TFBW's Forum

Discuss
It is currently Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:32 am

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Evolution Needs an Opponent
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 12:25 pm 
Offline
Your Host

Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:57 am
Posts: 204
Location: Sydney, Australia
One of the problems I have with current scientific practice is its homogeneity. Conflicting theories are seen, by and large, as a bad thing. Unconventional thinking is discouraged, especially if it is in any way similar to some theory that has been "debunked". I don't even much like the concept of "debunking". While it's true that some claims are bunk, it should be sufficient to demonstrate that without the added ridicule, scorn, and character assassination associated with "debunking".

Two obvious examples of this attitude are the lack of alternatives to the Big Bang hypothesis, and the lack of alternatives to Evolution. You'd have to be truly brilliant to gain recognition as a scientist while actively doubting either of these theories. It took an Einstein to overturn the established weight of Newtonian thinking; what intellectual force does it take to overturn Darwinism?

It shouldn't be like this: alternative concepts should be <em>encouraged</em>, not stifled. Science should not be like scripture or religion -- certainly not a catholic one -- yet to openly doubt Evolution is to invite excommunication.

I expect at this point there are those who will tell me that the problem is not the doubting of Evolution per se, but the unscientific approach associated with an alternative like Creation or Intelligent Design. To this I respond with the Feyerabend gambit.

The Feyerabend gambit tackles the issue by claiming that there is strictly no such thing as an unscientific approach, because there is no one true scientific method. It's quite reasonable to say that a certain approach is not to one's <em>taste</em>, but to claim that a method of studying nature is inherently unscientific assumes an absolute and fixed method to the study of science, and history demonstrates that our beliefs about the methods of science are subject to revision.

The claim that it is the <em>method</em> and not the <em>theory</em> which is at issue simply shifts the element of dogmatism from theories to methods. Rather than be dogmatic about Evolution itself, the speaker is dogmatic about some of the epistemic scaffolding supporting it. The word "unscientific" in the phrase "an unscientific approach" is either a pejorative, synonymous with "bad", or a way of saying "unacceptable" which draws attention away from the fact that the criteria for acceptance are a subjective matter. A method is only <em>literally</em> unscientific if it is employed to an end which is not science.

At this point, I anticipate a second objection: the objection that alternatives to Evolution like Creation and Intelligent Design are themselves not scientific. The crux of the argument may be that since both involve some sort of <em>supernatural</em> element, they can not be properly considered studies of <em>nature</em>.

I know of two responses to this. One is to point out that even if such theories contain supernatural elements, they are still <em>substantially</em> about nature, not the supernatural. A Creationist can readily distinguish between the study of the creation (science) and the study of the creator (theology). It's even possible to posit a naturalist theory of Intelligent Design, such as Panspermia.

The stronger response, in my estimation, is what I call the Ayer gambit. Sir Alfred Ayer argued in his book, <cite>Language, Truth and Logic</cite>, that any question which could not be answered on the basis of evidence was literally meaningless. I think this is too strong a claim, for a number of reasons, but I think it's a great measure of whether anything can be considered a matter of <em>science</em>. (I would agree with Ayer entirely if I were to think that science is the sum total of knowledge.) Without the possibility of <em>evidence</em>, how can we say that our beliefs relate to nature in any concrete way?

To dismiss Creation theory as unscientific is to say that there can be no evidence one way or the other which justifies belief or disbelief in the theory. But if there were any evidence against Evolution, this would count as some sort of evidence towards Creation. Where the possibilities are Evolution and Not Evolution, Creation is a subset of Not Evolution, and any evidence for Not Evolution lends weight to all members of its class, including Creation. (I'm largely alluding to Hempel and the raven paradox here.)

So, in order to accept that there is no possibility of evidence for Creation, we must also deny that there can be any evidence against Evolution (evidence for Not Evolution), as this would count as evidence for Creation. This means that any fact whatsoever counts as evidence for Evolution, or rather that Evolution is not a matter of science because it is not decided on the basis of factual evidence. Oops.

Clearly we must back off this stance. The "moderate but firm" view is that evidence against Evolution (evidence for some form of Not Evolution) is possible in principle but absent in practice because Evolution happens to be true. I don't accept this: things are never so cut and dried in practice. There should be at least <em>some</em> evidence which is ambivalent or problematic to the theory. Even relativity has to face such data from time to time.

The real reason that evidence against evolution is absent in practice is that the scientific mainstream only ever discusses evidence <em>in terms of Evolution</em>, and more specifically in terms of how the evidence <em>supports</em> evolution. This brings us back to Feyerabend and the need for alternatives. The merit of a theory can only be seen relative to other theories, and true merit can only be seen when all competing theories are portrayed in the best possible light. If all one learns is evidence for Evolution, then one has learnt the dogma of Evolution, not the practice of evaluating scientific evidence.

Paradoxically, those who wish to give Evolution its strongest possible support as a science should be nurturing vigorous scientific opposition to that theory. I don't need to cite anyone as controversial as Feyerabend to support this view: Popper will do. Even he recognised that scientific excellence was demonstrated by exposure to determined attempts to falsify, where a false outcome was a logical possibility.

Is evidence against Evolution a logical possibility? If so, what is it, and who's looking for it? Where is Evolution's opponent?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Evolution Needs an Opponent
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:29 pm 
Offline
Established Expositor

Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:01 pm
Posts: 14
Well, i would love to see an alternative to Evolution. Nothing would delight me more.
I agree with you when you say that, we today only think in terms of evolution, and forget that might be an alternative to it, even tough i don't agree with a concept of a inteligent designer.

Like you said, a theory gains more strengh as you question it. And if one day evolution would be confronted with a more realistic theory, i would gladly embrace it with open arms.

The problem that you said about the alternatives not being considerated scientific and so ridiculed is very much true, but even evolution and Darwin where ridicularized at their times.

I think when you convention what is acceptable and what's not by calling it not enough scientific, then you may be losing a lot of evidence, on the basis that its not reliable. But, eventually with time, these unreliable methods should become more acurate, and therefore widely accepted on the scientific comunity. Like evolution one day came to be accepted. A real fast moving example of this can be seen on forensics, who would've tought a few decades ago that dna would become so popular a weapon on helping solving crimes ?

So, its true that there's probably not enough alternatives to confront evolution today, except for creationism, wich is by definition, not science at all. But, with the advances on science itself, if any more alternatives do appear that have any kind of veracity and logic in it, then they, given enough time, they should become accepted.

I just don't think that God (at least the Gods defined by religions) is a acceptable concept, but that discussion is to be left for another time.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Evolution Needs an Opponent
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:24 am 
Offline
Your Host

Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:57 am
Posts: 204
Location: Sydney, Australia
jebedaya wrote:
So, its true that there's probably not enough alternatives to confront evolution today, except for creationism, wich is by definition, not science at all.

I argued against that position in my post. What are your definitions of "science" and "creationism", such that the latter can not be the former?

_________________
The Famous Brett Watson -- brett.watson@gmail.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Evolution Needs an Opponent
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 4:32 am 
Offline
Established Expositor

Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:01 pm
Posts: 14
Well, my definition of creationism is that is a school of thought conected with religion, and that is basically a belief, and that is is not based in any actual evidence. Its the belief that god created the universe in 6 days, and made man out of clay and all that.

And science is something that is not based in religion, science is based on actual evidence, so we can come to our conclusions by extensive testing, that we can reproduce later on, and this conclusions are not dependant in beliving that its true or not, it just is. I guess you could be more flexible about this concept, since there are a lot of things that we are yet to control and that is very hard to proof, (i don't know anything about quantum physics, but it always comes to mind). But the point is, you begin with a proposition that may or may not be true, and you pursue to prove it true.

If you would define creationism as something more general and not affiliate with any religion, just the need of a creator, kind of God sets the parameters of life, and God defines the laws of physics, and God could even be responsible for the evolution, then it would be more plausible for me. Because, even though its not something that we can proof, and test, and afirm it being 100% true, it would be acceptable on philosophical terms.

Now i ask you, what is your concept of creationism.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Evolution Needs an Opponent
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:40 am 
Offline
Your Host

Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:57 am
Posts: 204
Location: Sydney, Australia
jebedaya wrote:
But the point is, you begin with a proposition that may or may not be true, and you pursue to prove it true.

So start with the proposition that "the Bible gives a true (if highly abbreviated) account of creation" and attempt to prove it true. That would be scientific creationism by your standards, would it not?

_________________
The Famous Brett Watson -- brett.watson@gmail.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Evolution Needs an Opponent
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:15 pm 
Offline
Established Expositor

Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:01 pm
Posts: 14
Yes, you are right, if you would put in that terms that could be called scientific creationism. Science has always been separated from religion and this scientific creationism would need a separate aproach from the traditional one, wich is not about proof, but faith.

But when you think about it, you would have to prove, for instance, that a person could live up to the age of 400, that a man could live inside of a whale, that the woman came out of the men's rib, that the earth is only few thousand years old. All this that we know today, to be untrue.

Why then, even tough this scientific creationism being a new aproach, we should continue to pursue to prove this things, that science already knows to be not true?


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Evolution Needs an Opponent
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:42 am 
Offline
Your Host

Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:57 am
Posts: 204
Location: Sydney, Australia
jebedaya wrote:
Science has always been separated from religion...

I think that's a relatively recent political movement within the ranks of the scientific establishment, rather than a true statement about the history of science. After all, Sir Isaac Newton was well known for his excellence as a scientist and his interest in religious matters. I don't think he kept a careful artificial wall between the two interests, and it certainly didn't make him a bad scientist. Many famous scientists have had a religious aspect to or philosophy behind their scientific enquiries. It's not clear to me that science can be separated from religion in a strict sense, nor that it ought to be. It's an attitude which comes from believing in a caricature of both science and religion: that the former is dry, rational, dispassionate, empirical, and driven by facts, whereas the latter is superstitious, irrational, emotional, scriptural, and driven by evil men who wish to control the masses through fear and ignorance.

jebedaya wrote:
But when you think about it, you would have to prove, for instance, that a person could live up to the age of 400, that a man could live inside of a whale, that the woman came out of the men's rib, that the earth is only few thousand years old. All this that we know today, to be untrue.

I can see that you have researched the matter deeply, and I find myself unable to refute your well-reasoned argument.

jebedaya wrote:
Why then, even tough this scientific creationism being a new aproach, we should continue to pursue to prove this things, that science already knows to be not true?

Because scientific progress almost invariably involves the discovery of new facts which science "already knows to be not true". In any case, science is driven by the personal interests of scientists as much as anything else, and some scientists don't share your confidence in the certainty of some "scientific truths". Why should we disdain such unconventional research efforts? If it were forbidden to doubt or question "scientific truths", then science would be a lot like an oppressive religion, wouldn't it?

_________________
The Famous Brett Watson -- brett.watson@gmail.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Evolution Needs an Opponent
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:55 pm 
Offline
Established Expositor

Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:01 pm
Posts: 14
Even though a lot of scientists where, and are, religious, i see their work more as a way of explaining the mysteries of the world, rather than trying to find god, and prove it.

Quote:
It's an attitude which comes from believing in a caricature of both science and religion: that the former is dry, rational, dispassionate, empirical, and driven by facts, whereas the latter is superstitious, irrational, emotional, scriptural, and driven by evil men who wish to control the masses through fear and ignorance.

This caricature is not without reason, for you can read a lot within the history of religion, that it was a way of controlling the masses.
Though the same can be said of science today. There are a lot of methods to control people, and to incarcerate them, based on medicine, psychology, sociology and other studies, that even experimental as they might be, are regarded as very acurate and reliable by the law.

Quote:
I can see that you have researched the matter deeply, and I find myself unable to refute your well-reasoned argument.

I sense in your irony that you think, like i do, that some of the stories in the Bible, work best as moral tales, than interpreted as totally true.

Quote:
Because scientific progress almost invariably involves the discovery of new facts which science "already knows to be not true". In any case, science is driven by the personal interests of scientists as much as anything else, and some scientists don't share your confidence in the certainty of some "scientific truths". Why should we disdain such unconventional research efforts? If it were forbidden to doubt or question "scientific truths", then science would be a lot like an oppressive religion, wouldn't it?


Yes, it would, and far from what it should be. But some of this laws are so reliable, that they are yet to be discredited. Even tough they might always plausible of change and improvement.
It wasn't my intention to use the phrase "scientific truth" so lightly, but only to refer to universal truths of the highest level.

But in the end i wonder, is it possible to ever achieve a definite answer ?


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Evolution Needs an Opponent
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:14 am 
Offline
Established Expositor

Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:01 pm
Posts: 14
I found this by accident, but i thought that it was kind of relevant as it seems to be another theory. This guy says that he has definite evidence of the existence of God, without a single doubt. He writes so that science agrees with religion, says that in the Bible it is said that the universe has billions of years, that somehow jesus = big bang, that DNA is proof of god because its a code, and a lot of other stuff that i didn't had the patience to also read. I mean, its just a lot of random analogies, long-shots, and wordplaying.

There is some kind of random mutation generator (reminds me of monkey hamlet and dawkin's weasel program) that doesn't make any sense to me. As if trying prove that every random mutation is negative and only produces useless creatures. I didn't had to think much to recall that viruses are known to get stronger as they mutate.

This is exactly, to me an example of poor made un-scientific theories. It seems that it is just a new product created outside of the confines of science and religion to be able to satisfy everybody.

http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/audio/newevidence.htm

Quote:
Q: But the Genesis story doesn't sound like any science book I've ever read.

A: Let's take the sequence of events in Genesis step by step:

Genesis 1:1 Creation of the universe
1:2 Earth is covered with water; story is told from the earth
1:3-5 Light becomes visible; day and night
1:6-8 Clouds and water cycle
1:9-10 Ocean and dry land
1:11-13 Plants
1:14-19 Sun and moon become visible in the sky
1:20-23 Fish and Birds
1:24-25 Animals
1:26 Man

This is the exact same sequence we find in modern science books.


I thought that day and night couldn't exist without the sun... and that plants needed the sun to live... i guess he must've mixed those numbers. At least this is what they thought me at school.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Evolution Needs an Opponent
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:48 am 
Offline
Your Host

Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:57 am
Posts: 204
Location: Sydney, Australia
jebedaya wrote:
I sense in your irony that you think, like i do, that some of the stories in the Bible, work best as moral tales, than interpreted as totally true.

Not at all. I trust the historical accuracy of the Bible more than I trust modern scientific pontifications about the past. You, on the other hand, place your trust the other way around. That's not something I can refute by argument, is it? There are certain points I can raise, but we'd need to know the truth of history as it actually happened in order to judge whether either of us have trusted wisely, and if we knew the truth, we wouldn't be having the discussion.

But perhaps I should at least raise some questions in relation to your points, just to show you where I'm coming from. So here's your earlier remark again.

jebedaya wrote:
But when you think about it, you would have to prove, for instance, that a person could live up to the age of 400, that a man could live inside of a whale, that the woman came out of the men's rib, that the earth is only few thousand years old. All this that we know today, to be untrue.

First point: none of these are even relevant to scientific creationism, with the possible exception of the "few thousand years old" bit. Even that doesn't relate to the act of creation itself, but only the time-frame in which it happened. You're confusing scientific creationism with a scientific defence of the bible as a whole. This changes our angle to a "science versus the Bible" argument in which modern science declares the Bible to be untrue because it contains claims known to be impossible by modern science. That's not quite the debate we were having, but I'll shift gears just so I can address the rest of your comment.

Modern science has not established that a person can not live up to the age of 400. You could say that it's beyond our experience, but there's no reason in principle why a person could not live for a long time. We don't understand the aging process enough to make definitive claims about maximum ages. The bible doesn't explain why lifespans dropped, but it documents a historical trend. Lifespans were originally on the order of one thousand years, but there was a severe drop after Noah's flood. The causes behind this trend are a matter of conjecture, but it's highly presumptuous to declare that the data must be false when our understanding of aging is so limited.

Modern science hasn't done a lot of research into the possibility of a man living inside a whale, or big fish, so far as I am aware. Perhaps you could cite your sources on that front. This research would have to take into consideration the possibility that the whale or fish in question is now extinct, and also the fact that the event was not an accident, but divinely arranged. The event might be "unheard of" in a general sense, but so what? It was an extraordinary event, used by God as a symbol of things to come. Does the fact that it was extraordinary mean that it must be false? Even if it were somehow proved to be impossible, why couldn't we accept it as a miracle?

Your objection in relation to the "woman came out of the man's rib" thing is not clear. What's the problem here? Please clarify.

Modern science does have a lot to say about the age of the earth and universe as a whole. Exactly what science says about it has varied quite a lot in the past two hundred years. Science was quite happy with the figure of six thousand years not all that long ago. These days, scientists are (in general) quite adamantly opposed to it, and significant parts of modern science are based on a fundamental framework of billions of years. Evidence against long ages thus faces an enormous amount of resistance, not because of the reliability of the evidence itself so much, but because it can't be accepted without precipitating a massive scientific revolution -- and admitting that many "scientific truths" of the last century or two are baloney. That would be a bit embarrassing. There are books written by advocates of short-age theories, and you should probably read them if you want the kind of scientific defence you seek on this matter. Bear in mind that they don't actually need to prove short ages (or disprove long ages), but merely show that short ages are compatible with the data. (Generally speaking, however, they go beyond this requirement, and present arguments that long ages are incompatible with the data.)

jebedaya wrote:
It wasn't my intention to use the phrase "scientific truth" so lightly, but only to refer to universal truths of the highest level.

But in the end i wonder, is it possible to ever achieve a definite answer ?

There's no good reason to think that science can ever arrive at a definite knowledge of the truth. I'd be more willing to accept your idea of "universal truths of the highest level" if it weren't for several practical problems. One is that many "universal truths" of days gone by are now "universal falsehoods". Why should we think that the current batch of "universal truths" will stand the test of time? Another is the question of what constitutes a "universal" truth? The fact that nobody disagrees with it? That no scientist disagrees with it? That no reputable scientist disagrees with it? It seems that once something reaches the status of "universal truth", it is no longer possible to question it without sacrificing one's reputation as a serious scientist. I don't see how the idea of a "universal truth" (in science) is helpful to the scientific process -- it seems only to make it more dogmatic.

_________________
The Famous Brett Watson -- brett.watson@gmail.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Evolution Needs an Opponent
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:16 am 
Offline
Established Expositor

Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:01 pm
Posts: 14
Yes, I know that some of this remarks aren't related to scientific creationism, but about the accuracy of the Bible as a whole. Then again, there where a lot of other examples that I could've used that where directly related to creationism, but now that's beside the point, my point was that science needs to prove if those events where plausible or not.

And I don't exactly have any study called "Could a man lived inside of a whale, or a big fish" but just the fact that the stomach of those two animals, at least the ones that we know to be alive today, its not exactly a safe environment for the man.

But, about those two events (living 400 years and living inside of a whale), i think that you could always say it was a miracle, but except from that record on the bible, it is yet unheard of, and if we don't consider that divine intervention is an explanation for it, then we still can't prove it to be possible. You can only prove that is not impossible.
And I think that the whole point of this excercise, is to find within modern science (or any new valid sources as you pointed) ways to prove that this could be possible instead of just saying that it could've been a miracle.

Quote:
Your objection in relation to the "woman came out of the man's rib" thing is not clear. What's the problem here? Please clarify.

Nevermind the rib, I just think that the whole concept its kind of absurd. If you think of a divine intervention, then it becomes clear. But I'm not willing to accept divine intervention so easilly as a possibility, as I think this would not be loyal to the concept of this scientific creationism.

Quote:
Evidence against long ages thus faces an enormous amount of resistance, not because of the reliability of the evidence itself so much, but because it can't be accepted without precipitating a massive scientific revolution -- and admitting that many "scientific truths" of the last century or two are baloney. That would be a bit embarrassing.

On this case, this new theories should best be intrepreted and defended as improvements, instead of just challenges to the current status quo. If they have any real substance, then this view (of improvement) could be possible, even if they go against a lot of the earlier accepted "truths". Revising them would only just be fair.

But i don't really know anything about the scientific community (as im not part of it) to say how much being embarassed could be an objection to them. I also don't know how much obstacle can come to someone just because he has some personal beliefs that might or not affect his work (it shouldn't).
I can only hope that people are reasonable enough to be able to see beyond their prejudices.

Quote:
There's no good reason to think that science can ever arrive at a definite knowledge of the truth. I'd be more willing to accept your idea of "universal truths of the highest level" if it weren't for several practical problems. One is that many "universal truths" of days gone by are now "universal falsehoods". Why should we think that the current batch of "universal truths" will stand the test of time? Another is the question of what constitutes a "universal" truth? The fact that nobody disagrees with it? That no scientist disagrees with it? That no reputable scientist disagrees with it? It seems that once something reaches the status of "universal truth", it is no longer possible to question it without sacrificing one's reputation as a serious scientist. I don't see how the idea of a "universal truth" (in science) is helpful to the scientific process -- it seems only to make it more dogmatic.

My concept on universal truth is simple. It's not definite and static, just something that up till this day, there isn't any evidence against it, and has lot of evidence in its favour. Wouldn't an "universal falsehood" be the same thing as a new "universal truth"?

I think that people will always look for the truth, so an ideal of a static (dogmatic) science would in reality pose as an obstacle to the development of science. But my belief is that as science evolves we can improve a great deal in accuracy, and discover things that we can't even supose today. We might not ever be able to say with 100% assurance, but at least with great probability.

If you acknowledge that you will can never know something, then what's the point ? Just something to do with your time ? Or you just wanna know a enough to have an opinion and then settle down? No, i think that in the end, even if today this ideal of having a definite truth is not possible, its what science is walking towards to. Its a paradox in the sense that the quest for a definite truth involves doesn't believing in a definite truth.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Evolution Needs an Opponent
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:55 am 
Offline
Your Host

Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:57 am
Posts: 204
Location: Sydney, Australia
jebedaya wrote:
...my point was that science needs to prove if those events where plausible or not.

...I think that the whole point of this excercise, is to find within modern science (or any new valid sources as you pointed) ways to prove that this could be possible instead of just saying that it could've been a miracle.

...I'm not willing to accept divine intervention so easilly as a possibility, as I think this would not be loyal to the concept of this scientific creationism.

As regards the Bible in general, you need to accept the idea of divine intervention. If your idea of a "scientific approach to the Bible" is to attempt to explain all the apparently miraculous events in it via natural causes, then you're missing the point. I have no doubt that some of the miraculous events in the Bible were not violations of natural law as such, but carefully orchestrated "coincidences", and these could be explained in natural terms. Other things, however, like turning water into wine and raising people from the dead, are conspicuously miraculous. An attempt to explain these in natural terms is simply an attempt to erase God from the Bible, and the Bible simply does not allow such a possibility as written. If you seriously demand that miracles can not happen, you may as well dismiss the whole of the Bible without further consideration.

As regards scientific creationism, specifically, you still seem to be struggling to fit it into a naturalist mould. If you insist on strict naturalism, forbidding divine intervention and miracles, then you will wind up with a theory of evolution. Creationism involves a creator, and this creator must at the very least be able to act intelligently in harmony with the laws of nature. In the biblical account of the creation of man, for example, God took dirt and fashioned it into a man. A sufficiently advanced creator can do this without violating a single "law of physics": dirt contains all the necessary atomic elements; the creator's job is simply to fabricate a human being by reorganising the ingredients. If you're not willing to allow this kind of possible scenario, then you've ruled out any kind of creationism.

jebedaya wrote:
But i don't really know anything about the scientific community (as im not part of it) to say how much being embarassed could be an objection to them. I also don't know how much obstacle can come to someone just because he has some personal beliefs that might or not affect his work (it shouldn't).
I can only hope that people are reasonable enough to be able to see beyond their prejudices.

Do you know of any large group of people who would be willing to suddenly admit that they were wrong about some fundamental set of beliefs? Scientists aren't all that different from religions in this regard. They've been educated in a particular interpretation of things, and if they've become expert in that interpretation, then they have a heavy personal investment in it. Scientists are human beings -- the same kind of human beings that have religious and political views, and have nightmares about turning up at school or work naked. I'm afraid there's little basis for believing that scientists can see beyond their prejudices any better than the average man, and slim grounds for believing that their self-interest and job security considerations don't colour their judgement. In short, don't assume too much "objectivity" from a person just because he bears the label "scientist". Human beings are only capable of so much "objectivity".

jebedaya wrote:
My concept on universal truth is simple. It's not definite and static, just something that up till this day, there isn't any evidence against it, and has lot of evidence in its favour. Wouldn't an "universal falsehood" be the same thing as a new "universal truth"?

I think that people will always look for the truth, so an ideal of a static (dogmatic) science would in reality pose as an obstacle to the development of science. But my belief is that as science evolves we can improve a great deal in accuracy, and discover things that we can't even supose today. We might not ever be able to say with 100% assurance, but at least with great probability.

I still see numerous problems with this "universal truth" idea, the first and foremost of which is that it doesn't encourage further questioning. It simply fosters ossification and the smug assurance that our theories are, if not perfect, then at least only in need of refinement to make them so. History is littered with "universal truths" that were not refined but abandoned -- in favour of new and different "universal truths", of course. The whole attitude of "universal truth" simply discourages criticism and questioning, because it's irrational to question a truth.

Instead, we should call these things "currently popular beliefs". There's no stigma associated with questioning a "currently popular belief" -- and that's all that any scientific theory or law is, no matter how much evidence supports it. If the data is really that overwhelming, then the data itself will adequately deter doubters. Unfortunately, science as a practice has a rather inflated opinion of its own epistemic status, and "currently popular belief" doesn't carry the air of authority that science ascribes to itself. In particular, the word "belief" is considered a pejorative -- it is the domain of religions, and quite beneath science.

Another problem arises with your prescription of "there isn't any evidence against it". The major problem here is what we allow as "evidence against", and whether we allow it to maintain its status as "evidence against" if it can be explained away. There is abundant evidence against the theory of evolution, for example. Many books have been written on the subject, and Darwin himself posed problems with the theory in this regard. Confident evolutionists do not feel that any of this evidence is sufficiently challenging to the theory that they should abandon it, of course. Such is their prerogative, but I have a problem with the idea that evolution in particular has no evidence against it (as some would assert) simply because all the evidence presented so far has not disproved the possibility of evolution to the satisfaction of some evolutionists. I don't see why we should concede the adjective "universal" (let alone "truth") to any theory which is actively contended on the basis of data.

jebedaya wrote:
If you acknowledge that you will can never know something, then what's the point ? Just something to do with your time ? Or you just wanna know a enough to have an opinion and then settle down? No, i think that in the end, even if today this ideal of having a definite truth is not possible, its what science is walking towards to. Its a paradox in the sense that the quest for a definite truth involves doesn't believing in a definite truth.

As I've discussed in the other topic you started, science can be useful whether or not it is true. Scientific revolutions are driven by the utility of the theory or model. We simply assume that "useful" must imply some connection with "truth". As relates to technology, "useful" is the only important consideration: truth is incidental. Those who promote science as the best route to knowledge of the truth invariably rest their case on the success of science in bringing us technology. I don't dispute the success of science and technology, but I think it's erroneous to confuse utility with truth.

_________________
The Famous Brett Watson -- brett.watson@gmail.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Evolution Needs an Opponent
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:32 am 
Offline
Established Expositor

Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:01 pm
Posts: 14
Quote:
If your idea of a "scientific approach to the Bible" is to attempt to explain all the apparently miraculous events in it via natural causes, then you're missing the point.

You're right about that, this would indeed take God out of the bible.

But if you still need to believe in divine intervention, then i don't know why we call this scientific creationism. Why not just call it plain creationism ?

I too have to belive in Evolution, but in the end, the point is to find a way to prove it to be able to say "this is true, and we have this evidence here that clearly demonstrates this", and to achieve the status of "current popular belief".

I seems to me that the point of scientific creationism is to find a lack of explanation or probability, and this lack of explanation or probability is evidence of God. Because we can't harness God's power, we can't put it under a microscope, and we sure can't call him to explain himself. Or do you think that we could find material evidence, of the existence of God ? If everything can be interpreted both ways, then it all boils down to believing in it, even in science.

Regarding to "Current Popular Beliefs", if i knew about it sooner, i would call it that way, i think that is much more apropriate than "Universal Truths"

And just because something is useful doesn't mean that everything that we know about it today is true, you right about that, but being useful sure helps a lot in trying to demonstrate its existance.

What i came to understand from all of this, is that it doesn't matter if we call it science of not, all kinds of research should come to a common point, and that evidence itself would prove of disprove the theories being researched, at least if done properly. But there is always room for interpretation of this data and in this interpretation, is where you put God, or not.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: Evolution Needs an Opponent
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:03 am 
Offline
Your Host

Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:57 am
Posts: 204
Location: Sydney, Australia
jebedaya wrote:
But if you still need to believe in divine intervention, then i don't know why we call this scientific creationism. Why not just call it plain creationism ?

Because data is explained in terms of the theory of divine intervention (or, more generally, "intelligent intervention"). Science is a relationship between real-world data and theory (an explanation of that data). We need the "scientific" there for emphasis, because people have been trained to think of evolution as "science" and creation as "religion". Again, we need to emphasise that inclusion of God in a theory does not make the theory unscientific, otherwise science is the process of coming up with atheistic explanations. Historically speaking, there are a lot of great scientists who would object strongly to that characterisation of science.

jebedaya wrote:
I seems to me that the point of scientific creationism is to find a lack of explanation or probability, and this lack of explanation or probability is evidence of God.

Perhaps. Conversely, it seems that the point of evolution is to find a lack of need for God, and this lack of need for God is evidence of evolution. Two sides of the same coin. We are faced with the data of life itself, and we pose the question, "can this sort of thing arise by natural causes, and if so then did it arise by natural causes?" These days, the primary "evidence" used to support the naturalist explanation is "it's unscientific to say that God did anything."

You really have to make a decision about your philosophy of science here. Is it possible that God exists? Is it possible that he intervenes, such as in creating life? If so, then how do we distinguish between an artificial thing (created by intelligent intervention) and a natural thing (the product of matter, time, and the laws of physics without additional intervention). Given the super-dominance of naturalism in modern science, most scientists aren't asking this question at all: they just assume that everything is natural and proceed accordingly. Creationists try to point out probabilistic arguments which make the natural explanations seem like a stretch, but most naturalists really don't care about the probability, because the natural explanation is quite simply the only one they're prepared to consider.

If you can, perhaps, suggest a more compelling line of argument than the probabilistic one, I'm open to suggestions. Perhaps you could tell me what kind of evidence you'd like to see.

jebedaya wrote:
If everything can be interpreted both ways, then it all boils down to believing in it, even in science.

I think this is a case where the assumptions you start with can play the dominant role. Maybe it's possible to come up with a good working method of distinguishing between natural things and artificial things, but we haven't developed any good techniques yet. This is partly because the dominant philosophy of naturalism doesn't think it needs such a method: it assumes everything is natural and believes the assumption to be justified -- or necessary, even.

_________________
The Famous Brett Watson -- brett.watson@gmail.com


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group