How do you determine if your Belief System is True, Gary?

Evangelical Christian:

You claim to know what is true and what is a delusion. How do you know? On what basis do you claim to know that your belief system is true?

Gary:

Well, there are many perspectives on reality in the world. Some cultures believe in witches, wizards, voodoo, extra-terrestials, and other supernatural realms. These perspectives on reality certainly could be true. I cannot prove them wrong, but since they cannot prove their views right other than with subjective feelings, intuition, and personal experiences which they believe validate their supernatural beliefs, I choose the scientific method, as I find it the most reliable and reproducible.

So therefore I choose to base my belief in reality on what can be proven by the scientific method.

Evangelical Christian:

I understand you to be responding that the Scientific Method is the basis of your claim to know that your belief system is true. What, in your opinion, is the Scientific Method?

Gary:

The scientific method:

Science is best defined as a careful, disciplined, logical search for knowledge about any and all aspects of the universe, obtained by examination of the best available evidence and always subject to correction and improvement upon discovery of better evidence. What’s left is magic. And it doesn’t work. — James Randi
 
It took a long while to determine how is the world better investigated. One way is to just talk about it (for example Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, stated that males and females have different number of teeth, without bothering to check; he then provided long arguments as to why this is the way things ought to be). This method is unreliable: arguments cannot determine whether a statement is correct, this requires proofs.

A better approach is to do experiments and perform careful observations. The results of this approach are universal in the sense that they can be reproduced by any skeptic. It is from these ideas that the scientific method was developed. Most of science is based on this procedure for studying Nature.

Evangelical Christian:

My question was “What, in your opinion, is the Scientific Method?”

I did not ask for a definition of science or a history lesson. There are certain steps that one must follow in order to be understood as using the Scientific Method. You claim the Scientific Method is the basis of your knowledge that your belief system is true. I do not want to assume that you consider the same steps that I do comprise the Scientific Method. I am not certain that these steps are universally accepted. The steps I learned long ago in school are:

 1. Gather data
2, Form a hypothesis
3. Test the hypothesis
4. Form a theory

You may have a different understanding of what the Scientific Method is, but if it is a method, it will consist of certain steps. What, in your opinion, are those steps?

Gary:

Yes, I would agree with your definition, but I would add one more step:

5. Communicate your findings so that others may test your theory

Also, in the scientific method, there are no sacred cows. There is no such thing as an absolute, inerrant belief or law. If new evidence proved the “Law of Gravity” false, the “law” would be tossed out. There is also no appealing to the supernatural or to magic. All testing is in the realm of the natural, not the supernatural.

If you want to discuss supernatural claims, we must agree to examine them by natural means not examine them with appeals to faith.

If we can agree to all the above, we may proceed with an agreed upon basis of discussion.

Evangelical Christian:

“Science is best defined as a careful, disciplined, logical search for knowledge about any and all aspects of the universe, obtained by examination of the best available evidence and always subject to correction and improvement upon discovery of better evidence.”

 In other words, you are your own God. And, here is the kicker: once you reject the God of the Bible and Christ His Son there is only one choice left and that’s what you’ve chosen. There are many things the scientific method does not and cannot address, so, science leaves you to your own devices, which brings us back to you being your own god…again.

“If you want to discuss supernatural claims, we must agree to examine them by natural means not examine them with appeals to faith.”

Here’s the problem: you, believing that you are God, deny that the true God has any claim on your life, all the while He gives you breath in your hostility toward Him, which, said breath, the scientific method CANNOT exhaustively explain.  So, you being ignorant of MANY things, still assert that you are God. This is the height of arrogance. In any rational society, you’d be locked away in a padded room, but you fit right in, here, in this irrational society.

An ignorant lord, is no Lord at all.

You’ve claimed Lordship of your own life, this, while living in ignorance, which, the scientific method cannot erase. You should come to the conclusion that you are unqualified to be the lord of your life and seek wisdom in some other place. But, being arrogant, you will not.

Gary:

You are using the logical fallacy of “begging the question”. You have already concluded that the Christian god exists prior to giving any evidence to confirm that belief. So based on your a priori belief that your god exists, you condemn me for not accepting him as God, the Creator.

If you can prove to me that the Christian god is the Creator God of the universe, I will believe you. But you must prove he exists by the scientific method. Appeals to faith, which is simply another word for unfounded superstition, are not acceptable in our modern, educated world. We no longer believe in witches, warlocks, goblins, and the Boogeyman just because someone says they exist. There are millions of superstitious beliefs on this planet, and many of them are exclusivist. We therefore cannot play it safe and believe all the superstitions that exist. We must examine each claim presented to us on a case by case basis and discard them as baseless unless they can be verified with the scientific method.

You would not accept the superstitions of some witch doctor shaking his tom toms and poking needles into voodoo dolls so why should anyone believe your supernatural superstitions?  Do you see what I’m getting at, Eric? In order to sort out fact from fiction, we must have some reliable, reproducible means of examining these claims, and so far, the scientific method has proven the most reliable.

To your last point, how can I know that I am truly “ignorant” or wrong unless I have a means of determining if I am wrong? Are you saying I should simply accept the Christian holy book as de facto truth without having a means to verify that claim?

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