A blog dedicated to a transparent debate between an atheist, Andrew, and a Christian, Tim.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Andrew, The Atheist, Answers The Opening Question: What Is The Source Of Truth
I dig this beginning. First, I think we need to establish what we mean by "Truth". It seems to me that what you mean to say when you say, "truth", is "what is real", or what can be described as "reality". So to re-phrase the question for the purpose of my answer, the question can be stated, "What are the means of detecting what is real? Is science the only way to detect what can be described as reality?" If you meant something else by "truth", disregard the following and clarify, please.
The next term you use almost interchangedly is "absolute truth". I've no idea what you mean by this term. You seem to use it to say that science changes its views. Perhaps you mean to say that because science changes its views, it cannot be trusted. If so, this will be the first point I contend. To do so, we need to understand what science is, and what it is not.
Science is a method we use to determine what is real through hypothisis, tests, results and conclusions. To be sure this is a simple definition, and to be sure the method is far from perfect. But to date it is the BEST method we have for detecting what is true. Imagine if I claimed to be able to see through walls. How would you determine if my claim was true? Before any test was determined, you should be able to predict if my professed ability is or is not real. Then we would test it. We would compare my results to a standard or control. Then we would repeat.
Now in this example, would the results be conclusive? No. Perhaps the experiment was flawed, the standard wrong, the execution compromised. So many things could skew the data. More tests, more data. Over time we should get a better and better idea if there is any reason to suspect there is valididty to my claim. Though I would expect very shortly there would be better evidence that there is no reason to think I have the ability to see through walls.
Now love is very commonly used as an example of something that is not measurable by science. This is actually a false claim. Science can measure the chemical reations in our brains that cause love. Science can provide evidence that mothers have a very specific chemical reation in the brain when they hear the sound of their child's voice, or see a picture of their child, or smell the child's clothing, etc. We have the ability to see into the organ that houses emotion, which is the brain, not the heart.
The idea the science has nothing to say about heaven, I think, is misplaced. The argument is usually that science and heaven are in separate "magisterium" (don't kill me for the spelling). The idea is that religion and science cannot intersect at all. I think this is flawed. Religion often makes claims that can be tested by science. Is there some mystical release of energy at the moment of death? Science can answer that question. The answer is no. Is there a magical place beyond the sky? Science can answer that question. The answer is no.
Finally, I would take issue with the one who says that we cannot prove God through the scientific method, therefore, He must not exist. I am not saying we can prove God through the scientific method. I am arguing, however, that science points toward a Creator" This quote, I think, illistrates the "have my cake and eat it too" kind of argument you are making. You want to use science when it suits you, but when it contradicts what you want to be true, you dimiss it as unable to reach the "truth". Still, the statement is better phrased, "If we cannot prove the existance of god, we HAVE NO GOOD REASON for believing he exists." You may have bad reasons, but without evidence, you have no good reason for believing it. Finally, I want to say that I see nothing in existance that points to a creator. However, let's say for argument's sake that I do. Fine. How do you differenciate between potential creators? What makes your god a more likely creator than the flying spaghetti monster? The invisible pink unicorn? Giants? Titans? Cosmic turtles? The problem is that when you allow for a supernatural answer, ANY supernatural answer will do. One creator is just as likely as another. This is why intellegent design is NOT science. It offers no testable hypothesis. All it does is make a claim: the universe had a designer. It offers no evidence, has no explanitory power, and fails utterly.