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View Full Version : ID: we're arguing the wrong question.



beskeptical
2005-Mar-13, 05:50 AM
I was trying to figure out why the discussions about 'what is a theory' and 'ID isn't science' aren't making any inroads in resisting the move to include these non-scientific themes in biology and science classes in the US.

I knew deep down there was something wrong with the discussion being about 'ID' or 'alternative theories'. And I was trying to figure out how to change the argument to have it instantly make sense to people. When someone presents the argument as, "we just want alternative theories taught", it has a certain amount of credibility. Who wouldn't want alternative theories taught when there are alternative theories with any credibility.

But with the argument discussed in terms of alternative theories, evolution advocates seem to stumble. We try to explain there is no evidence. We try to explain ID is not a valid theory. We try to explain what a theory is. All of these concepts require the non scientific thinker to make judgments about whether evidence they are unfamiliar with is credible. It is too complex for instant recognition about what the problem with teaching ID really is.

We need to define the argument in science terms, but in this case 'marketing science terms', not the usual terms one thinks of as science. We need to define the argument on our terms. In other words, take the argument away from those who are manipulating it with the motivation of making science fit the Bible. Let's discuss the argument on our terms.

So how does one do that. It finally came to me as I was posting to yet another thread on what's wrong with teaching ID. The problem is not with teaching alternative theories to evolution. If there are any, bring them on.

The real problem is irreducible complexity has been disproved by overwhelming genetic evidence. For that matter, macro evolution only has been disproved by overwhelming evidence. Whenever someone says, "teach ID", we should answer, "we would but it's based completely on irreducible complexity and that has been disproved".

Fram
2005-Mar-13, 09:05 PM
The real problem is irreducible complexity has been disproved by overwhelming genetic evidence. For that matter, macro evolution only has been disproved by overwhelming evidence. Whenever someone says, "teach ID", we should answer, "we would but it's based completely on irreducible complexity and that has been disproved".

Emphasis mine: what do you mean by that? That macro-evolution does not exist? Or that macro-evolution on its own is not enough as an explanation for evolution? I'm a bit confused by your sentence...

beskeptical
2005-Mar-13, 09:29 PM
The real problem is irreducible complexity has been disproved by overwhelming genetic evidence. For that matter, macro evolution only has been disproved by overwhelming evidence. Whenever someone says, "teach ID", we should answer, "we would but it's based completely on irreducible complexity and that has been disproved".

Emphasis mine: what do you mean by that? That macro-evolution does not exist? Or that macro-evolution on its own is not enough as an explanation for evolution? I'm a bit confused by your sentence...Typo - should say 'micro evolution only' has been disproved.

HypersonicMan
2005-Mar-14, 01:24 AM
Perhaps an even simpler answer is one I've heard before. Why limit the teaching "alternative theories" to biology? By the same argument that ID proponents make, we should be teaching Holocaust Revisionism in history classes, Alternative Therapies like marijuana, crystals, Christian Scientist's prayer only therapies, blood letting in the medieval tradition, etc. in health classes, Numerology in math classes, and so on. So if we teach ID, we have an obligation to include these other alternatives too.

Enzp
2005-Mar-14, 04:43 AM
You don't even have to get esoteric. We need to present the alternative theories to these common theories - gravity, germs as source of disease, etc.

2005-Mar-14, 06:46 AM
There's an "outlet" in Inverness that seems to do well selling Magnetic Healing Devices... ](*,) ](*,) ](*,)

Not being aware as to how these bangles, bracelets and baubels are supposed to heal anything, I wonder: should Magnetic Healing be included in the school curriculum? I'd ask them if they've any Tachyon generators for sale. But, as it's my habit to give the place a VERY wide berth, I haven't got around to it... 8-[ 8-[ 8-[

Clearly, my education is deficient? :roll: :roll: :roll:

enginelessjohn
2005-Mar-14, 09:03 AM
Surely magnets are so cheap that you just throw away the old one when it gets sick..... :D

Sorry, I'll get my coat.

John

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-14, 10:46 AM
iojnbvo[iejg['53qjmp'gmwk,rlejg-]35uj
gewrjg'okrsnlm/gnemsngoh;h[trbj[0cf
m/b. msdl/f nvk.mewr bligf3p97gfpesr
jvi'mdzfl'vm'p4wjg-ewj5kpgmlsr/enb,.
/fdznbo;0[bj[403j[0pgyw5ejl'fgme;/rg
mn'pdfjb[ugfixobjhsfgbnmksdnhg;ktrw
ngko'jrtig'jrstp'bmlgfbmlsfmbk'tjrh-gse
jtrpbmlg'cm l,'fdm b'fdj'phsrkjohgmtlw
mgh,;rtdsm;b-ocfgki b]-bvk]o mdf;Hgm
.trfmh,ldrmbpjcfgpi'njmg'h m,l/fd h;,dr
m#[phkdtrokb#

pom,n;,hg#lnbmdyrlpmhj,rmth,mdftpob
kijcghklpdg

well I didn't type the great works of shakespear
but THERE on the bottom left is the word "pom",
which might mean something to an Australian, I
don't know.

but I think that if I did keep typing randomly I would
come up with more and more real words, at random
and if there were some means by which these occurances
of "structure", as the words represent in this context, could
be retained and then passed on to a next "generation" then
perhaps it is possible to see how structures can evolve!!!!


edited to add that,

the chance of the actual word "pom" coming into
existance, by chance,are 17576 to 1 against.(1/ 26^3)

beskeptical
2005-Mar-14, 11:39 AM
iojnbvo[iejg['53qjmp'gmwk,rlejg-]35ujgewrjg'okrsnlm/
gnemsngoh;h[trbj[0cfm/b. msdl/f nvk.mewr bligf3p97gfpesrjvi'mdzfl'vm'p4wjg-ewj5kpgm
lsr/enb,./fdznbo;0[bj[403j[0pgyw5ejl'fgme;/rgmn'pdfjb[ugfixob
jhsfgbnmksdnhg;ktrwngko'jrtig'jrstp'bmlgfbmlsfmbk' tjrh-gsejt
pbmlg'cm l,'fdm b'fdj'phsrkjohgmtlwmgh,;rtdsm;b-ocfgki b]-bvk
]o mdf;Hgm.trfmh,ldrmbpjcfgpi'njmg'h m,l/fd h;,drm#[phkdtrokb#

pom,n;,hg#lnbmdyrlpmhj,rmth,mdftpobkijcghklpdg

well I didn't type the great works of shakespear but THERE on the bottom left is the word "pom", which might mean something to an Australian, I don't know.

but I think that if I did keep typing randomly I would come up with more and more real words, at random and if there were some means by which these occurrences of "structure", as the words represent in this context, could be retained and then passed on to a next "generation" then perhaps it is possible to see how structures can evolve!!!!


edited to add that,

the chance of the actual word "pom" coming into existence, by chance,are 17576 to 1 against.(1/ 26^3)Whatever this is could you edit it so it doesn't stretch the screen? Just put some returns or spaces so the screen divides up the lines.

If you are arguing for or against evolution, that isn't the point of the thread. The point is how the argument is framed.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-14, 11:50 AM
done.
I fear it is too late though, as your quote of me is now
stretching the screen.

I was just typing randomly to show that words or structure
can appear by chance.
:(

farmerjumperdon
2005-Mar-14, 01:36 PM
Agreed on everything except the marijuana part. It has been proven to be of medical value, glaucoma patients can get a scrip for it, depending on where they live and who their Dr. is. A friend of mine who was undergoing some high dose radiation for a spinal column cancer was also offerred a scrip for it.

HypersonicMan
2005-Mar-14, 03:32 PM
Agreed on everything except the marijuana part. It has been proven to be of medical value, glaucoma patients can get a scrip for it, depending on where they live and who their Dr. is. A friend of mine who was undergoing some high dose radiation for a spinal column cancer was also offerred a scrip for it.

True, and I suppose it's not in the same category as the others since the possible benefits have not been proven one way or another. It's still considered an alternative therapy, though, and certainly not mainstream. Since it's illegal there haven't been very many clinical studies to determine what medical benefits there are (even with glaucoma, I believe the mainstream view of opthamologists is that it's one of the worst things to give to glaucoma patients, but without good studies to show either way, who knows?). The point is, many parents who might want to have ID taught in schools would probably recoil in horror if beneficial effects of marijuana became part of the curriculum.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-14, 04:24 PM
Perhaps an even simpler answer is one I've heard before. Why limit the teaching "alternative theories" to biology? By the same argument that ID proponents make, we should be teaching Holocaust Revisionism in history classes, Alternative Therapies like marijuana, crystals, Christian Scientist's prayer only therapies, blood letting in the medieval tradition, etc. in health classes, Numerology in math classes, and so on. So if we teach ID, we have an obligation to include these other alternatives too.
'Aww, but that's different!' :wink:

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-14, 04:27 PM
The real problem is irreducible complexity has been disproved by overwhelming genetic evidence. For that matter, macro evolution only has been disproved by overwhelming evidence. Whenever someone says, "teach ID", we should answer, "we would but it's based completely on irreducible complexity and that has been disproved".
The problem with that is that cutting edge genetic research is a highly specialised field of which the average Joe (like me, for instance) knows next to nothing.

But you do have a point in that it might be a good idea to shift the conversation from 'X PROVES evolution can't be true!!! -- Hold on, but there's a problem with X...' to 'X can't be true because it flies in the face of everything we know'.

W.F. Tomba
2005-Mar-14, 04:37 PM
Perhaps an even simpler answer is one I've heard before. Why limit the teaching "alternative theories" to biology? By the same argument that ID proponents make, we should be teaching Holocaust Revisionism in history classes, Alternative Therapies like marijuana, crystals, Christian Scientist's prayer only therapies, blood letting in the medieval tradition, etc. in health classes, Numerology in math classes, and so on. So if we teach ID, we have an obligation to include these other alternatives too.
To me this argument seems weaker, and more complex, than just saying ID has been disproven. After all, you haven't given any clear reason why these other "alternative theories" shouldn't be taught in school; you're just relying on your opponents' rejection of them. You are also implying that all alternative theories are worthless, which is not true. Your opponent is just going to say that Holocaust denial and crystal healing are crackpot bunk but ID is a valid scientific theory. (In fact, just by advocating ID instead of explicit Creationism, they're already relying on the perception that ID is more scientific.) Eventually you will have to make the point that ID is contradicted by evidence.

If you want to argue by analogy, it would be better to point to examples of theories that were once seriously considered, but were disproven by evidence and therefore discarded.

HypersonicMan
2005-Mar-14, 05:34 PM
Perhaps an even simpler answer is one I've heard before. Why limit the teaching "alternative theories" to biology? By the same argument that ID proponents make, we should be teaching Holocaust Revisionism in history classes, Alternative Therapies like marijuana, crystals, Christian Scientist's prayer only therapies, blood letting in the medieval tradition, etc. in health classes, Numerology in math classes, and so on. So if we teach ID, we have an obligation to include these other alternatives too.
To me this argument seems weaker, and more complex, than just saying ID has been disproven. After all, you haven't given any clear reason why these other "alternative theories" shouldn't be taught in school; you're just relying on your opponents' rejection of them. You are also implying that all alternative theories are worthless, which is not true. Your opponent is just going to say that Holocaust denial and crystal healing are crackpot bunk but ID is a valid scientific theory. (In fact, just by advocating ID instead of explicit Creationism, they're already relying on the perception that ID is more scientific.) Eventually you will have to make the point that ID is contradicted by evidence.

If you want to argue by analogy, it would be better to point to examples of theories that were once seriously considered, but were disproven by evidence and therefore discarded.

I don't think so. The reason why we're losing this battle in this country (and we are losing, big time) is because we see the debate from a science perspective, and try to win it with appeals to logic. The evolution/creation debate has nothing to do with science or logic, it's all about politics fueled by emotion. People have come to think of evolution as a "liberal" idea and equate it with the moral deterioration they percieve in American society. I read a quote somewhere that a prominent politician made blaming the Columbine shootings on the teaching of evolution in high school.

I believe that ID's biggest strength could also be its weakness. The reason why ID is being seriously considered in the curriculum of schools is that, unlike YEC, there are no explicit references to Christian teachings, meaning they can get around the whole separation of church & state business and can also appeal to not only the fundamentalists but the moderates as well. However, I believe the core support behind ID remains the fundamentalist Christians, so one of the main arguments I've heard in opposition to ID, the argument that ID is just Christian Creationism dressed up as science, is precisely the wrong argument to make, since it only strengthens the beliefs of the core supporters that the opponents of ID are just trying to eradicate faith from society. It would be much more effective if the "Intelligence" behind Intelligent Design was to become associated with things like Gaia the Earth Mother or aliens from Zeta Reticuli, rather than just the Christian God. We may all cringe at the thought of GLP joing forces with ID, but the vast majority of fringe groups do not nearly have, and will likely never have, the political influence that the Fundamentalist Conservative Christians have.

If you can successfully equate ID with more "liberal" ideas like New Agey things involving crystals, or more fringe ideas like holocaust denial, you may be able to scare the core enough that momentum will be lost. I'm not saying it's easy, but if this argument was winnable based on science and logic alone, then it would have been over 100 years ago.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-14, 05:47 PM
doesn't that just complicatematters even more?
If creationists are trying to sneak their philosophy in the back door shouldn't that be just exposed. fundamentalist are a very sneaky lot, i wouldn't put anything past them(even brain capping("tripods" BBC tv series), if they could get away with it), and their twisted tongues need to be exposed.
Perhaps the tack to take is saying that they havent got the guts to deffend creationisum in its biblical form.

HypersonicMan
2005-Mar-14, 06:24 PM
doesn't that just complicatematters even more?
If creationists are trying to sneak their philosophy in the back door shouldn't that be just exposed. fundamentalist are a very sneaky lot, i wouldn't put anything past them(even brain capping("tripods" BBC tv series), if they could get away with it), and their twisted tongues need to be exposed.
Perhaps the tack to take is saying that they havent got the guts to deffend creationisum in its biblical form.

It has been exposed many many many times, but it just doesn't work because that's not the point. This debate is a political (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A32444-2005Mar13.html) one, and exposing political movements for using sneaky but legal tactics has never been particularly effective. Religion is a powerful political force in many parts of this country, and the only reason YEC can't be taught is that it violates the constitution. ID does not, and therefore it's easier to add to the curriculum and will be harder to get out once there.

[Edit: fixed url]

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-14, 06:29 PM
Perhaps the Matrix film idea could be promoted, that we are all in some kind of computer simulation, they wouldn't like that....

Kristophe
2005-Mar-14, 07:32 PM
Perhaps an even simpler answer is one I've heard before. Why limit the teaching "alternative theories" to biology? By the same argument that ID proponents make, we should be teaching Holocaust Revisionism in history classes, Alternative Therapies like marijuana, crystals, Christian Scientist's prayer only therapies, blood letting in the medieval tradition, etc. in health classes, Numerology in math classes, and so on. So if we teach ID, we have an obligation to include these other alternatives too.

How about alternative forms of government, or commerce? Where's the grade 6 Marxism class?

beskeptical
2005-Mar-14, 10:21 PM
done.
I fear it is too late though, as your quote of me is now
stretching the screen.

I was just typing randomly to show that words or structure
can appear by chance.
:(Thankyou and I edited the quote when I posted it. Is your screen stretched because mine isn't now?

beskeptical
2005-Mar-14, 10:24 PM
Agreed on everything except the marijuana part. It has been proven to be of medical value, glaucoma patients can get a scrip for it, depending on where they live and who their Dr. is. A friend of mine who was undergoing some high dose radiation for a spinal column cancer was also offerred a scrip for it.This thread is not about crystals or marijuana or magnets or glaucoma. Could you guys take that conversation elsewhere? Thanks.

beskeptical
2005-Mar-14, 10:34 PM
.... The reason why we're losing this battle in this country (and we are losing, big time) is because we see the debate from a science perspective, and try to win it with appeals to logic. The evolution/creation debate has nothing to do with science or logic, it's all about politics fueled by emotion. People have come to think of evolution as a "liberal" idea and equate it with the moral deterioration they percieve in American society. I read a quote somewhere that a prominent politician made blaming the Columbine shootings on the teaching of evolution in high school.

I believe that ID's biggest strength could also be its weakness. The reason why ID is being seriously considered in the curriculum of schools is that, unlike YEC, there are no explicit references to Christian teachings, meaning they can get around the whole separation of church & state business and can also appeal to not only the fundamentalists but the moderates as well. However, I believe the core support behind ID remains the fundamentalist Christians, so one of the main arguments I've heard in opposition to ID, the argument that ID is just Christian Creationism dressed up as science, is precisely the wrong argument to make, since it only strengthens the beliefs of the core supporters that the opponents of ID are just trying to eradicate faith from society. It would be much more effective if the "Intelligence" behind Intelligent Design was to become associated with things like Gaia the Earth Mother or aliens from Zeta Reticuli, rather than just the Christian God. We may all cringe at the thought of GLP joing forces with ID, but the vast majority of fringe groups do not nearly have, and will likely never have, the political influence that the Fundamentalist Conservative Christians have.

If you can successfully equate ID with more "liberal" ideas like New Agey things involving crystals, or more fringe ideas like holocaust denial, you may be able to scare the core enough that momentum will be lost. I'm not saying it's easy, but if this argument was winnable based on science and logic alone, then it would have been over 100 years ago.You have some good points here. It follows what I mean when I say we need to look further than just explaining the facts. We explain the facts, nothing changes, we explain again, nothing changes. It is time to start looking seriously at what else is going on here besides IDers and others just not getting it or not 'wanting' to get it..

The discussion of the religious and political motives is something I think a lot of science advocates recognize. But we aren't taking it one step further and incorporating that fact into the debate other than to say, "IDers have a religious motive". This statement is falling on deaf ears because those who agree with the religion have no reason to see such motives as bad. This includes religious people who might or would embrace science.

beskeptical
2005-Mar-14, 10:48 PM
How about alternative forms of government, or commerce? Where's the grade 6 Marxism class?We get the point. No more examples in this area are needed.

I realize you all are intending to create analogies that compare other teaching of alternatives that are obviously silly. The problem with this approach is it wastes time arguing the question the IDers want you to argue, that of teaching alternatives.

The point of this is to take back control of the question and therefore control of the debate. I understand that some of you may see this as a very minor issue. But it is actually a very significant issue. Read news accounts of the Kansas school board or the 'stickers on the textbooks' events. The reporter asks the scientist who gives a long discourse about no evidence and whatnot. The IDer says, "We just think alternatives to evolution and the holes in the science should be taught". The reader, not completely understanding the science does understand the the IDer's points about teaching the evidence for and against, and about teaching alternatives. The IDers controlled the question and the debate.

Instead I am advocating we say right up front, "Yes we should teach alternative theories whenever there are any. There are no alternatives to evolution currently and there are unlikely to be any in the future. So let's discuss why ID is not a valid theory." Now the debate is about the validity of ID, not about the validity of teaching alternatives.

Gillianren
2005-Mar-14, 10:50 PM
I have always found explaining the flaws in the design to be, at bare minimum, amusing. after all, it isn't a terribly intelligent design, and the problems we have because of it start at birth. (your head is too big to travel safely through your mother's, er, birth canal. and my daughter's head didn't change shape, the wretched child.)

have I converted anyone w/this? well, no, but I don't think people who firmly believe, as opposed to the merely ignorant, are ever converted. I think the best argument for keeping it out of the schools, the only one that will truly work, is the religious argument. that's the only one the courts can uphold.

beskeptical
2005-Mar-14, 10:55 PM
I have always found explaining the flaws in the design to be, at bare minimum, amusing. after all, it isn't a terribly intelligent design, and the problems we have because of it start at birth. (your head is too big to travel safely through your mother's, er, birth canal. and my daughter's head didn't change shape, the wretched child.)

have I converted anyone w/this? well, no, but I don't think people who firmly believe, as opposed to the merely ignorant, are ever converted. I think the best argument for keeping it out of the schools, the only one that will truly work, is the religious argument. that's the only one the courts can uphold.If so then why is this issue still rearing it's ugly head? ( :wink: I'm sure your child has a lovely head now of course. :D )

I agree the religious aspect is the legal argument in courts in the US. But to even get that far you have to counter the back door approach that is being used to skirt the law separating church and state. The mood of some in the country is to get around those laws right now, and what better way to do it in this case than to make the argument about teaching alternatives rather than about the validity of the alternatives.

beskeptical
2005-Mar-14, 11:01 PM
doesn't that just complicatematters even more?
If creationists are trying to sneak their philosophy in the back door shouldn't that be just exposed. fundamentalist are a very sneaky lot, i wouldn't put anything past them(even brain capping("tripods" BBC tv series), if they could get away with it), and their twisted tongues need to be exposed.
Perhaps the tack to take is saying that they havent got the guts to deffend creationisum in its biblical form.How does it complicate things more to clear the teaching alternatives issue off the table? Once you change the question to is ID valid, and you answer it, no, the religious motive makes itself obvious.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-14, 11:51 PM
Well, we didn't get created by ghia or budda or aliens did we?
If you go down that route they'll be teaching lessons on how rudolf the reindeer got his bloody red nose!!!!!
:o

mike alexander
2005-Mar-15, 12:01 AM
I would agree that it is counterproductive to use the argument 'then why not teach alternative theories of everything' (as much fun as that can be) because it first, uses the same argument the IDer are using and second, is defensive. Ultimately it is using ridicule, which won't help much.

From where I sit, Hypersonicman is essentially correct in calling this a political issue; it is more basicly an emotional issue, but the other will do and I don't argue it.

I also think Beskeptical is correct in trying to focus on the most essential points and going from there. Elegant scientific constructs will rarely convince most people, if for no other reason they cannot follow them at a level necessary to properly evaluate and weigh them. This is not meant as a cut. There are many scientific areas outside of my narrow expertise that I have a very hard time following, and I feel confident others share this as well.

My own reading of ID suggests that the coin has two faces; in the downward direction there is the argument of irreducible complexity; in the upward direction there is the argument of directed complexity. In both cases, the most common defense seems to be the argument of incredulity (since I can't bring myself to believe it, it cannot be possible).

I like the idea of going after the basic arguments of the other side as opposed to the mere defense of one's own. I've always been tremendously annoyed by the watchmaker analogy (a precision watch cannot apear spontaneously, hence the need for a watchmaker), for example. One can easily show, by turning the question around, the evolution of the watch and of timekeeping in general (From simple observation of seasons, months and days to the calibrated sundial, which could be inferred from watching the shadows of trees or rocks, to the evolutionary dead ends of such analog devices as the marked candle and the clepsydra, to the evolutionary jump to the verge-and-foliot and the concept of an oscillator, to the parallel evolution of the pendulum, and the accompanying technological advances in mathematics, physics and metallurgy allowing more complex and smaller timepieces to be made, etc.). No, a complex watch cannot appear without a watchmaker, but a watchmaker cannot appear without the evolution of timekeeping in general.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-15, 12:13 AM
The watchmaker idea can be turn around, also, by saying, why arn't there things in "nature" such as wheels, and cogs etc. You could say that if there was an intelligent designer, there are all sorts of mechanical devises that do not appear in "nature" even if they would be more conviniant....

beskeptical
2005-Mar-15, 05:55 AM
I would agree that it is counterproductive to use the argument 'then why not teach alternative theories of everything' (as much fun as that can be) because it first, uses the same argument the IDer are using and second, is defensive. Ultimately it is using ridicule, which won't help much.

From where I sit, Hypersonicman is essentially correct in calling this a political issue; it is more basicly an emotional issue, but the other will do and I don't argue it.

I also think Beskeptical is correct in trying to focus on the most essential points and going from there. Elegant scientific constructs will rarely convince most people, if for no other reason they cannot follow them at a level necessary to properly evaluate and weigh them. This is not meant as a cut. There are many scientific areas outside of my narrow expertise that I have a very hard time following, and I feel confident others share this as well.

My own reading of ID suggests that the coin has two faces; in the downward direction there is the argument of irreducible complexity; in the upward direction there is the argument of directed complexity. In both cases, the most common defense seems to be the argument of incredulity (since I can't bring myself to believe it, it cannot be possible).

I like the idea of going after the basic arguments of the other side as opposed to the mere defense of one's own. I've always been tremendously annoyed by the watchmaker analogy (a precision watch cannot apear spontaneously, hence the need for a watchmaker), for example. One can easily show, by turning the question around, the evolution of the watch and of timekeeping in general (From simple observation of seasons, months and days to the calibrated sundial, which could be inferred from watching the shadows of trees or rocks, to the evolutionary dead ends of such analog devices as the marked candle and the clepsydra, to the evolutionary jump to the verge-and-foliot and the concept of an oscillator, to the parallel evolution of the pendulum, and the accompanying technological advances in mathematics, physics and metallurgy allowing more complex and smaller timepieces to be made, etc.). No, a complex watch cannot appear without a watchmaker, but a watchmaker cannot appear without the evolution of timekeeping in general.That is a very good discussion of the throwing the parts in the room a trillion times argument. I shall use that when the time arises. Not that I will ever achieve your elegance with vocabulary. :wink:

It is also important to address the "I just don't believe" argument. Here I say one has to look at the underlying beliefs that lead to the "I just don't believe" position. For my underlying beliefs with ID, since I have passed the barrier of irreducible complexity, there is nothing left to base ID on. (I can't help it, I'm right and they're wrong. 8) )

What might be some of the "I just don't believe evolution" premises? Obviously the Bible is a brick in the barrier. Another would be the selective attention to certain details. I grow very tired of re-hashing science that is 40 years out of date. A lot of IDers have latched on every gap in evolutionary science, no matter how trivial and no matter that most if not all gaps are now filled. Here again, I think being able to discuss 'teaching alternatives' takes the heat off having to think about any scientific advances since the 60s.

beskeptical
2005-Mar-15, 06:08 AM
Well, we didn't get created by ghia or budda or aliens did we?
If you go down that route they'll be teaching lessons on how rudolf the reindeer got his bloody red nose!!!!!
:oNo one is saying you are not correct. All I'm saying is, pointing your above fact out, as pointing out all the other obvious fallacies with the argument for teaching ID, has not been as convincing as one might have hoped. We agree with IDers that viable alternatives should be taught. The real question is what is a viable alternative? That's why we need to make, "is ID viable?" the focus.

beskeptical
2005-Mar-15, 06:22 AM
The watchmaker idea can be turn around, also, by saying, why arn't there things in "nature" such as wheels, and cogs etc. You could say that if there was an intelligent designer, there are all sorts of mechanical devises that do not appear in "nature" even if they would be more conviniant....This is a separate issue. But just to answer it for you, nature's complexity and efficiency by far outshine our current human designs. So one reason wheels may not have evolved is that, were we able to 'design legs' that worked, we might not be using wheels either. So by your argument, the designer actually gets in the way and evolution does a better job without a designer. :P

Anyway, the point Mike was making wasn't that the evolution of a watch was an exact parallel to human evolution, just that neither process progressed from lots of parts to a complex thing in one step. Throwing the parts in a random way over and over until a complex watch resulted is by no means parallel to evolution. Humans designed watches through a step by step process. Evolution doesn't reach a human being from the primordial soup without many steps in between.

W.F. Tomba
2005-Mar-15, 06:45 AM
Anyway, the point Mike was making wasn't that the evolution of a watch was an exact parallel to human evolution, just that neither process progressed from lots of parts to a complex thing in one step. Throwing the parts in a random way over and over until a complex watch resulted is by no means parallel to evolution. Humans designed watches through a step by step process. Evolution doesn't reach a human being from the primordial soup without many steps in between.
A very good biology teacher that I had in high school had a great analogy for the undirected workings of evolution. (I don't know if the analogy was original or if he borrowed it from somewhere.) He said we should think of evolution as a tinkerer rather than an engineer. Where the engineer would design each organism from scratch, the tinkerer takes existing configurations and just screws around with them, making random changes and then throwing out the ones that don't work. It's easy to see that, blundering though this process is, over a long enough time it could result in the buildup of highly complex and efficient forms.

I like this analogy because it corrects the misconception that evolution created each organism independently from scratch. That misconception seems to be frequently at the heart of the trouble people have in believing that an undirected process created all life on Earth.

dvb
2005-Mar-15, 06:56 AM
I like this analogy because it corrects the misconception that evolution created each organism independently from scratch. That misconception seems to be frequently at the heart of the trouble people have in believing that an undirected process created all life on Earth.

Ah yes. I've had the "so you think we evolved from apes? (laughs)" argument when talking about evolution with others. It's really quite frustrating when someone has the preconception that evolution goes from nothing, to apes, to human. :-?

W.F. Tomba
2005-Mar-15, 07:03 AM
Ah yes. I've had the "so you think we evolved from apes? (laughs)" argument when talking about evolution with others. It's really quite frustrating when someone has the preconception that evolution goes from nothing, to apes, to human. :-?
Of course, the other way to answer that argument is to say "No, I think we are apes." :)

SciFi Chick
2005-Mar-15, 01:16 PM
I don't think we want dozens of threads on this topic, so while it might be slightly off topic, this still seemed like the best place for it.

An article (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/washpost/20050314/ts_washpost/a32444_2005mar13) about the strategies being used by ID'ers and what they hope to accomplish.

Their ultimate goal is the "death of liberalism" and controlling the minds of our children.

One person goes so far as to say, "If you think that baby was created by God, how could you kill it?"

So, be assured. ID is just the beginning.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-15, 01:44 PM
One example of an argument against an intelligent designer, well one that actualy gets involved in the making of things is the snowflake..
https://project1.caryacademy.org/echoes/03-04/ws_merwin/images/snowflake-%20drifting-modifyed.jpg

it definitly looks like it has been designed but is infact "just" the product of the laws of meteorology upon water vapour, much in the same way as biological organisums formed under the laws of evolution, just on a time scale that humans can experience rather than the eons it takes for species to evolve...

Gillianren
2005-Mar-15, 08:32 PM
Beskeptical: her head was beautiful then; that's the problem. most babies are born w/pointy heads to ease passage. my daughter wasn't. she looks great in those first pictures, though!

I really think there is something wrong w/letting people believe whatever they want to in a science class, the way that one parent suggests. after all, there are an awful lot of things that have been proven wrong, and here I'm specifically thinking of Lamarckian evolution. it's wrong; we know it's wrong; letting people believe it is a failing of the school system.

now, the Bible is belief, and I (and the Pope agrees w/me on this one) don't think believing in it and accepting evolution are mutually exclusive. I think, however, the problem is that we do tend to use the word "believe" when we talk about evolution vs. creationism. I "believe" in evolution, etc.

well, no, I don't. no more, as we keep pointing out, than I "believe" in gravity. to a certain extent, it's a valid word, in that I, personally, as an English major, do not have the evidence necessary to know it's true, not in the same way that I know that Shakespeare wrote thirty-odd plays and, what, 153 sonnets (okay, clearly I don't know it, but it's the best example I could think of). but all of my training in science, which is slightly greater than average, I think, proves to me that it's so. just as I don't know that there's such thing as an Oort Cloud, but the weight of scientific evidence says that it's so.

to an extent, then, science is belief--we must have faith that the people who actually know what they're talking about do, in fact, know what they're talking about. but when all the reputable scientists in the world that work in whatever field we're discussing tell us that something's so, it's got a lot more weight behind it than pure belief.

10stone5
2005-Mar-15, 08:55 PM
I was trying to figure out why the discussions about 'what is a theory' and 'ID isn't science' aren't making any inroads in resisting the move to include these non-scientific themes in biology and science classes in the US.


Why should anyone make it easy for those advocating ID to be taught as a science?

Inevitably it becomes a straw man argument - with ID advocates acting as the 'David'.

Screw 'em. If one wants ID taught as science - go the grassroot way. Some communities will accept it and many more, I believe, will not. Meanwhile the 'ID Argument' is an unneeded drain monitarily and emotionally on fairly well-established 'mainstream' sciences.

beskeptical
2005-Mar-15, 09:58 PM
I don't think we want dozens of threads on this topic, so while it might be slightly off topic, this still seemed like the best place for it.

An article (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/washpost/20050314/ts_washpost/a32444_2005mar13) about the strategies being used by ID'ers and what they hope to accomplish.

Their ultimate goal is the "death of liberalism" and controlling the minds of our children.

One person goes so far as to say, "If you think that baby was created by God, how could you kill it?"

So, be assured. ID is just the beginning.That article belongs in this thread. I saw it last night but it was soooo depressing I had to wait to start analyzing it. I almost wanted to say the article makes my argument seem like I'm too late. We are beyond re-directing the question. But then I looked again. It's just that the IDers here are focusing on two questions, neither of which is about ID. The question of teaching alternatives and the claim evolution is truly doubted are both wedge strategies that avoid the question of is ID valid. I merely underestimated the situation in thinking the re-direction was only on one front when it is on two fronts.

(For the discussion, the article quotes are in italics.)

Here is description after description from the words of the IDers focusing, not on the science, but on the strategy.

polished strategy crafted by activists
calculated pleas to teach what advocates consider gaps
Discovery Institute spends more than $1 million a year for research, polls and media pieces supporting intelligent design.
using lawsuits and school board debates to counter evolutionary theory.
new strategy speaks of "teaching the controversy"
The [Southern Baptist Theological Seminary of Discovery Institute] said the move, along with the creation of a Center for Science and Theology, was central to developing a "comprehensive Christian worldview."
"We'll take money from anyone who wants to give it to us," Meyer said.
They formed Intelligent Design Network Inc., which draws interested legislators and activists to an annual Darwin, Design and Democracy conference.
The 2001 conference presented itsWedge of Truth award to members
"The strategy this time
If evolution's boosters can be forced to back down, he said, the Christian right's agenda will advance.

Here are examples of controlling the question.

it is the anti-evolutionary scientists and Christian activists who say they are the ones being persecuted, by a liberal establishment
a school board member in a Tennessee county wants stickers pasted on textbooks that say evolution remains unproven.
"It's an academic freedom proposal. What we would like to foment is a civil discussion about science. That falls right down the middle of the fairway of American pluralism,"
"Anyone who expresses anything other than the dominant worldview is shunned and booted from the academy," Santorum said in an interview. "My reading of the science is there's a legitimate debate. My feeling is let the debate be had."
"teaching the controversy"
"Kids need to understand it, but they need to know the strengths and weaknesses of the data, how much of it is a guess, how much of it is extrapolation."


We know the real agenda.

"The movement is a veneer over a certain theological message. Every one of these groups is now actively engaged in trying to undercut sound science education by criticizing evolution," said Barry W. Lynn,
"If you believe God created that baby, it makes it a whole lot harder to get rid of that baby," Fox said. "If you can cause enough doubt on evolution, liberalism will die."

The strategy is working.

Alabama and Georgia legislators recently introduced bills to allow teachers to challenge evolutionary theory in the classroom.
Policymakers in 19 states are weighing proposals that question the science of evolution
"As the Christian right has success on a variety of issues, it emboldens them to expand their agenda," Hankins said. "When they have losses . . . it gives them fuel for their fire."
[Bush emboldened them] by declaring that the jury is still out on evolution.
That approach appeals to Cindy Duckett, a Wichita mother who believes public school leaves many religious children feeling shut out. Teaching doubts about evolution, she said, is "more inclusive. I think the more options, the better."
"If students only have one thing to consider, one option, that's really more brainwashing," said Duckett, who sent her children to Christian schools because of her frustration. Students should be exposed to the Big Bang, evolution, intelligent design "and, beyond that, any other belief that a kid in class has. It should all be okay."

Here's the real kicker from that article:

"Everyone has motives. Let's acknowledge that and get on with the interesting part."

Scientists: The IDers are motivated by religion.
IDers: Yes, we are. Everyone has motives. Now let's get to the real question.

They know how to dismiss the smoke screen and re-direct the debate. :o

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-15, 10:12 PM
the real reason for IDers to spend so much time trying to get creationisum into schools is because they find their religion soooo empty and meaningless that they have no other avenue into which to channel their energy..

sad realy.

I don't think the pope as just one example of a functioning christian, has this problem, there are far more important things to do and think about....

Jim
2005-Mar-15, 10:21 PM
I really think there is something wrong w/letting people believe whatever they want to in a science class, the way that one parent suggests. ... it's wrong; letting people believe it is a failing of the school system.

Agreed.


now, the Bible is belief ... the problem is that we do tend to use the word "believe" when we talk about evolution vs. creationism. I "believe" in evolution, etc.

well, no, I don't. no more, as we keep pointing out, than I "believe" in gravity. ... the weight of scientific evidence says that it's so.

to an extent, then, science is belief--we must have faith that the people who actually know what they're talking about do, in fact, know what they're talking about. ...

Hmm. "Belief" is not the right word to use here. Maybe "confidence" is better.

I don't have to "believe" that gravity is real or that the Oort Cloud exists; I don't have to have any "faith" in others. Rather, I can have "confidence" that those who propose such notions have done their research, have had their ideas properly peer reviewed (in any of many ways), and that the idea holds up well enough to be called a theory.

However, if my confidence ever waivers, I can run my own checks to see how well their ideas work out.

Belief and faith can never waiver; they require acceptance in the complete absence of proof... sometimes in the face of disproof. Questioning is not required, often discouraged.

Science demands proof to gain and keep acceptance. Questioning is required and encouraged. And that gives me confidence in the results.

Jim
2005-Mar-15, 10:28 PM
"... Teaching doubts about evolution, she said, is "more inclusive. I think the more options, the better."
"If students only have one thing to consider, one option, that's really more brainwashing," said Duckett, who sent her children to Christian schools because of her frustration. Students should be exposed to the Big Bang, evolution, intelligent design "and, beyond that, any other belief that a kid in class has. It should all be okay."

My guess is that, if these people suddenly found their schools teaching about Buddha or Mithra or (oh, please, no!) Mohammed as options to Jesus, their attitude would change. Yet, they would never consider having only that one option to be restrictive or brainwashing.

Old Texas political saying, "It all depends on whose ox gets gored."

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-15, 10:34 PM
Hmm. "Belief" is not the right word to use here. Maybe "confidence" is better.

I don't have to "believe" that gravity is real or that the Oort Cloud exists; I don't have to have any "faith" in others. Rather, I can have "confidence" that those who propose such notions have done their research, have had their ideas properly peer reviewed (in any of many ways), and that the idea holds up well enough to be called a theory.
You don't "believe" those things -- you have evidence of them. That's how you should frame it, IMHO.
And it might be better to avoid the word "theory".

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-15, 11:00 PM
you might have confidence that the pilot can fly the plane when you get on it, but when you are up in the air doesn't that turn to belief when you are up in the air?

mike alexander
2005-Mar-16, 12:53 AM
In any event, the main point remains valid. In a real debate both sides must attempt to prove their points. ID must not be allowed to either force the debate purely on the evolution side, or just get away with the 'things are just too complicated to have happened any other way'.

I've also noticed recently a wedge tactic being used between 'experimental' science as being the only 'real' science, and 'observational' science as being less real. Anyone else seen this?

beskeptical
2005-Mar-16, 10:19 AM
.....I've also noticed recently a wedge tactic being used between 'experimental' science as being the only 'real' science, and 'observational' science as being less real. Anyone else seen this?No, was the discussion about all science or a particular field?

SciFi Chick
2005-Mar-16, 12:35 PM
In any event, the main point remains valid. In a real debate both sides must attempt to prove their points. ID must not be allowed to either force the debate purely on the evolution side, or just get away with the 'things are just too complicated to have happened any other way'.

I've also noticed recently a wedge tactic being used between 'experimental' science as being the only 'real' science, and 'observational' science as being less real. Anyone else seen this?

I have seen this. It's one of the things the IDers seem to be using to convince us all that things are just too complex.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-16, 12:43 PM
I've also noticed recently a wedge tactic being used between 'experimental' science as being the only 'real' science, and 'observational' science as being less real. Anyone else seen this?
A similar disturbing trend is a certain disdain that I've often noticed towards history and any sciences that study past events, either partly or entirely. Certainly, historians are subject to all sorts of biases, more so than other scientists, but if you use that as a reason to dismiss history altogether you're opening the door to nice folks like Holocaust deniers.

And before beskeptical scolds me for hijacking the thread, the connection between this and evolution is that a great deal of the theory of evolution (though not all of it) has to do with past events, too. A favorite creationist objection to the theory of evolution is that "You can't really know 'cause you weren't there". Nevemind that neither were they. :roll:

SciFi Chick
2005-Mar-16, 12:47 PM
That article belongs in this thread. I saw it last night but it was soooo depressing I had to wait to start analyzing it.

Great analysis. Now, it's crystal clear to me why the article upset me so much. :D

Anonymous
2005-Mar-16, 06:21 PM
The good news is that all of the creationist’s actions and arguments to date impale themselves on one or more of the three prongs of the Lemon test:

“First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose;
second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion;
finally, the statute must not foster "an excessive government entanglement with religion."

http://members.tripod.com/~candst/tnppage/eclause2.htm


Next, the Overton ruling constrains and defines what may be called ‘science’ and what must be called ‘religion’.

“Sec 4-c

More precisely, the essential characteristics of science are:
(1) It is guided by natural law;
(2) It has to be explanatory by reference to nature law;
(3) It is testable against the empirical world;
(4) Its conclusions are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily the final word; and
(5) Its is falsifiable. (Ruse and other science witnesses).

Sec 4-c

“While anybody is free to approach a scientific inquiry in any fashion they choose, they cannot properly describe the methodology as scientific, if they start with the conclusion and refuse to change it regardless of the evidence developed during the course of the investigation.”

Sec 4-d

“The conclusion that creation science has no scientific merit or educational value as science has legal significance in light of the Court's previous conclusion that creation science has, as one major effect, the advancement of religion. The second part of the three-pronged test for establishment reaches only those statutes as having their primary effect the advancement of religion. Secondary effects which advance religion are not constitutionally fatal. Since creation science is not science, the conclusion is inescapable that the only real effect of Act 590 is the advancement of religion. The Act therefore fails both the first and second portions of the test in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971).”

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mclean-v-arkansas.html


mike alexander wrote:

“I've also noticed recently a wedge tactic being used between 'experimental' science as being the only 'real' science, and 'observational' science as being less real. Anyone else seen this?”

Their latest volley is an attempt to change the definition of science:

“3. Change the definition of science.

Current definition: “Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us.”

Proposed change: “Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory-building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”

http://www.kansasscience2005.com/Summary%20of%20Key%20Proposals.pdf

Perhaps I’m too optimistic but I just don’t think they will succeed in pulling an ‘end run’ around the Lemon test and the Overton ruling. I do remain irritated that taxpayer’s money must be spent combating litigation that are best described as both tortious and vexatious.

Jim
2005-Mar-16, 07:15 PM
You don't "believe" those things -- you have evidence of them. That's how you should frame it, IMHO.
And it might be better to avoid the word "theory".

I have confidence because there is evidence. Of course, Creationists and IDers have "evidence", too.

I think we need to take back "theory" and make those who misapply it understand its scientific meaning. As beskep once sigged, "Gravity is just a theory, too."


you might have confidence that the pilot can fly the plane when you get on it, but when you are up in the air doesn't that turn to belief when you are up in the air?

No, my confidence in the pilot increases because I have evidence that s/he can indeed fly the plane. I have no need to believe s/he can fly it.

Now, if the pilot should suddenly drop dead and the flight attendant take the controls, I would firmly believe that s/he could fly the plane. I would have no historical evidence, and the current evidence might disprove that belief, but it would make me feel better to keep believing it even as the ground was rapidly approaching the plane.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-16, 07:30 PM
You don't "believe" those things -- you have evidence of them. That's how you should frame it, IMHO.
And it might be better to avoid the word "theory".
I have confidence because there is evidence.
I know. I agree with the distinction you were making before; I just don't think it's the best way to frame the issue for the general public in a confrontation with creationists, because then they'll reply that:

1) You're just playing semantics, and what you call confidence is just belief under a different name;

and thus

2) Why should your belief be better than anyone else's?

Yes, people who argued like this would be misunderstanding or misrepresenting your position, but perhaps it's better to bypass the semantic fine distinctions altogether and jump straight into the meat of the scientific argument: that scientists have evidence on their side, and creationists do not.


Of course, Creationists and IDers have "evidence", too.
As far as I know, other than a few naive appeals to incredulity, what they have are just convoluted mathematical arguments which most of the public will not understand. So, if you shift the conversation to evidence you will force them to be obscure. On the other hand, while some of the arguments for evolution are no doubt delicate, I trust that there are a few that can be presented in a clear and simple manner that would persuade most laymen.


I think we need to take back "theory" and make those who misapply it understand its scientific meaning. As beskep once sigged, "Gravity is just a theory, too."
I agree with all of that, but the proponents of science may need to be more pragmatic, and go straight to the evidence. Trying to change the popular negative connotation of the word "theory" may be a losing battle, and it may make it seems like you're just trying to obfuscate the debate by playing with semantics.

Just my 2 cts.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-16, 08:22 PM
As Marx said, "religion is the opium of the people."




so basically we are dealing with junkies and you know how far that they will go to get their fix.

The way they see it, if perhaps subconsciously, is that we are contaminating their stash and they are NOT cool with that.

beskeptical
2005-Mar-16, 09:00 PM
...

And before beskeptical scolds me for hijacking the thread, the connection between this and evolution is that a great deal of the theory of evolution (though not all of it) has to do with past events, too. A favorite creationist objection to the theory of evolution is that "You can't really know 'cause you weren't there". Nevemind that neither were they. :roll:Actually Mike started it but since it was a serious exam along the same issues, undermining science process, I actually thought there was a connection. I have found since I enjoy a really wide variety of different scientific fields that a few folks in the 'physical' sciences like chemistry, physics, physical aspects of biology, etc., have a poor understanding of how the social sciences like anthropology, history, medical aspects of biology, etc., conduct their research in a scientific way. I have had at least one discussion on this board about how one goes about measuring multi factorial influences of something like an antidepressant medication. The lack of understanding about how the latter sciences obtained measurable, verifiable, results and results that one could make predictions with led the questioners to the wrong assumptions about how broad the scientific process could be.

Heathen's post is very helpful. I think the better we are able to articulate what is science and what is not science, the better we can explain why ID is not science. IDers want to focus the debate on allowing alternatives to evolution and the supposed 'holes' in evolution theory to be taught and emphasized respectively in classrooms. What this does is leave people with the assumption ID is science. Scientists know it isn't science, (except for those that refuse to pick up a book on advances in genetic research). But the public assumes it is.

We do need to take back the term theory. Trouble is I have heard the term explained over and over and it appears to be falling on deaf ears. I would render a guess that the common usage of the term is too entrenched. I deal with a similar issue in infectious disease all the time. We know infectious organisms cause 'colds' yet you still can't get people to recognize standing out in the rain does not. So again, in using my theme in this thread, you explain what a theory is a hundred times. The misuse continues. It isn't a knowledge deficit that is blocking the public from changing their common use of the term theory. You have to do more than explain. in this case, I'm not exactly sure what that 'something more' is, but I know the current method isn't having much effect.

There is a key here in that teaching kids from the earliest age the scientific process you solve a lot of these problems. Kids don't yet have the lay use of theory as deeply embedded. But here we are with a religious movement which could have the consequence of setting back that teaching of the scientific process in a big way.

In some schools, with good science teachers, one could use the ID subject matter to really enforce science education by teaching all the things that make ID invalid and not science. But in a large number of schools with incompetent science teachers you are going to have a whole population of kids who are totally ignorant about science.

I have seen studies showing you can teach kids basic things like electrical currents and they get As on tests but they cannot light a light bulb with a battery a bulb and a wire. Kids (and adults for that matter because it's true in university education as well), are capable of learning a lot of material without really understanding it. With ID masquerading as science the situation can only get worse.

But, I am preaching to the choir here. So getting back to the topic, I think it is helpful to pull key messages out of the definition of science that are easy to grasp and that illustrate why ID isn't science. Remember, to get the evolution message out, one has to overcome the slick packaging of ID in a science container. It isn't useful to just claim ID isn't science.

My approach is one, to fight fire with fire. These guys are using marketing techniques that leave critical thinking in the dust. We can't ignore those techniques just because we are correct and can make very good arguments why we are correct.

Two, we have to dismiss the question the IDers are using as a smokescreen in order to get it out of the way. "We all agree we need to teach alternative theories and the strengths and weaknesses of any theory including evolution. Despite what IDers claim, that is already done. There aren't any 'rules' or roadblocks to teachers teaching science theories nor weaknesses in any theories. The roadblocks are against teaching non-existent weaknesses and with evolution ID has no supporting evidence"

You can go from there into why, but you have to start with getting the ID smokescreen out of the way, up front.

Three, we can't just claim ID is a religion or that it isn't science. We have to discuss the evidence against it. We even have a rule in science about that. Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence. In the case of a theory it is, but the general public hasn't gotten the message about what a theory is so it makes the explanation more complicated.

Four, as long as I'm setting up my marketing plan here :wink: , we can dismiss the old tired arguments about missing links and micro-evolution only if we stop debating them. Switch to the genetic evidence. When you answer the old questions, IDers answer back with their old answers. This is something that has been bothering me for quite some time. I am so tired of answering ignorance about evolution.

This is where we all get frustrated. The more you explain, the more they block that information and selectively keep the supposed 'holes' in evolution theory. I think that is why we get no where. IDers have been selectively absorbing information from the beginning. We make few inroads unless you really engage a person who is rational for a very long discussion. Some rational folks actually do absorb more information over what they had previously learned. (Nebularain, I'm thinking of you here if you are reading this thread).

But others selected information in the first place and shut the book. For them, they need material they haven't been exposed to and even then I'm sure the selecting will continue. But some of them just may be forced to look again. And for those who are paying less attention and think there is an actual debate about the validity of evolution, new material opens new minds.

The fifth thing which is probably a minor issue but easy to change nonetheless is to refrain from using the term Darwinism or Darwinian evolution. That tag adds to the image evolution is someone's belief. While Darwin's original theory is a correct statement, I don't think of evolution as Darwinian. Maybe we should call it the genetic theory of evolution?

SciFi Chick
2005-Mar-16, 09:02 PM
As Marx said, "religion is the opium of the people."


Nitpick: I believe the word is opiate not opium. :)



FYI: Your signature breaks the FAQ rules.

mike alexander
2005-Mar-16, 09:50 PM
While I respect and agree with Heathen's points about law and the Lemon test, I'm still not convinced it offers any real protection. IDers are convinced that if they can win the rhetorical battle, various legal modifications will follow. Hence, the key is not to retreat to the law as defense (at least, not in the long run) but to push back. Venerable military axiom: attack in strength at the point of the enemy's weakness. The trick is to properly identify that weakness.

Beskeptical identified one point (I think), and that is the general public's lack of knowledge of such things as statistical analysis:


a few folks in the 'physical' sciences like chemistry, physics, physical aspects of biology, etc., have a poor understanding of how the social sciences like anthropology, history, medical aspects of biology, etc., conduct their research in a scientific way. I have had at least one discussion on this board about how one goes about measuring multi factorial influences of something like an antidepressant medication. The lack of understanding about how the latter sciences obtained measurable, verifiable, results and results that one could make predictions with led the questioners to the wrong assumptions about how broad the scientific process could be.

And, at first blush, multivariate analysis can indeed look like magic, like a Watchmaker. And trotting out the formulaic basis of an ANOVA will certainly make MY eyes glaze over.

So, more generally, MY contribution to marketing is the idea that simple, hands-on demonstrations of basic principles should be de rigeur for all discussions in this area, especially things that seem contrary to 'common sense'. Like recording a thousand coin flips and showing how the runs of heads and tails assume a normal distribution (Alright, a Poisson distribution), proving that random individual events can nevertheless be shown to follow orderly laws. Or taking an ice cube out of the freezer and dripping a little water on it, observing that instead of the water melting the ice, the ice can freeze the water. Stuff like that.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-16, 10:56 PM
It would probably be harder to convince creationist that it is possible to toss a coin 1000 times and it come up tails each and every time and there not be something to call the Pope or an exorcist about......


1 /(2 to the power of 1000)


8) :-k

10stone5
2005-Mar-17, 12:12 AM
The good news is that all of the creationist’s actions and arguments to date impale themselves on one or more of the three prongs of the Lemon test:

Do you want to couch this strictly as separation of church and state. If so, then be aware that the Lemon test hasn't really been re-affirmed by the Supreme Court all that often since the 80s and current conservative justices have consistently written on the failings of the Lemon test. The Lemon test is not on real firm ground these days.

Anonymous
2005-Mar-17, 05:35 PM
10stone5 wrote:

“Do you want to couch this strictly as separation of church and state.”

Strictly? No. The creationists view this as both a religious war and a cultural war. The majority of their attacks may be seen as feints or diversions that lack enough substance to reach the courts dockets. (If they want to effect any meaningful and lasting change, setting precedence in the courts is the only option) I do view the Lemon test and the Overton ruling as the last line of defense for the few cases that do reach the courts.

I agree with you mike. Got a copy of ‘art of war’ on the shelf behind me. I also agree that we’ve got to identify which weak points deserve the most attention. As to rhetoric, a first year law student can mop the floor with the creationsts greatest efforts. (they are that weak)

I feel we should point out to the general public that the creationists are not only not representative of the typical American, they are not even representative of the typical christian. Within the christian world, they are a minority and are more of an obscure sect. They say this in their own words, while overlooking the significance:

“No major seminary and only a few small ones teach a recent creation and universal Flood.”

http://www.creationresearch.org/crsq/articles/41/41_3/beyond_sci_cre.htm

Another weakness is the attempt to equate ‘secular’ with ‘atheist’. Yet another is the dead horse ‘xian nation’ propaganda. Should they say 1000 times ‘take back the nation’, someone must respond 1001 times ‘you cant take back what you never had’. America began and remains a secular nation. We are a nation of immigrants with diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. E Pluribus Unum. (btw, it wouldn’t hurt to reinstate the original national motto)

It might help to attack one of their strengths as well. The stranglehold on school text books perhaps.

Let them attempt to reframe the issue and redefine half the English language and nearly all of modern science. Instead of trying to re-reframe the issue (a defensive reaction), let us simply correct their erroneous statements. (a rational response)

Last but not least, because they view this as war, we can probably count on their anti-American antics for at least a few more decades. No rest for the weary.

HypersonicMan
2005-Mar-17, 09:01 PM
Perhaps we should be teaching evolution in math classes? After all, the process of natural selection occurs all the time, like in consumer products, social organizations, animal breeding, etc. Is anyone aware of a kind of generalized evolution thereom? Something that would go like:

Given a popluaton p with m units x, with each unit defined by a set of n characteristics c that can be replicated into q offspring, each with some variation of c given by a probablitiy function G and each with a finite probability of survival S and replication R in an environment E, where G, R, S, E, m, n, and c can all be functions of each other, each new generation of p will have on average characteristic sets c that will tend to maximize S and R for a given E.

I know it sounds muddy, and maybe it's not exactly complete, but here's my reasoning:

1) Math is a lot harder to argue with than biology. In some ways this is the equivalent to the IDers saying "we're not talking about God, we just want to discuss the possibilty that some intelligence is involved." We'd be saying "we're not talking about biology or human origins, we're just talking about a basic principal of mathematics."

2) This type of thing is currently used in optimization problems (like in engineering) in the form of Genetic Algorithms. It's a technical skill that kids should be familiar with if our future workforce is going to compete for jobs overseas.

3) It can be very easy to set up simple examples to show how the principal is self-evident (simple computer problems, examples from everyday life like the evolution of car models, etc).

4) If you demystify the process of evolution, and show how it is a natural and logical consequence of certain systems, then it becomes much harder to swallow that some external intelligence "must" have been involved. After all, you'd be having to argue that life, despite being so similar to other evolving systems, is "somehow" different, and so requires some mysterious entity to then get it to behave just like those same similar systems. Why do we need the "middle-man?"

Just some thoughts. What do you think?

[EDIT: Added an important part of the theorem I left out]

SciFi Chick
2005-Mar-17, 09:04 PM
1) Math is a lot harder to argue with than biology. In some ways this is the equivalent to the IDers saying "we're not talking about God, we just want to discuss the possibilty that some intelligence is involved." We'd be saying "we're not talking about biology or human origins, we're just talking about a basic principal of mathematics."

You're kidding right? Have you read the threads on here of late wherein educated, rational people are struggling with math concepts? And these are people that primarily want to expand their knowledge and don't have any sort of religious agenda.

I think you're overly optimistic on this, but I'd love to hear any results of this method being tried. :D

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-17, 09:07 PM
I don't think that evolutionary theory can be reduced to math, and, which is more important, I don't think that math teachers have the expertise or the time to teach evolution.

SciFi Chick
2005-Mar-17, 09:10 PM
I don't think that evolutionary theory can be reduced to math, and, which is more important, I don't think that math teachers have the expertise or the time to teach evolution.

I agree. I didn't communicate clearly. What I'd like to see is an evolution debate that featured math to see if it made any difference in anyone's mind.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-17, 09:14 PM
My post was a reply to HypersonicMan. 8)

SciFi Chick
2005-Mar-17, 09:17 PM
My post was a reply to HypersonicMan. 8)

I realize that, but reading your post made me rethink my post of wanting to see the method tried. I just wanted to make certain I was being clear. :D

HypersonicMan
2005-Mar-17, 09:43 PM
The reason I bring math into this is that I do believe the concept of evolution is routed in mathematics. With biological evolution in particular, the functions are all highly non-linear and the number of variables is infinite for all intents and purposes, but the trends are still the same as they are in simpler systems. We've been producing evolution simulations on computers since at least the 1980's with great success. GA optimization techniques are used to solve real problems in engineering and elsewhere, so there is a long heritige of the principals of evolutionary selection in action.

I know this gets away from my earlier posts about attacking this as a political problem, but when thinking about other people suggesting trying to change the argument. By pointing out that evolution can and does occur all the time, we change the question from "How could life have evolved?" to "How could life not have evolved?"

SciFi Chick
2005-Mar-17, 09:46 PM
The reason I bring math into this is that I do believe the concept of evolution is routed in mathematics. With biological evolution in particular, the functions are all highly non-linear and the number of variables is infinite for all intents and purposes, but the trends are still the same as they are in simpler systems. We've been producing evolution simulations on computers since at least the 1980's with great success. GA optimization techniques are used to solve real problems in engineering and elsewhere, so there is a long heritige of the principals of evolutionary selection in action.

I know this gets away from my earlier posts about attacking this as a political problem, but when thinking about other people suggesting trying to change the argument. By pointing out that evolution can and does occur all the time, we change the question from "How could life have evolved?" to "How could life not have evolved?"

Is there any way to plug in the variables from the ID stuff and see what it does?

Disinfo Agent
2005-Mar-17, 09:59 PM
The reason I bring math into this is that I do believe the concept of evolution is routed in mathematics. With biological evolution in particular, the functions are all highly non-linear and the number of variables is infinite for all intents and purposes, but the trends are still the same as they are in simpler systems. We've been producing evolution simulations on computers since at least the 1980's with great success. GA optimization techniques are used to solve real problems in engineering and elsewhere, so there is a long heritige of the principals of evolutionary selection in action.

I know this gets away from my earlier posts about attacking this as a political problem, but when thinking about other people suggesting trying to change the argument. By pointing out that evolution can and does occur all the time, we change the question from "How could life have evolved?" to "How could life not have evolved?"
There is some math to it, but we can't prove that evolution happens with formulas. Only physical evidence can do that. On the other hand, I've just remembered that there's also an interesting field called evolutionary algorithms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_algorithm), which may be able to provide good illustrations of how evolution occurs (I don't know much about this field)...

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-17, 10:09 PM
Arguing that evolution vs. creationisum is a religious issue surely is the equivelent of arguing that the teaching of eating pork etc as being right or wrong is a religious issue visa vi the Jewish religion, evolution vs. creationisum is mainly a fundamental christian issue.


.

SciFi Chick
2005-Mar-17, 10:15 PM
Arguing that evolution vs. creationisum is a religious issue surely is the equivelent of arguing that the teaching of eating pork etc as being right or wrong is a religious issue visa vi the Jewish religion, evolution vs. creationisum is mainly a fundamental christian issue.


.

You've lost me. It seems like both of those would be religious issues.

HypersonicMan
2005-Mar-17, 10:21 PM
The reason I bring math into this is that I do believe the concept of evolution is routed in mathematics. With biological evolution in particular, the functions are all highly non-linear and the number of variables is infinite for all intents and purposes, but the trends are still the same as they are in simpler systems. We've been producing evolution simulations on computers since at least the 1980's with great success. GA optimization techniques are used to solve real problems in engineering and elsewhere, so there is a long heritige of the principals of evolutionary selection in action.

I know this gets away from my earlier posts about attacking this as a political problem, but when thinking about other people suggesting trying to change the argument. By pointing out that evolution can and does occur all the time, we change the question from "How could life have evolved?" to "How could life not have evolved?"
There is some math to it, but we can't prove that evolution happens with formulas. Only physical evidence can do that. On the other hand, I've just remembered that there's also an interesting field called evolutionary algorithms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_algorithm), which may be able to provide good illustrations of how evolution occurs (I don't know much about this field)...

I took an optimization class where we did some GA optimizations. It's a very useful technique for a lot of optimization problems that are difficult to solve using traditional techniques. It's good at finding global optimums and works well even if your intitial condition is no where near optimum, but convergence rates can be slow compared with other techniques.

As far as illustrations into how evolution works, there's a whole field of study on aritificial life simulated on computers that goes all the way back to the late 1960's apparantly. Here's a pretty comprehensive link:

Zooland (http://zooland.alife.org/)

I've rarely ever hear this brought up, but to me it's a powerful example that the basic principals of evolution are sound, and that life certainly meets the criterias needed to make evolving systems. I guess the idea of computer simulations may be a bit too abstract for people, since most of us consider life "special," and with computer simulations there is an intelligence behind the scenes. However, one thing that the intelligence never does is design the outcomes. We just make the system with certain rules, and see what happens. The actual evolving happens naturally. I guess you could argue that God created the universe with certain rules and evolution just happened, but that is far different than ID that makes some intelligent agent vital to the evolutionary process itself.

The idea of using these things in arguments is to show that there's nothing unusual about evolution, and that you can still believe that God created it all and also accept that evolution through natural selection happened. I'd have no problem with that, as long as the deity aspects were kept to philosophy or theology classes and out of biology and physics classes.

mike alexander
2005-Mar-17, 11:08 PM
There are good analogies all around, and exploring them is a good idea.

One example is written/spoken language itself. While the jump from arbitrary noises to the association of sounds with either material objects or more abstract actions cannot ever be recovered, languages themselves exhibit much of the pattern of 'descent with modification'.

While I'm only passing familiar with phonetic/alphabetical languages, just look there. Languages start, spread and modify, go extinct and speciate. Micro-evolution (everything from accents to phrasing) to macroevolution (mutually incomprehensible). I know, but Tower of Babel aside, we have records of the modification, at least for the last few millenia. There are changes of meaning of the same word with time ('that's bad!'), different spellings of the same word (color/colour), identical words that change meaning only in context (lead, lead), words that sound the same but are written differently (to, too, two), new words appearing at random (hello, blog) even neutral drift (the 'k' in 'knife', or pronouncing 'Worchester' as Wooster').

mopc
2005-Mar-18, 01:13 AM
We should emphasize that Evolution says nothing about God. Actually, by stating that Life arose through Natural Laws, Evolution states that the "God-created" natural laws were perfect, no need for a second "divine intervention" to transform non-life into Life... and ID/ Creationism implies a more imperfect Creator, which had to interfere several times in her own Creation to make more stuff.

With this argument I have left several creationists without an answer. Because one of the major driving forces behind ID/Creationism is that of a "moral Crusade" to "bring God back into science/people's life" so on. Once we say that Evolution by Means of Natural Selection implies a perfect creation instead of the "patched up" creation where Life had to be especially developed later, we ruin the moral driving force of anti-Evolutionisms...

Gillianren
2005-Mar-18, 04:20 AM
one of the reasons I chose biology for my final science class in college was its lack of math! I don't think trying to teach me evolution using math would have increased my understanding; it would have decreased it. I also don't think I'm the only person for whom this is true.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-18, 04:43 AM
that wouldn't matter though, if you didn't like maths you wouldn't be learning it that way. :D

I'm sure the maths students would be able to approach evolution using maths.

Fram
2005-Mar-18, 09:12 AM
We should emphasize that Evolution says nothing about God. Actually, by stating that Life arose through Natural Laws, Evolution states that the "God-created" natural laws were perfect, no need for a second "divine intervention" to transform non-life into Life... and ID/ Creationism implies a more imperfect Creator, which had to interfere several times in her own Creation to make more stuff.

With this argument I have left several creationists without an answer. Because one of the major driving forces behind ID/Creationism is that of a "moral Crusade" to "bring God back into science/people's life" so on. Once we say that Evolution by Means of Natural Selection implies a perfect creation instead of the "patched up" creation where Life had to be especially developed later, we ruin the moral driving force of anti-Evolutionisms...

ID claims it has nothing to do with God and creation, so that won't work. And I don't see why evolution would equal a perfect creation, but that would lead us into a religious discussion, I fear, and this is not the board for that.

beskeptical
2005-Mar-19, 09:48 AM
one of the reasons I chose biology for my final science class in college was its lack of math! I don't think trying to teach me evolution using math would have increased my understanding; it would have decreased it. I also don't think I'm the only person for whom this is true.Current biology now has a strong marriage with what is called bioinformatics. Genetic science has to deal with very large amounts of data. So genetic researchers have teamed up wit a whole new field of computer science that develops programs that can analyze the data. Bioinformatics isn't just writing the computer programs. It has turned into a science of it's own. How to ask the question, how to manage huge data bases, how to collect and sort the data and so on requires this whole new science field.

I would assume the same is occurring in other fields like astronomy as well. We can no longer carry out research wholly within one field. You need a computer scientist and a geneticist for much of today's genetic area of biology research.

mopc
2005-Mar-19, 08:59 PM
We should emphasize that Evolution says nothing about God. Actually, by stating that Life arose through Natural Laws, Evolution states that the "God-created" natural laws were perfect, no need for a second "divine intervention" to transform non-life into Life... and ID/ Creationism implies a more imperfect Creator, which had to interfere several times in her own Creation to make more stuff.

With this argument I have left several creationists without an answer. Because one of the major driving forces behind ID/Creationism is that of a "moral Crusade" to "bring God back into science/people's life" so on. Once we say that Evolution by Means of Natural Selection implies a perfect creation instead of the "patched up" creation where Life had to be especially developed later, we ruin the moral driving force of anti-Evolutionisms...

ID claims it has nothing to do with God and creation, so that won't work. And I don't see why evolution would equal a perfect creation, but that would lead us into a religious discussion, I fear, and this is not the board for that.

ID claims it has nothing to do with God, but it does. And I am not the one to discuss religion here, but unless people of science make it clear that Evolution does not go against the existence of God, anti-evolution will spread.... for the God vs. "Materialism" false dichotomy is the fuel in that fire.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-19, 11:18 PM
I agree.


You could argue that the "laws" of aerodynamics lead to the evolution of the sailing ship or the airplane.
The laws ARE perfect and are the consequence of living in a universe that is alive. I would argue that that life is, among other things, God's.

The ship and the plane on the other hand may be far from perfect but where a consequence of the laws of physics NOT directly made by them.

.

mopc
2005-Mar-19, 11:24 PM
I agree.


You could argue that the "laws" of aerodynamics lead to the evolution of the sailing ship or the airplane.
The laws ARE perfect and are the consequence of living in a universe that is alive. I would argue that that life is, among other things, God's.

The ship and the plane on the other hand may be far from perfect but where a consequence of the laws of physics NOT directly made by them.

.

Wait a sec there... what I think is that life evolved from the natural laws by natural processes, not that God intervened especially or anything like that! I just said that, if you believe God created the universe and its laws, than no special extra intervention would be necessary to transform non-living matter into living organisms. Natural laws themselves can handle it.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-20, 12:08 AM
But how can you or anyone, including God, create any laws?

The laws and God are indivisible, I think.

As an analogy, God is like a man standing on a street corner on a sunny day, and the 'laws' of evolution are the equivalent of his shadow.



.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-20, 12:26 AM
In fact God's Shadow sounds like a good name for a book that supports the belief that God and evolution are not mutually exclusive.




.

mopc
2005-Mar-20, 12:30 AM
In fact God's Shadow sounds like a good name for a book that supports the belief that God and evolution are not mutually exclusive.

Great idea! Run to the copyright bureau and you might beat me! 8)

Disinfo Agent
2006-Jan-02, 01:26 PM
In this thread (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=33861&page=13), Hugh Jass wrote the following:


I have a few issues with this podcast. I almost didn’t listen to it because from the little that you wrote I could have guessed at the entire content. I listened and my guess was bang on. First they call themselves scientists but twice brought up the “theory not fact” statement. I’ve gotten to the point now when I hear that it makes me want to break something, the fact that ICR is still saying shows they have no interest in understanding science whatever they claim their credentials, either that or they know exactly what they are saying and play on general ignorance by laypeople of the scientific meaning of theory and are just being dishonest and deceitful.Instead of getting angry, perhaps scientists should come up with a slogan of their own. Maybe the Talk Origins' "Evolution is theory and fact".

Wolverine
2006-Jan-02, 02:52 PM
Now that we have a General Science category, this thread belongs there (at the time of its inception on BABB, we didn't have the luxury). Moved.

Kristophe
2006-Jan-02, 06:32 PM
I think the IDists have made it quite clear that the rules of debate don't apply. This isn't a debate, and when someone tries to turn it into one they yell on high about freedom of speech and belief. They're turning this into an argument about censorship. Whatever it takes to play the victim.

They've been using propaganda and rhetoric to try and win over the public. We've been trying to use logic and evidence. Unfortunately, most people just don't care. They've been putting out sophists, we've been answering back with scientists. I'm not sure anyone's noticed, but scientists often suck at explaining things in terms that non-scientists can actually understand. Even those of us who are genuinely interested in learning what they know, and are willing to pay thousands of dollars to learn from them, often don't have a flipping clue as to what they're talking about. Joe Public doesn't stand a chance.

Something really funny happened when these people were put into a room with people who know how to use rhetoric, though. Instead of looking strong against claims of smoke screens and deception, they got pantsed. The kings of ID became laughing stocks. If only this had happened on a more public stage for everyone to see. Instead, now we just have the DI, as always, conveniently ignoring their defeat and blaming the outcome on bias and, you guessed it, censorship.

beskeptical
2006-Jan-02, 10:48 PM
Bumping this to my CP which for some reason it isn't showing up there. IE Ignore this post but not the thread. :)

Irishman
2006-Mar-22, 10:53 PM
You have some good points here. It follows what I mean when I say we need to look further than just explaining the facts. We explain the facts, nothing changes, we explain again, nothing changes.

Except sometimes we don't explain the facts, we blow it off with "That's just warmed-over Creationism," or even worse, "They're just Creationists."


It is time to start looking seriously at what else is going on here besides IDers and others just not getting it or not 'wanting' to get it..

That is very true. We need to critically evaluate our own tactics and think of new ones.


The discussion of the religious and political motives is something I think a lot of science advocates recognize. But we aren't taking it one step further and incorporating that fact into the debate other than to say, "IDers have a religious motive". This statement is falling on deaf ears because those who agree with the religion have no reason to see such motives as bad. This includes religious people who might or would embrace science.

That is very much true. Saying "They have religious motives" is counterproductive, because the audience we are trying to reach shares those religious motives. All we've effectively said to them is, "ID fits with your worldview, and the advocates are on your side." No wonder they don't come around and reject ID.

I think you're correct, we need to seize the initiative of the conversation and discuss the reasons ID is wrong. Discuss the logical and assumptive flaws in IC and SC. But I think there's more to it.

We need to decouple the science debate from the religious debate. The underlying motivation for ID is to attack the "anti-religious" basis of science, and Evolution in particular. This perceived anti-religious bias is the major selling point for ID among mainstream Christians and religious believers.

As I see it, there are two arguments occurring that are being intermingled by both sides. One argument is the science question, "How did life originate and diversify? Can we understand and explain it?" The other argument is the metaphysical issue, "God did it." Too many of us in the atheist camp are defensive about the second, and use any debate on the first to address it. Similarly, too many on the religious side see any defense of science as an attack on the second topic. Thus we create a false dichotomy that leaves moderate religious believers stuck in the middle, forced to choose between God and Science.

We need to decouple the arguments. The label "Creationism" is a specific example. The phrasing of that position is inherently a combination of the religion debate into the science debate. What are we really arguing against when we argue for Evolution? Scientifically, the two methods for the origins and diversity of life are

1) Slow accummulation of changes over time and common ancestry: aka Evolution.

2) Unique Appearance of each life form in the current form; this is effectively each life form popping into being, or Instantaneous Appearance. That can be all at once or spread over time. This is commonly called "Creationism".

Scientifically, neither position makes a statement about deities of any type. Each is a possible description of how it occurred. Now we can evaluate these two propositions against the cummulative evidence and see which one stands up. Hint: 2 was already on shaky ground prior to Darwin and Wallace describing Natural Selection. Lamarckainism had already come and gone.

Note also that God is not eliminated from either position. While case 2 certainly would provide a stronger support to the notion of God being responsible, case 1 does not preclude God using the process of Evolution to accomplish his goal.

The debate over religious beliefs and justifications can be held separately. It can be addressed if brought up, but the arguments need to carefully explain that the metaphysical ramifications that science proves the universe is understandable and the God is not required is separate from the science of explaining how the universe works.

beskeptical
2006-Mar-23, 09:59 AM
....
That is very much true. Saying "They have religious motives" is counterproductive, because the audience we are trying to reach shares those religious motives. All we've effectively said to them is, "ID fits with your worldview, and the advocates are on your side." No wonder they don't come around and reject ID....

We need to decouple the science debate from the religious debate. The underlying motivation for ID is to attack the "anti-religious" basis of science, and Evolution in particular. This perceived anti-religious bias is the major selling point for ID among mainstream Christians and religious believers.

As I see it, there are two arguments occurring that are being intermingled by both sides. One argument is the science question, "How did life originate and diversify? Can we understand and explain it?" The other argument is the metaphysical issue, "God did it." Too many of us in the atheist camp are defensive about the second, and use any debate on the first to address it. Similarly, too many on the religious side see any defense of science as an attack on the second topic. Thus we create a false dichotomy that leaves moderate religious believers stuck in the middle, forced to choose between God and Science. ...These are good points. I write off the fundamentalists as a lost cause but I forget there are moderates which are either uniformed or misinformed who are not going to automatically reject the evidence.

Irishman
2006-Mar-23, 08:30 PM
What do you mean this is a multiple page thread? So that's what those numbers at the bottom are for. (Oops, didn't read all before posting. At least my comments were still relevant.)


What might be some of the "I just don't believe evolution" premises? Obviously the Bible is a brick in the barrier.

Good question. I don't really know. I was having a conversation once where a statement was made to the effect of, "Don't you think God making everything from scratch just makes more sense than Evolution?" I was stunned speechless. I'm still not sure how to respond, other than with a resounding NO. Not without dropping the level of discourse to insults.

It seems to me the belief here is not contingent upon any amount of explanation, any type or amount of evidence, any recounting of the descriptive power of Evolution. It seems to me the belief here is irrational, founded on some other basis. The resistance to belief in Evolution is because the premise is uncomfortable when integrated with their other beliefs. If you have a belief framework, and you have a strange-shaped idea that doesn't fit into that framework, it is a natural tendency to reject the new idea rather than reform the framework.


I think, however, the problem is that we do tend to use the word "believe" when we talk about evolution vs. creationism. I "believe" in evolution, etc.

well, no, I don't. no more, as we keep pointing out, than I "believe" in gravity.


Hmm. "Belief" is not the right word to use here. Maybe "confidence" is better.

Belief and faith can never waiver; they require acceptance in the complete absence of proof... sometimes in the face of disproof. Questioning is not required, often discouraged.


You don't "believe" those things -- you have evidence of them. That's how you should frame it, IMHO.

I think all this attention on "belief" is misguided and irrelevant. Belief is a word with more than one meaning. A belief is some idea or concept that you hold to be true. This is not equivalent to faith. Faith is not belief, faith is a means of belief. You can believe based upon faith, or you can believe based upon evidence. The real issue is the grounds for belief, not "belief".

Addressing the word is only useful to break the inappropriate use of belief to equate all beliefs as having equivalent grounds. This is the point of contention. Faith is belief without evidence. We prefer belief based upon evidence. It is the use of evidence that matters, not the word choice. Concentrate of the basis of why you hold a belief, not quibble over the semantics of word choice.

Certainly you can be selective in your own word choices, and use alternates where they fit better and more clearly express your intent, but don't be afraid of the word "belief".

Disinfo Agent
2006-Mar-23, 08:33 PM
You could at least spell my username right.

Irishman
2006-Mar-23, 11:09 PM
Sorry, I'm blind. Somehow that didn't register correctly. I'll fix it. (done)