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    Colbert Report: Science Is The Only Source Of Truth?

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    Paeter
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    Colbert Report: Science Is The Only Source Of Truth?

    Post  Paeter on July 13th 2011, 1:04 pm

    Posted from my blog

    During my lunch break I sometimes watch The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. I liked them both better when they weren't as politically charged (The Daily Show for years and Colbert for just a few weeks). But I tune in these days to keep my hand on the pulse of pop-philosophy, the current trends of which I think both shows represent well.

    The Colbert Report in particular seems to enjoy mocking an over simplified version of Christianity or at least Catholicism.

    The show I watched yesterday had an interview with a "skeptic" named Michael Shermer.

    Here's the video link:

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/391554/july-11-2011/michael-shermer

    In the interview, he claims that the only way to be sure that what we believe is true is through science. I'd like to give him the chance to correct or clarify his position, because that assumption not only doesn't stand up to logical evaluation, it defeats itself.

    In the interview, Colbert responded to Shermer's claim by pointing out that the claim he is making is itself just another belief. (Colbert did this in a comedic sort of way that makes me wonder if he realizes how strong his counter-argument really is when stated more cleanly.)

    Let's take the truth claim "Science is the only way by which we can know if something is true or not" and call that "A".

    "A" cannot be tested by the scientific method. There is no experiment that could be designed to conclusively prove that "A" is true. It is a philosophical assumption, not a scientific conclusion.


    Shermer admitted that science is "just another belief" but claimed the difference is that science has built into it "self-correcting machinery that says if you don't look for evidence to debunk your belief, someone else will".

    The problem is that science is not the only system that does this. Science deals specifically with the realm of observable phenomena. But logical deduction also has the same systems in place. We can deduce a lot of things without the aid of the scientific method. So Shermer is limiting his ability to discern truth WAY more than he should, by the sound of it.

    Who knows? Maybe when he says "science", he means "critical analysis and logical deduction". I guess I could read his book to find out, but something tells me there are better minds out there writing books from the skeptic/atheist position and that Shermer is not doing them any favors.


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    WhiteBoy
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    Re: Colbert Report: Science Is The Only Source Of Truth?

    Post  WhiteBoy on July 13th 2011, 2:38 pm

    How many times has scientific "truths" had to changed?


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    Re: Colbert Report: Science Is The Only Source Of Truth?

    Post  Hackmodford on July 13th 2011, 3:58 pm

    Can you give an example of a scientific "proof" that had to be changed?


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    WhiteBoy
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    Re: Colbert Report: Science Is The Only Source Of Truth?

    Post  WhiteBoy on July 13th 2011, 6:27 pm

    There's nothing smaller than an atom.


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    Re: Colbert Report: Science Is The Only Source Of Truth?

    Post  mindspike on July 14th 2011, 12:53 am

    A living cell is homogeneous.
    The sun revolves around the earth.
    The body's health depends upon the balance of humours.

    Or howabout one of my favorites:
    The void between the spheres is composed primarily of aether, which is the primary substance necessary for life.


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    Re: Colbert Report: Science Is The Only Source Of Truth?

    Post  Hackmodford on July 14th 2011, 9:03 am

    Sounds like these "ideas" were either pre science or just theories.


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    Re: Colbert Report: Science Is The Only Source Of Truth?

    Post  WhiteBoy on July 14th 2011, 10:06 am

    I'm curious... when do you suppose science began? Smile

    No, they were the beliefs of scientists. Passionately held beliefs. Sincerely believed to be true. My point is by it's very nature, science is constantly expanding our knowledge of what things are and how they work. Things once thought to be true (in some cases people were killed for believing otherwise) have been proved to be inaccurate over time. The truth/reality didn't change; our *understanding* of it changed.

    I expect a similar thing will happen with evolution at some point in the future.


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    Re: Colbert Report: Science Is The Only Source Of Truth?

    Post  Hackmodford on July 14th 2011, 10:08 am

    Isn't real science considered to have started around the time of Galileo?


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    Re: Colbert Report: Science Is The Only Source Of Truth?

    Post  mindspike on July 14th 2011, 12:25 pm

    Scientific methodology and a fundamental knowledge of chemistry, physics, astronomy, and engineering has been around since Genesis 6, or if you wish to draw from purely secular sources then I submit as evidence the pyramids, fireworks, metalworking, and shipbuilding.

    Science is, as has been stated, the process of replication of observable phenomenon. "Science" didn't begin with Galileo, but the Renaissance did not begin a move toward scientific methodology, but a move away from scientific methodology that acknowledged philosophy and religion as its foundation.

    One of the unique things about Christianity is the fact that its chief tenets and foundational statements withstand the scientific method (replicable/observable), applied logic (consistent/non-fallacious) and the rules of evidence (corroboration/demonstrable). No other religion or philosophy in the world can make that claim, with the exception of universal determinism - a philosophy which confirms the validity of Christian thought without acknowledging the personhood of God.


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