Before we get started with the Scriptures, I would like to thank Sandra J. of Into the Light Adventures and Sandra J’s – Adventures Outdoors on Youtube. She sent me several photos of swans. Instead of combining photos of black and white swans, she had one photo with both which works nicely. Again, a big thank you for the image.
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
- Job 38:1-7
The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”
- 2 Chronicles 18:15
These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
- Colossians 2:17
“This inability to speak with any certainty about the future is called the problem of induction, and it was ﬁrst recognized by Hume in the 18th century. So what is inductive reasoning? Induction is the process of moving from a set of observed facts about the world to more general conclusions about the world. We expect that if we drop the ball it will fall to the ground because, at least according to Hume, we are generalizing from innumerable experiences of similar occasions on which we have found things like balls to fall to the ground when we release them.
“Deductive arguments could be said to be like computer programs—the conclusions they reach are only as good as the data that is fed into them. Deductive reasoning has an important role to play in the sciences, but on its own, it cannot say anything about the world. It can only say ‘If this is the case, then that is the case.’ And if we want to use such arguments in the sciences, we still must rely on induction for our premises, and so science is lumbered with the problem of induction.
“For this reason, according to Popper, we cannot prove our theories to be true. Moreover, what makes a theory scientiﬁc is not that it can be proved at all, but that it can be tested against reality and shown to be potentially false. In other words, a falsiﬁable theory is not a theory that is false, but one that can only be shown to be false by observation.”
- Sam Atkinson (senior editor), The Philosophy Book, Big Ideas Simply Explained
To tie the image with the topic: A classic Karl Popper (1902-1994) argument is that scientists observed for years that swans were white. From their observations, they “induced” that all swans were white. Then, a black swan was discovered. Obviously, this falsified the induced concept that all swans were white. Therefore, having been falsified, the scientific statement speaks of reality, in Popper’s view. But what scientific statement? We now know that swans can be black or white, and as Sandra J. suggests, the black swan’s red eyes are strikingly beautiful. But now Popper claims that the statement of “all swans are white” only gets closer to reality by being falsified. Strange. Can we not just state that we made a mistake and swans can be black and white? That is until we discover one that is purple with green eyes.
I do not know if I agree or disagree, like or dislike, Karl Popper. I have interests in both directions. Science, at least classic true science, is verifiable. We could never make a statement in college without verification, and usually with mathematical formulas to back up what we said. In the quote, he talks of a ball falling. The full experiment is that the ball falls at a specific angle and hitting a surface and bounces off at a particular angle. I got blue ribbons in the science fair my senior year in high school, both local and regional, by using Physics and Trigonometry on a bumper pool table. I had learned how to make repeatable shots on a bumper pool table that were proven by the laws of Physics. In one case, when you had scratched a shot, your ball was placed into a penalty area in the center of the table, and I showed how you could make a three-cushion bank shot if nothing was in your way. Repeatable! Scientific! Mathematical! And what Karl Popper would claim: “After making the shot a thousand times, you might do the same thing again and miss it. You could not possibly know for sure.” If I missed, it would be because I hit the ball slightly off or I missed my first mark on the cushions.
I am extremely happy that Karl Popper was not my teacher, having spent much of his life as a schoolteacher. Popper seems to be a blend of David Hume, who he patterned his induction philosophy from, and Voltaire who doubted everything. Yet, they consider him the foremost philosopher of science in the past century, when it seems he took good science and flushed it down the toilet.
Why is Popper wrong? Because, much of science is not just observation, science is mathematically proven. Let’s take the concept that electrical fields and magnetic fields are the results of the same phenomenon. James Clerk Maxwell studied electromagnetism and made observations. Yes, that is correct, but then he took the principles proven by Gauss and Faraday and applied algebra to solve the “unknown.” As a result, he produced four equations that explains this study of Physics, the Maxwell’s Equations. In college Physics, second semester in a Junior level course that I took as a freshman, we spent nearly half of the semester doing nothing but algebra – no observations and no inductive reasoning at all. When we were done, we had derived Maxwell’s equations from known mathematical expressions in Physics. And we also derived another equation, something that most people might have never heard of (a little sarcasm). Something about energy, mass, and the speed of light. You might wonder why such an odd combination of things, but when you do the math, a lot of the factors cancel each other out and that is what you are left with.
In understanding Physics and knowing the math formulas for many things, you too can derive Einstein’s famous mathematical expression. You will even learn what the source of the “mass” in the equation really is. And no, it is reality without falsification.
Sorry Karl Popper, but Einstein’s equation is deductive reasoning and plain old algebra and hard work. You can sit in your ivory tower and imagine that the ball that you drop will go up instead of down, defying gravity, but that does not mean that what you imagine will ever happen.
But the reason that I might like Popper’s concept is that science has the potential of being falsified. Science will win in the end unless we make rash statements without having enough data, but we can conceive of a ball floating out into space along with that neighbor who plays his music too loud at midnight floating into space to catch the ball… Sorry, I love my neighbor. It’s in the Bible.
But Karl Popper’s definition could apply to millions of years of our universe and evolution and if they were to be considered scientific, they must be considered not reality in that you cannot falsify them. Or if you insist that they are real, then they are not scientific. By observation, we cannot prove either of these theories. As some scientists state, as theories, evolution and millions of years are mere notions, notions that can be disproved, but never proven. We have no records older than the Bible, and oops, the Bible does not agree. These concepts are neither reality nor science. They require belief. Thus, they are a religion, and they should be removed from our schools.
And while there are observations that an increase in carbon dioxide emissions raises the climate’s temperature, they have never done the true scientific work to either derive the equations or falsify the induced reasoning from the observations. Where is the Maxwell of this age? Probably nowhere, since the money, coming from the politicians, goes to those who are willing to shout the alarm without doing their homework. Thus, are we to bankrupt all of civilization to prove something is either not real or not science? Yes, a little girl from Sweden can say, “Blah, blah, blah” to my question, but making emotional appeals does not prove their solution to Climate Change is science or reality. Yes, the world is getting hotter, but why? And is there anything that can be done about it?
But back to Popper, once we falsify science, we do not have reality. We have anarchy. Let true science be reality, for better or worse, and let God reign supreme. All this fake science is leading us down a path to destruction, but maybe that is part of God’s Plan for the End Times.
If you like these Tuesday morning essays about philosophy and other “heavy topics,” but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Tuesday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.