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The Eternal Challenge - 1 - Hamza Andreas Tzortzis

The Eternal Challenge: The Limits of Science and the Linguistic Miracle of the Quran is a one day Islamic thought workshop designed to empower you with the tools and concepts to successfully articulate the linguistic miracle of the Qur’an.

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on 10 February 2015

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Transcript of The Eternal Challenge - 1 - Hamza Andreas Tzortzis

The Eternal Challenge - Part 1
What is Science?
Limitations of Science
Philosophy of Science
Problem of Induction
Popper's Falsification
The Limitations of Empiricism
Not everything that works it true
Is science the only way?
Philosophical naturalism
Methodological naturalism
Has science buried God and His word?
Exercise 1: evolution + revelation
"We know indeed that they say it is a man that taught him. The tongue of him they wickedly point to is notably foreign, while this is Arabic, pure and clear."
What is Science?
The Philosophy of Science
Not all science that works is complete or true!
Exercise: Evolution + Revelation
Qur'an 16:103
Focuses on the physical world
Falsified: Birds that sing have been observed to die on all days of the week and not in mid-flight.
Philosophical naturalism
Methodological naturalism
Is science the only way?
Mathematical and logical truths
Moral truths
By Hamza Andreas Tzortzis
"Your companion [Muhammad] has not strayed, nor has he erred."
Qur'an 52:2
"And they attribute to Allah daughters - exalted is He - and for them is what they desire. And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief."
Qur'an 16:57-58
Nicetas of Byzantium
"The one hundred and seventh [sic] petty myth reads as follows: 'Say, He is God one, God holosphyros. He has neither given birth, nor has he been begotten and no one is like him.' If holosphyros does not mean the shape of a sphere, it does mean density and compression which are characteristic of a solid [object]."
The Refutation of the Book Forged by Muhammad the Arab, Nicetas of Byzantium (9th Century)
"The author of this laughable writing who was in no happy position to even make an orderly statement on either one of the two [subjects, i.e., theology and natural sciences], except only to stammer in some way., wandered about. Regarding God he uttered this godless statement, that God is something spherical, ot rather, as he said 'God is holosphyros,' thinking of him as something solid otherwise he could not have a spherical."
The Refutation of the Book Forged by Muhammad the Arab
Sam Harris
"Open the Koran, which is perfect in its every syllable, and simply read it with the eyes of faith...God, who is infinitely wise, has cursed the infidels with their doubts. He prolongs their and prosperity so that they may continue heaping sin upon sin and all the more richly deserve the torments that await them beyond the grave."
Sam Harris. The End of Faith, p. 117.
"The attempt to discover, by means of observation and reasoning based upon it...particulars facts about the world, and the laws connecting facts with one another."
Betrand Russell. Religion and Science. Oxford University Press. 1935, p. 8.
Scientia = knowledge
Science can only answer in terms of natural phenomena and natural processes.

Are questions outside of the scientific process
What is meaning? Why things happen? Does the soul exist?
It aims to explain the world
Science as a collective institution aims to produce more and more accurate natural explanations of how the natural world works.
Uses testable ideas/hypotheses
For an idea or hypothesis to be testable, it must logically generate specific expectations.
For Example
Relies on Evidence
Ultimately, scientific ideas must not only be testable, but must actually be tested - preferable with many different people.
Limitations of Science
Limited to observation
You can't test the personal
Can't answer "why?"
Can't answer metaphysical questions
Limited to observation
"At any moment scientists are limited by the observations they have at hand...the limitation is that science is forced to restrict its attention to problems that observations can solve."
Elliot Sober, "Empiricism" in The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science, edited Stathis Psillos and Martin Curd. 2010, pp. 137-138.
You can't get an ought from an is!
You can't test the personal
You cannot test the personal
Testing gives way to trusting...
Can't answer why
Can't answer metaphysical questions
"To insist that...science supports atheism is to get high marks for enthusiasm but low marks for logic."
Hugh G. Gauch, Jr. Scientific Method in Brief. Cambridge University Press. 2012, p. 98.
"The most obvious limitation is that science will never observe, know, and explain everything about even science's own domain, the physical world."
Hugh G,. Gauch, Jr. Scientific Method in Brief. Cambridge University Press. 2012, p. 96.
"If...men were reared under precisely the same conditions as the hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like that the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters, and no one would think of interfering."
Charles Darwin. The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. Second Edition. New York, 1882, p. 99.
"Embedded in the word 'ought' is the sense of a moral fact transcending our life and world...The underlying character of moral language implies something universal and external."
Ian Markham. Against Atheism: Why Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris are Fundamentally Wrong. 2010, p. 34.
Intentions, motives, consciousness etc.
All birds that sing will die on a Friday in mid-flight.
Limits of Empiricism
It is a theory of knowledge that claims that you can only acquire knowledge about something if its based on experience.
Direct and indirect observation.
Newtonian and quantum physics
Static universe
Circular orbits
Philosophical Naturalism
The view that the universe is a closed system.
Nothing exists outside the universe.
If it does it doesn't effect the universe
All phenomena can be explained physically.
Has science buried God and His word?
Our observations will always be finite! So there can always be a possible future observation that denies previous conclusions.
The problem of induction will never be resolved.
Developed “falsification” to show which scientific theories were genuine and which where pseudo-science.
Falsification states that theories cannot be proven to be true but they can be proved false.
If a theory claims that something will be observed under certain circumstances, and it is not observed, then the theory is proved false.
Popper's Falsification
The problem of induction
Popper's falsification
The limitations of empiricism
Not all science that works is complete or true
Is science the only way?
Philosophical naturalism
Methodological naturalism
The Problem of Induction
Induction is a thinking process that uses previous limited observations to make conclusions for the next observation or the entire set of observations.
All observations of Crows have been black therefore the next observed Crow will be black.
Induction can give 100% certainty for basic knowledge, For example, in one observes that Crows fly, then it necessarily follows the some Crows fly, I observe X in Y, therefore Y allows X.
"Yet the observational evidence anyone- or everyone- has, or could have, is finite…As Hume recognized over 200 years ago, it is logically possible…that one or more of these unobserved instances could be at odds with the generalisation."
Gillian Barker and Philip Kitcher. Philosopher of Science: A New Introduction. Oxford University Press. 2014, p. 17.
"Science is revisable. Hence to talk of scientific “proof” is dangerous, because the term the fosters the idea of conclusions that are graven in stone."
Gillian Barker and Philip Kitcher. Philosopher of Science: A New Introduction. Oxford University Press. 2014, p. 17.
What are the effects of coffee on the performance of Olympic wrestlers?
3 expected outcomes:
Increased performance
Decreased performance
Performance unchanged
Science can only...
Stay silent on the matter
Suggest some evidence to provide a basis for an inference to God
How can the method of thinking that relies on observation deny that which cannot be observed?
Can't deny God...
Will be discussed in much more detail later...
Does China exist?
Recalcitrant Facts!
A recalcitrant fact is a fact that resists a theory...
Beginning of the universe
Objective morality
The rationality of the universe & our minds
Philosophical naturalism is resisted by...
Methodological Naturalism
For anything to qualify as scientific it cannot refer to God's creative activity or any Divine activity.
“If you want a concession, I’ve always said that naturalism is an act of faith…”
Michael ruse in Robert B. Stewart (ed.). Intelligent Design: William A. Dembski & Michael Ruse in Dialogue. Fortress. 2007, p.37.
Incoherent assumption?
Unlock the Epistemic Cage!
Using just one method to establish the truth about yourself, the world and reality is putting ourselves in a mental cage!

The Qur'anic method unlocks the cage by encouraging us to use...
Empirical data
Self-evident truths
Full transcript