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Thread: Creationists and dinosaurs

  1. #61
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    One interesting thing about YEC and the Bible in general is their inconsistent concept of time.

    Firstly there is the concept of the day. Either we are talking about a "creator" length day or a human day. But what is a human day anyway? To the ancients it was the time between dawn and a new dawn ( or sunset to sunset). But this is quite parochial and subjective considering the creation of the whole universe. Why would the time taken for one planet to rotate once while orbiting a certain star be used to define the timetable for all the creators acts? Surely for such a grand act as creation a far grander clock would have been used.
    (of course the simple answer is that the authors didn't know the universe existed so they couldn't refer to it)

    Then there is the possible misinterpretation of the scriptures themselves. As suggested by Azimov in one of his essays, there might have been confusion during translation of earlier texts. This may have led to periods that referred to months being transposed into years. This might account for the tremendous ages achieved by some of the characters in the early Bible. For example, Methuselah was supposed to have lived 969 years but if that were actually months, he would have been 79 years old.

    Unless time is properly accounted for I fail to see how YEC can claim the age of anything.

  2. #62
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    But I'd say the larger issue there again gets back to the difference between any particular version of truth, and scientific truth. When someone chooses to believe that some text represents absolute truth, one is free to reinterpet all data to fit that belief. As soon as you do that, it no longer matters what version of time is being used, because there will never be any need to check the claims. Why check a claim that all data will automatically be interpreted to uphold? There is simply no purpose to a consistent concept of time in this situation.

    Contrast that with a scientific concept of time, which of course must be completely consistent and clearly defined because it is intended to be used in checks that could potentially force a revision of that concept. It's an entirely different purpose for how we manipulate the very concept of time. Every term in science is like that, they are all used in a completely different way in science versus in creationism, because the process of thought is completely different. This is why there is never any point in identifying scientific flaws in a religious account, there is only point in recognizing what is science and what isn't.

    So what I'm saying is, your points about time are well taken, not from the point of saying that the religious account is inconsistent on its own terms, but simply for demonstrating yet more evidence that it is not science, because it does not use its terms the way science must.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    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.
    Yes, this is the right nut shell for both kinds, but there are degrees within each that complicate things. Einstein believed in a static universe and there was evidence he was right, though tenuous. His cosmological constant was inserted to fit the belief. But science, in the process of the fitting you mention, is self-correcting --another way of saying it. Religion, however, usually doesn't have the weight of objective evidence to help steer it partly because far more weight is required to change hearts, unlike minds. Sometimes, within a religion, only the mind needs changed. The Church (ie Jesuits) were fairly quick to see that Galileo's discovery of all the phases of Venus falsified the Aristotle/Ptolemy/Thomist model. This was because the weight of the objective evidence was so significant, their hearts weren't concerned with planetary behaviors really, and they had the Tychonic model in hand that gave comfort to the few passages of their faith that appeased the mind and heart.

    The change in religion comes only when there is a sense of absurdity or silliness to a given element within the belief and it depends how deep that element extends within the heart; tenets go deep but there are many things that are just superficial.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Yes, this is the right nut shell for both kinds, but there are degrees within each that complicate things. Einstein believed in a static universe and there was evidence he was right, though tenuous. His cosmological constant was inserted to fit the belief.
    If that's the reason it was inserted, I would call it unscientific because of what I mean by a "belief." So I think it would be fairer to say that Einstein felt a model that was static would be more likely to fit the data that would eventually be available, and he was simply wrong in that prognostication. That's not a belief, just a bias, and no theorist can be said to be unbiased about the theories they create. It's not necessary to say he believed something, my guess is he would have said the universe might not be static but a static model was simply regarded by him (based on his theoretical biases) to be scientifically superior until there is data otherwise. Had he realized his theory was dynamically unstable, he would have realized that a dynamical version was actually the superior one, on purely internal consistency grounds prior to any data.

    The Church (ie Jesuits) were fairly quick to see that Galileo's discovery of all the phases of Venus falsified the Aristotle/Ptolemy/Thomist model.
    Perhaps not quick enough for Galileo!

    This was because the weight of the objective evidence was so significant, their hearts weren't concerned with planetary behaviors really, and they had the Tychonic model in hand that gave comfort to the few passages of their faith that appeased the mind and heart.
    Which brings me to the thing I always wondered about. Why is the issue always framed in terms of the orbit of the Earth, when that always seems to me to pale in the face of the bigger question of whether or not the Earth spins. One cannot tell if the Earth spins, or if everything else does, by any simple observation, it would always require some theoretical framework to decide (even Coriolis forces don't prove anything in the absence of an interpretive theory, which simply did not exist in Galileo's day). It's just like Tycho's model (where the Sun orbits the Earth but all the planets orbit the Sun) also cannot be distinguished from Copernicus with any simple observation, that too would always require an interpretive theory to be able to decide. So it seems to me this issue is always framed wrong, because it is always framed as an observational issue. But it simply isn't-- whether or not the Earth spins, and whether or not the Earth orbits, is not an observational question, it is always a question for an interpretive theory, and without said theory, no resolution of the question would ever be possible.

    So this is how I think the issue should be framed. We have simple observations that distinguish whether the other planets orbit the Earth or the Sun, but no one really cares all that much which they orbit. No one ever frames the trial of Galileo as a question of what other planets are doing, it's always what the Earth is doing, and there is no observation that decides that in the theoretical vacuum that existed in Galileo's day. Instead, you have all these observations that suggest heavenly objects have Earthly properties, and you have all these observations that say the planets don't orbit the Earth the way Ptolemy said, but you have absolutely nothing that says anything about what the Earth is doing itself. Yet the debate is always framed as a debate about what the Earth is doing! So this is a logical inconsistency about how that debate is reported, either the participants in the debate were arguing over something they had no theoretical basis and no observations to support, or they were arguing about something different and the history gets it completely wrong. I don't know which, but it's definitely one or the other.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Sep-19 at 06:02 PM.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Yes, this is the right nut shell for both kinds, but there are degrees within each that complicate things. Einstein believed in a static universe and there was evidence he was right, though tenuous. His cosmological constant was inserted to fit the belief.
    Bare assertion, no one including you knows why the constant was inserted, although it may have been empirically correct. In time that model was invalidated for another equation. "Einstein renounced his cosmological constant" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Static_universe

    But science, in the process of the fitting you mention, is self-correcting --another way of saying it. Religion, however, usually doesn't have the weight of objective evidence to help steer it partly because far more weight is required to change hearts, unlike minds. Sometimes, within a religion, only the mind needs changed. The Church (ie Jesuits) were fairly quick to see that Galileo's discovery of all the phases of Venus falsified the Aristotle/Ptolemy/Thomist model. This was because the weight of the objective evidence was so significant, their hearts weren't concerned with planetary behaviors really, and they had the Tychonic model in hand that gave comfort to the few passages of their faith that appeased the mind and heart.
    The Church was more interested in keeping the model and persecuted Galileo for his "attacks" on the Pope and the scholars of the Jesuits abandoned Galileo, perhaps by coercion of the Pope. To live in exile for his beliefs as Ken G alluded.

    The change in religion comes only when there is a sense of absurdity or silliness to a given element within the belief and it depends how deep that element extends within the heart; tenets go deep but there are many things that are just superficial.
    I won't go into why change takes place, as I fear the argument will violate the rules of the moderators.

  6. #66
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    To clarify my point, what I'm saying is that it is always impossible purely from observation to tell what your vantage point is doing, so no observations from the vantage point of the Earth could ever discern that without an interpretive theory. This is particularly obvious when one is talking about the Earth's spin, so it's a shame that the issue is always framed in terms of the Earth's orbit, as the latter merely makes this same point more difficult to see. The reason it's so obvious that you can't tell from observations whether or not the Earth is spinning is you can imagine a planet that has always been shrouded in clouds that has never seen space. Then imagine that the people on that planet debate whether their planet is spinning or not, from the perspective of various interpretive theories of how things are, but no one is convinced because there are multiple possible theories. So they finally propose a way to poke through the clouds and see space outside the Earth, and they argue that this will decide the question observationally. If they poke through the clouds and everything else in the universe appears to be going around, surely that will be observational proof that those who claim the Earth is spinning are correct.

    But of course that argument has to be wrong. We know it's wrong, because we live on a planet that could see space for thousands of years, and space was always going around, and yet for thousands of years we still managed to think the Earth wasn't spinning. So this is an example of how wrong we can be about the nature of observational proof when we overlook the importance of interpretive theories. Why don't we regard Ptolemy as a terrible scientist, if he had a picture of reality that was so wrong it would be discarded by the simplest observation you can possibly do if it hadn't yet been done, poking through the clouds and seeing the rest of the universe? We don't regard him as a poor scientist simply because the data fit his interpretive theory perfectly well, and more to the point, his basis for creating that interpretive theory was an honest effort to fit the data, not a retrofit of some preconceived notion he got from a religious text. Had creationism been a scientific interpretation, then when it tried to account for the data, it might have encountered similar ambiguities as the ancients encountered when trying to decide if the Earth should be said to spin or not. But the problem with creationism has never been that observations cannot be interpreted in such a way as to fit it, it has always been that it requires the answer to be known in advance. That's what Ptolemy didn't do, he took the data at face value and required that any model he create must fit that data, even though is model tried hard to maintain certain theoretical biases around the stationary character of the Earth. He never pretended he could reject any data he didn't like, and had he learned about the phases of Venus in his lifetime, he would have been the first to reject his own model.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2019-Sep-19 at 07:00 PM.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    If that's the reason it was inserted, I would call it unscientific because of what I mean by a "belief." So I think it would be fairer to say that Einstein felt a model that was static would be more likely to fit the data that would eventually be available, and he was simply wrong in that prognostication. That's not a belief, just a bias, and no theorist can be said to be unbiased about the theories they create.
    Well, I would say I believe you're right, to demonstrate how this word is problematic. It's a tough call though for Einstein since the Static model could be held as a belief, but I think you are reserving that use for deeper meaning especially the religious context. [He blew his big chance at discovering the Big Bang Theory for that bias, or adherence, to the conventional cosmological thought. Recall his model did not allow reshifts, but it seems he wasn't up on the latest astronomy at that time, theorist that he was. That gave Lemaitre the advantage because he learned under both Eddington and Shapley, and he met Slipher, so he could see how expansion solved both the problems of Einstein and de Sitter's models.]

    It's not necessary to say he believed something, my guess is he would have said the universe might not be static but a static model was simply regarded by him (based on his theoretical biases) to be scientifically superior until there is data otherwise.
    From what I've read, I think he was, surprisingly for him, stubborn about it. Recall that he first rejected Friedman's work but then realized it was mathematically correct, but Friedman wasn't really arguing that expansion or contraction was real and he was unaware of Slipher's,work IIRC. Then, after reviewing Lemaitre's work, he said the math was fine but his physics was "abominable" because it wasn't a static model. It took Eddington and de Sitter, who both quickly realized its elegance and "fit of the data", to win Einstein over. Given that Einstein could not explain redshifts and that de Sitter's model removed all the mass (though I have the impression that it did exist on the vast horizon), so it was a problem, and could we argue, given 20/20 hindsight, that they both looked awkward?

    Had he realized his theory was dynamically unstable, he would have realized that a dynamical version was actually the superior one, on purely internal consistency grounds prior to any data.
    Yeah, but he opposed this so much he dreamed-up his famous, and elegant really, cosmological term, for which Gamow claimed he told him it was his biggest mistake.

    Perhaps not quick enough for Galileo!
    Oddly, perhaps too quick. The Jesuits were the scientists of the day and, once they used a telescope to confirm the claims, the knew they had to falsify the Ptolemy model, but the fact that the Tychonic model was known to them, they had a way to be quick about it. It happened surprisingly quick, but the Church as a whole had problems with the whole thing and some Jesuits knew Galileo would push Copernicus down there throats, so some weren't at all quick.

    Which brings me to the thing I always wondered about. Why is the issue always framed in terms of the orbit of the Earth, when that always seems to me to pale in the face of the bigger question of whether or not the Earth spins. One cannot tell if the Earth spins, or if everything else does, by any simple observation, it would always require some theoretical framework to decide (even Coriolis forces don't prove anything in the absence of an interpretive theory, which simply did not exist in Galileo's day).
    I suspect they were stuck with those crystalline shells and that the Prime Mover could easily use them for the chain of motions observed from that outer shell. It was also assumed that all things had to revolve around the Earth, which is why the orbital motion of the moons of Jupiter was a big hit, but the impurity of the Moon may have been worse for them. Then Dante added more spheres all the way down with the turtles. [Ok no turtles. ]

    It's just like Tycho's model (where the Sun orbits the Earth but all the planets orbit the Sun) also cannot be distinguished from Copernicus with any simple observation, that too would always require an interpretive theory to be able to decide.
    Yeah, most people don't appreciate this point, especially when they are surprised to learn that GR allows it (if we tweak it and allow ficticous forces). But, IIRC, the spheres in this model don't mesh well together, so that had to cause concern. I expect the multiple blows from Galileo's discoveries got the spheres (shells) removed from discussions.

    So it seems to me this issue is always framed wrong, because it is always framed as an observational issue. But it simply isn't-- whether or not the Earth spins, and whether or not the Earth orbits, is not an observational question, it is always a question for an interpretive theory, and without said theory, no resolution of the question would ever be possible.
    There were strong, but erroneous, arguments against a spinning Earth, namely they knew the radius and the time around, so they knew the equatorial speed would have to be about 1000 mph. So they though the wind would be horrendous, things would fly off the surface, etc. Gravity was not appreciated well-enough probably until Newton, though I'm guessing a little here.

    These sorts of things helped delay the important religious re-interpretations as there could be doubt placed on the arguments for things like Earth's rotation so the Sun could have been made to stand still rather than bring the Earth to a stop, as an alternative. This is what YEC does as well.

    So this is how I think the issue should be framed. We have simple observations that distinguish whether the other planets orbit the Earth or the Sun, but no one really cares all that much which they orbit. No one ever frames the trial of Galileo as a question of what other planets are doing, it's always what the Earth is doing, and there is no observation that decides that in the theoretical vacuum that existed in Galileo's day.
    Right, but there was nothing known about those "moving stars", and we do tend to favor all thing anthropomorphic.

    Instead, you have all these observations that suggest heavenly objects have Earthly properties, and you have all these observations that say the planets don't orbit the Earth the way Ptolemy said, but you have absolutely nothing that says anything about what the Earth is doing itself. Yet the debate is always framed as a debate about what the Earth is doing! So this is a logical inconsistency about how that debate is reported, either the participants in the debate were arguing over something they had no theoretical basis and no observations to support, or they were arguing about something different and the history gets it completely wrong. I don't know which, but it's definitely one or the other.
    I suspect we don't have a way to appreciate the important worldview they held, namely teleology. If you start with no useful observations but you have religious texts that offers creation accounts, and you marinate all of it in teleology, then, after a little baking, you get a fairly taste meal out of the deal.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    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.
    Please do not compound one transgression with another. Do not question, argue, or otherwise respond to moderation within a thread. If you're serious about recommending a change to the current rule on religious discussion, please do so in the appropriate forum.

    The thread is closed. Discussion has too often lacked the focus called for in rule 12 buy devolving into more general and critical commentary on religion.
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