Faith in mechanisms that would be outside our reach and understanding (as a matter of principle)

I’ve said that I accept ID as true, but I don’t think ID is science. By way of extension, I have the the same view of Creationism…

I believe in the principles that make a light switch work. I can switch on a light and then switch it off. I can repeat the process on demand. It makes it easy for me to believe the light switch is real. I can explain its operation in terms of repeatable mechanisms, mechanisms that by-and-large are repeatable and accessible, and therefore believable.

Understandably we would tend to believe in things we can explain and reduce to mechanisms we can understand. We would tend NOT to believe in things we can’t reduce to repeatable experiments or mechanisms we can understand.

Some of us (not me) would only believe in things that are reducible to mechanisms we can understand and repeat on demand.

So what about miracles or the Intellgent Design of life (which includes our life)? Some will say they will believe in miracles if they could understand it or repeat it experimentally. That’s reasonable, I have no objection to that personally, except…

If you could repeat miracles on demand, miracles of any scale on demand, you’d be God! So people who insist on being given an explanation of large scale miracles and in terms of experimental proof have in effect said, they’ll only believe in God if they are God themselves. There is again a certain logic to that…

On the other hand, evolutionary biologists like Koonin will appeal to multi-universes (or whatever he calls it) to explain the origin of life. But these are untestable, unknowable, and beyond the reach of human knowledge, observation, and experiment. So how is this that much different than Creationism except that such a multiverse mechanism isn’t a personal conscious mind?

And then I’ll ask evolutionary biologists and abiogenesis promoters for an explanation of this or that phenomenon and then get hand wave answers and appeals to mechanisms that are to my mind conflicted or unworkable, and are virtual appeals to unknowable, untestable mechanisms that look indistinguishable from miracles. How is that different from Creationism except that such assertions insist there is no need of miracles, and such assertions are not stated with any semblance of proof, and in fact go contrary to accepted principles of physics and chemistry! Case in point is Koonin’s appeal to multiverses for the origin of life. He may as well appeal to such mechanisms for certain evolutionary transitions too, since several are pretty improbable as a matter of principle.

So I see a double standard. People like Stenger will say they won’t believe something without being able to reproduce it experimentally, but then they go off and believe exactly what they can’t prove – like muli-universes or whatever!

I suppose one could be an agnostic in these matters. I’ve had bouts of agnosticism too, but one thing I can’t accept is that life is explained by principles of chemistry and physics. This is like expecting a tornado passing through a junkyard making a 747 jetliner.

Given that we all have faith, I’ve put my faith that God is the Intelligent Designer of life and the universe.

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We don’t all have faith. Faith is pretending to know the unknowable. Faith in something doesn’t make it true nor false.

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I pretty much agree at this point. It is right at the edge of science and philosophy. I do however think it can be a useful tool for science. As a way to think about theory especially in cellular biology and as a “null hypothesis” or comparative hypothesis as so many papers have iffy conclusions when evolutionary theory is assumed true.

Fiction, arising from the human propensity for story telling.

If we could repeat miracles on demand, they would not be miracles - they would be science.

Life is observed. So it exists, whether we understand it or not.

Creation is not observed, unless that refers to quantum events.

In any case, creationism itself (such as with OEC) is not particularly problematic. It is the YEC form of creationism that is a problem, because it explicitly denies clear evidence.

Likewise, ID as philosophy isn’t particularly problematic. The problem is in the claim that ID is science, and in the use of politics to impose that claim.

Yes, I see a double standard. I see @stcordova conflating things that are not related, as a way of pushing his apologetics.

No. It is more like expecting the weather on earth to make a tornado.


I was speaking of faith at least in the minimal sense, such as believing the sun will rise tomorrow.

To quote Bertrand Russell:

Thus we must either accept the inductive principle on the ground of its intrinsic evidence, or forgo all justification of our expectations about the future. If the principle is unsound, we have no reason to expect the sun to rise to-morrow, to expect bread to be more nourishing than a stone, or to expect that if we throw ourselves off the roof we shall fall. When we see what looks like our best friend approaching us, we shall have no reason to suppose that his body is not inhabited by the mind of our worst enemy or of some total stranger. All our conduct is based upon associations which have worked in the past, and which we therefore regard as likely to work in the future; and this likelihood is dependent for its validity upon the inductive principle.

The general principles of science, such as the belief in the reign of law, and the belief that every event must have a cause, are as completely dependent upon the inductive principle as are the beliefs of daily life All such general principles are believed because mankind have found innumerable instances of their truth and no instances of their falsehood. But this affords no evidence for their truth in the future,

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You are confusing faith with expectations based on reasoning. And you are confusing faith with knowledge. Faith isn’t based on reasoning nor knowledge. If it was, it wouldn’t be faith. Faith is pretending to know what you don’t know.

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(facepalm) All this time and effort spent on trying to educate you and you still don’t understand the concept of a null hypothesis. :roll_eyes: Also evolution is not assumed by newly published biology papers. Evolution is a conclusion reached by 160+ years of positive consilient evidence from dozens of independent scientific fields. New work builds on the older work Bill. Each new paper doesn’t have to start from ground zero.


LOL! Did you really just use this hoary old Creationist argument? :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: Then you wonder why Creationists have the reputation in science they do.

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This is a fallacy based on faulty philosophy. All knowledge is faith based. Some conclusions merely have more evidentiary support than others.

I believe the relevant part of that is “to my mind”. To others who do not have your mind, answers are not handwaving, the mechanisms are neither conflicted nor unworkable and are in fact testable. Consider the possibility that the problem is in your head, not in science.

I see another appeal to experimental science as if science can only be done by experiment. I think we may have talked about that before.

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Some hare-brained claims like ID-Creationism have not one iota of positive supporting evidence. That doesn’t stop True Believers from pushing the discredited idea on faith alone however.

No knowledge is faith based.

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Define faith.

Faith is pretending to know something that you really don’t know or is unknowable.

Would it be proper to say I have faith in a persons ability do a project. Since I know the person and his capability I have knowledge.

Here is how they differ: A multiverse is a mathematical prediction of models that have been derived from repeatable, objective observations. Much as one could have predicted the operation of a light switch before one was built, the multiverse can also be predicted, at least in principle.

OTOH, there are no observations that would lead us to predict that a “mind” could cause a human being to pop into existence out of a pile of dust.

Nonsense. But I do wonder what you mean by “knowledge”.

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Yes, that’s one of the range of meanings for “faith”. But it isn’t the meaning normally assumed by discussions at PS.

The fallacy that religious beliefs are devoid of knowledge is based on misuse of the term faith.

Then what did you mean when you said this?

“All knowledge is faith based.”

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