Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Science versus God? Or SCIENTISM versus God?
A recent yahoo piece pits science against God and from the tenor of the article it appears that in the end God loses out (or will still lose out). But the title is misleading. It is not actually science that is pitted against God but the SCIENTISM of SOME scientist such as Sean Carrol that is allowed to pontificate on matters that are BEYOND the domain of science. 

So what is scientism? MIT physicist Ian Hutchinson gives this basic definition; scientism is the assertion that “Science, modeled on the natural sciences, is the only source of real knowledge.” Scientism claims that real knowledge is scientific knowledge. If something can’t be demonstrated by the strict methods of science then it is not real knowledge. So spiritual realities, since they can’t be measured by science, are not considered as real knowledge. They are but myths, fantasies or illusions. Scientism is alive and well among popular science writers such as the late Carl Sagan who made this statement, “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” (Cosmos).This statement actually is NOT a scientific statement. It is impossible to scientifically demonstrate the veracity of this statement. For an extended discussion on scientism see
What I will do is to cite sections (with quotes) from the article and give brief rejoinders (in blue).

Will Science Someday Rule Out the Possibility of God? By Natalie Wolchover

“Over the past few centuries, science can be said to have gradually chipped away at the traditional grounds for believing in God.” -- Really? What might be those “traditional grounds”? Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that science has chipped away at “religious misconceptions about the world”? I did not really find anything in this article that is even close to chipping away at the classic arguments for God’s existence (see Dean Overman’s excellent book A Case for the Existence of God).  

“Much of what once seemed mysterious… can now be explained… Although cosmic mysteries remain…” -- From “can now be explained” to “mysteries remain”; hmmm.

“Sean Carroll… says there's good reason to think science will ultimately… leaves no grounds for God whatsoever.” Good reason. Science. To leave “no grounds for God whatsoever.” Can’t wait for the argument! But wait a minute, science’s domain is the NATURAL; things that can be physically measured, tested and experimented on right? Then how in the world can science as science “leave no room for God” when science can’t apply its physical tools for physical things on God who, by very definition, is SPIRIT (non physical) and SUPERNATURAL (transcends the natural)? Somethin’s fishy here.
“Carroll argues that God's sphere of influence has shrunk drastically in modern times…” -- How does Carrol actually know that “God’s sphere of influence has shrunk”? What “God” is he talking about? 
“He thinks the sphere of supernatural influence will eventually shrink to nil. But could science really eventually explain everything?” -- Actually science can’t. It is Carroll’s PHILOSOPHY of scientism that is attempting to “shrink” God.
Note this line, “However, in Carroll's opinion…” -- In Carroll’s “OPINION” (my emphasis). It is his opinion based on scientism and not on science.
“Such a theory, called "quantum gravity," will necessarily account for what happened at the moment of the Big Bang.” -- Ok, let me get this. So “quantum gravity” did it. Umm, how did this “quantum gravity” came to BE in the first place? So is “quantum gravity” the Alpha and the Omega? So you want your “quantum gravity” but you will not allow others to have God as their Alpha and Omega? O Caroll please!
 “Some versions of quantum gravity theory… one model holds that the universe acts like a balloon that inflates and deflates over and over under its own steam.” -- So back to the oscillating universe? Wasn’t that theory, because of so much contrary data, discredited quite a while back (see
“If, in fact, time had no beginning, this shuts the book on Genesis.” -- Really? How?
"Other versions of quantum gravity theory currently being explored by cosmologists predict that time did start at the Big Bang." -- “Other versions”. So how many “versions”? And which version is correct? Interesting. So what happened to “shuts the book on Genesis”?
“But these versions of events don't cast a role for God either…"Nothing in the fact that there is a first moment of time, in other words, necessitates that an external something is required to bring the universe about at that moment" (Carroll) -- Why do I get the feeling that I don’t have to take Carroll’s word for it? Sorry, naked assertions won’t do. So Carroll tell me, how did NOTHING as in NOTHING (unless you postulate that your “quantum gravity” always existed, but you have to prove that first), how can absolute NOTHING bring about SOMETHING?
“Alex Filippenko, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley, said... "The Big Bang could've occurred as a result of just the laws of physics being there. With the laws of physics, you can get universes." -- Umm, ok, so you would rather think that the laws of physics are eternal? So they were there from eternity to eternity? Really? Can your science prove this or is this on the basis of faith in your scientism? What if I ask you science guys, since you’re so big on science, to demonstrated scientifically that the laws of physics are eternal, and if not where did they come from? And if you can’t prove this then do you expect me to take this by faith? Faith in you and in your assumptions? No thanks!
“multiverse… We find ourselves in one of the lucky universes (because where else?).” -- Multiverse, hmmm. Isn’t it true that there is no way for us here in our universe to ever detect, see, measure, demonstrate, much less prove, other universes? So then the multiverse idea is just that, an idea, without any means of being scientifically verified! So how is this science?
“Carroll retorts that the multiverse wasn't postulated as a complicated way to explain fine-tuning. On the contrary, it follows as a natural consequence of our best, most elegant theories.” -- Really? More honest scientist admit otherwise. Actually the multiverse position is an appeal to consequence argument i.e. a loophole to escape God.  Tim Folger, award winning science writer, wrote a very fascinating, interesting and revealing article in the web magazine DISCOVER, Science's Alternative to an Intelligent Creator: the Multiverse Theory -- <From the December 2008 issue; published online November 10, 2008>

Leibniz asked the question, ‘Why is there something instead of nothing?’ “According to Carroll… There can be no answer to such a question” -- Hmm. So Carroll now plays God and says that he has the answer to this Leibniz’s age old question, and that the answer is that there can be no answer? Now why do I find that totally unconvincing? 
Now watch this > "Most scientists … suspect that the search for ultimate explanations eventually terminates in some final theory of the world, along with the phrase 'and that's just how it is,'" Carroll wrote. People who find this unsatisfying are failing to treat the entire universe as something unique — "something for which a different set of standards is appropriate." A complete scientific theory that accounts for everything in the universe doesn't need an external explanation in the same way that specific things within the universe need external explanations. In fact, Carroll argues, wrapping another layer of explanation (i.e., God) around a self-contained theory of everything would just be an unnecessary complication. (The theory already works without God.) --
Wow! How unconvincing is this argument!!! So Carroll, you expect me to take your word for it, again? And on the basis of what, faith in you and in your scientism? No thanks, again! 
When dealing with everything else in this universe, in the universe that we are in, of space time matter and energy, you (and every other real scientist) uphold the scientific rule that everything in this universe demands an explanation for its existense. But when dealing with this great and awesome universe you suddenly suspend this rule and say, ‘Well, there’s no need to answer Leibniz’s question. No explanation is necessary for the universe to exist.’ To quote our dear good Senator Santiago, "Wa!!!" Sorry bud, no can do. Carroll, you sneaky scientist!
“Psychology research suggests…” -- So psychology explains away religion eh? How neat! So when will the next psychological theory come out and dismiss the current psychological theory?
"We're not designed at the level of theoretical physics," (Daniel Kruger) What matters to most people "is what happens at the human scale, relationships to other people, things we experience in a lifetime."
I say amen! And science can’t even begin to measure the things that matter most to us.
So “Will Science Someday Rule Out the Possibility of God?” Well, Carroll thinks so. But Carroll is not science, let’s remember that.