Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 75 (8963 total)
259 online now:
Faith, frako, PaulK, Phat (AdminPhat) (4 members, 255 visitors)
Newest Member: Samuel567
Upcoming Birthdays: CosmicChimp
Post Volume: Total: 870,817 Year: 2,565/23,288 Month: 756/1,809 Week: 188/225 Day: 1/46 Hour: 0/0


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   Does an atheist have to believe in evolution?
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 21 of 64 (310411)
05-08-2006 8:25 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by DrFrost
05-08-2006 7:42 PM


Re: Poisoning the well...
It's a certainty that the ToE is going to go through changes which, essentially, means that the current theory is flawed.

Well, sure. Much as our knowledge of cancer is flawed.

But those flaws don't mean we tear down hospitals; it means we build more schools. Imcomplete knowledge is not a reason to throw up our hands and give up; it's a reason to try even harder.

If I were to take your words as "gospel," however, I'd have to conclude the ToE is complete and should be renamed as the Law of Evolution.

People have this hilarious idea that there is some kind of hierarchy of scientific models, with "conjecture" at the bottom, "hypothesis" next, "theory" on top of that, and finally at the top, representing certainty about the universe is "law."

Where does that come from? It certainly doesn't work like that in the sciences. All those models you know of as laws, DrFrost? The law of gravity, Newton's laws of motion, the laws of thermodynamics?

They're all theories. All of them. Every single one. That's what a theory is - an explanitory model. There's no hierarchy of certainty that models graduate through. There's no overseeing panel of scientists who dictate which models get to be called "laws" and which don't. There is only theory.

Evolution is one of the best-supported models in science. Better support than Newton's laws of motion. The reason that Newton's laws are laws and evolution is a theory is because Newton decided to call them "laws."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by DrFrost, posted 05-08-2006 7:42 PM DrFrost has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by EZscience, posted 05-08-2006 10:41 PM crashfrog has responded
 Message 26 by DrFrost, posted 05-09-2006 1:20 PM crashfrog has responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 23 of 64 (310466)
05-09-2006 9:08 AM
Reply to: Message 22 by EZscience
05-08-2006 10:41 PM


Re: Poisoning the well...
Crash - look at what you're saying. You think if they hadn't been totally verified by the observations of others we would still call them laws !?

Yes. That's exactly what I'm saying.

I'm sorry; was my post not very clear?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by EZscience, posted 05-08-2006 10:41 PM EZscience has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by NosyNed, posted 05-09-2006 11:59 AM crashfrog has not yet responded
 Message 25 by EZscience, posted 05-09-2006 12:40 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 28 of 64 (310517)
05-09-2006 1:39 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by DrFrost
05-09-2006 1:20 PM


Re: Poisoning the well...
Is it or is it not obvious that Jar was poisoning the well?

No, I don't see any poisoning of the well. There are some positions that are not consistent with a reasonable state of mind; there are some things that reasonable people by definition cannot disagree on.

The basic accuracy of the theory of evolution is one of them. Obviously, the specific details are a manner under debate. But the evidence as it stands cannot simply be dismissed by a reasonable person.

That's all Jar conveyed.

And my conclusion that most educated athiests would be likely to choose whatever science's best guess at the moment is? Did you find anything flawed with that argument?

Nothing contentous there at all, IMO. Atheists are largely people who adopt a reasonable approach to looking at the world; such people more or less have to accept the theory of evolution (as I've argued above.)

But it's possible to be an unreasonable or insane atheist. It's possible to believe that there are no gods because your invisible giant bunny friend told you that, and you always believe whatever he says.

I would not expect such an atheist to be swayed by scientific evidence and reasoning. Would you?

These are common meanings.

No, I get that. The common meanings are irrelevant because that's not how those terms are used in science. Nobody calls anything a law anymore; that's a linguistic artifact of a time when the relationship of scientific inquiry to the world was substantially different.

These definitions obviously suggest a hierarchy of certainty.

In common use, yes. It's not clear where that common use originates, however, because that's certainly not the scientific use.

I mean, Newton called his laws of motion "laws." But they've been disproved. But their name hasn't changed. Isn't that enough to prove that "law" and "theory" don't describe different levels of certainty, but rather, naming conventions from two radically different epochs in science?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by DrFrost, posted 05-09-2006 1:20 PM DrFrost has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by DrFrost, posted 05-09-2006 1:53 PM crashfrog has responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 34 of 64 (310567)
05-09-2006 4:57 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by DrFrost
05-09-2006 1:53 PM


Re: Poisoning the well...
I could have the professor who teaches the class on logic review this if you like, but I assure you he would classify it an example of poisoning the well. I even gave a reference for this particular logical fallacy. If you still contend that it's not, then we'll have to agree to disagree.

I'm a person who believes that words have meanings. One such word is "reasonable."

It simply isn't reasonable, for instance, to believe that one is Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous French leader and strategist. It's an unreasonable position, under any circumstances. There's no way that reasonable people can hold that position. (Living people, anyway. There was of course one person who could have reasonably believed he was Napoleon Bonaparte, but that man is long dead.)

Also, while it would still be a logical fallacy to simply state "No reasonable person would reject the ToE.", jars took it to another level by using phrases like "stupid", "mentally handicapped" and "willfully ignorant." I take your comments as supporting his use of this language and I find that disappointing.

Those are also words that have meanings. It's appropriate to use them when they are applicable. If Jar showed up here with the sincere belief he was Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous French strategist, would you object to characterizing him as "unreasonable"? Or even "suffering from delusions or psychosis"? Would you find that to be "poisoning the well"?

In fact isn't the very charge of "poisoning the well" itself an act of poisoning the well?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by DrFrost, posted 05-09-2006 1:53 PM DrFrost has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by DrFrost, posted 05-09-2006 7:23 PM crashfrog has responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 37 of 64 (310600)
05-09-2006 7:39 PM
Reply to: Message 36 by DrFrost
05-09-2006 7:23 PM


Re: Poisoning the well...
In my opinion, you also seem to be an example. Can you admit that you might be wrong? Can you admit that the ToE might be invalid?

I think I have not only admitted that, but celebrated it, in this thread and repeatedly in other threads. If you're under the impression that my support for the theory of evolution is dogmatic, you're quite mistaken.

But, at this point in time and with what evidence we have, no reasonable person can call into question the theory of evolution. That's not to say that it can't be proven wrong. But no reasonable person can come to the conclusion that it has been.

First, it wasn't pre-emptive.

Neither was Jar. His statements were a reply to the OP, if you hadn't noticed.

Who wants to spend three pages reading what has mostly turned into our personal disagreement?

I don't see what's personal about it. Are you a person who believes that the theory of evolution is wrong? No? Then it what was did Jar's remarks refer to you?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by DrFrost, posted 05-09-2006 7:23 PM DrFrost has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 39 by DrFrost, posted 05-10-2006 1:14 AM crashfrog has not yet responded

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2020