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Creationists

Re: Creationists
October 02, 2008, 03:41:14 PM
Science doesn't deny that principles aren't demonstrable. By definition, it is impossible to demonstrate an abstraction. What is demonstrated is the actual from which we make abstractions and form principles using faculties of reason (i.e., the intellect -- Aristotle's nous). In science, this is the formation and testing of hypotheses.

How is this not scientific?

First, we should differentiate science in the sense Aristotle uses it and "modern science".
Second, you have described the process "upside down": principles aren't formed; they "are" already there. Reason is logos, nous is the intellect (indian manas). I think 'mind' once had a similar denotation.

But let me quote some of Aristotle, also (NE):
VI, 3:
Quote
Again, every science is thought to be capable of being taught, and its object of being learned. And all teaching starts from what is already known, as we maintain in the Analytics also; for it proceeds sometimes through induction and sometimes by syllogism. Now induction is the starting-point which knowledge even of the universal presupposes, while syllogism proceeds from universals. There are therefore starting-points from which syllogism proceeds, which are not reached by syllogism; it is therefore by induction that they are acquired. Scientific knowledge is, then, a state of capacity to demonstrate, and has the other limiting characteristics which we specify in the Analytics, for it is when a man believes in a certain way and the starting-points are known to him that he has scientific knowledge, since if they are not better known to him than the conclusion, he will have his knowledge only incidentally.
VI, 6:
Quote
This being so, the first principle from which what is scientifically known follows cannot be an object of scientific knowledge, of art, or of practical wisdom ... the remaining alternative is that it is intuitive reason (=nous) that grasps the first principles.

http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.6.vi.html (I'm not very content with that translation, but it gets the idea across.)

Re: Creationists
October 02, 2008, 07:46:50 PM
First, we should differentiate science in the sense Aristotle uses it and "modern science".
Why? Popular (religious) science has always been an issue (and was even moreso of a problem until the 1600), while reliable science continues to exist today. That's an absurd, close-minded thought.

Second, you have described the process "upside down": principles aren't formed; they "are" already there. Reason is logos, nous is the intellect (indian manas). I think 'mind' once had a similar denotation.
But the point is that these principles are elucidated to us through scientific investigation. Without it, we are blind. Think about 2 dimensional objects trying to perceive the third world. Well, they wouldn't, and couldn't, unless there was reason to believe there was one. Extend this not only to our theoretical fourth dimension, but to the rest of scientific thought. It's based on scientific method. There are, of course, other forms of practical empiricism, like the experience, but the kind of speculation found in Creationist thought is nothing but worthless dribble.

You might also want to consider not quoting Aristotle, a man who held misconceptions about actual reality and formulated a lot of theories at best of dubious quality.

Re: Creationists
October 02, 2008, 11:01:17 PM
First, we should differentiate science in the sense Aristotle uses it and "modern science".
Why? Popular (religious) science has always been an issue (and was even moreso of a problem until the 1600), while reliable science continues to exist today. That's an absurd, close-minded thought.

Aristotle did not use the word "science"; he used a Greek word (or several) translated nowadays as "science", but somewhat different in meaning. Ancient languages (and modern ones) do not translate directly and intactly into modern English, something to bear in mind when reading translations.

I think Nous was drawing a parallel between the approaches to knowledge of Aristotle and the Creationists. Their epistemological paradigms, perhaps. Aristotle wrote that "it is intuitive reason that grasps the first principles". The Creationists take scripture as their first principle; their belief in scripture's accuracy comes intuitively. So in this their approaches are similar.

Re: Creationists
October 03, 2008, 12:14:03 AM
A logical argument can be logical without be correct. Aristotle's arguments for the nature of the universe are very valid and relevant to a society before the telescope but it must be remembered that he could only form his theories from the limited scientific knowledge present at the time. He did after all think that all stars were fixed on the sphere that orbited the earth. When one reads Aristotle's ideas on the celestial bodies it is usually for reasons other than finding the nature of the celestial bodies. Much in the same way as a modern doctor would read Hippocrates, or a modern physicist would read Pythagoras where by contrast the writings of Plato on the nature of man can be read today with just as much insight as when they were written. I enjoy reading Aristotle but I find he has no real place in modern science other than a historical figure.

Re: Creationists
October 03, 2008, 01:24:04 AM
A logical argument can be logical without be correct. Aristotle's arguments for the nature of the universe are very valid and relevant to a society before the telescope but it must be remembered that he could only form his theories from the limited scientific knowledge present at the time. He did after all think that all stars were fixed on the sphere that orbited the earth. When one reads Aristotle's ideas on the celestial bodies it is usually for reasons other than finding the nature of the celestial bodies. Much in the same way as a modern doctor would read Hippocrates, or a modern physicist would read Pythagoras where by contrast the writings of Plato on the nature of man can be read today with just as much insight as when they were written. I enjoy reading Aristotle but I find he has no real place in modern science other than a historical figure.
Well, my problem is that he wrote as if he was so certain of himself (that's how it comes across in English, anyways), when his ideas were rather ludicrous even by his time's standards. He also made what I thought was a weak case against Plato, so that's probably always set me at odds against him. The rest is obvious.

Re: Creationists
October 03, 2008, 08:41:28 PM
What you are saying is that Aristotle's epistemology (his approach to knowledge) was inferior to that of modern science. In fact, nobody so far in this thread has even suggested that it wasn't. But worldviews should be looked at primarily as tools. Using the epistemology of modern science yields insights which cannot be gained in any other way: the power man has over his physical environment nowadays. Other epistemologies however may yield different insights: perhaps what is to be done with such power. But this is maybe trite. I have not looked into other theories of knowledge and their utitility; I just like the idea of their being alternative, equally valid worldviews to scientific empricism.

Re: Creationists
October 03, 2008, 11:06:13 PM
I just like the idea of their being alternative, equally valid worldviews to scientific empricism

Any approach to science has to involve empirical evidence, otherwise it is not science. If we ignore the empirical then we can assume and think whatever we want. Everything we have ever learned as humans comes from scientific empiricism regardless of whether it is learning to walk, understanding what is edible too making rockets that take us to the moon and cosmology. Asides from scientific empiricism there is religion (which itself is born from empirical observation) and deconstructionist philosophy.

Re: Creationists
October 04, 2008, 03:08:21 AM
Any approach to science has to involve empirical evidence, otherwise it is not science. If we ignore the empirical then we can assume and think whatever we want. Everything we have ever learned as humans comes from scientific empiricism regardless of whether it is learning to walk, understanding what is edible too making rockets that take us to the moon and cosmology. Asides from scientific empiricism there is religion (which itself is born from empirical observation) and deconstructionist philosophy.
The Vedic/early Hindi metaphysics was one of these very fascinating systems to arise from a combination of scientific and experiential empiricism. Astonishingly, a lot of systems, patterns, relationships, and even the less metaphorical aspects of their Creationist stories they formulated now have evidence from the last few hundred years to support their ideas. The Greeks have obviously had similar accomplishments (even important principles of the scientific method relate back to Aristotle), but it seems they had some influence from the East. What the extent of that influence had on Greek philosophy, I don't know; though, Plato did use some metaphors very similar to ones in the Upanisads =o

Re: Creationists
October 04, 2008, 07:43:43 PM
Any approach to science has to involve empirical evidence, otherwise it is not science. If we ignore the empirical then we can assume and think whatever we want. Everything we have ever learned as humans comes from scientific empiricism regardless of whether it is learning to walk, understanding what is edible too making rockets that take us to the moon and cosmology. Asides from scientific empiricism there is religion (which itself is born from empirical observation) and deconstructionist philosophy.
The Vedic/early Hindi metaphysics was one of these very fascinating systems to arise from a combination of scientific and experiential empiricism. Astonishingly, a lot of systems, patterns, relationships, and even the less metaphorical aspects of their Creationist stories they formulated now have evidence from the last few hundred years to support their ideas. The Greeks have obviously had similar accomplishments (even important principles of the scientific method relate back to Aristotle), but it seems they had some influence from the East. What the extent of that influence had on Greek philosophy, I don't know; though, Plato did use some metaphors very similar to ones in the Upanisads =o

I think they're both rooted in earlier traditions. Proto-Indo-European religion must've provided the foundation for these further elaborated systems of thought. Of course they did influence each other, and were influenced by other cultures as well (particularly the Greeks were by the Egyptians).