How we do know that scientific evidence is a fact?
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20-03-2017, 10:06 PM
How we do know that scientific evidence is a fact?
Okay. I have been an non-believer almost a year now. It's a long process and I cannot really pinpoint the reason of my deconversion. But surely, other than justice and the bible itself, science took a great part in my reasoning.

For the past year, I could explain my point of view and reasoning why I became an atheist when my friends ask about my deconversion. The hardest argument is about Pascal's Wager, but I could give my logical reasoning to explain. My problem is, a few weeks ago, one of my friends ask about my scientific evidence to support my disbelief. As I explained long enough, he strucked me with a question

"How do you really know that scientific evidence is a fact? Yes we know the earth is round, not flat. But how do you know? You just took the word from scientist or science books or even science teacher in your elementary school. But you, yourself, doesn't not see the real evidence. That's sounds like believing to me. You believe in science, and despite you don't see the actual evidence, you just take the word from scientists. No different like us, the believer, take the word from priests."

After he said that, I don't know what to say. And I came to my though that "yes, it's a very good argument." So, I just said to him that he had a very good point and I have no good answer for him.

The question lingers until now for me. He had a really good point. How do we know evolution is truly a fact when only the scientists who see the evidence (we didn't see the actual minerals ourselves)? not us. How even do we know the earth is 4.6 billion years old, when we only knew it because we read science books (it's like reading a bible, huh?) or see a seminar from a distinguished astrophysics? How do we know the universe is 13.7 billion years old, when we know because we see a documentary?

The evidence is not in our hand, it's on the scientists hand. Why we should believe them? I think we must admit that we really have never see the evidence ourselves.

I know that evolution is a fact, and other scientific evidence are factual. But I don't have the words nor reasoning to explain it to my friends question. (he also consider the scientific evidence are factual, he is a nice liberal Christian).

I wish some of you could give me some insights about this question. thank you!Thumbsup
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20-03-2017, 10:11 PM
RE: How we do know that scientific evidence is a fact?
Scientists publish their research in journals and other mediums, all their evidence and work is public. Plus it's what they do. You wouldn't question a Spanish teacher if they really were teaching Spanish.

"If you keep trying to better yourself that's enough for me. We don't decide which hand we are dealt in life, but we make the decision to play it or fold it" - Nishi Karano Kaze
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20-03-2017, 10:37 PM
RE: How we do know that scientific evidence is a fact?
An online forum is hardly the place to get an education on complex subjects don’t you think?

Personally I think you are trolling but in the event you are not I suggest you pick up a book or three and do some research on your own, there is vast amounts of information available on all the subjects you mention.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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20-03-2017, 10:43 PM
RE: How we do know that scientific evidence is a fact?
Hello Menji! Big Grin

First, welcome and Hug

As to your friend's posting of 'How do you know science is true?"

Isn't that them pushing the burden of trying to prove their claims back onto you?

You really don't have to go any where near science or such.

Just ask them to show you the evidence for their deity. Not 'reason', actual evidence.

What their response is to this then shows both the direction the conversation will be going and the integrity of the person you're having the chat with.

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20-03-2017, 10:46 PM (This post was last modified: 21-03-2017 08:07 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: How we do know that scientific evidence is a fact?
(20-03-2017 10:06 PM)Menji Wrote:  "How do you really know that scientific evidence is a fact? Yes we know the earth is round, not flat. But how do you know? You just took the word from scientist or science books or even science teacher in your elementary school. But you, yourself, doesn't not see the real evidence. That's sounds like believing to me. You believe in science, and despite you don't see the actual evidence, you just take the word from scientists. No different like us, the believer, take the word from priests."

Science is a very competitive field. Scientists try to prove each other WRONG. Then they get money and awards. They sell books.
Anyone who's been up in an plane has SEEN the earth is round. Evolution is at work every day, and we see it happening.
There are countless PHOTOGRAPHS that PROVE what it looks like. No one "just took the word" of a science book, or anyone else. Maybe YOU did. No one "believes" in science. It has demonstrated countless times it WORKS. Ever hear of modern medicine ? You pray when you get sick ? You're TYPING on a computer. The only reason you can do that is SCIENCE.

Menji, do you know Missy Meng ?

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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20-03-2017, 11:48 PM
RE: How we do know that scientific evidence is a fact?
G'day mate, and welcome. Smile

(20-03-2017 10:06 PM)Menji Wrote:  The hardest argument is about Pascal's Wager, but I could give my logical reasoning to explain.

For all practical purposes, you can ignore Pascal's Wager. It has nothing at all to do with science, and/or proving the tenets, or otherwise, of religion.

Quote:My problem is, a few weeks ago, one of my friends ask about my scientific evidence to support my disbelief.

You don't need any "evidence" in order to justify your atheism. This "justifying" your atheist disbelief thing is nothing more than a typical theist distraction—meant to deflect attention from the necessary justification for their beliefs in the paranormal. They make the claim that the paranormal exists; the responsibility therefore lies with them—as the proponent of a notion—to prove it, not for you to disprove it.

Quote:"How do you really know that scientific evidence is a fact? Yes we know the earth is round, not flat. But how do you know? You just took the word from scientist or science books or even science teacher in your elementary school. But you, yourself, doesn't not see the real evidence.

Nope. I've seen evidence of a round earth. Anyone travelling in an aircraft at altitudes of between 45,000 feet and 70,000 feet can confirm a curved horizon. And if you feel like doing the ground-level-to-top-floor of a skyscraper experiment, you can see the sun set twice—over a curved horizon. At any rate, why would anybody distrust the estimated 6 million scientists from all over the planet who agree the earth is round (actually, it's an oblate spheroid). Would they collude to sustain any scientific "conspiracy"? Of course not.

Quote:You believe in science, and despite you don't see the actual evidence, you just take the word from scientists. No different like us, the believer, take the word from priests."

Nope. We do see the evidence—every day. Gravity is one of the most obvious. The "rising" of the sun every 24 hours. A boiling kettle. An illuminated light bulb. The internal combustion engine. Hydroelectric power generation. Helicopters and planes. X-rays and CAT scans. Etc... each and every one relies on the tenets of science to produce the effects we see.

And of course priests have (generally) zero training in the sciences. Why should they not choose not to believe in paranormal events and supernatural entities. They know no better.

Quote:After he said that, I don't know what to say. And I came to my thought that "yes, it's a very good argument." So, I just said to him that he had a very good point and I have no good answer for him.

No, his argument against science is not a good one—it's built on false premises, misdirection, and a lack of conflicting evidence supporting religious dogma. Hopefully, we're giving you some good answers for next time you see him.

Quote:The evidence is not in our hand, it's on the scientists hand. Why we should believe them? I think we must admit that we really have never see the evidence ourselves.

Nope, logic of this type is erroneous. Don't let your theist friends get away with this sort of nonsensical reasoning. We see the evidence of "science" around us all day, every day. Whereas we see not one piece of evidence supporting the notion of mythical gods, or angels or devils or miracles.

There's also not necessarily any conflict between theist scientists—there're quite a few of them—and atheist scientists, who are, of course, in the majority. Both parties agree unequivocally on the theoretics of science.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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20-03-2017, 11:50 PM
RE: How we do know that scientific evidence is a fact?
All scientific theories are falsifiable. That means they can be proven wrong, in a very clear way, by anybody.

So the idea that there's a theory out there that is wrong, but no one in the whole world has noticed, is absurd. All it would take is for one person to collect suitable evidence to falsify the theory, and it would have to be revised.

This is exactly what scientists do, it is their job to try and falsify any potential theories (hypotheses) before they ever get promoted to being a theory.

Religious claims are almost always unfalsifiable. This means they can't be shown to be wrong, or right. They're just unnecessary assertions/assumptions. Any time someone over-extends and makes a non-trivial claim about reality, it's usually easy to falsify it immediately.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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20-03-2017, 11:53 PM
RE: How we do know that scientific evidence is a fact?
(20-03-2017 10:46 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  You pray when you get sick...

menji could ask his/her theist friends this question:

"If you were to suffer a cardiac arrest at home, what would your first reaction be—fall to your knees in prayer, or phone for an ambulance?"

The obvious answer gives the lie to religious faith.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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21-03-2017, 02:43 AM
RE: How we do know that scientific evidence is a fact?
(20-03-2017 10:06 PM)Menji Wrote:  "How do you really know that scientific evidence is a fact? Yes we know the earth is round, not flat. But how do you know? You just took the word from scientist or science books or even science teacher in your elementary school. But you, yourself, doesn't not see the real evidence. That's sounds like believing to me. You believe in science, and despite you don't see the actual evidence, you just take the word from scientists. No different like us, the believer, take the word from priests."

After he said that, I don't know what to say. And I came to my though that "yes, it's a very good argument." So, I just said to him that he had a very good point and I have no good answer for him.

No it's not a good argument. We've all seen pictures of our round Earth. Those pictures are evidence.

Plus the question is misstated. Science is based on observed facts, and science is rich in observations, but it is largely about interpreting all those facts so they fit together into one, big consistent picture. Religious contentions, on the contrary, can't make sense of all that information so they remain unintegrated with what we have learned otherwise. For that reason, science makes the best sense even of our own personal experiences.
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21-03-2017, 04:25 AM
RE: How we do know that scientific evidence is a fact?
You and your friend are also leaving out the obvious: it's not necessary that you believe the scientists.

The evidence is clearly published and open for public review-- and criticism and analysis of that evidence by any and all people is an integral (I'd say THE integral) element of the Scientific Method.

But more importantly than that, you can sign up for a science class today, and learn how to prove it for yourself tomorrow, if you want. Literally, tomorrow.

Several of us here have degrees in science (myself included), and beyond highschool science classes--which are mostly about memorization of facts--and introductory courses in college, any science class will almost entirely consist of the professor teaching the students how to determine the facts for themselves. You can become one of those students, and learn to prove it for yourself, at any time.

If you're going to be a scientist, you must know how to prove it for yourself, whatever "it" is, in such an overwhelmingly demonstrable way that you can prove it to all your competitors-- which would be literally every other scientist on the planet. Only once you convince those with whom you are in competition, in other nations, in other programs, and in work groups/universities that are in competition with your own group/university for funding, can your scientific ideas be called meritorious... and even then, at any time they may be torn down if another person discovers a flaw.

That is why, as a layperson, you can have confidence (or faith, if you prefer) in the pronouncements of the scientific community. There is no dogma in science, as there is in religion, no "The Truth" which must be upheld-- rather, the scientific consensus is what remains after all the other ideas under equal attack have been torn down, and is subject to modification as soon as a legitimate attack is brought against "the truth" (lowercase) as science currently understands it.

Religionists, who believe they have The Truth™ from a deity, think of this ability to change as a weakness, when in reality it is the greatest strength of science-- it means that any idea that has stood up to attack for a long time, including entirely new fields of knowledge that could have torn down the old idea (such as when genetics and rapid DNA scanning were discovered, both of which augment but could have potentially discredited/destroyed evolutionary theory), is highly likely to be at least a pretty good approximation of reality.

As others have pointed out, Christians like to try to drag science down to their level by suggesting that we are equally "faithful" in our acceptance of an idea that is counter to their dogmas, not realizing that not only are they woefully mis-characterizing how science actually works, but they are insulting their own ideas by suggesting that accepting science is blind faith bullshit no better than their own blind faith bullshit... making their religion bullshit! Laugh out load

TL;dr version - You don't need to just believe scientists. Learn how to do science and find out for yourself, if you want. Or simply have confidence that the ideas which spend a lot of time under attack by mutually-competitive scientists (who have no reason to agree with one another unless they have no other option but to do so) are very likely to be true.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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