The Problem with Epistemology

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David Killens's picture
The scientific method has

The scientific method has provided us with all the technology we presently enjoy. From medicine to dentistry, immunizations, cellphones, to the computer you are using at this very moment. The scientific method is the most effective and reliable method in determining the truth.

Religion and "faith" is not a pathway to the truth. With "faith" anyone can "believe" anything, and there is no metric to provide any direction towards the truth.

In the major religions, each adherent sincerely believes that the deity and method they use is the correct one. And it is all based on faith. There are 2.1 christians, 1.2 billion Muslims, 900 million Hindus, 376 million Buddhists, 23 million Sikhs, 14 million Jews, and each believe they are the true religion. So who is right, and who is wrong?

Yes, I will bet my farm on the scientific method, because it is the best method.

calhais's picture
With "faith" anyone can

With "faith" anyone can "believe" anything, and there is no metric to provide any direction towards the truth.

No, the scientific method is an example of a metric that directs faith to produce truth. If you act, then you can't rightly deny that you lack faith.

Greensnake's picture
calhais,

calhais,

You are using "faith" in different ways. The faith in the basic reliability of our senses cannot seriously be equated with religious faith! With religious faith you can, indeed, believe just about anything. Scientific "faith" simply starts with the reality of our world.

calhais's picture
You are using "faith" in

You are using "faith" in different ways.

Yes, I am. If you feel I'm overloading the term, then you're welcome to introduce others. My argument is that `religious' is not an attribute of faith; it is an attribute of people. Religious people choose to invest their faith according to programs laid out by tradition and in holy texts, but it is faith nevertheless.

Scientific "faith" simply starts with the reality of our world.

That doesn't make any sense unless you're asserting that science depends on faith in that there is a reality; are you asserting that the base axioms of science are exactly those of Realism?

Sapporo's picture
calais: No, the scientific

calais: No, the scientific method is an example of a metric that directs faith to produce truth. If you act, then you can't rightly deny that you lack faith.

The scientific method is guided by doubt rather than faith.

Faith means being certain of your position and not qualifying what you hold to be true, thus not being inclined to look outside your own head.

calhais's picture
Guided by doubt, perhaps.

Guided by doubt, perhaps. Ideally. Devoid of faith? I think not.

Faith means being certain of your position and not qualifying what you hold to be true, thus not being inclined to look outside your own head.

It's good to see you've got a partial definition, but as I use the word `faith,' faith does not necessarily confer absolute certainty. As I use the word, I can supplement knowledge with faith to increase certainty; that is, faith is `made-up certainty'. If you want to keep calling what you've been calling faith `faith,' then go ahead and suggest a different word for what I've been calling faith for me to use so that we don't get confused. Or, switch your own use to a different word.

David Killens's picture
@ calhais

@ calhais

"No, the scientific method is an example of a metric that directs faith to produce truth. If you act, then you can't rightly deny that you lack faith."

Do not put words in my mouth. I do not have "faith" in the scientific method or it's results. Instead, I have high confidence. Religion and "faith" deal in absolutes. I deal in probabilities and derive confidence from those probabilities.

If I hold up a pencil and release it, and after 1,000 tries it does exactly the same thing (it falls downward), then I have high confidence that on the 1,001st try, it will fall. I have already generated 1,000/1 odds it will fall, that is a valid probability that creates confidence.

Sheldon's picture
Semantics, I think you must

Semantics, I think you must know that a method (science) that has consistently and repeatedly demonstrated tangible success is not faith based, and confidence in it is certainly not in the traditional sense religions use faith. So that confidence in science is in no way synonymous with faith used in place of evidence as religions have traditionally claimed is a valid path to belief. Many religions, but especially contemporary monotheistic religions have traditionally valued faith in the absence of evidence quite a bit, Christianity especially. The scientific era has eroded this idea but many people still think it is a valid reason for belief.

What can't you believe with faith?

There are plenty of things science can falsify, and which you can't believe if you accept the method is valid, falsifiability is an essential requirement for any idea in science, it is not for religious beliefs. Test the idea if you want, ask any theist to demonstrate how they can objectively falsify their deity's existence.

faith
noun
1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
2. strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.

Those are two definitions of faith, and I don't think anyone can claim faith or confidence in science is not based on tangible objective evidence. I am aware theists and apologists would and do try and make the same claim for their beliefs of course, but the requests of that evidence always reveal bias and fallacious reasoning, certainly nothing a completely objective method like science can validate, even when the claims are falsifiable and occur in the natural physical world.

Searching for truth's picture
@David Killens

@David Killens

“Religion and "faith" is not a pathway to the truth. With "faith" anyone can "believe" anything, and there is no metric to provide any direction towards the truth.” This only further proves your lack and utter understanding of what truly is religion. When I say religion I am referring to the main 2 (Islam and Christianity). Stop trying to mix the 2, religion has its purpose and so does science/technology.

“Yes, I will bet my farm on the scientific method, because it is the best method.” Depends on what you are looking for, you can’t say it’s the best method for everything. That would be foolish

@ Arakish,

“Justified Belief — is nothing more than a fancy term for faith. It attempts to understand the justification of propositions and beliefs. In other words a fanciful synonym for Religious Apologetics.” FALSE, but, this is a statement and a conclusion I would expect from an absolutist to say so, glad you have at least remained true to yourself/character.

Sapporo's picture
Searching for truth: “Yes, I

Searching for truth: “Yes, I will bet my farm on the scientific method, because it is the best method.” Depends on what you are looking for, you can’t say it’s the best method for everything. That would be foolish

Can you give an example of when it would not be foolish to believe in something that is unfalsifiable?

calhais's picture
I'd point out that the proofs

I'd point out that the proofs of mathematics are unfalsifiable, at least in the sense of how Richard Dawkins used the word when he coined it.

Nyarlathotep's picture
calhais - I'd point out that

calhais - I'd point out that the proofs of mathematics are unfalsifiable, at least in the sense of how Richard Dawkins used the word when he coined it.

Are you suggesting that Dawkins coined the word unfalsifiable?

LogicForTW's picture
Hmm my 2 cents on this topic:

Hmm my 2 cents on this topic:

The term scientist was not really used until William Whewell popularized it in 1833, and wrote a book about "the principle that evidence from independent, unrelated sources can "converge" to strong conclusions" in 1840. Whewell was an Anglican priest. Infact much of the scientific method owes its formation in religious institute. (Boy I bet the various religions worldwide could take that one back!) But of course nearly all education and research and knowledge was controlled and paid for by the various churches all the way up to the 20th century.

The scientific method has been around in some form, if crude methodology, for at least 3600 years but the scientific method saw large gains in the last century or two in both refinement as an effective tool and use/acceptance/accessibility.

To me, the scientific method is a way of organizing observation into results to be interpreted in a more effective way then simple observation. And as the scientific method improved so did the real world results of these methods multiply, exponentially. It is hard to deny the incredible case of human advancement in recent times, a timeline that matches up nicely with improvement/adoptance of the scientific method. You know what does not measure up well? Religions, of all types, they have been around for 10,000+ years and in recent times has gone into serious decline.

I am a results guy. What gets real world results that we can all use? Scientific method, have not seen much results in 1000's of year old religions lately. I have seen enormous gains in the age of science for humans, lifespans are up, poverty is down, war is down, disease is down, quality of life is improving for the majority in the last century or 2, something that syncs up nicely with improvement of the scientific method but takes an opposite trajectory towards religion. If you want to call the scientific method a faith thing, I disagree with you, but I would still take the "scientific method" faith over any other faith any day of the week due to real world results that affect me, now, while I live.

JoC's picture
I do agree woth you on a lot

I do agree woth you on a lot of points. At least you’re honest on the having faith in the scientific method part. I used to be in your place though not on entirely on the materialistic worldview. Like you mentioned, religious institutions did fund the sciences for quite some time.

I daresay, modern science stemmed from religion. It came from the belief that God created the world and people, wanting to know God through his creation, sought to understand the creation.

calhais's picture
The narrative I was taught in

The narrative I was taught in literature classes--which, sadly, were the only places we heard the history of science discussed--during undergrad was that modern science arose through the study of natural philosophy, which was born to the ancient Greeks but carried along by the well-to-do religious folk and eventually by future clergymen at university; war fueled a lot of the early development in engineering. I doubt that any of it's true, but I haven't had reason yet to care.

LogicForTW's picture
You got taught that in school

@calhais
You got taught that in school and you doubt it is true and do not care?

Well you care enough to say you disagree and say that "I haven't had reason yet to care."

You say this even though you say: "which, sadly, were the only places we heard the history of science discussed" just a few lines earlier.

/shrug

LogicForTW's picture
@Joc

@Joc
We both agree for the most part.

However I did say " If you want to call the scientific method a faith thing, I disagree with you, but I would still take the "scientific method" faith over any other faith..." Rephrased: I do not think the scientific method is something that is faith based.

Various religious groups still selectively fund the sciences in a meaningful and positive way to this day. And I will say science stemmed from philosophy which definitely stemmed from religion, and absolutely religion has played an enormous role in the formation of the scientific method.

JoC's picture
Agreed. The only point I'm

Agreed. The only point I'm trying to make is that the OP's claim that the only knowledge that we should entertain (now, I'm paraphrasing) should be the knowledge can can be proven scientifically. But this statement cannot be verified scientifically so effectively, it is believing in something that is not scientifically verifiable.

Searching for truth's picture
@Logic

@Logic

There is so much I can say about your post but I will limit it to a few notes

“It is hard to deny the incredible case of human advancement in recent times, a timeline that matches up nicely with improvement/adoptance of the scientific method.” Not sure the point of this statement as it shows pure ignorance and arrogance on your part. You make it seem as if religion is supposed to oppose or go against science. Not sure where you get that from.

“poverty is down, war is down,” What planet do you live in where these things are true? Definitely not earth.

“something that syncs up nicely with improvement of the scientific method but takes an opposite trajectory towards religion” Prove it. What qualifies you to say such a statement? Which religion in particular? And do not say all of them because you’ll only show how little you understand about religion.

“if you want to call the scientific method a faith thing, I disagree with you,” good because I haven’t seen anyone on this forum say that so I am not sure what your point is. Did you know the sun is bright?

“but I would still take the "scientific method" faith over any other faith any day of the week due to real world results that affect me, now, while I live.” I see you are sticking with the theme here of confusing the 2 and trying to compare apples and oranges. Good for you although, everything you said completely contradicts your name since nothing you said was logical.

So to summarize, you said nothing of value.

Sapporo's picture
Searching for truth: “poverty

Searching for truth: “poverty is down, war is down,” What planet do you live in where these things are true? Definitely not earth.

Extreme poverty on Earth declined from 44% in 1981 to 10.7% in 2017.

The 20th century was the most peaceful century in Earth's history in terms of the proportion of people killed due to homicide or war.

calhais's picture
Let's make the 21st more

Let's make the 21st more peaceful yet.

LogicForTW's picture
@Searching for truth

@Searching for truth

You make it seem as if religion is supposed to oppose or go against science. Not sure where you get that from.

There is a lot of religion that goes against science. To accept the quran in whole, or the bible or, other various religious text, you must abandon and ignore science. To say there is a supreme being that is all powerful and all knowing, again you must completely write over basic foundations of science: biology, chemistry, physics, gravity, etc. There are plenty of religious people in the world that will get very upset if you tell them the world is ~4.5 billion years old. That humans can change the climate for the worse, etc.

What planet do you live in where these things are true? Definitely not earth.

Ouch, others already responded to this topic, but ya might want to educate yourself on this topic before you tell me I am wrong on it. Globally all those averages per capita is down, way down. It could rise again though as needed resources (water!) get scarce and inequality continues to get more and more extreme. But the overall trend is way down. It is scary that one hydrogen bomb can completely change that trend.

Prove it. What qualifies you to say such a statement? Which religion in particular? And do not say all of them because you’ll only show how little you understand about religion.

I did start my post with: "my 2 cents" which I hope you can translate into "my opinion is:" That said, I was talking about religions as a whole, most all of the popular religions today have strong roots in religious custom going back 1000's of years. Take a look at a simple graph of human innovation, invention and improvement. A simple example is: The smartphone, the orignal iphone launched a mere 11 years ago. It looks positively ancient compared to the iphoneX that launched last year. I actually still have one sitting in its original box as a sort of collectors item. It looks and feels and works in a positively primitive way compared to the IphoneX. And that was in 1 decade. It took 1000's of years to go from sheet parchment to the printing press the pace of new technology is astounding, and what this tech can do for us is even more amazing, and the pace of innovation is only accelerating ever faster. Even more amazing is travel to one of the poorest areas of the world, perhaps sahara africa, walk into a town and find people with smartphones, conducting business, with banking, transactions, receipts on a smartphone! Pulling these people out of harsh poverty utilizing the latest tech.

“if you want to call the scientific method a faith thing, I disagree with you,” good because I haven’t seen anyone on this forum say that so I am not sure what your point is. Did you know the sun is bright?

Calhais was talking about the scientific method utilizing faith. Not everything is in response to you Searching for truth. Again perhaps some light reading, this time in the thread before you attack people.

“but I would still take the "scientific method" faith over any other faith any day of the week due to real world results that affect me, now, while I live.” I see you are sticking with the theme here of confusing the 2 and trying to compare apples and oranges. Good for you although, everything you said completely contradicts your name since nothing you said was logical.

Are you saying science and religion are different and should not be compared? I am fine with that. This thread to me was trying to compare the two, I see nothing wrong with trying to make comparisons, even if they do not fit well. Lots of people, myself included, tend to have one side or the other as their driving force behind all the "answers." So comparison naturally follows.

So to summarize, you said nothing of value.

Yet you took the time to type out a long response. You do care, I am touched. Plus I love to debate, especially with theist.

Sheldon's picture
Tue, 08/07/2018 - 19:22

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 19:22 Permalink
JoC "If you can’t, the best you can say is that you simply have **faith in the (scientific) method** since it cannot be verified scientifically."

(avoids) searching for truth "“if you want to call the scientific method a faith thing, I disagree with you,” good because I haven’t seen anyone on this forum say that so I am not sure what your point is."

The rest of your post is even more astonishingly stupid, or an obvious attempt to troll. I simply don't believe you're being this obtuse unintentionally. I am starting to doubt that you are a Muslim at all.

Nyarlathotep's picture
The scientific method is

The scientific method is little more than Bacon's (and others) idea that rather than having philosophical discussion about justification, truth, what are reasonable reasons, purposes, etc; that in instead you get answers by just measuring reality. This approach is so common now that it seems like common sense, but there were times when this was considered very radical and even foolish.

Now it seems it is only radical to armchair philosophers (and/or people who want to believe in magic) who argue against it in areas were they don't like the conclusions, but immediately go running to it in the other aspects of their lives.

arakish's picture
JoC

JoC

Knowledge is fine as long as it has followed and passed the Scientific Method.
Method only if it is the Scientific one.
Validity only if it is testable and capable of being falsified.
Scope only as long as it is reality.

Okay let’s go with this. Please prove the validity of all these statements using the scientific method.

If you can’t, the best you can say is that you simply have faith in the method since it cannot be verified scientifically.

Then you clarified:

Fair enough. Replace "Prove" with

"Show evidence to substantiate the claim that..."

Better?

Neither one has to be done since they are rules further defining the initial definition. Someone needs to teach someone how to read and comprehend. HEY!! SOMEONE!! You still around?

Of course with the first one, I shall admit it should have been thus:

  1. the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope
    • Knowledge is acceptable as long as it has followed and passed the Scientific Method.
    • Method only if it is the Scientific one.
    • Validity only if it is testable and capable of being falsified.
    • Scope only as long as it is reality.

What's under contention is that all knowledge must use a scientific methodology

That should be obvious. If it cannot pass scientific methodology, it ain't knowledge.

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Searching for truth

"Justified Belief — is nothing more than a fancy term for faith. It attempts to understand the justification of propositions and beliefs. In other words a fanciful synonym for Religious Apologetics."

FALSE, but, this is a statement and a conclusion I would expect from an absolutist (didn't you mean atheist?) to say so, glad you have at least remained true to yourself/character.

Dude, you need to learn how to separate your citations from your comments better. I guess document formatting ain't taught in the Islamic nations. Or is it you just do not care how difficult it is for the reader. Probably the latter.

And what exactly is Apologetics? I gave you this definition once. And to be totally honest, I said this in joking. However, when I went back and re-read it a couple of times, it actually made head/mind-spinning/twisting sense (pick your combo).

Apologist – a dastardly subset of the Absolutists who practices apologetics, which is the assumption of presupposed conclusions that have nothing to do with reason and rationality and actual information, creating irrational excuses and whatever conflicting ideas justifying their baseless assumptions, regardless of what the true facts are, using beguiling dialectical semantics, distorted and perverted data, emotional whiney–ass pleas, due to an indoctrination conditioning that is so ingrained they never question the veracity of the nonsense they offer, or why they need to defend their faith at all.

That definition could definitely have been shortened to "justification of propositions and beliefs."

If Apologetics is not a justification of propositions and beliefs, then what is Apologetics?

Let's see what your most dreaded arch-nemesis says, the Great Wiki:
Apologetics (from Greek απολογητικά, "speaking in defense") is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse.

OK. Let's repeat without the etymology and give it with some embellishment.

Apologetics is the religious discipline of defending (justifying/justification of) religious doctrines (propositions and beliefs) through systematic argumentation and discourse.

And what was it you posted?

ME: Justified Belief — is nothing more than a fancy term for faith. It attempts to understand the justification of propositions and beliefs. In other words a fanciful synonym for Religious Apologetics.

YOU: FALSE, but, this is a statement and a conclusion I would expect from an absolutist to say so, glad you have at least remained true to yourself/character.

There are other just as assinine remarks you have made above. However, I am going to let those you directed them to make you look like the complete idiotic and retarded buffoon you are.

rmfr

JoC's picture
“If it cannot pass scientific

“If it cannot pass scientific methodology, it ain't knowledge.”

Okay then. Let’s say we agree on this. What scientific evidence do we have to substantiate this claim? We should only accept this if it passes the scientific method. Is it testable and falsifiable? If not, it’s should simply not be a knowledge claim we should accept.

Searching for truth's picture
@arakish,

@arakish,

"Dude, you need to learn how to separate your citations from your comments better. I guess document formatting ain't taught in the Islamic nations. Or is it you just do not care how difficult it is for the reader. Probably the latter."

It's mainly because the majority of my posts are from my phone. So it makes it hard to separate citations. Hopefully this way (creating a new line) makes it easier

While I do not accept your definition of an apologist or apologetic let me ask you. How does one answer a question which is clearly a misunderstanding, misconception or straight up a lie without being labeled an apologist?
Also, you asked if I meant atheist instead of absolutist. No, I had it right when I said absolutist lol

calhais's picture
While I do not accept your

While I do not accept your definition of an apologist or apologetic let me ask you.

I think I'm going to start calling arakish's silly re-definitions of the words `asbolutist' and `apologist' `arakish-absolutist' and `arakish-apologist' since arakish consistently uses his re-definitions to slight people he disagrees with.

Directly answering questions that assume a falsehood is as dumb as asking them. Always consider `whether' before `why.'

arakish's picture
Searching: "It's mainly

Searching: "It's mainly because the majority of my posts are from my phone. So it makes it hard to separate citations. Hopefully this way (creating a new line) makes it easier."

Acceptable. Sorry. But even on my phone and/or PADD I can insert a crlf to separate into a new paragraph.

And, yes, it is more difficult than on a keyboard. Sorry.

rmfr

uploaded from my PADD during break

LogicForTW's picture
Padd?

Padd?

Google search:

"PADD" is an acronym for Personal Access Display Device

I consider myself a huge computer nerd (hell I make a nice living off being a computer nerd,) and have not heard that term before.

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