Friday, October 18, 2013

Science didn't do it

A fellow atheist was commenting on a conversation she was having with an apologist. Frankly, I haven't heard this particular argument before, in this incarnation. She describes the conversation (I can't speak as to how well it's conveyed - this is definitely hearsay).
... Stop me if you’ve heard this one “You are giving Science credit for the things people do.” Dude, I am NOT even shitting you. This after I said that science was demonstrable and she countered, “No, it is observable.” All my near elementary examples of how science is demonstrable went in one ear and out the other. She claimed it was so evil for me to take away the achievements of Bill Gate by giving due reverence to science. I spent an hour trying to explain that science is a tool–and a discipline–and that those in the sciences or who use applied sciences are in no small measure utilizing scientific methodology. I gave the example of how a mathematician can credit their use of math for the solving of equations. No avail.

Clearly, there's a number of items that are problematic, but I'l grant some benefit of the doubt due to the hearsay. The argument I'd like to address is the assertion that we give science credit for the discoveries over the people.

What is with apologists, anyway? They're constantly doing manipulations like this, whether it's redefining science to include the supernatural, claiming that science requires God, or whatever. They can't actually win on the facts, so they have all these bizarre rhetorical games.

It's like arguing with a child who thinks he's found a loophole in your rule as a parent that the child goes to sleep at night, because it's actually 12:00 AM, which is technically morning. It's stupid little games like that.

I imagine there's a good degree of cognitive dissonance for these people. Arguing that Science doesn't work, or isn't trustworthy, for whatever reasons, while on a computer for instance, is a bit like arguing that Artificial Flight isn't feasible... while on an intercontinental flight on an Airbus.

That's what this particular atheist was attempting to point out... and is what I obsessively point out, as "science, it works". To a rational person, I'd think this would be persuasive. 

I think they realize this is an issue, and they need to devise some kind of rebuttal to that point... but what?Well, they just deny that science has anything to do with computers, flight, modern medical technologies, etc - just like the apologist in this conversation allegedly did.

Yet again, the person has "defined away" science has being at the core of these peoples' discoveries. Now, people personally made the discoveries, and science was just off in the corner, waiting for the chance to plagiarize... or something.

At this level of delusion, I'm not sure any further discussion would be productive.

I'm not even sure how I'd respond, if I had to do so. I'd probably start by asking the person to clarify what he/she thinks science is supposed to be... and then maybe it can be clarified from there.

I can't imagine what the person may be thinking.. like "science" is some kind of organization that's seeking co-option of others' work, instead of a process for investigating reality, that operates by repeated hypothesis-testing on things that are either directly observable, or circumstantial.

... who knows. I can't wait to run into this one.

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