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Author Topic:   Is my rock designed?
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


(1)
Message 146 of 219 (640444)
11-09-2011 4:23 PM
Reply to: Message 142 by EWCCC777
11-09-2011 3:37 PM


Re: Brief aside on science
OK. So...science doesn't require what I would (apparently incorrectly)call proof (meaning, my definition, evidence beyond a reasonable doubt), so why am I continually called upon by scientists to provide natural proof (evidence) of design? Just an aside of my own.

I'd just like to remind you of what "Evidence" actually is.

"Evidence" is any fact or observation that adjusts the likelihood of one or more hypotheses being accurate.

If a fact or observation does not change the relative likelihood of a particular set of hypotheses, then that fact or observation is irrelevant.

Largely when discussing "intelligent design" or various forms of Creationism, we see a set of arguments that essentially boil down to "but you don;t really know, one way or the other." See the recent Big Bang thread for an example - the claim there is that Big Bang cosmology "supports" the hypothesis of a "Creator."

The problem with this line of reasoning is that, if a given theory doesn't affect the likelihood of the competing hypotheses (ie, the Big Bang works just as well with or without a deity), then that theory cannot be evidence regarding those hypotheses. There was no adjustment made to their relative likelihoods. The information is irrelevant.

We have evidence supporting the hypothesis that evolution explains the variety of life observed on Earth today, because innumerable observations have been made that are explained by that hypothesis and which are not as well explained by any competing hypothesis, including those loosely defined sets of hypotheses called "intelligent design" and "Creationism."

When we talk about evidence, they key is to forget what you think you know. Look at the hypotheses being considered. Decide how you would predict the world to look if each of those hypotheses is true - and this is especially important for hypotheses you don't personally find convincing yet.

After you've made your predictions, then you go back and look at all of the observations you've made so far. Using your predictions, you can decide the relative likelihood of a given phenomenon being observed if a given hypothesis were true, as compared to how likely that phenomenon is to be observed across all of the competing hypotheses (for instance, it's very unlikely to find Tom's fingerprints on the murder weapon in most hypotheses where Tom is not the killer, but very likely in hypotheses where he is the killer; comparatively, noting that the killer had dark hair is not particularly strong evidence of anything, because it's equally likely that any other dark haired person could be the killer).

After you've examined all of your observations and compared them to the predictions of all of your competing hypotheses, you can decide which hypothesis has the best chance of being accurate.

When you're dealing with real mysteries, questions that we cannot even begin to answer before we start investigating, it's impossible for us to be certain. There will never be "absolute proof." It's always possible, however unlikely, that we are all trapped in the Matrix, or that this is all a dream. Well-established theories on nature are overturned from time to time - the Earth is round, not flat; Newton was wrong, and Einstein is far more accurate, etc.

But we can determine what hypothesis best fits the evidence we've uncovered so far.

That's what science does. We find the explanation that best fits all of the observations we've made on a subject so far, with the reservation that we can still change our minds if/when new observations tell us a slightly different story.

You are saying, in essence, that science by definition does not require proof, and that this is a common understanding. It's a bit like my saying, "Faith does not require proof. This is a common understanding."

Faith, indeed, does not require proof, or evidence of any kind. Faith is confidence in the accuracy of an assertion, without sufficient evidence to justify that confidence. Faith is the sure knowledge of things you do not have evidence of, and often could not possibly know. It is the "evidence" of things unseen, the confidence of things hoped for.

In short - it is irrational, often wishful thinking, and nothing more.

There is evidence that seems to point toward evolution. There is also much evidence lacking. The same can be said of the design argument. The fact that much of the evidence for design is not the kind that science would prefer is irrelevant, for science and design, while compatible, are not ONE.

If you want to find out whether life on Earth was designed by an intelligent actor, you first need to ask yourself two questions:

What would the world look like if living things were designed by an intelligence?

What would the world look like if living things were not designed?

Are you able to answer those questions? What should we see in each case? What should we not see?

I cannot put God on a lab table and allow you to observe Him, as someone suggested in another thread days ago. The thing is, I do not have to in order for the concept of intelligent design to be worthwhile. I do not believe the burden of proof rests on my shoulders simply because someone says it does, anymore than evolution has to prove itself to me because I say it does (and the fact that it does not is awfully convenient, since there is nothing absolutely conclusive for it to present to me).

The burden of proof always lies with the person making the positive claim. If I claim to have a lion in my backyard, the burden of proof must rest on me to show evidence for my assertion.

Otherwise, all assertions would have to be assumed true until proven false...and that gets rather out of hand. For instance, can you disprove the existence of an invisible, intangible, silent dragon in my garage? If the burden of proof likes not with me as the person making the assertion, but with you as the skeptic, it would be impossible for you to disprove my assertion...and so there must be an intangible, invisible, silent dragon in my garage.

I presume you can see the problem with that line of reasoning.


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers


This message is a reply to:
 Message 142 by EWCCC777, posted 11-09-2011 3:37 PM EWCCC777 has not yet responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


(2)
Message 211 of 219 (642802)
12-01-2011 7:50 PM
Reply to: Message 210 by Robert Byers
12-01-2011 7:32 PM


Re: Is the question too difficult?
According to your line of reasoning, every possible observation would be evidence of a "creator." If your model is equally good at predicting any conceivable outcome, then it's meaningless. The terms "designed" and "not designed" lose any meaning because everything conceivable becomes "designed."

“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers


This message is a reply to:
 Message 210 by Robert Byers, posted 12-01-2011 7:32 PM Robert Byers has not yet responded

  
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