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Author Topic: New Movie to Criticize Scientific Establishment
twinky
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quote:
But despite that, anyone who is SANE can see that the universe displays a high level of order, from the cosmic level down to the level of DNA.
I just knew we didn't live in the same universe.
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MattP
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quote:
Originally posted by ClaudiaTherese:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I quite like the idea of an anti-phrenology conspiracy in the science world. What next, the medical world shuns trepanners?

Interestingly, after setting aside trepanning and leeches, the medical community came back around to using those practices (when appropriate) once they were shown to be medically helpful.
That's kind of like giving acupuncture credit for discovering the use of needles in health care because now they are useful for draining boils or sewing up wounds.
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0Megabyte
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"OMegabyte, that is the irony--probably a majority of scientists say they believe in God, and yet they have been brainwashed into thinking that they must cast aside any thought of divine intervention, refuse even to consider the possibility of there being an Intelligent Designer--on pain of destruction of their career--in short, operate on the a priori assumptions of atheism, in order to be considered "properly" scientific in their thinking."

Here it is. It seems, and I could be wrong, that your problem is actually with the scientific method. Your problem is with the search for natural explanations, for answers other than "God did it."

You say they're being brainwashed to cast aside notions of divine intervention... but that's not what's going on at all. It's because science is based on the premise that when something happens, there's a natural explanation. That when something happens, it's caused by something, a cause we can go and see for ourselves.

You say people are being forced to refuse to look at the idea of intelligent design on pain of destruction of their careers. You are failing to see a rather intersting distinction.

The way science works is this: Anyone who makes a claim is asked to back it up with evidence. Anyone. Everyone. Every single person, every single paper, is rigorously critiqued by a group of peers, who try to see every possible flaw in the paper, in the arguement. Any arguement, any at all, requires evidence to back it up.

Intelligent design has given none. No actual, physical, falsifiable evidence, no claim that could be proven. It has further made claims that have been shown to be false. The idea of irreducible complexity, for example, has been throuroughly debunked. It's been torn apart, because the arguement as given by Behe simply does not work.

Now, let me give an example: If you went into the scientific community claiming that phrenology, that is, studying the bumps on your head allows you to determine a person's personality, using the evidence phrenology had going for it, you'd be laughed at.

Not because scientists are forced to not consider it's truth or else be thrown out: But because phrenology does not have any positive evidence, and in fact has vast amounts of evidence speaking to it NOT being true.

The person would be laughed at not because of their theory. No, let me make this clear: The person suggesting phrenology today would be laughed at not because the theory has been rejected, but instead, simply enough, because that person is showing, if they use the historical evidence for phrenology, that they are very poor scientists, that is, they are doing spectacularly poor science, ignoring the evidence against him, using debunked arguements, and showing a dearth of critical thinking skills.

The reason intelligent design is laughed at, that people who use it may not be taken seriously, is exactly the same reason phrenology is not taken seriously: The evidence clearly suggests that it is not the case, and the so-called positive evidence has been shown to be faulty. If you are supporting it in the manner, say, that Behe does, using his arguement for example, you are showing your lack of critical thinking skills, your ignorance of evidence, your lack of understanding of the mechanisms involved, any/all of the above.

Now, to continue dealing with your statements:

"What is this nonsense about there being little or no evidence of intelligent design in the universe? Where is there NOT evidence of ordered design?"

Order. There is obvious evidence of order. Our very existence as a system is order. But evidence of order does not necessarily imply evidence of design. To assume it is would be fallacy.

"Notice that in the post that began this thread, reference was made to a scientist being sacked because he allowed to be published an article that showed there was evidence of ordered design in the universe."

Javert's claim is a sufficient reply to this statement. To quote him:

"Change the word "showed" to the word "claimed".

To paraphrase the rest: if the evidence exists, why is it not found in the books of intelligent design people? Behe, Dembski et al? As Javert said, surely scientists aren't in control of the publishing world too.

"If the self-annointed protectors of true, "objective" science will so severely retaliate against any publication that goes against their dogma, it is little wonder that some people will ask where is the evidence of ordered design."

The only retaliation is the same kind of retaliation they would give to someone claiming the earth is flat (which is what the Bible claims it is, btw), or that prhenology works. In other words, the rejection of an assertion that has no evidence to back it up. As I and Javert siad: Why are the books of this evidence being rejected by this conspiricy not being published?

Further, your conspiracy theory, that the evidence is being actively suppressed, not only does not fit the facts, but is the same claim made by UFO enthusists, psychics, mediums, ghost hunters, homeopathy fans, etc. You have such fine company.

Because science has rejected their hypotheses, they claim there is a conspiricy agianst the truth. But how much more likely is it that, actually, the people who claim them to be true are just unwilling to admit facts, and in order to protect their beliefs, are making up conspiricies that don't exist?

"It is being actively suppressed!"

Surely the scientists aren't suppressing the publishing of the books as well. Considering that the walls of my book store are filled with new age claims of psychics, UFologists, etc, I have my doubts.

"But despite that, anyone who is SANE can see that the universe displays a high level of order, from the cosmic level down to the level of DNA."

It displays order. But order does not necessarily imply design. Your logical fallacy is unfortunate, and hints that you are not as sane as you think.

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
Originally posted by ClaudiaTherese:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I quite like the idea of an anti-phrenology conspiracy in the science world. What next, the medical world shuns trepanners?

Interestingly, after setting aside trepanning and leeches, the medical community came back around to using those practices (when appropriate) once they were shown to be medically helpful.
That's kind of like giving acupuncture credit for discovering the use of needles in health care because now they are useful for draining boils or sewing up wounds.
How so? Leeches are currently being used in plastic surgery to drain blood congestion, which is the same use as before. The needles you reference are being used for different purposes, not the same.

I take the current use of leeches and drilling holes in the skull (when appropriate) -- even though these uses were set aside for a time -- as a heartening note. It shows that medicine does indeed reevaluate practices based on the outcomes yielded, not just on preconceived ideology about what is and is not worthwhile. [the latter being what I take Ron Lambert to be claiming about science in general]

Of course, medicine as a field does not do this enough. Hopefully the current push for "evidence-based medicine" will help address that.

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0Megabyte
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Tom: Thanks for saying what I did, in a much more concise way.
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MattP
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quote:
Leeches are currently being used in plastic surgery to drain blood congestion, which is the same use as before.
Their original use was generic bloodletting, which was believed to cure everything from obesity to mental illness. Their use was based on superstition and pseudoscience regarding "humors" and had little relationship to current usage, except in that in both cases leaches were sucking blood.
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SoaPiNuReYe
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quote:
Originally posted by 0Megabyte:
My question is this:

Shall we be forced to consider phrenology again too? I mean, there must be a conspiricy, since anyone who claims it to be true is shunned in the scientific community.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that Phrenology was used to 'prove' that people of African descent were intellectually inferior and other forms of racism. Reviving the theory of Phrenology would probably outrage Al Sharpton.
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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
Leeches are currently being used in plastic surgery to drain blood congestion, which is the same use as before.
Their original use was generic bloodletting, which was believed to cure everything from obesity to mental illness. Their use was based on superstition and pseudoscience regarding "humors" and had little relationship to current usage, except in that in both cases leaches were sucking blood.
Leeches were not only used for generic bloodletting. There were also some sophisticated physicians using them to remove specific areas of congestion of blood (as in the the blood stasis dermatopathology of heart failure) and particular areas of toxin accumulation (cellulitis, snakebites). If you are interested in specific references, this was the subject of a paper I did for a History of Medicine course, and I can try to dig it up again. Some of the original texts had to be translated from the Latin (e.g., Galen), but many are already available in translation.

I would certainly agree that the explanation of the mechanism behind how leeches worked in some of the extant documents we have from that period is far from the explanation we have now. I wouldn't agree that the physical indications for that usage always differed from the indications used now.

Do you not find it interesting or relevant to the discussion that an intervention which had completely fallen out of favor was reassessed and is current use, or is it just that you wish to clarify what you believe that use to have been? (Or something else? *interested)

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MattP
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quote:
Do you not find it interesting or relevant to the discussion that an intervention which had completely fallen out of favor was reassessed and is current use, or is it just that you wish to clarify what you believe that use to have been?
I'm wary of the suggestion that ancient practices are somehow valuable solely because they are ancient. I also dislike the suggestion that ancient practitioners were "on to something" because they broadly applied a treatment which is only truly valuable in more specific situations.

I'd be interested to know to what extent that the pioneers of modern medical leech treatments were guided by the type of research you describe. I'd be surprised if the previous usage was not incidental to the current usage.

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
Do you not find it interesting or relevant to the discussion that an intervention which had completely fallen out of favor was reassessed and is current use, or is it just that you wish to clarify what you believe that use to have been?
I'm wary of the suggestion that ancient practices are somehow valuable solely because they are ancient. I also dislike the suggestion that ancient practitioners were "on to something" because they broadly applied a treatment which is only truly valuable in more specific situations.
Ah. If that is what you thought my intent was in making the original comment, then you are mistaken. I can understand a desire to hold forth against this for the benefit of other readers, but as for my intent, I'll redirect you to my original response to you: [quotation added]
quote:
I take the current use of leeches and drilling holes in the skull (when appropriate) -- even though these uses were set aside for a time -- as a heartening note. It shows that medicine does indeed reevaluate practices based on the outcomes yielded, not just on preconceived ideology about what is and is not worthwhile. [the latter being what I take Ron Lambert to be claiming about science in general]

Of course, medicine as a field does not do this enough. Hopefully the current push for "evidence-based medicine" will help address that.

----------

quote:
I'd be interested to know to what extent that the pioneers of modern medical leech treatments were guided by the type of research you describe. I'd be surprised if the previous usage was not incidental to the current usage.

Would this be a casual interest, or would the results affect your opinion on something in a substantive way?

I would not think better or worse of you for either, but it would affect how much energy I would put into addressing it, just because it would be a hassle for me. A hassle I'd willingly take on if it would make substantive difference (and if I were assured of this in advance), but if it is more idle discussion among friends, I likely would not bother. My time is short these days.

------

Also edited to add: I also seem to recall that possibly you and I have had some contention about details on other matters about which I had thought we would be in general agreement. I don't know if it is that I rub you the wrong way, or if I am confusing you with someone else, but if it is more a matter or working out irritations between us rather than the content, I think there might be more productive ways to do it than my haring off into the netherworlds of my old floppies. [Smile]

(No untoward puns, please. *grin)

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MattP
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quote:
Would this be a casual interest, or would the results affect your opinion on something in a substantive way?
I'd be quite interested, but I wouldn't ask that anyone go through any hassle just to satisfy my interests. I appreciate the offer though.

quote:
I also seem to recall that possibly you and I have had some contention about details on other matters about which I had thought we would be in general agreement.
Hmm... I'm terrible at associating names with... anything, really. So, while it's possible that this is true in the context of some particular thread(s) out there, I don't have any recollection of it. So, I guess the short answer is that no, there's nothing to work out. [Smile]
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BlueWizard
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I believe in Intelligent Design. I believe God created the universe according to his own plan.

I believe God's blueprint for the universe is Evolution.

The anti-evolution people have cast God in a human light. They think of every aspect of God in human terms, and consequently can't believe that someone as infinite as God, has a plan that extends beyond the imaginations of man.

Science simply documents God plan and methods, I've never seen a conflict between the two except among people who stood to gain substantially and financially from promoting a 'man' base intelligent design theory.

Or so says I.

Steve/BlueWizard

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
To quibble that abiogenesis is not strictly speaking evolution is just semantics
Evolutionary theory is not a mechanism for explaining the origins of life without a designer.(...)

Evolutionary theory doesn't claim to know how life was originally created so if you're criticizing evolutionary theory by attacking its 'hypothetical postulate of spontaneous life generation' then you're attacking something that evolutionary theory doesn't even involve itself with.

Yes, yes, that's true for evolutionary theory strictly defined. But it's also totally irrelevant. The debate is not about evolution, exactly; it is about whether we can explain the universe, including life, naturalistically. In other words, do we need a god, or not? And abiogenesis absolutely is a part of that debate. "Evolutionary theory" is just a convenient shorthand for "Modern biology", which certainly does include abiogenesis. You can certainly rail against the inexactness of this usage, but you'll make yourself look like a pedant. Worse, a pedant who can't answer the question asked, to wit, "How does life start?" Now we most certainly can answer this, if not with such certainty as we have for strict evolution, but this disappears when we quibble about what is or isn't part of evolution.
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0Megabyte
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"I believe in Intelligent Design. I believe God created the universe according to his own plan."

Based on your next few statements, I'd peg you as a theistic evolutionist, on the spectrum from flat earther to philosophical materialistic evolutionist (I'm at the latter far end)

"I believe God's blueprint for the universe is Evolution."

Well, stating something unfalsifiable is, I figure, nearly infinitely better than stating blatant falsehoods. No biggie there, plenty of scientists (Ron Lambert's claims notwithstanding) agree with you.

"The anti-evolution people have cast God in a human light. They think of every aspect of God in human terms, and consequently can't believe that someone as infinite as God, has a plan that extends beyond the imaginations of man."

I like this. If God is real, I imagine that would be true.

"Science simply documents God plan and methods, I've never seen a conflict between the two except among people who stood to gain substantially and financially from promoting a 'man' base intelligent design theory.

Or so says I."

You and I see something similar. It's not even necessarily financial. At least, the thing they gain is a feeling of security, of power... of knowing, of certainty, in a world that is anything but. A pity it's a false certainty, contradictory with evidence (I'm talking about believing evolution didn't happen, not whether God is real or not, btw)

If you'll forgive a tangent: Those people who evangelize, asking if I know where I'm going after death, for example. I respond, that I'm "fairly certain" of where I'm going. They smirk, and ask me if I want to be absolutely certain.

The arrogance! Absolute certainty, in a world where nothing can be rigorously proven... the most I'll ever say, or SHOULD ever say, at least (I sometimes fail to make myself clear), the most positive I could ever be, is fairly certain.

That is, fairly certain that there is no Santa Claus, for example. Fairly certain that when I talk to my mother while looking at her, she's actually there and not a trick of the mind.

Anyway, my point is... that kind of certainty, to believe something so absolutely that you can admit no doubt to it (and of course, having no doubt that you are righteous, and will be given a grand reward by your god), is something unnatural. Something... foolish, if you forgive me. Something potentially dangerous. If you are absolutely certian you are right, and consider no possibility of your being wrong, in any manner, regardless of any evidence for or against... such a mindset is a threat to us all, regardless of the particulars of the person's beliefs.

To be honest: I could be wrong about everything. In fact, most of the things I think I know ARE incorrect, or not quite right, or in any of a number of other ways false. Arguements agianst my position, especially well thought out ones, make me go "hmm... could I be mistaken? I'm not so certain those points are bad..."

But even so: I'm not going to hold myself in an intellectual cage of dysfunctional uncertainty because my knowledge is fallible, my reasoning in many cases flawed. The goal is to improve, and find the mistakes and fix them where I can, to hone my logical faculties and see which arguements work, which ones do not. I'm still going to act, and still going to debate using my beliefs. It's caused me to change positions many times before, that process of discussion: Why not again, and again and again?

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0Megabyte
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KoM:

"Now we most certainly can answer this, if not with such certainty as we have for strict evolution, "

Yeah. We can. Not as rigorously. Not as clearly. But from the things I've read, we can answer it, if not to perfect satisfaction yet.

And until we do, people will use the fact that we still have questions, haven't solved all the problems, as ammunition against us (They don't know, see, look at all of this! It must be irriducibly complex! God must have done it! It oculdn't have started, see, even they can't answer THIS piece! [which is promptly answered and solved a year or two later, as tends to happen.]"

Of course, evne when all the questions are answered satisfactorally, they'll just stop saying we can't answer it, but just say we're lying. For them, as I've seen, nothing is good enough, they always either make up new things ("You found a transitional form, called C, between species A and B? Well, now you have TWO transitional forms to account for now, the one between A and C, and the one between C and B!") or simply make something up randomly out of nothing ("you have a transitional form? But it's a complete creature in and of itself! It doesn't have any incomplete parts, like a half formed and useless wing, or etc!" Btw, this is an actual arguement I've seen, on ID websites... hinting how little they know of how evolution actually works, that is, making alterations on preexisting parts to make new ones)

Nothing will ever be enough. Even showing them happen, if we eventually find a way to easily show the creation of a significantly large enough new feature, someway, somehow,. They'll just turn around, close their eyes and put their hands to their ears and go "I won't look at your lies!" That's what most creationists I know, not necessarily on this board I mean, do when I try to show evidence to counter a claim of theirs.

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AvidReader
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The worst part is that even if all life can absolutely be explained with no gaps or holes without the presence of God, that still doesn't mean he isn't behind it. Evolution and abiogenesis and whatever other sciences are involved can never tackle the question of God. There's no reason why Christians (or any other religion though you never seem to hear them complaining) and evolution can't peacefully coexist. It's kind of sad, really.
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fugu13
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BlueWizard: Intelligent Design, as promoted by its big advocates, is not merely that (and getting people to think it is is one of their big triumphs). Intelligent Design, as promoted by its advocates, is the notion that there is scientific proof some super-powerful being must be/have been involved in evolution on earth.

That is very different from believing evolution happens because of God (but perhaps through a wholly discoverable natural mechanism), which is more commonly called theistic evolution.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Yes, yes, that's true for evolutionary theory strictly defined. But it's also totally irrelevant.
I have no idea what you're talking about. If someone is criticizing evolutionary by saying "it claims that life was not created by God" then they're incorrect.

That has an exactly zero percent of being irrelevant if I bring it up. It's a factual thing.

Here you're saying that evolutionary theory is shorthand for modern biology (it's not; modern biology is a much more expansive term) and that it necessarily includes abiogenesis (it doesn't). you can call me a pedant for pointing out these factual innacuracies but you're wrong.

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
I'd be quite interested, but I wouldn't ask that anyone go through any hassle just to satisfy my interests. I appreciate the offer though.

I appear to be dreaming about it now, having spent a good bit of the night writing out an exam about bloodletting on scraps of toilet paper under the stern gaze of Sherlock Holmes. *grin

It has piqued my interest for my own self, so I'll go digging once Canadian Thanksgiving is over.

quote:
Hmm... I'm terrible at associating names with... anything, really. So, while it's possible that this is true in the context of some particular thread(s) out there, I don't have any recollection of it. So, I guess the short answer is that no, there's nothing to work out. [Smile]
Oh, good. [Smile] Because I quite like you.

However, I am also aware that I've grown terribly rigid, crotchety, and Set In My Ways over the last couple of years, so I wouldn't be surprised if I'd rubbed you (or others) raw. I'm working on it, including attempting sea kayaking, a book club, and inviting the neighbors over for coffee -- all social activities which are far outside my normal routine.

I hope the edges get worn off a bit and that I get bent back and forth enough to break down the frozen parts.

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Bob the Lawyer
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I thought that one of the big ID triumphs was convincing people that science could say something about God one way or the other rather than it simply being a system of tested hypotheses from which we draw our own metaphysical conclusions.

[ October 07, 2007, 01:38 PM: Message edited by: Bob the Lawyer ]

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0Megabyte
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To Bob:

Can't they both be?

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Olivet
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You know, I think it would be really cool if they would bring back maggots for debriding necrotic tissue. You'd have to be careful to get just the right species (some might eat the living tissue as well) but it seems so much more elegant than cutting .

*wanders off to bid on a bohemian ear spoon on ebay*

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TomDavidson
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Egad. If I ever develop any quantity of necrotic tissue, I warn you, you stay well away. *shudder*
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Seriously, Ron, what's wrong with observing that most of the people in this country are simpletons who believe in fairy tales? It's indisputably true.
Well, the sneer inherent in such an 'observation' is pretty irritating. Particularly when those doing the sneering behave as though it shouldn't matter.
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TomDavidson
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In my case, I make the observation only when I think it should matter: namely, when I think the world would be improved by a reduction in the number of fairy tales believed.
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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Originally posted by Olivet:
You know, I think it would be really cool if they would bring back maggots for debriding necrotic tissue. You'd have to be careful to get just the right species (some might eat the living tissue as well) but it seems so much more elegant than cutting .

You mean like they did in southeast Asia to treat jungle rot in WWII? Actually I think it was more common to put their limbs in water and allow fish to do the same job.
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Rakeesh
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I was referring to the sneer, not the overall topic question. Particularly when those doing the sneering behave as though the sneer should be simply ignored.
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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Yes, yes, that's true for evolutionary theory strictly defined. But it's also totally irrelevant.
I have no idea what you're talking about. If someone is criticizing evolutionary by saying "it claims that life was not created by God" then they're incorrect.

That has an exactly zero percent of being irrelevant if I bring it up. It's a factual thing.

Here you're saying that evolutionary theory is shorthand for modern biology (it's not; modern biology is a much more expansive term) and that it necessarily includes abiogenesis (it doesn't).

It is, as used by the likes of Ron. And since 'the likes of Ron' includes most of the population of the US, clinging to the strict scientific usage just defines you out of the debate. Which would be bad.

Look you; if someone wants to use 'evolutionary theory' to include abiogenesis, why bother to correct them? It's not strictly correct, but it is an understandable and consistent usage. The question of interest, after all, is whether we need a god to explain life. In that debate, abiogenesis is obviously highly important. To sidestep the question by saying "That's not part of evolution" just makes it look as though you can't answer, which is very bad, especially when ou actually can. Please, concentrate on the meat of the matter, not trifling questions of definition. We are in the right, and can win this debate on any battlefield whatsoever; so don't make the battlefield the trifling one of just what should be included in "evolutionary theory". After all, even if by some miracle you should win, the creationists would just say, "All right, fine, what we've got problems with is evoluationary theory and abiogenesis."

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MattP
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quote:
if someone wants to use 'evolutionary theory' to include abiogenesis, why bother to correct them?
Because evolutionary theory tends to have broader acceptance than abiogenesis and the two are lumped together only for the purpose of gaining a rhetorical advantage. Also, conceptually, there is a big difference between the two. Abiogenesis may be an extremely unlikely, damn we got lucky, only happened one time, event. However, once life exists, reproduces (imperfectly) and is exposed to selective pressures, evolution is inevitable. By grouping the two, the uncertainty of the mechanisms of abiogensis can be framed as a weakness in evolutionary theory.

So lumping the more speculative science of abiogenesis in with the much more well established science of evolution is both tactically and strategically a bad idea for those who are debating evolution in the public sphere. We should not let the creationists frame the debate in that way.

The fact that a common use of the term evolution includes abiogenesis shouldn't be sufficient reason to accept that definition any more than any other erroneous common understanding of science. Science defines the terms of science and science should address the misconceptions, even if they are held by many people. Another common definition of evolution includes the concept that "species change into other species by accident" but I doubt you'd suggest that we not emphasize that random processes are only one component of the theory of evolution to prevent ourselves from being "defined out of the debate."

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Samprimary
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quote:
It is, as used by the likes of Ron. And since 'the likes of Ron' includes most of the population of the US, clinging to the strict scientific usage just defines you out of the debate.
Scientific truth is now defined by popular opinion and I missed the memo apparently.

quote:
To sidestep the question by saying "That's not part of evolution" just makes it look as though you can't answer.
.. yeah, no. There is no reason why this sort of honest dialogue and establishment of criteria is not a good idea. People trying to claim to me that evolutionary theory is inherently 'saying that life originated without god' are wrong and I lose nothing -- nor am I sidestepping anything -- to point out that this notion is incredibly incorrect.

Even TalkOrigins (which is also pro-abiogenesis) sees the importance in pointing out the mistake in conflating the two.

quote:
The theory of evolution applies as long as life exists. How that life came to exist is not relevant to evolution. Claiming that evolution does not apply without a theory of abiogenesis makes as much sense as saying that umbrellas do not work without a theory of meteorology.

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JLM
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quote:
Originally posted by 0Megabyte:

That's not random at all. The thing certainly isn't, say, heading in a specific direction on purpose (except when we humans start directing it for our own means! Go us!) but random it is certainly not.

OMB, I think you have made a very interesting point here. Humans, as intelligent as we think we are, have been directing the course of evolution for quite some time (although in a very limited fashion), for our own means. This is a well known fact. Extapolating this, a being of superintelligence and power (let's call this being "God" for simplicity's sake), very well could direct evolution on a grande scale in order to achieve his means. Therefore, for me, and may other likeminded believers, there is no conflict between the existence of God and the therory of evolution.
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0Megabyte
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Of course, we have evidence that humans have been directing evolution in some cases. Especially now, sincewe record it in detail when we tinker with it, what we tinker with, and what our goals are, etc.

Now, the evidence for a super-intelligent being in the past directing evolution? Not so much.

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0Megabyte
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Now, until recently, humanity wasn't doing it so much on purpose. But in all reality, we were/are the selective pressure being placed on the species such as dogs, wheat, cows and maize which caused their change to their current forms.

We're part of the environment. We are, for the other species, a serious selection pressure. Of course, in truth, the selective pressures on species include other species, other members of the same species, climate, catastrophes and many other things.

While we know that we're a selective pressure on many animals today, and now we're causing evolution to occur on our own terms, since we are understanding it well enough to do so, we don't have any evidence that a super-intelligent entity was doing any gene splicing a billion years ago.

In fact, looking at the genetics of the different species, I imagine it'd be pretty easy to see if an entity was doing, say, gene splicing in the past. Because then we'd see stuff similarly weird as the jellyfish genes placed into mice. We don't see that sort of thing, the splicing of genes that may be beneficial or do weird things from an animal or plant that's definitely not close genetically, to another animal that could use it, except when we do it.

Instead, animals of close relation have similar genes, the farther away they are the more different, and we can even estimate when specific mutations occured, based on which of our relatives have them, how close they are to us, etc. The mutations can be recorded, the differences can be gauged, the background rate of mutation can be looked at.

Of course, if we see anything like the tinkering we humans have done (which we haven't) it'd be quite interesting. Incredibly so.

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
[QB]
quote:
It is, as used by the likes of Ron. And since 'the likes of Ron' includes most of the population of the US, clinging to the strict scientific usage just defines you out of the debate.
Scientific truth is now defined by popular opinion and I missed the memo apparently.
You certainly did miss the distinction between scientific truth, and arbitrary definitions of terms for the sake of being able to talk about them. There is nothing particularly truthful or sacred about having "theory of evolution" and "theory of abiogenesis" separate, it just so happens that these subjects were investigated separately as science progressed. They are clearly related; I don't see a problem in discussing them both at once and using a single term to refer to the whole debate. And definitions of terms very much are decided by popular opinion, by the way.

quote:
quote:
To sidestep the question by saying "That's not part of evolution" just makes it look as though you can't answer.
.. yeah, no. There is no reason why this sort of honest dialogue and establishment of criteria is not a good idea. People trying to claim to me that evolutionary theory is inherently 'saying that life originated without god' are wrong and I lose nothing -- nor am I sidestepping anything -- to point out that this notion is incredibly incorrect.
Well, I agree with that point, but that's not the point you were making. You were saying "Abiogenesis is not evolution, wah-wah". This has nothing to do with whether it requires or allows a god. If you want to go on and make this point, you should do so; you can't stop at "Not the same thing", it makes you look like a crybaby.

quote:
quote:
The theory of evolution applies as long as life exists. How that life came to exist is not relevant to evolution. Claiming that evolution does not apply without a theory of abiogenesis makes as much sense as saying that umbrellas do not work without a theory of meteorology.

Well, then they've gotten blinded by being all rational and sensible, which I admit is a bit of a job hazard in trying to deal with creationists. The point, after all, is that our opponents are saying "Life cannot start, nor evolve, without a god; therefore the account of creation in Genesis must be true, and therefore evolution must be false, and therefore you should not teach it in schools." So, to deal with this, you have to start at the beginning, and that involves showing that abiogenesis without gods is possible, although not required. I think perhaps we are arguing because you're worried about the blinding light of pure reason, which is a fine thing to be sure, and I'm worried about tactics for dealing with idiots. Which is not as pleasant but is necessary.
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Tresopax
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quote:
The point, after all, is that our opponents are saying
Opponents... That is the crux of the problem here. There are no "opponents" in the scientific method. The job of science is to gather evidence, test theories, let us know which thoeries work, and give us evidence to support our faith in those theories that hold up under testing. Scientists, including those of opposite viewpoints, are working together towards this end, whether they know it or not. It is not a game of "Us" vs. "Them". Disagreement is a necessary part of the process.

The trouble is that parts of the scientific community tend to begin to believe their theories are "the blinding light of pure reason" which must be defended against the forces of darkness. That is the point at which you leave the scientific method and step into the realm of dogma - where your scientific theory becomes more like a political or religious faith. And it is only a small step from there to using nonscientific "tactics" to enforcing one's faith - calling dissenters "idiots", labeling them "unscientific", positing all sorts of shady motives for them, pressuring them, attempting to hold back their careers, advertising for one's belief, and so on and so forth. Science has always done this, to one degree or another. But that is politics, or perhaps marketing, rather than science.

It could be necessary, but I'm inclined to believe it is not. Time and time again scientific theories have gone up against political and religious pressure, and the science has consistently won. The undeniable evidence always ends up being...well...undeniable! I don't see why science has anything more to be afraid of this time around. Using political "tactics" to advocate scientific theories only serves to muddy the waters.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I don't see why science has anything more to be afraid of this time around.
That "science" might win in the long term isn't much of a comfort to the people who are forced to live through the short term.
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MattP
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quote:
The point, after all, is that our opponents are saying "Life cannot start, nor evolve, without a god; therefore the account of creation in Genesis must be true, and therefore evolution must be false, and therefore you should not teach it in schools." So, to deal with this, you have to start at the beginning, and that involves showing that abiogenesis without gods is possible, although not required.
To the extent that defending the teaching of evolution requires submitting defenses to the criticisms levied against it, why not discard all criticisms of abiogenesis by simply stating that it is not a component of evolution? Otherwise we're chasing causes all the way back to the Big Bang and the debate about evolution becomes a Prime Mover argument.

I don't have any problem with having a frank discussion about the current state of of science re:abiogenesis, but where there is an opportunity to constrain the debate to what actually constitutes evolutionary theory I think we should do so. "I'm happy to talk about scientific theories of the origin of life, Mr. School Board Member, but please understand that the theory of evolution does not address that topic and it's not included in the curriculum recommendations under review."

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swbarnes2
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quote:
Opponents... That is the crux of the problem here. There are no "opponents" in the scientific method.
Huh?

There are people who want science classes to teach real science. Then there are people who want science classes to pretend that ID and Creationism are science, and to teach them instead.

How do you say that those two groups who want two completely different things aren't opponents?

quote:
The job of science is to gather evidence, test theories, let us know which thoeries work, and give us evidence to support our faith in those theories that hold up under testing.
I don't see how you think anyone can have an honest conversation with you when you going to transparently equivocate.

"Faith" is the wrong word here, and you know it.

quote:
Scientists, including those of opposite viewpoints, are working together towards this end, whether they know it or not.
But the people trying to tear down evolution and replace it with Creationism aren't scientists. They aren't doing science.

quote:
The trouble is that parts of the scientific community tend to begin to believe their theories are "the blinding light of pure reason" which must be defended against the forces of darkness.
Oh please.

ID is logically fallacious, and totally unscientific. Creationism is flat-out counter-factual.

What kind of pomo-empty-headed silliness are you operating under where saying so is some kind of terrible arrogance?


quote:
That is the point at which you leave the scientific method and step into the realm of dogma - where your scientific theory becomes more like a political or religious faith.
Okay, so who exactly is doing that?


Can you point us to, say, a peer-reviewed journal article in which you believe that the authors have overstepped their bounds?

Or how about a talkorigins article?

Because if you ask for Intelligent Design arguments which are factually false and woefully illogical, I assure you, it won't take people on this board 5 minutes to bury you in them.

But where is your evidence that this awful dogmatism is the problem with the people who support good science?

quote:
And it is only a small step from there to using nonscientific "tactics" to enforcing one's faith - calling dissenters "idiots",
I'm sorry, but when someone supporting ID makes a claim (there's no way for the eye to have evolved step by step), and the claim is easily proved false (there are all kinds of ways it could have happened), that's idiotic.

quote:
labeling them "unscientific",
Words mean things. ID and Creationism are not scientific.

In the context of debates over evolution, the label is extremely important, because you can't teach unscientific things in science class as if they were science.

And what gets taught in science class is the crux of why this is being argued.

quote:
positing all sorts of shady motives for them,
The record is pretty clear. Professional Creationists are dishonest. If people don't want to be judged by the company they keep, that's their problem.

quote:
pressuring them, attempting to hold back their careers,
Those charges are ridiculous. The most recent fellow failed to get tenure because his non-ID peers brought in 100x the amount of grant money that he did. Do you think that ID advocates should get special treatment because of their religious beliefs, should get tenure over people who keep their religious life out of their office, and actually do their jobs better?

quote:
and time again scientific theories have gone up against political and religious pressure, and the science has consistently won. The undeniable evidence always ends up being...well...undeniable!
Then why don't you believe that ID can prove itself in that arena the way all scientific ideas have: through publications in peer-reviewed journals?

Why do you argue that its advocates should get sweetheart tenure deals, that its non-scientific nature shouldn't be mentioned, that the dishonesty of its advocates and its arguments shouldn't be pointed out?

quote:
I don't see why science has anything more to be afraid of this time around.
Students should be taught good science. They should not be taught that unscientific, crappy theology is good science. Why are you so resistant to those notions?

quote:
Using political "tactics" to advocate scientific theories only serves to muddy the waters.
You have to be kidding.

ID and Creationism ARE political issues. Scientifically, Creationism is dead. It's not science. If you disbelieve me, feel free to point out where Creationist and ID advocates are publishing their original research subject to the peer-reviewed of the scientific community

It is a purely political movement. Simply pointing that out, however, is not enough to stop school boards from gutting science requirements, if the parents do like they did in Dover and vote in Creationists. That's why anti-Creationism has to be political too.

Unless you really like it when school boards shell out a million dollars to the ACLU every time Creationists win control of a school board.

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Morbo
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
And definitions of terms very much are decided by popular opinion, by the way.

Allowing your opponent to broadly define terms in a debate with no argument is a sure way to lose.
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Samprimary
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quote:
definitions of terms very much are decided by popular opinion, by the way.
Then, we Americans all communally define God as the existing deity who created life?

Uh oh!

quote:
The point, after all, is that our opponents are saying "Life cannot start, nor evolve, without a god; therefore the account of creation in Genesis must be true, and therefore evolution must be false, and therefore you should not teach it in schools."
There are your opponents. The job of scientific method is not to fight your enemies, nor are theories defined by this fight because you want them to be. Evolutionary Theory is a mechanism used to explain and predict. It happens to be a fact that it explains and predicts the processes of living organisms and that it happens not to explain or predict where life originated.

quote:
So, to deal with this, you have to start at the beginning, and that involves showing that abiogenesis without gods is possible, although not required.
And, -- amazingly enough -- this does not and should not involve making abiogenesis part of evolutionary theory, or thinking that it is.

A lot of what you are saying indicates that you're excusing lapses in reason because you want these broad tools to use against Creationism. That you're going to permit some nonprofessionalism for the sake of purely tactical, competitive concerns versus Creationists. As though it were necessary to fall away from the principles of science to combat the nonscientific. I see no such necessity and I would still object on principle anyway.

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King of Men
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Possibly, yes, but the fact remains that most people do believe abiogenesis is part of evolution; so if you try to define things properly, you just look bad because Average Joe thinks you can't answer, so you're weaseling out. The only way to fix this would be a massive education campaign, and in that case, why not cut out the middleman and just educate people about how abiogenesis can happen? It's more important that they have good information than good definitions. Besides, it's not as though we haven't got perfectly good theories of abiogenesis, even if they are not as strongly experimentally supported as evolution. Let's stop the boring debate about definitions, which makes us look bad, and get on with the cool stuff like self-replicating pieces of clay. Abiogenesis is really interesting, we shouldn't be excluding it from the debate anyway. It's exactly what we need to make science look sexy.
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JLM
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quote:
Originally posted by 0Megabyte:
In fact, looking at the genetics of the different species, I imagine it'd be pretty easy to see if an entity was doing, say, gene splicing in the past. Because then we'd see stuff similarly weird as the jellyfish genes placed into mice. We don't see that sort of thing, the splicing of genes that may be beneficial or do weird things from an animal or plant that's definitely not close genetically, to another animal that could use it, except when we do it.

Of course, if we see anything like the tinkering we humans have done (which we haven't) it'd be quite interesting. Incredibly so.

Somehow, I never imagined God using a "hack" method such as gene splicing to advance evolution. Instead, I picture him directing his servants (spirits, angels, whatever you want to call them) herding, separating, mating and pairing groups of species to gether to advance evolution over millions of years, with maybe some rare, subtle tweeking. Gene splicing seems so... amature.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Possibly, yes, but the fact remains that most people do believe abiogenesis is part of evolution; so if you try to define things properly, you just look bad because Average Joe thinks you can't answer
It's not impossible (or even very hard) to frame evolutionary theory and abiogenesis correctly in a manner that does not make you look like you're trying not to answer something.
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0Megabyte
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"Somehow, I never imagined God using a "hack" method such as gene splicing to advance evolution. Instead, I picture him directing his servants (spirits, angels, whatever you want to call them) herding, separating, mating and pairing groups of species to gether to advance evolution over millions of years, with maybe some rare, subtle tweeking. Gene splicing seems so... amature. "

I'd totally love to see the angels doing that, but as it is... no evidence that that's how it occured...?

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Possibly, yes, but the fact remains that most people do believe abiogenesis is part of evolution; so if you try to define things properly, you just look bad because Average Joe thinks you can't answer
It's not impossible (or even very hard) to frame evolutionary theory and abiogenesis correctly in a manner that does not make you look like you're trying not to answer something.
Fair enough, but that's not what was being done in the comment that prompted this whole discussion.

quote:
A lot of what you are saying indicates that you're excusing lapses in reason because you want these broad tools to use against Creationism. That you're going to permit some nonprofessionalism for the sake of purely tactical, competitive concerns versus Creationists.
It doesn't make you less professional to meet people on whatever battleground they choose, especially since we can win on either one. Make a note, if you must, that abiogenesis isn't strictly part of evolution, but don't stop there. Go on to show how we think it occurs. What I'm objecting to is not so much the pedantic definition, although I do think that's remarkably boring, but rather using that as an excuse to stop the discussion.
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JLM
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quote:
Originally posted by 0Megabyte:
"Somehow, I never imagined God using a "hack" method such as gene splicing to advance evolution. Instead, I picture him directing his servants (spirits, angels, whatever you want to call them) herding, separating, mating and pairing groups of species to gether to advance evolution over millions of years, with maybe some rare, subtle tweeking. Gene splicing seems so... amature. "

I'd totally love to see the angels doing that, but as it is... no evidence that that's how it occured...?

I'm not even sure it would be possible to distinguish between directed species populations and natural migration, since I would expect less than 1% of population would even require any type of intervention to control the flow of evolution. In any event, there is about as much "evidence" for this conjecture as there is for M-theory. (Not that I'm disparaging M-theroey. I think it is an elegant and intriguing theorey, but with our current level of technology there isn't any conceivable way to validate the theory with physical experiments.)
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Tresopax
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quote:
How do you say that those two groups who want two completely different things aren't opponents?
Both groups I am talking about want the same thing: They want the world to be informed with the truth. If they all agreed on what the truth is, I'm sure they'd all agree on what should be taught. That they'd don't agree on what the truth is, and thus don't agree on how to act, does not make them enemies.
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swbarnes2
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quote:
Both groups I am talking about want the same thing
The record in the posts is clear: the two groups we are talking about are Creationists, and supporters of mainstream scince.

This isn't a case where there are two equal sides to the argument. Evolution has the facts, Creationism, no matter of what stripe, just doesn't.

quote:
They want the world to be informed with the truth.
They want the world to be told that their chosen religous beliefs are unquestionably true. That's not the same thing.

quote:
If they all agreed on what the truth is, I'm sure they'd all agree on what should be taught.
They never will.

A trivial example, Creationists want to teach that the human blood clotting cascade functions such that blood will never, ever clot unless all elements of the cascade are present. And that this furthermore proves that God designed it.

People who support good science would teach that dolphins lack one of those genes, but their blood clots fine. And even if there were no examples for that system, the second conclusion does not at all follow from the first.

This has been known for years. Creationists don't want to change their version of the "truth". Do you suggest that the scientific community should cave in instead?

But those facts are really not the issue. People who support good science want to teach that the best way to understand the physical universe is to look at it. Creationists want to teach that the best way to understand the physical universe is to accept whatever the bible says, because everything it says must be true.

How do you propose to get these two sides to agree on, say, the "truth" about the age of the human species?

quote:
That they'd don't agree on what the truth is, and thus don't agree on how to act, does not make them enemies.
Creationists and their supporters sabotage the education of children.

I oppose the sabotage of education.

Why is that so awful to say?

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fugu13
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Perhaps we could modify most of those to, "Creationists who assert creationism is scientific and should be taught in school"? There are creationists who do not believe creationism is scientific, but that it is necessarily true for religious reasons. Some of them even do very capable science (including, rarely, things directly related to evolutionary theory), presenting their results within the framework of science while maintaining their religious beliefs.
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FlyingCow
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To me, the divide here is between those who are looking at interpreting and understanding the rules vs. those that are trying to find the intent behind the rules.

Looking at it from a D&D perspective - those rigidly defending evolution are focused on the rules of the game as written, while those rigidly defending intelligent design are focused on the role of the game designer (or even the DM).

I don't feel these two things have to be mutually exclusive.

With regard to "evolution vs. intelligent design" - I don't know why this has to be a binary argument. If you want scientific skepticism, wouldn't it be more "evolution v. not evolution"?

I don't think "creationism" or "intelligent design" should be barred from schools. They have their place - but that place is a Philosophy classroom, not a Science classroom. In Science you discuss the rules and how they are applied, in Philosophy you can discuss why the rules are they way they are.

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