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Can Science Test Supernatural Worldviews?
March 19, 2011
5:52 pm
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SmokinJoe
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Below, I posted only a small portion of the article. It's 28 pages long, but for anyone interested in the supernatural/science relationships, it's a great read. It really goes back and forth with supporting views and non supporting views on this subject.

As any good debate/discussion, it comes from each's view that what they are saying is the truth. This article examines the idea if testing the supernatural in science is truly possible or not. Like I've said for years now, science at least keeps looking at this subject matter. Of course, changes would have to be made, but I believe it's possible.

Like Richard Dawkins' views/debates, he truly believes his position and thus he debates it. This article presents both sides fairly. (note, Dawkin's views -among many against the idea- are referenced in this article and not intended to be construed in any other way.)

Enjoy.

Can Science Test Supernatural Worldviews?

YONATAN I. FISHMAN, PHD
Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461 USA.
email: yfishman@aecom.yu.edu

Abstract
Several prominent scientists, philosophers, and scientific institutions have argued that science cannot test supernatural worldviews on the grounds that (1) science presupposes a naturalistic worldview (Naturalism) or that (2) claims involving supernatural phenomena are inherently beyond the scope of scientific investigation. The present paper argues that these assumptions are questionable and that indeed science can test supernatural claims. While scientific evidence may ultimately support a naturalistic worldview, science does not presuppose Naturalism as an a priori commitment, and supernatural claims are amenable to scientific evaluation. This conclusion challenges the rationale behind a recent judicial ruling in the United States concerning the teaching of “Intelligent Design” in public schools as an alternative to evolution and the official statements of two major scientific institutions that exert a substantial influence on science educational policies in the United States. Given that science does have implications concerning the probable truth of supernatural worldviews, claims should not be excluded a priori from science education simply because they might be characterized as supernatural, paranormal, or religious. Rather, claims should be excluded from science education when the evidence does not support them, regardless of whether they are designated as ‘natural’ or ‘supernatural’.
___________________________________________________________________
“The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.” - Albert Einstein
"I have steadily endeavored to keep my mind free so as to give up any hypothesis, however much beloved (and I cannot resist forming one on every subject), as soon as the facts are shown to be opposed to it." - Charles Darwin
"There is one thing even more vital to science than intelligent methods; and that is, the sincere desire to find out the truth, whatever it may be." - Charles Sanders Pierce
“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” - Richard Dawkins
* This article has been published in the journal Science & Education (2007). The original publication is available at

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s111.....007-9108-4

Edited: wasn't aware that link above makes you pay for the download. I found another site that has his entire article posted. Here's just an excerpt (not in original order as was written. I just copied/pasted to quickly show you an example)

Science Can Test Supernatural Claims: A Bayesian Perspective

The aforementioned view that the supernatural is beyond the reach of scientific investigation- or,put more bluntly, that science cannot test, and indeed has nothing at all to say about the validity of supernatural claims- has been challenged by a number of scientists and philosophers. Before presenting these arguments, it is important first to define what is meant by a claim being ‘testable’. In the context of the present discussion, ‘testability’ is defined according to the definition offered by Mahner and Bunge (1996b). Specifically, a claim is ‘testable’ if there can be “evidence of whatever kind for or against a claim.” [italics added] (Mahner and Bunge, 1996b, p.11).

Given this definition, there are at least three ways in which science can evaluate the
probable truth of a claim:
(1) by consideration of the prior probability of a claim being true,
(2) by “looking and seeing” (i.e., by consideration of the evidence for or against a claim), and
(3) by consideration of plausible alternative explanations for the evidence.

These considerations (to be discussed further below) are naturally captured within the framework of Bayesian confirmation theory, which is widely considered to be a good description of how scientists (and indeed ordinary people under mundane circumstances, such as in a court of law) update or revise their degree of confidence in a hypothesis, starting with a given prior probability, on the basis of new evidence (see Howson and Urbach, 1993 for a book-length discussion of Bayesian inference as a model of scientific reasoning; see also Pigliucci, 2002, 2005). Bayes’ theorem, named after its originator, Reverend Thomas Bayes, can be straightforwardly derived from the probability axioms, and is commonly represented in the following form:

P(H|E) = P(E|H)P(H) / [P(E|H)P(H) + P(E|-H)P(-H)]

In this formula, H stands for a hypothesis that is being considered and E represents a new piece of evidence that seems to confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis. The term on the left-hand side of the equation represents the posterior probability of the hypothesis, given that some evidence, E, is observed. The right-hand side of the formula is a ratio, with the numerator representing the product of the prior probability of the hypothesis being true before considering the new evidence, P(H), and the probability of observing E given that H is in fact true, P(E|H). This latter quantity is referred to as the ‘likelihood’, and represents the degree to which the hypothesis predicts the data given the background information. The denominator of the formula represents the probability of observing the evidence under all mutually exclusive hypotheses. This can be expressed as the sum of the product of the likelihood and prior for the hypothesis in question and the product of the likelihood and prior for the negation of the hypothesis, or for any mutually exclusive set of alternative hypotheses.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/16536268/Can- ... shman-2007

Dawkins thinks belief in God is an excuse to evade thinking in the scientific world. Sadly, he is ignorant to the list of christian scientists who have contributed & founded many of the sciences he himself believes in. How ironic.

March 19, 2011
7:30 pm
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at1with0
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I don't think anything is super natural.

And therefore, science has a shot at investigating more of nature than we see it doing today.

The next best descriptor would be unordinary or contrary, but after some time the unordinary is not so un ordinary.

"it is easy to grow crazy"

March 19, 2011
8:37 pm
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SmokinJoe
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I believe in other dimensions existing. And I think that our souls go on to live in one of those dimensions after we leave our current physical bodies. What is considered "supernatural" today, science may discover is simply life existing in one of those other dimensions.

Kinda like how astronauts need suits to go out into space or divers need scuba gear in order to go deep sea diving, maybe the energy that is our souls needed these physical bodies in order to live here.

I've said it for years now, but I do believe things will need to change in science before real investigating and theorizing can be done. But, it is possible. And more and more scientists are writing articles on this very subject.

Dawkins thinks belief in God is an excuse to evade thinking in the scientific world. Sadly, he is ignorant to the list of christian scientists who have contributed & founded many of the sciences he himself believes in. How ironic.

March 27, 2011
5:31 am
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event_horizon
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Well, it took you long enough to finally dig up something. Laugh

This is the realm of physics. Yonatan I. Fishman is an assistant professor of neurology and got his degree in cognitive science and cell biology. This guy is unqualified and way out of his league. I can't even find one thing about him on the Internet outside of this article. You're grasping at straws here.

Given that science does have implications concerning the probable truth of supernatural worldviews

I'd like to know what "implications" he's referring to.

Just by the simple fact that he goes on to say "the probable truth of supernatural worldviews" tells me what side he's on, and the agenda he has. Exactly what more does he know that other scientists don't?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for testing to see if the supernatural exists, just so we can put the unicorns to bed. I have yet to see how we'd go about it though, or what types of instruments would be used. I also have yet to see any credible physicists on board with the issue.

Given this definition, there are at least three ways in which science can evaluate the
probable truth of a claim:
(1) by consideration of the prior probability of a claim being true,
(2) by “looking and seeing” (i.e., by consideration of the evidence for or against a claim), and
(3) by consideration of plausible alternative explanations for the evidence.

That's not the scientific method. And since there's no "evidence" to go on, the scientific method cannot be used at this time.

So to answer the question...

Can Science Test Supernatural Worldviews?

No, not right now.

I don't believe what I believe because it's what I desire to believe. I believe what I believe because it's what science, evidence, and logic causes me to believe.

March 27, 2011
7:40 am
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sandra
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From the director of world sciences himself. Laugh

“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

March 27, 2011
9:33 am
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bionic
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Smokin Joe..awesome..
I look forward to checking it out in the next day or two..thanks
🙂

Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams

March 28, 2011
2:03 am
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event_horizon
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"sandra" wrote: From the director of world sciences himself. Laugh

Flattery will get you nowhere, cupcake. Laugh

I don't believe what I believe because it's what I desire to believe. I believe what I believe because it's what science, evidence, and logic causes me to believe.

March 28, 2011
2:05 am
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event_horizon
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"bionic" wrote: Smokin Joe..awesome..
I look forward to checking it out in the next day or two..thanks
🙂

While you're at it, you should check this out as well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....fic_method

😉

I don't believe what I believe because it's what I desire to believe. I believe what I believe because it's what science, evidence, and logic causes me to believe.

March 28, 2011
8:44 am
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sandra
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"event_horizon" wrote: [quote="sandra"]From the director of world sciences himself. Laugh

Flattery will get you nowhere, cupcake. Laugh

Oh thats right you are an agent of the Truth.

Just one question, what flavor is the frosting? :pray: Laugh

“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

March 28, 2011
8:52 am
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sandra
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December 4, 2009
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"at1with0" wrote: I don't think anything is super natural.

And therefore, science has a shot at investigating more of nature than we see it doing today.

The next best descriptor would be unordinary or contrary, but after some time the unordinary is not so un ordinary.

Well the unordinary becomes the ordinary to become the unordinary....infinity.

“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
astonishment. “I never heard of such a thing!”
“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
memory works both ways.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

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