Assumptions As Evidence

<quote from Real Faith & Reason, vol 2>
To look at it another way, scientists often use assumptions as evidence. That means they’re calling made-up stuff “evidence.” Therefore, the so-called “evidence” is no more valid than the made-up stuff. And now we’ve gone to the root of the problem of confusing make-believe with reality.
As an example of this circular reasoning, those who are skeptical about Jesus are often suckers for fables about the distant past. While they use the circular reasoning we just mentioned to support the fables, they suffer from other problems. For example, those fables of big bang, billions of years, and molecules to humankind depend on many just-so stories to explain away the evidence, and such poor logic may indicate motivated reasoning. The human mind is deceitful and desperately wicked, and it deceives through loopy logic.
<end quote>
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Evolution Doesn’t Work

<quote from Real Faith & Reason, vol 2>

Even if a theory predicts accurately, accurate predictions can’t prove theories. We’ll cover the prediction argument next, but, in short, prediction-as-proof is a formal fallacy known as affirming the consequent.

<end quote>

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Proving Theories?

<quote from Real Faith & Reason, vol 2>

Suppose a speculative explanation becomes a legitimate theory. A problem develops when the theorist makes the mistake of thinking observation has confirmed the theory. The theory goes beyond the observations. Therefore, the observation can’t prove the theory. However, schools teach students the observations prove theories, so they’re teaching irrational thinking. Here are the irrational steps:

  1. A scientist makes up a hypothesis to explain the observed and experienced facts.
  2. The scientist compares observations and experiences to the explanation.
  3. They don’t conflict, so the hypothesis is labeled “theory.” [That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong yet. The blunder is in the next step.]
  4. The scientist uses the observations and experiences to prove the explanation. [That’s circular reasoning.]

Some people think they’ve observed the explanation. Then they apply the label “scientific fact” to this circular reasoning.

Even if a theory predicts accurately, accurate predictions can’t prove theories. We’ll cover the prediction argument next, but, in short, prediction-as-proof is a formal fallacy known as affirming the consequent.

<end quote>

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Theories Prove Nothing

<quote from Real Faith & Reason, vol 2>

Another problem develops in calling a theory a “scientific fact.” A theory speculates to explain a set of scientific facts. Scientists determined the scientific facts by repeatedly observing and testing, so they have tested the facts. Scientists made up the theory to extend beyond what scientists observed and experienced, so they can’t test the theory. Therefore, even though we can repeatedly test and confirm observations and experiences, we can’t repeatedly test and confirm explanations other than to test to see if they conform to the current observations and experiences. We can’t test theories since theories, by their nature, go beyond what we can test. Scientists propose predictability as a way to test theories, but we’ll discuss the problems of the predictability way of knowing in the next section.

A theory isn’t an observation but rather a speculative explanation of an observation that goes beyond the observation. We can repeatedly observe to verify the observation. We can check to see whether any part of the explanation conflicts with any part of the observation. However, speculative explanations of observations consist of made-up stuff. We can’t observe or test speculative explanations because they go beyond what we can observe or test.

Here’s where the irrational error comes in. First, a theorist makes up a speculative explanation for a set of observations. Then the theorist uses those observations to prove the explanation has changed to the status of a theory. However, that’s merely a check to make sure the explanation doesn’t conflict with the observations. It doesn’t prove the theory is part of reality. The theorist confirms the explanation isn’t in conflict anywhere with what scientists observe. Sometimes, a theory conflicts with observation, which means the scientist created a weak theory. A desperate theorist may make up a just-so story to explain away parts of the conflict and rescue the speculative explanation. This just-so story is known as a “rescuing hypothesis.” In that case, the theorist can’t legitimately call the speculative explanation “a scientific theory.” However, most scientists accept some stories they must prop up with rescuing hypotheses. They illegitimately call these stories “theories.”

<end quote>

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Speculation or Revelation

<quote from Real Faith & Reason, vol 2>

Another problem develops in calling a theory a “scientific fact.” The problem is that a theory speculates to explain a set of scientific facts. Scientists determined the scientific facts by repeatedly observing and testing, so they have tested the facts. Scientists made up the theory to extend beyond what scientists observed and experienced, so they can’t test the theory. Therefore, even though we can repeatedly test and confirm observations and experiences, we can’t repeatedly test and confirm explanations other than to test to see if they conform to the current observations and experiences. We can’t test theories since theories, by their nature, go beyond what we can test. Scientists propose predictability as a way to test theories, but we’ll discuss the problems of the predictability way of knowing in the next section.

A theory isn’t an observation but rather a speculative explanation of an observation that goes beyond the observation. We can repeatedly observe to verify the observation. We can check to see whether any part of the explanation conflicts with any part of the observation. However, speculative explanations of observations consist of made-up stuff. We can’t observe or test speculative explanations because they go beyond what we can observe or test.

Here’s where the irrational error comes in. First, a theorist makes up a speculative explanation for a set of observations. Then the theorist uses those observations to prove the explanation has changed to the status of a theory. However, that’s merely a check to make sure the explanation doesn’t conflict with the observations. It doesn’t prove the theory is part of reality. The theorist confirms the explanation isn’t in conflict anywhere with what scientists observe. Sometimes, a theory conflicts with observation, which means the scientist created a weak theory. A desperate theorist may make up a just-so story to explain away parts of the conflict and rescue the speculative explanation. This just-so story is known as a “rescuing hypothesis.” In that case, the theorist can’t legitimately call the speculative explanation “a scientific theory.” However, most scientists accept some stories they must prop up with rescuing hypotheses. They illegitimately call these stories “theories.”

<end quote>

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Real Facts

<quote from Real Faith & Reason, vol 2>

Scientific facts are not facts in the sense that real facts are facts. Real facts are parts of reality. Scientific facts aren’t necessarily parts of reality. They’re what scientists will admit they have observed so far. Reality doesn’t change just because minds change. And no amount of testing can change reality. Reality is what exists, and truth is what exists. So, what is a real fact? It’s what exists. But scientists define “fact” much more loosely. Unlike real facts, scientific facts change over time if opinions change.

To make matters worse, in general conversation, the word “fact” means a statement. When people make statements, they think they’re stating facts. And the more fiercely they believe the statement, the more factual they think it is. So someone will say, “Let’s examine the facts,” and then list several unproven statements as if they were facts. As we can see, fog surrounds the word “fact.”

<end quote>

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Two Definitions of the Word Fact

<quote from Real Faith & Reason, vol 2>

Regarding facts, two definitions for the word “fact” exist. OK, more than these two exist, but we’ll focus on the two: fact and scientific fact. It would seem that a scientific fact would be even more of a fact than just a plain old fact, but the opposite is the case.

For the plain old fact definition, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “fact” this way:

1 : something that truly exists or happens : something with actual existence

2 : a true piece of information

A fact is true. But to know it’s true we must prove it. Proof is absolute, or it’s just a suggestion. However, if it’s possible that, sometime in the future, we could find out we were wrong, we don’t know that it’s true. While lies and misconceptions about reality change if they’re exposed, truth doesn’t change based on new information. Reality doesn’t change based on new information. In contrast, opinions about truth and reality do change based on new information. Facts are absolute, or they aren’t facts.

Contrast Webster’s definition of “fact with the National Center for Science and Education’s definition of “scientific fact”:

In science, an observation that has been repeatedly confirmed and for all practical purposes is accepted as “true.” Truth in science, however, is never final and what is accepted as a fact today may be modified or even discarded tomorrow.

<end quote>

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God Reveals. Humanity Guesses.

If God reveals why and how, then we can know.

Otherwise, we’re just guessing.

<quote from Real Faith & Reason, vol 2>

It might help to return to the scientific method of Francis Bacon:

  1. observation
  2. induction
  3. hypothesis
  4. test hypothesis by experiment
  5. proof/disproof
  6. knowledge

We can apply this method to gravity.

  1. Observe objects all fall at the same rate.
  2. Use inductive reasoning to say this observation might apply universally.
  3. Develop a hypothesis. All objects will fall at the same rate if we can eliminate other factors like air resistance.
  4. Develop experiments to prove that all objects (at least the ones tested) fall at the same rate.
  5. Prove that all objects (at least the ones tested) fall at the same rate.
  6. Know that all objects (at least the ones tested) fall at the same rate. That has become a scientific fact.

We can notice this scientific method works for knowing what gravity does. However, the competing theories of gravity all try to guess why gravity works. What are we comparing? Where’s the difference? We know our observation of what gravity does isn’t the same as trying to guess why gravity does what it does. The first is observing. The second is guessing. Therefore, unless we can test and prove or disprove those theories, we don’t have a way that we can apply Francis Bacon’s scientific method to them.

There’s a huge difference between these two statements:

 Fact: All objects fall to the ground at the same rate.

 Theory: Gravity isn’t a force but rather a consequence of the curvature of spacetime caused by the uneven distribution of mass/energy.

The first is a scientific fact, but the second statement is the most popular theory. We don’t have a way, at present, to repeatedly test the theory to see whether the theory is true even in a tentative scientific way. By the way, Einstein received this theory in a moment of inspiration, so it may be a revelation from God.

The point we’re seeing is that there’s a difference between facts and theories. Let’s take a moment to apply this difference to what’s called “The Big Bang Theory,” the theoretical age of the earth, the study of abiogenesis, and what’s called “The Theory of Evolution.” What have scientists observed? Mostly rocks, deposits, fossils, and living organisms. We can repeatedly test rocks, deposits, fossils, and living organisms with experiments and observe the results. We can’t test the stories that go beyond what we can test or observe. We shouldn’t have to state this obvious fact. Yet, some people don’t get it.

<end quote>

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Observation, Fact, Law, Theory

<quote from Real Faith & Reason, vol 2>

Scientific Observation, Fact, Law, and Theory

An ungodly thinker said the following:

“If we test a theory under various conditions and controls, over time, it becomes fact. If every scientist has tested the theory of gravity and finds that under every possible condition, objects fall to earth at the same rate, gravity becomes a fact.”

By creating ambiguity, this statement blurs the difference between these four:

  • scientific observation
  • scientific fact
  • scientific law
  • scientific theory

The ungodly thinker who wrote the claim above confused himself by not knowing the difference between these four: observation, fact, law, and theory. For clarification, theories of gravity are stories about why and how gravity works, but we can’t observe the stories.

On the other hand, we can test the scientific facts regarding gravity, and we can also test the scientific law of gravity. We can observe objects falling to earth at the same rate. But this observation isn’t a theory of gravity. It’s observation rather than theory. We observe facts regarding gravity and the Law of Gravity.

However, scientists made up all the various theories of gravity. Each one of these theories is consistent with the observed facts. However, they also go beyond what we observe. They try to explain what we observe. Whatever goes beyond observation and experience springs from either made-up stuff or divine revelation. While we shouldn’t have to tell anyone this obvious fact, some thinkers misunderstand this simple reality. They learned irrationality from one source or another and don’t know the difference between a theory and an observed fact.

We can look at various theories of gravity, but they can’t all be right. They could all be wrong since we can’t test the various theories of gravity. Instead, these theories are mere speculative explanations of what scientists observed. We can’t observe scientists’ stories about possible causes for the Law of Gravity, so although these explanations might not conflict with what we observe, lack of conflict doesn’t prove the explanation. Neither does conforming to observation prove the explanation.

Even so, it’s not uncommon for thinkers to confuse scientific laws with scientific theories. As a case in point, we may hear or read of an exchange where someone says, “Evolution is just a theory.” In response, someone who doesn’t know the difference between scientific law and scientific theory will then say, “What about gravity?” Worse yet, they may go further and confuse scientific theory with scientific fact by saying, “Evolution is scientific fact.” Because the education system failed to teach the differences, some confused thinkers are dogmatic and self-assured.

For illustration, imagine a mom who asks her little boy, “How did the peanut butter get on the floor?” The little boy says, “I don’t know.” But the mom can’t find a way to test whether the little boy knew. The little boy’s theory is that he doesn’t know, while the mom has two theories. She thinks either the little boy or his dad got the peanut butter on the floor, and she thinks that the guilty party does know. But no one confesses. No eyewitness comes forward, and the mom’s theories remain theories because she can’t test the theories.

In summary, the mom has two theories, the little boy has a theory, and all three theories match the observations perfectly. The mom can’t find exceptions to any of the theories. Therefore, no matter how we test the observation of the peanut butter, the theories remain theories and don’t become facts.

<end quote>

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Theories and Circular Reasoning

<quote from Real Faith & Reason, vol 2>
Theories as a Way of Knowing
It’s popular to believe that theories bring us to understand reality as it is, and we’ve heard about theoretical science as opposed to empirical science. The word “empirical,” as in “empirical science,” means “by experience.” Empirical science isn’t theoretical science, and theoretical science isn’t empirical science. Instead, empirical science experiments and repeatedly observes, whereas theories make up stuff to go beyond observation and experience.
So empirical science is repeatable and verifiable experience and observation. In empirical science, we experiment to observe and experience a process and result. Then other people repeat this experiment and experience and observe the same thing.
As stated, theoretical science goes beyond experience when scientists try to guess why they might be observing what they’re observing. Of course, guesses can be correct or incorrect, and most guesses aren’t just a single guess but many guesses. So when we combine many guesses, some can be correct and some incorrect. As a result, the complex overall guess can be partly true, and something only partly true can be deceptive. In fact, many of the most deceptive and destructive lies are almost completely true with a little untruth mixed in. We need to remember that made-up stories, conceptual frameworks, theories, propositions, ideas, or other forms of made-up stuff aren’t the same as truth. We need to be aware of how easily we can accept these lies and insert them into our worldviews.
“Analysis of historical experience and the study of relevant sources again and again show the opposite of that which the positivists are yearning to cull from the chronicles of science. Scientific theories did not arise from experiments but IN EVERY SINGLE CASE designed by contemporary philosophical systems and the basic principles of religion and worldview.” ~ W Bohm
Theories explain by speculating about what we can’t observe or experience. We can get information from our five natural senses, but theories try to go beyond that. Theories are stories that we make up when we’re trying to explain what we can’t know through observation. And these stories expand observations and take observations out of their contexts. So, if we claim that the observations also prove that the stories are true, we commit the circular reasoning fallacy.
We don’t want to do science in circular reasoning fallacies. Facts are observations like rock layers or fossils. Scientists make up theories to fit the facts. The theories are stories about the facts that go beyond the facts. Scientists want to confirm the stories. They want to prove the stories are true. They have no way to do that, so they resort to circular reasoning. They already made up the stories so the stories fit the facts. Then, they check to see if the stories fit the facts. Well, of course, they do. They made them up to fit the facts. They then claim an irrational level of confidence in the stories that go beyond the facts. Scientists become con artists with this trick. They think with circular reasoning fallacies.
We don’t want to do science in circular reasoning fallacies. Facts are observations like rock layers or fossils. Scientists make up theories to fit the facts. The theories are stories about the facts that go beyond the facts. Scientists want to confirm the stories. They want to prove the stories are true. They have no way to do that, so they resort to circular reasoning. They already made up the stories so the stories fit the facts. Then, they check to see if the stories fit the facts. Well, of course, they do. They made them up to fit the facts. They then claim an irrational level of confidence in the stories that go beyond the facts. They think with circular reasoning fallacies.
We’re separating truth from fiction. Observations are one thing, but creative stories are another thing distinct from the observations. The stories are about the observations, but they aren’t the observations. Scientists don’t write stories that obviously conflict with what they observe. However, the stories are still stories, so if the stories avoid any obvious conflict with the observations, the lack of conflict doesn’t prove that the stories are true. Obviously, we can’t check the parts of the stories that go beyond experience and observation. And yet scientists and teachers often present theories as fact. They sometimes use coercion or bullying to create the illusion of truth by discouraging anyone from questioning or challenging the theories. As we consider this fallacy, it seems too obvious, and we might think that such obvious circular reasoning could fool no one. However, this exact method of circular reasoning has fooled millions of unsuspecting students worldwide, and it continues to do so.
<end quote>
#RealFaith&Reason
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