“Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

The catch-all forum for general topics and debates. Minimal moderation. Rated PG to PG-13.
Post Reply
User avatar
Dr. Shades
Founder & Visionary
Posts: 14062
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 3:07 pm

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Dr. Shades »

Brant Gardner wrote:
Dr. Shades wrote:(In that case, since magic and religion are the same thing (according to you and your apologetic ilk), then you must also believe that science and religion are the same thing, too, since both were mixed with religion at one time or another.

I am sure that there are a very large number of academics who are now shocked to find that they are Mormon apologists. I am arguing from the social sciences here, only tangentially related to Mormonism. I am assuming (supported by my reading in the topic) that secular scholars who specialize in this topic have a contribution to which we should listen. Don't you?

Of course.

Let me rephrase, dropping the diversionary portion:

"Since magic and religion are the same thing, then you must also believe that science and religion are the same thing, too, since both were mixed with religion at one time or another."

Does that about sum it up? If not, why not?

Brant Gardner
Deacon
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 8:41 am

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

Dr. Shades wrote:"Since magic and religion are the same thing, then you must also believe that science and religion are the same thing, too, since both were mixed with religion at one time or another."

Does that about sum it up? If not, why not?

In some cases, more than many would expect. If you look at the way science is used by non-scientists, it functions if much the same way as religion. When you look at religion as a belief system, it becomes very difficult to separate science as a belief system from religion (including dogmatism, prejudices and other of the less desirable features of religion).

The difference between science and religion that differs between magic and religion is that there can be a dividing line, and that line is methodological rather than ideological. If you only deal with science as an ideology, however, the lines blur again.

User avatar
Dr. Shades
Founder & Visionary
Posts: 14062
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 3:07 pm

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Dr. Shades »

Brant Gardner wrote:If you look at the way science is used by non-scientists, it functions if much the same way as religion. When you look at religion as a belief system, it becomes very difficult to separate science as a belief system from religion (including dogmatism, prejudices and other of the less desirable features of religion).

The difference between science and religion that differs between magic and religion is that there can be a dividing line, and that line is methodological rather than ideological. If you only deal with science as an ideology, however, the lines blur again.

Okay. With that in mind, can one infer that there is a spectrum at work, with magic at one end and science at the other, with religion being somewhere in between?

Brant Gardner
Deacon
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 8:41 am

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

Dr. Shades wrote:Okay. With that in mind, can one infer that there is a spectrum at work, with magic at one end and science at the other, with religion being somewhere in between?

Not without redefining all of the terms. In ideological terms, they are all modes of comprehending the world based on experience, experimentation, and enlightenment. They accept information from different sources, but they function the same way in people's lives. Creating a continuum simply imposes an outside prejudice on an otherwise neutral category.

Of course, science as a methodology is a different animal entirely from the ideological use that is made of science. Certainly, the results of that methodology have provided a sufficiently superior explanation of the world as to out-compete the other options, but once selected, each option tends to provide the same basic sociological functions. It is also possible to combine them fairly seamlessly (Malinowski's work on the Trobriand Islanders demonstrated this decades ago).

User avatar
Darth J
Dark Lord of the Sith
Posts: 13392
Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 6:16 pm

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Darth J »

I would like to remind everyone of my earlier prophecy several pages ago that this thread will never end.

Joey
2nd Quorum of Seventy
Posts: 717
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2007 7:34 pm

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Joey »

Brant Gardner wrote:Not without redefining all of the terms. In ideological terms, they are all modes of comprehending the world based on experience, experimentation, and enlightenment. They accept information from different sources, but they function the same way in people's lives. Creating a continuum simply imposes an outside prejudice on an otherwise neutral category.

Of course, science as a methodology is a different animal entirely from the ideological use that is made of science. Certainly, the results of that methodology have provided a sufficiently superior explanation of the world as to out-compete the other options, but once selected, each option tends to provide the same basic sociological functions. It is also possible to combine them fairly seamlessly (Malinowski's work on the Trobriand Islanders demonstrated this decades ago).


Wow! That was one helluva Millet! Kudos Brandt.
"It's not so much that FARMS scholarship in the area Book of Mormon historicity is "rejected' by the secular academic community as it is they are "ignored". [Daniel Peterson, May, 2004]

harmony
God
Posts: 18195
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:35 pm

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by harmony »

Darth J wrote:I would like to remind everyone of my earlier prophecy several pages ago that this thread will never end.


Which is a good thing!
(Nevo, Jan 23) And the Melchizedek Priesthood may not have been restored until the summer of 1830, several months after the organization of the Church.

Brant Gardner
Deacon
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 8:41 am

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

Dr. Shades wrote:Okay. With that in mind, can one infer that there is a spectrum at work, with magic at one end and science at the other, with religion being somewhere in between?

As another example of why the continuum doesn't work, you will find various advocates for their particular flavor of religion who would place religion higher than science (which was certainly the case up through the early 1800s -- I spent some time reading literature covering the religion/science debate of the times, and science was clearly in second place with most authors!).

Part of the problem comes from the confusion between method and ideology. Many who have never done science nevertheless accept it as the model of truth. I have known many whose faith in science supersedes that of those who published the science on which the layman bases their faith. For example, human evolution is a very different topic when the scientists discuss it than it is when it is distilled into "doctrine" for high school texts.

Nimrod
midnight rambler
Posts: 1923
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 pm

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Nimrod »

Brant Gardner wrote:I have known many whose faith in science supersedes that of those who published the science on which the layman bases their faith. For example, human evolution is a very different topic when the scientists discuss it than it is when it is distilled into "doctrine" for high school texts.

Sort of like how church history is a very different topic when historians discuss it than how it is distilled into "doctrine" for high school seminary students.
--*--

User avatar
zeezrom
God
Posts: 11930
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:57 pm

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by zeezrom »

Brant Gardner wrote:Not without redefining all of the terms. In ideological terms, they are all modes of comprehending the world based on experience, experimentation, and enlightenment.
Tell me, where is experimentation within the scope of religion? And assuming you can perform scientific experiments on the supernatural, how might two people come to a consensus on the results of such experiments?
Oh for shame, how the mortals put the blame on us gods, for they say evils come from us, but it is they, rather, who by their own recklessness win sorrow beyond what is given... Zeus (1178 BC)

The Holy Sacrament.

Brant Gardner
Deacon
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 8:41 am

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

zeezrom wrote:
Brant Gardner wrote:Not without redefining all of the terms. In ideological terms, they are all modes of comprehending the world based on experience, experimentation, and enlightenment.
Tell me, where is experimentation within the scope of religion? And assuming you can perform scientific experiments on the supernatural, how might two people come to a consensus on the results of such experiments?

Where do you think science came from? Who was experimenting before science became a discipline separate from all other knowledge? Science is a modern methodology, not a unique concept. Humanity has experimented with our environment and learned from those experiments from the beginning of time. Only very recently have we separated the results of those experiments into religion or science. For a very, very long time, they were the same thing.

Now, when you ask if one can perform scientific experiments on the supernatural, you are mixing methodology and ideology. The scientific method defines itself out of the supernatural. If the supernatural exists, science doesn't answer the question because it only deals with the natural.

If you are saying that you accept science as an ideology and therefore don't accept religion, I can understand that. However, you should understand that you are applying imprecise definitions and confusing science as method with science as ideology.

Inside the scope of religion there has always been experimentation. Some people experiment, others don't. When religion was the sole definition of reality, its scope and the range of experimentation (and the nature of the answers) was quite different.

However, if you are suggesting that in a modern world there is any applicability of the scientific method to questions outside its purview, then answer should be obvious. Science wasn't designed to answer those questions.

Brant Gardner
Deacon
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 8:41 am

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

Nimrod wrote:Sort of like how church history is a very different topic when historians discuss it than how it is distilled into "doctrine" for high school seminary students.

Let me assume for a moment that this was a serious statement rather than one with snide intent. Yes, the way historians view history is very different from the way their views are interpreted for the lay audience. Any translation of the more technical to the more general suffers from that kind of reductionism. It is actually one of the mechanisms which has abused scientific methodology and created of it a virtual religion (complete with high priests--in white lab coats).

As one of my favorite examples, in the august halls of British anthropology, there was a debate over whether the Piltdown man's skull/jawbone was a fake or not. Rather than examining the skull for evidence (which rather clearly showed modern filing marks) a fist fight broke out instead--a perfect example of science as dogmatic religion rather than a methodology.

Nimrod
midnight rambler
Posts: 1923
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 pm

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Nimrod »

Brant Gardner wrote:
Nimrod wrote:Sort of like how church history is a very different topic when historians discuss it than how it is distilled into "doctrine" for high school seminary students.

Let me assume for a moment that this was a serious statement rather than one with snide intent. Yes, the way historians view history is very different from the way their views are interpreted for the lay audience. Any translation of the more technical to the more general suffers from that kind of reductionism. It is actually one of the mechanisms which has abused scientific methodology and created of it a virtual religion (complete with high priests--in white lab coats).

As one of my favorite examples, in the august halls of British anthropology, there was a debate over whether the Piltdown man's skull/jawbone was a fake or not. Rather than examining the skull for evidence (which rather clearly showed modern filing marks) a fist fight broke out instead--a perfect example of science as dogmatic religion rather than a methodology.

My post was serious, to point up that complex matters are often reduced to simplifications for the purpose of making them more accessible to those new to the topic.

It's not how the historians' views are interpreted that was my point. It is how what is known is distilled and presented that was. That is, I can't fault the high schoolers for believing what is presented, either in the science class or in LDS seminary. I can fault those that made the redaction for whitewashing the material so that the high schoolers are steered towards one conclusion and there is no mention of competing data or interpretations.

I do agree that reductions make a 'religion' out of the topic, whether it is LDS history or a scientific matter. When presented either in a whitewashed or merely simplified fashion, the listener is taking the presented material on faith that the distiller has not skewed the end product in relation to the raw data.

However, what is more interesting than how a redaction is presented to high school students is what a more sophisticated investigation reveals.

I have no doubt there are many more undbecoming stories about scientists that could be told. To paraphrase a common LDS refrain, don't judge LDS Inc by its members' shortcomings: don't judge science by scientists' shortcomings. There are examples of individual shortcomings in any endeavor that attracts people.
--*--

Brant Gardner
Deacon
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 8:41 am

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

Nimrod wrote:That is, I can't fault the high schoolers for believing what is presented, either in the science class or in LDS seminary. I can fault those that made the redaction for whitewashing the material so that the high schoolers are steered towards one conclusion and there is no mention of competing data or interpretations.

So I should advocate for the inclusion of ID in schools as a competing paradigm? I don't think so, but your argument suggests it should be.

Perhaps you are suggesting that all high school courses should be taught with the same curriculum has classes for candidates for a doctoral degree in the subject? I hope not. That wouldn't work either. I had a Greek class once that was more than I should have bit off. I am all for appropriate learning levels. Aren't you?

However, what is more interesting than how a redaction is presented to high school students is what a more sophisticated investigation reveals.

I agree. I think my courses in college were much better than similar topics in High School. However, I don't think that condemns my High School teachers, or those who prepared the curriculum. Age-appropriate education has value.

Now, you seem to have something in mind when you suggest that there is something that might have a "more sophisticated investigation." May I assume that you understand that once you get to the professionals working on a topic that there is far less dogmatism on any subject that you seem to imply?

I have no doubt there are many more undbecoming stories about scientists that could be told. To paraphrase a common LDS refrain, don't judge LDS Inc by its members' shortcomings: don't judge science by scientists' shortcomings. There are examples of individual shortcomings in any endeavor that attracts people.
Missed the whole point, did you?

I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with science. I am simply suggesting that if you view it uncritically and then confuse method with ideology, you fall into the dangers of the fighting anthropologists. Just in case you also miss it, I am not arguing from an LDS viewpoint here. I am talking about how things are viewed by anthropologists of religion - a soft science to be sure, but one that lays some claim to that label.

marg

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by marg »

Nimrod wrote:It's not how the historians' views are interpreted that was my point. It is how what is known is distilled and presented that was. That is, I can't fault the high schoolers for believing what is presented, either in the science class or in LDS seminary. I can fault those that made the redaction for whitewashing the material so that the high schoolers are steered towards one conclusion and there is no mention of competing data or interpretations.

I do agree that reductions make a 'religion' out of the topic, whether it is LDS history or a scientific matter. When presented either in a whitewashed or merely simplified fashion, the listener is taking the presented material on faith that the distiller has not skewed the end product in relation to the raw data.


Part of the science education in high school is teaching how the scientific method works. And if one knows how science works one is rationally justified in accepting various theories. Science theories are best fit explanations of phenomena given current available information. Some theories are tentative and may have competing theories which also have acceptance by some scientists and some theories are very strong, well warranted with lots of data and have few if any competing theories, often accepted by the majority of scientists in the field..but these are things openly acknowledged. The scientific method is always explained as being tentative provisionally until or unless better fit theories supported by available data are offered to explain phenomena.

Religious faith is different than faith in scientific theories because religion does not offer any means for verification for such claims to God, Gods, afterlife. Religious claims are often mere assertions as opposed to science which warrants its claims with objective evidence or predictive value which can be objectively assessed. Therefore one is rationally justified in relying upon or having faith in science claims which are backed up with support from the scientific community because one has a degree of assurance they are rationally and objectively warranted even if one hasn't done the leg work themselves.

User avatar
zeezrom
God
Posts: 11930
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:57 pm

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by zeezrom »

Brant Gardner wrote:Inside the scope of religion there has always been experimentation. Some people experiment, others don't. When religion was the sole definition of reality, its scope and the range of experimentation (and the nature of the answers) was quite different.

What civilization ever used religion as the sole definition of reality?

Regarding the scientific method, refer to marg's post above mine.

Religion is magic. Science is practical. In many ways, our modern ways are less practical than those of the ancients.
Oh for shame, how the mortals put the blame on us gods, for they say evils come from us, but it is they, rather, who by their own recklessness win sorrow beyond what is given... Zeus (1178 BC)

The Holy Sacrament.

User avatar
Runtu
God
Posts: 16721
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2006 11:06 pm

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Runtu »

zeezrom wrote:What civilization ever used religion as the sole definition of reality?


I'm not Brant, but I think he's talking about a religious paradigm widely accepted by a civilization. In that sense, the religious paradigm is what defines reality. I've said before that for me as a Mormon, I saw everything in terms of how it fit into my Mormon paradigm or worldview. When I lost my faith, my concept of reality changed radically. I think this is what Brant is getting at.

Religion is magic. Science is practical. In many ways, our modern ways are less practical than those of the ancients.


I wouldn't make that distinction. Religion and science both look at the same world but through different lenses. It is quite true that the scientific method is far more practical than religious practices, but "science" as a paradigm encompasses more than just the scientific method.

And no, I am not anti-science or putting religion on an equal footing with science.
Runtu's Rincón

If you just talk, I find that your mouth comes out with stuff. -- Karl Pilkington

marg

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by marg »

Brant Gardner wrote: The scientific method defines itself out of the supernatural. If the supernatural exists, science doesn't answer the question because it only deals with the natural.




No "supernatural" has been established. Claims to the supernatural are assertions, are a man created concept. Science could very easily study the supernatural of religious claims if they offered some means of rationally assessing. If a God claim offered predictive value science could evaluate that God. For example, if that God answered prayers consistently science could offer theories on that God's existence. It is not that the supernatural is outside the scope of science but that claims to the supernatural are asserted and no means for assessment are offered, hence they are unreliable truth claims.

So "if the supernatural exists" there is no rational reason why science couldn't answer the question.

Brant Gardner
Deacon
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 8:41 am

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

marg wrote:Religious faith is different than faith in scientific theories because religion does not offer any means for verification for such claims to God, Gods, afterlife. Religious claims are often mere assertions as opposed to science which warrants its claims with objective evidence or predictive value which can be objectively assessed.

Your first paragraph was so good, I was really disappointed in this one. I agree that there is science behind quantum physics, but that stuff is still really weird. For most of us, we take it on faith because we don't understand it. Is it correct? Pythogoreans had a great explanation for the movement of Venus (I believe I am remembering this correctly). It predicted the movement of Venus accurately, but it was completely wrong. Nevertheless, it had predictive value and was objectively assessed.

Compared to quantum mechanics, it had much less mystery.

Again, the problem is that we confuse the scientific method with an ideology that is based on science. The ideology functions just as religion does. Because religion is supposed to be separate, we tend to cringe at the assignation, but phenomenologically, they operate the same way in people's lives. The majority of people who proclaim science as the "right" way are not scientists and don't do much science. Nevertheless, they are quite sure that science is true (even when it wasn't last year and might not be next year).

Therefore one is rationally justified in relying upon or having faith in science claims which are backed up with support from the scientific community because one has a degree of assurance they are rationally and objectively warranted even if one hasn't done the leg work themselves.
Let's play devil's advocate. You are willing to accept as true something that someone else says they have experienced and found to be true?

You believe because you accept someone else's definition of what is real even though you haven't experienced it for yourself. That is phenomenologically the same whether you have faith in a scientist or a prophet(ess). You have faith in their explanation and the basis on which it was created. Regardless of their methodology, your belief is ideologically founded.

Now, your other argument is that "one is rationally justified." Notice that you are placing your own definition on what it means to be "rationally justified." You are allowing "rational justification" only when it fits your definition and denying it to someone who elects a different reason for belief. For example, some linguists might have sided with Knorozov early on over Thompson. They would eventually be proven correct, but for years Thompson so dominated the discussion that following his lead was "rationally justified." It was also wrong.

I agree that the eventual justification of Knorozov's ideas (it doesn't matter if you don't know the controversy--knowing this much is sufficient for the analogy) followed principles of scientific discovery. In the meantime, however, "science" did nothing to advance the truth. It proceeded just like a dogmatic religion might--and ignored evidence. It functioned as a religion, but was called, and assumed to be--science.

Were Thompson's followers "rationally justified" in dogmatically believing the wrong thing in spite of contrary evidence? Why didn't science prevent that error?

Nimrod
midnight rambler
Posts: 1923
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 pm

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Nimrod »

Brant Gardner wrote:
Nimrod wrote:That is, I can't fault the high schoolers for believing what is presented, either in the science class or in LDS seminary. I can fault those that made the redaction for whitewashing the material so that the high schoolers are steered towards one conclusion and there is no mention of competing data or interpretations.

So I should advocate for the inclusion of ID in schools as a competing paradigm? I don't think so, but your argument suggests it should be.

Perhaps you are suggesting that all high school courses should be taught with the same curriculum has classes for candidates for a doctoral degree in the subject? I hope not. That wouldn't work either. I had a Greek class once that was more than I should have bit off. I am all for appropriate learning levels. Aren't you?

I wouldn't presume to suggest what you should (or should not) advocate for, just what I will advocate for.

As for ID in schools as a paradigm that competes with evolution, if the 'brand' of ID is based on data, I personally have no problem with that presented alongside evolution.

Stepping back for a moment, I think too much emphasis has been given in the last 40 years to teaching anything in K-12 on the origin of the world and of species. It is one thing to teach that the world has changed, e.g., significant tectonic plate shifts, and specifies change ("evolve") over time to better adapt to their environment. These are matters of empirical observation.

It is another matter regarding how did the world come to be made? Theories are based on what is observed taking place in the universe. Or did all species derive from a single, biological life form? There are commonalities in all biological life form that suggest it, there are missing links etc.

I think these more theoretical discussions are better left out of K-12 education.

Brant Gardner wrote:
Nimrod wrote:However, what is more interesting than how a redaction is presented to high school students is what a more sophisticated investigation reveals.

I agree. I think my courses in college were much better than similar topics in High School. However, I don't think that condemns my High School teachers, or those who prepared the curriculum. Age-appropriate education has value.

Now, you seem to have something in mind when you suggest that there is something that might have a "more sophisticated investigation." May I assume that you understand that once you get to the professionals working on a topic that there is far less dogmatism on any subject that you seem to imply?


Given how textbooks are driven in large measure by what the highly political Texas state board of education is willing to accept or not, I do take issue with that aspect of the curriculum preparation.

Is there less dogmatism by the professional than say the high school teacher presenting a ‘light’ version of the topic? Actually, yes, I do think there is less of an impact of that dogmatism. The dogmatic high school teacher goes basically unchallenged. The student likely has one science teacher for a year (math, English, phys ed, etc. filling the rest of his schedule). For a student into science at that age, what comes from his junior year high school biology teacher is often given an uncritical pass and accepted as 'gospel.'

The university student majoring on biology likely has two or more biology professors per semester, and thus the net effect on the student has the balance of their ‘competing’ dogmatisms--or at least the moderating effect of one less dogmatic than another. Also, professionals working on a topic do not do so in the same environment that the high school teacher operates. The professionals often work in teams or write articles for peer-reviewed publications, where pedantic ideas of one professional get shot down by colleagues and thus there is a moderation effect. The high school biology teacher sharing a diet Coke in the teachers’ lounge with an English teacher doesn’t get the same peer feedback the professionals working on a topic do.

Brant Gardner wrote:
Nimrod wrote:I have no doubt there are many more unbecoming stories about scientists that could be told. To paraphrase a common LDS refrain, don't judge LDS Inc by its members' shortcomings: don't judge science by scientists' shortcomings. There are examples of individual shortcomings in any endeavor that attracts people.
Missed the whole point, did you?

I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with science. I am simply suggesting that if you view it uncritically and then confuse method with ideology, you fall into the dangers of the fighting anthropologists. Just in case you also miss it, I am not arguing from an LDS viewpoint here. I am talking about how things are viewed by anthropologists of religion - a soft science to be sure, but one that lays some claim to that label.


I don’t think any information ought to be viewed uncritically. The examination ought to consider the process through which the information emerged. Once one develops a trust in a certain source, it makes sense to perhaps give it a little more credit ‘out of the chute.’ For example, if I were a physician, I would learn over time to have a greater degree of trust in what I read in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet than perhaps what I read in Albuquerque’s Physicians Monthly.
--*--

Brant Gardner
Deacon
Posts: 236
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 8:41 am

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

marg wrote:Claims to the supernatural are assertions, are a man created concept.
Hold on. On what basis do you confidently make such an assertion? I'm not interested in debating whether or not there is a supernatural, but only in how you know that there isn't one.

Let me assume that you might say that science cannot demonstrate it. That is problematic because science defines itself into a realm where certain kinds of evidence can be tested. It is therefore inapt when applied to something that suggests that it is founded on principles that science does not measure (or admit).

I might suggest that microbes didn't exist prior to the discovery of the microscope because the couldn't be demonstrated. Then when they were discovered, we had to change that idea. If we don't have the right instrument yet, how do we establish the negative (there is no supernatural--they are all assertions--etc.)

Again, I'm not advocating for the supernatural. I am simply trying to point out that you are coming to the question with what is called a prejudice (a useful one, but a prejudice nevertheless).

Science could very easily study the supernatural of religious claims if they offered some means of rationally assessing.

Ah, you do get it. Science could tell us if only science and religion were talking about the same thing. Unfortunately, they are not.

If a God claim offered predictive value science could evaluate that God.

And then we would understand - like we understand quantum mechanics? Like something that changes nature when we look at it. How does that work? We describe it, we call it science, but what mechanism actually changes physical behavior simply because we pay attention to it? (children excepted, of course <grin>).

For example, if that God answered prayers consistently science could offer theories on that God's existence.

Yes, a tough one, that. That is because there are conflicting scientific studies. Some say that prayer helps and some say that it doesn't. Both use the scientific method and claim scientific proof for their conclusions. They are diametrically opposed--but scientific.

It is not that the supernatural is outside the scope of science but that claims to the supernatural are asserted and no means for assessment are offered, hence they are unreliable truth claims.

You just defined something that is outside the scope of science. It isn't that no means for assessment is offered. All religion offers a means of assessment. Magic is infamous for providing evidence for assessment. What you are saying is that you don't accept those demonstrations because they don't fit into the scientific method.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Majestic-12 [Bot] and 15 guests