iSoul In the beginning is reality.

Category Archives: Science

Science particularly as related to creation and the creation-evolution controversy

All theories are limited

This post continues previous posts on this topic, such as here.

Once a theory becomes established, it is always valid. It is never falsified. What happens is that its limits are discovered. Any pretense to being universal breaks down.

All theories are limited. Theories are analogies, and all analogies have limits. It is the scientific fashion to initially present a theory as universal, but this is a manner of speaking, not to be taken literally. No theory is universal because all theories have their limits.

When the limits of a theory are known, it is what Werner Heisenberg called a closed theory. An open theory is one whose limits are not known. It may be considered universal, even though it is not. But until its limits are known, no one knows its limits so it’s as if there are none. Eventually, limits will be found.

This means for example, there are three valid theories of the figure of the earth: the flat earth, the spherical earth, and the ellipsoidal earth. Each is valid within a certain domain of accuracy and precision.

There are several valid theories of the celestial bodies: simple geocentrism, Ptolemaic geocentrism, Copernican heliocentrism, Tychonic geoheliocentrism, Keplerian heliocentrism, Newtonian barycentrism, and Einsteinian cosmology. They are all valid within their domain of applicability.

Several theories of biological diversity are valid: fixed species, fixed kinds with limited change, and change over time (evolution). None of these are universal. They all have their limits.

Science posts

Science

Today the word science usually means naturalistic science. Historically, naturalism was not dominant in modern science until the nineteenth century, when it was promoted by those who were called “naturalists” (not to be confused with a naturalist as someone who studies natural history). These naturalists promoted the idea that science was limited to naturalism. They were adept at taking leadership of science at a critical time when it was becoming professionalized and supported by government largesse.

Since naturalism is a false philosophy, science today is alienated from truth. The intelligent design movement challenges the idea that science is limited to naturalism. The creation science movement, which is related but independent, denies naturalism and much of the science built upon naturalism, including evolution and deep time. While these movements are small, it is important to remember that they stand in a tradition that goes back to the first centuries of modern science. The science of Galileo, Newton, and other great scientists of the past was not naturalistic science.

Science and terminology

Science is knowledge (scientia) that is systematically gained and/or organized. That entails that the terminology of science be systematic, i.e, a nomenclature rather than a hodgepodge of terms. This can make discussions about science hard since people have to learn a body of nomenclature before understanding a science. This applies to all sciences, whether natural sciences, social sciences, historical sciences, or subjects with some systematization such as systematic theology.

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Generic units of measure

Customary units of measure such as the foot and the pound are suitable for everyday purposes such as measuring the dimensions of a person or a room. Metric (SI) units of measure such as the Kelvin and the kilogram are suitable for scientific purposes. Some metric units are suitable for everyday use, and they are so used in many countries.

However, there are some draw-backs to metric units for everyday purposes, for example: the SI unit of temperature is the kelvin (K) which does not relate to the temperatures of everyday life (even the related degrees Celsius compresses surface air temperatures into a narrow band); the kilometre is rather short compared with a mile; and the kilogram is large compared with a pound (500 g is sometimes used).

The purpose of this post is to explore a generic system of units that would be suitable for both everyday and scientific usage.

Start with temperature. For scientific purposes, the absolute minimum temperature is an important limit, so it should be set to zero or some multiple of 1000. The triple point of water is meaningful for both scientific and everyday usage. These two points suggest a scale with the absolute minimum set to –1000 degrees, and the triple point of water set to 0 degrees. One generic degree equals 0.27315 K. So a value of 100 equals 27 ºC or 81 ºF.

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New fallacies

There are several online lists of fallacious arguments: Fallacies, Full alphabetic list of fallacies, Logical Fallacies Handlist, List of fallacies, List of Fallacious Arguments, and especially Master List of Logical Fallacies, A list of Latin names is here.

Aristotle categorized rhetorical strategies under ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos is an appeal to credibility or authority. Logos is an appeal to reason or evidence. Pathos is an appeal to feeling or emotion. Fallacies are also categorized as formal or informal, with many informal fallacies.

There is perhaps nothing new under the sun when it comes to informal fallacies, but there are at least new variations on old fallacies or fallacies that have not been adequately described. Here are some notes about these new fallacies:

Assailment-by-entailment is the fallacy committed by person B when they attribute to person A a belief that person B thinks is entailed by something person A has said, especially if person A has denied the offending belief. Its object seems to be ostracism or reputation damage. See here.

Controlling the conversation is a no discussion fallacy in which one party rejects reasoned dialogue with a dissenting party. This is usually committed by a stronger party in order not to allow a weaker, dissenting party to be heard. Common in issues that relate to a stronger party’s status. For example, the status of science in modern society is partly based on agreement among scientists, so dissent among scientists is ignored or controlled by the dominant party. This includes scientific publication and conference presentation.

Unity, duality, trinity

Postulates of Motion

Postulate of three: There are three dimensions of the extent of motion.

Postulate of two: There are two measures of the extent of motion, length and duration.

Postulate of one: There is one exchange of space and time.

From the postulate of three comes a non-quantitative three-dimensional geometry of motion.

From the additional postulate of two comes two three-dimensional quantitative geometries of motion.

From the additional postulate of one comes one six-dimensional quantitative geometry of motion.

Being is a unity. Existence is a duality. Reality is a trinity.

There is a unity of being, a duality of existence, and a trinity of reality.

Existence is a distinction within universal being. Reality is an indistinction within universal existence.

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Demi-Creator Postulate

I introduced the Demi-Creator Postulate (DCP) here. This post explores the concept further.

Young-earth creationism (YEC) accepts what might be called the Biblical Creator Postulate (BCP). This postulate is an attempt to bring the Creator as described in the Bible into science. Not only does this bring theological debates into science but it also makes scientists attempt to determine what the Creator should be expected to do that could be observed, which makes scientists into theologians. This is science as practiced in the Middles Ages, when the Roman Catholic Church’s status in Europe ensured theological conformity. The Reformation and the Scientific Revolution have prevented such a situation since the 16th century.

In contrast, a demi-creator (DC) is a hypothetical being definable for the needs of science and observable only indirectly. Whether or not a demi-creator is a window on the Creator of the theologians is a metaphysical question, and so not a concern of science.

I would initially describe a demi-creator as a master designer and builder, who meets their given design criteria, whether these criteria are unknown to us or are specified in a separate postulate.  This demi-creator is like us in their intelligence and reasoning ability, only greater and with the ability to produce an extremely complex design that works. This enables us to make inferences about what to expect they have done given what has been observed.

The DCP enables science to consider the possibility of a creator without going outside of science. It posits more than the intelligent design (ID) proponents have been willing to admit but less than what is assumed by the YECs with their BCP.

Addendum (12/2018): The DCP could perhaps better be called the Designer and Builder Postulate (DBP). Intelligent design implicates a designer, and there must also be a builder to implement the design. This designer and builder is not necessarily a creator in the sense of creatio ex nihilo. What is necessary is that the design should be intelligible to us and that the making should be possible.

A demi-creator for science

Creationists reject what might be called the Deep Time Postulate (DTP): that long stretches of time existed before the earliest humans ever lived. The DTP enables uniformitarianism in geology, evolution of all species in biology, and evolution of the solar system in astronomy. DTP enables science to insert a kind of history before history, that is, before written records or human artifacts.

Without the DTP, less than ten thousand years have transpired in the universe, that is, the time since humans and other living kinds appeared on the earth as determined from human artifacts and records. Instead of the DTP, creationists accept what might be called the Demi-Creator Postulate (DCP): that a demi-creator exists (or existed) who formed the earth and celestial bodies as well as the kinds of organisms that originally populated the earth. The DCP enables large-scale catastrophism in geology and creation in biology and astronomy.

Why “demi-creator” instead of Creator? The answer is that science does not use scriptures and so a scientific creator lacks the full range of characteristics that a theological Creator would have. For the purpose of science all that is necessary is a being like Plato’s demiurge*, who is like us but with much greater power and intelligence. I am calling this being a “demi-creator” since it is a partial creator. Whether it is the same being as the Creator of the theologians is for them to decide. For science a creator-type being is like us, not creating from nothing but forming a product from something else.

From the existence of a demi-creator one may infer that the creation is intelligible by us and that it exhibits features that are recognizable by us as intelligently designed. From knowledge of some parts of the creation, we may be able to infer the character of other parts, since they would exhibit similar characteristics, as a design engineer implements an overall design in every part.

One consequence of the DCP is that the creation is finite because a demi-creator is only capable of what we could do given greater intelligence and power. Creationists take this as supporting the creation of a finite number of different kinds of organisms. Different kinds of organisms likely exhibit similar design features, in what those who accept the DTP would call convergent evolution.

* The demi in demiurge is not from demi, meaning half or partial, but from demos, common people; nevertheless, it suggests something less than divine.

Thoughts on science and history

History is diachronic. Science is synchronic.

History is a narrative of time. Science is a theory of space.

A scientist sees two things and notices their similarities. An historian sees two things and notices their differences.

A scientist seeks what is universal that explains. An historian seeks what is unique that explains.

For science the default inference is to a universal nature. For history the default inference is to a unique particular.

A history of science is not a science. A science of history is not a history.

Historical science universalizes recent history. Historicism particularizes universal science.

Scientific history, or a science of history, is pseudo-history because it devalues particulars and overvalues universals.

Evolution is a theory of history presented as a science. Whig history is a philosophy of science presented as a history.

Science and history posts

Posts on science and history:

10/17/2018 – Science and history once more

July 27, 2018 – Science or stories

3/13/2018 – Science and history again

2/19/2018 – Distinguishing history and science

January 17, 2017 – Combining history and science

September 19, 2016 – History and science once again

December 15, 2015 – From history to nature

August 8, 2015 – Science in history

February 21, 2015 – History and science

October 12, 2014 – Science and history again

January 21, 2014 – Science and history

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Mean speed and pace

Speed of a motion is the time rate of length change, that is, the length interval with respect to a timeline interval without regard to direction. Pace of a motion is the space rate of time change, that is, the time interval with respect to a stance line interval without regard to direction.

The symbol for speed is v = Δst and for pace is u = Δts. Instantaneous speed is ds/dt. Punctaneous pace is dt/ds.

There are two kinds of mean speed or pace: the time mean and the space mean. The time mean is the arithmetic mean if the denominators are a common time interval. The space mean is the arithmetic mean if the denominators are a common space interval. The time mean is the harmonic mean if the denominators are a common space interval. If the denominators are a common time interval, the space mean is the harmonic mean.

The time mean speed (TMS) is the arithmetic mean of speeds with a common time interval. The time mean pace (TMP) is the harmonic mean of paces with a common time interval. For example, the travel distance for vehicles on a highway during a time period is measured. The time mean speed or pace may then be calculated.

The space mean pace (SMP) is the arithmetic mean of paces with a common space interval. The space mean speed (SMS) is the harmonic mean of speeds with a common space interval. For example, the travel time for vehicles over a length of highway is measured. The space mean speed or pace may then be calculated.

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