Three Claims of Uniformitarian Naturalism

Discussion in 'Religion' started by SetiAlpha6, May 27, 2020.

  1. SetiAlpha6 Come Let Us Reason Together Valued Senior Member

    Please prove all of the following claims scientifically.

    Claim 1
    Nature is all that exists.

    Claim 2
    Everything can, and indeed must, be explained by time plus chance plus the laws of nature working on matter.

    Claim 3
    Processes of geological change have always been operating in the past at the same rate, frequency and power as today.

    Please take your pick and prove absolutely, one or all, of these claims using only the
    Empirical Scientific Method and Repeatable Experimentation.

    Oh... and please show your work.

    Thanks, SetiAlpha6
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  3. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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  5. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    I was watching a video last night that told that tides were vastly different ..higher faster because the Moon was much closer... So your premise is perhaps not indicative of reality....and that is the start of it.
    What is your point?
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  7. Kristoffer Giant Hyrax Valued Senior Member

    He's a god-nut.
    That's about it.
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    They aren't scientific claims. They are philosophical ideas upon which science rests. So "proving" them scientifically might be misguided, or even impossible.

    The distinction between metaphysical and methodological naturalism arises here.

    We might need to define 'nature' first. Maybe a first approximation is the realm of being that's accessible to the human senses and their extensions, such as microscopes, telescopes, exploration vehicles, more specialized instruments and so on. It's actually more complicated than that, since things like abstract mathematical structures and possibilities arise in science, and need some kind of account.

    So I'd be inclined to say that methodological naturalism amounts to the in my opinion very defensible assertion that the scope of science is restricted to that kind of being with which we or our instruments can physically interact. In order to know something about something, we have to have some way of knowing about it.

    And metaphysical naturalism is the assertion that reality is limited to what we can physically interact with and that nothing can possibly exist that doesn't fall within the scope of science. I personally feel that this one is indefensible, so I won't make any attempt to defend it.

    Not exactly, There's natural selection, which obviously isn't chance. Sentient beings exist on Earth and perhaps elsewhere and they inject their plans and purposes. (I consider humans natural organisms.)

    Problems of reduction and emergence arise here. Can we fully account for the 'higher' manifestations of reality (biology, mind etc) purely in terms of subatomic particles and their physics? I very much doubt it.

    I can't "prove" it, but I kind of suspect that new principles come into play as reality becomes sufficiently complex to manifest the new principles.

    These would still be something along the lines of laws of nature though, even if they aren't always reducible to more elementary levels.

    I think of it like an electronic device. If we try to understand the device by examining all of its component parts in isolation, even if we understand all of the parts (a capacitor does this, a transistor that) we will never understand the device unless we understand how all the parts are organized and how they work together in concert.

    So I definitely don't think that subatomic physics will ever produce a real theory of everything. There are principles of things like biology that don't seem to me to emerge in any predictable way from any amount of knowledge of fundamental physics, even if the biology must always remains consistent with the physics.

    I'm not convinced of that one either. If the 'snowball' Earth speculations are true, if the Earth once was was locked in ice, with frozen icecap from the poles to the equator, then geological processes would have been very different at that time. (The history of life seems to have been profoundly impacted, since multicellular eukaryotes seem to have appeared soon after the Earth thawed out. The 'Cambrian explosion' and all that.) Things were obviously different at the time the Earth was first forming from planetesimals in the early Sun's accretion disk. Things were different during the late heavy bombardment, the subsequent period when the Earth was suffering from a rain of 'plant killer' asteroid impacts. There's the hypothetical creation of the Moon by the Earth's collision with a Mars size protoplanet. There are the effects that life has had on the planet as well, such as the hypothetical oxygen holocaust, when photosynthetic bacteria took off and oxygen started to accumulate in the Earth's atmosphere for the first time. That would have inevitably impacted geochemistry and initiated many oxidation processes. The movement of plant life onto the dry land surface and the appearance of early forests clearly had major impacts. Weather and climate changed far more than anything that's been observed by man in his history, despite his having lived through several ice ages.

    I don't want to completely dismiss uniformatarianism, since it does make sense to try to understand landforms of today in terms of geological processes observed happening today, taking place over long geological time scales. One of the things I most loved about the introductory geology class that I took was how it enabled me to look at landforms with an appreciation for the deep time in which geological processes operate.
  9. SetiAlpha6 Come Let Us Reason Together Valued Senior Member

    So are you saying that the premise.... Uniformitarian Naturalism is “not indicative of reality”?
  10. SetiAlpha6 Come Let Us Reason Together Valued Senior Member

    So, it seems like you don’t think that the foundation of the scientific method is stable or provable?

    Is that correct? Perhaps I misunderstood you?

    Is there some other foundation, I am missing, that science is built on?

    Or is that all we have, just unproven claims and assumptions?
  11. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Well you tell me ..what is uniformitarian Naturalism... Moreover if you can be specific we can get somewhere..who knows it may even be where you are trying to lead us. You obviously have a point to make..why not present your point and then we will know what you are on about..if that helps..but I will be happy to argue against what you propose if that makes you happy.
    sculptor likes this.
  12. SetiAlpha6 Come Let Us Reason Together Valued Senior Member

    Hi Alex! How are you doing?

    A pleasure to talk with you again!!!

    Uniformitarian Naturalism seems to be an assumed foundation that at least part of science is based on, and which seems to make the three Claims I stated above.

    Empirical, Observational, Repeatable, and Testable, theories don’t seem to need these claims at all as a foundation.

    But other theories proposed, especially those concerning the historical past, do seem to be built upon these three Claims as bedrock foundations. Even Dating Techniques rely on these three, or am I out to lunch?

    So my question is...

    Can anyone prove these three claims or are they just assumed without proof?
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
  13. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    I am doing very well and thank you for asking, also I am happy that you find pleasure in our conversation, I only hope that I can contribute in some sort of way.

    OK I will give my uninformed input but will say it can only be very casual as it seems to be clearing here and I want to go photograph something in the night sky.

    As to number one...we would need to define "nature" I expect nature is all there is... so sure why not say that nature is all that exists if that also says the supernatural does not exist...I say there is no supernatural and that it is just made up nonsense and if anyone wishes to claim there is a supernatural anything perhaps they should make that claim supported with very powerful and compelling evidence or recognise they have nothing but make believe.

    As to number two...that statement leads me no place but I suspect you may have some difficulty excepting the evolution thing in general given time or rather the passing of time is important in being prepared to accept the change of species from one to another..the chance reference suggests you are coming from a certain place where believers interprete the appearance of life being explained such that all they hear is chance was the only opperative...all I can say that would be an over simplification premised upon a preconceived notion to reject anything that side has to offer anyways.

    Perhaps there is problems with understanding what has been proposed as the science is not that simple and in any event the"it is all a chance thing" is hardly relevant to a discussion in the sense you may suggest. As to three I have made a comment.
    Could it be that you want to somehow bring into disrepute evolution as you see it as somewhat writing creation out of the picture..I will assume that such is the case and say this..if evolution is shown to be flawed and in fact disregarded totally that does not make any case for god stronger because the god thing simp,y is an unsupported claim that has never met it's burden of proof and so it remains a simple unsupported claim. Take away faith and it does not have a thing going for it and given that faith is the acceptance of a notion just because leaves the god thing no more than an unsupported myth...which is ok but let's not take it past that place.
  14. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Well the clouds came in so I am back...however I don't think I can add to the above.
    As I said let's be specific rather than generalise...
  15. SetiAlpha6 Come Let Us Reason Together Valued Senior Member

    Thanks for your comments Alex!

    Claim 2 includes the phrase...
    “plus the laws of nature working on matter.”

    Is that not correct in your view?

    I would say that “Nature” in the above claim would mean something along the lines of... The Observable Physical Natural Universe.

    How has your pain level been lately! Seemed like you were having a lot of physical pain the last time we talked.

    Sorry, gotta get some sleep!
  16. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    You are welcome I just wish I could be more helpful.
    Yes indeed it does. What are the laws of nature? Kill or be killed or the laws we call physics?
    I try to avoid generalizing and although this is not always the case it will be the case here.
    OK but our train remains at the station.
    So terrible I don't complain about a tolerable level it becomes something to chat about but not now.
    Me too..I was up until 2-30 am only to have everything I had worked upon for two days crash with out any result and the combination of little sleep and disappointment of failure has me not at my best plus I really need to eat something ... thanks for chatting.
  17. foghorn Registered Senior Member

    Until shown otherwise.
    There's no ''musts'' with models. If something don't follow a model, then alter or change the model.
    Things might have been a bit more lively in Earth's younger days, according to models of the early solar system.
    Building models from available evidence and running those models backwards without coming up against something that can't be explained by that model. Change Model if stumped.

    What work?
  18. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Not entirely, but the OP certainly pushes that envelope.
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  19. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    You really shouldn't define a word by referencing that same word (or derivations thereof).
    Here you are defining "nature" with the term "natural" - and thus your definition is, alas, hollow.
    Can you try again with a definition?

    Can you provide a link that describes Uniformitarian Naturalism in more detail, please?
    I have Googled, and I have found plenty with regard Uniformitarianism, some of which even puts it at odds to Naturalism (e.g.
    Where, for example, have you established that the three claims in your OP are claims of Uniformitarian Naturalism?
    I would suggest that the third claim in your OP is rather just a parsimonious assumption until other information arises that refutes it.
    E.g. if you uncover a system that is behaving in a certain repeating way, it is parsimonious to assume that it did this in the past.
    You then take that assumption, run with it, make models by which the assumption can be tested with other data.
    If the tests pan out, great, the assumption survives; if not, revise the assumption until the model covers the new data as well.
    That is how science works.
    In turn:
    1) "Nature is all that exists."
    Well, you'd need to define what it means to exist, and this is a metaphysical issue.
    Science starts from such places, but can not be used to prove the assumption correct.
    Science also doesn't "prove", but merely reaches a high probability of something being consistent with reality.
    Can maths, therefore, prove the claim (mathematics being where "proof" can be found)?
    As much as, without further elaboration of what the terms mean, it can prove that Szark is Thumst.

    2) "Everything can, and indeed must, be explained by time plus chance plus the laws of nature working on matter."
    There are many philosophers who would argue that there is zero chance in the game at all, just a lack of understanding of the precise workings of the "laws of nature", or a lack of understanding of the way the pieces are positioned, such that "chance" becomes a convenient means of forecasting possible outcomes in the absence of such knowledge.
    Others would argue that chance is inherent in the structure of the universe, that even with such knowledge of the pieces and the workings, that the outcome is indeterministic.
    So it depends on how one is defining "chance" in this regard: is it simply due to a lack of knowledge that could be known, or is it inherent despite knowing?
    Further, if the latter, then "chance" becomes a law of nature, and thus either way the "plus chance" is simply not needed in your claim.
    As to it being assumed without proof, it is, as mentioned before, parsimonious to do so until such time as it can be shown to be an incorrect assumption.
    Those who make this assumption do so because it tallies with their experience of reality, and has yet to be shown to be false.
    Can such a philosophical idea be proven?
    I'm not sure.

    3) "Processes of geological change have always been operating in the past at the same rate, frequency and power as today."
    I think this is open to considerable debate.
    Not being a geologist but surely the solidifying of Earth's inner core has had an impact on the geology of our planet - whether frequency, amplitude etc?
    But again, it is probably a reasonable parsimonious assumption to make, without proof, until such time as other data requires a revision in the assumption.
    Has it been proven, or can it be proven?
    To the first: not that I know of.
    To the second: what would proof look like?
  20. SetiAlpha6 Come Let Us Reason Together Valued Senior Member

    I have no problem with anyone disagreeing with the exact words I used. No problem at all!

    My thought is that, if Science is ever based on unprovable assumptions, whatever they are, and however they are best stated, then the particular conclusions that have been based substantially on these assumptions could actually be wrong, if the assumptions are wrong.

    And if that happens I would think that people could be deliberately or unintentionally manipulated or deceived into believing a great number of wrong things. This seems like a kinda fair statement to me at least.

    And if you disagree with my definition of “Nature”, fine! I love that!

    I just request that you kindly submit your own definition as a substitute and correction.

    So in your own words, would you please state the assumptions that Science is based on.

    Hopefully, you will be able to do a better job than I did.
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
  21. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Faith is belief without evidence.
    Science is the study of the behaviour and nature of the universe around us and everything in it...governed by the scientific methodology and observational and experimental evidence.
    Philosophy [as per link] is a way of thinking about the world, the universe, and society. It works by asking very basic questions about the nature of human thought, the nature of the universe, and the connections between them. The ideas in philosophy are often general and abstract.
  22. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    The assumptions of science?
    These six assumptions are common to all the disciplines, to all scientists:
    • Nature is orderly, and the laws of nature describe that order. ...
    • We can know nature. ...
    • All phenomena have natural causes. ...
    • Nothing is self evident. ...
    • Knowledge is derived from acquisition of experience. ...
    • Knowledge is superior to ignorance.
    or a more detailed answer here.........

    Let me now ask you one question in return.
    What are the assumptions of ID, and/or creationism?
  23. SetiAlpha6 Come Let Us Reason Together Valued Senior Member

    Ok, thank you!

    So if we go with these 6 assumptions can we prove any of them, or even one of them scientifically or otherwise?
    Last edited: May 29, 2020

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