Einstein once said in a conversation with Schrodinger that ''it is the theory which determines what one can observe''.
Appeal to atuthority much?
Meaning that, in theory, it is the facts who determine the theory. But in fact, it is the theory which determines the facts.
Wrong. In science, facts dtermine the theory. If a fact is found that doesn't fit the theory, the theory is changed. See, gravity, that got changed because of Einstein.
This may sound like blasphemy, but think about it and I hope you will see that it is in fact the reality of things.
I see a very different reality.
If I'm a scientist, I don't just collect data and theorize on it afterwards. No, I start with a theory that I want to prove, and then set out to experiment to prove it.
Actually, you make predictions with your hypothesis, then do an experiment to see if your prediction comes true. If it doesn't you either discard or change the hypothesis.
Why does a scientist do 'this' experiment instead of 'that' one ?
Because the one he does is relevant to the prediction he made.
Because he thinks that 'this' one is the one that will confirm his theory.
No, because that is the way to test if the prediction was correct.
Of course, sometimes, the experiment shows a contradictory result and you are forced to change your theory.
Well then, what are you complaining about?
But most of the time, you are only going to adapt your theory as to incorporate the new data.
Well of course, a theory is, after all, a very good explanation for the world around us already, no need to discard an entire theory, when modifying it will do just fine.
Only when the new data is imposible to fit with your theory do you abandon the idea completely.
Yes. Why use the word "only" here by the way? Are there other reasons to change a theory other then the data not fitting?
this is, in essence, what Einstein was talking about. 'The theory determines what one can observe'
Then you have a weird way of explaining it, since you just admitted that we do in fact change, or even discard our theories to fit the facts.
Is this not what the early paleontologists did when evolutionnary theory came out ?
Make predictions and see if they held water? Yes.
Even when it was far from an established theory, paleontologist reinterpreted the fossils they had in terms of evolution, and every fossil discovery afterwards was fit in the evolutionnary framework.
No they didn't. They made predictions witht he theory, looked at the fossil record, and found the predictions to be accurate.
Heck, some of them even traveled solely to find the 'missing link'.
Yes, a prediction made by the theory.
The fact of evolution was not discerned from the fossils, it is rather the fossils who were fitted in the grand idea of evolution.
Wrong. The fossil record is partly why the theory became accepted. It fit the predictions made by the theory.
And I find absolutely no problem with that, because this is how science works in reality.
No it doesn't, as I have shown.
There is always a bias, what you think is true will always bias the experiments you make and how your interpret the results.
Not when using the scientific method.
Philosophers of science explained this very well, and scientists up to Einstein's days had a great understanding of the philosophy behind science, and how it works.
Which is not the way you seem to think it works.
Unfortunately, this 'culture of science/philosophy' has been somewhat lost currently, probably because of how the education sytem is built.
The scientific method remains unchanged to this day. That some people can't follow it doesn't mean the method is wrong.
By the way, this is all kinda off-topic here, this will be my last reply here on this matter. I will propose a new topic on it this evening (my time), or you can choose to propose one yourself before then if you wish.
I hunt for the truth
I am the one Orgasmatron, the outstretched grasping hand My image is of agony, my servants rape the land Obsequious and arrogant, clandestine and vain Two thousand years of misery, of torture in my name Hypocrisy made paramount, paranoia the law My name is called religion, sadistic, sacred whore. -Lyrics by Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead
Guess what? When such a written venue is suggested, most "evolutionists" will immediately come on board, but all creationists will refuse to participate (OK, some "IDists" will agree, but I don't know of any biblical creationists who will agree to such a venue). There is a local activist creationist in Orange County, Calif (the "real OC"), Bill Morgan, who repeatedly tried to get me into a public debate, yet when he promised "any venue, anywhere" and I interpreted that as allowing for a written, on-line debate, he absolutely refused to follow through with his promise. Before an audience, the creationists can play their deceptive games, but in a written debate where everybody has to actually present their evidence, then creationists pull out so quickly that we would have to take relativistic effects into account (IOW, they couldn't pull out anywhere near fast enough).
Now maybe I misexpressed myself. I'm not saying to take the scientists out of the labs and into debate circles. I'm talking about the Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers, those who listened to Gould's advice to not discuss the creation issue on the front stage, and so creationism would eventually die out lack of credibility. I think we can safely say that after 20 years, Gould was wrong, and the place left by the public debate was taken by the internet forums. I'm thinking about them, if, as many here claimed, creationism is easy as shizzle to knock to the ground and laugh, why don't they do it in the open ? Wouldn't this be everyone's dream to see a debate, organised by a neutral third party, where Dawkins has the chance to give the creation movement the knockout blows ?
Gould was not wrong.
Public debates are irrelevant.
The reason public debates in front of an audience are so rare is because such debates rely far more on showmanship than on facts and logic. Particularly with scientific topics, where audience members can quickly become overwhelmed by terminology and the complexities of an accurate description of a scientific model.
Remember, in the general public, appeals to popularity, appeals to authority, arguments from incredulity, strawmen, and red herrings are regarded as excellent arguments. There are people, for example, who wholeheartedly believe Kirk Cameron when he goes on TV with his Crocoduck transitional, no matter how many times those people are told that evolution predicts nothing of the sort and in fact expressly forbids such bizarre chimeras.
Online, written debates are vastly superior. There is a written record of every word said, allowing for easy responses to an opponent's actual words without relying on a quick memory. You can take your time with your responses and actually gather information and references to back up your words with actual facts. You don't need to adhere to an arbitrary time constraint that seriously undermines any ability to explain anything of complexity. You don't have to worry about showmanship or crowd-pleasing.
In an online debate, it's far easier to allow an argument to rest on facts and logic, with meaningful rebuttals to an opponent.
As for why I'm here - I never had any formal training in logic, and the critical thinking skills taught in school these days is absurd. I'm here to give my brain a workout, debating with and against people of intelligence about topics I find interesting. I hone my debate skills so that I am better in real-world arguments, and I learn a lot about the subjects of debate.
In fact, the debates here are a large factor in what de-converted me from a Christian into an Atheist - so this site has actually been of significant personal importance in my life.
In addition, like others have said, I debate here for the lurkers, the people on the fence. I'm not likely to ever convince Buzsaw or ICANT of anything. But in debating them I can affect the opinions of those who read our threads.
I'm here to give my brain a workout, debating with and against people of intelligence about topics I find interesting. I hone my debate skills so that I am better in real-world arguments, and I learn a lot about the subjects of debate.
Honing the debate skills indeed. Someone work-related made the mistake of trying to argue some claim of mine over email. I replied in a manner like we do here, point by point, and totally demolished their argument (complete with weblinks for sources).... they got all pissed off
On the other hand, I complaind to an airline and they replied via email to which I replied, debate-style, and they ended up giving me a $300 voucher (their original email reply denied any compensation but I argued my way to some...score!)
My debating is so much better than the average person I run across and I believe I owe it all to this site.
I thought of another example, but this one was verbal and not written. I was arguing with a guy in a gun shop about what we can and cannot do and we end up talking about the actual gun laws. He goes on to tell me what the law says and I told him that I think that he might be wrong about some of the particulars but since we can't really look up that actual laws here standing in the store then we were at an impasse and there's really no point in debating further. He said that I was being a smart ass
I went to the state gun law website and looked up the actual legislation and it turns out that there was an exception he was unaware of and that he was wrong in his argument. I never went back to tell him though. Had we been online it would have been settled.
If you would want to discuss this further, you can start a new thread.
I don't think our comprehensions are so far apart. I'm not trying to rewrite the whole scientific method. It's just one aspect of it that has consequences in the way science is done, which philosophers of science have grasped very well.
I certainly hope you are in a discussion mood, and not a debating one though.
Of course, all way to debate aren't born equal. And I would never propose a debating method where you could Gish Gallop around. It would be focused debates on particular points. With the points being told in advance so the participants can come prepared.
Besides, I'm creationist, are you implying I'm not looking for the truth ?
PS I spotted a fallacy in your text, when you talk about '' ... most, the creationist press described the outcome of the debates as Miller being "one of the ablest opponents" they had faced, but still they had "significantly strengthening the creationist position in Tampa Bay". As in, the local school boards after the debates shelved their plans for any kind of creationist curriculum. In case your English didn't catch that, that means that the school board abandoned all its previous plans to teach any creationism. ''
Temporal succession does not implie a causal relation (post hoc ergo propter hoc).
Because "debating" a really very stupid idea indeed gives that idea a veneer of credibility which it simply doesn't deserve. The reality is that there is no debate to be had, because all the evidence points one way.
We might as well debate whether or not Rome is in Italy.
So tell me. If the above is so then WHY are you debating this topic (evo-creo)?
It doesn't matter to the creationist how incredibly false his claims are, just so long as he deems that it sounds convincing.
It does matter to the creationists because as christians we find it important not to lie. To lie is to sin against God which is the opposite of the way that christians are trying to live their lives. As a different subject, what compels an athiest to tell the truth and not lie? It may harm his career if he gets caught or he might "feel" that he shouldn't, but as such s/he does not have to subject him or herself to any higher authority except for what s/he decides if this is in their best interest. So an athiest is not "restricted" to telling the truth, they may "choose" to, but they are not compelled by anything other than what the "choose" to be compelled by (e.g. standing in scientific community).
So what is achieved here? Neither side is ever going to change their opinion.
With your bleak and defeatist attitude that may be true for you. I don't think that is true at all for most people. Through persuasive debate, I have changed or modified certain views. Change, much like nature, is not an overnight process in general. Or it could be likened to something like mercury poisoning, as it is cumulative and builds over time. Each debate could be laying one brick at a time in the foundation of someone's belief system.
While one side may think they aren't getting any where in the debate, a chink in the armor may have been made. Of course no one would openly admit that during the debate, but if you want to make an impact there is always opportunity for one to be made.
Are there some out there so prideful that they would never relent or concede defeat? Yes, but fuck 'em.
There is also another important reason why debate on an internet forum is more valuable than what can be immediately seen. While you are engaged in a debate with one specific person, there are many lurkers all the time.
Even now as I look in the upper right hand corner of my screen, I see that we have 76 visitors. That is 76 people potentially watching the debate. They may be torn between two competing ideologies on a certain subject, and while you may not be aware of the impact you made, you could potentially sway them in your direction.
You could be mentoring without even realizing it.
Edited by Hyroglyphx, : No reason given.
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." --John Adams
So an athiest is not "restricted" to telling the truth, they may "choose" to, but they are not compelled by anything other than what the "choose" to be compelled by
The idea that this doesn't apply just as well to christians/creationists is dotty. If christians don't simply choose to be compelled, because they choose to live their life in a 'christian' way, then how come plenty seem perfectly capable of lying? Do you just put your fingers in your ears and sing to yourself when news about high profile christians lying and cheating comes on? Or instead of singing do you just chant 'No true christian' to yourself over and over again?
It does matter to the creationists because as christians we find it important not to lie. To lie is to sin against God which is the opposite of the way that christians are trying to live their lives.
But the web is full of creationist lies; when creationists argue a point of belief (e.g., the "global" flood) and the facts are pointed out to them time after time, but they still come back with the same argument time after time--that can only be called a lie (although possibly it is self-delusion, i.e., lying to one's self).
As a different subject, what compels an athiest to tell the truth and not lie? It may harm his career if he gets caught or he might "feel" that he shouldn't, but as such s/he does not have to subject him or herself to any higher authority except for what s/he decides if this is in their best interest. So an athiest is not "restricted" to telling the truth, they may "choose" to, but they are not compelled by anything other than what the "choose" to be compelled by (e.g. standing in scientific community).
Speaking as a scientist (presumably that's an atheist to you), I hate errors with a passion. I can remember virtually every instance in which I have made an error in my professional career. I spend a lot of time checking facts and sources in an effort to avoid errors, and do my best to couch my writings in careful terms when I offer opinions that extrapolate the data.
Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
... what compels an athiest to tell the truth and not lie? It may harm his career if he gets caught or he might "feel" that he shouldn't, but as such s/he does not have to subject him or herself to any higher authority except for what s/he decides if this is in their best interest. So an athiest is not "restricted" to telling the truth, they may "choose" to, but they are not compelled by anything other than what the "choose" to be compelled by (e.g. standing in scientific community).
That's a really repugnant argument you have there. As an atheist I can assure you that I do not lie merely for the reason you have given. Simple respect for someone else is a reason off the top of my head and in everyday life.
More specifically addressing your point, scientist have dedicated their careers to essentially not lying (i.e. finding facts and giving truthful explanations for the facts). Career dedication; don't you think that counts for something? Look at Coyote's testimony (msg #72), he vividly recalls, almost painfully remembers, errors (unintended untruths). That's an example of career dedication and intellectual honesty. Look it up Arphy.
Yes, christians "choose" to obey God. The argument however was that evolutionists are restricted to telling the truth. This is not true. They can choose to if they want to but there is no pressure or reason to do so, especially if you don't get caught. Coyote seems to have a "feeling" of hate towards errors, and so presumably he trys to avoid telling lies. However we are all capable of doing something that we hate if it suits our purpose for a larger goal. Anyway, i don't find the reason of a "feeling" very compelling. Afterall if we do it enough we can desensitize ourselves of the feeling. So in conclusion I don't think atheists have a compelling case as to why their belief compels them not to lie.
As for christians who have lied. Yes, it most certainly happens, but doing so is in conflict with their belief (while it isn't a conflict of beliefs for an atheist, as far as i know, feel free to convince me otherwise), so in other words it is hypocritical. Hence why christian's try to avoid lying. however we do live in a fallen world and are no longer perfect and so sometimes will give in to the temptation to lie.
But again i was wanting dwise to defend his comments. Your comment made no attempt to defend his comments but rather just threw some "mud" towards me. maybe it needs a new topic but it would be interesting to see atheists defending their moral positions.