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Thread: Creationists and dinosaurs

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I think we're using the word "faith" in different ways. It's increasingly used to designate a set of religious beliefs, especially in US English, but I was using it in the sense that's implicit in the phrase "blind faith" - a confidence unjustified by any evidence.
    Ah, that helps. "Blind faith", if not in downtown Sillyville, is at least within its ETJ (Extra Territorial Jurisdiction; slightly beyond the official city limits). I doubt many faiths find any degree of blind faith palatable. Indeed, isn't this just what creationists (YEC especially) are actually fighting? They are trying not to look silly by attempting to shift doubt to science and away from their main tenets that are exposed to doubt. The solution is simply to chose a better understanding of what was meant by "day". It still could be a 24 hour day if taken from the view of the author who wrote the account. [I presented this idea, with a little more explanation, to a person organizing a brief descriptive list -- from scientists and theologians within an organization I belong -- of different interpretations of those Genesis 1 passages only to be excluded from the list for reasons unknown.]

    The scientific method requires the judicious exercise of doubt and uncertainty, but many scientists of my acquaintance have an unwavering (and often unexamined and unacknowledged) certainty about what the scientific method tells us about the world.
    I'm guessing you are saying, facetiously, that their certainty deserves more attention on their part. Unfortunately, certainty sells all too easily, I'm certain of it, and it often serves to shroud their lack of the judicious exercise you mention they should conduct. [I'm getting tired of people responding to questions on tv with their first word being "Absolutely!".]
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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    And this is the part that really puzzles me. No religion in my knowledge has ever undergone the upheavals that science has. By that I mean, I've never heard a religious leader say "we used to think X was the truth, but now we think Y." Indeed, if I hear that, I'll likely fall out of my chair.
    Hmmm, are you sitting down? The Church used to believe that mankind was the pinnacle works of the Creator. Geocentrism was evidence for that religious view, X. Given objective evidence and after the parallax problem faded, they finally asked why and got "Y". Or did you mean something more subjective within religion? If those Xs are tenets (strong relationship with the religion itself) the religion may not tolerate the shift to Y, as you say, but they will, at some point and pushing my luck here, look silly. This religion will be a variety that becomes extinct, you know, kinda like the Dodo bird. [Sorry, but you know me.]
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    When we state what we currently think is 'X', then that is what we currently think. There is little to be gained by saying 'but next year it will be Y'.
    I agree that part of the problem is the need to grab a headline, but I don't agree that there is little to be gained by clearly exhibiting basic scientific humility rather than hubris. Because what actually gets said is "scientists of the past used to think X, but today we know Y is true." Just pause and give thought to the shaky logic of that statement, the next time you see it.
    On the other hand, there are cases where we say 'we don't know': 1] how to reconcile QM and GR, 2] what happens at the singularity of a black hole. These are things that we know we don't know (like Rumsfeld's "known unknowns").
    I'm thinking more along the lines of telling religious people they are naive for believing in god, since equations can tell us everything that happens with no need for god. But in actual point of fact, equations do not tell us exactly what happens, even in our carefully controlled experiments, and they certainly don't tell us even close to what happens in elements of our lives that are important to us. It is easy to overstate the importance of, say, quantum entanglement, or even Newton's law of gravity, when the topic turns to more faith-based areas. Of course any religious faith is going to be naive, but so is any physics theory, it's all a question of naive relative to what alternative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Indeed, I regard science as having to grapple with several "science paradoxes:"
    1) being right in science requires another scientist to be wrong, which also requires allowing that you could be in those same shoes someday
    2) science attempts to arrive at objective truths, but these truths are often used to teach us various lessons, the nature of which are generally quite subjective
    3) if science ever discovers a "theory of everything" (and this is sometimes framed as a legitimate and possible goal), it will probably not alter how you take out your garbage
    Yes, and a more general expression of this is your statement in the past that science is a "conversation with Nature." I really like that one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    The Church used to believe that mankind was the pinnacle works of the Creator.
    You're saying that is no longer the view of a major religion? I'm not sure the Catholic religion has abandoned that tenet simply because they avow that the Earth orbits the Sun (something that I myself do not even regard as an established fact of nature, it's just a judicious choice of coordinates, meaning a useful way to talk about a model).
    Geocentrism was evidence for that religious view, X.
    I will grant you that one famous example. Call it the exception that proves the rule! But most of the chapters in a science book start with a careful rendition of just how wrong we used to have some picture, and how much better is the new picture.
    es, and a more general expression of this is your statement in the past that science is a "conversation with Nature." I really like that one.
    Thanks, and I'm sure you understand what I mean when I go on to add that the conversation "has to be in a language we can understand."

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Ah, that helps. "Blind faith", if not in downtown Sillyville, is at least within its ETJ (Extra Territorial Jurisdiction; slightly beyond the official city limits). I doubt many faiths find any degree of blind faith palatable.
    No-one finds blind faith palatable. The phrase merely illustrates the non-religious usage of the word faith that I was striving to transmit.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    I don't need to "lump together" classes of human beings, they are already lumped together by their biology.
    Eh, ok in an extremely general sense sure, both scientists and YEC are human beings. Sure. I still take issue with you claiming that both groups behave in this particular way because I simply don't see it.

    Nor did anything I say claim they are exactly the same.
    Nor did anything I say claim that you said this.


    I said only that they can both show a tendency to overestimate their own level of certainty
    Which is what I am disagreeing with you on. Scientists are trained to recognize and understand bias and do what they can to eliminate it. It clearly doesn't happen 100% of the time, but for you to claim that they, in general, "prefer complete knowledge over genuine knowledge" is the equivalent to someone claiming that doctors are violent people that do harm to others. Sure, that probably occasionally happens since doctors are people but that is ignoring that the entire profession is built around the motto of "do no harm". Similarly, scientists are trained to recognize bias, both in others work and their own, to recognize that by default all our knowledge is incomplete and that any experiment can prove their theory wrong no matter how certain they are that it's correct. This is the polar opposite of the attitude of YEC, at least in my experience, as I doubt any YEC would admit that an experiment can prove the Earth is older then 6,000 years (because they they'd immediately have to admit they are wrong and wouldn't be YEC, obviously).

    My understanding of scientists and how peer review works is the exact opposite of what your are claiming their behavior to be. It is simply not true that both scientists and YEC prefer complete knowledge over genuine knowledge, and to compare scientists with YEC and claim them the same on this topic is disingenuous.

    (the faithful may evince a certainty that a supreme being is responsible, the atheist may evince a similar certainty that they are not).
    Eh, sorry are we talking about atheists or scientists? You seem to have switched.

    Then the scientists to which you refer are not the ones to which I refer. I am referring to the tendency for scientists to do things like look at, say, "Newton's laws", and conclude, "aha, this means the past determines the future."
    Oh, so you are referring to a particular scientist then? Which one? And when did he say this? I'd have to see it in context to see what he was talking about. It's possible I may agree with you that that one scientists is not properly applying the scientific method. Like I said, scientists are human after all. But you can't let the failing of a single scientist tarnish the reputation of the profession as a whole.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave241 View Post
    I still take issue with you claiming that both groups behave in this particular way because I simply don't see it.
    Then it is enough that your "radar" for this has been activated going forward. You might see more of it now! But remember, I'm not at all talking about scientists doing science, I'm talking about scientists going outside the scientific method to do things that are simply not in that method. In particular, taking "lessons" from the theories that are deemed successful-- there is no such step in the scientific method proper, but it is nevertheless a step that we, as humans, wish to take-- and often do (myself included).

    Or, perhaps my radar has been activated to be surprised by how much more restraint scientists exhibit as they characterize their degree of certainty about the nature of things, as compared to how fervently faithful people sidestep said admissions of uncertainty. But at present, what I see is both camps seem pretty confident about various aspects of their world views (like what orbits what in the solar system) that are not specifically tested as such.
    Scientists are trained to recognize and understand bias and do what they can to eliminate it.
    It will help to consider a specific situation. Let's take the famous one-- the orbit of the Earth. If I open a science book about the solar system, what would you say are the chances that it will state quite categorically that science has shown the Earth orbits the Sun and not the other way around, and the Earth spins inside the universe rather than the universe spinning around the Earth (the latter of which is the much simpler and more important one, I've never been sure why people always focus on the former!). So let us take that as an example of exactly what I'm talking about. Many scientists will state with utter certainty that we know the Earth orbits and spins inside the universe, it is not stationary within a universe that is doing those things. But of course they simply can have no such certainty, it's really no different from a person who is certain in their own mind that there exists a supreme being. The reason they cannot be certain of that statement is that it is never tested, as stated. It is purely extrapolation from what is tested, and actually we have plenty of reason to avoid the claim, both because of possible future theories we do not yet have, and also because of the theories we do have even now.

    It clearly doesn't happen 100% of the time, but for you to claim that they, in general, "prefer complete knowledge over genuine knowledge" is the equivalent to someone claiming that doctors are violent people that do harm to others.
    No, it's equivalent to what it is-- a statement that scientists generally prefer to imagine they have a complete enough understanding of motion that they can assert that the Earth definitely moves within the universe and is not stationary in a moving universe, rather than to accept the genuine knowledge that we can say nothing whatsoever about the motion of the Earth in any absolute sense. It's all about the difference between language/interpretation, versus objective outcomes of experiments. Scientists should certainly by now have a keen understanding of that difference, but every book that claims we know the Earth moves inside the universe has violated that most basic understanding of science itself.
    This is the polar opposite of the attitude of YEC, at least in my experience, as I doubt any YEC would admit that an experiment can prove the Earth is older then 6,000 years (because they they'd immediately have to admit they are wrong and wouldn't be YEC, obviously).
    There are many differences in how the minds of scientists and the minds of creationists work, I'm certainly not claiming otherwise. I'm just saying there is one place of overlap in their mental attitude, which is a tendency to lose track of the process by which they have come to their conclusions about the world, and an accompanying loss of recognition of the possibility that someone in their same shoes a few centuries from now might have something rather different to say on the topic. Ironically, that's even more true for the scientist, so the scientist's degree of confidence is actually less internally consistent.
    My understanding of scientists and how peer review works is the exact opposite of what your are claiming their behavior to be.
    I'm not at all talking about the peer review process or any other aspect of the scientific method itself. Scientists know how to do science, that's why science has advanced so well. I'm strictly talking about their attitudes about what they hold to be true-- their degree of belief in what they say that strays outside the scientific process. Remember, peer review happens in religion also-- it is a mechanism for achieving consensus, but humans can reach consensus without being right in some more absolute sense. (For an example, again consider the motion of the Earth.)
    It is simply not true that both scientists and YEC prefer complete knowledge over genuine knowledge, and to compare scientists with YEC and claim them the same on this topic is disingenuous.
    I have described what I mean by that comparison, and I could give many examples. The motion of the Earth is just a particularly good one.

    Eh, sorry are we talking about atheists or scientists? You seem to have switched.
    No, I have not switched because I have never been talking about scientists-as-scientists. I have always been talking about scientists-as-humans-who-choose-to-believe-things-even-though-they-are-not-tested-as-such. So atheism is a classic example of this-- there are atheists who certainly believe that science and religion are incompatible. Then there are people like Martin Gardner and Stephen Jay Gould, who understand science much better (I would argue)-- well enough to know there is not inherent incompatibility there. So if there is not incompatibility, then the atheist must decide if they are choosing to believe in the absence of a supreme being (however one might define that), or if they simply see no value in the particular versions of that notion they find at large. But does the language of an atheist always look like a personal choice, or does it sometimes look like a statement of fact or truth about supreme beings? That is the "radar" to which I speak. I have no objection to an atheist who feels they need not apologize for holding no belief in a supreme being, my issue is with those who denigrate the beliefs of those who do because that is simply unscientific.

    It's possible I may agree with you that that one scientists is not properly applying the scientific method. Like I said, scientists are human after all. But you can't let the failing of a single scientist tarnish the reputation of the profession as a whole.
    I agree there is an issue about how widespread is the problem, and specific examples would certainly help focus the discussion. I'll focus on the scientific "spokespeople," rather than the rank and file, because of the proportionately larger influence of the former group on the nature of the entire discourse. Let me give some examples in the next post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    You're saying that is no longer the view of a major religion? I'm not sure the Catholic religion has abandoned that tenet simply because they avow that the Earth orbits the Sun (something that I myself do not even regard as an established fact of nature, it's just a judicious choice of coordinates, meaning a useful way to talk about a model).
    Yes, I was extrapolating way too much there. It would be interesting to see how much softening has come from the illumination from astronomy on this issue. I think there are two different lines of evidence (perhaps more) for a 2 trillion galaxy universe and the number of planets seems to be as many, or more, than the number of stars, so perhaps ~ 1023 planets. Not being in the center of the universe helps with the necessary humility to consider other, greater creations. So, today or tomorrow, I think X can be considered more x_y, perhaps.

    Tenets that don't ring out good or evil are malleable.

    Thanks, and I'm sure you understand what I mean when I go on to add that the conversation "has to be in a language we can understand."
    Yes, else it only looks like a conversation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    No-one finds blind faith palatable. The phrase merely illustrates the non-religious usage of the word faith that I was striving to transmit.
    Yes, I understood your point and agree with it. What I should have added for clarity was that one must recognize if they are holding to a blind faith opinion before they can see why it wouldn't be found acceptable to most. I find the Sillyville metaphor helpful but a better one may be necessary.
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    Here is a random set of examples of what I'm talking about:

    “For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
    ― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

    (I can certainly praise Sagan for his great efforts to shine the light of scientific understanding into the shadows of myth and superstition, but here he clearly goes too far. The problem is that his words undercut the great things about science that I just commended! If the history of science, in contrast to religion, is clear on one thing, it is certainly this: we don't get to know "the Universe as it really is.")

    "Time didn’t exist before the Big Bang, so there is no time for God to make the universe in. It’s like asking for directions to the edge of the Earth. The Earth is a sphere. It does not have an edge, so looking for it is a futile exercise." -- Stephen Hawking

    (To be fair, Hawking was always pretty clear he is evincing his own personal philosophy, and he often said things like "for me" before he made statements like the above. He certainly has a right to share his personal opinions with people who would like to know them, I'm not objecting to that. But the line can get blurred, because he was also a highly regarded scientist and brilliant mind, so there is always a tendency to imagine that he speaks for all of science, even when he explicitly says he only speaks for himself. After all, the reason we are hearing his opinion is that he is such a well known scientist, so it's easy for people to miss the moment when the science hat comes off.)

    "Evidently, the fundamental laws of nature do not pin down a single and unique universe.
    According to the current thinking of many physicists, we are living in one of a vast number of universes.
    We are living in an accidental universe. " -Alan Lightman

    (To be fair to Lightman, his remarks can certainly be regarded as a simple alternative to a need for a creator, he is not explicitly stating that this proves there is no creator. But again we are getting his opinions because he is such a highly regarded scientist, and it is not a huge leap for a nonscientist to imagine that he is speaking for science. But look at all the crucial untested assumptions that his logic requires-- he holds that there are laws of nature that dictate to nature, which science never tests. And even if there are such laws, he maintains that we now know them well enough to be able to make sweeping generalizations about the nature of things. I claim you could have extracted a statement like this from any phase of our scientific history, and it would have come to a different conclusion each time, and each time it would have been claimed that we knew enough to justify such sweeping generalizations.)

    So this list can go on, and it's hard to use it as any kind of measure of how widespread is the issue. I have not done a careful study of all things science spokespeople say, and "kept score" as to how well they are keeping to the rules of science itself. But here's an interesting quote by Richard Tarnas, who apparently sees the same problem I do: "To assume a priori that the entire universe is ultimately a soulless void within which our multidimensional consciousness is an anomalous accident, and that purpose, meaning, conscious intelligence, moral aspiration, and spiritual depths are solely attributes of the human being, reflects a long-invisible inflation on the part of the modern self. And heroic hubris is still indissolubly linked, as it was in ancient Greek tragedy, to heroic fall."

    (To be sure, Tarnas ranks high on the "woo" scale, but he still has a point there. If there is one positive aspect of "woo", it is in the ways it promotes openminded thinking. After all, a lot of modern science would have been regarded as "woo" in the days before we could do the experiments!)
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Aug-30 at 02:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Yes, else it only looks like a conversation.
    Right, otherwise we might be in the position of a dog who barks because they hear a dog barking on TV. I often wonder in what circumstances some superadvanced alien race might look upon our efforts at science with a similar smirk!

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    What I should have added for clarity was that one must recognize if they are holding to a blind faith opinion before they can see why it wouldn't be found acceptable to most.
    Of course, the hardest "blind faith" opinions (by which I mean unexamined and unsupported assumptions) to address in oneself are those that are acceptable to most. It's very easy, as George Bernard Shaw pointed out (and Heinlein was fond of quoting), to unthinkly accept the customs of your tribe as Laws of Nature.
    And that, I think, feeds into what Ken is saying about science and scientists.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    Right, otherwise we might be in the position of a dog who barks because they hear a dog barking on TV.
    Yep. Magicians know how to such "conversations" into money, as well as, comedians.

    I often wonder in what circumstances some superadvanced alien race might look upon our efforts at science with a similar smirk!
    It's easier looking back in time at our stumbling and humbling bumblings.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Of course, the hardest "blind faith" opinions (by which I mean unexamined and unsupported assumptions) to address in oneself are those that are acceptable to most. It's very easy, as George Bernard Shaw pointed out (and Heinlein was fond of quoting), to unthinkly accept the customs of your tribe as Laws of Nature.
    And that, I think, feeds into what Ken is saying about science and scientists.
    Indeed, we will likely always be social creatures that benefit greatly with harmonious behavior and thinking. Science is unique, perhaps, in allowing and encouraging disharmony ... if done socially. [I expect Fred Hoyle may be one example, though I don't know the whole story why he didn't get a Noble Prize.]
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    Folks,

    A little topic drift is to be expected but this thread has gone too far afield from the OP topic of creationists and dinosaurs. As a reminder, here is the applicable exception to rule 12's prohibition of religious topics:


    B) Focused, polite discussion of concepts such as creationism and "intelligent design" which bear direct relevance to astronomy and science, for the purposes of conversing about and addressing misconceptions.
    This thread is not for free-ranging discussion of religious or scientific philosophies in general nor is it for taking pot shots at religious adherents. Back to the topic, please.
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    I think the fixation is because everyone knows about dinosaurs, they are one of the least technical examples of how the nature of life on a planet can change dramatically over time. So any belief that life is still in its original state must address dinosaurs. By taking that on, creationists hope that if they can just convince people that creationism can handle the dinosaurs, that's all people will ask it to do. So the simple equation is,
    -- the faithful are given a choice between faith+creationism or nonfaith+evolution
    -- they want faith
    -- so they buy creationism
    -- but there were dinosaurs
    -- so creationists that convince them the dinosaurs are OK are their best friends.
    In this way, the dinosaur goes from the symbol of the silliness of creationism to their greatest public relations coup. But the real problem is the false dichotomy in the very first step.

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    Most animals do not believe in creation or dinosaurs or evolution, but they do just fine. Perfect truth and perfect knowledge, perhaps, aren't that important for survival.
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    You've really got to hand it to the 'Young Earth Creationists" for having the guts to boldly state that - despite overwhelming scientific evidence- the earth is but a few thousand years old.
    That takes a giant leap of faith and honestly good on them for trying... rather than modifying their religion. I rather admire that. let's face it- religion is not a democracy. If you modify your core beliefs with a vote- then how is it a true religion? You may as well pick apart your religion with the scientific method- and where would that get you?
    In a way- I guess they are rebelling against the idea of "The God of the Gaps" .... where science erodes slowly away what "God" was supposed to be doing... moving heavenly bodies around, making humans, making morals.
    Modern takes on Christian religion IMHO seem like religion-lite to me (or Buddhism plus). What good is a non-personal "God" that caused the big-bang and then stood by to watch everything unfold? If I were to believe in God , i'd like someone I could pray to- and a possibility of inifinite afterlife hanging out with friends and family.
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    Modern takes on Christian religion IMHO seem like religion-lite to me (or Buddhism plus). What good is a non-personal "God" that caused the big-bang and then stood by to watch everything unfold? If I were to believe in God , i'd like someone I could pray to- and a possibility of inifinite afterlife hanging out with friends and family.
    There is great variety among modern Christian sects in general (as would be expected in any religion with billions of adherents), and in sects which believe in evolution. Some would meet your description (probably closest to Deism), but there are many others which find cosmology and evolutionary biology compatible with belief in heaven and in a personal God.
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    There are many and varied belief options in the 'marketplace of ideas'. I imagine the idea is to pick one (or D.I.Y) , then vehemently defend that position against all others.
    My only objection is that i do believe that one should let ones children decide themselves which faith (if any) to follow... and that faith is not used to discriminate against others e.g. sinister left-handers, homosexuals etc. Remember how society repaid Alan Turing for solving the enigma code, shortening WW2 by 2 years and inventing the computer. Obviously it wasn't the church of england directly that forced him to choose between a prison cell and estrogen injections (he chose suicide by cyanide instead)...
    Without indoctrination- religious schools/family upbringing... I wonder what % of the adult population would classify themselves as 'religious'.
    Last edited by plant; 2019-Sep-18 at 08:20 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    There are many and varied belief options in the 'marketplace of ideas'. I imagine the idea is to pick one (or D.I.Y) , then vehemently defend that position against all others.
    My only objection is that i do believe that one should let ones children decide themselves which faith (if any) to follow... and that faith is not used to discriminate against others e.g. sinister left-handers, homosexuals etc. Remember how society repaid Alan Turing for solving the enigma code, shortening WW2 by 2 years and inventing the computer. Obviously it wasn't the church of england directly that forced him to choose between a prison cell and estrogen injections (he chose suicide by cyanide instead)...
    Without indoctrination- religious schools/family upbringing... I wonder what % of the adult population would classify themselves as 'religious'.
    While I support your general point, I think you should be more careful when picking examples. This isn't the thread for it but as a personal project, and with no disrespect to him, try finding definitive proof of your statements about Alan Turings wartime achievements.

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    We are already forgetting the reminder PetersCreek in Post 46. There are only two exceptions to our "no-religion" rule:
    B) Focused, polite discussion of concepts such as creationism and "intelligent design" which bear direct relevance to astronomy and science, for the purposes of conversing about and addressing misconceptions.

    C) Focused, polite discussion of the difference between astronomy (including cosmology) and religion.
    General discussions of religion, religious beliefs, the teaching of religion, or Alan Turing and religion are not allowed.

    If we can't stick to the narrow topic of dinosaurs and creationists, this thread will be closed and people may be infracted. There will be no further warnings.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    I think the fixation is because everyone knows about dinosaurs, they are one of the least technical examples of how the nature of life on a planet can change dramatically over time. So any belief that life is still in its original state must address dinosaurs. By taking that on, creationists hope that if they can just convince people that creationism can handle the dinosaurs, that's all people will ask it to do. So the simple equation is,
    -- the faithful are given a choice between faith+creationism or nonfaith+evolution
    -- they want faith
    -- so they buy creationism
    -- but there were dinosaurs
    -- so creationists that convince them the dinosaurs are OK are their best friends.
    In this way, the dinosaur goes from the symbol of the silliness of creationism to their greatest public relations coup. But the real problem is the false dichotomy in the very first step.
    In principle the YECs could argue that the dinosaurs were simply beasts that were drowned and thus exterminated in the Deluge. If challenged to resolve a perceived conflict between the literal word of the scripture and the much greater age inferred by geologists and paleontologists, I see two possible options:

    1. The scientists are misinterpreting the fossil evidence. Rather naive and ill-informed, in my opinion.

    2. The Almighty Creator faked the evidence to make it look older than it really is, in accordance with inscrutable motives. If it is resolved that He has unlimited creative capabilities, that would be beyond scientific testing one way or the other.

  25. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    I think the fixation is because everyone knows about dinosaurs, they are one of the least technical examples of how the nature of life on a planet can change dramatically over time. So any belief that life is still in its original state must address dinosaurs. By taking that on, creationists hope that if they can just convince people that creationism can handle the dinosaurs, that's all people will ask it to do. So the simple equation is,
    -- the faithful are given a choice between faith+creationism or nonfaith+evolution
    -- they want faith
    -- so they buy creationism
    -- but there were dinosaurs
    -- so creationists that convince them the dinosaurs are OK are their best friends.
    In this way, the dinosaur goes from the symbol of the silliness of creationism to their greatest public relations coup. But the real problem is the false dichotomy in the very first step.
    In principle the YECs could argue that the dinosaurs were simply beasts that were drowned and thus exterminated in the Deluge. If challenged to resolve a perceived conflict between the literal word of the scripture and the much greater age inferred by geologists and paleontologists, I see two possible options:

    1. The scientists are misinterpreting the fossil evidence. Rather naive and ill-informed, in my opinion.

    2. The Almighty Creator faked the evidence to make it look older than it really is, in accordance with inscrutable motives. If it is resolved that He has unlimited creative capabilities, that would be beyond scientific testing one way or the other.

  26. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    In principle the YECs could argue that the dinosaurs were simply beasts that were drowned and thus exterminated in the Deluge. If challenged to resolve a perceived conflict between the literal word of the scripture and the much greater age inferred by geologists and paleontologists, I see two possible options:

    1. The scientists are misinterpreting the fossil evidence. Rather naive and ill-informed, in my opinion.

    2. The Almighty Creator faked the evidence to make it look older than it really is, in accordance with inscrutable motives. If it is resolved that He has unlimited creative capabilities, that would be beyond scientific testing one way or the other.
    For case 1: After a quick run to their website, they seem to avoid much in the way of fossil evidence, likely to avoid today's reliable dating results of them.

    For case 2: I never thought I would hear a YEC suggest something inscrutable that would also be absurdly contrived, but I did encounter this. I was arguing, I think, that the speed of light was invariant throughout the universe and that we have hard objective evidence that things like the supernova in the Magellanic Cloud took ~ 160,000 years to reach us, but the counter suggestion I got was that the photons were only recently created to make it look that way. I was stunned that he was willing to suggest a Creator would pull this sort of stunt, and I expect he quickly realized what he had just stepped in, as well as did our wives, who got us back to other conversations.

    They, per their website, favor the idea that they didn't all drown since some would have been on the ark. Since they are super-glued to a very strict literal approach, they can't run from dinosaurs and have the idea that these "kinds" of animals would have been aboard Noah's Ark. They argue that the "average size" of dinosaurs is that of the horse. [Here's where the thread on standard deviation would come in handy. ] Of course, they reasonably suggest that the very young (ie small) ones would have come aboard and would average about the size of a pig. Environmental circumstances after the flood, they suggest, would have done them in.

    YE creationists, since Bad Astronomy first looked at this, have acquiesced to science where they recognized the greater weight of science sufficiently overcame in favor of a different, but literal, scriptural interpretation. [My Green Rules apply here, I think.]

    They aren't without arguments regarding recent dinosaurs. Here is what they say:

    1) Scripture speaks of behemoths and leviathans. [If so, one would expect a great deal more than a couple of passages.]
    Also, they weren't called dinosaurs until that label came in 1841.

    2) Cave drawings suggesting their co-existence. [I expect these drawings, not on that page in their website, would do a poor job on T-Rex and others.]

    3) Architecture in castles and on pyramids suggesting their existence.

    4) Numerous dragon stories of old.

    5) Could have fit on Ark, as mentioned above.

    6) Fossilized footprints of "humans and dinosaurs" found in N.A. and W-central Asia. [I think these all have been reasonably debunked.]

    So, to me, once again, it boils down to how silly, or un-silly, any religious viewpoints really are; can they un-sillify their views with subjective arguments that happen to contain some objective facts, as above? The vast majority of Christians, fortunately, don't have this problem since their interpretations of problematic areas (i.e. overlaps) are either more allegorical, or they are literal but with a better interpretation, thanks to help from science.
    Last edited by George; 2019-Sep-18 at 05:15 PM.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  27. #57
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    If God designed the universe to look old then it seems like a good idea to believe it.

  28. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    If God designed the universe to look old then it seems like a good idea to believe it.
    The problem comes from a foundation that limits YEC from accepting the "apparent" scientific age estimates. Science has an objective-base for its foundation, religion does not. Religion, however, often supports FSU (Faith Seeking Understanding), which goes back 1000 years.

    YE creationists are, understandably, in the religious realm. Their specific foundation is the 6-day creation taken to be 6 God days, though 6 observer days would solve a lot of their interpretation problems. They have no scripture that says the universe is 6000 years old so they rely on the summation of all the listed generations. However, they have a flaw in this approach since the extensive generational lists, oddly, are listed in two separate books of the Bible. And, more importantly, one list is missing six generations. This suggests that the lists themselves may not contain every generation since Adam, thus the names that are associated with, say, the beginning of agriculture might date back 20,000 years, or whatever science finds to be the proper approximate period. This is where science can help with such interpretations, but that's always a choice for any religion, or sect within a particular religion. This would help solve their dinosaur dilemma.
    Last edited by George; 2019-Sep-18 at 07:54 PM.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  29. #59
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    The key difference between religion and science is that religion starts with a belief and interprets all evidence to fit that belief. Science starts without a belief, it looks at the evidence first and forms the stories to fit the evidence rather than the other way around. So that's all you need, that's the one-step way to tell the difference between science and religion. Only science belongs in a science classroom, so you have a one-step test for what goes into a classroom: that which never starts with a belief and interprets the evidence to fit it, but rather starts with the evidence and follows it where ever it leads. Pretty simple actually.

    Also remember that the issue here has never been which story is correct, you will argue that until you are blue in the face when there is not an agreed-on basis for what "correct" even means. So we don't try to say which is correct, we try to say which follows the evidence and which retrofits it. That's how you tell what goes in a science classroom, period.

    So there is a very simple way to tell if creationism belongs in classrooms. Just imagine you had never heard of any religion's accounting of the creation of the world, and look at the evidence as it is. If you can honestly say you would have come up with the creation story as the best explanation of that evidence, never having heard that creation story before, then you can claim you are doing science. If you cannot look yourself in the eye in a mirror and make that claim, then you absolutely know you are not doing science and what you are saying does not belong in a science classroom. The crucial point is that we are not trying to say the creation story cannot possibly be true (like a supreme being could not possibly have made it look the way it does), we are simply saying that a religious text is not scientific evidence, so you have to be able to claim you would have constructed that theory without reference to any such text to be able to claim it is a successful scientific theory.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Sep-19 at 01:00 AM.

  30. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    We are already forgetting the reminder PetersCreek in Post 46. There are only two exceptions to our "no-religion" rule:

    General discussions of religion, religious beliefs, the teaching of religion, or Alan Turing and religion are not allowed.

    If we can't stick to the narrow topic of dinosaurs and creationists, this thread will be closed and people may be infracted. There will be no further warnings.
    sorry didn't read post 46.I assumed since the OP specifically mentioned creationists, that we could discuss creationism. Maybe people should totally stop posting questions pertaining to faith/religion.
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
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