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Author Topic:   Standards of Evidence
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 1 of 77 (413207)
07-29-2007 7:08 PM


Why do the scientifically minded amongst us degenerate into a seething, spluttering mass of apoplectic indignation when our reasoned and physical evidentially supported arguments are dismissed as obviously and trivially refuted with reference to biblical passages by creationists??

Why does the creationist shrug their shoulders with indifference at yet another atheistically inspired interpretation of evidence when a specific measurable prediction derived from theory is experimentally verified??

Are the two camps talking the same language in terms of reliability of evidence?

It would appear not.

Yet objectively defining what is, and what is not, good evidence really should not be dependant on the point of view being expressed.
Agreement should, in theory, be possible if objective criteria are being applied.

So what are the characteristics of good reliable evidence??

What are the characteristics of poor unreliable evidence??

Do the characteristics of evidence you have chosen apply outside the EvC debate (e.g. in the courtroom, when solving a mechanical problem or when applied to the social sciences)?

Whilst specific examples are inevitable and perfectly valid in any such discussions I want this to be about WHY particular FORMS of evidence are better or worse than other kinds of evidence NOT exclusively about one or two specific examples.

Simply defining evidence in such a way as to suit your particular argument, whether creationist or evolutionist, is not what this thread is intended to be about.

Reasoned argument as to why one form of evidence should be considered a superior indicator of objective truth than another form of evidence IS the intended aim of this thread.

This topic has been prompted by the recent thread “Most convincing evidence for creation theory” where the validity of the evidence presented was repeatedly called into question.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Cold Foreign Object, posted 07-29-2007 7:19 PM Straggler has responded
 Message 3 by Adminnemooseus, posted 07-29-2007 7:37 PM Straggler has responded
 Message 5 by Taz, posted 07-29-2007 10:56 PM Straggler has responded
 Message 6 by NosyNed, posted 07-29-2007 10:56 PM Straggler has responded

  
Cold Foreign Object 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1183 days)
Posts: 3417
Joined: 11-21-2003


Message 2 of 77 (413209)
07-29-2007 7:19 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
07-29-2007 7:08 PM


Agreement should, in theory, be possible if objective criteria are being applied.

Agreed. But the evolutionist almost always asserts that his special pleading is not as such, but objective. So idealistically your blue box statement is a goal that requires specifics.

Objective criteria is subjective in the Creation-Evolution debate since Creationist presuppositions are pro-supernaturalistic and Evolution presuppositions are pro-materialistic.

With this said what do you propose?

Ray


This message is a reply to:
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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3881
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 3 of 77 (413213)
07-29-2007 7:37 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
07-29-2007 7:08 PM


Not a "Coffee House" type topic
It would seem to be of promotable "Proposed New Topics" (PNT) quality, so I'm going to move it to the "Is It Science?" forum.

But this should have been submitted to the PNT forum. Anything that ties into the creationism/evolution debate should be channeled through the PNT.

Adminnemooseus


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It really helps moderators figure out if a topic is disintegrating because of general misbehavior versus someone in particular if the originally non-misbehaving members kept it that way. When everyone is prickly and argumentative and off-topic and personal then it's just too difficult to tell. We have neither infinite time to untie the Gordian knot, nor the wisdom of Solomon.

There used to be a comedian who presented his ideas for a better world, and one of them was to arm everyone on the highway with little rubber dart guns. Every time you see a driver doing something stupid, you fire a little dart at his car. When a state trooper sees someone driving down the highway with a bunch of darts all over his car he pulls him over for being an idiot.

Please make it easy to tell you apart from the idiots. Source


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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3881
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 4 of 77 (413214)
07-29-2007 7:38 PM


Thread moved here from the Coffee House forum.
    
Taz
Member (Idle past 1427 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 5 of 77 (413231)
07-29-2007 10:56 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
07-29-2007 7:08 PM


Straggler writes:

Are the two camps talking the same language in terms of reliability of evidence?


Of course not. I recently read a book I got from the library on creation science written by a creationist (or a creation scientist as he proclaimed himself to be). In the first paragraph of his introduction, he stressed the point that whatever evidence we stumble upon, we always have to consider how it can be interpreted for creation theory because, as creationists, "we" believe with our soul and heart that the bible is the eternal true word of god the almighty. Does this sound like an introduction that a real scientist would write?


Disclaimer:

Occasionally, owing to the deficiency of the English language, I have used he/him/his meaning he or she/him or her/his or her in order to avoid awkwardness of style.

He, him, and his are not intended as exclusively masculine pronouns. They may refer to either sex or to both sexes!


This message is a reply to:
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NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 6 of 77 (413232)
07-29-2007 10:56 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
07-29-2007 7:08 PM


What is "objective"?
There are somethings we know about ourselves because we are human:

  • We can easily be fooled (by ourselves as well as others)
  • Our perceptions of the world around us are very imperfect
  • Our memories of what we have seen are even more imperfect and are easily manipulated.
  • People lie.

So how do we decide on how likely something is to be true?

In our everyday lives we often (directly sometimes even) adopt the Missouri attitude: "Show me!".

We want to see something that we can touch, feel, test, measure. If we are told that a car is worth 5,000 we like to go to the paper or online and see if others sell for that much.

If the mechanic tells us we need a new transmission we might ask him/her to tell us why they think that. Do the symptoms make sense? If the work is done we might want the replaced parts. We could then, at least possibly, have someone else look at them. In fact, even a non mechanic could make some assessment of the nature of the bits.

In other words, we all want some "objective" evidence. We do not want to take someone's unsupported word for it.

What then is "objective" evidence:
I think it is objects, measurements and reasoning that can be carried to someone else. These things stand on their own: someone else can decide if the transmission is broken, if the measurement is correct or if the object even exists (big foot, UFO's).

I would put forward that NOTHING is settled without objective evidence. The "right" religious answer never seems to get settled because it becomes a he said/she said thing for centuries.


This message is a reply to:
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Brian
Member (Idle past 3094 days)
Posts: 4659
From: Scotland
Joined: 10-22-2002


Message 7 of 77 (413259)
07-30-2007 4:58 AM


Child like innocence
I don't read the science threads very often but when I do I see exactly the same issue that appears in the history/theology threads.

Creationists, and here I mean the extremists that frustrate us, remind me of kids of about 11 or 12 years old, because the theories that they accept as being true are on a par with what kids (some kids)think are true.

Regarding history, these guys have no idea how to construct an historical hypothesis, they have never heard of the historio-scientific method (or any other I dare say), and as long as info comes from a Christian 'scholar', and satisfies an immediate problem, then they accept it.

The debates on science between members who understand science and the frustrating creationist is similar to a first year high school student trying to argue with an Oxford professor, only one of them has a clue about the subject.

When i was about ten I thought Von Daniken's flightpath of the gods was true! But as you get older you should develop critical thinking skills, but some people obviously never do.

I think people keep trying to educate the creationists here in the knowledge that it doesnt matter what we say to them they are not going to change their minds on anything, but we know that 99% of their counter 'arguments' are so silly that it just reinforces lurkers' impressions of creationists.

So, keep posting away in the knowledge that their replies are damaging creationism more than any thesis we could write.

Brian.


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 8 of 77 (413271)
07-30-2007 7:36 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Adminnemooseus
07-29-2007 7:37 PM


Re: Not a "Coffee House" type topic
Apologies. That was indeed my intention but once misposted I did not know how to get this changed.

Thanks for picking up on this.


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 9 of 77 (413311)
07-30-2007 10:41 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Cold Foreign Object
07-29-2007 7:19 PM


Agreed. But the evolutionist almost always asserts that his special pleading is not as such, but objective. So idealistically your blue box statement is a goal that requires specifics.

Feel free to come up with some specific objective criteria by which to evaluate evidence. That is the aim of this thread.

Objective criteria is subjective in the Creation-Evolution debate since Creationist presuppositions are pro-supernaturalistic and Evolution presuppositions are pro-materialistic

This relates to the conclusions. Not the evidence itself.
The argument for the superiority of a particular form of evidence should not be dependant on the conclusions of a specific case.

With this said what do you propose?

If you want specifics I'll ask a specific question with a specific example that is relevant to the EvC debate.

Would you agree that the experimental or observational verification of a result, initially predicted by and derived from theory, is the single most compelling means of vindicating a scientific theory?
Ideally here I refer to a measurable quantity the value of which can be derived initially from theory which is subsequently vindicated by practical verification of predicted results.
An example of this would be the detection and measurement of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation which is considered to have overwhelmingly verified the Big Bang theory.

Remember that this about forms of evidence NOT a debate solely about the validity of BB theory itself. This is just one example of prediction in action.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 10 of 77 (413318)
07-30-2007 10:51 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Taz
07-29-2007 10:56 PM


Does this sound like an introduction that a real scientist would write?

No, I agree, it does not. The aim of science is to be as objective as possible.
The less interpretation required the better the evidence in question.

This is why verification by prediction is so powerful.

It is easy to interpret new evidence to fit an existing theory but impossible to make new data fit specific predeclared predictions unless either the theory is correct or the results themselves fabricated.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 11 of 77 (413326)
07-30-2007 11:07 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by NosyNed
07-29-2007 10:56 PM


Re: What is "objective"?
I think everything you have said applies against written records in particular.

Only if corroborated by independant sources or external physical evidence should we consider human written records as any sort of reliable evidence at all.

Obviously in the context of this debate this includes the bible but any historical text should be subject to the same level of rigour.


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 12 of 77 (413332)
07-30-2007 11:24 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Brian
07-30-2007 4:58 AM


Child like innocence
I think people keep trying to educate the creationists here in the knowledge that it doesnt matter what we say to them they are not going to change their minds on anything, but we know that 99% of their counter 'arguments' are so silly that it just reinforces lurkers' impressions of creationists.

Probably true - but getting creationists to confront the poor nature of their own "evidence" in objective terms seemed like a fun thing to do :)

Regarding history, these guys have no idea how to construct an historical hypothesis, they have never heard of the historio-scientific method (or any other I dare say), and as long as info comes from a Christian 'scholar', and satisfies an immediate problem, then they accept it.

I am interested in keeping this thread about the nature of evidence itself rather than getting caught up on typical EvC specific examples.
If you have time I would therefore be interested to hear of an example of the "historio-scientific method" in action and the means by which the evidence obtained was judged as reliable as this is slightly outside my usual area of participation and I may well learn something.


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Cold Foreign Object 
Suspended Member (Idle past 1183 days)
Posts: 3417
Joined: 11-21-2003


Message 13 of 77 (413335)
07-30-2007 11:56 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Brian
07-30-2007 4:58 AM


Re: Child like innocence
Regarding history, these guys have no idea how to construct an historical hypothesis [SNIP....] and as long as info comes from a Christian 'scholar', and satisfies an immediate problem, then they accept it.

Your own medicine: As long as info comes from an Atheist "scholar" Brian accepts it.

The debates on science between members who understand science and the frustrating creationist is similar to a first year high school student trying to argue with an Oxford professor, only one of them has a clue about the subject.

Real science presupposes the existence of God because the world overwhelmingly looks designed. When observation is ignored and misrepresented to correspond to the exact opposite of intuition, Theist scholars (Stanford and MIT professors) call this Scientism.

When i was about ten I thought Von Daniken's flightpath of the gods was true! But as you get older you should develop critical thinking skills, but some people obviously never do.

When I ten years old I immediately figured out that human evolution from apes is what persons who have no awareness of God must believe.

I think people keep trying to educate the creationists here in the knowledge that it doesnt matter what we say to them they are not going to change their minds on anything, but we know that 99% of their counter 'arguments' are so silly that it just reinforces lurkers' impressions of creationists.

You have misunderstood the issue. Creationists disagree with evolutionary interpretations, explanations and conclusions of scientific data. "Education" presupposes ignorance and does not apply in the context of Creation-Evolution debate.

Ray


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AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 14 of 77 (413336)
07-30-2007 12:06 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Cold Foreign Object
07-30-2007 11:56 AM


Not on Topic
4 hours off Ray while you figure out what the topic here is.
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iceage 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4050 days)
Posts: 1024
From: Pacific Northwest
Joined: 09-08-2003


Message 15 of 77 (413338)
07-30-2007 12:16 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Cold Foreign Object
07-30-2007 11:56 AM


Re: Child like innocence
Ray writes:

When observation is ignored and misrepresented to correspond to the exact opposite of intuition, Theist scholars (Stanford and MIT professors) call this Scientism.

What observations are ignored and what misrepresentations?

Note intuition can often be wrong. Intuition would tell us that the world is flat and the sun and stars rise and set on surface of the earth.

Just like the appearance of design with respect to life is intuitive but there are naturalistic explanations and simulations that demonstrate the manifestation of "appearance of design".

A simpler example of appearance of design are rings of Saturn. They are very ordered and beautiful. At first glance they appear to be designed. However once we understand the underlying physical processes we well understand they are not designed.

Ray writes:

When I ten years old I immediately figured out that human evolution from apes is what persons who have no awareness of God must believe.

Ahhh. Great example. Based on what evidence and what is the quality of that evidence that convinced you of this?


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