The Nature of Science

Max Planck, a highly-regarded physicist, discusses one of the foundational assumptions necessary for the discipline of science.

[quote]
We have no right to assume that any physical laws exist or if they have existed up to now, that they will continue to exist in a similar manner in future. It is perfectly conceivable that one fine day nature should cause an unexpected event to occur which would baffle us all; and if this were to happen we would be powerless to make any objection, even if the result would be that, in spite of our endeavors, we should fail to introduce order into the resulting confusion. In such an event, the only course open to science would be to declare itself bankrupt. For this reason, science is compelled to begin by the general assumption that a general rule of law dominates throughout nature or, in Kantian terminology, to treat the concept of causality as being one of the categories which are given a priori and without which no kind of knowledge can be attained.
[/quote]

Max Planck, in his book The Universe in the Light of Modern Physics, translated by W. H. Johnston. Planck is considered to be one of the founders of quantum mechanics. In 1918, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his services “to the advancement of Physics by his discovery of energy quanta”.

31 replies
  1. UpAndAtom
    UpAndAtom says:

    Hahaha. The past.

    I find his statement strange. The first part makes perfect sense. If science could not make sense of some chaos, then certainly, it should declare itself bankrupt. The second half does not follow at all:

    For this reason, science is compelled to begin by the general assumption that a general rule of law dominates throughout nature..

    Science is not at all compelled to assume that a general rulw of law dominates. Science and empiricism is extremely open to whatever – anything at all – whatever is observed. And so it is quite open to the idea that nature might throw up chaos. Unfortunately for chaos, this has never been observed. Or if it has, it has been short lived or minor, and subsequently understood.

    Bring on the chaos! Thus far it has only proved science a ‘true’ methodology.

  2. D Bnonn Tennant
    D Bnonn Tennant says:

    Hey UpAndAtom, how confident are you in that view? I mean, for example, have you studied much philosophy of science?

    Because science certainly does assume a uniformity to nature. If an experiment yields an odd result compared to others, scientists don’t think that it’s evidence for “chaos”; they don’t think that nature is changing the rules. They assume that the rules are remaining consistent and that something else went wrong.

    Of course, this assumption is particularly problematic when you’re studying things in the distant past, because you have no way of knowing that things remained uniform. You just have to assume it and make the best guesses you can.

  3. UpAndAtom
    UpAndAtom says:

    I have read a fair bit about the philosophy of science, though I wouldn’t say a lot.

    I think that science does, pragmatically, assume the uniformity of nature in as far as this is a valid observation. But it is always open to observation which, unlikely as it is, might lead to chaos.

    So I am happy to agree with you that the uniformity of nature is an assumption, but only as far as it is a good observation, and I’m sure we can agree on that.

    I recommend Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. He won the argument, his ideas are widely held. Indeed, it would be criminal to comment on the philosophy of science without having read it.
    The type of science that I think you, Bnonn, have in mind Khun called “Normal Science”, which merely consists of scientists exploring the current paradigm. When they do so they are merely accepting the contemporary models and testing and exploring those models.
    Quite the contrary of the scene you paint above, scientists mainly observe the anomolous results and inconsistencies of their theores and when these become significant and telling, Revolution happens. They throw out assumptions and a new paradigm emerges (hopefully!). Thus far, Chaos has never been a winning paradigm, but it is always a possibility!

    Of course, this assumption is particularly problematic when you’re studying things in the distant past, because you have no way of knowing that things remained uniform. You just have to assume it and make the best guesses you can.

    The only reason I see for anyone to assume that things did not remain uniform in the past is if they dearly want to believe something that does not fit with the uniformity of nature. Miracles, for instance. There is just no present obective evidence for them. And given the robustness of the observation that nature is uniform, there never was.

  4. Stuart McEwing
    Stuart McEwing says:

    UpAndAtom,

    You say,

    There is just no present obective evidence for them [Miracles]. And given the robustness of the observation that nature is uniform, there never was.

    But miracles are not examples of natural events, so the observed uniformity of nature has nothing to with the probability of their occurrence.

  5. UpAndAtom
    UpAndAtom says:

    Oh, sorry, maybe I misunderstand you. From my perspective miracles would voilate the uniformity of nature, and so uniformity of nature has very much to do with whether miracles happen.

  6. Stuart McEwing
    Stuart McEwing says:

    UpAndAtom,

    Of course I think that miracles leave their mark in nature. The resurrection, for example, left behind evidences of its occurrence in history. What you’re missing is that miracles are intrusions of the Creator into the creation: they are supernatural occurrences. Accordingly, no appeal to the uniformity of nature can in any measure discredit them.

    In principle arguments against miracles just don’t work. You need to look at the evidence. You need to pick up a shovel and do some digging. There are no lazy short cuts.

  7. UpAndAtom
    UpAndAtom says:

    Oh I see what you mean. Yes, okay, sure.

    I do find it awfully convenient that these objectively observable miracles are buried in the past. Mind you – I have often thought – that is a surefire way to have a religion that can’t let you down.

  8. Stuart McEwing
    Stuart McEwing says:

    Well, I don’t think an objective look at the historical record will approve the use of “buried in the past.” The evidences attesting to the facts are readily accessible to anyone willing to take a look. For instance, according to N. T. Wright the fact of the empty tomb and the disciples belief in the resurrection is as historically certain as the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD (i.e really, really certain).

    Still, I don’t believe that all miracles are part of ancient history. There are plenty of miracles, and obvious ones, that are apart of living history that can be checked and verified for anyone willing to look.

  9. UpAndAtom
    UpAndAtom says:

    So why is there never any objective proof. Why do we never see limbs growing back and on film or things like that?

  10. Stuart McEwing
    Stuart McEwing says:

    UpAndAtom.

    Why is there no documentary evidence of growing limbs? Although I’ve heard second-hand reports of these kinds of miracles happening, and even of them being captured on video, I have not seen them myself and so cannot confirm for you the veracity of these reports. So I don’t know for certain that there is anything to report.

    But if there is, why is there none? Its conceivable that this type of miracle is sufficiently spectacular such that witnessing it forces someone to believe in God. Since God wished that decisions to believe in Him are made freely, in his wisdom God may choose to preform these type of miracles rarely and only in situations where the evidence of its occurrence will not be widely disseminated. But I really don’t know, why not.

    Its also conceivable that the skeptic remains behind the closed doors of his own incredulity and does not ever step outside to look around and discover what documentary evidence there does exist. Have you, for instance, ever done a survey of doctors finishing their career, asking them if they have ever been baffled at a patients recovery, and discovered they had been prayed for in the name of Jesus Christ? Have you ever qualitatively interviewed anyone who claims to have been healed miraculously? Have you ever given any thought to how one discerns the probability that an event is miraculous? Have you ever asked to see someone’s before and after X-ray images that show nearly their whole digestive system, which was surgically removed, now replaced and fully functioning? Have you read the literature published in professional peer-reviewed medical journals on Post Death Experiences?

    “The truth is out there, Scully.”

    Just because you don’t know about it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

  11. UpAndAtom
    UpAndAtom says:

    Stuart,

    Have not done surveys myself. I don’t need to, The Templeton Foundation does it for us and yeilds negative results. Prayer specifically, in fact.

    I have been healed ‘miraculously’, though not physically. Like you I’ve heard (when I was a christian) plenty of second hand reports…..in fact, I think this is a datum demonstrating how the truth gets distorted and ‘enlarged’, like I consider in the Gospels.

    Have you ever asked to see someone’s before and after X-ray images that show nearly their whole digestive system, which was surgically removed, now replaced and fully functioning?

    Come, now Stuart, surely even you don’t believe that this has happened.

    I saw a documentary on ‘post’-death experiences. Nothing definite (unless one is determined to see evidence of what they want to believe). And a lot of it can be explained. E.g. the bright lights being the optic nerve cells firing as they die and the right brain being given free license. Say, have you seen this video? It’s related to the right brain thing but absolutely amazing in its own right:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html

  12. Stuart McEwing
    Stuart McEwing says:

    UpAndAtom,

    On Miracles: a Response to Your Previous Comment

    Reaching a negative result and failing to reach a positive result are two very different things. You should know that The Templeton Foundation’s studies reach the latter, not the former. They are also very limited in scope.

    I have heard many second-hand reports (and I though I admit that stories can grow in the telling, but in the specific miracle reports I have heard second-hand I don’t believe they have become so malformed as to make an obviously supernatural event from a merely natural one. Thats because the teller I count as reliable and not prone to exaggeration, and has witnessed these events themselves first-hand, and not received them second-hand themselves). I have also heard dozens of personal testimonies first-hand, including the one about the digestive system being replaced supernaturally after surgical removal, and yes I believe it. I have not seen the X-rays. (They would mean nothing to me anyway, I’m not a doctor or surgeon.) Aside from that, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence in history of miracles, especially ones of healing. And whole ministries have been characterized by the miraculous – not just isolated incidences. And all throughout history – not just isolated times and regions.

    I had not seen the video. I now have. It is very interesting. But its irrelevant here. I was talking about Post Death Experiences (PDE), not Near Death Experiences (NDE).

    Plus I think, with Augustine and Aquinas, that a good case can be made for the existence of the church as a miracle. Also, the existence of a Jewish nation today is evidence of a significant amount of divine providence.

  13. D Bnonn Tennant
    D Bnonn Tennant says:

    Stu, I’m curious: what exactly is a post death experience? That is to say, in what manner could someone living communicate a post death experience, since he is now in the post death state (heaven or some intermediary state before hell)? Death in Christianity, by definition, is the departing of the soul to the next world; so if someone physically died, had some kind of out-of-body experience, and then was physically resuscitated, his soul would not have departed to the next world! That would merely be a near death experience.

  14. Stuart McEwing
    Stuart McEwing says:

    Bnonn,

    Death in the Bible is not merely the cessation of bodily function. Since Christianity takes the Bible as its foundational source and norm, I’m curious as to how arrived at your simplistic, tidy definition of what “death” is.

    In any case: I was not using the word “death” in a Christian sense, but in a medical or biological sense. That is: Flat-line heart, Flat-line brain, For a significant amount of time. Check out Gary Habermas’ work at http://www.garyhabermas.com

    Some of his talks on this:

    Near Death Experiences: Empirically Verifiable Aspects
    Radio Interview: The Sci Phi Show, Outcast #65 – Australia – Jason Rennie
    Date: June 19, 2008
    PART I (5MB) :|: PART II (5MB)

    Near-Death Experiences: Evidence for an Afterlife?
    California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo | Veritas Forum
    2003 | Also Available at http://www.veritas.org/media/talks/447
    PART I (8MB) :|: PART II (9MB) [MP3 files]
    By Permission: Veritas.org

    Radio Dialog: Near Death Experiences, Dr. Habermas vs. Keith Augustine
    (Executive Director, Internet Infidels)
    PART I (3MB) :|: PART II (4MB) :|: PART III (4MB) [MP3 files]
    From “The Things That Matter Most” live radio program
    Interviewers Rick Davis and Aaron Edwards – 700 AM KSEV, Houston, TX

    Near Death Experiences as Empirical Evidence Against Naturalism
    PART I (6MB) :|: PART II (7MB) [wave files]
    Lecture given at the Apologetics Interfaith Evangelism Conference
    April 7, 2006, Woodland Hills Baptist Church, Asheville, North Carolina

    Death, the Afterlife, and Near Death Experiences
    PART I (3MB) :|: PART II (3MB) [MP3 files]
    From the “Big Questions” live radio program provided by Winsome Media

    and if I remember right, this goes into it as well:

    “Infidel Radio” Internet Radio Dialog
    Gary Habermas, Robert Price, Mike Licona and Richard Spencer debate the resurrection of Jesus.
    January 17, 2007
    PART I (7MB) :|: PART II (8MB) :|: PART III (7MB) [MP3 files]
    By permission of the ‘InfidelRadio.com’ website.

  15. D Bnonn Tennant
    D Bnonn Tennant says:

    Stu, I said that death is the departure of the soul into the next world, not the cessation of bodily function. That’s why I’m curious what you consider a post death experience to be, and what distinguishes it from a near death one. Scanning over that list of links, I note they all refer to near death experiences, not post death ones.

  16. UpAndAtom
    UpAndAtom says:

    Stuart,

    The templeton foundations studies are on a par with any medical trial. If you can poo poo them then so can homeopaths. Do you think that homeopathy is merely a failure to reach a positive result?

    I assume you mean PRE-death experiences.

    Oh, I did not mean that video as an NDE, I meant it as an illustration of the isolated right brain. For instance, many people describe an out of body experience, and Jill mentions the same thing. She talks about not seeing a boundary to where she begins and ends, complete and utter silence and peace. There are many overlaps with religious experiences, my own included, and also with meditation.

    I’d be willing to bet that, in the case of the digestive tract, the surgeon – the one who can read x-rays – does not believe the miracle. I’d say that there is about as much evidence for miracles as there are UFO’s. It still just doesn’t addup, though: the ony ones who believe these miracles are the ones who, like yourself, have a motive to believe them, and there is still – despite the plethora that you claim have happened in history – absolutely no objective evidence for any.

  17. Stuart McEwing
    Stuart McEwing says:

    By listening to some you’ll find the differences discussed. While there are many near death experiences, such as what happens when there are resuscitations where there was no breath but heart, or no heart but brain, post-death experiences are more far more rare, but have happened on a significant enough amount of occasions to warrant their own sub-category.

  18. Stuart McEwing
    Stuart McEwing says:

    UpAndAtom,

    I was not poo-pooing the Templeton trials. I was pointing out, as they themselves point out, that the scope of what they prove is very narrow.

    I mean POST-death experiences. These are where there is no brain, no heart, for a significant amount of time, and somehow – sometimes through medical genius, and sometimes via reputed miraculous circumstances – they are re-animated and come back to life. Habermas references medical journals where the former are verified dead, yet are re-animated to accurately report circumstances and situations that occurred during the time of their death, sometimes of things miles away of which they could not know. Now, knowing something that you could not know, that you found out while your body was dead is pretty miraculous to me, at least ostensibly in a materialist universe.

    Blind men can’t see the evidence thats right in front of them. You speak without knowledge. I leave you to your ignorance. Its undignifying for me to give dignity to your incredulity by responding with anything but pity. However, I shall become more undignified and refer you to these videos on youtube.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnUm-AjKKb4&NR=1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeIgDzvmcEA&feature=related

  19. UpAndAtom
    UpAndAtom says:

    Do they meet your suggested criteria? No, they are claims which are very similarly evidenced. Personal experiences which completely fail to attain modern standards of evidence.

  20. Stuart McEwing
    Stuart McEwing says:

    UpAndAtom,

    Those video testimonies meet many of the probability criteria for miracle verification that I propose. Do these homeopath believer’s testimony meet similar criteria? You say no. Then they are irrelevant red-herrings. The are not analogous in the way they need to be for you to win the point that you want to make. They are only analogous in that they are also testimonial evidence, but I would never say we should accept all testimony. That’s madness! But either thats what your making me out to be arguing – which I am not, or you’re arguing that no testimonial evidence should count towards making something epistemically acceptable – which is similar madness!

    So as I say. Irrelevant. Get a head.

    But lets say they did meet similar criteria for verification. Is it homeopathy which should be accepted, or the criteria that should be rejected? And why? A worthy question. It gets to heart of the matter. It forces you to show how are you not just ruling out a priori the possibility of miracles.

    Also, what are these “modern standards” for evidence that you refer to? Can you explicate what you mean? Without an answer to these, you are stonewalling. You are playing the village skeptic. So go get some REAL answers, or some REAL objections, and THEN come back. Until you do, you are stonewalling and wasting everybody’s time, including your own, with the only consolation being you are making yourself look like the village idiot.

  21. UpAndAtom
    UpAndAtom says:

    Homeopathy is quite different in (claimed) mechanism (but not substance). How are they suposed to meet criteria such as “did it happen within the context of prayer”?

    Modern standards of evidence for determining whether something exists or is real is embodied by the scientific method.

    Homeopathy DOES meet similar criteria to your criteria for verification. The error is that you think that such criteria are useful. Both homeopaths and miracle believers have silly excuses as to why their beliefs are invisible to the scientific method.

    I agree that testimonial evidence is very important. But if it is selective then it is biased. Listen to what everyone has to say about homeopathy and then make a conclusion. Listen to everyone about miracles and then make a decision. Or if there are better tests available than merely testimonial evidence, look at them. There is better evidence! Scientific studies – on both miracles and homeopathy – and they both fail.

  22. D Bnonn Tennant
    D Bnonn Tennant says:

    Modern standards of evidence for determining whether something exists or is real is embodied by the scientific method.

    That’s just patently false, and you know it, because I’ve pointed it out many times here. Moreover, exalting science in this way is just stupid, considering that scientists can’t even agree among themselves what science is.

  23. D Bnonn Tennant
    D Bnonn Tennant says:

    U&A: obviously you haven’t been paying very close attention. Take the question of the existence of God. Modern standards of evidence for determining whether he exists or not are not embodied by the scientific method. The scientific method is completely ineffective for answering that question. A rather important question, mind you. You’re trying to define “evidence” as “empirical evidence”. That’s just inept.

    I’m not sure why you think that science being fuzzy is a bad thing. (Actually that’s not true, I have a good idea) Indeed, that is why it is so relevant. If it were decided exactly what science was it would immediately be outmoded. Why? Because I think honest enquiry always has to be open. Why? Because the world around us has shown that being open to experience and being able to change and think fuzzily better models reality.

    In that case, I’m sure you’ll be the first to agree that intelligent design is principally scientific. After all, honest inquiry always has to be open. Can’t just be open to ideas you happen to like.

    It is ironic that you think that disagreement/fuzziness around science detracts from it given that the latest thread at this site surrounds your and Stuart’s disagreement, which surely therefore detracts from christianity.

    None of this makes sense. I’ve never said that disagreement “around science” detracts from “it”. Unlike you, I’m actually able to express myself in precise enough terms to be intelligible. The fact that you can’t even repeat back to me what I said, in order to reason outward from it, suggests that your commenting here is, as Stuart has often observed, quite pointless.

    But not ironic when one reads how platonically simple your worldview is, and this spills over into your epistemology: since everything must be concrete, absolute, platonic and deductive there is no room for other opinion – it must be vanquished!

    I don’t think “platonic” means what you think it means. I’m not a Platonist. I deny Platonism. I also don’t believe everything must be concrete, nor absolute, nor deductive. So you’re zero for four. Where have you been reading about my ostensible worldview?

    You say, “the issue is not relevance, but truth” but you cannot see that this issue is your issue, and it is merely what is relevant to you.

    Are you conceding that truth is not relevant to you? Do you think people are not generally interested in the truth?

    The creative people can see that the paradigm isn’t the point. They can see it as useful, but as a pointer to the truth. They do not confuse it with the truth itself. As I have said before, I think this is how Bell thinks (and though you would definitely not be able to incorporate this one) this is what Jesus did.

    I’d love for you to show us where Jesus did this.

    I used to teach science.

    No offense, but that certainly reinforces my intent to homeschool.

  24. UpAndAtom
    UpAndAtom says:

    Bnonn,

    I see you are playing purposefully evasive again.

    Heh, I would love to see some non-empirical evidence. For what evidence is completely removed from comparing the real world with the world in our heads?

    Intelligent Design theory is not primarily scientific. It is largely an extension of a worldview. Not totally, but largely. And it’s hard for both sides to divorce their biases from considering it. What is undeniable is that any other scientific (sub?)field of enquiry which yielded similar bodies of evidence would have been dropped long ago.

    I’ve never said that disagreement “around science” detracts from “it”.

    Moreover, exalting science in this way is just stupid, considering that
    scientists can’t even agree among themselves what science
    is
    .

    You are just being evasive purposefully. Tell me, what this statement means if it doesn’t mean that disagreement around science detracts from it? Why do you deceive yourself so, Bnonn?

    Do you think people are not generally interested in the truth?

    They are, just as you are. But they do not share your opinions on what truth is.

    I don’t think “platonic” means what you think it means. I’m not a
    Platonist. I deny Platonism. I also don’t believe everything must be
    concrete, nor absolute, nor deductive. So you’re zero for four. Where
    have you been reading about my ostensible worldview?

    This perfectly illustrates my point. Rather than actually deal with the real world which involves descriptions and fuzzyness, you just interpret everything as being a noun. Certainly this is mainly to ‘win’ the point. My reading of you is correct, though. You are a very concrete thinker and you don’t have much time for leeway. And you impose this on christianity.

    Unlike you, I’m actually able to express myself in precise enough terms
    to be intelligible.

    I’m glad that most christians aren’t like you. You should be too, but I’m sure that the ones who aren’t have the ‘wrong’ theology.

    I’d love for you to show us where Jesus did this.

    Uh, Judaism. He used it and broke it. He didn’t confuse it with the truth itself. Similarly, Bell can do the same with christianity today – the bible is an output of faith not the other way round. You can not.

    No offense, but that certainly reinforces my intent to homeschool.

    This makes sense, since evidence just doesn’t show what you want it to. So…..just avoid it!

  25. D Bnonn Tennant
    D Bnonn Tennant says:

    Heh, I would love to see some non-empirical evidence.

    That’s ironic. What I’d love to see is some evidence for empiricism. Look, until you can figure out what “evidence” means (it doesn’t mean empirical data), there’s no point in you posting here any more. You’re just acting like a troll.

    For what evidence is completely removed from comparing the real world with the world in our heads?

    More to the point, what evidence is there that there is a real world at all? How do you know that the world inside your head isn’t all there is? You say you’ve studied the philosophy of science, yet you act like someone who thinks that philosophy is irrelevant to science. Like a Dawkins or a Harris who thinks the only way to truth is through empirical investigation, and is blind to all the non-empirical beliefs that empirical investigation begins with, is conducted via, and interpreted by.

    Again, if you’re just going to keep pushing scientism, don’t bother posting.

    Tell me, what this statement means if it doesn’t mean that disagreement around science detracts from it?

    When you can articulate what you actually want to say, then I’ll respond. But just using the expression “detracts from” is so vague it could mean anything.

    This perfectly illustrates my point. Rather than actually deal with the
    real world which involves descriptions and fuzzyness, you just interpret
    everything as being a noun

    You literally are not making any sense. It sounds like you’re saying that even when you’re wrong, you’re right. Stop trying to psycho-analyze people.

    Uh, Judaism. He used it and broke it. He didn’t confuse it with the truth itself.

    Yes, Jesus didn’t confuse Judaism with the propositional content of the Old Testament. Just as I don’t confuse Bell’s “relevant Christianity” with the propositional content of the Bible. A village atheist

    trying to lecture me on what Jesus did and did not do is just sad. It’s like when my New Age friend tries to quote the Bible at me, but then can’t even tell me the context of the verse, let alone figure out its actual meaning. Don’t embarrass yourself. If you want to make an internal critique of my worldview, you’re going to need to draw on actual Christian scholarship.

  26. UpAndAtom
    UpAndAtom says:

    I am correct about all evidence necessarily being empirical, as shown by your inability to state any.

    What I’d love to see is some evidence
    for
    empiricism.

    How about the fact that our knowledge comes from observing the world. Or the fact that you can’t come up with any knowledge that is non-empirical.

    More to the point, what evidence is there that there is a real world at
    all? How do you know that the world inside your head isn’t all there is?
    You say you’ve studied the philosophy of science, yet you act like
    someone who thinks that philosophy is irrelevant to science. Like a
    Dawkins or a Harris who thinks the only way to truth is through
    empirical investigation, and is blind to all the non-empirical beliefs
    that empirical investigation begins with, is conducted via, and
    interpreted by.

    What do scientists do? They observe the world and make models. What do philosophers of science do? They observe our models on the world and make meta-models. Philosopy is not special, it is still knowledge, and all knowledge is empirical. By all means please, destroy my argument, show me non-empirical knowledge.

    There are no non-empirical beliefs that are a problem to empiricism, because those beliefs have been arrived at via completely sensible (and empirical) means. For every medical trial should we re-check that the placebo effect should still be avoided? No! Because repeated observation (empiricism) tells us tha it is reasonable to assume that the placebo effect is always in play; it is a valid assumption to begin, conduct and interpret things.

    More to the point, what evidence is there that there is a real world at
    all? How do you know that the world inside your head isn’t all there is?

    We don’t. Any more than we know that there aren’t invisible but purple monkeys flying around everywhere making the universe look like it does. But it doesn’t make a difference. On this point the logical positivists were right: there is no point asking/claiming unless there is a way of telling. In other words, put up or shut up. Come up with some evidence that there is nothing outside my head. And even if there were nothing outside my head why would this make me treat my neighbour any less well? The question you ask undermines itself: If the knowledge of there being nothing outside my head should impact my reality, what reality, apart from my head, is there for that knowledge to reside/apply in? Or if the knowledge that there is nothing outside my head should not impact my reality, it is not knowledge at all! Your position is nonsense.

  27. D Bnonn Tennant
    D Bnonn Tennant says:

    Sorry U&A, this is just sad.

    Philosopy is not special, it is still knowledge, and all knowledge is
    empirical. By all means please, destroy my argument, show me
    non-empirical knowledge.

    Really? You want me to. Okay:

    1. The proposition that “all knowledge is empirical” is not, itself, empirical, or empirically verifiable.

    2. Therefore, the proposition that “all knowledge is empirical” is not knowledge.

    3. Therefore, the proposition that “all knowledge is empirical” is either rationally unwarranted, false, or both (because knowledge is warranted true belief).

    You can no more have science without philosophy underlying it than you can have baseball without physics underlying it. Trying to make out like science comes first, and philosophy just “observes” it and creates models, is very much like saying that baseball comes first
    , and then physics just comes in and fits itself to the game. It’s so stupid it’s funny.

    Go preach your scientism somewhere else. You’re no longer welcome here. If you can’t even acknowledge the basic problem of inferring the existence of an external world from the mere appearance of an external world, you aren’t qualified to be making the sorts of statements you’re making. You’re just coming across as an idiot, as Stu has pointed out quite a few times. Bye.

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