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Author Topic:   The Creationist Paradigm
platypus
Member (Idle past 3830 days)
Posts: 139
Joined: 11-12-2006


Message 1 of 13 (463816)
04-20-2008 9:45 PM


I have been wondering about why it is so hard for scientists, and evolutionary biologists in particular, to communicate and convince Creationists of scientific ideas. I have also been reading a lot of Thomas Kuhn lately. I don't think you need to be familiar with Kuhn's entire philosophy to understand where this is going, but I'll give a brief summary.

Kuhn says that different scientific fields exist in different paradigms, which is the context in which scientists investigate their field of sceince. Researchers in different fields work under different paradigms, and so often have trouble interacting, since their methods and terminology are so different. E.g. Fluid mechanists recognize solids and fluid, whereas chemists recognize solids, liquids, and gases. Marine biologist wonder what happens to larvae that are released from a specific point, physical oceanographers model how the entire ocean moves. A molecular biologist thinks of a species as forming a phylogenetic clade, whereas an ecologist thinks of a species as a groups of animals with ecological similar roles, whereas an evolutionary biologist thinks of a species as a reproductively isolated group of individuals.

The point is, the communication problem results from the fact that different terminology is used, that we are interacting under different paradigms. Many creationists (and cdesign proponentsists) use scientific terminology in the wrong way, indicating that they are thinking in an alternate context, using alternate terminology like random mutation, natural selection, evolving into a new species, humans coming from apes, etc. They have been taught to put together phrases about evolution in a manner which differs from the biological manner, which indicates they they are thinking in a different Kuhnian paradigm.

I'd like this thread to focus on whether this paradigm division exists, and also on ways to bridge the division, if we agree upon its existance.


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Message 2 of 13 (463823)
04-20-2008 11:38 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by platypus
04-20-2008 9:45 PM


I'm undecided about whether to promote this one, so let me ask a question. Would you say the reason scientists are unable to convince astrology, homeopathic and alien abduction advocates is because of valid paradigmatic differences in perspective?


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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platypus
Member (Idle past 3830 days)
Posts: 139
Joined: 11-12-2006


Message 3 of 13 (463902)
04-21-2008 8:30 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Admin
04-20-2008 11:38 PM


Hmmm, well that's a good question. I don't think that I can make one answer for all of them.

For astrology, yes, a paradigm difference. They view the movement of planets as symbols of upcoming events, whereas scientists view the planets movements as the result of physical laws. So yes, defnintely a difference in paradigms.

For alien abduction, no. They simply believe some facts are true, when they are not true. They accept a falsehood, and deny true facts.

For homeopathy, well that's a tricky one. My parents raised me on homeopathic remedies, and for some of them, there is scientific evidence in support of them. For example, boosting certain amounts of vitamins and nutrients can help you fight off a disease, just as taking a flu shot or penicillin can. The method and approach of treating the disease, homeopathy being bottom up and flu shots being top down, is definitely different, so I would say in this sense they are different in paradigms. But this is much more of a grey area. For example, tumeric has always been though to be good for your general health, homeopathically. And then recently, a scientific article found that turmeric can reduce the risk of altzheimers.

Now, if you want to talk about holistic healers (essential oils, pills with natural extracts), then yes, a major paradigmatic difference from conventional medicine. The methods and techniques are different, yet even these two field are fusing. The same article listed above says that fish oils, a common holistic remedy, may have beneficial effects. Rather than scientists convincing holistic healers to see their side, scientists are actually beginning to see the other side through applying the scientific method to test these alternate cures. Though I should note that even if holistic remedies are found scientifically to work, the reason that holist healers think that their methods work (inner chi) is different from the reason scientist think that holistic methods work (testing on mice), so there is still an unbreachable paradigm difference.

To bring this back to the issue at hand, are creationists just plain wrong and misinformed, like the alien abductionists, or have they been taught to ask the wrong sorts of questions, like the holistic healers? I tend to believe the latter, especially concerning discussions about information theory. Creationist have asked scientists to show that information can be gained in order to prove Darwinism. The correct answer from the evolutionist perspective is that the idea of animals evolving more or less information is nonsensical- their evolution does not follow paths of information, it follows paths of greatest survival probablities. I think creationists have been told many falsehoods, but the reason our communication with them is so unsucessful is that they are taught to think about evolution in a different paradigm, which often involves asking questions and making statements that are not exactly wrong but better described as nonsensical statements about how scientific evolution really works.


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Message 4 of 13 (463906)
04-21-2008 9:17 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by platypus
04-21-2008 8:30 PM


Okay, that clarifies quite a bit, thanks. I can see where you're going now. This seems fine.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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Message 5 of 13 (463907)
04-21-2008 9:17 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
New Cat's Eye
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Message 6 of 13 (463909)
04-21-2008 9:31 PM


I'd like this thread to focus on whether this paradigm division exists, and also on ways to bridge the division, if we agree upon its existance.

I can agree that the paradigm does exists but wanna point out that it doesn't have to exist. Creationism can be viewed under an evolutionary paradigm, and visa versa.

The bridge the division, the researcher has to be educated about the other paradigms and how things are viewed under them.

One of the problems evolutionists face with creationists is that the creationists are sometimes unwilling to learn another paradigm.

Edited by Catholic Scientist, : removed an extra 'the'


Science fails to recognize the single most potent element of human existence.
Letting the reigns go to the unfolding is faith, faith, faith, faith.
Science has failed our world.
Science has failed our Mother Earth.
-System of a Down, "Science"

He who makes a beast out of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man.
-Avenged Sevenfold, "Bat Country"


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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 774 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 7 of 13 (463914)
04-21-2008 10:17 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by New Cat's Eye
04-21-2008 9:31 PM


Catholic Scientist writes:

One of the problems evolutionists face with creationists is that the creationists are sometimes unwilling to learn another paradigm.

I think it's a little more than that. In my debates with various creationists, I have noted that there is an unwillingness to even speculate about the possibility of being wrong. They won't even go along with a hypothetical scenario, such as this one:

---

Me: "Let's assume God doesn't exist. How would--"

Creationist: "But, He does exist."

Me: "Okay, we're just pretending here, alright?"

Creationist: "But, it's stupid to pretend that the truth isn't real."

Me: "Please humor me. In a universe where God didn't exist, how would you prove that He doesn't exist?"

Creationist: "Without God, the universe couldn't exist. Period."

---

The creationist perspective (and the ID perspective, which purports to be different), at its base, stems from this conservative, non-compromising Christian perspective. Science realizes the benefits of assuming an alternative view in an attempt to discredit or verify an alternative argument, but religion does not. Without speculating, though, you never get to the point where you have the power to make a good judgment call.

That's why, when two preachers argue (or Mormon missionaries "bible bash" with a Baptist minister--I've been there before), it ends up in a back-and-forth sequence of assertions: "Ordinances and authority are essential for salvation," "No, only the faith and intent of the believer is essential," "No, it says here that....," "Well, how do you explain this scripture...?" It ends up like this: "A is right," "No, B is right," "No, A is right," etc.

In the end, it always comes down to "agreeing to disagree." But, you just can't use that in science: it tends to impede progress, and there really is no science without progress.

Edited by Bluejay, : Typo


I'm Thylacosmilus.

Darwin loves you.


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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3109 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 8 of 13 (463916)
04-21-2008 10:24 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by platypus
04-20-2008 9:45 PM


to pair a dime or not?
It seems to me that you are trying to relate the

Click to enlarge
quote:
Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge Cambridge 1970 p51

different “problem-situtations” that Popper nominally agreed with Kuhn on to creationism?

The problem for the creationist however, is one that Kant tried to compromise


Click to enlarge
quote:
The Conflict of the Faculties Nebraska Press 1979
but this is not a part of the issue of normal or not normal science unless the relation of the “lower” and “higher” faculties were inverted from the way Kant had them. Kant did suggest this may be possible some day.

Rather it seems that creationists(YEC especially) are attempting to create their own hearty organized structure. If we could get both normal scientists and creationists to answer this question of Kant’s later in the same text


Click to enlarge

together - not apart - I do think that your framing of the question may have validity but then we would also have to take in the disagreement between Popper and Kuhn rather than the agreement.

Different “problem-situations” do have to be put together by ‘normal science’ but it is really more with creationists that the difficulty of doing this shows up, sans the disagreement, not that it is not there though. Others might say I am counting angels here but that is not the case. There is a limit where rationality ends and the surpasensible can be within.


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platypus
Member (Idle past 3830 days)
Posts: 139
Joined: 11-12-2006


Message 9 of 13 (463922)
04-22-2008 12:17 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Blue Jay
04-21-2008 10:17 PM


I think it's a little more than that. In my debates with various creationists, I have noted that there is an unwillingness to even speculate about the possibility of being wrong.

Well, I think we can all agree creationists are ridiculously stubborn. But I don't think that's really the whole story. Evolutionists and creationists are talking past each other. Creationists are not simply disagreeing, or refusing to listen. The words that one side says are simply nonsense to the other side. There's no way to make heads nor tails of it.

I see what you're saying with

It ends up like this: "A is right," "No, B is right," "No, A is right," etc.

In the end, it always comes down to "agreeing to disagree."

but for some reason I don't feel like I ever get to that point with creationists, like I do with most other people I argue with. We never find that ultimate source of disagrement, and I'm just wondering why. I mean, yeah, with the Bible and God I often have to agree to disagree, but most creationist arguments about evolution don't really rely on the Bible hey try to use outside "evidence." They rely on arguments about information theory or creation of new species, and argument on those topics never really seem to go back to the Bible.


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platypus
Member (Idle past 3830 days)
Posts: 139
Joined: 11-12-2006


Message 10 of 13 (463924)
04-22-2008 12:29 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Brad McFall
04-21-2008 10:24 PM


Re: to pair a dime or not?
Hey Brad,

Yes, the problem-situations I think are what people normally call paradigms nowadays and that is what I'm talking about. But I don't think the first passage from Kant is really relevant, since he is talking about an agrement between two kinds of theologians. Scientists have already backed out of the theologian role, they're not trying to parts of the Bible to support reason, whereas the creationists are still trying to extrapolate reason from the Bible. In other words, no compromise can be met when one group has already comprised their half and the other group hasn't.

I do agree with you that creationists are trying to create their own paradigm, or organized structure, and indoctrinate their children and followers with it. I think this is intentional, because it allows their views to last longer. If they spoke the same scientific language as us, it would be much easier for us to just show them that their facts are wrong and to get on with our life. But by creating a different paradigm, they can claim that scientists are spouting nonsense, and it will sound like nonsense to the average creationist. This is a much more dangerous strategy, and I don't think its one we've fully picked up on or learned how to deal with yet.


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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 13 (463953)
04-22-2008 10:12 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by platypus
04-22-2008 12:17 AM


Creationists are not simply disagreeing, or refusing to listen. The words that one side says are simply nonsense to the other side. There's no way to make heads nor tails of it.

There is nothing preventing Creationists from becomming educated about other pardigms except their own will.

The different paradigms aren't some barrier that cannot be crossed. All it takes is education (if they are willing to learn). And that's all we can do is try to educate them.


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Percy
Member
Posts: 18309
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 12 of 13 (463973)
04-22-2008 12:21 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by platypus
04-22-2008 12:17 AM


But I don't really see this as a Kuhnian paradigm difference. Kuhn was talking about paradigms that accept scientific principles. This debate is one where one side accepts scientific principles and the other side does not. It's often apparent they don't even understand scientific principles. If there are really two different paradigms, then one is scientific and the other isn't.

--Percy


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Brad McFall
Member (Idle past 3109 days)
Posts: 3428
From: Ithaca,NY, USA
Joined: 12-20-2001


Message 13 of 13 (464335)
04-24-2008 9:46 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by platypus
04-22-2008 12:29 AM


Re: to pair a dime or not? that is the choice!
Creationists have a more difficult job because they deal with “subjective” terms much more often and under Revelation.

“As to evolution, its entities, species and ecologic systems, are much less closely knit than individual organisms. One may conceive of the process as involving freedom, mostly traceable in the factor called here individual adaptability. This, however, is a subjective interpretation and can have no place in the objective scientific analysis of the problem.” Sewell Wright “Evolution in Mendelian Populations” Genetics 16 1931PDF


FACTORS OF GENETIC HOMOGENITY- FACTORS OF GENETIC HETEROGENEITY
Gene Duplication- Gene Mutation (u,v)
Gene Aggregation- Random division of aggregate
Mitosis- Chromosome aberration
Conjunction- Reduction (meiosis)
Linkage- Crossing over
Restriction of Population size (1/2N)- Hybridization (m)
Environmental pressure (s)- Individual adaptability
Crossbreeding among subgroups (m1)- Subdivision of group (1/2N1)
Individual adaptability - Local environments of subgroups (s1)

Page 143

As you can see “individual adaptability is both a factor of homogeneity and heterogeneity. When Will Provine asserts there is no free will he is denying this property of freedom tabled by Wright. I take it to be a subjective condition of creationists and one that can not be obviated sufficiently unless one argues the entire table. So while Wright found philosophical space here in last few rows Phil Johnson who wants to *know* the origin of genetic information probably is having issues more with some of the earlier rows.

But according to Wright “objective and subjective terms can not be used in the same description without danger of something like 100 percent duplication”

It is the “objective terms” that form the hearty organized structure of any specialty of science and it would be the contention of yours (contra Percy’s etc)that creationists can and do create these but use “different language” but regardless it would be hard to say that Wright’s paper (intersecting with the view of Fisher and Haldane) does not format whatever Kuhn and Popper could have in common as “problem-situation”. It is the contention of some biologists (Mayr stoping, Gould going beyond) that bean bag genetics did not really do anything to change the situation in evolution thinking despite its setting of problems etc.

Now FROM within Wright’s structure (which did show (in individual adpatibility)) some subjective feeling for what other wise was ‘mystical’ in emergent or creative “evolution” (See the work of Chris Dowd
http://thankgodforevolution.com/
for instance) is qualified through the following

quote:
The present discussion has dealt with the problem of evolution as one depending wholly on mechanism and chance. In recent years, there has been some tendency to revert to more or less mystical conceptions revolving about such phrases as “emergent evolution” and “creative evolution.” The writer must confess to a certain sympathy with such viewpoint philosophically but feels that they can have no place in an attempt at scientific analysis of the problem. One may recognize that the only reality directly experienced is that of mind, including choice, that mechanism is merely a term for regular behavior, and that there can be no ultimate explanation in terms of mechanism – merely analytic description. Such a description, however, is the essential task of science and because of these very considerations…
page 154

and

quote:
“Whatever incompleteness is involved in scientific analysis applies to the simplest problems in mechanics as well as to evolution.”
page 154

The only place within this specific problem situation is one where the regular behavior of mechanics intersects with the trajectories of common descent. This however IS narrower than what is available subjectively in creationism (hence your rejction for "irrelevance"etc)but because of the dispute among rational thoughts and reason vs Biblical use, whatever potential choice that IS here, is still not inverted as the faculties of Kant. THIS IS NOT REASON TO REJECT creationism as using “bad language” nor that they can not "apphrenend" current 'normal science', but only that range of duplication (aka Wright) is rationally broader for creationists than “normal” scientists. The logic for this is what is in some kind of dipute. It is failure to specify just what this duplication consists in, intellectually, that is the current bane of creationism. Irreducible complexity a priori is one way to avoid the duplication altogether. For that reason it does not feel adaptable to me, individually (between orthogenesis and perfection in Wright elsewhere in the paper(also severly criticized by Gould and Provine) but not by me etc.)

The question about “life and death” that Kant asks forces one to start to make answers within Wright’s table but outside of Gould and Provine's history. And I have my own ideas about where the mechanical analysis ends , thus I DO FIND A PLACEMENT you seemed to deny (in the synthesis), such that there is no incompleteness in my own analysis (from within Wright’s) but that would take me out of the topic of this thread and into all of the difficulties posters encounter with my unique posts on EvC.

So I DO not see the difference of Biblical and reason creationists to be irrelevant. The only thing is that if Percy is right as toif one has to restrict the “subjective” terms to being ‘not science’ as the Kant discussion requires, one IS to reflect fully on the these terms, which is something that Provine and Gould for instance WILL NEVER DO (and Will justifies it from the same text I deny it etc), but THESE THOUGHTS (not terms) underlay the differences within creationism as it attempts to sort the subjective differences into whatever paradigm(sic!) the whole movement can be identified to sustain and narrow, if we can retain your labeling. ID however caused a broadening not a narrowing.

So if creationism is a paradigm the question is, does not the analytic description of problem-situation in ‘normal science’ have to have, the same ordinality as ‘creation science’? Can scientific creationism and science so-called actually have two interpreations from the same analytic. Are these different descriptions or is it only that the choice width is of a different sweep, passing over more subjective ground for creationists than evolutionists? Can the temporality of this disjuntability be culled or sorted??

I don’t know. If the lingo of creationism is just different than science and in the last operation refers to subjective qualities no matter what was intended, then this seems to be something different than what was in dispute under the term of “paradigm” because the problem-situtations do not have this degree of uncertainty. Instead the “revolution” does.

Edited by Brad McFall, : table

Edited by Brad McFall, : - and readability

Edited by Brad McFall, : link


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