This is a continuation of my debate with the eAtheist Rev on the subject Is A Prime Mover Necessary? (3 Answers). If you would like to familiarize yourself with the debate, please read the following links before continuing.
At this point, Rev posed three questions for me to answer.
Supernatural, by definition, means “without an explanation”. If an event had a provable explanation we would call it natural. Therefore in order to prove an event is “without an explanation” requires disproving all possible natural options. In order to disprove all natural options, all natural options must be known. So it seems that in order to prove an event was supernatural, one must first know and then disprove all natural explanations in order to arrive at a solid proof. Do you agree with this logic?
This question presupposes that I was appealing to the supernatural as a sort of explanatory hypothesis, but if you look at my argument, I was not doing that. This is a deductive argument, and therefore it is not merely asserted in the case of a lacking explanation.
I think there are many conceivable instances wherein it would be irrational to cast doubt upon the supernatural as an explanation, even when there are possible natural explanations. Suppose before any technology was invented, there was a series of comets crashing into the moon, spelling out the phrase, “Jesus is Lord.” Obviously it is possible that the comets just happened to crash in that particular order, but it would be irrational to maintain such a stance.
So my answer is that the description of the supernatural in the question was simply misdefined.
If you were to find out a that a loved one was diagnosed with cancer, would you prefer that they received a medical treatment which was conceived philosophically a priori or one that was developed through scientific processes, such as research, testing and empirical data?
My argument was not that science is inherently invalid, or inherently less valid than philosophy in all cases. Science would be necessary in that case. But it should be noted that in the absence of philosophical presuppositions, science would be rendered meaningless. Scientists can interpret data, but the conclusions that they draw from the data are philosophically based. In a case such as medical treatment, science and philosophy are necessary partners.
The philosopher Karl Popper claimed that the mark of a good theory is that it makes predictions which could be empirically falsified. For example on the testing of Einstein’s theory of relativity Popper writes: “If observation shows that the predicted effect is definitely absent, then the theory is simply refuted. The theory is incompatible with certain possible results of observation- in fact with results which everybody before Einstein would have expected.”
Can you propose an experiment that makes a prediction which could empirically falsify or verify a Prime Mover?
The notion that something must be empirically verified or falsified to succeed as a philosophical claim is logically incoherent, for if you simply apply the claim to itself, it falls apart. There is nothing which would empirically falsify or verify the falsification/verification principle itself, and therefore when applied to philosophical claims, it is literally self-defeating.