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How I argue evolution…
Posted: 22 December 2004 01:49 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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In order to put the dialog in context, you must proceed scientifically.  You must remove the subjectivity, and the selective acceptance of science.

"Science":

First you must make the determination of the listeners intellectual integrity:  Do you believe in the Scientific Method?  All sciences - biology, physics, etymology - are all guided by the same processes of the Scientific Method - observance, theory, experiment, etc…  If a person accepts Iridology, then they must accept Evolutionary Biology.  Selective acceptance is a sign of a weak and corrupted mind.  Do they Selectively believe in their God?  Do they believe that God is misleading us?  Do they believe that the Old Testament is only true when it does not conflict with the New?  First you must see if a person is honest.  If so, continue.

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Objectively speaking, there is no difference between micro and macro.  There is no difference between simple and complex.  There is no difference between organic and inorganic.  We are all made of the same Star Dust (to conjer the imagry of Carl Sagan for a moment).  Evolution is simply change over time.  The reorganization of the same matter and waves over time.  We live in a moving universe.  A universe swirling with matter and waves.  All things change over time for better or worse or nothing at all.  Some people fear change.  Others embrace it.  If you want to truly understand the universe around you, you must learn to face change.  The movement of time is the fourth dimension.  It affects all things.  It has no past, only constant forward movement.  In a static universe there would be no time.  No movement.  No change.  Therefore, we know this is not a static universe and nothing is static within it.  Even God.  Therefore there MUST be evolution.  Evolution IS change.

Evidence:

We can never know all the details of this change because time does allow us to go back and see.  We can only observe the change going on around us and pick up a few pieces of leftover evidence and piece the truth together.  If you just turned on a football game, and it was the fourth quarter, and one team lead another team by 42 points, you'd know a few things.  You'd know that the winning team probably played really well and scored allot of points.  You'd know that the other team did poorly.  You'd also be able to presume that there was a little luck at play here - good and bad, depending on the team.  If the losing team had a player missing, then you'd know that he was probably hurt.  If he was an important player, you'd know that his injury probably had allot to do with the score.  You wouldn't be able to travel back in time and see everything, but you'd get the general picture.  And you'd be pretty sure that supernatural forces were not involved.

Material:

The best argument, however, is the one that strikes at the heart of Creationism.  We are not Holy Divine beings.  We are made of the exact same stuff as all the flora and fauna and earth and sea and the whole universe around us.  There is nothing particularly different or special about us.  Insecurity and ego stand in the way of knowledge for the YECs.  You must press them to show you anything about people that is different from any other creature.  There is nothing.  Yes, we are smart.  And Eagles have better vision, and ants are far stronger, and lions have bigger teeth, blah blah blah.  Our smarts only serve to prove evolution in two ways:  We are successful because the evolution of our brains established our niche in the natural world, and we are smart enough to see that.

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Posted: 22 December 2004 02:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I have not found it possible to discuss religion even with a highly educated believer. They just don’t apply the logic that would be self evident on another subject.  If you say irrefutably that if A is true then B cannot be true, they jump right over it. A powerful and Harvard law school grad replied that ,” I don’t know how it works but I believe it anyway.”  In another forum in Slate magazine I read the perfect reply, “Go read a book’. But even this doesn’t explain how someone like William Buckley who probably has read all the books still believes in the supernatural. Although to his credit , he is a fine writer and doesn’t try to make belief rational.  He rarely brings it up in his writing. He knows this is irrational and he still believes it. Unlike our president who doesn’t seem to have thought deeply about anything.  Incidentally when talking about our president and his lack of belief in science and belief in the supernatural, someone will always bring up the Yale and Harvard degrees.  This always being me to stand still. How could you be educated at those places and still talk in such an idiotic manner. Enough from me but thanks to Sam Harris for the forum and the book .

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Posted: 22 December 2004 03:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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[quote author=“Lathern”]I have not found it possible to discuss religion even with a highly educated believer. They just don’t apply the logic that would be self evident on another subject.  If you say irrefutably that if A is true then B cannot be true, they jump right over it. A powerful and harvard law school grad replied that ,” I don’t know how it works but I believe it anyway.”  In another forum in Slate magazine I read the perfect reply, “Go read a book’. But even this doesn’t explain how someone like William Buckley who probably has read all the books still believes in the supernatural. Althouht to his credit , he is a fine writer and doesn’t try to make belief rational.  He rarely brings it up in his writiing. He knows this is irrational and he still believes it. Unlike our president who doesn’t seem to have thought deeply about anything.  Incidently when talking about our president and his lack of belief in science and belief in the supernatural, someone will allways bring up the Yale and Harvard degrees.  This allways being me to stand still. How could you be educated at those places and still talk in such an idiotic manner. Enough from me but thanks to SaM Harris for the forum and the book .

Say, that “read a book” quote - was that from CONSLAYER?  Yeah, I know what you mean.  My favorite religious retort is “you just don’t know”.  That’s when I say, “yes, I do”.  Religion is so ingrained in so many minds, though.  It’s like a personality disorder.  Most people are born to it.  It’s foisted on them at birth and they can never shake it.  Some people find it later, but almost invariably because there is something wrong with them, psychologically, and so they use religion to fill the emotional void - like alcoholism or pill popping.  The trouble is that religion promelgates hypocrisy and the American psyche is utterly dependent on hypocrisy.  That’s why we behave as arrogantly and ignorantly as we do.

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Posted: 24 December 2004 02:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Some people seem to be able to believe something because doing so will make them feel bettter.  People have said this to me.  I wonder…  The numbers on religion in the US resemble a 3rd world county.  I was in in Italy recently and was told they have the lowest birth rate in Europe (don’t know if this is true). This goes with something I have noticed in the US: professing a deep belief in family values and God doesn’t keep you from doing anything you want to do. It just allow to you feel less guilty.

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Posted: 24 December 2004 02:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Jersey McJones, I enjoyed your essay. It was well argued, well written and true.

The most important issue for American secularists today isn’t the pledge of allegiance or Christmas trees at City Hall but science education for young children.  The goal isn’t to create future scientists or engineers, although it’s a nice benefit, but to develop well-informed adults who can think critically for themselves.

It’s hard to believe Creationists and Intelligent Design proponents are again fighting against the right to teach evolution in the public schools eighty years after the Scopes monkey trial.  But they are, and they’re launching a new, all out assault.

It’s critical that kids learn to respect the power of the scientific method at an early age. They need to understand what science has discovered about the birth of the universe and the development of life through evolution. Children who don’t learn these lessons they are young are especially prone to superstitious and irrational thinking. And once that style of thinking becomes a habit, it’s almost mpossible to break.

With science and science education under attack in the U.S., it’s no wonder Americans are vulnerable to the religious right. Imagine how differently George Bush would have turned out had his mother Barbara decided to push for a strong science education program along with her reading and literacy efforts.

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Posted: 24 December 2004 03:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“nancynancy”]Jersey McJones, I enjoyed your essay. It was well argued, well written and true.

The most important issue for American secularists today isn’t the pledge of allegiance or Christmas trees at City Hall but science education for young children.  The goal isn’t to create future scientists or engineers, although it’s a nice benefit, but to develop well-informed adults who can think critically for themselves.

***
There’s always going to be a problem there.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0226467716/ref=pd_sxp_elt_l1/103-7964478-1006210

JL

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Posted: 25 December 2004 09:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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The steps that you outlined for us are helpful indeed, so thanks a lot smile

Nevertheless, I found that, in an argument with a believer, the most difficult wall to overcome is about how scientific the evolution theory is to begin with.

A lot of people would argue to the extent that “Evolution” is a mere hypothesis and not a theory. Of course, some would be ignorant enough to declare that “Evolution” is just a theory, LOL but those are easy targets that can be made to feel embarrassed by explaining what “Theory” really means. But to the “Hypothesis” people the evidence for evolution seems disconnected and shaky, which is mainly due to either their own lack of in-depth knowledge about the theory or their heavy influence by the creationist doctrine.

Based on my limited personal experience I noticed that any argument with a believer becomes highly scientific and, more specifically, paleontological before it proceeds towards anything else. Thus, I realized that throwing the seed of doubt into the mind of a believer requires comprehensive knowledge about the evolution theory and the ability to quote related references and discoveries promptly and accurately.

Believers perceive scientific objectivity, which entails upholding the possiblity of being wrong at all times, as a weakness rather than a sign of wisdom. Also, believers do not wish to lose the conviction that is bundled with religion to a theory that does not answer the basic question of the origin of everything. For some believers logic necessitates that a clear answer should not be replaced by a vague unknown. All of this emphasizes the need to approach a believer with a rock-solid knowledge of Evolution in order to pierce an opening through the wall of ignorance.

Naturally, when facing such hard-core science, believers resort to the usual claim of them not being knowledgeable enough to argue but are very sure that there is a valid refutation to your theory. Some sophisticated believers might even bring up the philosophical argument against the scientific methods of induction and deduction. Nonetheless, you can rest assured that this believer is walking with a hole in his insurmountable wall of belief :wink:

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Posted: 26 December 2004 02:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Currently posted on Amazon:

Several prior reviews say that this is a book that needed to be written.  I agree, but I also add -  what a pity!  Yes, what a pity it is that serious scientists doing serious work, some of them Nobel prize winners, have had to take time away from their tasks to deal with this religious rubbish.  The ID folks have been slugging away for over ten years, and so far have nothing to talk about from a scientific standpoint.  Not one single new idea, proof, method, experiment, or design.  Nothing!  Nothing at all!

But it was never really about the science anyway, and that is one of the things this book does a very fine job of explaining.  It is about the wedge, and the wedge is about establishing a theocracy.  It sounds so innocent on the surface, as many others have noted, and the appeal to “fairness” is indeed a master stroke.  Their whole strategy is well conceived, and so far, with the exception of the science part, is being beautifully executed.  The science part, unfortunately, doesn’t matter, because they have successfully created the illusion that evolutionism is falling apart.  They are convincing the politicians and the general public that the foundations of biology are crumbling before the onslaught of new “scientific” principals.

Although the ID “scientific” arguments are trivial and easily defeated, it is difficult if not impossible to frame the truth in such a manner as to be comprehensible to the general public, and therein lies their greatest strength.  I am not a scientist by trade, but my knowledge of science is probably a bit above most of the general public, and yet I have a hard time following some of the rebuttals to the ID arguments.  The arguments themselves, however, are simple enough for those with even no scientific background to follow, and yet are extremely difficult to see through without the requisite scientific knowledge.

In my opinion, it does not matter how many thousands of reputable scientists are lined up against the few that ID can muster, this issue will not be decided by a preponderance of the evidence, but by politics and spin.  They are winning because they have chosen the issues, determined the scope, and set the agenda for the conflict.  As Creationism’s Trojan Horse clearly states, the stakes couldn’t be higher. 

If the purpose of writing Creationism’s Trojan Horse was to have it serve as a “wake up call” to those of us who want to continue teaching scientific truth in our nation’s classrooms, it does an admirable job.  Most of America does not understand what is going on and why.  It is up to those of us that do, and we are not all, nor do we have to be practicing scientists, to do whatever we can whenever we can.  Monitor what is going on in our communities.  Write and respond to letters-to-the-editor.  Join The National Center for Science Education, an organization dedicated to science education in our schools.

In short, it is going to take all of us to prevail in this thing.  Just because you don’t have letters after your name, don’t think you can’t get involved.  You do think, after all, and that’s why you are considering the purchase of this book.

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Posted: 26 December 2004 09:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Ask why we have to have a different flu vaccine every year

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Posted: 27 December 2004 03:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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A couple snips I responded to:

Believers perceive scientific objectivity, which entails upholding the possiblity of being wrong at all times, as a weakness rather than a sign of wisdom.

This has been my experience as well.  Of course if one has a “faith” that is subject to revision and perhaps even reversal, exactly what kind of “faith” is that?  Or, put another way, who doesn’t have that kind of faith?  We all believe in Jesus, Joseph Smith or Jihads given the proper definition of faith.  That is, we believe until we assess the evidence, at which point some of us go the other way.  In other words, and this is a truism, faith ( in our contemporary religious sense) is antithetical to doubt.  It is a certainty claim, which strikes me as the most dishonest position one can present the world with. 

But imagine the alternative if the religious institutions were to play honestly.  What kind of sales pitch would this be:  “Become a [insert theological position here] because it might be true.  We’ll have to wait and see.  But hey, we’ve got really big buildings!”


Also:

those are easy targets that can be made to feel embarrassed by explaining what “Theory” really means.

And here has been my #1 weakness when encountering believers.  I sense their embarassment and I often retreat.  I feel on some level that they, like all or most humans, want to be free, but I often subvert and soften my rhetoric, trying to pacify rather than pummel.  Perhaps, AE, I need a dose of hardnose radical heresy.  After all, the most painless way to remove the bandage is quickly.

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Posted: 28 December 2004 04:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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I feel that to get through to those who do not want to believe evolution is the truth requires real physical visual tangible evidence.

Question: “If man is made in God’s image is then God a mammal?”

If God is a mammal where does he live?

Question: “If man, a mammal, is not related to other mammals then why are gene sequences that are found in man found in all other mammals?”

And why do all mammals have mammary glands?

Question: “If you are willing to convict an individual to death on his DNA sequence which positively identifies him as different than EVERY OTHER HUMAN BEING ON THE PLANET EARTH, then how can you not believe, that as every animal ever born is different from every other animal ever born, that an animals form will not change overtime?”

In animal husbandry it is an established fact that by picking certain characteristics of an animal that one would like to see in offspring and breeding that animal with a like animal (same species) that has other desirable characteristics causes some of those desirable characteristics to be transferred to offspring.

Dogs size and characteristics are clearly different enough that one might consider a dachshund to be a different species than a great dane but they can still interbreed. Why?

The answer is simple: they have not moved far enough down the evolutionary chain to become separate species as enough time has not passed since man first began breeding dogs.

One thing that really brings evolution home is a visual comparison between all the primates hands. They are all very similar with interesting differences that can be explained by the environmental niche they inhabit.

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Posted: 28 December 2004 04:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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[quote author=“Arabian Enlightenment”]The steps that you outlined for us are helpful indeed, so thanks a lot smile

Nevertheless, I found that, in an argument with a believer, the most difficult wall to overcome is about how scientific the evolution theory is to begin with.

“Variability is not actually caused by man; he only unintentionally exposes organic beings to new conditions of life, and then nature acts on the organization and causes it to vary. But man can and does select the variations given to him by nature, and thus accumulates them in any desired manner.

Man thus adapts animals and plants for his own benefit or pleasure. Man may do this methodically, or he may do it unconsciously by preserving the individuals most useful or pleasing to him without any intention of altering the breed.

It is certain that he can largely influence the character of a breed by selecting, in each successive generation, individual differences so slight as to be inappreciable except by an educated eye. This unconscious process of selection has been the great agency in the formation of the most distinct and useful domestic breeds. That many breeds produced by man have to a large extent the character of natural species, is shown by the inextricable doubts whether many of them are varieties or aboriginally distinct species.

There is no reason why the principles which have acted so efficiently under domestication should not have acted under nature. In the survival of favored individuals and races, during the constantly recurrent struggle for existence, we see a powerful and ever acting form of Selection.

The struggle for existence inevitably follows from the high geometrical ratio of increase which is common to all organic beings. This high rate of increase is proved by calculation, by the rapid increase of many animals and plants during a succession of peculiar seasons, and when naturalized in new countries.

More individuals are born than can possibly survive. A grain in the balance may determine which individuals shall live, and which shall die, which variety or species shall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally become extinct.

As the individuals of the same species come in all respects into the closest competition with each other, the struggle will generally be most severe between them; it will be almost equally severe between the varieties of the same species, and next in severity between the species of the same genus.

On the other hand the struggle will often be severe between beings remote in the scale of nature. The slightest advantage in certain individuals, at any age or during any season, over those with which they come into competition, or better adaptation in however slight a degree to the surrounding physical conditions, will, in the long run, turn the balance.

With animals having separated sexes, there will be in most cases a struggle between the males for the possession of the females. The most vigorous males, or those which have most successfully struggled with their conditions of life, will generally leave most progeny. But success will often depend on the males having special weapons, or means of defense, or charms; and a slight advantage will lead to victory.

As geology plainly proclaims that each land has undergone great physical changes, we might have expected to find that organic beings have varied under nature, in the same way as they have varied under domestication.

If there has been any variability under nature, it would be an unaccountable fact if natural selection had not come into play. It has often been asserted, but the assertion is incapable of proof, that the amount of variation under nature is a strictly limited quantity.

Man, though acting on external characters alone and often capriciously, can produce within a short period a great result by adding up mere individual differences in his domestic productions; and everyone admits that species present individual differences. But, besides such differences, all naturalists admit that natural varieties exist, which are considered sufficiently distinct to be worthy of record in systematic works.

No one has drawn any clear distinction between individual differences and slight varieties; or between more plainly marked varieties and sub-species and species. On separate continents, and on different parts of the same continent when divided by barriers of any kind, and on outlying islands, what a multitude of forms exist, which some experienced naturalists rank as varieties, others as geographical races or sub-species, and others as distinct, though closely allied species!

If then, animals and plants do vary, let it be ever so slightly or slowly, why should not variations or individual differences, which are in any way beneficial, be preserved and accumulated through natural selection, or the survival of the fittest?

If man can by patience select variations useful to him, why, under changing and complex conditions of life, should not variations useful to nature’s living products often arise, and be preserved or selected? What limit can be put to this power, acting during long ages and rigidly scrutinizing the whole constitution, structure, and habits of each creature, -favoring the good and rejecting the bad?

I can see no limit to this power, in slowly and beautifully adapting each form to the most complex relations of life. The theory of natural selection, even if we look no farther than this, seems to be in the highest degree probable.”

“As each species tends by its geometrical rate of reproduction to increase inordinately in number; and as the modified descendants of each species will be enabled to increase by as much as they become more diversified in habits and structure, so as to be able to seize on many and widely different places in the economy of nature, there will be a constant tendency in natural selection to preserve the most divergent offspring of anyone species.

Hence, during a long continued course of modification, the slight differences characteristic of varieties of the same species, tend to be augmented into the greater differences characteristic of the species of the same genus. New and improved varieties will inevitably supplant and exterminate the older, less improved, and intermediate varieties; and thus species are rendered to a large extent defined and distinct objects.

Dominant species belonging to the larger groups within each class tend to give birth to new and dominant forms; so that each large group tends to become still larger, and at the same time more divergent in character. But as all groups cannot thus go on increasing in size, for the Earth would not hold them, the more dominant groups beat the less dominant.

This tendency in the large groups to go on increasing in size and diverging in character, together with the inevitable contingency of much extinction, explains the arrangement of all the forms of life in groups subordinate to groups, all within a few great classes, which has prevailed throughout all time.”


“We can to a certain extent understand how it is that there is so much beauty throughout nature; for this may be largely attributed to the agency of selection.

That beauty, according to our sense of it, is not universal, must be admitted by everyone who will look at some venomous snakes, at some fishes, and at certain hideous bats with a distorted resemblance to the human face.

Sexual selection has given the most brilliant colors, elegant patterns, and other ornaments to the males, and sometimes to both sexes, of many birds, butterflies, and other animals. With birds it has often rendered the voice of the male musical to the female, as well as to our ears.

Flowers and fruit have been rendered conspicuous by brilliant colors in contrast with the green foliage, in order that the flowers may be easily seen, visited, and fertilized by insects, and the seeds disseminated by birds.

How it comes that certain colors, sounds, and forms should give pleasure to man and the lower animals, - that is, how the sense of beauty in its simplest form was first acquired, - we do not know any more than how certain odors and flavors were first rendered agreeable.”

“It can hardly be supposed that a false theory would explain, in so satisfactory a manner as does the theory of natural selection, the reason all living things have much in common, in their chemical composition, their cellular structure, their laws of growth, and their liability to injurious influences.

It has recently been objected that this is an unsafe method of arguing; but it is a method used in judging of the common events of life, and has often been used by the greatest natural philosophers. The undulatory theory of light has thus been arrived at; and the belief in the revolution of the Earth on its own axis was until lately supported by hardly any direct evidence.

It is no valid objection that science as yet throws no light on to the far higher problem of the essence or origin of life.”

“When we no longer look at an organic being as a savage looks at a ship, as something wholly beyond his comprehension; when we regard every production of nature as one which has had a long history; when we contemplate every complex structure and instinct as the summing up of many contrivances, each useful to the possessor, in the same way as any great mechanical invention is the summing up of the labor, the experience, the reason, and even the blunders of numerous workmen; when we thus view each organic being, how far more interesting does the study of natural history become!”

“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. “


“There is grandeur in this view of life with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this Earth has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”


“False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness; and when this is done, one path towards error is closed and the road to truth is often at the same time opened.”

“I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of anyone. It is so easy to hide our ignorance under such expressions as the “plan of creation,” “unity of design,” etc., and to think that we give an explanation when we only restate a fact.”


Charles Darwin, naturalist, excerpts from Origin of the Species

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Posted: 01 January 2005 03:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Hampsteadpete, I completely agree with every word you said. Did you happen to catch the debate on C-span yesterday between William Dembski, a leading proponent of Intelligent Design, and a scientist who defended evolution? Michael Shermer, the famous skeptic was also on the panel.

I’m not a scientist but I have read several books on evolution. While I was able to follow and vehemently disagree with Dembski’s arguments, I couldn’t follow and didn’t even try to listen to the scientist’s technical rebuttals. I’m sure it would have been clearer in a brief, well-written magazine article or book.

Clearly, Dembski has been carefully schooled in how to present basic information to the general public. The scientist has never received this training. In fact, he wasn’t even on top of the specific subject of his defense. Just before the debate ended, he admitted the only thing he knew about his particular topic was a journal article he’d read that afternoon. No wonder I didn’t even try to understand him.

Perhaps we need another specialty—the promotion and defense of science and reason to the general public. Some will say this is a waste of talent and resources, but as you said the IDers are strategic and cunning. After they destroy Darwin they will set their sights on the other branch of secular science—cosmology. And after that, what’s left of science won’t even be worth defending.

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Posted: 01 January 2005 07:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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This leads me to another thought…carry this trend out another 50 years or so…

current generations not believing in science, science being discredited.

America has always attracted the best and brightest from the world, enabling our technology to grow.  We sucked the major minds out of Europe durning the 1900’s.

Now, we don’t emphasize education except for the elite, we discredit the very science that gives our technology a leading edge on world markets, we don’t grow new inhouse great minds, we treat being intelligent as a crime, we pull everyone down to average mediocraty.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is catching up.  So what will this trend do to America in 50 years? Cripple us?

Will we be in some kind of horrific Dark Ages with too much power and no intelligence? Will WE become instead of a light to the world a terrible power of darkness?

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Posted: 01 January 2005 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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I hazard a guess that most “true believers” who call themselves Christians don’t believe in the concept of god as much as they instead believe in a particular version of that god.  Why can’t a god manifest through evoution, or why can’t a healing deity work through a doctor’s efforts—and why can’t a god work through cancer and any disease that god feels like?  Who is anyone to tell this god what he/she/it can or can’t do?  If a real Old Testament deity showed up fundies whould shit their undies, so again I am reminded of what Carl Jung wrote: Religion is a protection against a direct experience of God.  This led me to another thought: Whomsoever is afraid of science is afraid of God! 

By the way, I consider myself a pantheist, and I feel that everything in the universe is of the universe, thus (as Spinoza wrote) there is no outside to “god’s” skin.  And as I have said to some Christians, “If your God isn’t a totality you should ask to speak to a supervisor.”
 
And again, as pointed out by Joseph Campbell (a spiritual Cassandra if ever there was one) the conflict is not between Science and Religion, it is between the Science of today and the Science of two and three thousand years ago.  They didn’t have telescopes and microscopes at the time of Jesus and the earlier years of the House of David—if they had such sophisticated devices and still contended that the earth was the one and only center of the universe they would have been laughed out of history.

There is nothing fundies have to support arguments against Science except their bible: a book of tribally specific creation myths and rather long-winded family histories.  To continue to discuss this subject is exhausting: “Look, there’s a cloud (no, there isn’t)—Yes, there’s a cloud (no there isn’t)” ad nauseum.  We are currently witnessing the evolution of corporate predator beasts so avaricious and amoral as to put the shame to ancient tales of dragons and ogres: why waste energy on the monumentally pathetic task of disabusing fools of their foolishness?  Talk about the real stuff!   

I have been known to tell fundies to stop pretending they know God—it’s insulting to their deity and to the listener.  I suggest instead that we look at the raping and pillaging of our environment, the threats to our civil rights, and to our children’s future pocketbooks.  This is the real fallout, not whether someone can prove the unproveable.  (The Christopher Hitchens’ quote in Sam Harris’ book is apt: “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”)  Since Reason doesn’t seem to move the numbers of people who could use some moving, why not try shame, i.e. “You should be ashamed to stand by doing nothing while your God’s beautiful creation, the earth, is destroyed for fun and profit!  You are letting God down!”

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Posted: 02 January 2005 05:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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[quote author=“Iisbliss”]This leads me to another thought…carry this trend out another 50 years or so…

current generations not believing in science, science being discredited.

America has always attracted the best and brightest from the world, enabling our technology to grow.  We sucked the major minds out of Europe durning the 1900’s.

Now, we don’t emphasize education except for the elite, we discredit the very science that gives our technology a leading edge on world markets, we don’t grow new inhouse great minds, we treat being intelligent as a crime, we pull everyone down to average mediocraty.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is catching up.  So what will this trend do to America in 50 years? Cripple us?

Will we be in some kind of horrific Dark Ages with too much power and no intelligence? Will WE become instead of a light to the world a terrible power of darkness?

Your fears are completely justified and it must be apparent to the average intelligent individual that this seems to be the way things are headed. Especially note that, yes indeed, the elites will be educated and they will firmly be in control. Will this be good for the average American?

Naturally not.

And it will also destroy the hope upon which this country was built for an enlightened educated populace that understands the issues and can make decisions based upon reason and logic. But, naturally, that is the last thing that the American aristocracy wants.

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