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Author Topic:   Arguments 'evolutionists' should NOT use
ringo
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Posts: 16621
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 31 of 74 (400093)
05-10-2007 9:57 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by Taz
05-10-2007 2:05 AM


Tazmanian Devil writes:

If they think saying "I have no proof of evolution..." is the same as admitting defeat, then I am wasting my time trying to talk to them.

Again, not a good attitude if you're trying to educate them. You have to start with what they know and what they think they know.


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dwise1
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Posts: 3490
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 32 of 74 (400100)
05-10-2007 11:52 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Taz
05-09-2007 9:28 PM


Taz writes:

Ringo writes:

Sure you can. Court rulings are overturned all the time - .


Oh come now, you know as well as I do that court rulings and science are two entirely different things.

Try telling that to Phillip Johnson. His whole approach in "Darwin on Trial" was to apply courtroom rules and standards to evolution. A far better analogy for how science works would be a police investigation.

When I first encountered him circa 1981 and listened to him (on a Nova episode), I immediately thought, "What an idiot!" But now there's a whole movement, Intelligent Design, that is based partially on his ideas.

We will encounter many creationists who will confuse courtroom proof with scientific proof.


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Taz
Member (Idle past 1455 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 33 of 74 (400117)
05-10-2007 1:49 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by ringo
05-10-2007 9:57 AM


Ringo writes:

Again, not a good attitude if you're trying to educate them.


Learning requires an instructor and a student. Can't do anything if the student doesn't want to learn.

For example, can you see Rob actually shut up for once and try to learn something?

You have to start with what they know and what they think they know.

I agree. You have to start there, and then blow their misconceptions out of the water. "Proofs" in terms of scientific theories are misconceptions that must be blown out of the water.



We are BOG. Resistance is voltage over current.

Disclaimer:

Occasionally, owing to the deficiency of the English language, I have used he/him/his meaning he or she/him or her/his or her in order to avoid awkwardness of style.

He, him, and his are not intended as exclusively masculine pronouns. They may refer to either sex or to both sexes!


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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 295 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 34 of 74 (400131)
05-10-2007 3:26 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by ringo
05-09-2007 3:09 PM


Ringo writes:

I think "there's no proof in science" is an argument that evolutionists should NOT use. :)

I strongly disagree, for two reasons:
1) this is not the way people normally use the word "proof" in relating to science. They generally mean a logical proof similar to what is used in mathematics. You want to redefine the word for them, which is a big job and has questionable merit.
2) this clouds a very important issue for how science is done. Namely, scientific theories must be amenable to DISproof (they must be disprovable in principle), but are never provable in the same sense. This concept is essential for understanding modern science, and redefining the word "proof" will cloud the issue.

In doing science, we need to be careful to truly be scientific. Overstating the case, overstressing the evidence, and claiming things are "proven" when they are not will backfire in the long run, because such approaches will convey a philosophical "faith commitment" rather than an objective scientific position.


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ringo
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Posts: 16621
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 35 of 74 (400132)
05-10-2007 3:41 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by kbertsche
05-10-2007 3:26 PM


Hi, kbertsche. Welcome to EvC. :)

this is not the way people normally use the word "proof" in relating to science.

I'm coming at this from the viewpoint of people who don't know anything about science and that's exactly the way they use the word "proof". They don't mean logical/mathematical proof at all. They mean a preponderance of evidence.

You want to redefine the word for them....

No, I want to use the word the way that they (the layman) use it. Or rather, I don't want to use the word at all because the scientific definition and the lay definition are so different.

I repeat, if you say "proof" to a layman, he will understand it the way he understands it, not the way you understand it. You are the one who is taking on the big job of redefining it in his mind.

A large part of science's PR failure is the refusal to see things from the lay point of view.


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fallacycop
Member (Idle past 3683 days)
Posts: 692
From: Fortaleza-CE Brazil
Joined: 02-18-2006


Message 36 of 74 (400176)
05-10-2007 10:33 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by Zhimbo
05-09-2007 4:23 PM


The English word "disorder" is seldom-to-never used in a way that means "the measure of a system's thermal energy per unit temperature that is unavailable for doing useful work." (Encyclopedia Britannica def. of entropy).

Needless to state that this definition would be completely useless for someone that didn`t already know what entropy is to begin with.

Answer me this question: How does that definition accounts for the increase in entropy that happens when you mix to different gases? What about the increase in entropy that happens whn you shuffle a deck of cards?

Entropy is not a measure of a system's thermal energy per unit temperature that is unavailable for doing useful work. It doesn`t even have the right units to be a measure of energy (That might be more apropriate as a definition for free energy, but even there, only in a lose sense).

Entropy is a measure of the number of microstates (a complete description of the state of the system) of a system consistent with a given macrostate (a thermodynamic description of the system). Since there are many more states consistent with disorder then there are states consistent with order, it seems not entirely inapropriate to identify entropy with disorder.


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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 295 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 37 of 74 (400182)
05-10-2007 11:42 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by ringo
05-10-2007 3:41 PM


No, I want to use the word the way that they (the layman) use it. Or rather, I don't want to use the word at all because the scientific definition and the lay definition are so different.

Not using the word at all is an option, if there really is the difference in understanding that you claim.

Maybe I've been a scientist for too long; I prefer to communicate some basic scientific concepts rather than deferring completely to lay terminology. The concept that scientific theory is not provable but must be in principle disprovable is very fundamental to science. I have given a number of talks to describe science and the scientific method for non-scientists, and this is something I always stress. I have not had difficulty in communicating the concept.


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mick
Member (Idle past 3149 days)
Posts: 913
Joined: 02-17-2005


Message 38 of 74 (400199)
05-11-2007 4:13 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by kbertsche
05-10-2007 11:42 PM


kbertsche writes:

No, I want to use the word the way that they (the layman) use it. Or rather, I don't want to use the word at all because the scientific definition and the lay definition are so different.

Not using the word at all is an option, if there really is the difference in understanding that you claim.

Maybe I've been a scientist for too long; I prefer to communicate some basic scientific concepts rather than deferring completely to lay terminology. The concept that scientific theory is not provable but must be in principle disprovable is very fundamental to science. I have given a number of talks to describe science and the scientific method for non-scientists, and this is something I always stress. I have not had difficulty in communicating the concept.

I agree. What makes intelligent design and creationism non-science is the fact that they are not falsifiable, nor subject to hypothesis testing. It is hard to argue this fundamental point if you use "proof" in the lay sense. "The mystery and majesty of creation is proof of God". How would you argue against such a notion once you have ellided over falsifiability as a criterion for scientific argument, and have chosen instead to accept the "weight of evidence" or somesuch?


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Nighttrain
Member (Idle past 2157 days)
Posts: 1512
From: brisbane,australia
Joined: 06-08-2004


Message 39 of 74 (400200)
05-11-2007 4:22 AM
Reply to: Message 35 by ringo
05-10-2007 3:41 PM


POV
A large part of science's PR failure is the refusal to see things from the lay point of view

I guess we can be challenged by a spectrum of believers, from the layman, through people with a passing knowledge of science, to someone with qualifications in a field (engineers? :-p). So the answers should be tailored to fit. The bulk we get at EvC seem to come loaded like a parrot, and rattle off the standard declaimers. These, I suggest, should be overwhelmed by hard facts to establish some sort (oops, nearly said kind) of authority on the part of the defender. Perhaps once they respect your knowledge, you might continue to such levels until the questioner`s eyes start to glaze over, when you know it`s time to drop down a strata or two.


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Zhimbo
Member (Idle past 4175 days)
Posts: 571
From: New Hampshire, USA
Joined: 07-28-2001


Message 40 of 74 (400250)
05-11-2007 4:31 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by fallacycop
05-10-2007 10:33 PM


The definition I gave is indeed the correct definition from classical thermodynamics, and it does indeed have the correct units (joules/Kelvin).

Other definitions are useful for different sorts of problems, but all of them have one thing in common: none of them equate entropy with disorder.

As soon as you "pretend" the 2nd law deals with "disorder" you open up an enormous load of misconceptions and unproductive intuitions.

For example: "The Big Bang can't be true, because the Universe is more ordered now than a big explosion".

Here's an additional article on the pitfalls of "pretending" that entropy = disorder.

http://www.entropysite.com/cracked_crutch.html


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 41 of 74 (400271)
05-11-2007 8:58 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by kbertsche
05-10-2007 3:26 PM


1) this is not the way people normally use the word "proof" in relating to science. They generally mean a logical proof similar to what is used in mathematics.

I doubt this very much. The average person talking about a scientific proof doesn't know anything about mathematics, either, and so how could they be thinking of mathematical proofs?

Namely, scientific theories must be amenable to DISproof (they must be disprovable in principle), but are never provable in the same sense.

No, of course not. But many scientific explanations become so well-tested that only crackpots dispute them. And certainly statistics gives us the power to conclude that a certain result is not simply due to chance; and moreover, to assess what level of confidence we can have in that conclusion.

I think, when most people talk about "proof", they're talking about observations that can only be most reasonably explained by the conjecture in question being true, and that's certainly a standard science can meet. Proving things by logical transformations from assumed premises isn't something a majority of people have experience doing, and so I doubt very much that's what they're thinking of when they say "proof."


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NosyNed
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Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 42 of 74 (400287)
05-11-2007 9:59 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by crashfrog
05-11-2007 8:58 PM


And certainly statistics gives us the power to conclude that a certain result is not simply due to chance; and moreover, to assess what level of confidence we can have in that conclusion.

What you say is correct but in the whole post you mix "result" and theory(explanation). The statistics make statements about the likely validity of a specific observation. They do not directly make any statement about the theory. The statisitcs of an observation are a long, probably complex logical chain away from the theory.


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sfs
Member (Idle past 697 days)
Posts: 464
From: Cambridge, MA USA
Joined: 08-27-2003


Message 43 of 74 (400294)
05-11-2007 10:37 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by kbertsche
05-10-2007 3:26 PM


quote:
I strongly disagree, for two reasons:
1) this is not the way people normally use the word "proof" in relating to science. They generally mean a logical proof similar to what is used in mathematics. You want to redefine the word for them, which is a big job and has questionable merit.

I'm with the "this is a bad argument" crowd. I don't understand where you're getting your more correct meaning for "proof". People, whether scientists or not, do not usually use the word "proof" in relation to science. It has a technical meaning in mathematics, but why import that meaning into science, and into a discussion with people who are neither scientists nor mathematicians?
quote:
2) this clouds a very important issue for how science is done. Namely, scientific theories must be amenable to DISproof (they must be disprovable in principle), but are never provable in the same sense. This concept is essential for understanding modern science, and redefining the word "proof" will cloud the issue.

This I also disagree with. Scientific theories are no more amenable to rigorous disproof than they are to rigorous proof: it is always possible to retain a theory, whatever the evidence, by modifying auxiliary hypotheses, and sometimes that's clearly the right thing to do. I'm no philosopher of science, but my impression is that falsification is pretty much dead as a demarcation criterion for science. In practice, one produces evidence for and against theories.
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kbertsche
Member (Idle past 295 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 44 of 74 (400342)
05-12-2007 1:35 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by sfs
05-11-2007 10:37 PM


This I also disagree with. Scientific theories are no more amenable to rigorous disproof than they are to rigorous proof: it is always possible to retain a theory, whatever the evidence, by modifying auxiliary hypotheses, and sometimes that's clearly the right thing to do. I'm no philosopher of science, but my impression is that falsification is pretty much dead as a demarcation criterion for science. In practice, one produces evidence for and against theories.

No, falsification is still alive and is ESSENTIAL for something to be a scientific theory. If it's not falsifiable, it's not science! Yes, sometimes the theory can be modified to fit the new data, but sometimes it can't . Either way, the original theory was shown to be false.

This is just the very basic scientific method, which I was taught in grade school. And this is the way science is done professionally, whether you agree with it or not. I am really surprised at how many folks here misunderstand or disagree with the scientific method! I am new to posting here; my initial impression is that this crowd is either not very scientifically literate or is intentionally being disingenuous to promote some agenda other than science.

If you want another opinion, take a look at "scientific method" in wikipedia. Here's an excerpt:

Falsifiability, or the elimination of plausible alternatives. This is a gradual process that requires repeated experiments by multiple researchers who must be able to replicate results in order to corroborate them. This requirement, one of the most frequently contended, leads to the following: All hypotheses and theories are in principle subject to disproof. Thus, there is a point at which there might be a consensus about a particular hypothesis or theory, yet it must in principle remain tentative. As a body of knowledge grows and a particular hypothesis or theory repeatedly brings predictable results, confidence in the hypothesis or theory increases.

And here's an excerpt from the entry on "science":

Scientists never claim absolute knowledge of nature or the behavior of the subject of the field of study. Certain scientific "facts" are linguistic (such as the fact that humans are mammals), but these are true only by definition, and they reflect only truths relative to agreed convention. These deductive facts may be absolute, but they only say something about human language and expression, but not about the external world. This part of science is like mathematics.

Another part of science is inductive, and attempts to say something about the external world which is not true by definition, but can be shown to be true in specific instances by experiment or observation. Unlike a mathematical proof, a scientific theory which makes statements about nature in an inductive way, is always open to falsification, if new evidence is presented. Even the most basic and fundamental theories may turn out to be imperfect if new observations are inconsistent with them. Critical to this process is making every relevant aspect of research publicly available, which permits peer review of published results, and also allows ongoing review and repeating of experiments and observations by multiple researchers operating independently of one another. Only by fulfilling these expectations can it be determined how reliable the experimental results are for potential use by others.


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19868
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.6


Message 45 of 74 (400345)
05-12-2007 1:48 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by kbertsche
05-12-2007 1:35 PM


welcome to the fray kbertsche.

If it's not falsifiable, it's not science!

It is amazing how often this needs to be repeated eh?

I am really surprised at how many folks here misunderstand or disagree with the scientific method! I am new to posting here; my initial impression is that this crowd is either not very scientifically literate or is intentionally being disingenuous to promote some agenda other than science.

Stick around. I think you'll find there are three kinds of posters here: your typical creationist (who can't be swayed by any amount of evidence that contradict what they believe they know), people of varying education levels with a keen desire to learn more (and some may think they know more than they do), and bonafide science types (with the education and resources to document and substantiate what they say).

I put myself in group two.

Enjoy.


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