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Re: [ontolog-forum] Dennett on the Darwinism of Memes

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Barkmeyer, Edward J" <edward.barkmeyer@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2013 12:43:06 -0400
Message-id: <63955B982BF1854C96302E6A5908234417DD0A2531@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
I suppose this is what happens when we talk about our technology as "ontology".
I am sure I will regret even contributing to this discussion.  But fools rush 
in ...    (01)

Pat Hayes wrote:    (02)

> The basic scientific argument against the existence of God is that there is
> absolutely no observational evidence for the existence of a God, nor any
> reason to hypothesise such an entity in order to explain anything that is
> observable.     (03)

I agree that this is the basic scientific argument.  Now, I propose to play 
"Devil's Advocate".    (04)

Assuming we hypothesize the Big Bang to dispense with creation myths, how did 
the Big Bang itself come to be?  
"And God said, Let there be light. And there was light."  (Genesis 1: 3)    (05)

That one biblical passage associates the prevalent scientific theory, now based 
on extensive observation, with an answer to the question the theory doesn't try 
to answer.  I don't have to believe that it is true (the "leap of faith"), in 
order to recognize something that is now taken to be observable and is not 
explained by modern scientific theory.  It is, of course, possible that some 
yet less-than-understood phenomenon like "dark energy" might be the predecessor 
and explain the Big Bang, but the question is currently still open.      (06)

> A very straightforward application of Occam's principle then suffices. Of 
>course this is not a *proof*, but it is a sound *scientific* argument.     (07)

I am merely proposing a possible counterexample to Pat's basis postulate, which 
would imply that the application of Occam's razor is premature (dicto 
simpliciter, if you will).    (08)

I believe that the existence of God is unknowable.  It can be accepted or 
rejected without harm to the soundness of one's arguments for science.  
How the existence of God may relate to human behaviors is an entirely separate 
question, not to be confused (as it often is) with the fundamental question.      (09)

-Ed    (010)

P.S.  One other question that has always intrigued me:  How did a moderately 
successful pre-Iron Age agricultural and mercantile civilization come to 
postulate the Big Bang?  Or (in Genesis 1:2 , out-of-order) describe the 
formation of the solar system?  It is not hard to understand how the concept 
"Divine inspiration" comes into existence.  But it is also not unreasonable to 
suppose another source of that knowledge  ("Are we alone?"), which many "hard 
scientists" also think is nonsense. Underlying both of these "conjectures" is 
another observation we cannot explain.    (011)

Edward J. Barkmeyer                     Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263             Work:   +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263             Mobile: +1 240-672-5800    (012)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST, 
 and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (013)

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