Saturday, May 7, 2011

Science in the world of politics

If you’re a conservative you’ll eventually, and in all probability very quickly, run into an invocation of science as god when debating a liberal. The liberal will tell you that global warming, nuclear winter, evolution, the genetic nature of homosexuality are proven scientific fact. At that they expect you to bow your head, sob, and walk off totally defeated. After all the secular god has spoken.

While it’s amusing to see the same liberals who constantly castigate religious conservatives for invoking God invoke “science” as a source of absolute truth about everything, including the spiritual aspect of man, it’s necessary to show them why they’re wrong.

Any one with a grain of common sense knows of course that science is neither perfect nor infallible. The problem is that the average person doesn’t know how science works and therefore has difficulty refuting whatever Delphic statement scientists are supposedly making.

The first thing to remember is that science only addresses the material world. It has no ability to address issues like faith, charity, or love. Science cannot tell us why we exist, although some scientists say we have no purpose and that everything is meaningless.

They say that because like the man with a screwdriver who’s using it to hammer in a nail they use science to try and address every issue they confront. But just as using religion to explain why gravity works is silly so to is using science to answer questions about the purpose and meaning of life. It’s not that either science or religion are bad it’s just that they’re not intended or capable of addressing everything.

When you hear someone trying to use science to explain the meaning of life you should ask them if they picked their wife/husband based on science? Unless they’re severely warped they’ll admit that they picked their spouse based on love, something that is beyond the ken of rationalistic science. Similarly given that science can’t predict individual human behavior if man is made in the image of God then it’s not surprising that science is unable to explain Gods actions.

But more importantly science is oblivious to half of reality, the spiritual half. Many scientists fall into the trap of saying that if you can’t measure it with a ruler it doesn’t exist. That’s circular reasoning. They start out by saying that everything is purely matter, no spirit. They then say that there is no spirit because we can’t see it. Yet by it’s very definition the spirit is not susceptible to measurement by physical means.

All scientists can logically say is that there is no scientific, ie materialistic, evidence for the spiritual aspect of man. But even that is a stretch. Because science can’t explain all of what man does and thinks what scientists should really be saying is that science hasn’t yet found any evidence for a spiritual world. Even there though there are potential problems. After all why do we, if we’re just random masses of chemicals, like beautiful things? Why do we show altruistic charity for people who are not related to us and hence don’t improve our chances of sending our genes to the future? Why do we care about honor and why do we feel bad when we sin?

Someday science might find explanations for these things but until it does it’s really presumptuous of scientists to claim that there is no God and that there is no aspect of people that is not purely material.

The second thing to remember is that scientists are human and generally liberal since they live in the womb of academia. As a result they’re not above lying to further their causes.

A great example of this was nuclear winter. Carl Sagan said that his computer models had shown that even a very limited nuclear exchange where a small number of Soviet nuclear weapons were detonated in North and South Dakota would result in the planet being pitched into darkness and billions of people dying.

He used this to say that the Strategic Defense Initiative(SDI), which was designed to protect Americans if the Soviets did attack, was a waste of money.

The problem is that his science was totally bogus. First there have been historical occurrences where much larger amounts of debris were probably lifted high in the atmosphere by volcanos than would be generated in Sagan’s minimal attack scenario. We know from these events that there could be shortened summers in places like Maine but we also know that there was no global darkness. In additions Sagans methodology was very questionable and did not justify the level of certainty with which he was proclaiming his results.

Why didn’t other scientists point this out? Well a liberal scientist who didn’t like SDI asked other scientists this. The answer he got was that those other scientists didn’t like SDI so they kept their mouths shut. Their motive wasn’t evil, they really thought that SDI would be bad for world peace. But they put their political beliefs ahead of their commitment to scientific truth. Eventually after years of analysis it was shown that by burning all the cities in the Northern Hemisphere a nuclear winter might occur. But that scenario is actually an argument for SDI since even a partially effective SDI might be able to reduce the number of burning cities enough to avoid a global nightfall.

We see a similar thing today with human caused global warming. The simple fact is there are a lot of arguments on both sides of this and there is clearly no objective scientific basis for declaring the issue settled.

Scientists are also willing to suppress data that is politically incorrect. The link between having an abortion before having a live birth and later getting cancer is much higher than the correlation between second hand smoke and lung cancer. But the scientific community buries the first result and proclaims the second. Similarly studies that show that having gay parents or a single parent is bad for kids are stifled and clearly biased reports that supposedly show the opposite are proclaimed.

Sadly scientists have shown themselves to be untrustworthy when their liberal beliefs are threatened.

The second thing to remember is that scientists are not philosophers and often don’t understand the reasoning that lies behind some of their proclamations. We see this when they say things like if evolution occurred then there is no need for a god. A bit of thought would reveal that perhaps God used evolution to make human bodies and then His divine power to put souls in us. Science has no way of disproving that. Further science can’t explain where the universe came from. There is no way to explain, and very smart scientists have tried, how something can come from nothing. In fact something coming from nothing violates all of the experiments scientists have done to date.

Which brings us to the question how do we separate the wheat from the chaff in scientific pronouncements? The key to that question is understanding what makes science so useful.

Modern science started with the discovery of the scientific method. That method is really very simple. Accept nothing as proven that can’t be validated by experiments. Experiments that anyone could, at least in principle, conduct. For example if Obama and Bush both conduct an experiment to see if apples fall down when released they’d get the same results irrespective of their philosophical and political differences.

By providing a way to know what’s true about the material world that is not colored by human biases science has been shown to be an extraordinarily powerful way to expand human knowledge. Who would have believed that time flows at a different rate as a function of how fast you’re moving? Yet innumerable experiments have shown this to be true. But until the first of these experiments were performed the scientific community did not accept the concept.

Problems arises when the scientific community embraces concepts that are not experimentally verifiable. Whenever you hear you should believe a scientific concept because the “vast majority of scientists” believe in it you need to be very cautious.

Science is not democratic. Back in the early 20th century one scientist suggested the concept of continental drift, the continents move around on the earth. The vast majority of scientists thought he was nuts. But by the 1960’s experiments proved him to be right. Consensus is just that, a bunch of scientists sharing the same opinion. If they can’t point to objective experiments that support their position and their position is being used in the political arena you have every right to ask them why they should be believed.

Not surprisingly none of the supposedly scientific positions used by liberals to bash conservatives is based on objective experiments.

There is no experiment that can be done to show that evolution occurred in the past. Ignoring the fact that scientists don’t have explanations for how evolution works--how do new species develop, how do very complex systems that require multiple mutations where each individual mutation does not help an organism survive develop, etc-- science has no objective way to prove that evolution occurred in the past.

Scientists point to fossils but they can’t prove, through experiments, that God--or super intelligent pan-dimensional beings-- didn’t create the world, including fossils, 6,000 years ago. Instead they use a philosophical argument called Occams razor.

Occams razor says that if you’ve got multiple explanations for something use the simplest one. This makes perfect sense for worldly things but it clearly doesn’t work when describing human actions. Since we’re made in God’s image it’s unclear why Occams razor should work for understanding what God did or does.

But the key point is that what makes science strong and objective are experiments. But experiments can’t prove that evolution happened in the past.

Yet many scientists are loath to admit this. If you go to the web page of the National Academy of Science you’ll see that they say that evolution is a fact just like the fact that the Earth orbits around the sun and that organisms are made out of cells.

The problem is that you can conduct experiments to show that the Earth orbits the Sun and you can use a microscope to see that organisms are made out of cells but you can’t do any experiments to show that evolution occurred in the past.

I personally agree that the simplest explanation of what we see is that evolution of the body occurred. But I realize that is a philosophical not scientific statement. Sadly many scientists refuse to acknowledge that.

It’s impossible to do experiments to validate that human activity is causing global warming. You can’t experiment on the climate. Instead scientists look at measurements and try and develop models that can predict what’s going on. If scientists could develop models and prove that those models were capable of accurately predicting future climate then that would be an experiment.

If a computer model predicts climate for the next 40 years and after 40 years it turns out to be correct you have good reason to believe that it will accurately predict the climate. Of course we haven’t had time for that sort of validation. Therefore scientists look to see if models can model what happened in the past without essentially building the past results into their model.

Interestingly enough scientists haven’t been able to accurately model the climate in the past or predict the future climate. Climate models didn’t predict the current global cooling phase they’ve now declared is occurring until after it started.

There is a difference between climate and weather but a 10 year cooling period is climate. That none of the models that supposedly show that mankind is causing global warming predicted that 10 year event before it started makes it pretty clear that those models aren’t accurate. Hopefully that will improve but until it does it’s irrelevant if “most” scientists believe that mankind is causing global warming. Just as it would be irrelevant if “most” scientists believed that the Mets were going to win the next World Series.

When confronted liberal invocation of science as god follow these rules to see if their claim has any credibility.

Is the claim about something non-material, since evolution occurred there is no God for example? If that’s the case you know that the argument is nothing more than the opinion of scientists because science can’t address non-material things.
Is the claim based on experiments? If the liberal you’re talking to can’t point to unbiased experiments that support the theory they’re advocating then once again the argument is merely based on the opinions of scientists not on facts.
Does the claim make sense? If evolution weeds out mutations that reduce the chances of sending your genes to the future how could being homosexual--which prevents one from sending one’s gene’s to the future--be based on genetics?
Does the theory seem to be ideal for supporting a liberal position? Politics isn’t based on science. If some new scientific theory just happens to prove a liberal position you can be fairly sure that it was made up for just that purpose and isn’t real science.
Does the theory claim to prove a negative, there is no soul? Since it’s very very hard to prove a negative of anything you can be pretty sure that any theory that claims to prove a negative is probably false.

If you have any doubt search the web. You might be amazed at how many sites address scientific issues and show the truth about many seemingly amazing claims made by “science”.

But keep in mind when speaking about purely materialistic things, and issues that aren’t political, science is still a wonderful gift from God that makes the world a much better place to live in. Don’t let liberals misuse of science cause you to distrust all science. Also remember that many if not most scientists don’t agree with the misuse of science but they don’t get any publicity due to the biases of the liberal media. So don’t go hating on your scientist friends!

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