# Distinction Without a Difference: Science and Theistic Theology!

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Distinction Without a Difference: Science and Theistic Theology!

Got your attention? Hah. Yah, no, not really gonna make that argument.. or perhaps I am, I don't know.

I'm just going to work through some bullet points and present a grip of conditional statements which, to me, seem necessary..

Of course.. I could be wrong but time to try...

So.. here we go.

Science: The universe has been around for X time.

Theistic Theology: The universe has been around for X time.

Options: For the purpose of this exercise we will be defining “universe” as “everything”. “Everything” will be defined as all material things.. which I assume includes “energy and matter” but may, at some point if we so perceive or infer it, include other categories.

“Our universe” will be defined as “everything plus all physical laws (real, not perceived)”

“Time” will be defined as “a relationship between two points of potential change.”

1.) If X is infinite then time is infinite. (Unless someone can explain to me how the "universe", meaning "everything", "thing" being "material things", can exist without time.. then by all means-- but me and my small mind, I can't even formulate a correct sentence without implying a relationship with time.)

2.) (a) If X is not infinite, (b) then time might be infinite but is not necessarily so.

2a.) If X is not infinite and time is infinite, then the "universe" came about within that time (-) randomly, or (-) not randomly.

(-) If the "universe" came about randomly, then it came about through "immaterial process", by definition.

(-) If the "universe" came about not randomly, then it came about through "immaterial process" through (sub1) "intelligent structure" or (sub2) "randomly necessitated structure".

(sub1) "Created"

(sub2) "Evolved" (Some people may take issue with the way I am colorfully describing this concept of "evolved" as "randomly necessitated structure", but I think it's pretty accurate.)

2b.) If time is not infinite then it came about "atemporally", by definition.

Application:

Science: “We will not accept as plausible the “immaterial” nor the “atemporal” since, at least according to all argumentation I’ve heard, to make relevant inferences about the “atemporal” is impossible and to perceive the “atemporal” is a contradiction in terms. Likewise for the immaterial.

If something is “observed” then it must be within the construct of time to be acted upon—since “to act” necessitates “time”. Likewise, “to infer” something relevant from these terms would require positive characteristics or perception.

So.. Science will not consider them. Thus, all options but 1 are excluded. Science must conclude 1.

Theology: “We can accept anything. This is the beauty of ad hoc argumentation. God could be atemporal. God could be part atemporal and part temporal. God could have created the universe through immaterial processes. God could have created the universe through pixie dust…. And so on. To attact any of these processes would just lead to more ad hoc argumentations.. at which point I’ll use more words which only have negative definitions and therefore.. are unassailable! On any point but their internal contradictions or practical irrelevance with regard to universal discourse (but not necessarily to life).

For instance, I can say that a invisible, incorporeal, atemporal, entity that only I can “experience” tells me what to do.. in this instance, the “idea” would definitely have practical relevance—for many reasons. In anycase, done.”

Science: “Our universe” has existed for ~14 billion years. However, according to an earlier point, science must accept option 1… therefore, what was before “our universe”?

“X universe” was before “our universe.” “X universe” is “infinite in time”—however “time” may or may not be “time” as we perceive it now. Furthermore, the physical laws of “X universe” may or may not be the physical laws may or may not be applied in the same way as they are now.

Therefore, I can make the argument, and some people do: “Time as we now perceive it was, in fact, perceptually slower before the inception of “our universe”. Time was compressed, distorted, slowed to the limit of infinity. Therefore, while “our universe” is ~14 billion years old, the “universe” is ~14 billion years old + x amount of this “distorted time”.”

Or something along these lines.. My question then is this, how does this sort of argumentation based upon a theory of concepts without any practical relevance with regard to universal discourse or their internal contradictions.. differs from the ad hoc arguments of theistic theology as I presented?

Unless.. of course.. someone can please explain to me the “practical relevance with regard to universal discourse” that a concept of “time different then we perceive it now”, and only applicable within one theoretical time, can have? Or an application of physical law different than what we now perceive those applications to be, and only applicable in one theoretical time, can have?

Granted.. one might say, because X changes “x-much” in “y” conditions, then we can extrapolate that X would change “infinite”x-mich” in “z” conditions. But since “z” condition only exists within the theory.. never observed, never to be observed (e.g. “pre our universe”).. how is this different than T.T. ad hoc?

Any case.. just throwing out thoughts. I don’t have time to read or check.. so hopefully you guys can make sense out of it and rip it apart. I need to get back to reading contracts now.

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Cough

Cough

Nero
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...and now I'm reading torts.  :P

You must be a first year law student if you are reading torts (assuming it is not an advanced tort class).  By the time they hood you, you won't be a theist anymore.  Trust me.  I wasn't.

"Tis better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven." -Lucifer

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Quote: You must be a first

Quote:
You must be a first year law student if you are reading torts (assuming it is not an advanced tort class).  By the time they hood you, you won't be a theist anymore.  Trust me.  I wasn't.

Hmm.. I don't know.  I know a few lawyer's that still consider themselves theist.  I think the difference is that, sometimes, the method the lawyer uses to rationalize his faith is different....... (sometimes).

--by this I don't mean to place judgement on the pre-method or post-method of rationalization, merely that they are sometimes different.

Hambydammit
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Quote: Or something along

Quote:
Or something along these lines.. My question then is this, how does this sort of argumentation based upon a theory of concepts without any practical relevance with regard to universal discourse or their internal contradictions.. differs from the ad hoc arguments of theistic theology as I presented?

As far as I can tell, the difference is that science doesn't (at this time) claim that anything is true about "before the big bang."  There are theories, all of which are based upon current cosmological knowledge, (not random speculation!) but I don't know of anyone who says, "This is the way it was.  Period."

The simple answer is, "we don't know, but we're working on it.  We'll let you know when we figure it out."

The ad hoc theist argumentation, put simply, "we don't know, so we're making up an answer because we need an answer now."

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

Truthiness
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(-) If the "universe" came about randomly, then it came about through "immaterial process", by definition.

I got to here when I took issue.  Are random processes by definition immaterial processes?  I don't know of anything in science that explicitely says so, but I'm not well read on the issue.  Perhaps some clarification is needed on this statment.

Hambydammit
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oh, yeah... and immaterial

oh, yeah...

and immaterial doesn't exist, and can't because it doesn't have a positive ontology.  Therefore, anything you say about science will not include the word "immaterial."

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hey Hamb

Hey Hamb

Quote:

As far as I can tell, the difference is that science doesn't (at this time) claim that anything is true about "before the big bang." There are theories, all of which are based upon current cosmological knowledge, (not random speculation!) but I don't know of anyone who says, "This is the way it was. Period."

The simple answer is, "we don't know, but we're working on it. We'll let you know when we figure it out."

The ad hoc theist argumentation, put simply, "we don't know, so we're making up an answer because we need an answer now."

Do you sense a difference between a person who acts based on the claim that "X is true" or a person who claims that "I act as IF X were true"?

I don't know... I think there might be. Granted, science does not take the "absolute" position that X is true regarding pre-big-bang theories.. neither, to some extent, does it take it on any current "theories" of the world. Don't jump at me for misrepresenting Science, perhaps, somewhat-- I'm merely denoting a characteristics that "Science", if it were an entity, is always opened to be questioned. It's the beauty of it..

Nonetheless, I do not believe the theistic theology is necessarily different than the scientific standpoint. I realize that many atheists here might only have a problem with those theist that do profess to know absolute truth.. or who imply it when they try to force it onto other people.. but, I do not believe this is a necessary characteristic of theism itself.

I was using the more moderate approach in the above argumentation.

Theism takes the stance that "Here is a theory of pre-big-bag" it may or may not be true.. but I will act as if it is, all the while knowing that it MUST be changed if it is internally contradictory. This is the purpose, afterall, of ad hoc arguments.

Likewise.. it is the position that many scientist take whenever they present a pre-big-bang theory. "Here is a theory of pre-big-bang.. it may or may not be true...etc"

There is one element of course.. which is missing in the scientific stance, however, and this I will admit, the "I will act as if it is true".

It's not so much as it's missing.. just implied. If "science" came up with a billion different theories of "pre-big-bang", chances it are none of them would have any bearing on how one might act his life. That does not mean, however, that the scientist professing the theory, does not act as if the billion different theories of "pre-big-bang" are, as a whole, true.

To give an example of what I'm trying to say with this point, here:

If I go up to a scientist and I say "Atemporal X, created immaterially B, at point Z", the scientist would refuse to accept this. If, however, I went up to the scientist and said "Temporal process X, brought about, through material process B, C, at point Z" they would "consider it", and merely look for internal contradiction.

They are implying a set of "acceptable truths" regarding this pre-big-bang state.. even though the arguments within these "acceptable truths" are ad hoc.

I'll put it into an equation.

Science: There is acceptable truths. ad hoc argument - unacceptable truths = valid.

However.. it could just as easily be stated this way, to make my point:

(ad hoc argument - unacceptable truths = valid) = ad hoc argument.

An argument thats presumes there is an "acceptable truth" regarding a pre "our universe" state.. is itself.. ad hoc.

...alright. Your turn. I need to get back to citations. Law school.. beh.

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Quote: I got to here when I

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I got to here when I took issue.  Are random processes by definition immaterial processes?  I don't know of anything in science that explicitely says so, but I'm not well read on the issue.  Perhaps some clarification is needed on this statment.

No.  They are not.  However, if the UNIVERSE which is, as I premised, "all things material", then IF it came about randomly, this random process would need to be immaterial, by necessary implication.

I said "by definition" because it sometimes makes it easier to undersatnd.. but perhaps I confused the issue.  "By definition" as I used it in these cases can be replaced with "necessarily".

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Quote: oh, yeah... and

Quote:

oh, yeah...

and immaterial doesn't exist, and can't because it doesn't have a positive ontology.  Therefore, anything you say about science will not include the word "immaterial."

I know.  That's why I said the only valid choice for science is option 1.

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Oh.. and.. regarding

Oh.. and.. regarding this

Quote:
and immaterial doesn't exist, and can't because it doesn't have a positive ontology.

I think that's a bit misleading. This is how it should be.. and if this is what you mean, great:

IF exists, then "possible" positive ontology.

IF NO "possible" positive ontology, then does not exist.

This is not to imply that simply because the immaterial has no positive ontology that it could not have some ontology at some point.  Meaning, in essence, that while the logical statement is correct.. as a practical matter the "lack of positive ontology" will NEVER establish that something does not exist.

To give an example as to why its not practical..

"X is immaterial"

"Immaterial doesn't have a positive ontology."

"Really? Prove it."

"Blah blah blah"

"That doesn't PROVE that no positive ontology exists.. merely that neither you nor I can think or articulate of one."

Etc.

Hambydammit
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Quote: Do you sense a

Quote:
Do you sense a difference between a person who acts based on the claim that "X is true" or a person who claims that "I act as IF X were true"?

Hmmm. Yes. For instance, I've known many people who know deep down that their relationship is not working, and yet they act as if it were. I suspect many people act as if they believe in god, but in truth, they are uncertain.

Good enough?

Quote:
I'm merely denoting a characteristics that "Science", if it were an entity, is always opened to be questioned. It's the beauty of it..

Science could not exist without uncertainty. Where theists often go wrong is that they misunderstand the meaning of uncertainty. There are two senses of the word that are being conflated:

1) There are two or more possibilities, and I don't have much more than a guess which one might be true.

2) There are two or more possibilities, and all the available evidence points to one. While it is remotely possible that all the available evidence is wrong, it is so unlikely as to be dismissed until such a time as there is any reason to consider other possibilities.

Quote:
Nonetheless, I do not believe the theistic theology is necessarily different than the scientific standpoint.

And I still don't know why you can't see the difference.

Theology rests on the premise that a concept with no positive ontology governs the universe (effectively rendering knowledge a meaningless term). Science rests on the concept that everything that exists has limits, and behaves according to its limits, whether they are known by man or not. While knowledge is not certain in the mathematical sense, it is certain in the scientific, and logical sense, provided we understand that probabilistic logic is the escape hatch from the alleged "problem of induction."

Quote:
I realize that many atheists here might only have a problem with those theist that do profess to know absolute truth.. or who imply it when they try to force it onto other people.. but, I do not believe this is a necessary characteristic of theism itself.

Theism? Not necessarily, but Christianity, Islam, yeah... it is a necessary characteristic. I suppose there could be a belief in the supernatural that allowed for different "truths." Unitarianism comes to mind.

Quote:

Theism takes the stance that "Here is a theory of pre-big-bag" it may or may not be true.. but I will act as if it is, all the while knowing that it MUST be changed if it is internally contradictory. This is the purpose, afterall, of ad hoc arguments.

Likewise.. it is the position that many scientist take whenever they present a pre-big-bang theory. "Here is a theory of pre-big-bang.. it may or may not be true...etc"

Theism's theory is based on things people made up with no evidence. Science's theory is based on things like math and physics, which are logically valid, and have tons of supporting evidence. Science's theory, therefore, has a great deal of intrinsic value, and theism's has virtually none.

Quote:
They are implying a set of "acceptable truths" regarding this pre-big-bang state.. even though the arguments within these "acceptable truths" are ad hoc.

Why would you say this? If you give a scientist a hypothesis, he will weigh its merit based on internal contradiction, but also on external consistency with known theories. In short, he will not create an "ad hoc" explanation for it. He will test it to see if it fits with existing theories, or whether the evidence for it is so compelling that existing theories need to be reexamined.

Quote:
An argument thats presumes there is an "acceptable truth" regarding a pre "our universe" state.. is itself.. ad hoc.

Not so.

Ad hoc refers to an argument. Scientific theories are explanations. Scientists use accepted logical syllogisms, which have arguments to prove them, and logic is built from induction up, each new valid argument being supported by the previous one.

Science offers explanations, not arguments.

Why does the earth orbit the sun? Because of gravity.

This is an explanation, not an argument.

Again, science offers theories to explain what things were like before the big bang. It does not offer ad hoc arguments trying to form a syllogism. See the difference?

The arguments within the explanation are under the umbrella of logic, and each has been thoroughly proven without the use of ad hoc fallacies. What scientists are doing is collecting evidence to plug into proven logic to form an explanation of natural events.

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

Hambydammit
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Quote: I think that's a

Quote:

I think that's a bit misleading. This is how it should be.. and if this is what you mean, great:

IF exists, then "possible" positive ontology.

IF NO "possible" positive ontology, then does not exist.

This is not to imply that simply because the immaterial has no positive ontology that it could not have some ontology at some point.  Meaning, in essence, that while the logical statement is correct.. as a practical matter the "lack of positive ontology" will NEVER establish that something does not exist.

You're getting caught up in a circular argument, and forgetting the law of noncontradiction, which is inductively true in all cases.

If a thing has no positive ontology, then by definition, it does not exist.  Any discussion of such a thing is nonsense.  To say that it might one day have a positive ontology is to give it one now, and lose the original concept to a new concept -- a thing which might someday come into existence.  Such speculation is nonsense unless there is a practical reason to believe that a thing will come into existence.  If a thing has no positive ontology, there is no logical justification for speculating such a thing, since nothing can be known about something that does not exist.

In short, saying that immaterial might one day have a positive ontology is to say that it might one day be material.  If it were material, it would not be immaterial, so it's impossible to be talking about the same thing.

In short, immaterial cannot exist because of its lack of positive ontology.  If it cannot exist now, it can never exist, because anything that ever exists, will by definition, have a positive ontology.  If the positive ontology for immaterial is not known at this time, that does not mean that it does not exist at this time.  Do you see?

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin