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June 03, 2015


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"" To determine that, one needs a way to verify the contents of a revelation,"" :) :) :) :) :)

Asked God to invent that
and He said that THAT would end creation plus the fun of it "


Objective knowledge has disadvantages, and subjective knowledge advantages, that typically arent mentioned in the yay-science boo-religion school of literature.

Public, objective knowledge has the disadvantage that it operates across a appearance-reality gap, meaning that while observers can agree in a classification of what they have seen, but not necessarily on an interpretation, what reality is indicated by the appearance. A well know example is the differing interpretations that can be given to the shared observation of rising global temperatures.[*]

The problem is not apparent in naive realism, that is scientifically uninformed realism. For naive realist, a stone holding your newspapers down is a stone holding your newspapers down and a rainbow is a coloured arch in the sky. It takes scientific knowledge to see the drawbacks of scientific realism.

Subjective knowledge does not operate across an appearance reality divide. If it seems to you that you are conscious, you are conscious; if it seems to you, you are in pain, you are in pain. This self-verifying aspect of subjective knowledge is  where it is advantageous, and what made Descartes .. who was, incidentally, an experimental scientist with a laboratory in his own home...choose the Cogito as a firm basis for his system.

Subjective knowledge is not a direct substitute for objective knowledge, not unless it is ramified with intersubjective agreement, falsifiability, etc. That's a problem with a particular kind or use of subjectivity, the kind that says: "I had a vision of Zeus, therefore Zeus exists". That sort of thing is lambasted by scientific sceptics, and rightly, up to a point...but it is not reflective of all the uses of subjective knowledge.

The Zeus argument is characteristic of a certain kind of religious thinking, but, again, only a certain kind.Some developmental schools are insistent that no experience is of the slightest significance. However, the science versus religion school aren't over interested in divisions within spirituality,

There are divisions on the science side, too. Purely objective science is a minority interest, in that it has to disregard consciousness, as eliminative realism and behaviours do. For mainstream science, consciousness is a a phenomenon to be explained, a phenomenon with with objective and subjective aspects....and the simplistic equation between scientific knowledge and objective knowledge therefore fails.

 Whatever you are, mystic or scientist, the evidence for consciousness is subjective.


[*] Theories are tested by their ability to predict, but there is no obvious connection between predictive accuracy and ontological accuracy. When I was a physicalist, I considered this issue to be or of the major problems of physicalism.

In general, the correspondence theory of truth means that a proposition is true when reality, or some chunk of reality, is the way the proposition says it is. Translating that as directly as possible into physical science, a science, a theory would be true if it's posits, the things it claims exist, actually exist. For instance, the phlogiston theory is true if something with the properties of phlogiston exists. The important thing is that correspondence in that sense, let's say "correspondence of ontological content", is not the same as predictive accuracy. To be sure, a theory would that is not empirically predictive is rejected as being ontological inaccurate as well.....but that does not mean empirical predictiveness is a sufficient criterion of ontological accuracy...we cannot say that a theory tells it like it is, just because it allows us to predict observations.

For one thing, instrumentalists and others who interpret science non realistically, still agree that theories are rendered true or false by evidence; their notion of truth and falsehood has nothing to do with ontological accuracy.

Another way of making this point is that ontologically wrong theories can be very predictively accurate. For instance, the Ptolemaic system can be made as accurate as you want for generating predictions, by adding extra epicycles ... although it is false, in the sense of lacking ontological accuracy, since epicycles don't exist.

Yet another way is to notice that ontological revolutions can make merely modest changes to predictive abilities. Relativity inverted the absolute space and time of Newtonian physics, but its predictions were so close that subtle experiments were required to distinguish the two,,

In that case, there is still, a difference in empirical predictiveness. In the extreme case there is not: you can have two ontologies that always make the sane predictions, the one being dual to the other. An example is wave particle duality in quantum mechanics.

The fourth way is based on sceptical hypotheses, such as Brain in a Vat and Simulated Reality. Sceptical hypotheses can be rejected, for instance by appeals to Occams Razor, but they cannot be refuted empirically, since any piece of empirical evidence is subject to sceptical interpretation. Occams's Razor is not empirical.

Science conceives of perception as based in a particular ontological structure, a structure based on causation, and causation as being comprised of chains of causes and effects, with only the ultimate effect, the sensation evoked in the observer, being directly accessible to the observer. The cause of the sensation, the other end of the causal chain, the thing observed, has to be inferred from the sensation, the ultimate effect -- and it cannot be inferred uniquely, since, in general, more than one cause can produce the same effect. A further proxy can always be inserted into a series of proxies. All illusions, from holograms to stage conjuring, work by producing the effect, the percept, in an unexpected way. A BIV or Matrix observer would assume that the precept of a horse is caused by a horse, but it would actually by a mad scientist pressing buttons. (Its important to note that the typical epistemological claims of science-based philosophy are undermined by the typical ontological claims of science-based philosophy).

A BIV or Matrix observer could come up with science that works, that is useful, for many purposes, so long as their virtual reality had some stable rules. They could infer that dropping an (apparent) brick onto their (apparent) foot would cause pain, and so on. It would be like the player of a computer game being skilled in the game, knowing its internal physics.The science of the Matrix inhabitants would work, in a sense, but the workability of their science would be limited to relating apparent causes to apparent effects, not to grounding causes and effects in ultimate reality. But empiricism cannot tell us that we are not in the same situation.

In the words of Werner Heisenberg (Physics and Philosophy, 1958) "We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning"

Our scientific method of questioning has brought about many things. It is the "brought about" that is most significant. Otherwise we are but puttering intellectuals. It all ended for God when we split the atom. God's association with nature (including us) was also torn asunder. God didn't seem to mind if we pulled His innards out. Well, then, God must not be part of the natural world, obviously. But can we imagine God without Mother Nature? We close our eyes to meditate, that presupposes we have a butt to sit on and eyes to close...both belong to the natural world.

The claim that science has brought about what is most siginificant is doubtful, since science cannot even explain significance. Science can achieve practical results, well enough,, but without values we are but amoral technocrats.

You say that the mind of God is such that he would not allow his secrets to be divulged: I can't claim to know the mind of God that well.

We operate within an accustomed system, whereby we do certain things and get certain results. We call that the natural, and can validly say that there is no supernatural, in the sense of no alternative system that produces valid results. But, for the reasons given above, we are kidding ourselves if we think we know the nature of nature, just because we can "operate" it.

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