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Science: Wishful Thinking?


We have all heard it: the idea of a beautiful equation that makes sense of the world around us. One method of thinking that leads to ultimate understanding when applied to any thing at it’s most basic level- perhaps this equation is that most basic level. The idea that the universe emerged, from nothingness, yet always has been, perhaps with a net value of zero, yes, we have heard quite a bit… of speculation.
Science starts with questioning, then a careful plan is made to put our questions to the test- we have so many questions. Data is collected concerning our test, and is then interpreted to make sense of what actually happened. And then, creative as our minds are, we ponder the implications, and speculate the possibilities, and hope for beautiful uniformity- we already believe it to exist, we are simply looking for it. [Many will argue the opposite, that science is an endeavor to find uniform but to find actuality, or even chaos. Those people will surely place the same ideas on their laws of logic or language, and philosophically it follows that the most basic form of existence could not be built on such shaky grounds to produce such stable building.] Does this single unifying, omni-understanding equation truly exist?
Some people talk about evolution as if it were this unifying idea. Others speak of Quantum Mechanics as if it were this unifying idea- once we understand the inconsistencies of the quantum realm, then we can start to break down all of existence into beautiful little sequences potentially to understand them in full.
I’d like to break the new to you, now, if you would grant me the opportunity. Hope in a God, who answers the longing for transcendence in this lifetime, and offers meaning to an otherwise chaotic, and quite useless existence, who fills the simple longings of romance, and brotherhood, and nurtures like a good mother while steadily leading and correcting like a good father, and feeds the hungers of our hearts, in an otherwise hopeless world, is not wishful thinking. It becomes a psychological need, admittedly by many nonbelievers [note, non-belief does not eliminate the need, it merely acknowledges while pride suppresses it]. Many naturalistic thinkers will be very upset when I call their speculations and assumptions just that. And these speculations and assumptions are indeed wishful thinking. If one does disagree I will ask for evidence, and many will offer the opinions of others, perhaps with some facts and calculation about something similar, but in the end popular science argues conclusion and not evidence. It does not appeal to truth but to a certain kind of disguised hope. No, evolution does not answer morality, or the origins of life, or creation for that matter. To apply evolution there is to do injustice to the science, and is wishful thinking. To say quantum mechanics proves disorder and eliminates the myth of God is to ignore all other realms of science, and to ignore the incredible potential for understanding which has yet to be contained in the realm of quantum mechanics. To appeal to past offenses of religious groups, or current trends in religious community is to ignore the actual teachings of the particular religions, and is also completely unrelated to the evidence on which science is founded. Heb. 12 says “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Run with perseverance the race marked out for you by our Lord Jesus Christ.” I challenge the nonbeliever “Throw off everything that hinders, and the wishful thinking that so easily entangles. Run with perseverance the race marked out for you by __(Your_favorite_scientist)__.”

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  1. March 29, 2011 at 7:20 AM

    So let’s see if I’ve got this right: you are arguing that the method of inquiry we call science is wishful thinking and show that because evolution does not address abiogenesis or explain why nature is indifferent to the suffering of creatures within it, it it is not a unifying theory so it’s all just speculations and assumptions. But belief in god is not because… because… it’s a psychological need for hope in spite of causing behaviours like throwing acid in the faces of schoolgirls or fighting against the use of condoms.

    And you see nothing at all out of kilter with this… umm… interpretation?

  2. March 29, 2011 at 7:49 AM

    By their works they shall be known.

    Which one belongs where, religion or science?

    Antibiotics, genital mutilation, vaccines, laying on of hands, exorcisms, fMRI scans, evil spirits, digital circuitry, transsubstantiation, organ transplants, cell phones, manned space flight, satellites, nuclear power, internal combustion engine, hydro power, immaculate conception, ghosts, gene therapy….

    Which products come from ‘wishful thinking’ and which ones come from a psychological need for hope?

    Now do you see see how your framing of the differences is so poorly defined? Wishful thinking does not provide products that are consistent and reliable over time regardless of the specific beliefs of the user. The products of science do. Therefore science is not ‘wishful thinking’ nor are the medical procedures and products derived from our understanding of evolution merely assumptions and assertions of a different kind of belief. The difference is that they work, they are efficacious, they do provide us with understanding based on knowledge that is independent of beliefs yet equally applicable to all.

    • March 29, 2011 at 3:07 PM

      I’d like to quote you here, Tildeb: “Swing and a miss”
      I was not calling science wishful thinking. I was calling the speculations and conjecture, the “it might be this way” statements based loosely on science wishful thinking. Such as, life came sprouting from primordial soup. If I were to ask you for evidence, you would say, it could be possible because of… bla bla bla, but it has not been tested, and there are many other reasons it could not be possible that would have to be overcome. So no, science does not account for biogenesis, wishful thinking does. All of this Science vs. God conflict is actually just speculation and conjecture vs. [Said groups] theology. If naturalists are real about what the science actually tells us, and Christian theists are real about what the bible actually tells us, then there will be no conflict. At this point biogenesis wouldn’t play a role in science just as throwing acid in the faces of schoolgirls wouldn’t play a role in religion.
      I think you properly stated your thinking when you said the “products derived from our understanding of evolution” is not “understanding based on knowledge that is independent of beliefs.”
      Notice the knowledge independent from belief existed prior to any understanding of evolution, for that understanding is based on the independence from belief. Research based on non-belief is inescapably biased from the beginning. So your non-belief is not rooted in evidence that points to the conclusion that God does not exist, for you evolution is founded on the idea that God does not exist. Did you mean that?

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