Friday, April 18, 2008

Of Earthquakes and Kaiju, or The Problem of Metaphysics...

Imagine my surprise when I awoke at 5:45 this morning to find myself in the midst of an earthquake. I live in Kentucky - earthquakes are not common here. Though a fault line runs through the Kentucky, I can't remember the state having an earthquake that was strong enough to actually feel at all during my lifetime. Indeed, imagine my further surprise when I found out that the earthquake was not on our fault line, the New Madrid, but instead along a fault in Illinois. The 5.2 magnitude quake was strong enough to feel even in Louisville, though it caused no meaningful damage here.

Now, Big Geology has its own "theory" of earthquakes - that they are primarily caused by "ruptures along geological faults". What Big Geology doesn't want you to know, however, is that there's a dissenting paradigm - the KO, or Kaiju Origin model. The KO model states that earthquakes are actually caused by gigantic monsters moving underground. These creatures live deep in the earth and never surface anywhere near humans, and their daily habits and biology make them capable of completely eluding any and all human detection except through the earthquakes that they generate as they burrow through unstable parts of the earth's crust near the various contact points along tectonic plates.

The actual origin of these creatures is unimportant. KO theorists are solely interested in the evidence of their activity - that is to say earthquakes. Now, it doesn't matter that earthquakes occur in varying locations and are of varying intensities, because the subterranean monsters exists all over the world and are of wildly disparate sizes. Likewise, the fact that earthquakes occur most often on either fault lines or near active volcanoes is merely subject to interpretation - kaiju, after all, are said to favor such locations as these.

I mean come on. Fault lines? YAWN. That's all a misinterpretation by Big Geology based on trying to shoehorn earthquake evidence to fit into their non-kaiju worldview. After all, why wouldn't kaiju be active near fault lines? Clearly they aren't ready to make their existence obvious to non-believing humans. Big Geology sees earthquakes happening at fault lines and stops looking looking for other causes, like kaiju, because Big Geology is rife with methodological anti-kaijuism.

Now of course, all of this evidence could be interpreted differently. After all, no one has ever gone underground and watched an earthquake as it occurred. Big Geology, of course, is led to its own conclusions by adhering to a metaphysic that excludes the existence of giant monsters as prominent actors in geological activities. Those of us who subscribe to the KO metaphysic, of course, will interpret this evidence differently. The cause of earthquakes is thus ultimately therefore a matter of philosophy.

Sound plausible? I hope not. To quote Hume, metaphysics contains "nothing but sophistry and illusion".


Garret G said...

Hi Skippy I like the parody, thanks. I'm pretty sure a Kaiju ate my dog. And several prominent Geologists wrote peer reviewed Kaiju papers, they now work at gas stations, Wal mart, and your local grocery store.

Kant was delusional- did he have syphilus? You cant escape having a metaphysical view, you can only pretend that you don't have one.

And how about David Hume- on miracles, he was a moron- check it out-

Hume's claims on miracles-
In syllogistic form Hume's argument-
1. natural law is by definition a description of a regular occurrence.
2. A miracle is by definition a rare occurrence.
3. The evidence for the regular is always greater than that for the rare.
4. A wise man always bases his belief on the greater evidence.
5. Therefore, a wise man should never believe in miracles.

BUT Premise 3 is not necessarily true!

The origin of the universe happened only once (RARE)

The origin of life happened only once (RARE)

The origin of new life forms happened once for each new life form (RARE)

The entire history of the world is composed of rare, unrepeatable events.

The third premise is a falacy that confuses believability with possibility. SECONDLY it confuses probability with evidence.
Something can be possible, at the same time, unbelievable. Something highly improbable can have evidence.

Hume seeks to disprove a claim by ADDING evidence for all previous events, INSTEAD of weighing evidence FOR the event in question! This is NOT logical! Nobody goes into a court and argues innocence based on the fact that murder is rare and lists everyone in the world who did not commit it, therefore, his client is innocent! It does not work this way

HUME SHOULD BE REJECTED by every thinking man and woman on the planet. Christians are the true free thinkers, apparently.

Anonymous said...

Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Massagem, I hope you enjoy. The address is A hug.

Skippy the Skeptic said...

My purpose is not to hold up Hume as the ultimate paragon of philosophy, but to illustrate that the metaphysics you constantly fall back on can be used to explain -any- laughable point of view and shield it from critical analysis. I rather like Jak's observation that by attempting to explain everything, it ultimately explains nothing.

Massagem, you know there's nothing I like better than being linked to from...Portuguese-language blogs about...therapeutic...massage...?

Garret G said...

Hi Skippy-Hope you had a good safe trip and all is well with you and yours!
You said "I rather like Jak's observation that by attempting to explain everything, it ultimately explains nothing."
Regarding my philosophy/metaphysics diatribe. I came across an answer on another blog about ID vs Evolution that probably is more accurate, see how this hits ya-
"Intelligent Design cannot be rejected by the "scientific community". Physical science deals with material and efficient causes of things, where theoretical science (philosophy, theology, math) deal with formal and final (teleological) causes. Intelligent Design makes formal and final cause claims, therefore natural sciences are out of bounds when commenting."

From blog.

Unrelated, but on Ehrman and Textual Criticism, a solid reply-

Now, notice at the top left they are selling theologian trading cards- I beg you Skippy, please please please don't buy all of them! save some for me, yar har har

Skippy the Skeptic said...

The natural sciences are out of bounds when it comes to commenting on Intelligent Design?

The whole point of ID, as opposed to the plain ol' creationism that it parrots, is that ID is alleged by it's purveyors to be a scientific endeavor. To quote the Discovery Institute:

"Intelligent design refers to a scientific research program...Intelligent design has applied these scientific methods to detect design..."

The ellipsis reflect large blocks of removed text, but the point is that the folks trying to peddle ID are desperate to claim that it is a science rather than a religion.

With a wink and a nod to Yahweh, the DI goes on to claim, and I quote:

"...the scientific theory of intelligent design does not claim that modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural."

FYI, I'm quoting from the Discovery Institute's "What is ID?" faq here:

The point is that ID bends over backwards to claim that it is operating within the realms of actual science and that it is specifically -not- dealing with the supernatural. ID nominally attempts to use the physical sciences to back up its position, ergo it cannot claim that ID is outside the bounds of critique from the physical sciences.

Garret G said...

Hi Skippy- yes I see what you are saying, welcome back by the way, glad the trip was safe!
Read the paragraph again carefully, it answers your objection.
It operates within science and its claims, stripping away the claim to final causes- you are right to say not out of bounds when COMMENTING, as everyone ways in on the subject.
Science has its limits, I know you probably would agree, but disagree where that line is drawn. I am reading an interesting book on that now, "God's undertaker Has Science buried God?" JC Lennox.
Among other things, it critiques the idea of methodological reductionism, further into the concepts of epistemological and ontological reductionism, so common in the materialistic worldview.
from the book, as an PARTIAL answer to Jak and his claim that philosophy/metaphysics has no influence of any real import in scientific thinking....

(From) Richard Dawkins: "The universe is nothing but a collection of atoms in motion, human beings are simply machines for propagating DNA, and the propagation of DNA is a self-sustaining process. It is every living object's sole reason for living"
The words "nothing but", "sole" or "simply", are the tell-tale signature of ontololical reductionist thinking. If we remove these words we are usually left with something unobjectionable. The universe certainly is a collection of atoms, and human beings do propagate DNA. Both of these statements are statements of science. But immediately we add the words "nothing but" the statements go BEYOND science and become expressions of materialistic and naturalistic belief. The question is, do the statements remain true when we add those tell-tale words? Is there nothing more to the universe and life than that?

I do alot of assuming that Chritianity is true, and use that in my language. Many people that assume the truth of their statements pepper their speach and writing like this, and do it without thinking.

But what does science actually show, and where does faith that naturalism/materialism is truth creep in? The way I see atheists answer, usually shows that they have little to no clue that this line even exists, let alone, where it is.