This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← Para-naturalistic theories cannot lead to practical engineering

Alan4discussion's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Alan4discussion

Comment 2 by Aguazul

I know you are fighting specifically against creationist claims, but I don't think you can extend this to the more general point of nothing "supernatural" (I suppose you mean "outside of scientifically-accepted reality") having practical applications. (If you intend "supernatural" to mean "outside of nature", where nature includes everything, then you are really using "supernatural" to mean "impossible" which makes your arguments circular, so I will assume that is not the case.)

Not really! When someone produces evidence of some effect being manifest in the material universe which does not follow the laws of the material universe ( which by definition IS impossible) I will take their claims seriously.

In many cases there were practical applications of real-world phenomena long before science could adequately explain them --

The currently unexplained, does not equate with "supernatural magic".

a lot of engineering works on 'happy coincidences' and rules of thumb, and if it works reliably enough then the job is done, whether the effects are fully explained or not. A lot of engineers have done apparently magical things, until science provided explanations.

So they were really natural after all - in every case!!!!!

So using science's current extent to judge the validity of all phenomena doesn't make sense to me. "It works for me" will often come long before we have a scientific explanation of why, and since science limits itself to only the fragment of human experience which can be observed and measured and repeated and analysed, there are some areas that science in its current form will never adequately reach, so practical experience wins.

Practical experience of what? How can you have experience of the undetectable unreachable? It seems a very peculiar claim that someone's personal experience is "beyond the reach of science"! Extra-ordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Unknown areas do not give carte-blanch to those making supernatural claims. "Nobody knows at present", means "NOBODY KNOWS AT PRESENT". Nobody has experience of it! - It does not mean, "It works by magic ignoring natural laws"!

So that leaves open the possibility that some weird stuff out there in the world may still be valid, and as far as I can see, no amount of logical argument can deny that.

The perceptions of "weird stuff" are usually explained by psychology and neurology, not magic!

The argument of the supernatural interacting with the natural world/universe is a paradox. It either cannot happen without becoming detectable in physical terms, or is a disconnected irrelevance which has no effect on the laws of nature, matter, or energy in our universe.

There was a detailed discussion of this here:- http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/646441-refuting-supernatural

Maybe the progress wouldn't be accepted by others who haven't had the same perceptions or who don't accept the perceptions that you've had, but there is nothing that can be done about that until science finds a way to record the detailed thoughts and perceptions of a human through waking and dreaming and everything in between. This is a pragmatist's approach.

You seem to be under the impression that science does not understand the basic electrochemical brain processes of thought, which follow well known laws of nature. Details of subjective imagined or hallucinatory effects may be unclear, but the basic brain chemistry and physics has no need of magical supplements. Multiple objective measurements can be made - with technical equipment as required.

perception trumps theory always. There is fundamental reality,

This is flawed thinking! - Individual perceptions frequently lack the rigorous process of scientifically experimentally tested theory.

You seem to be confusing "scientific theory", with the common vague usage of the word "theory".

Fri, 27 Jul 2012 21:03:35 UTC | #950187