Wednesday, August 8, 2007

More Dawkins

From this article, The Gullible Age, we read this:

"For Dawkins, of course, science is a religion, at least in the sense that it is something he fiercely believes in, a belief system that insists its dogma stand up to rigorous “double blind” experimental testing and rejects anything that fails. Those who refuse to put their beliefs to any test, he suggests, do so because they instinctively know they will fail."

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Apart from the rather obvious fact that we already knew, that Dawkins regards science as his religion, one has to wonder whether his own position stands up to internal scrutiny.

To start with, can Dawkins show us the setup of the double blind experiment that will test the truth of his position. Of course he may point to many successful experiments across scientific fields, but that is just question begging. The methodology, which is what he apparently is arguing for, is assumed before those experiments can begin. What he needs to show is the double-blind experiment which proves that double-blind experiments are a true and valid reflection of all reality. In the process, he will also need to prove, by the same method, the validity of methodological naturalism, the reliability of the senses, the consistency of nature throughout history and the other assumptions that go along with experimentation.

But that does not not even begin at the beginning...experiments are rarely a true reflection of reality. The whole premise of experimentation is to remove variables to test a specific hypothesis under controlled conditions, and in doing so, removes the multi-dimensional interaction of natural reality. The results are then extrapolated back into nature, but remain limited in its true explanatory power.

The method described is also exclusively inductive. That means, simply put, that universal conclusions are drawn from the specific experimental conditions, set-up and results. Of course that leads to a further problem, because one can never perform experiments for all possible conditions and circumstances, because not all conditions or instances, can be accurately determined or duplicated.

So while Dawkins purports to be rational and logical, his scientism worldview is very limited and problematic. He cannot account for the worldview by its own internal standards. But so far, I have not seen that he has admitted his philosophical and metaphysical biases. Maybe he knows that to do so will mean the death knell of his materialistic gospel, and force him to enter into the world where his own ideas and concepts will be discussed, debated, tested and disproved, and brute assertion holds no sway.
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