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Author Topic:   The irresolvability of the creation/evolution debate
Aven
Junior Member (Idle past 4156 days)
Posts: 10
Joined: 11-10-2007


Message 1 of 98 (433108)
11-10-2007 1:56 AM


My argument is that science and religion represent two distinct frameworks of thought / system of beliefs that can never be proven to be more true or acceptable than the other. Therefore the creationism/evolution debate is irresolvable at the point where neither of these competing frameworks can be privileged over the other.

The reason why either perspective cannot be proven "true" or more correct than any other is that all systems of thought terminate in one or more assumptions which cannot be further justified. Any attempt to escape this problem with a meta-standard for which system we ought to choose given that they both terminate in assumption (ie: choose the most ethical or the most "reasonable" if we cant prove them true) always fails because these meta-standards themselves can never be justified. (Dont give up reading till the end! Though this may seem like an esoteric philsophical point it has very real and specific implications for the EvC debate which I will get to at the bottom)

That all frameworks of thought terminate in assumption is something postmodern philosophers today love to point out, but became widely recognized as a valid philosophical problem much earlier, advocated by the likes of Wittgenstein and others. I think that it is most understandable in the field of ethics, and this problem as often been asserted in the form of ethical subjectivism, or relativism.

The argument goes like this: if every claim that you make has to have a reason backing it up, then that reason in and of itself is also a claim which needs another warrant, etc. so on into infinity. Its like a child just keeps asking why, eventually you will reach a basic assumption that has no warrant. Another way to phrase it is this: the only way to know if a statement is true is to examine the definition of each word in it - if what every word refers to is defined objectively enough then it seems that although it may take a bit of work, the statement is easily resolvable by logic to be true or false. The problem is that the definitions use words that must be defined, and onto infinity leading to no ultimate origin grounding thought. Lets take an illustration of this point in terms of ethics, then I'll apply it more specifically to the creation/evolution debate.

Lets take a simple ethical statment: Unnecessary murder is immoral. Why is unnecessary murder immoral? Because it takes away innocent life. Why is taking away innocent life bad? Because human life is valuable. Why is human life valuable? Because we are human. Why does the fact that we are human mean that human life is valuabe? And so on into infinity revealing that ethical frameworks must terminate in assumption (or unwarranted statement). But the argument doesnt just stop at ethics: it applies to every truth statement or world view. Lets take the example of alchemy, a claim we would find today very unscientific. Paul Johnston, author of Contradictions of Modern Moral Philosophy : Ethics after Wittgenstein explains this example:

"To illustrate these points consider the case of a belief which we would all now reject: the alchemist's belief that all metals are essentially the same substance and that it must therefore be possible to transform lead into gold. This is not a claim we can now take seriously. It belongs to a framework which we all reject and which is at odds with our whole approach to the investigation of the world. What the alchemists regarded as a possibility (the transmutation
of lead into gold) is for us an absurdity. This does not mean, however, that belief in alchemy is no longer logically possible. Someone could reject the scientific approach we believe is correct and advocate a very different approach. We might claim that this alternative approach mixes empirical claims and misguided metaphysical principles, but then our approach, too, rests on certain non-empirical ideas, e. g. that every event has a cause and that causes operate in certain kinds of ways. The clash between our approach and that of the alchemist does not mean there could not be discussion, but any agreement would be contingent. In principle, there is no guarantee that we could convince someone that our approach (and the knowledge it generates) is correct.
To make these points, however, is not to suggest that alchemy may in fact be correct. We believe that our scientific theories are right. This is our assessment of the truth of the matter. If we explained what we know to an alchemist(gave her our reasons for rejecting her claim), she may or may not accept that we are right. The logical possibility of disagreement is not, however, a reason for us to hesitate. We can maintain that we are right despite it being logically possible to say that we are wrong. Furthermore, we do distinguish between issues we consider genuinely debatable and those we do not. We may accept that our current state of knowledge leaves open the question of whether the universe will expand indefinitely, but the question of alchemy we consider resolved. What for the alchemists is an insight is for us an indication of a primitive
or misguided understanding of the world."

Now the point is becoming clearer: because all systems of thought, including evolution and creation, rest upon basic assumptions we cant prove true, we cannot use truth or logic to determine which we should accept. For example, the world view of science rests upon a framework of linear time, cause and effect, physical laws being consistently applied, etc. something that empirical evidence cannot "prove". For even if we think it could, we could simply ask why does the appearance of cause and effect in experimentation prove the logical law that cause and effect exists? Its an assumption.

What causes so much debate is that neither of the frameworks (science and religion) make sense when interpreted in the light of the other. Thus both of us on either side see the other side as false. I argue thats because we assume our own perspective that cannot be proven. Science interprets religion as a false interpretation of the world that makes unfounded claims that are inconsistant with what the supposed "natural laws" of the universe are. Religion in turn interprets science as illegitimate from the assumptions of its own framework (like God, which goes directly against natural law).

I saw a good example of this in the Great Debate section of the site, where two debaters were having a go at the question of the age of the earth. It was (is) a fairly specific discussion about a piece of evidence having to do with rings on a tree betraying the minimum age of the earth to be greater than what is allowed from a creationist standpoint. The debate could not be resolved (now i didnt read all of it but this is what i took from it) because the creationist debater would simply state that there was no reason to assume that laws of the universe were the same as they are now in the past, so age rings are not necessarily accurate. Well yes, there is no reason to assume the consistency of natural laws because this is a fundamental assumption of science. On the other hand, there is no reason to assume that the laws could be different either, or that the laws come from God, a fundamental assumption of religion. Thus the debate cannot be resolved from a standpoint of truth.

Hope this was interesting, I look forward to debating this point further / clarifying anything. If anyone would like to argue that science or religion does NOT have an unprovable fundamental premise behind it I'll be happy to show you that in fact it does :)

Edited by Aven, : Some typos


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AdminPhat
Administrator
Posts: 1911
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-03-2004


Message 2 of 98 (433115)
11-10-2007 4:26 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Aven
11-10-2007 1:56 AM


Welcome to EvC
Hi Aven, and welcome to EvC. This post is too disorganized to promote at this time. Other mods are encouraged to offer constructive critique.
You are also free to edit this post and represent it for topic promotion. :) Keep participating in other peoples topics for now as you get a feel for what it is we want in a proposed new topic.



What Is A Discussion Board Anyway?

  • New Topics should be supported with evidence and/or reasoned argumentation. Keep them short and don't attempt to explain your entire point in the first post. Allow others to respond so that you can expand your discussion.
  • If you are warned by an administrator or moderator for any reason that is not explained in the Forum Guidelines you can argue your case here.
  • If you are not promoted, feel free to discuss your reasons with the administrator in the Proposed New Topics Forum who responded to your topic proposal. Feel free to edit and modify your topic and inform the administrator that you have done so.
    You may also take your argument here and get feedback from other administrators.
    Usually, we leave topic promotion to the first administrator that responds, unless that administrator invites others to comment.

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    AdminPhat


  • This message is a reply to:
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    Aven
    Junior Member (Idle past 4156 days)
    Posts: 10
    Joined: 11-10-2007


    Message 3 of 98 (433143)
    11-10-2007 11:15 AM
    Reply to: Message 2 by AdminPhat
    11-10-2007 4:26 AM


    Re: Welcome to EvC
    I tried to organize the post a bit more, what do you think about it now? (new text below)

    My argument is that science and religion represent two distinct frameworks of thought / system of beliefs that can never be proven to be more true or acceptable than the other. Therefore the creationism/evolution debate is irresolvable at the point where neither of these competing frameworks can be privileged over the other. In the post I will:

    1. Make the general argument
    2. Give an example of it in ethics
    3. Give another example in alchemy
    4. Apply the argument to science and religion

    1. The reason why either perspective cannot be proven "true" or more correct than any other is that all systems of thought terminate in one or more assumptions which cannot be further justified. The argument goes like this: if every claim that you make has to have a reason backing it up, then that reason in and of itself is also a claim which needs another warrant, etc. so on into infinity. Its like a child just keeps asking why, eventually you will reach a basic assumption that has no warrant. Another way to phrase it is this: the only way to know if a statement is true is to examine the definition of each word in it - if what every word refers to is defined objectively enough then it seems that although it may take a bit of work, the statement is easily resolvable by logic to be true or false. The problem is that the definitions use words that must be defined, and onto infinity leading to no ultimate origin grounding thought (the definitions can be questioned infinitely). Lets take an illustration of this point in terms of ethics, where the argument above I think is most clear and persuasive.

    2. Lets take a simple ethical statment, and I will show how it can be questioned infinitely to prove that the ethical perspective supporting it can never ultimately be proven true.

    The statement is: Unnecessary murder is immoral.

    Why is unnecessary murder immoral? Because it takes away innocent life. Why is taking away innocent life bad? Because human life is valuable. Why is human life valuable? Because we are human. Why does the fact that we are human mean that human life is valuabe? And so on into infinity revealing that ethical frameworks must terminate in assumption (or unwarranted statement).

    3. But the argument doesnt just stop at ethics: it applies to every truth statement or world view. Lets take the example of alchemy, a claim we would find today very unscientific. Paul Johnston, author of Contradictions of Modern Moral Philosophy : Ethics after Wittgenstein explains this example:

    "To illustrate these points consider the case of a belief which we would all now reject: the alchemist's belief that all metals are essentially the same substance and that it must therefore be possible to transform lead into gold. This is not a claim we can now take seriously. It belongs to a framework which we all reject and which is at odds with our whole approach to the investigation of the world. What the alchemists regarded as a possibility (the transmutation of lead into gold) is for us an absurdity. This does not mean, however, that belief in alchemy is no longer logically possible. Someone could reject the scientific approach we believe is correct and advocate a very different approach. We might claim that this alternative approach mixes empirical claims and misguided metaphysical principles, but then our approach, too, rests on certain non-empirical ideas, e. g. that every event has a cause and that causes operate in certain kinds of ways. The clash between our approach and that of the alchemist does not mean there could not be discussion, but any agreement would be contingent. In principle, there is no guarantee that we could convince someone that our approach (and the knowledge it generates) is correct."

    4. Now the point is becoming clearer: because all systems of thought, including evolution and creation, rest upon basic assumptions we cant prove true, we cannot use truth or logic to determine which we should accept. For example, the world view of science rests upon a framework of linear time, cause and effect, physical laws being consistently applied, etc. something that empirical evidence cannot "prove". For even if we think it could, we could simply ask why does the appearance of cause and effect in experimentation prove the logical law that cause and effect exists? Its an assumption. Furthermore, any attempt to escape this problem with a meta-standard for which system we ought to choose given that they both terminate in assumption (ie: choose the most ethical or the most "reasonable" if we cant prove them true) always fails because these meta-standards themselves can never be justified.

    What causes so much debate is that neither of the frameworks (science and religion) make sense when interpreted in the light of the other. Thus both of us on either side see the other side as false. I argue thats because we assume our own perspective that cannot be proven. Science interprets religion as a false interpretation of the world that makes unfounded claims that are inconsistant with what the supposed "natural laws" of the universe are. Religion in turn interprets science as illegitimate from the assumptions of its own framework (like God, which goes directly against natural law).

    I saw a good example of this in the Great Debate section of the site, where two debaters were having a go at the question of the age of the earth. It was (is) a fairly specific discussion about a piece of evidence having to do with rings on a tree betraying the minimum age of the earth to be greater than what is allowed from a creationist standpoint. The debate could not be resolved (now i didnt read all of it but this is what i took from it) because the creationist debater would simply state that there was no reason to assume that laws of the universe were the same as they are now in the past, so age rings are not necessarily accurate. Well yes, there is no reason to assume the consistency of natural laws because this is a fundamental assumption of science. On the other hand, there is no reason to assume that the laws could be different either, or that the laws come from God, a fundamental assumption of religion. Thus the debate cannot be resolved from a standpoint of truth.

    Hope this was interesting, I look forward to debating this point further / clarifying anything. If anyone would like to argue that science or religion does NOT have an unprovable fundamental premise behind it I'll be happy to show you that in fact it does


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    AdminNem
    Inactive Member


    Message 4 of 98 (433159)
    11-10-2007 12:25 PM


    Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
      
    Modulous
    Member (Idle past 277 days)
    Posts: 7789
    From: Manchester, UK
    Joined: 05-01-2005


    Message 5 of 98 (433165)
    11-10-2007 12:34 PM
    Reply to: Message 3 by Aven
    11-10-2007 11:15 AM


    the reason we continue in what appears to be a futile endeavour
    Well, I agree.

    However, one of the joys of the debate is trying to convince people that their philosophy is weak and leads to contradictions, internal inconsistency with their own beliefs, incoherency etc etc. Obviously - the case cannot be proven from self-evident truths, but the argument can persuade people that they have been looking at the world wrong.

    We know people can change their minds, and that's what debate is essentially about.


    This message is a reply to:
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    Hyroglyphx
    Member
    Posts: 5692
    From: Austin, TX
    Joined: 05-03-2006
    Member Rating: 1.4


    Message 6 of 98 (433170)
    11-10-2007 12:48 PM
    Reply to: Message 3 by Aven
    11-10-2007 11:15 AM


    Re: Welcome to EvC
    if every claim that you make has to have a reason backing it up, then that reason in and of itself is also a claim which needs another warrant, etc. so on into infinity. Its like a child just keeps asking why, eventually you will reach a basic assumption that has no warrant. Another way to phrase it is this: the only way to know if a statement is true is to examine the definition of each word in it - if what every word refers to is defined objectively enough then it seems that although it may take a bit of work, the statement is easily resolvable by logic to be true or false. The problem is that the definitions use words that must be defined, and onto infinity leading to no ultimate origin grounding thought

    I agree, because if you keep breaking down the rationale by a fraction, of a fraction, of a fraction, the end sum will eventually reach zero. As you said with a child who keeps asking why, eventually will come to either the ultimate profundity or total speculation. The question, if broken down far enough, will always end in metaphysics where science breaks down, or is incapable of answering the question further with empiricism.

    the world view of science rests upon a framework of linear time, cause and effect, physical laws being consistently applied, etc. something that empirical evidence cannot "prove".

    True. Which is why Origin of Life questions end with only speculation. Questions about the First Cause will eventually come in to play. At the end of the day, the theist is driven to understand that physical matter, time, and space must have a beginning, because nothing within the physical realm can explain its existence without causation. And if there was nothing tangible to explain the existence, eventually you will have to rationalize something beyond the physical.

    The secularist will say that its unnecessary to invoke a metaphysical Being. They can say in retort that the beginning of this universe, along with all of its immutable physical laws, could have derived as the result of another universes' death throes. The beginning of this universe could have been the end of another universe, or even the byproduct of another universe, with totally different laws governing it.

    And so you end up back where you came from, which is, the only certainty that seems to exist, is total uncertainty. But even that is circular, because if total uncertainty exists, then you can be certain of nothing, even the very premise of uncertainty itself. It should be well with us to remember that a paradox does not mean insolubility. It may only appear insoluble, in which case, there is an answer, though we may be bereft of it at this present time.

    Edited by Nemesis Juggernaut, : typos


    “This life’s dim windows of the soul, distorts the heavens from pole to pole, and goads you to believe a lie, when you see with and not through the eye.” -William Blake
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    crashfrog
    Inactive Member


    Message 7 of 98 (433176)
    11-10-2007 1:02 PM
    Reply to: Message 6 by Hyroglyphx
    11-10-2007 12:48 PM


    Today's Bad Math brought to you by NJ
    I agree, because if you keep breaking down the rationale by a fraction, of a fraction, of a fraction, the end sum will eventually reach zero.

    Um, no, you actually never reach zero, just like if you start with 1 and keep adding 1, you never reach infinity.

    The limit of 1/x as x -> infinity is zero, but just as you never reach infinity, 1/x never actually evaluates to zero for any value of x.

    The question, if broken down far enough, will always end in metaphysics where science breaks down, or is incapable of answering the question further with empiricism.

    Funny, I thought we had this discussion already.

    It's sufficient to look around you to conclude the realness of reality, and if you don't believe me, make like Samuel Johnson and go kick a rock. If metaphysics cannot verify the legitimacy of this method, that's a problem with metaphysics, not with the method.

    The results of scientific inquiry are manifest; they include the very computer you're using to read this message. The results of religion are similarly obvious - nothing good. That metaphysics does not, apparently, have the rigor to distinguish between the obviously useful and the obviously useless indicates that trying to establish truth via metaphysics cannot be done, and the primacy of observation stands unchallenged.


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    Chiroptera
    Member
    Posts: 6649
    From: Oklahoma
    Joined: 09-28-2003
    Member Rating: 5.1


    Message 8 of 98 (433207)
    11-10-2007 3:54 PM
    Reply to: Message 1 by Aven
    11-10-2007 1:56 AM


    My argument is that science and religion represent two distinct frameworks of thought / system of beliefs that can never be proven to be more true or acceptable than the other.

    That may be true. That depends on one's definition of religion.

    -

    Therefore the creationism/evolution debate is irresolvable at the point where neither of these competing frameworks can be privileged over the other.

    But the debate between evolution and creationism isn't really between science and religion. It is between a conceptual framework that is self-consistent, consistent with what is observed in the world around us, and seems to be an accurate description of reality, and a conceptual framwork that is almost certainly wrong.

    The debate between evolution and creationism had been resolved. It has been resolved by actually studying reality. Evolution is, to all appearances, the correct description of reality. Creationism is just plain incorrect.

    People can try to debate it, and they do, but basically creationists have to argue their position from a state of ignorance and/or illogic.

    -

    ...because all systems of thought, including evolution and creation, rest upon basic assumptions we cant prove true....

    This is true as far as it goes, but it doesn't go very far. The assumptions that one makes in evolution, as well as in all the other sciences, is that there is a reality that exists independent of what we think about it, and that the patterns we observe can give us insight into how that reality behaves.

    The assumption that creationists make is that their own peculiar sect's interpretation of their holy scriptures is automatically true, and that's that despite what common sense should tell you.

    The reason that this "debate" appear to be unresolvable is because the adherents of one side are simply irrational, in any sense of that word.

    -

    The debate could not be resolved (now i didnt read all of it but this is what i took from it) because the creationist debater would simply state that there was no reason to assume that laws of the universe were the same as they are now in the past, so age rings are not necessarily accurate.

    And, by the way, that particular debater also believes that God goes around in a flying saucer. Your example here actually illustrates how irrational some people are. One can always say that one's beliefs are automatically true, and one can always make up ad hoc explanations to explain away any inconvenient fact, and one can always retort with, "Well, you didn't see it, so it might be true." You can call that a different set of assumptions if you want, but most of us would call it irrational.

    -

    if every claim that you make has to have a reason backing it up, then that reason in and of itself is also a claim which needs another warrant, etc. so on into infinity.

    Sure. This is why logic is limited in its ability to tell us anything about the real world. In fact, logic is unable to tell us anything about the real world. That is why our society quit using logic as the main source of knowledge centuries ago. Any logical argument starts with premises, and we cannot know a priori whether the premises are accurate descriptions of realities before we emirically determine that are -- even then, we can't be sure that the premises are accurate in all cases, at all times, or whether there are additional premises that need to be taken into account.

    So logic is no longer a tool used to acquire knowledge about the world. It is now a tool that helps in the organization of one's thought processes, so that one can understand the implications of one's empirical observations.


    Computers have cut-and-paste functions. So does right-wing historical memory. -- Rick Perlstein
    This message is a reply to:
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    Aven
    Junior Member (Idle past 4156 days)
    Posts: 10
    Joined: 11-10-2007


    Message 9 of 98 (433233)
    11-10-2007 6:14 PM
    Reply to: Message 8 by Chiroptera
    11-10-2007 3:54 PM


    But the debate between evolution and creationism isn't really between science and religion. It is between a conceptual framework that is self-consistent, consistent with what is observed in the world around us, and seems to be an accurate description of reality, and a conceptual framwork that is almost certainly wrong.

    The debate between evolution and creationism had been resolved. It has been resolved by actually studying reality. Evolution is, to all appearances, the correct description of reality. Creationism is just plain incorrect.

    The question here is: what reality? Yes, its easy to assume the perspective of a stable independent reality whose natural laws can be gleaned through the scientific method, and then reject creationism when it doesn't fit into that "logic". But i think that many creationists would find that view of reality to be incorrect, and that's the point. Neither view is more true than another, and both are unprovable. I think its easy (trust me I've been there) to outright reject these creationist beleifs from the stand point of empiricism and scientific rationality, its painfully easy, but it doesn't mean you win the debate at all really. They find their world view of a God controlling everything to be more reasonable and persuasive, no matter how "ad hoc" you may view it.

    The assumption that creationists make is that their own peculiar sect's interpretation of their holy scriptures is automatically true, and that's that despite what common sense should tell you.

    The reason that this "debate" appear to be unresolvable is because the adherents of one side are simply irrational, in any sense of that word.

    There are no meta-standards of what the most "reasonable" assumption to make is because these standards in and of themselves fall prey to the assumption argument. Believing that the holy scriptures are true doesn't make sense in light of a rationalist, scientific "common sense" standard yeah obviously. The point is thats not the standard they are using.

    And, by the way, that particular debater also believes that God goes around in a flying saucer. Your example here actually illustrates how irrational some people are. One can always say that one's beliefs are automatically true, and one can always make up ad hoc explanations to explain away any inconvenient fact, and one can always retort with, "Well, you didn't see it, so it might be true." You can call that a different set of assumptions if you want, but most of us would call it irrational.

    Again, to the creationists these explanations aren't really ad hoc - if we start from the premise that the world came into being X years ago, these are necessary truths. If we start from the premise that the world reacts consistently and we shouldn't believe anything that isn't empirically verified, then yeah you're right. The problem is neither of these two premises are better than any other, especially when you start to think about it for a while. Science makes a lot of assumptions the only reason why we dont question them is because its been ingrained into our minds as common sense since the time we were born.

    You may say that: look at all the useful things that science has brought us. But this doesn't prove anything logically, it only does if you start from the perspective of science to begin with. Plus, you could easily make a creationist view that takes this into account, by just saying that scientific laws only became recently consistent and useful. There's no reason why its more "reasonable" to believe that they were always in place, its just as unwarranted to say that they never were.


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    nator
    Member (Idle past 343 days)
    Posts: 12961
    From: Ann Arbor
    Joined: 12-09-2001


    Message 10 of 98 (433245)
    11-10-2007 7:10 PM
    Reply to: Message 9 by Aven
    11-10-2007 6:14 PM


    quote:
    There's no reason why its more "reasonable" to believe that they were always in place, its just as unwarranted to say that they never were.

    Sure there is, because if the laws of nature were different in the past, there would be evidence that they were.


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    ringo
    Member
    Posts: 16681
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    Joined: 03-23-2005
    Member Rating: 3.0


    Message 11 of 98 (433247)
    11-10-2007 7:15 PM
    Reply to: Message 9 by Aven
    11-10-2007 6:14 PM


    Aven writes:

    I think its easy (trust me I've been there) to outright reject these creationist beleifs from the stand point of empiricism and scientific rationality, its painfully easy, but it doesn't mean you win the debate at all really. They find their world view of a God controlling everything to be more reasonable and persuasive, no matter how "ad hoc" you may view it.

    You seem to be confusing "resolving the debate" or "winning the debate" with convincing everybody on earth that stupid ideas are stupid.

    There will always be people who think the earth is flat, or there is no such thing as gravity or evolution is false. But there is no real debate about those topics. They have been resolved.


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    Message 12 of 98 (433251)
    11-10-2007 8:10 PM


    This debate is very easy to resolve
    You claim that this debate cannot be resolved because of the inherently contradictory world views of the two camps. While I agree that this contradiction exists, it doesn't make the debate insoluble. The problem with your assessment of the situation is that the debate is not about two different world views, as you claim it is. The debate is actually about science, with the religious adherents trying to play on the field of science using the rules that apply to religion.

    The E v C debate doesn't revolve around the question of which should be taught, science or religion. The debate is about what should be taught in science class. If all that creos maintained was that religion is better at arriving at ultimate truths than science, but conceded that science shows that life evolved, science would be quite happy. Instead, we see creos raping the rules of science in an ill-fated attempt to convince others that science actually supports what they believe based on faith. This is the true nature of the debate. This debate is easily solved, by religion conceding that the conclusions of science contradict the conclusions of religion. However, as long as creos insist on the right to play in science's sandbox but without being required to abide by science's rules, science will fight back.


    Those who would sacrifice an essential liberty for a temporary security will lose both, and deserve neither. -- Benjamin Franklin

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


    Replies to this message:
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    Jon
    Inactive Member


    Message 13 of 98 (433256)
    11-10-2007 8:37 PM
    Reply to: Message 3 by Aven
    11-10-2007 11:15 AM


    Religion or Creationism?
    My argument is that science and religion represent two distinct frameworks of thought / system of beliefs that can never be proven to be more true or acceptable than the other.

    Creationists won ya over, have they? Too bad.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 3 by Aven, posted 11-10-2007 11:15 AM Aven has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 22 by Aven, posted 11-11-2007 12:29 AM Jon has responded

      
    Hyroglyphx
    Member
    Posts: 5692
    From: Austin, TX
    Joined: 05-03-2006
    Member Rating: 1.4


    Message 14 of 98 (433266)
    11-10-2007 9:22 PM
    Reply to: Message 7 by crashfrog
    11-10-2007 1:02 PM


    Re: Today's Bad Math brought to you by NJ
    Um, no, you actually never reach zero, just like if you start with 1 and keep adding 1, you never reach infinity.

    If the universe has a beginning, with a finite amount of possible answers, then yes, you will reach zero.

    But really, it was more euphemistic than anything else.

    quote:
    The question, if broken down far enough, will always end in metaphysics where science breaks down, or is incapable of answering the question further with empiricism.

    Funny, I thought we had this discussion already.

    Yes, and I'm sure beside myself, Modulous and Archer were wondering why you kept masochistically coming back for more.

    It's sufficient to look around you to conclude the realness of reality

    What is reality?

    The results of scientific inquiry are manifest; they include the very computer you're using to read this message.

    And what greater truth am I supposed to derive from it?

    The results of religion are similarly obvious - nothing good. That metaphysics does not, apparently, have the rigor to distinguish between the obviously useful and the obviously useless indicates that trying to establish truth via metaphysics cannot be done, and the primacy of observation stands unchallenged.

    I would hardly call ontology or teleology a waste of time. Science in general especially employs philosophical abstracts as a basis for its initial theorems. The more you try to chip away at philosophy, the more you'll find it chipping away at you in the process.


    “This life’s dim windows of the soul, distorts the heavens from pole to pole, and goads you to believe a lie, when you see with and not through the eye.” -William Blake
    This message is a reply to:
     Message 7 by crashfrog, posted 11-10-2007 1:02 PM crashfrog has responded

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     Message 15 by crashfrog, posted 11-10-2007 9:43 PM Hyroglyphx has not yet responded

        
    crashfrog
    Inactive Member


    Message 15 of 98 (433270)
    11-10-2007 9:43 PM
    Reply to: Message 14 by Hyroglyphx
    11-10-2007 9:22 PM


    Re: Today's Bad Math brought to you by NJ
    If the universe has a beginning, with a finite amount of possible answers, then yes, you will reach zero.

    I'm not sure what you think that means. 1/x never evaluates to zero.

    I dunno. Where you talking about the summation of 1/x as x -> infinity? Because the limit of that function is 1, not zero, and again, you can never actually reach 1 because you can't evaluate for x = infinity, since infinity isn't actually a number.

    But really, it was more euphemistic than anything else.

    I think you mean "metaphor", but if you're going to make assertions via metaphor, don't you think your metaphors should be true?

    Yes, and I'm sure beside myself, Modulous and Archer were wondering why you kept masochistically coming back for more.

    More disingenuity? More not having my arguments rebutted? More philosophical mumbo-jumbo?

    Yeah, why do I come back for that? I guess because, no matter how often you're refuted, you act like nobody's ever posted a response to your arguments.

    Science in general especially employs philosophical abstracts as a basis for its initial theorems.

    I continue to remain unconvinced that this is true, because the proponents of this position have no evidence to support it, and the vast majority of scientific developments have had absolutely nothing to do with philosophy.

    The more you try to chip away at philosophy, the more you'll find it chipping away at you in the process.

    That's what I fear philosophy does - chips away at human knowledge, at it's significance, by giving us specious reasons to conceal the veracity of our experience of reality.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 14 by Hyroglyphx, posted 11-10-2007 9:22 PM Hyroglyphx has not yet responded

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     Message 32 by bluescat48, posted 01-15-2008 8:28 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

      
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