Monday, May 30, 2011
Proving your point can also be in the form of non-empirical evidence. For example, the law of non-contradiction. A cannot equal A and non-A at the same time, or an object cannot be both a square and a triangle at the same time. When talking of evidence to prove a point, both reasoning and science can be used to arrive at an answer that has the best explanatory power.
Recently, Stephen Hawking's made two bizarre comments. One of the comments made is that the universe caused itself. The second statement of Hawkin's is that heaven does not exist. What's really interesting is that both statements are not statements based on the field (science) that Hawking's holds to so dearly, but are philosophical in nature.
It is Hawking's belief that science should trump all other fields, so why would he make two non-scientific statements? This belief system of science being the ruler of all knowledge is referred to as scientism. Scientism comes in a couple of forms but basically states that science is the one and only worldview that can answer all the questions of life. However, when you look at Hawking's two statements, there is absolutely no way he can prove either by way of science or the scientific method. This empirical worldview assumes that only that which can be observed should count as knowledge. But, what about our conscious awareness, how is this explained by ways of science? What about the objective moral law that exist, does science have an answer to this? The laws of logic which we know to be true, can in no way be tested in a laboratory.
To prove an argument, evidence must be given to tip the scales in your favor. Various views can be examined to determine which has the best explanatory power. When Hawking's made the statement that heaven does not exist, a buzz was generated on-line. One questioner rightly asked of Hawking's - Prove it!