence - tho it might require a paradigm shift to se it as legit
herman Bergson: No, but yet we have to have a judgement about the world around us,.....and thence look for evidence to support our judgements
Daruma Hermine Boa: only rules
Marco Visage: Perhaps in some theist experiences or practices there is a way to record a significant effect, a sense of something greater. Could that be explored and found as evidence?
herman Bergson: They have done that Marco.....
herman Bergson: Do a search on the "God helm"
Marco Visage: ah yes, I think I read about that
herman Bergson: Which at least shows that there is evidence ..observable and verfiable of what are called "religious" experiences.....
Jakey Fitchbutt: everything I have to add now is speculation, which wouldn't be of much use :P
herman Bergson: but which are in fact normal brain processes
Jakey Fitchbutt: so I thank you for another insightful lecture Herman. Be well everyone :)
Bejiita Imako: bye Jakey
.: Beertje :.: night Jakey
Marco Visage: But can that be used as evidence, brain processes?
herman Bergson: Bye Jakey
Corona Anatine: hmm this is getting to be an ohter kleine bottle arguement
Daruma Hermine Boa: so fast gone..
Corona Anatine: with the answer on the other side of the 1D surface
herman Bergson: Well, I guess that in the next lecture we should have acloser look at the epistemological issues regarding evidence...
Daruma Hermine Boa: can be;-)
Marco Visage: It seems a bit muddled after this meeting
Max Chatnoir: Is "next" on Thursday or next tuesday?
herman Bergson: Next means "Thursday", Max
Max Chatnoir: Thanks. Sorry I was late. Got into a faculty discussion.
Daruma Hermine Boa: no Marco. for me its not muddled
Corona Anatine: is their good evidence for it being Thursday ?
.: Beertje :.: thank you Herman, have a goodnight
herman Bergson: It happens :-)
Corona Anatine: [ that was meant to be humour]
herman Bergson: Then, may I thank you all again for your participation....
Marco Visage: lol Corona
Marco Visage: I saw the humor there
CB Axel: I laughed, Corona. °͜°
Max Chatnoir: You will post the beginning of this on your blog?
herman Bergson: Class dismissed...^_^
Daruma Hermine Boa: herman, it was interesting as every week. thank you very much for it