Nature, Science, Bayes 'Theorem, and the Whole of Reality‖

Zygon (forthcoming)
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Abstract
A fundamental problem in science is how to make logical inferences from scientific data. Mere data does not suffice since additional information is necessary to select a domain of models or hypotheses and thus determine the likelihood of each model or hypothesis. Thomas Bayes’ Theorem relates the data and prior information to posterior probabilities associated with differing models or hypotheses and thus is useful in identifying the roles played by the known data and the assumed prior information when making inferences. Scientists, philosophers, and theologians accumulate knowledge when analyzing different aspects of reality and search for particular hypotheses or models to fit their respective subject matters. Of course, a main goal is then to integrate all kinds of knowledge into an all-encompassing worldview that would describe the whole of reality. A generous description of the whole of reality would span, in the order of complexity, from the purely physical to the supernatural. These two extreme aspects of reality are bridged by a nonphysical realm, which would include elements of life, man, consciousness, rationality, mental and mathematical abstractions, etc. An urgent problem in the theory of knowledge is what science is and what it is not. Albert Einstein’s notion of science in terms of sense perception is refined by defining operationally the data that makes up the subject matter of science. It is shown, for instance, that theological considerations included in the prior information assumed by Isaac Newton is irrelevant in relating the data logically to the model or hypothesis. In addition, the concepts of naturalism, intelligent design, and evolutionary theory are critically analyzed. Finally, Eugene P. Wigner’s suggestions concerning the nature of human consciousness, life, and the success of mathematics in the natural sciences is considered in the context of the creative power endowed in humans by God.
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Archival date: 2014-08-23
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