Has anyone ever tried to find out why it is only creationism that is so grossly politicized?
Most other pseudosciences are not nearly as politicized.
One does not see astrologers demanding equal time for astrology in astronomy classes, despite the fact that large numbers of people seem to believe in astrology.
And one does not see supporters of various "alternative" medical therapes demanding equal time for their therapies and theories in class presentations on medicine.
Scientologists are not big on demanding that discussions of psychiatry give equal time to Scientology, for example.
It must be noted that the Christian Scientists are an exception; they had once tried to outlaw the teaching of the germ theory of disease in some places, at least as a proven fact. Christian Scientists believe that the physical world is not real and that disease is really a sort of stubborn false belief. However, the sect's founder, Mary Baker Eddy, had been known to take the painkiller morphine. And some more recent Christian Scientists have been known to put air conditioners in their churches.
[This message has been edited by lpetrich, 04-21-2003]
My opinion is that evolution is the pre-eminent scientific theory that is the most contradictory to a literal reading of the bible. Modern revival christianity seeks a christian worldview in all things, and it's my experience that they regard the separation of church and state as a troubling inconvinience to their ultimate goal - the establishment of the US as a christian state.
When you get right down to it, scientific historicity (which encompasses biology, geology, paleontology, etc.) is the one thing that directly contradicts a literal reading of the bible. Evoltuion, though, is the subset that they dislike the most because the adamic fall in Genesis is one of the major foundations of their religion, and evotion directly contradicts that account.
I think more fundamentalist chrsitans have convinced the majority of moderate christians that they can't believe in both jesus and evolution, which is why almost %50 of americans hold to some kind of creationist view. Guess we have some work to do.
FYI, there are other countries that endorse non-scientific issues in academia. Once I attended a lecture by an Indian scholar, Meera Nanda. She complained that there is a movement called 'Vedic science' propagated by Hindu nationalists, and it is quite successful in India. As a result, some pseudoscience such as astrology, numerology, etc. is taught as serious subject matter.
Interesting. I wonder if it's a result of living in a post-rationalist world, where two things are generally held to be true by the majority of lay people: 1) that scientific learning is something to be respected (almost to the point of veneration) and 2) scientists cannot always be trusted (a result, I think, of Cold War paranoia and a blaming of science for horrible weapons). It is the first idea that makes pseudo-science and it's proponents want the veneer of science for themselves, and the second idea that allows them to do so, by the implication that scientists themselves cannot be relied on to truly determine what is science and what is not. Hence things like the courts being used to force creationism into schools, for instance.
Just some unfounded speculation on my part, but something I've been chewing on for a while, re: the question "why does pseudo-science persist?"
The initial cause was pure, but it was politicized because some people can't stand reality. And because Christians have a hard time compromizing the belief of original sin and redemption with the fact of continuity of man's lineage from the earliest life.
The weird part about all this is that technically, the Theory of Evolution isn't really about the origin of life, only its development.
But then again, Creationism is a kind of blanket model, with ramifications for chemistry, biology, geology, astrophysics, and a whole host of disciplines. But I guess "Creation Vs. Cosmological Origins, Stellar Development, Planetary Science, Geohistory, Molecular Chemistry, Paleontology, and Evolution" makes for an awful long tagline.
Part of the politicazition can be explained by evolutionists also being very politicized. William Jennings Bryant for instance, a two time presidential candidate, who demanded evolutionary theory to stop being taught, had to fight Darwinist imperialists in Washington. The nobel prize winner Konrad Lorenz slanted his books towards nazi-ideology, having first published his papers in a Nazi journal. Darwin, sought for inferior not to marry superior, and wrote against labour unions because they would stifle competition between workers, on account of his Darwinism. The Hitler youth were taught Darwinism in Darwinist styled Hitler-schools, as part of their political indoctrination. etc.
Apart from that, the issue of creation has exceptional philosphical importance. For instance if we would deny creation by God, then we would also tend to deny creation by humans, and continue on to tend to deny choice by humans. If a person has a choice between being lazy, and doing his work, then those different choices have much significance in religion. But in evolutionary theory those choices simply equate to randomness. For an evolutionist there is absolutely nothing like effort involved in the creation of Nature. It is merely an effect of laws acting on matter with some randomness mixed in. Some Darwinists then compensate for this lack of magic in nature, by putting up humans as superspecial would be gods, who as the only known thing in the universe can rise above all these laws and randomness. But still the main philosophical thrust of evolutionism as it is now, is to deny any specialness anywhere.
So in short evolutionists tend to deny magic everywhere, which undermines the credibility of religion whole. In other sciences there seems to be a modicum of respect for the mysterious, a respect for when people need to make difficult choices in their lives. Choices which go to determine what will be, what is created.
For instance if we would deny creation by God, then we would also tend to deny creation by humans, and continue on to tend to deny choice by humans.
That doesn't make sense to me. Saying "there's no creative god" doesn't suggest that creativity doesn't exist. I does suggest that only humans (that we know of) are capable of it to a significant degree, and thus it should be prized and protected.
The weird part about all this is that technically, the Theory of Evolution isn't really about the origin of life, only its development.
True. And yet for myself and millions of others we are not content with just that. I had to know much more about life, and this Theory alone could offer very little with regards to the big picture as I needed it. My research showed that the TOE does not provide overpowering evidence for this development, in and of itself, nor, and most importantly, does it provide any evidence for, or even seriously address, the Origins of life. Therefore as a Theory it was unable to convince me of its claims. Science has shown that as investigation gets smaller and deeper, it is also showing that the systems of life are Enormously complex, with many of the profession claiming irreducible complexity within many of those systems, which is of course an impossiblilty in all Darwinisms.
When I personally attempt to view the TOE as fact, and then carry its philosophy with me in the direction of the Origins of Life, I quickly come to realize that, without question, I would have to believe in Nilallism as well, to be able accept the TOE as my explanation to the development of life. Not only do I see very little convincing evidence for a belif in the TOE, I also see that it would be absurd to believe in Nilallism.
All journeys have a beginning and an end. The TOE's attempt to describe the development of life's journey from just outside the starting gate to now, has been valiant, but feeble at best, especially considering its lack of soundness and its reluctance to address the Origins questions. Science is marvelous and continues to show us the utter wonder and complexity of life and I appreciate it for that.
The fact that we exist is also proof of an Origin of some sort and some how. Thus the two camps will continue to try and explain these Origins, and the politicizing will continue.
I had to know much more about life, and this Theory alone could offer very little with regards to the big picture as I needed it. My research showed that the TOE does not provide overpowering evidence for this development, in and of itself, nor, and most importantly, does it provide any evidence for, or even seriously address, the Origins of life.
To the contrary, I find that the evidence for evolution as the mechanism for the development of living things to be quite overpowering. Natural selection and random mutation together form a highly robust mechanism capable of giving rise to function to a great degree. This has been demonstrated over and over.
it is also showing that the systems of life are Enormously complex, with many of the profession claiming irreducible complexity within many of those systems, which is of course an impossiblilty in all Darwinisms.
I'm not impressed by so-called "irreducible complexity" arguments. Generally the argument is something like this: "An eye is complex and if you take out the retina, it doesn't work. Therefore it's irreducible." Which of course is fallacious because there are parts of the eye, without which it will still function. Not well, but it still works enough to provide an advantage.
I mean, a building is irreducibly complex in a lot of ways, but yet, buildings are constructed from scratch. How? Using scaffolds, for instance. Those biochemical pathways we observe today which are so complex that they fail if a single step is removed, have by no means always been so. Many of our biochemical pathways contain built-in redundancy. Potentially, an "irreducibly" complex system could be "bootstrapped" via a simpler, more redundant, less efficient system which then evolved (via the loss of redundancy) into the system we see today. It would be a kind of biochemical "scaffold", if you will.
Just speculation, on my part, of course. But just because a system is irreducibly complex now, doesn't mean that it has always been that way.
When I personally attempt to view the TOE as fact, and then carry its philosophy with me in the direction of the Origins of Life, I quickly come to realize that, without question, I would have to believe in Nilallism as well, to be able accept the TOE as my explanation to the development of life.
That's only true if the origin of life is relevant to the meaning of life. I don't see this to be the case at all. They don't seem at all related to me.
Thus the two camps will continue to try and explain these Origins, and the politicizing will continue.
You're definately right about this. To me, though, it comes down to this (especially in terms of science education): Are we going to allow knowledge to be freely disseminated and explored, and accept whatever philosophical consequences that entails; or are we going to allow knowledge to be shackled by those who fear its consequences?
But I do appreciate your viewpoint. While the theory of evolution itslef says nothing about man's place in things, the obvious conclusion from it is that we're pretty unique in a very, very large cosmos. Personally I think that makes human life and thought all the more precious, as we're the only life in several billion miles with the ability to percieve meaning in the universe.
[This message has been edited by crashfrog, 05-01-2003]
If ToE has to explain the orgin of life to be satisfactory to you does it also have to explain the origin of the universe? How about the behavior of the chemical substances which make up the genome? The physics of the atoms that make up those?
Since evolution is affected by environmental changes do I have to include plate tectonics, climate change and asteroid strikes?
The knowledge we have is without real boundaries, of course, but there are still convenient places to draw lines and work within them. If I want to tell you the theory of how a car engine works it is convenient not to go into any detail of the chemistry of the fuel/air combustion. You probably know that gas burns and if you don't you can understand how an engine works without knowing how gas burns anyway.
Evolution is about life. It does not attempt to describe the behavior of anything that doesn't reproduce. Therefore starting with a reproducing entity is a perfectly reasonable boundary.
Chemistry is about atoms so starting with electrons and nuclei (ignoring quarks altogether) is a perfectly reasonable boundary.
Geology presupposes the earth exists with certain properties. Ignoring steller evolution and formation is a perfectly reasonable boundary.
Do you want no boundaries at all?
If you wish to take that view then fine. In the total compendium of what we know there are holes. Things we don't yet know as well as other things. I expect (and hope) there always will be. That doesn't mean that nothing is knowable to some greater degree. It just means we should keep on testing to improve our degree of confidence.
Not that I've noticed. Point taken. I will attempt to restrain myself. If someone want to start a topic on the "lines" between disciplines I might jump in. But it doesn't seem worth it to me since it might only be enumerating angels.