Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

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Philosophy Now
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Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by Philosophy Now »

David Glass and Mark McCartney say Ockham’s razor doesn’t cut it with God.

https://philosophynow.org/issues/115/Sc ... or_and_God
creativesoul
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by creativesoul »

The article made the following claim...
"Whatever the merits of fine-tuning arguments, it should be clear that pointing to the mere possibility of a multiverse is inadequate as a response."
:?

All arguments for the existence of God are grounded upon logical possibility alone. If mere possibility(possibility alone) is inadequate ground and/or justification as a response, then surely it is just as inadequate for ground/justification. The article wholly depends upon possibility alone being worthy of further consideration and/or adequate argumentative ground. Why not also in the above situation???
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by BishBoshMcCosh »

The article also claims that " it is clear that science and theism are not mutually exclusive."

I had always understood that they are mutually exclusive because science employs Methodological Naturalism, i.e science can only accept a 'natural' answer for something, where god is by definition supernatural. Science can neither prove nor disprove god, or any other supernatural phenomenon. Stephen Jay Gould called it Non overlapping Magisteria (NOMA) for that reason.

They are therefore completely incompatible, but that doesn't disprove god, so it's kinda irrelevant.
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Trajk Logik
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by Trajk Logik »

I don't find the article giving a very accurate description and examples of Occam's Razor.

To quote Isaac Newton, "We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. Therefore, to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes."

Proposing the existence of a god as the creator of the universe is more complicated than simply saying the universe has always existed, or comes into existence on it's own or as a result of some other natural event. God is itself a complicated and complex entity, and the idea behind proposing the existence of God as the creator is based on the universe's complexity requiring the existence of an intelligence to create complex things. But this just means that the complexity of God requires a creator as well, ad infintum. The simplest answer is usually the best answer. The universe simply exists and has and will always exist - no creator necessary.
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Trajk Logik
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by Trajk Logik »

BishBoshMcCosh wrote:The article also claims that " it is clear that science and theism are not mutually exclusive."

I had always understood that they are mutually exclusive because science employs Methodological Naturalism, i.e science can only accept a 'natural' answer for something, where god is by definition supernatural. Science can neither prove nor disprove god, or any other supernatural phenomenon. Stephen Jay Gould called it Non overlapping Magisteria (NOMA) for that reason.

They are therefore completely incompatible, but that doesn't disprove god, so it's kinda irrelevant.
Science cannot prove or disprove the existence of unicorns, fairies, zombies, etc. It also can't disprove or prove the real existence of any imagining that your mind can create (like flying purple polka-dotted people eaters). This is the difference between imaginings and reality. Imaginings only exist in your head, real things exist out in the world that can be experienced by everyone.

An imagining that appears in your mind as a solution for some problem has to be tested in the real world in order to say that the solution has real-world implications. If it can't be tested in the real world - by other people - then by definition the idea is unfalsifiable. You can't prove or disprove the innocence or guilt of someone based on unfalsifiable evidence. There isn't even a point in trying to promote some unfalsifiable claim as being true because all unfalsifiable claims stand on equal ground - one unfalsifiable claim carries just as much weight in truth as every other one. In other words, the existence of God is as valid as claiming that goblins exist and created the world.
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by BishBoshMcCosh »

Trajk Logik wrote:
BishBoshMcCosh wrote:The article also claims that " it is clear that science and theism are not mutually exclusive."

I had always understood that they are mutually exclusive because science employs Methodological Naturalism, i.e science can only accept a 'natural' answer for something, where god is by definition supernatural. Science can neither prove nor disprove god, or any other supernatural phenomenon. Stephen Jay Gould called it Non overlapping Magisteria (NOMA) for that reason.

They are therefore completely incompatible, but that doesn't disprove god, so it's kinda irrelevant.
Science cannot prove or disprove the existence of unicorns, fairies, zombies, etc. It also can't disprove or prove the real existence of any imagining that your mind can create (like flying purple polka-dotted people eaters). This is the difference between imaginings and reality. Imaginings only exist in your head, real things exist out in the world that can be experienced by everyone.

An imagining that appears in your mind as a solution for some problem has to be tested in the real world in order to say that the solution has real-world implications. If it can't be tested in the real world - by other people - then by definition the idea is unfalsifiable. You can't prove or disprove the innocence or guilt of someone based on unfalsifiable evidence. There isn't even a point in trying to promote some unfalsifiable claim as being true because all unfalsifiable claims stand on equal ground - one unfalsifiable claim carries just as much weight in truth as every other one. In other words, the existence of God is as valid as claiming that goblins exist and created the world.
You misunderstand my point. Science can only accept an answer for something that is shown to exist in the 'Natural' world, so if unicorns were proven to be real they'd simply become accepted as part of the natural world, same for zombies and fairies. But god is not, and can never be part of the natural world because he is god, he exists outside time, outside what is 'natural', outside everything, he is 'supernatural'. It's the definition of what god is that rules out the possibility that science could ever prove or disprove his existence.
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by Terrapin Station »

Not that I'm necessarily a fan of Occam's razor in the first place, but wait--the gist of Occam's razor isn't that if a property of one possible antecedent could explain some event, then no other properties of the same or other antecedents should be considered as contributing factors as well. But that's how David Glass and Mark McCartney are parsing Occam's razor.

Although there's plenty of wiggle room in the following, what typically matters in Occam's razor is (a) "multiplying entities" (or explanations) with respect to necessity, (b) it's often phrased as being concerned with competing hypotheses, and (c) in contemporary application, it's often seen as favoring natural explanations when available rather than supernatural or highly fantastical explanations.
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by A_Seagull »

IMO Science and theism are logically distinct, in that the logic of one does not impose upon the logic of the other.

Science looks for explanations and "God" explains nothing at all.

The concept of God fails Occam's razor as far from simplifying an understanding, it greatly increases the complexity. As questions regarding How, when , where, what, who of God remain unanswered and defy explanation.
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Trajk Logik
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by Trajk Logik »

BishBoshMcCosh wrote:
Trajk Logik wrote:
BishBoshMcCosh wrote:The article also claims that " it is clear that science and theism are not mutually exclusive."

I had always understood that they are mutually exclusive because science employs Methodological Naturalism, i.e science can only accept a 'natural' answer for something, where god is by definition supernatural. Science can neither prove nor disprove god, or any other supernatural phenomenon. Stephen Jay Gould called it Non overlapping Magisteria (NOMA) for that reason.

They are therefore completely incompatible, but that doesn't disprove god, so it's kinda irrelevant.
Science cannot prove or disprove the existence of unicorns, fairies, zombies, etc. It also can't disprove or prove the real existence of any imagining that your mind can create (like flying purple polka-dotted people eaters). This is the difference between imaginings and reality. Imaginings only exist in your head, real things exist out in the world that can be experienced by everyone.

An imagining that appears in your mind as a solution for some problem has to be tested in the real world in order to say that the solution has real-world implications. If it can't be tested in the real world - by other people - then by definition the idea is unfalsifiable. You can't prove or disprove the innocence or guilt of someone based on unfalsifiable evidence. There isn't even a point in trying to promote some unfalsifiable claim as being true because all unfalsifiable claims stand on equal ground - one unfalsifiable claim carries just as much weight in truth as every other one. In other words, the existence of God is as valid as claiming that goblins exist and created the world.
You misunderstand my point. Science can only accept an answer for something that is shown to exist in the 'Natural' world, so if unicorns were proven to be real they'd simply become accepted as part of the natural world, same for zombies and fairies. But god is not, and can never be part of the natural world because he is god, he exists outside time, outside what is 'natural', outside everything, he is 'supernatural'. It's the definition of what god is that rules out the possibility that science could ever prove or disprove his existence.
So then "non-existent" and "supernatural" mean the same thing?

How can you define something that you have never experienced or observed? You just make it up. I can say unicorns are supernatural because you will never find them (and you won't because they don't exist). I can say that about anything, like purple-people-eaters - which is the point you missed. In this sense, every supernatural idea has just as much validity as every other supernatural idea.

You also missed my point about God being a more complicated solution to the reason why the universe exists as opposed to the idea that the universe has always existed.
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by BishBoshMcCosh »

Trajk Logik wrote: So then "non-existent" and "supernatural" mean the same thing?
No. The former means that something doesn't exist, the latter means that something does exist but outside of the 'Natural' world. They're quite different in their meanings.
Trajk Logik wrote:How can you define something that you have never experienced or observed?
Simple. Using theoretical deduction I can define a black hole but I've never experienced or observed one. Are you familiar with the idea of 'a priori' positions?
Trajk Logik wrote: You just make it up. I can say unicorns are supernatural because you will never find them (and you won't because they don't exist). I can say that about anything, like purple-people-eaters - which is the point you missed. In this sense, every supernatural idea has just as much validity as every other supernatural idea.
I didn't miss this point, I just think that you're conflating 'imaginary' and 'supernatural' when in fact they mean quite different things.
Trajk Logik wrote:
You also missed my point about God being a more complicated solution to the reason why the universe exists as opposed to the idea that the universe has always existed.
No I didn't, it just wasn't relevant to the point that science and god are mutually exclusive.
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Trajk Logik
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by Trajk Logik »

BishBoshMcCosh wrote:
Trajk Logik wrote:How can you define something that you have never experienced or observed?
Simple. Using theoretical deduction I can define a black hole but I've never experienced or observed one. Are you familiar with the idea of 'a priori' positions?
Theoretical deduction isn't proof. Scientists still look for observable evidence of black holes to confirm their theories.

Tell me, what theoretical deduction did you use to arrive at the conclusion that "God exists."?
BishBoshMcCosh wrote:
Trajk Logik wrote: You just make it up. I can say unicorns are supernatural because you will never find them (and you won't because they don't exist). I can say that about anything, like purple-people-eaters - which is the point you missed. In this sense, every supernatural idea has just as much validity as every other supernatural idea.
I didn't miss this point, I just think that you're conflating 'imaginary' and 'supernatural' when in fact they mean quite different things.
No. I'm not conflating anything. All I'm saying is that every hypothesis without evidence is equally valid. Evidence is what distinguishes one theory over another.
BishBoshMcCosh wrote:
Trajk Logik wrote:
You also missed my point about God being a more complicated solution to the reason why the universe exists as opposed to the idea that the universe has always existed.
No I didn't, it just wasn't relevant to the point that science and god are mutually exclusive.
It it totally relevant because science attempts to focus on the simplest answers, not ones that make things more complex.
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by BishBoshMcCosh »

Trajk Logik wrote: Theoretical deduction isn't proof. Scientists still look for observable evidence of black holes to confirm their theories.
It wasn't offered as proof because you didn't ask for proof, you asked how I "define something that you have never experienced or observed" and the answer is using theoretical deduction, assuming that by 'define' you mean something along the lines of 'how do you assign properties or charcateristics to something.... etc etc'.

Also, you're misusing the term 'theories'. Nothing can be theory until it has sufficient evidence that it is accepted as the explanation for something, Until then it's just a hypothesis.
Trajk Logik wrote:Tell me, what theoretical deduction did you use to arrive at the conclusion that "God exists."?
I don't believe in god but I can point you at plenty of very good arguments both for and against the existence of god if you're interested? You could start with Kalam's Cosmological Argument from Contingency, or go straight to the counter to the Ontological argument.

Trajk Logik wrote: It it totally relevant because science attempts to focus on the simplest answers, not ones that make things more complex.
You're still missing my point that there is no way to apply a scientific methodology to a supernatural issue. They are mutually exclusive fields.
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Trajk Logik
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by Trajk Logik »

BishBoshMcCosh wrote:
Trajk Logik wrote: It it totally relevant because science attempts to focus on the simplest answers, not ones that make things more complex.
You're still missing my point that there is no way to apply a scientific methodology to a supernatural issue. They are mutually exclusive fields.
Impossible. The claims of those who actually believe in a supernatural realm also make claims about how the natural and supernatural realm are related and how one can effect the other. God (the supernatural) made the natural world. Cause and effect exist between them.

All conclusions from every domain of investigation must be integrated into a consistent whole. If you don't do this you can never arrive at an objective truth.

The fact is that God, if it exists, must be part of nature. Its actions are one of cause and effect. It possesses a goal and then acts on it. It's actions can have a direct effect on the natural world. So either everything is natural, or everything is supernatural. This dichotomy of natural vs. supernatural is a reflection of the nonsense of dualism.
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by BishBoshMcCosh »

Trajk Logik wrote: Impossible. The claims of those who actually believe in a supernatural realm also make claims about how the natural and supernatural realm are related and how one can effect the other. God (the supernatural) made the natural world. Cause and effect exist between them.

All conclusions from every domain of investigation must be integrated into a consistent whole. If you don't do this you can never arrive at an objective truth
'Natural' and 'Supernatural' are mutually exclusive, by definition. Some phenomena claimed as supernatural could be explained as being Natural, sure, but not god.
Trajk Logik wrote: The fact is that God, if it exists, must be part of nature. Its actions are one of cause and effect. It possesses a goal and then acts on it. It's actions can have a direct effect on the natural world. So either everything is natural, or everything is supernatural. This dichotomy of natural vs. supernatural is a reflection of the nonsense of dualism.
This statement suggests that you don't understand the nature of god as believed by Christians/Muslims etc. He is not of the Natural world. It's a fundamental part of their belief system. Therefore, science can never prove nor disprove anything about god.
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Re: Science, Ockham’s Razor & God

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

BishBoshMcCosh wrote:
'Natural' and 'Supernatural' are mutually exclusive, by definition. Some phenomena claimed as supernatural could be explained as being Natural, sure, but not god.
.
And of course if it is not part of nature, it is part of the imagination.
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