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A scientist on the benefits of a post-truth society

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From Julia Shaw at Scientific American:

I’m a factual relativist. I abandoned the idea of facts and “the truth” some time last year. I wrote a whole science book, The Memory Illusion, almost never mentioning the terms fact and truth. Why? Because much like Santa Claus and unicorns, facts don’t actually exist. At least not in the way we commonly think of them.

We think of a fact as an irrefutable truth. According to the Oxford dictionary, a fact is “a thing that is known or proved to be true.” And where does proof come from? Science?

Well, let me tell you a secret about science; scientists don’t prove anything. What we do is collect evidence that supports or does not support our predictions. Sometimes we do things over and over again, in meaningfully different ways, and we get the same results, and then we call these findings facts.

If only scientists did indeed spend more time doing that instead of shoring up failing ideas to keep their jobs.

What Shaw has to say isn’t altogether dismissible. We’re all tired of people claiming to have the Facts vs. the Myths but that is hardly because facts do not exist. What is one to make of

So, it’s ok that society is post-fact. Facts are so last century. More.

By the way Shaw, how are those plans coming for the war on mathematics? Decimal points are examples of hierarchy and privilege, right? And percentages are examples of exclusion… one could go on, but then so could any homework challenged baby asshat looking for excuses.

See also: Evolution bred a sense of reality out of us NPR’s Adam Frank: I find the logic in Hoffman’s ideas both exciting and potentially appealing because of other philosophical biases I carry around in my head. (But he suspects the theory is ultimately wrong.)

and

Our brains are shaped for fitness, not for truth.

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31 Replies to “A scientist on the benefits of a post-truth society

  1. 1
    Barry Arrington says:

    “much like Santa Claus and unicorns, facts don’t actually exist”

    Not to belabor the obvious, but this statement fails the self-referential incoherence test. For it to be true, it must be false.

  2. 2
    asauber says:

    I’m a factual relativist.

    lol No, you’re not.

    See comment #1.

    Andrew

  3. 3
    ellijacket says:

    George Orwell was right. “1984” was prophetic.

  4. 4
    john_a_designer says:

    Indeed… However, it is self-evidently true that none of us know all truth. But life experience teaches us we can at least know the truth about some things. For example, yesterday I had a dream that my long departed orange pet cat was still alive and had jumped up on top of the book shelf. When I woke up I understood that was irrefutably and factually not true and that I had only dreamed it. But to claim that nobody knows any truth, isn’t that the same as the claim you know all truth? After all to make the claim that there is no truth is to claim you have to have a universal knowledge of truth. (Only God can make such a claim.)

    It seems to me that me that this is little more than pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-humble posturing, on Ms. Shaw’s part, which paradoxically leads to a kind of smug arrogance. Of course, I wouldn’t want to accuse her of being a know-it-all. It would be interesting, however, to see how she would defend herself.

  5. 5
    Dionisio says:

    Can this ‘relativistic’ nonsense be compared against Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” ?
    Anyway, what else is new?
    Welcome to this lost world.
    It ain’t gonna get better than this before the end of the current age of grace.
    One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Christ is Lord.
    Meanwhile we are going to see human stupidity all around.
    Here’s a suggestion for reading as a mild antidote against relativism and other worldly ‘-isms’: Dr. Armand Nicholi’s “The Question of God”, nonfiction based on the contrasting biographies of a Briton and a German man. It’s been around for some time, but still worth reading.

  6. 6

    ellijacket @ 3: Indeed. Shocking how easily the masses are manipulated. Political propaganda is almost inescapable these days. Televisions are everywhere (airports, hotel lobbies, restaurants, bars, etc.) and almost all networks have become part of the political propaganda machine.

  7. 7
    Silver Asiatic says:

    By the way Shaw, how are those plans coming for the war on mathematics? Decimal points are examples of hierarchy and privilege, right? And percentages are examples of exclusion…

    Did she actually say those kinds of things somewhere? I wouldn’t be surprised.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Julia Shaw accepts at least one fact as an undeniable given in order to declare everything else to be non-factual.

    In the title of her article, and in the first 3 sentences of her second paragraph, she mentions “I’m” or “I” five different times.

    “I’m” a Scientist, and “I” Don’t Believe in Facts
    Excerpt: “I’m” a factual relativist. “I” abandoned the idea of facts and “the truth” some time last year. “I” wrote a whole science book, The Memory Illusion,,,
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/im-a-scientist-and-i-dont-believe-in-facts/

    Thus Julia Shaw is obviously dependent on at least one ‘fact’. The ‘fact’ that she really exists as a real person who is capable of making a judgment, and definitively claiming, that she has found all other facts to be, basically, unreliable and illusory and therefore to be ‘non-factual’.

    Decartes and Chalmers make exactly this point

    “Descartes remarks that he can continue to doubt whether he has a body; after all, he only believes he has a body as a result of his perceptual experiences, and so the demon could be deceiving him about this. But he cannot doubt that he has a mind, i.e. that he thinks. So he knows he exists even though he doesn’t know whether or not he has a body.”
    http://cw.routledge.com/textbo.....ualism.pdf

    David Chalmers on (the hard problem of) Consciousness – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1Yo6VbRoo

    Here are a few more related quotes:

    “In any philosophy of reality that is not ultimately self-defeating or internally contradictory, mind – unlabeled as anything else, matter or spiritual – must be primary. What is “matter” and what is “conceptual” and what is “spiritual” can only be organized from mind. Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. Mind must be postulated as the unobserved observer, the uncaused cause simply to avoid a self-negating, self-conflicting worldview. It is the necessary postulate of all necessary postulates, because nothing else can come first. To say anything else comes first requires mind to consider and argue that case and then believe it to be true, demonstrating that without mind, you could not believe that mind is not primary in the first place.”
    – William J. Murray

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the originator of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.

    The ‘fact’ that we really exist as real person is the most certain ‘fact’ we can possibly know about reality. Indeed, we have first hand experience of being real persons every moment of our waking lives. All of science is dependent on the concept of personhood.

    Yet no one has ever conducted a scientific experiment to prove that we really exist as real persons. We can only point to scientific evidence that tentatively supports the fact of ‘personhood’ which we all, (save for atheists), accept as a undeniable given.

    As mentioned, everybody accepts personhood as a undeniable given save for Atheists. In what I consider to be a shining example of poetic justice, in their claim that God does not really exist as a real person but is merely an illusion, the Atheistic naturalist also ends up claiming that he himself does not really exist as a real person but is merely an illusion. Here are a few quotes to that effect,,,

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    Per NY Times

    “The neural circuits in our brain manage the beautifully coordinated and smoothly appropriate behavior of our body. They also produce the entrancing introspective illusion that thoughts really are about stuff in the world. This powerful illusion has been with humanity since language kicked in, as we’ll see. It is the source of at least two other profound myths: that we have purposes that give our actions and lives meaning and that there is a person “in there” steering the body, so to speak.”
    [A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide To Reality, Ch.9]

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins
    ”If consciousness is an illusion… what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    In ‘fact’, it is impossible for Atheists to live out their stated worldview that they do not really exist as real persons:

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way.,,,
    in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”,,,
    Slingerland,, admits,, We are “constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots.”
    One section in his book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    Dawkins himself admitted that his life would be ‘intolerable’ if his Atheistic worldview were actually true

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt:
    Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    In what should be needless to say, if it is impossible for you to live as if your worldview were actually true then your worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but your worldview must instead be based on a delusion.

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    Julie, whom I, minus any experimental evidence, firmly believe to be a real person, goes on to state,,

    “we talk about theories or laws. Like evolution. Or gravity. But at no point have we proved anything.”

    As pointed out on another thread this morning, whilst the ‘law of gravity’ is subject to falsification by experimental testing, Darwinian evolution is basically a non-falsifiable pseudo-science with no rigid mathematical basis to rigorously test against.

    Suzan Mazur on Royal Society,,
    Excerpt: “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    – Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-622592

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Julia Shaw, given all her hype that facts don’t actually exist, goes on to concede that science, none-the-less, reveals ‘what the universe actually looks like’,,

    Don’t get me wrong. The scientific method is totally awesome. It is unparalleled in its ability to get answers,,,
    Scientists slowly break down the illusions created by our biased human perception, revealing what the universe actually looks like. In an incremental progress, each study adds a tiny bit of insight to our understanding.

    Thus, despite her main claim that ‘I abandoned the idea of facts and “the truth” some time last year’, the ‘fact’ of the matter is that, as she herself admits, she has not completely abandoned ‘facts and “the truth”’. But indeed believes science is slowly approaching ‘the truth’.

    i.e. She indeed admits that facts are being accumulated in science which are leading us to some sort of ultimate truth.

    Mathematicians and Physicists strongly believe that that ‘ultimate truth’ in science will one day be found in the quote unquote ‘Theory of Everything’ that they are searching for.

    Yet besides the fact that Godel, via his incompleteness theorem, proved there will never be a mathematical ‘Theory of Everything’,,,

    “Clearly then no scientific cosmology, which of necessity must be highly mathematical, can have its proof of consistency within itself as far as mathematics go. In absence of such consistency, all mathematical models, all theories of elementary particles, including the theory of quarks and gluons…fall inherently short of being that theory which shows in virtue of its a priori truth that the world can only be what it is and nothing else. This is true even if the theory happened to account for perfect accuracy for all phenomena of the physical world known at a particular time.”
    Stanley Jaki – Cosmos and Creator – 1980, pg. 49

    “Gödel’s incompleteness theorem (1931), proves that there are limits to what can be ascertained by mathematics. Kurt Gödel (ref. on cite), halted the achievement of a unifying all-encompassing theory of everything in his theorem that: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove.”
    Cf., Stephen Hawking & Leonard Miodinow, The Grand Design (2010) @ 15-6

    ,,, Yet besides the fact that Godel, via his incompleteness theorem, proved there will never be a mathematical ‘Theory of Everything’, the belief that there can even be a ‘Theory of Everything’, unbeknownst to most scientists working on string theory and the like, is a belief that can only be firmly grounded in Theism. That is to say, ‘the truth’ that science is ultimately driving at will be, and is only to be, found within Theism.

    “So you think of physics in search of a “Grand Unified Theory of Everything”, Why should we even think there is such a thing? Why should we think there is some ultimate level of resolution? Right? It is part, it is a consequence of believing in some kind of design. Right? And there is some sense in which that however multifarious and diverse the phenomena of nature are, they are ultimately unified by the minimal set of laws and principles possible. Insofar as science continues to operate with that assumption, there is a presupposition of design that is motivating the scientific process. Because it would be perfectly easy,, to stop the pursuit of science at much lower levels. You know understand a certain range of phenomena in a way that is appropriate to deal with that phenomena and just stop there and not go any deeper or any farther.”,,, You see, there is a sense in which there is design at the ultimate level, the ultimate teleology you might say, which provides the ultimate closure,,”
    Professor Steve Fuller discusses intelligent design in Cambridge – Video – quoted at the 17:34 minute mark
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nd-others/

    Stephen Hawking’s “God-Haunted” Quest – December 24, 2014
    Excerpt: “Why in the world would a scientist blithely assume that there is or is even likely to be one unifying rational form to all things, unless he assumed that there is a singular, overarching intelligence that has placed it there? Why shouldn’t the world be chaotic, utterly random, meaningless? Why should one presume that something as orderly and rational as an equation would describe the universe’s structure?
    I would argue that the only finally reasonable ground for that assumption is the belief in an intelligent Creator, who has already thought into the world the very mathematics that the patient scientist discovers.”
    Robert Barron
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92351.html

    “Our monotheistic traditions reinforce the assumption that the universe is at root a unity, that is not governed by different legislation in different places.”
    John D. Barrow

    The main goal of all purported ‘Theories of Everything’ right now is to unify General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics into the purported mathematical ‘Theory of Everything’.

    And whereas, special relativity, by ‘brushing infinity under the rug’, has been successfully unified with quantum theory to produce Quantum Electrodynamics,,,

    Theories of the Universe: Quantum Mechanics vs. General Relativity
    Excerpt: The first attempt at unifying relativity and quantum mechanics took place when special relativity was merged with electromagnetism. This created the theory of quantum electrodynamics, or QED. It is an example of what has come to be known as relativistic quantum field theory, or just quantum field theory. QED is considered by most physicists to be the most precise theory of natural phenomena ever developed.
    In the 1960s and ’70s, the success of QED prompted other physicists to try an analogous approach to unifying the weak, the strong, and the gravitational forces. Out of these discoveries came another set of theories that merged the strong and weak forces called quantum chromodynamics, or QCD, and quantum electroweak theory, or simply the electroweak theory, which you’ve already been introduced to.
    If you examine the forces and particles that have been combined in the theories we just covered, you’ll notice that the obvious force missing is that of gravity (i.e. General Relativity).
    http://www.infoplease.com/cig/.....ivity.html

    THE INFINITY PUZZLE: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe
    Excerpt: In quantum electrodynamics, which applies quantum mechanics to the electromagnetic field and its interactions with matter, the equations led to infinite results for the self-energy or mass of the electron. After nearly two decades of effort, this problem was solved after World War II by a procedure called renormalization, in which the infinities are rolled up into the electron’s observed mass and charge, and are thereafter conveniently ignored. Richard Feynman, who shared the 1965 Nobel Prize with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for this breakthrough, referred to this sleight of hand as “brushing infinity under the rug.”
    http://www.americanscientist.o.....g-infinity

    Double Slit, Quantum-Electrodynamics, and Christian Theism – video https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1127450170601248/?type=2&theater

    And whereas, special relativity, by ‘brushing infinity under the rug’, has been successfully unified with quantum theory to produce Quantum Electrodynamics, no such mathematical ‘sleight of hand’ exists for general relativity. General relativity simply refuses to be mathematically unified with quantum mechanics. String theory is one, of several, attempts to, by hook or by crook, mathematically unify the two theories,

    Unified field theory
    Excerpt: Gravity has yet to be successfully included in a theory of everything.
    Simply trying to combine the graviton with the strong and electroweak interactions runs into fundamental difficulties since the resulting theory is not renormalizable. Theoretical physicists have not yet formulated a widely accepted, consistent theory that combines general relativity and quantum mechanics. The incompatibility of the two theories remains an outstanding problem in the field of physics.
    Some theoretical physicists currently believe that a quantum theory of general relativity may require frameworks other than field theory itself, such as string theory or loop quantum gravity.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_field_theory#Current_status

    Some theoretical physicists have remarked that this failure to mathematically unify Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity is ‘the collapse of physics as we know it’

    Quantum Mechanics & Relativity – Michio Kaku – The Collapse Of Physics As We Know It? – video https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1190432337636364/?type=2&theater

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Yet, if we rightly let the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into the picture of modern physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned, (Newton, Maxwell, Faraday, Planck, among others), then an empirically backed reconciliation between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity is readily achieved for us in Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Specifically, we have evidence that both Gravity and Quantum Mechanics were dealt with in Christ’s resurrection from the dead:

    THE EVENT HORIZON (Space-Time Singularity) OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN. – Isabel Piczek – Particle Physicist
    Excerpt: We have stated before that the images on the Shroud firmly indicate the total absence of Gravity. Yet they also firmly indicate the presence of the Event Horizon. These two seemingly contradict each other and they necessitate the past presence of something more powerful than Gravity that had the capacity to solve the above paradox.
    http://shroud3d.com/findings/i.....-formation

    Turin shroud – (Particle Physicist explains event horizon) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHVUGK6UFK8

    (Entropic Concerns) The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead is the correct solution for the “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqv4wVP_Fkc&index=2&list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5

    The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete (quantum) values – Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio – 2008
    Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the ‘quantum’ is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril.
    http://cab.unime.it/journals/i.....802004/271

    Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – December 2011
    Excerpt: After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.
    However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.
    Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic.
    “The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,” they said.
    And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....79512.html

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram
    https://youtu.be/F-TL4QOCiis

    Special and General Relativity compared to Heavenly and Hellish Near Death Experiences
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbKELVHcvSI&t=931s&index=1&list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5

    (Centrality Concerns) The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from Death as the “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uHST2uFPQY&list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5&index=4

    Verses and Music:

    John 14:6
    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    The Greatest Gift – music
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHGVud2Qfa4

  11. 11
    Fordgreen says:

    SA: “Did she actually say those kinds of things somewhere? I wouldn’t be surprised.”

    Julia Shaw didn’t say any such thing in the American Scientific article and I couldn’t find any other reference to this. But if you read the entire article it’s quite reasonable and not necessarily unfriendly to ID. I think it’s actually quite a good explanation of how science works (or at least should work!).

  12. 12
    News says:

    Fordgreen at 11: It doesn’t sound like you mean the same thing by the initials ID as we are accustomed to around here. We mean following the evidence wherever it leads, not claiming that one doesn’t believe in facts. She may mean well, who knows, but she is pretty confused. And there are lots of people out there who would enjoy confusing her further. There are indeed people who don’t like math. Too rigid.

  13. 13
    Fordgreen says:

    Deleted

  14. 14
    Dionisio says:

  15. 15
    asauber says:

    So the question becomes: What motivates a religious devotion to obviously incoherent ideas in people like Julia Shaw?

    Andrew

  16. 16
    groovamos says:

    I’m actually going to go easy on the lady author. There are cultures that do not place nearly as much emphasis on the ‘actual existence’ of facts as our culture, and that instead are concerned with shades of meaning. You could argue that one of the reasons for the widening political divide in this country is the obsession with ‘facts’ and the claim that one side has all the ‘facts’ correct. We’ve seen it on here that the ‘facts’ of Darwinian evolution and its ‘reality’ are really only accessible to people who in ‘fact’ have an advanced degree in evolutionary biology such as N. Matzke. And these ‘facts’ and the reasons for their existence are inaccessible to people with multiple doctorates such as James Tour because of the ‘fact’ that they do not have the requisite advanced degree.

    On the other hand yours truly believes in truth where at one time I did not. It may be that the truth of the existence of our spiritual nature that survives death is a different kind of truth than the everyday encounter of it. The ‘truth’ of someone committing first degree murder by pulling a trigger depends upon the ‘truth’ that a jury has the ability to determine what exactly is in the mind of the perpetrator, which is a fairly tenuous thing.

  17. 17
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Many people make a critical mistake when thinking about such things. At some point, they surrendered to the idea that “science is the only means of arriving at truth”. Then they rightly thought about that and discovered that science doesn’t actually arrive at truths (or facts as she says). So then they have to conclude “there is no way of knowing truth or facts about anything”.

    All of this stems from a false first principle. Start badly, end badly in this case. The claim that science is the only means of truth is incoherent. Science cannot evaluate the truth of that statement.

    Some is a religious committment to secularism or atheism. Other is just poor education. That is, no education at all in philosophy, must less in theology. Those are essential subject areas needed for understanding the world and reality and most public spokespersons and even academics have no knowledge of either.

  18. 18

    BA77 @ 8: “Thus Julia Shaw is obviously dependent on at least one ‘fact’. The ‘fact’ that she really exists as a real person who is capable of making a judgment…”

    True indeed. But like similar thinkers, the irony (and error) will be completely missed.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note from an earlier post:

    Lydia Jaeger: Natural science cannot fully comprehend human nature – December 11, 2016
    Excerpt: Probably the oldest and best-known non-reductionist family of arguments concerns the nature of rational thought. It can be traced back through Descartes to Plato’s Phaedo. The backbone of the argument is the general truth that what there is (being) cannot determine what there should be (norms). Natural science aims at describing what exists. But rational thought is a normative endeavor. Affirming that something is true (or false) thus cannot be expressed in purely scientific terms. In the 20th century, versions of this argument have been elaborated (among others) by C. S. Lewis,41 Karl Popper,42 Thomas Nagel,43 and Alvin Plantinga.
    The normative character of rational thought is not the only threat to a reductionist understanding of mind. There are other features of thought which are problematic, such as consciousness and intentionality. Theists are not the only philosophers to point out the difficulties of the reductionist program.45 And the mind is not the only aspect of humans which that defies reductionism. Relational notions—such as trust, friendship, sense of transcendence—seem in their very essence to go beyond what natural scientific method can capture. Remember that one of the hallmarks of scientific practice is the repeatability of experiments. The outcome of an experiment should not be affected by which scientist performs it. But the essence of true relationships is that it does matter to whom we are relating.
    The irreducible nature of humans has direct implications for any exploration of human origins. Natural scientific studies, important and fascinating as they are, will never tell us all there is to be known. In particular, there is no straight forward way to translate important philosophical and theological concepts into natural scientific ones.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....an-nature/

    although the vast majority of what it truly means to be human will forever be beyond the grasp of scientific explanation, none-the-less, science, particularly math, has been fairly successful in validating the Christian Theist’s claim that mind precedes, and is irreducible to, material reality.

    1. Computers lack genuine mathematical insight. 2. Math has shown that consciousness will forever be beyond materialistic explanation, and 3. The math of Quantum Mechanics has an irreducible subjective element to it that entails a conscious observer making a measurement.
    Moreover, the math of quantum mechanics has been experimentally verified to prove that ” Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It”.,,,
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-622124

    As to: “Natural science cannot fully comprehend human nature”

    Here is a poem that captures the essence of that thought:

    There Is More
    Once I saw a very old Godly man who, being very near death, had
    Become deaf, blind and invalid; Yet somehow he glowed happily
    Then it occurred to me…

    There is more to seeing than the light we see with our eyes
    There is more to beholding than to watch setting skies
    There is more to hearing than airwaves of sound
    There is more to standing than standing on ground
    There is more to feeling than touching with our skin
    There is more to all things, things that come from deeper within

    Then I saw a miserly old rich man who had angrily driven away his family
    Now he was in his empty mansion in a coma, with no one around who loved him
    Then it occurred to me…

    There is more to hurting than the pain of sticks and stones
    There is more being a person than having skin and bones
    There is more to a home than bricks, nails, and lumber
    There is more to waking up than rising from slumber
    There is more to riches than having your gold piled high
    There is more to living than just being alive

    Then I saw a Godly young woman full of compassion
    Working with homeless people helping them get off the street
    Then it occurred to me…

    There is more to loving than the warmth of feeling good
    There is more to understanding than a fact being understood
    There is more to work with than just the tools of our crafts
    There is more to becoming clean than just taking a bath
    There is more to being free than having no prison walls
    There is more to being poor than having no money at all

    Then I saw a bitter old man who angrily didn’t believe in miracles
    and who thought that this cold hard world is all that there is to life
    Then it occurred to me…

    There is more to being dead than a body in a tomb
    There is more to being born than coming from a womb
    There is more to heaven than all the stars above
    There is more to Jesus Christ than just distant example of God’s love
    There is more to learning than all the books teach us in schools
    And there is more to walking with God than following TEN rules

    Then I got home at the end of the day
    Went into my room and quietly prayed

    Lord, If there is more than a lesson to my heart You could teach
    Would You teach me to see spiritually to add depth to my reach
    And Lord, If there is more than a gift to this world You might give
    Would You give the miracle that in all hearts Your light ever lives

    There Is More – Poem – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102086/

  20. 20
    Dionisio says:

    Silver Asiatic @17.

    Interesting comment. Thank you.

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    OT:

    Josh Wilson presents Noel: A Unique Christmas Experience
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b-DiL6AyBk

    The First Noel (Instrumental) – Josh Wilson –
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDRvd6vWOH4

  22. 22
    polistra says:

    “What we do is collect evidence that supports or does not support our predictions.”

    Well, that’s true of academic “scientists”. They determine which theory is most fashionable among grantors, then create bizarre delusions and psychotic monstrosities to “support” the grantable theory.

    Actual scientists, working in industry and medicine, don’t use predictions or theories AT ALL. They try to solve a real problem or cure a real disease or improve a real product or technique. They try various methods and materials to solve the problem, and measure the results precisely.

  23. 23
    Andere Stimme says:

    I’m glad she set the record straight. But why did she think it was worth doing?

  24. 24
  25. 25

    Come on, it is very obvious that mathematics itself is the theory of everything.

    The overwhelming success of mathematics in science points to this being true. And obviously it’s not going to be like 42 will be the theory of everything. The answer in maths will not be a random number like that, the answer obviously has to be with 0.

    Start with some arbitrary symbol, call it 0 if you will, then derive other numbers and mathematical operators in a logical way from this symbol. That is approximate to what the theory of everything will look like.

    Creatio ex nihilo, ex nihilo nihil fit.

    The universe starts from nothing and can only be nothing in total. The main ordering of the universe is the same as the main ordering in mathematics.

    The operation of cause and effect is to total nothing. An action has an equal and opposite reaction, totalling zero. It means there are no causes without effects, nor effects without causes, a cause with it’s accompany effect is one thing chosen.

    So there is a main structure to the universe mirroring the main structure in mathematics, the options to which are only for it to be or not be, and there are no more possibilities than that. Apart from the main structure there are many possible ways for the universe to turn out.

    The DNA system has the same ordering as the universe whole, meaning that the DNA system is a world in it’s own right operation like human imagination or a 3D computergame world. In principle one could just as well put a working model of a jumbo jet in the DNA system, the DNA system is universal in this way, still, the jumbo jet cannot be grown from DNA.

  26. 26
    Jammer says:

    I wonder what percentage of those celebrating the joys of a “post-truth society” are simultaneously whining over Donald Trump’s (perceived) lies?

    Given both sides are dominated by leftist imbeciles, I’m guessing that number’s pretty damn close to 100%.

  27. 27
    J-Mac says:

    I’m a factual relativist. I abandoned the idea of facts and “the truth” some time last year. I wrote a whole science book, The Memory Illusion, almost never mentioning the terms fact and truth. Why? Because much like Santa Claus and unicorns, facts don’t actually exist. At least not in the way we commonly think of them.

    Instead of using the term “factual relativist”, why not say “…I will deny, dilute and oppose any accepted facts as truth just to prove my point…”??? It just would be so much easier to understand why someone would be so …… ..

    Unless this someone is a an atheistic cat lover who despises anything to do with religion and yet becomes like a child around Christmas time and forgets himself and really gets into the “Christmas spirit” ignoring the fact that he is not suppose to celebrate it because just like Santa Clause and unicorns Christmas is not really real…
    Anybody can remember the term to call such a individual?

    I guess factual relativism already existed in times of Jesus when the Pharisees witnessed Jesus’ miracles and yet they tried to ‘deny, dilute and oppose’ the facts that Jesus resurrected many dead people, one of them being dead for 4 days…

    John 9:16
    “16 Because of this, some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a sinful man perform such signs?” And there was division among them.”

  28. 28
    john_a_designer says:

    Here is something interesting to consider now that we are all living in Ms. Shaw’s post-factual world. (At least according to her.) Look at the following picture. How many young women are sitting on the couch? Now how many pairs of legs do you see?

    http://i.ndtvimg.com/i/2016-12.....831476.jpg

    Is that the way the world really (factually) is or is your mind/brain deceiving you?

    Here is a video of the same girls, same pose etc. Is there a rational explanation? Keep watching and you will see.

    http://video.foxnews.com/v/526.....show-clips

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    To lie is to speak with disregard to truth in the hope that what is said or suggested will be taken as true — origin unknown. Where, truth says of what is, that it is, and of what is not, that it is not — per Ari. And, facts, are things credibly known to be so or to have occurred, especially matters of actual experience (and testimony or record), observation and the like. To try to live life by fantasy and falsehood is to brook a march of folly to ruin. KF

  30. 30
    Axel says:

    What a funny thread !

    ‘Not to belabor the obvious, but this statement fails the self-referential incoherence test. For it to be true, it must be false.’

    That’s a keeper, Barry ! And that’s a fact. Ooh errrr….

    And asauber’ riposte xould hardly be improved upon !

  31. 31
    Axel says:

    What a funny thread !

    ‘Not to belabor the obvious, but this statement fails the self-referential incoherence test. For it to be true, it must be false.’

    That’s a keeper, Barry ! And that’s a fact. Ooh errrr….

    And asauber’ riposte could hardly be improved upon !

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