Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 79 (8905 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 04-23-2019 12:48 PM
30 online now:
14174dm, Diomedes, edge, ooh-child, PaulK, ringo, Tangle, Theodoric (8 members, 22 visitors)
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: WookieeB
Post Volume:
Total: 850,116 Year: 5,153/19,786 Month: 1,275/873 Week: 171/460 Day: 16/97 Hour: 0/3


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Prev1
2
Author Topic:   Who won this evolution/ID debate?
hooah212002
Member
Posts: 3183
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 16 of 29 (547802)
02-22-2010 9:49 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by nwr
02-22-2010 10:33 AM


Re: because one side writes technical papers, the other blasts from the pulpit...
As far as I know, Meyer and Sternberg do write technical papers.

You may want to rethink that statement. The only technical paper Meyer has written (at least that I can find) is one that *GASP* Sternberg erroniously published. Stermberg was basically laid to waste by Smithsonian for doing so.

I cannot find a paper written by Sternberg himself.

Edited by hooah212002, : No reason given.


"Some people think God is an outsized, light-skinned male with a long white beard, sitting on a throne somewhere up there in the sky, busily tallying the fall of every sparrow. Othersófor example Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einsteinóconsidered God to be essentially the sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe. I do not know of any compelling evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point, but it would be madness to deny the existence of physical laws."

-Carl Sagan


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by nwr, posted 02-22-2010 10:33 AM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by nwr, posted 02-22-2010 10:16 PM hooah212002 has responded

    
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 17 of 29 (547810)
02-22-2010 10:16 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by hooah212002
02-22-2010 9:49 PM


Re: because one side writes technical papers, the other blasts from the pulpit...
hooah212002 writes:

The only technical paper Meyer has written (at least that I can find) is one that *GASP* Sternberg erroniously published.


Okay, I'll take back my comment on Meyer. Looking at Meyer's Wiki page, I don't see anything there that I would value (except in the sense of giving a negative value).

I cannot find a paper written by Sternberg himself.

Sternberg's Wiki page describes him as a scientist, and cites his Curriculum vitae. That CV, in turn, lists a number of published technical papers. I think my comment about Sternberg was reasonably correct.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by hooah212002, posted 02-22-2010 9:49 PM hooah212002 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by hooah212002, posted 02-22-2010 10:33 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
hooah212002
Member
Posts: 3183
Joined: 08-12-2009


Message 18 of 29 (547812)
02-22-2010 10:33 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by nwr
02-22-2010 10:16 PM


Re: because one side writes technical papers, the other blasts from the pulpit...
That CV, in turn, lists a number of published technical papers. I think my comment about Sternberg was reasonably correct.

Touche'. Thanks.


"Some people think God is an outsized, light-skinned male with a long white beard, sitting on a throne somewhere up there in the sky, busily tallying the fall of every sparrow. Othersófor example Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einsteinóconsidered God to be essentially the sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe. I do not know of any compelling evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point, but it would be madness to deny the existence of physical laws."

-Carl Sagan


This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by nwr, posted 02-22-2010 10:16 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

    
Percy
Member
Posts: 18373
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.9


Message 19 of 29 (547833)
02-23-2010 8:32 AM


In Search of Purpose
The April 10, 2009, Science Talk podcast of Scientific American included an interview with Berkeley psychologist Tania Lombrozo about why people believe the way they do.

One aspect Dr. Lombrozo touched upon was purpose driven thinking, something that Richard Dawkins has also apparently written about. This is where people in general find explanations that include purpose much more satisfying than those that while logical or well supported by evidence are without purpose.

I confess to being a bit surprised at the number of evolutionists here who share the view that Shermer and Prothero lost the debate, even though they committed both strategic and tactical blunders. You don't usually see such objectivity. What is much more common is for people to support their guys, no matter how pathetic the performance. The Dan Quayle/Lloyd Bentsen vice-presidential debate is the best example I've ever seen of this (those of you under 40 can go to bed now). Republicans in the audience cheered every inane word from Quayle, and afterwards Republican analysts pronounced Quayle the clear winner, but the fact of the matter is that Bentsen sliced and diced Quayle mercilessly. To steal the well turned phrase I quoted in Message 1, to call it a massacre would be a discredit to Sitting Bull.

Anyway, it seems that at least in this thread we're exhibiting more objectivity than politicians typically do, but looking at the "debating creationists" issue more generally, I wonder if a more compelling reason why scientists typically get beaten up in debate with creationists is that people everywhere, evolutionists included, find purpose-driven explanations much more satisfying. Even when rebutting clearly fallacious arguments, I'm sure we all to some degree feel the compelling appeal of fallacious but purposeful explanations.

In this light it can be seen why explanations that have logical and evidential support but are without purpose seem insubstantial when compared with explanations that provide purpose. This is just the way people are wired, and there's nothing we can do about it.

But I wonder if there's a way that we can structure our scientific arguments so as to appear to have purpose. This would require engaging in far more anthropomorphism than is usually the custom for scientists, and it would have to be done with care. Many scientists might object to the approach on principle. For example, ask yourself how you feel about describing an oxygen molecule as "wanting" to combine with hydrogen in the presence of a spark, instead of using more impersonal terms like threshold energy and so forth.

This might require describing evolution in terms like, "Species want to survive in changing environments, and so they are willing to morph themselves over time by producing a variety of offspring in the hope that some will have the necessary qualities required for survival." Not terribly satisfying scientifically at best, and just plain wrong at worst because it gives the entirely wrong impression about how impersonal nature is.

I don't endorse this anthropomorphic approach, maybe because it just feels wrong, and maybe because it feels too much like imbuing God into all of nature, and maybe also because laypeople will probably take such loose explanations as the basis for reaching even more loony conclusions than they already do.

I think there are no good solutions for winning debates with creationists and that we should stop doing it. I've now watched several Shermer debates, the outcome is always roughly the same, and I don't know why he continues (I think everyone wonders this). The only answer is to stop participating in public debate with creationists.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Typo.


Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by nwr, posted 03-27-2010 7:30 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply
 Message 29 by Hyroglyphx, posted 03-29-2010 9:43 AM Percy has not yet responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3436
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 5.2


(1)
Message 20 of 29 (548226)
02-26-2010 9:51 AM


Showmanship vs. Facts
Showmanship vs. Facts = Debate vs. Courtroom

Just wondering, and have lots of questions for any of those who may have an ear closer to "academia" and the like:

Isn't a "debate" supposed to be an academic confrontation between two parties in order to see which side is better? Or do I simply have a misunderstanding of the basic principle of "an academic debate?"

Is it generally understood that a debate is more about showmanship than facts? That is, is it generally understood that "winning a debate" doesn't really mean much with regards to academically (factually) supporting an idea?

Is there an academic confrontation-arena that is more concerned with facts rather than showmanship... like a courtroom... where it doesn't matter how frilly your presentation is and it only matters what facts you actually have to support your ideas?

Has it always been like this? Or has "academic debate" been... corrupted over the years?

If academic debate really is supposed to be about factual support for one's idea... what are the general mechanisms in place in order to control such a thing? Why did these always fail during Evo-Creo debates, but always work during Evo-Creo court cases? What is the fundamental difference that needs to be corrected in order to have the results of "an academic debate" actually have meaning in a factual sense?


Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by Wounded King, posted 02-26-2010 10:05 AM Stile has responded
 Message 22 by Species8472, posted 02-26-2010 10:22 AM Stile has responded
 Message 28 by bluescat48, posted 03-28-2010 1:32 AM Stile has acknowledged this reply

    
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 2203 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 21 of 29 (548228)
02-26-2010 10:05 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by Stile
02-26-2010 9:51 AM


Re: Showmanship vs. Facts
Academic debate is not something that happens in a given venue where showmanship is neccessary like in a debating contest. Academic debate is an ongoing process in the published literature and at conferences and symposia all over the world.

What you describe as an academic debate is more a sort of formal debating contest like the English Speaking Union runs.

There may have been a time when Academic debate could be run somewhat along those lines under the auspices of organisations like the Royal Society, but now there are so many academics in so many fields, especially in the sciences, that the most substantial arena for debate is in the published literature. One might argue that there is a degree of showmanship in producing a well crafted research paper but the ideal is that it is the research itself that is compelling.

And when it comes to compelling research the ID/creationist camp are nowhere.

TTFN,

WK


This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by Stile, posted 02-26-2010 9:51 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by Stile, posted 02-26-2010 10:27 AM Wounded King has not yet responded
 Message 24 by Species8472, posted 02-26-2010 10:29 AM Wounded King has responded

    
Species8472
Junior Member (Idle past 2991 days)
Posts: 29
Joined: 01-13-2010


Message 22 of 29 (548232)
02-26-2010 10:22 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by Stile
02-26-2010 9:51 AM


Re: Showmanship vs. Facts
Stile writes:
quote:
Isn't a "debate" supposed to be an academic confrontation between two parties in order to see which side is better? Or do I simply have a misunderstanding of the basic principle of "an academic debate?"

But a public debate is anything but an academic confrontation. Academia is really a collection of knowledge that scientists all over the world have spent their whole lives painstakingly collecting data and interpreting those data piece by piece. In a debate setting where one person has 10 minutes to give a presentation and the other has 30 seconds to respond, is it really realistic to suppose we can teach a whole course of evolutionary biology in a 10 minute presentation?

I remember when fox ran that program about the supposed moon hoax landing. There was a part where the news crew asked a photography expert why all the moon landing photos were shot so perfectly, and the expert said he didn't know. This is another aspect that is wrong about a public debate. Just because an expert can't answer the question right there and then in a 10 second response doesn't mean it's a mystery or that the expert is incompetent. I was no expert, but given enough time it occurred to me that NASA only published the photos that were decently taken. How would you respond to a news paper if the front page had a photo of Armstrong with his head cut off?

I think creationists (cranks in general) have known about these weaknesses in public debates and therefore keep insisting on using it to trump experts.

Personally, I think Shermer knew that he couldn't possibly give adequate evidence to support evolutionary biology in the time allotted. So, he did the next best thing, which was try to corner his opponent into supporting the ridiculous positions of intelligent design "theory". It didn't work out as he planned, unfortunately.

To the creationists present. Evolutionary biology is a rather large field of body of knowledge. Nobody could adequately do it justice even given a whole year to do presentation after presentation. And it also depends on how educated the audiences are. If it's really that easy to present the evidence in a couple of hours for any field of study, everyone in the world would be an expert in something, which they are clearly not. Please don't kid yourselves.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by Stile, posted 02-26-2010 9:51 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by Stile, posted 02-26-2010 10:34 AM Species8472 has not yet responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3436
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 5.2


(1)
Message 23 of 29 (548233)
02-26-2010 10:27 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by Wounded King
02-26-2010 10:05 AM


Re: Showmanship vs. Facts
I see... so this is not "academic debate" at all. This is "a debate."

That clears up a lot for me, thanks for the advice.

I believe I have fallen victim as to exactly what someone, somewhere was hoping of... that upon hearing the word "debate", I would immediately associate it with "academic debate" even though the two are not necessarily connected in terms of factual basis and understanding.

Sort of like hearing about "a baseball game" and thinking it is a controlled sport with many umpires and regulations, but then finding out it's actually just a family at a park where the kid keeps running around the bases no matter how many times he's been tagged out.

I feel dirty


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by Wounded King, posted 02-26-2010 10:05 AM Wounded King has not yet responded

    
Species8472
Junior Member (Idle past 2991 days)
Posts: 29
Joined: 01-13-2010


Message 24 of 29 (548234)
02-26-2010 10:29 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by Wounded King
02-26-2010 10:05 AM


Re: Showmanship vs. Facts
Wounded King writes:
quote:
There may have been a time when Academic debate could be run somewhat along those lines under the auspices of organisations like the Royal Society, but now there are so many academics in so many fields, especially in the sciences, that the most substantial arena for debate is in the published literature. One might argue that there is a degree of showmanship in producing a well crafted research paper but the ideal is that it is the research itself that is compelling.

No, I think such academic debate in an arena is still possible nowadays. The only catch is we shouldn't have a time limit for presentations and responses. Again, we can't expect an expert to present his side of the story in 10 minutes and we can't expect his opponent to respond in 30 seconds. That's just not realistic with the body of knowledge we have today. And the audience also have to be qualified experts, not just Joe Smith from 31st street.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by Wounded King, posted 02-26-2010 10:05 AM Wounded King has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by Wounded King, posted 02-26-2010 10:57 AM Species8472 has not yet responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3436
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 5.2


Message 25 of 29 (548236)
02-26-2010 10:34 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by Species8472
02-26-2010 10:22 AM


Re: Showmanship vs. Facts
Thank-you for the in-depth explanation.

I'm sure there will be many more than just me who read it and get a better understanding of the issue.

But, now I must be going, I believe my ignorance is showing. I better cover up, it's winter and I don't want to catch an education

Manners, manners, where are my manners?
Welcome to EvC! Have a look around, there's lots to see and do here. Hope you have a good time!

Edited by Stile, : Move along, these are not the edits you're looking for.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Species8472, posted 02-26-2010 10:22 AM Species8472 has not yet responded

    
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 2203 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


Message 26 of 29 (548240)
02-26-2010 10:57 AM
Reply to: Message 24 by Species8472
02-26-2010 10:29 AM


Re: Showmanship vs. Facts
No, I think such academic debate in an arena is still possible nowadays. The only catch is we shouldn't have a time limit for presentations and responses. Again, we can't expect an expert to present his side of the story in 10 minutes and we can't expect his opponent to respond in 30 seconds. That's just not realistic with the body of knowledge we have today. And the audience also have to be qualified experts, not just Joe Smith from 31st street.

I'm not sure how what you are describing is distinct from what goes on regularly at various academic conferences, although in those cases the 'opponents' may be speaking months apart to substantially different audiences.

Could you be more specific what sort of arena you are thinking of?

TTFN,

WK


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by Species8472, posted 02-26-2010 10:29 AM Species8472 has not yet responded

    
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 27 of 29 (552254)
03-27-2010 7:30 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by Percy
02-23-2010 8:32 AM


Re: In Search of Purpose
Percy writes:
But I wonder if there's a way that we can structure our scientific arguments so as to appear to have purpose.

We already do. Our language is rich in words that portray purpose, so it is hard to avoid them.

We can distinguish between extrinsic purpose and intrinsic purpose. Extrinsic purpose is as seen from outside the system: the purpose of my car is to get me from point A to point B.
Intrinsic purpose is as seen from inside, or perhaps as inferred from internal processes: the purpose of the heart and vascular system is to transport oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

Percy writes:
This might require describing evolution in terms like, "Species want to survive in changing environments, and so they are willing to morph themselves over time by producing a variety of offspring in the hope that some will have the necessary qualities required for survival."

That would be an example of ascribing conscious purpose. I would consider conscious purpose to be a special case of intrinsic purpose. But it comes across as inappropriate in cases such as the example you gave, where consciousness is seen as implausible.

So here are two examples of purposes already used by evolutionists:

  1. The purpose of natural selection is to serve as a filter that removes mal-adapted genes, thus increasing the fitness of the population;
  2. the purpose of reproductive processes is to copy genes.

You see these implied purposes throughout discussions of evolution. When people say that a mutation is caused by an error in copying, they are implying that there is an intrinsic purpose to copy exactly. And most of the talk of natural selection optimizing fitness is implying an extrinsic purpose.

So here we are with the Faith thread: The End of Evolution By Means of Natural Selection. And we see Faith arguing that, by virtue of carrying out those purposes, evolution must have a natural limit. And we see the evolutionists, myself included, arguing that evolution works very well thank you, and it works so well precisely because it fails to carry out those purposes.

It is this kind of inconsistent use of purpose language that people find confusing. The particular debate discussed in this thread is related to the same confusion. Fred Hoyle's argument was based on the same confusion.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by Percy, posted 02-23-2010 8:32 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2298 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 28 of 29 (552288)
03-28-2010 1:32 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by Stile
02-26-2010 9:51 AM


Re: Showmanship vs. Facts
Why did these always fail during Evo-Creo debates, but always work during Evo-Creo court cases?

That is simple. In a debate one does not need to provide evidence whereas in a court case one does. Smooth talking wins in debates but loses in court.


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by Stile, posted 02-26-2010 9:51 AM Stile has acknowledged this reply

    
Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5622
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 29 of 29 (552459)
03-29-2010 9:43 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by Percy
02-23-2010 8:32 AM


Re: In Search of Purpose
I confess to being a bit surprised at the number of evolutionists here who share the view that Shermer and Prothero lost the debate, even though they committed both strategic and tactical blunders. You don't usually see such objectivity. What is much more common is for people to support their guys, no matter how pathetic the performance.

A debate ultimately comes down to a person's opinion as to who "wins." There is no clearly defined term of how to "win" in a debate, because there is really only one function in debating, and that function is totally subjective to the listener. The idea behind debate lies in the power of persuasion. The idea is to persuade the audience in your favor. Lawyers are prime example of this as they are essentially professional debators. Their function is to serve as purveyor's of persuasion.

In a debate, there is no judge. Usually there is only a moderator who guides the debate but remains neutral on the side lines.

In my opinion, you can lose a debate even if your information is correct. It is a matter of how eloquently and how persuasively one gets their message across. I think Shermer, for instance, is a very wise and learned individual who has well-supported points. Even in spite of this, I have seen him come unprepared to several debates and was essential slaughtered by the likes of Kent Hovind. Hovind, I believe, spoke utter nonsense, but he was far more prepared and eloquent.

Hovind is a bullshit artist and like a good salesmen has an affinity for public speaking. He sold the product better than Shermer.

That is my take on winning a debate.


"Political correctness is tyranny with manners." -- Charlton Heston
This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by Percy, posted 02-23-2010 8:32 AM Percy has not yet responded

    
Prev1
2
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2019