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Author Topic:   Creationists think Evolutionists think like Creationists.
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 2439 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


Message 178 of 485 (570336)
07-27-2010 4:44 AM
Reply to: Message 173 by Bolder-dash
07-27-2010 1:44 AM


Re: How evolutionists think...
Bolder-dash writes:
... if the scientific community allowed a scientist to conclude that a non-material explanation is the most likely for a said phenomenon...
Drawing such a conclusion entails that an unlimited number of non-material "explanations" are equally likely for the given phenomenon, because there can be no objective and verifiable (i.e. material) basis for assessing the relative merits of all the possible non-material accounts that could be made up as "explanations".
That's why the scientific community doesn't allow this. It doesn't yield any substantive progress toward a better understanding of any given phenomenon; instead, it leads to a potential morass of irreconcilable alternatives with no rational path to a valid resolution.
The worst thing about such an idea is that if science allowed it, then secular courts of law would be inclined to allow it as well, because science and secular jurisprudence use the same principles of evidence and explanation. The result would be the end of secular jurisprudence, because some particular religious dogma would inexorably step in to assume authority in those cases where "a non-material explanation" could be deemed the most likely for some collection of evidence. There would be no basis, beyond a judge's own chosen bias, for selecting among the "possible" non-material explanations...
No, thank you. That won't do at all. No one with a decent amount of common sense would want to go there.
Edited by Otto Tellick, : grammar tweak

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 173 by Bolder-dash, posted 07-27-2010 1:44 AM Bolder-dash has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 179 by Bolder-dash, posted 07-27-2010 8:30 AM Otto Tellick has replied

  
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 2439 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


Message 198 of 485 (570552)
07-27-2010 7:17 PM
Reply to: Message 179 by Bolder-dash
07-27-2010 8:30 AM


Re: How evolutionists think...
I would conclude from this response that you did not understand a word of what I posted, and you are completely ignoring what others are posting about the (non-existent) relationship between actual evidence and explanations that invoke non-material causes:
Bolder-dash writes:
See, so you are saying science doesn't allow this. Even if all of the evidence was pointing exactly to that conclusion.
Two basic points -- try to comprehend this:
(A) Real evidence does not point to non-material explanations -- it really just does not -- which explains in part why you have been unable to identify any evidence that does point to non-material explanations. Such "explanations" are nothing more than the imaginings of people who really don't know what is going on.
(B) Your reference to "that [non-material] conclusion" shows that you completely missed my point: as soon as you accept any non-material "explanation", you immediately face a countless variety of alternative non-material "explanations", all of which have an equal claim to validity (which is to say no validity at all), and there is no stable, reliable, sensible basis for choosing among all those alternatives.
The point is: there is never a single non-material explanation for a given body of evidence, and being non-material, such a set of explanations can never be ranked as to relative accuracy, predictive power, general usefulness, etc. If you want to declare a given choice as "better" than others because it conforms to your theology, you're taking the path that leads to religious schism and wrong action. That's the antithesis of science.
It's only when you can appeal to observable, replicable phenomena as causative factors that you can discern between explanations that are "workable" rather than "unworkable", "better" rather than "worse", etc.

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 179 by Bolder-dash, posted 07-27-2010 8:30 AM Bolder-dash has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 203 by Bolder-dash, posted 07-27-2010 9:24 PM Otto Tellick has replied

  
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 2439 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


(1)
Message 265 of 485 (570844)
07-29-2010 6:36 AM
Reply to: Message 203 by Bolder-dash
07-27-2010 9:24 PM


Re: How evolutionists think...
Here is one big point you keep missing, dude:
Bolder-dash writes:
If someone conducts an experiment where a one person in Croatia draws an image on a white piece of paper, and someone in Tulsa is able to describe exactly what that image is without being told or shown, and they can repeat this phenomenon and this procedure is tested scientifically to insure there is no cheating, we may well conclude the best explanation is a super-natural one.
The point is: Has this experiment that you just described actually been carried out? Has it been replicated by independent researchers?
Or are you just explaining a kind of "thought experiment"?
If you just want to talk about thought experiments ("what would happen to methodological naturalism if such a set of phenomena were actually observed under rigorous conditions..."), that's fine. It's an interesting topic, and I totally agree that the tool kit used by scientists to form and test hypotheses would need to expand significantly, in ways that are hard to imagine because so far such phenomena have never been observed and confirmed rigorously.
So, to repeat the point: You haven't brought up any specific examples that demonstrate actual occurrences of this sort of "thought experiment" because there never have been any. You can't say that methodological naturalism is inadequate just because you can imagine cases where it might fail. You need to show the specific cases where it has failed. (But you can't, because it hasn't.)
There have been anecdotal reports of cases, which, if investigated carefully, turn out to be far less "supernatural" than the initial reports implied (e.g. chance correlations, post-facto interpretation of ambiguous statements or actions, deliberate deceptions, etc), but there's been nothing that systematically and repeatably defies a purely natural explanation.
In other words, the only place where phenomena defy current methods of scientific explanation is in our imagination. It's no coincidence that this is also the only place where we find gods.
Here's the other point you keep missing:
This concept of yours that if we were to determine that something appears to be supernatural, we then are left without knowing which supernatural cause it is is simply an unfortunate fact of understanding supernatural phenomenon, but that does not eliminate the fact that that can be a conclusion.
That "unfortunate fact" has this unfortunate consequence: when you draw the conclusion that "we then are left without knowing which supernatural cause it is", you are saying: "At this point, we can make up any assertion whatsoever about the 'supernatural cause', and that assertion will suffice as an explanation."
In fact, different people and groups can make up different assertions, and they'll all be equally "right" (and equally wrong); in this case, we'd have to maintain and expand the idea of "religious freedom", or else squelch people whose chosen explanations differ from the one sanctioned by the church or state that governs them.
Alternatively, we can just step away and say that we can never hope to explain the cause (because of course supernatural entities are intrinsically unknowable -- as I'm sure you yourself have stated, when speaking of God).
That's all bullshit. It's a dead-end for intellectual progress. Discovery and learning cease. We abandon our innate drive to expand our control over our environment to further our own survival. To hell with that.
That would be like saying that we can't study quantum mechanics because it is indeterminate.
No, it's not like that at all. Although I'm not a physicist (let alone a QM theorist), I think it's safe to say that whatever indeterminacy is present in quantum mechanical theories today, it falls within measurable parameters; further research, new hypotheses and further refinements to the theories will lead to a better understanding, with improved accuracy of predictions (which are already astonishingly accurate at present).
In contrast, assertions like those of "Intelligent Design" are simply a matter of drawing a line and saying "don't look for natural causes beyond this point." In other words, "accept the idea of a supernatural agent -- my bible study guide gives you everything you need to know -- you don't need to ask any more questions. So stop asking -- and especially don't ask for accurate predictions, because our supernatural agent is omnipotent and omniscient and we can't know what will happen" and so on and so on. Sorry, but I'll say "no thanks" to that.

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 203 by Bolder-dash, posted 07-27-2010 9:24 PM Bolder-dash has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 266 by Bolder-dash, posted 07-29-2010 7:53 AM Otto Tellick has not replied

  
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 2439 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


(1)
Message 365 of 485 (571502)
07-31-2010 11:25 PM
Reply to: Message 356 by marc9000
07-31-2010 9:37 PM


Re: The search for meaning
Hi marc. I'm curious about this statement of yours:
marc9000 writes:
If meaning comes from 'a creator', no human, not even Christians, can claim a monopoly on it, in a way that physically intrudes on other peoples lives. Each human can apply it to their life as they see fit...
Is that a position that you sincerely hold? If so, I am truly impressed by the open-mindedness it evokes. If I understand it correctly, you are asserting a fundamental basis for freedom of choice with regard to religious belief. By acknowledging that no one, and no single religious creed, has a "monopoly" on defining "the meaning of life", you are admitting that Christianity is only one among (potentially) innumerable, equally valid points of view on this matter.
That strikes me as a remarkably refreshing point of view to be coming from an otherwise dogmatic Christian theist. I wanted to make sure I understood you correctly, because I would not have expected that from you.
In any case, I need to point something out about the atheist position that you are apparently missing (the opinions of Frank Crick, whoever he is, notwithstanding):
I think that your statement (if I understood it correctly) would still be true without your "if" condition; that is, if meaning does not come from a creator, no human can claim a monopoly on it, in a way that physically intrudes on other peoples lives.
In other words, it makes no difference whether we attribute our respective meanings to supernatural or natural causes. The fact remains that we all perceive and conceive meaning in our lives. It's part of being human; it's intrinsic to our cognitive toolkit.
You can believe that this sense of "meaning" was deliberately designed and implanted in us by some inexplicable entity who is responsible for all existence. I can believe that it is in fact an emergent property that follows naturally from the general principles governing the evolution of life, that its "design" is as much a natural outcome of physical laws as the hexagonal pattern of snowflakes and the curvature of rainbows. Either way, we must both acknowledge that our current understanding is limited...
The major difference between us is that your position can only be held and promoted by appeal to religious belief or dogma, whereas mine can find confirmation in real-world observations.
You may fail to grasp why my notion of "meaning" is equivalent to yours, given that mine is not asserted to be the creation of a supernatural being. I certainly fail to grasp why attribution to a supernatural being adds anything of consequence to the notion.
In either case, we both perceive and conceive of meaning in life. We all experience emotions; we love our parents, our siblings, our spouses, our children; we cooperate with our neighbors to further the common goals that benefit our communities. These things apply regardless of the choice of religion, and regardless of the presence or absence of religious belief. If you don't agree with that, you are actually contradicting your statement that I quoted above (or else I must have misunderstood your statement).
One last comment to expand on Crashfrog's notion "that humans are the source of their own meaning." In my own view: the universe prior to the existence of life cannot be said to have any meaning. Meaning is something that arises from awareness, and without life, there is no awareness. As life emerges and evolves, awareness develops, and with that comes a meaning -- a purpose: to continue living, to grow, to diversify, to acquire broader capabilities, to overcome adversity, perhaps to "transcend" (though I'm not sure what this term really means).
As life succeeds in its purpose, awareness expands; in the case of our particular species, it has expanded to the point of self-awareness, of realizing that we have a purpose, and the ability to consider it. This is a confusing situation to be in, especially since human development has been marked by a tendency to ascribe causality to unknowable entities, rather than trying to work out how things came about naturally.

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 356 by marc9000, posted 07-31-2010 9:37 PM marc9000 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 433 by marc9000, posted 08-02-2010 9:13 PM Otto Tellick has replied

  
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 2439 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


Message 440 of 485 (571969)
08-03-2010 2:54 AM
Reply to: Message 433 by marc9000
08-02-2010 9:13 PM


Re: The search for meaning
Thanks for your very thoughtful responses, marc. Just a few things to pursue further...
marc9000 writes:
... I do believe the US is capable of being a pluralistic society. I’m like anyone else, I have less fear of my own worldview destroying liberty than I do of another worldview destroying liberty.
When you say "another worldview", do you mean "any other worldview that is different from my own", or do you mean "some particular worldview(s) that I could name"? That is, given a fairly complete list of worldviews different from your own (i.e. the ones attested to exist in our pluralistic society), do they all pose equal risk of "destroying liberty", or is it rather that some are especially bad and others are merely benign in their differences from your own worldview?
(In the latter case, if that applies to you, it would be interesting to consider what separates the "benign" differences from the "risky" ones. I'm not asking for an enumeration; I'd just be curious about the kinds of differences you consider threatening vs. non-threatening.)
Admittedly, the piece that I quoted above is something that I might be prone to say myself, despite the obvious dilemma that it poses ("pluralism is okay, but..."). For my part, I do draw distinctions among the various worldviews that differ from my own: Some seek to promote ignorance and promulgate dishonesty by denying observed facts and disallowing objective investigation, and these are a significant threat to liberty, because liberty cannot survive in an atmosphere of ignorance and dishonesty. There are others that allow and support refinements of supernatural beliefs in acceptance of facts and objectivity, or that at least accept peaceful coexistence with such an approach, and these are not a threat to liberty.
Humans are the only species on the planet that organize societies to the extent that certain humans main function is to focus only on that organization. From policemen to politicians, and so many others in between.
... including clergy. Especially clergy. In the U.S., at least, police and politicians are supposed to restrict their focus to purely secular issues. (Police in America normally succeed at this extremely well; many politicians tend to be less successful, and this is a problem.) But the clergy, and the active evangelical congregations, such as Mormons and Jehova's Witnesses, have it as their main (if not sole) explicit duty to intrude physically on other people with regard to pushing particular worldviews and beliefs.
I know of no society, present or past, with liberty equal to the US, that was founded and operated only by naturalistic reasoning.
And yet it appears you do not acknowledge that the great extent of liberty we have in the US exists by virtue of the secular foundations -- the "naturalistic reasoning" -- built into our Constitution. It is crucially the separation of church from state, of religious authority from political governance, that assures our liberty. But that's a topic for another thread (or a few).
I think it’s because a supernatural being can have motives and goals that are more deep and noble than humans can understand. The meaning stays constant and doesn’t change.
This is a concise distillation of the central paradox in every theistic conception of "meaning", or "morality", or whatever else you want to attribute to a supernatural being. If we can't understand the motives and goals, how can we possibly assert that the "meaning" doesn't change? How can we possibly assert that we even have a clue what the "meaning" is?
If we can't really know for sure -- and we really can't, because we're talking about the supernatural -- then it just comes down to the word of this priest vs. the word of that preacher (vs. the word of some mullah vs. the word of some other mystic vs. whatever Joe Sixpack makes up in his own mind vs. ... vs. ... vs. ... ad infinitum).
It is exactly this paradox that makes religious schism an inescapable outcome of religious belief. It reveals the inherent lie that is being told every time some theist expounds on God's True Intent™. And every time some other theist expounds on some other incompatible version of God's True Intent™, it's just another lie, competing for the attention of gullible minds. If these are not lies, they are hallucinations or rationalizations or just bare assertions. Whatever they are, they have nothing substantial to back them up. They all have equal "authority", which is to say, as much authority as can be enforced by whatever group has adopted a given fantasy.
And the people who accept such fantasies are the ones who are still having trouble understanding what it means to apply objectivity to every aspect of their lives; in the most extreme (fundamentalist) cases, it's as if objective thought does not exist for them (and so cannot exist, period). Hence the title of this thread.
The major difference between us is that your position can only be held and promoted by appeal to religious belief or dogma, whereas mine can find confirmation in real-world observations.
That accusation can go both ways. I can find confirmation in real world observations in un-scientific things, like the history (predictability and un-predictability) of human nature. Yours can appeal to humanistic dogma, such as new understandings of the world that require political overhauls, like dismantling capitalism to control global warming, or move toward a one-world government.
Nice little sample of Tea Party diatribe there -- I knew I could count on you for that -- and like all Tea Party stuff, debunking it is child's play. Obviously, the entrepreneurs who are working on commercially viable wind and solar technology do not see a conflict between capitalism and addressing the very real problems of global warming -- they still are not getting the level of subsidies and indulgences that have been the routine gift to oil companies for several decades. And are you really saying that you are opposed to things like the UN, IMF, WTO, etc, that try to solve international problems through international cooperation? I've never seen a good explanation as to why, exactly, they pose a threat, or what makes them worse than the alternative (which would be having no cooperation and leaving international problems unsolved).
In any case, I really have no dogmas that require political overhaul. As a US citizen, I'm fine with using our current secular system of national government in order to address the societal and environmental problems we face -- many of which can only be solved by international effort. This obviously has to include working on international treaties, but doesn't include stuff like invading some country just to topple its dumb-ass dictator and take over its oil wells.
As for your "real world observations in un-scientific things", that's a bit of a muddle; if you're drawing conclusions without keeping close track of what you've actually seen -- and if you aren't being careful (as any honest scientist has to be) about avoiding biased sampling and invalid logic -- then your "confirmation" is likely to be false.
For example, you might assert the superiority of Christianity with regard to "family values" by pointing to the divorce rate among non-Christians, but if you fail to notice that the divorce rates among Christians and non-Christians are actually about the same (or maybe it's a little higher among Christians), then you've clearly made a mistake.
Edited by Otto Tellick, : minor grammar repair

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 433 by marc9000, posted 08-02-2010 9:13 PM marc9000 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 451 by marc9000, posted 08-04-2010 8:48 PM Otto Tellick has not replied

  
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