Discovering what is Already Present by “Seeing”

An interesting article here, which points out the real significance of the possible discovery of the “God” particle or the Higgs boson.
Of course some superficial interest was generated by the fact that the Higgs boson had picked up the nickname of the “God particle.” This was because it provided the final explanatory element needed to complete the theory, the explanation of the mass of everything else. This is really a bit of a dead end. God has nothing to do with the God particle per se, and vice versa. However, the whole process is illustrative of two important observations that are pertinent to the God debate.
The first is that, once again, science has illustrated the deep intelligibility of the universe. The standard model was a mathematical construct, a product of our best scientific minds, which sought to capture the deep patterns within the data provided by the physical world. It put forward a model for those patterns and that model has proved successful. The world does display the intelligibility that the model predicted.
Indeed, the intelligibility of the material world is the basic assumption of all scientific endeavour. Science does not prove this intelligibility globally, but seeks to verify it in each instance that it encounters. And so when scientists were asked what would happen if the Higgs boson was not found, and the standard model was not verified, the answer was not “Well, why should we expect the universe to fit our mathematical models?” It was “We’ll go back to the drawing board and develop new models and then test them.”
The scientific drive to understand presumes rather than proves that the material world is intelligible. The continued success of science is a testament to the fact that this presumption is well founded.

It takes our best scientific minds to develop things like the standard model. The sheer intelligence behind such models lies well beyond mere mortals like myself. But in the end, their efforts do not create this intelligibility in the world – they discover it. Its presence in reality is a given and predates not only modern science, but even modern human beings, not to mention the planet itself.
In the other words, science can only discover what is already present and it can only do so because of certain presuppositions, such as, presuming the “deep intelligibility” of the world.  We can only “see” and discover what we think possible and what we presume is possible to “see.”  We can only “see” what our philosophical presumptions allow us to see.   Another indication that modern “science” is a product of a certain philosophical worldview.  Again, philosophy is the teacher and science the student.  The student only proceeds and discovers what the teacher has taught is possible to see and even what the student should “expect” to see. 
It took a shift, a change in worldviews, a paradigm shift, for modern science to become what we now think of as “science.”  And those shifts were entirely philosophical/theological.
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1 Response to Discovering what is Already Present by “Seeing”

  1. Burk Braun says:

    Hi, Darrell-

    Way to own what someone else hath wrought! Between the choice of unintelligibility and intelligibility, there isn't a whole lot to choose. Only one gives us any hope of getting anywhere. Any astrologer and animal bone diviner can (and does) claim intelligibility. Only they don't have the discipline & honesty to tell whether they have done the work they claim to have done. Ditto for all of theology.

    The scientific method came out of trial and error matched with honesty .. plenty of people thought they were reading the world (Plato, the church, etc…). Religious people postulated that “reading” nature would be a golden road to understanding god. Unfortunately, when the reading was properly done (Newton, then Darwin), the results were not entirely to their liking.

    That is because for all the reading, there was no god there to be seen. Maybe it will yet appear. But the intelligibility and orderliness support a thorough materialism to the extent of our knowledge. Perhaps it is all underlaid by something else… no one knows, though obviously many claim (dishonestly) to know. And what has philosophy done for all this? Not much, really. Science became separate as soon as it became rigorous.


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