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← Teaching science in public schools without stepping around religion

Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Alan4discussion

Statements such as "the evolution of the universe is completely random without purpose or meaning" or "the universe has no supernatural elements to it" are philosophical inferences that the scientific method is incapable of supporting or denying.

Like Steve, I would like to correct these misconceptions. Science is perfectly capable of showing if a system or process is random or not, checking evidence, and testing any claims.

"Supernatural" is a paradoxical claim, used to dodge refutable issues, as I explained here:- http://richarddawkins.net/comments/949243 - In terms of science, "above and beyond nature", and "beyond space and time" are meaningless concepts, which are simply bandied around by people who do not understand nature, space or time, to provide them with perceived gaps in knowledge, in which to hide fanciful supernatural imaginary entities. The "gaps in knowledge" are usually their personal gaps.
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[To jay29] - You have still not addressed the paradox of supernatural claims. If there is no evidence of their presence in the natural world, the default would be "they are very unlikely to exist" (just like everything else for which there is no evidence). If there is evidence of their existence and influence in the natural world, they are natural phenomena, not supernatural.
..from the "RDF Refuting Supernatural" discussion.

In other words, stick to science in science class and leave naturalism for philosophy class.

Natualism (ie the science of nature and all things natural) is the science class, and has tied philosophers in knots for centuries, with theistic and philosophical rearguard actions denying the science along the way. Science should not be fudged to accommodate whimsical unevidenced philosophies, or it becomes faked pseudoscience.

Comment 9 by Nordic11 - Don't confuse science with philosophy. Teach your students how effective science is when exploring how the universe works but realize the severe limitations science when trying to understand why the universe works.

..and after you have worked out the frontiers of scientific evidence and knowledge, work out the evidence for theistic philosophical alternative claims. Whoops! There isn't any! Its a matter of "faith" in folk-tales.

Mon, 16 Jul 2012 14:44:54 UTC | #949316