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Author Topic:   Evolution: Natural selection vs. Godly guidance
shadow71
Member (Idle past 1041 days)
Posts: 706
From: Joliet, il, USA
Joined: 08-31-2010


Message 1 of 154 (588583)
10-26-2010 5:10 PM


Do Scientists, especially who I refer to as "evangelical atheistic naturalists" such as Dawkins, Dennett et.al. apply a different "standard of proof" for naturalist scientific theories than for Design theories?

For example when secular naturalist scientists refer to natural selection in evolution it is accepted as fact that there is such an entity. However can anyone prove the existence of natural selection?

Does it have a physical existence that can be proven, or is it the name that scientists hope is the modus operandi of evolution?

It is argued that a supernatural being can never be proven, therefore intelligent design can never be proven. I can say the same for "natural selection", it can never be proven, only accepted on a belief, ie faith, therefore it is not a valid theory.

What if, as I believe, evolution is the continuous creation by a supernatural being, who created and continues to creathe and evolve the natural world?

How can sceintists accept a belief in natural selection as superior to my belief in the supernatural's continuous creation as the cause of evolution. Where is the proof?

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Add the blank lines between paragraphs.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Increased final paragraph text size. It seems to be the essential question of the message.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Changed topic title from "Natural selection" to "Evolution: Natural selection vs. Godly guidance".


Replies to this message:
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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3879
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 2 of 154 (588618)
10-26-2010 9:31 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by shadow71
10-26-2010 5:10 PM


Looking for some pre-promotion clarifications
I've done some format changes to your message 1. I have not changed the content at all.

My impression of your message 1 is that you accept biological evolution as being a reality. Your variety of "design theory" is that God has to some degree guided evolution.

So, instead of natural selection you have God's selection? Or is it sometimes natural selection and sometimes God's selection? Or do you reject that there was any selection process at all?

Adminnemooseus


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by shadow71, posted 10-26-2010 5:10 PM shadow71 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by shadow71, posted 10-27-2010 12:13 PM Adminnemooseus has responded

    
shadow71
Member (Idle past 1041 days)
Posts: 706
From: Joliet, il, USA
Joined: 08-31-2010


Message 3 of 154 (588681)
10-27-2010 12:13 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Adminnemooseus
10-26-2010 9:31 PM


Re: Looking for some pre-promotion clarifications
My theory is that evolution has and will occur in life. That this process is designed by God, for me the Roman Catholic God. That what scientists call natural selection can never be proven, just as scientists declare design can never be proven. That scientists adopted the term natural selection because science dictates that all causes must be natural. There is a process but it need and cannot be labeled natural selection because there is no way to prove that these changes occcur naturally. Can a scientist prove that this change in a species was natural or supernatural? therefore scientists by adopting natural selection as the cause over supernatural design is arbitrary and not provable.
Hope this helps.
Shadow 71
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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3879
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 4 of 154 (588734)
10-27-2010 11:03 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by shadow71
10-27-2010 12:13 PM


So, you are a theistic evolutionist
Some comments before I promote this (disclaimer - I'm not a biologist).

I point out that selection, natural or otherwise, is an important part of evolution theory, but it is not the whole story. A larger version of the story is genetic mutation and then selection.

You do not seem to be denying the possibility of natural selection. You just think that God's hand may be involved to some degree in the selection process. As this topic progresses, others will present information supporting natural selection. In the process, I doubt any will be saying that God was not possibly involved - They (like you?) will not find there to be any evidence either for or against God's involvement.

The fossil record shows a history of Earth's life with seemingly abundant randomness and inefficiency of process (including dead end extinctions). Theologically, one could argue that any guidance from God sure didn't seem to be very thorough.

This topic is kind of a "Biological Evolution" / "Faith and Belief" hybrid topic. I guess I'll plug it into the "Misc" forum.

Adminnemooseus


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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3879
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 5 of 154 (588736)
10-27-2010 11:04 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Evolution: Natural selection vs. Godly guidance thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Coyote
Member (Idle past 214 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


(1)
Message 6 of 154 (588741)
10-27-2010 11:27 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by shadow71
10-26-2010 5:10 PM


First response
Welcome to the fray!

Do Scientists, especially who I refer to as "evangelical atheistic naturalists" such as Dawkins, Dennett et.al. apply a different "standard of proof" for naturalist scientific theories than for Design theories?

No. Theories only become theories in science when they have withstood many tests (beginning as hypotheses) and when they successfully explain all of the relevant data. A theory must also be able to make predictions which can be verified.

For example when secular naturalist scientists refer to natural selection in evolution it is accepted as fact that there is such an entity. However can anyone prove the existence of natural selection?

First, there is no such thing as "proof" in science. Theories are never proven. When a theory adequately explains all of the relevant data we can speak of that theory as being supported, but never proved.

Does it have a physical existence that can be proven, or is it the name that scientists hope is the modus operandi of evolution?

You might be better off looking at natural selection as an explanation for a lot of data. It does successfully explain the data, but it is still a theory and has no physical existence nor any need for proof.

It is argued that a supernatural being can never be proven, therefore intelligent design can never be proven. I can say the same for "natural selection", it can never be proven, only accepted on a belief, ie faith, therefore it is not a valid theory.

Natural selection is not accepted on faith, but because it adequately explains the evidence. And it does so better than any other explanation. That is the hallmark of a scientific theory.

So far there has been no scientific evidence provided for supernatural beings. Without evidence of some kind there can be no theories, at least not as the term is used in science. But you are right, many people accept the existence of the supernatural as an article of faith.

What if, as I believe, evolution is the continuous creation by a supernatural being, who created and continues to creathe and evolve the natural world?

How can sceintists accept a belief in natural selection as superior to my belief in the supernatural's continuous creation as the cause of evolution. Where is the proof?

No proof, only evidence. And there is a lot of evidence to support the theory of natural selection.

Unfortunately for your argument there is no evidence for the supernatural, let alone for any specific actions on the part of such beings.

Here are a couple of definitions that might help:

Theory: a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses. Theories do not grow up to be laws. Theories explain laws.

Theory: A scientifically testable general principle or body of principles offered to explain observed phenomena. In scientific usage, a theory is distinct from a hypothesis (or conjecture) that is proposed to explain previously observed phenomena. For a hypothesis to rise to the level of theory, it must predict the existence of new phenomena that are subsequently observed. A theory can be overturned if new phenomena are observed that directly contradict the theory. [Source]

When a scientific theory has a long history of being supported by verifiable evidence, it is appropriate to speak about "acceptance" of (not "belief" in) the theory; or we can say that we have "confidence" (not "faith") in the theory. It is the dependence on verifiable data and the capability of testing that distinguish scientific theories from matters of faith.

Proof: A term from logic and mathematics describing an argument from premise to conclusion using strictly logical principles. In mathematics, theorems or propositions are established by logical arguments from a set of axioms, the process of establishing a theorem being called a proof.

The colloquial meaning of "proof" causes lots of problems in physics discussion and is best avoided. Since mathematics is such an important part of physics, the mathematician's meaning of proof should be the only one we use. Also, we often ask students in upper level courses to do proofs of certain theorems of mathematical physics, and we are not asking for experimental demonstration!

So, in a laboratory report, we should not say "We proved Newton's law" Rather say, "Today we demonstrated (or verified) the validity of Newton's law in the particular case of..." Source


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
This message is a reply to:
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nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 7 of 154 (588747)
10-28-2010 12:21 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by shadow71
10-26-2010 5:10 PM


shadow71 writes:
Do Scientists, especially who I refer to as "evangelical atheistic naturalists" such as Dawkins, Dennett et.al. apply a different "standard of proof" for naturalist scientific theories than for Design theories?

Theories are not proved, though they are expected to have considerable supportive evidence. Since they are not proved, the question of "standard of proof" does not arise.

shadow71 writes:
For example when secular naturalist scientists refer to natural selection in evolution it is accepted as fact that there is such an entity. However can anyone prove the existence of natural selection?

"Natural selection" is a term of art, and its meaning is defined by the theory. So there isn't a need to prove that it exists. What is needed, and provided, is empirical support for the theory.

shadow71 writes:
It is argued that a supernatural being can never be proven, therefore intelligent design can never be proven. I can say the same for "natural selection", it can never be proven, only accepted on a belief, ie faith, therefore it is not a valid theory.

Here's the difference. Evidence of natural selection is sought and found by biologists.

I suppose that if Darwin had called it "Godly guidance" instead of "natural selection", perhaps we would be using the term "Godly guidance" today. But if that had happened, scientists would be pointing out that "Godly guidance" is merely a technical term used for entirely natural events.

shadow71 writes:
What if, as I believe, evolution is the continuous creation by a supernatural being, who created and continues to creathe and evolve the natural world?

That would be irrelevant to the science, if it does not alter the evidence collected and does not improve the quality of predictions made. So Ockham's principle says that the additional belief should be left out of the science.

shadow71 writes:
How can sceintists accept a belief in natural selection as superior to my belief in the supernatural's continuous creation as the cause of evolution. Where is the proof?

If you wish to privately believe that "natural selection" is actually the name used for a supernatural intervention, then nobody is stopping you from holding that private belief. But I suggest you keep it private if you don't want people to laugh at you.


Jesus was a liberal hippie
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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subbie
Member (Idle past 68 days)
Posts: 3508
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 8 of 154 (588748)
10-28-2010 12:33 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by shadow71
10-26-2010 5:10 PM


Observational consequences
One important factor scientists use in evaluating competing hypotheses is differing observational consequences. In other words, what different things would we expect to see under the two different hypotheses?

Please describe what different observational consequences would you expect to see that would help us decide which of the two hypotheses better describes the real world.


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. -- Thomas Jefferson

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat

It has always struck me as odd that fundies devote so much time and effort into trying to find a naturalistic explanation for their mythical flood, while looking for magical explanations for things that actually happened. -- Dr. Adequate

...creationists have a great way to detect fraud and it doesn't take 8 or 40 years or even a scientific degree to spot the fraud--'if it disagrees with the bible then it is wrong'.... -- archaeologist


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Minnemooseus
Member
Posts: 3709
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 7.8


Message 9 of 154 (588751)
10-28-2010 12:49 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by subbie
10-28-2010 12:33 AM


God the selective breeder
In other words, what different things would we expect to see under the two different hypotheses?

My impression is that Shadow71 is not rejecting the validity of natural selection. Rather, his position is that selection (natural vs. Godly) is unknowable. He believes God had some contribution to the selection process, but makes no claim of being able to produce evidence in support of that belief.

I think it all comes down to being more of a theological question. If God were to have been guiding evolution, would God have chosen or otherwise permitted the evolutionary history that we know as reality. To me, such a theistic evolutionary position comes down to being "God the tweeker" or "God the 'artificial' selector". God influencing the origin and development of the species not unlike how humans have influenced the origin and development of the dog.

Moose


Professor, geology, Whatsamatta U
Evolution - Changes in the environment, caused by the interactions of the components of the environment.

"Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer." - Bruce Graham

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." - John Kenneth Galbraith

"Yesterday on Fox News, commentator Glenn Beck said that he believes President Obama is a racist. To be fair, every time you watch Glenn Beck, it does get a little easier to hate white people." - Conan O'Brien

"I know a little about a lot of things, and a lot about a few things, but I'm highly ignorant about everything." - Moose


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Replies to this message:
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subbie
Member (Idle past 68 days)
Posts: 3508
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 10 of 154 (588752)
10-28-2010 12:57 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Minnemooseus
10-28-2010 12:49 AM


Re: God the selective breeder
He believes God had some contribution to the selection process, but makes no claim of being able to produce evidence in support of that belief.

Well, he calls science out for concluding that selection is natural as opposed to directed by the Roman Catholic God.

quote:
How can sceintists accept a belief in natural selection as superior to my belief in the supernatural's continuous creation as the cause of evolution. Where is the proof?

If he feels that his belief is superior, it's fair to ask how the world would be different under each of the two hypotheses. If there is an observational difference, this will give us reason to accept one over the other. If there isn't, then there really isn't any difference between the two, and he's making much ado about nothing. Either way, his answer to the question will be instructive and help us move the discussion forward.


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. -- Thomas Jefferson

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat

It has always struck me as odd that fundies devote so much time and effort into trying to find a naturalistic explanation for their mythical flood, while looking for magical explanations for things that actually happened. -- Dr. Adequate

...creationists have a great way to detect fraud and it doesn't take 8 or 40 years or even a scientific degree to spot the fraud--'if it disagrees with the bible then it is wrong'.... -- archaeologist


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Minnemooseus, posted 10-28-2010 12:49 AM Minnemooseus has acknowledged this reply

  
Iblis
Member (Idle past 2003 days)
Posts: 663
Joined: 11-17-2005


Message 11 of 154 (588753)
10-28-2010 1:09 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by shadow71
10-27-2010 12:13 PM


Re: Looking for some pre-promotion clarifications
If I'm understanding you correctly, the gap you have god filling is the "natural" in selection. The arbitrary mutations side is something "designed" that runs on its own in the way we observe, but the actual removal of the "unfit" varieties is a direct intervention from on high. Yes?

This isn't bad theology, really. The Bible and world mythology are pretty much in agreement that the main activity of deity is to destroy person, places and things.

But to be science there has to be a way to falsify your hypothesis.

How can sceintists accept a belief

Here I think is where you are going wrong. Belief is for losers. The reason science is a winner is because, instead of believing the things its imagination poops out, it immediately begins trying to come up with ways to disprove these things.

So, what predictions could we make based on your idea that it's god killing mammoths and leaving elephants alone, or whatever example suits you. What experiments can we do to test these predictions. What results would falsify your theory?


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16093
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 9.0


(1)
Message 12 of 154 (588755)
10-28-2010 1:38 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by shadow71
10-26-2010 5:10 PM


Well, first of all we can watch natural selection happening. Those organisms which we would expect to be more successful are more successful. Stick bacteria on a culture plate impregnated with antibiotics, and guess which wins out --- resistant mutants, or the susceptible wild type?

Secondly, this is inevitable. Naturally the (relatively) well-adapted type is going to have a statistical advantage over the (relatively) poorly-adapted type. How could it not?

So what does that leave God to do? Just as he doesn't need to tell angels to carry raindrops from the clouds to the ground, being able to rely on gravity to do this anyway, so he would have no need to intervene in the selective process.

Unless, of course, he wanted to make organisms worse. By constantly using his miraculous powers to push in the opposite direction to the natural selective pressures, he could ensure that there were fish that were as hydrodynamic as bricks and prey animals that stood out vividly against their background so as to attract predators. He could smite the well-adapted and spare the maladapted.

But in the world we see around us, organisms are well-adapted to their environments. There is no need to invoke a miracle to explain this any more than to explain why rain falls down and not up.

P.S: Welcome to the forums.


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frako
Member
Posts: 2813
From: slovenija
Joined: 09-04-2010


Message 13 of 154 (588763)
10-28-2010 4:59 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by shadow71
10-26-2010 5:10 PM


For example when secular naturalist scientists refer to natural selection in evolution it is accepted as fact that there is such an entity. However can anyone prove the existence of natural selection?

natural selection is no entity it is a process, momma rat has 4 children one is perfectly healthy the other 3 have problems one has a gen for a weaker hart, one for a weaker nose, one has a gen worse eyesyth. Witch one of these rats will have a more sucsesfull life. Withc one will father the moste children and pass the moste of his gens on?


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jar
Member
Posts: 30935
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 14 of 154 (588780)
10-28-2010 9:30 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by shadow71
10-26-2010 5:10 PM


Long ago we believed:

that if someone got sick, it was because that was the will of God.
that if lightning struck, it was because that was the will of God.
that if there were storms, it was because that was the will of God.
that if crops failed, it was because that was the will of God.
that if weeds grew in the fields, it was because that was the will of God.
that if there was a drought, it was because that was the will of God.

We now understand that the actual causes of such things are Natural.

Natural Selection is as well.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 154 (588787)
10-28-2010 10:59 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by shadow71
10-26-2010 5:10 PM


Do Scientists, especially who I refer to as "evangelical atheistic naturalists" such as Dawkins, Dennett et.al. apply a different "standard of proof" for naturalist scientific theories than for Design theories?

No. Science employs methodological naturalism, so any explanation it comes up with is going to be natural. That same "standard of proof" is applied across the board.

For example when secular naturalist scientists refer to natural selection in evolution it is accepted as fact that there is such an entity. However can anyone prove the existence of natural selection?

Its more like assuming only natural explanations, and then determining what can be said to fit. But its not really making a comment on what doesn't fit. Natural Selection does explain the observations, and it hasn't been falsified, so it will continue to be the tentatively accepted explantion.

Does it have a physical existence that can be proven, or is it the name that scientists hope is the modus operandi of evolution?

I wouldn't say it has a "physical existence" and I wouldn't say "hope". I'd say that scientists have observed it working as the explanation.

It is argued that a supernatural being can never be proven, therefore intelligent design can never be proven. I can say the same for "natural selection", it can never be proven, only accepted on a belief, ie faith, therefore it is not a valid theory.

No, its because the observations fit and it hasn't been falsified. There's no reason to think that it isn't the explantion, and its performing well so for now it will do. But that isn't really "belief" or "faith" as those things are reserved for when we don't have observed evidence to work with.

What if, as I believe, evolution is the continuous creation by a supernatural being, who created and continues to creathe and evolve the natural world?

We can what if until the cows come home Sure, make up whatever you wish to believe. For this one, yeah, the scientists would be wrong in their assumption of naturalism and their explanation would be imprecise and incomplete.

What if evolution is the result of the continuous annihlation of non-living existence? Beings could be the evil-one's turds, or whatever. Then you'd be wrong. BFD.

How can sceintists accept a belief in natural selection as superior to my belief in the supernatural's continuous creation as the cause of evolution. Where is the proof?

I feel ya, man. If they're just assuming naturalism and finding explanations that fit, then you can't really say that there's is superior to yours as they'd both be the same. Stripped down, you're not totally incorrect. But...

The proof is this: Science works!

I mean, they put a man on the freakin' moon!

Methodological Naturalism yields results. Its gets things done. What ifs don't. You're certainly free to play with them, but science's refusal to entertain them doesn't mean that it is giving you the short end of the stick.


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