Clark: Scientific Reasoning is fallacious

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by BayouHuguenot, Jan 31, 2005.

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  1. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I read this and was wondering what ye think of it. It seems, and I don't disagree that much, that Clark is trying to say that all scientific reasoning is fallacious, especially when it is set up as affirming the consequent.

    If Hypothesis H is true, then Experiment E will produce results R.
    Experiment E does produce results R.
    Therefore, Hypothesis H is true.

    What do you think?
  2. LaMontre

    LaMontre Puritan Board Freshman

    I think science has it's uses. However I think it is far too often used to judge Gods word. And form that perspective it is terribly wanting.

    How often has the church embraced a scientific discovery as truth only to discover later that this has been disproven and thereby the church has been teaching a lie?

    Some things are undeniable observable and provable and those are science.

    Somethings are scientifically unprovable and those are beliefs.

    We should beware the difference.

    (My second post and I'm already being controversial? So be it.) :lol:
  3. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    I'm not sure I would agree with that Paul. Last year I read everything Clark wrote. I don't ascribe to his ideas, but I did find that his arguments around some of the scientific method stuff was helpful.

    Science, at its best, is just guessing. Overall, that was his point. Not that he, you or I are afraid of science. But scientists have such a hard time beleiving that point that its worthy to press.

    For example, I went to the doctor because my tailbone was killing me about 5 years ago. I couldn't sit down. He told me what was wrong and then he said that is where our "tails" used to be. I laughed. He smiled. I rbought him to the place where he had to confess, "yes, its hypothesis, and no, I dont' really know." As a matter of fact, he had to say, "You're right, I am guessing at everything." Then, I told him I knew someone who had all the facts, and who was there in the beginning - God. God knows everythings, yada yada yada.

    So i like the argument that sciencne is fallacious even in things that you deem "necessary." Are they necessarily so on Saturn? Venus? Or in another galaxy? Are they necessary so given an infinitude of various probabilities in the experiement? Not really.

    Helpful? Yes, science is. Exact? Not even close.
  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    On face value I really like Clark's argument. I am going to look at Van Til on science as well--Paul, where would you recommend I start?
  5. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    So Paul, what did you think of John Byl?

  6. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    What do you believe is the answer to this question Paul? Just curious, not really that interested in this thread.
  7. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    One problem is that on many/most fronts scientific arguments are purported to be necessary. Hey this theory helps to do X, Y and Z. Therefore it must be right (or at the very least more right than the theory that it replaced). This is seen everyday in scientific fields.


    [Edited on 1-2-2005 by ChristianTrader]
  8. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Has anyone defined scientific reasoning yet?

  9. Ianterrell

    Ianterrell Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hermonta, why don't you do so...aren't you going to be a Scientist? :judge:
  10. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher


    I was speaking to this:

    So I guess you didn't mean what you said?

    That's why I said what I said.

    I didn't know Adam took God out of the equation. Aren't we all talking about "science" as in "secularism applied to empiricism?"

    It started with the Greeks because I buy into all myths. :rolleyes:
  11. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Oh, OK.

    Ahhhhhhh, no. Did I say that? Paul, you can be so difficult sometimes -REALLY. I thought you paid attention to words?

    I agree, though, Clark is refuted by not only Adam, but also the saints in heaven. There is quite alot of reasoning going on there, and lots of experimental relationalism.

    [Edited on 2-1-2005 by webmaster]
  12. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    You would have to believe in common grace for that to be the case. I'd rather say God's indicriminate providence.

    Do they occasionally get things right? Yes, but only from our worldview that houses truth. One must make a distinction between secular science, and science.
  13. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I'm with Paul on this one, in the main. On what basis does one deny the validity of science? On science? I mean, you have to show me the proofs that science is invalid, don't you? Well, that's science too.

    I see, though, that we're working with different ideas of what "science" means. I would agree with Matt that the doctor was wrong in his statements, but I would not call his view scientific by a long shot. I think Matt showed well that its not science as much as it is merely generally accepted speculation. So its popular, and most everyone beleives it; but that doesn't make it right. Nor does it make it science just because scientists are the ones giving us such theories. Science is the small amount of actual work on the facts that is supposed to undergird that speculation that man used to have tails. What it is is one part factual, and ninety-nine parts extrapolation, fantasy, and extrapolation on fantasy. But that ninety-nine parts is not science just because the one part is.

    Real science got us to the moon; and the lack of it got us into trouble. Now we're back to doing the real science to make space exploration safe again. We're not playing with theories, but with facts, and real logic, and solid and tested conclusions. Otherwise we would not dare send men up again.

    All this talk about the ancient past is nothing more than a lot of hoopla with only a very little oomph to it. (Just thought I'd keep the jargon very scientific.)

    When did it start? I agree with Paul: it started already in the garden of Eden.
  14. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I need to clarify one thing on both sides;

    When I said *ALL* I was quoting from Boa & Bowman's book on apologetics, Faith Has its Reasons. I have yet to make up my mind on this. On face value I do like the attack on *secularistic science, as I have seen this line of reasoning used by evolutionists. On the other hand, it does appear that Adam used induction in the garden. I am enjoying the discussion, though. Thanks CT and Paul.
  15. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    They aren't infinitely omniscient.
  16. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Your right. I'm punchy. The weather here changed and sinus' are blaring with a headachae. I'll slow down.
  17. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    You miss my point I think. think through it this way: Science must have a philosophy of life. If it does not, then it cannot furnish anyone with any real information about anything at all. How could it? A statement of fact is not an explanation. It is the very thing that needs to be explained. In this way, science explains nothing at all.

    Scientists have attempted to rid themselves of the dilemma that science explains nothing. Some embraced the mechanistic model to cover their tracks. This taught that the universe worked a certain way and as a result of this “mechanistic” model, universal laws could be established. But that goes back to asking, can science establish the truth of anything? Would it be right or wrong to believe anything on insufficient evidence? If this is true, then how can science possibly ascertain the sum total of a given “thing” (whatever that “thing” may be) in order to verify it? If science is contained in a laboratory setting, how can it possibly give universal laws of nature an absolutism? How can they possible describe how nature works as a whole? Actually, the scientists knows he cannot, but he gives his best guess.

    Paul, think of this, even in mathematical equations about a given “fact” the actual weight of an object or length of a measurement is never perfect. It is always plus or minus some amount, no matter how small that measurement may be. That was what we learned when we took a straight ruler and dropped it on the grounf once. It still looks straight, but its not. Its crooked. As a matter of fact, it was crooked before we dropped it because its not perfect. So science is never working with a perfect environment, not a universal environment. Can science tell me anything? They can guess, but can they factually tell me that what they conclude is universally true - infinitely omnisciently true? Not really. Scientists simply choose from an infinite number of possibilities what they think is best for the situation at hand. If mathematical equations alone could describe nature, for instance, the chance that the scientist will choose the correct formulation is one in infinity (or zero). Therefore, in reality, all the laws of physics are false. They are guesses.

    Because of this great conundrum of absolutes, science does not claim to have “absolute truth.” This is especially true of the 21st century secular thinker. There is that word "secular" I was referring to. If earlier scientists would have claimed to found absolute truth, and it was verified in some way, then science today would not continually be revamping laws and ideas to suit new information. Einstein’s law of relativity now replaces Newton’s law of inertia. Mechanistic determination, then, is not, nor ever was, based on scientific observation, but on some other a priori idea. This sounds more like philosophy 101 than science 101.

    What do you think?
  18. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Ok, I follow you.

    Careful on the presup thing, I may just be moving a bit closer......but not too far. :p
  19. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Can't one come up with something good but still be reasoning fallaciously? Not trying to defend Clark in particular here, but trying to follow your "exact" wording. Been burned by ignoring such before ;)


    [Edited on 1-2-2005 by ChristianTrader]

    [Edited on 1-2-2005 by ChristianTrader]
  20. JWJ

    JWJ Puritan Board Freshman


    Pardon my Clarkian slowness :lol: but are you saying that inductive reasoning is more than just useful... it is also valid as long as one works within the one and only correct worldview?
  21. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    When you say that Adam reasoned inductively in the garden before the fall, what are you referring to?

    Also how do you differentiate between a strong and a weak inductive argument?

  22. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    The issue is that I am not seeing how induction comes into play with naming the animals. Perhaps it is due to my present sleep deprivation.

  23. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    How do you know what "might" be responsible?

    Fair enough.

    So if your broader knowledge has falsehoods then your in a world of hurt?

    Where is the truth if not in the premises?

  24. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    I don't think I remember talking about Adam and naming previously. Perhaps I just forgot. I am still not quite sure how Adam went beyond any premises in his naming of animals.

    But Adam had all cases in front of him from which to generalize. I thought induction had issues when went beyond the premises (all swans are black etc.) If Adam had all cases then he could not go beyond his premises.

  25. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    If you are talking biological classification, then I do understand such, if there is a different meaning in logic, then I wouldnt.

    I dont care if you are in a bind or not. If you are correct and I am wrong, then I wish to be in a bind where I have to choose the truth to get out of it.

    I doubt such an argument can be given that proves such. I would not even know where to begin with such. My current issue with this is finding out how anti-realism intersects with induction. Once I figure that out, then I think I can get back to where inductive arguments fit into my system.

  26. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    I did talk about dominion mandate and how one does not need to be a realist in order to realise such a mandate. I was getting weirded out about talking about naming animals.

    I am still trying to figure out how Adam reasoned inductively (going beyond premises)

    Let me restate. All relevant cases. I agree that there were other animals in order places. An argument could go like this.

    1)God brought me all relevant cases
    2)All cases of this animal (that I have seen) have X
    3)X is an general characteristic of this type of animal.
    4)Therefore the name must somehow include this characteristic.

  27. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Fair enough. If one thinks that they see a problem with another's viewpoint, such tends to occur.

    At this point, I am just attempting to see if it is somehow necessary to allow the validity of Inductive arguments to get us something beyond "useful" views.

    One last thing. You are saying that Inductive arguments could lead to something that is true but one could also be incorrect. So in the case of Adam, he could have simply got some animal name wrong?


    [Edited on 1-2-2005 by ChristianTrader]
  28. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Yeah. It doesnt have to be true in order to be useful. (unfortunately that which we think is useful now may turn out to be deadly in a few years) Are we talking past each other?

    I am trying to figure out how Adam was arguing inductively.

  29. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Where exactly did I admit that Adam reasoned inductively? I am not clear on that point. Can you give me an example of an inductive argument that you think he would have made?

    Where? I am not trying to be funny here. One question, is all generalization considered inductive? Even if you know you have seen all relevant cases?

    1) So what you are saying is not fallacious is when someone says I did X, Y and Z experiments and therefore I think something might be the case? I would agree fully.

    2)If this is just a restatement of 1, then I think I agree with you.

  30. RickyReformed

    RickyReformed Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Paul, I saw this post and couldn't resist.

    I've gotta ask, how do you know this, Paul? All I read in the Scriptures is:

    Your assertion above does not seem to me to be justified *by the inspired text*. Perhaps you can justify your claim _about Adam_ from other scriptures (if so can you please tell us which?), but this seem *to me* like special pleading to justify your conclusion that Adam reasoned inductively pre-Fall.

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