Creationism

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Re: Creationism

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:07 pm UTC

I present the most foolish argument by creationists to date! The misunderstood, misinformed, Peanut Butter argument, based on the thinking outlined two posts ago!
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Re: Creationism

Postby ParanoidAndroid » Sat Jul 19, 2008 6:52 pm UTC

Varsil wrote:From that big list of questions, I take a different note about why Science > Religion in terms of coming to useful answers.

When you see a Neat Thing that you don't understand, the ideal response to it really isn't "Oh, hey, that must be God's doing". It's "Wow, I don't understand that at all... I have no clue what caused that, let's investigate and find out what". Uncertainty is a much better foundation for curiosity (and then discovery) than is certainty. Religion may have a lot of answers (okay, it may just have one answer to every question), but that isn't useful, as often investigation will come up with a better answer. For instance, lightning can be explained as "God is pissed, run for the hills", or it can be explained by an understanding of the electrical phenomena involved. Only the latter one gets us lightning rods, which are damn handy, and you can't get there unless you've put aside faith in favour of doubt.

So, I'd argue that "God explains all the unexplained stuff" is not only unsupported by existing evidence, it's not a useful belief to hold. It is actually counterproductive.


Of course, saying "God did it," and stopping there is pointless, because it's incomplete. Some of the world's greatest scientists became great by saying, "God did it. I wonder how He did it." "God did it," shouldn't be used as a cop-out, and it's unfortunate that it is used as such. Instead, science is seeking to further understand the natural world, and, by extension, the works of God.

Mancho wrote:I've seen some discussion about this before, but I'm not sure why people frame this as Creationism vs Evolution. Depending on your understanding of creationism, the two are not mutually exclusive. I am Catholic, but see no reason to doubt the validitity of evolution. I am also a Creationist in the sense that I believe God created us, and evolution is the process by which He did it. Science and Religion shouldn't be adversarial. The more we learn through science, the better (usually).

Should creationism be taught in the classroom? If we're talking about creationism as science, no. Creationism is not a science and has no place being taught as such.


Agreed. "God did it. How? Through the process of evolution."

vodka.cobra wrote:
Mancho wrote:If the IDiots (not a typo) want to get their religion its "equal time," the church should volunteer a person to teach a Religious Studies class. As long as it's an elective, and nobody is forced to take it in any way, and they actually answer every question instead of telling the students that they can only read and recite scripture but not question it *coughcatechismcough*, I don't see the harm.


Also agreed, though "IDiots" is almost as bad as "EVILution". Yeah, I've seen people use that in serious debates. :roll:

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Re: Creationism

Postby erik542 » Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:13 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I present the most foolish argument by creationists to date! The misunderstood, misinformed, Peanut Butter argument, based on the thinking outlined two posts ago!


That's rich. What I was attempting to do was to dismiss the improbability argument on its own terms by demonstrating even if in any given instance it is improbable for life to develop, that there are so many iterations of it that it becomes quite probable that at least one of the iterations yields life.

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Re: Creationism

Postby Mo0man » Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:29 pm UTC

erik542 wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:I present the most foolish argument by creationists to date! The misunderstood, misinformed, Peanut Butter argument, based on the thinking outlined two posts ago!


That's rich. What I was attempting to do was to dismiss the improbability argument on its own terms by demonstrating even if in any given instance it is improbable for life to develop, that there are so many iterations of it that it becomes quite probable that at least one of the iterations yields life.

Wait, is it a stupid argument cause there's generally already life in peanut butter? or is it cause they expect it to transform into some living, mutagenic, peanut butter blob?

Edit: not trying to be a jerk, just wondering, I have only just joined the thread
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Re: Creationism

Postby shmack92 » Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:47 am UTC

Spoiler:
Image

Yes, I agree, let's teach creationism along with evolution. While we're at it, lets teach alchemy alongside chemistry, and geo-centricity along with physics.

Scientific method:
"Hey look! Facts. What conclusions can we draw from them? "

Creationist method:
"Hey look! Conclusions. What facts can we use to support them?
Image

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Re: Creationism

Postby Jonolith » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:09 am UTC

Quixotess wrote:So your belief is justified by self-interest?


Isn't everything? Most every human action is 'justified by self-interest.' It's the rare exception that isn't and even then there's always some benefit to the person that did it. Before you jump in with extreme examples like people dying to save someone, that's a rare exception.

Even the scientist seeking objective truth is motivated by self-interest. It's just a part of being human. I'm a Christian, I'm not dumb.

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Re: Creationism

Postby seladore » Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:21 am UTC

I don't see how you can rationally choose to believe like that. It would make me happier to believe that have a million pounds in a bank account somewhere. But I can't go and choose to believe this.

This works if you believe already, but isn't a reason for belief in the first place, surely?

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Re: Creationism

Postby mrandrewv » Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:32 pm UTC

Hang on

Someone a few pages back wrote:

"The scientific method is applicable to absolutely everything, even a creative entity."

But what if God doesn't want to be found?

I am definitely not a theist but it just smacks of human arrogance to assume that our approaches are so good that we will someday be able to track down everything.

Let's say FSM exists, but he doesn't want us to know this. That would lead us to be in a world where every physical thing can be explained except the "why" (the why would of course be because his noodley appendages did it).

A hardcore positivist would then say "well if it can't be measure then it is useless to us". Except it isn't useless, because belief in it leads us to meatball heaven. It may be useless to science, but that doesn't mean it is useless to humanity, or even epistemology.

But any this all came from me not really getting why "there are no beliefs outside of science". If you could explain that I would be greatful :)
It's all very interesting...

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Re: Creationism

Postby Maurog » Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:35 pm UTC

In which ways is a deity that doesn't want to be found, different from a deity that doesn't exist?

The scientific method doesn't answer "why", it only concerns itself with the "how" of things.
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Re: Creationism

Postby mrandrewv » Tue Jul 22, 2008 12:39 pm UTC

Well the most important one would be:

1) it exists, and can thus give us cool stuff.

How will we know? Oh that's easy: after we die ;)


But maybe we should start a separate thread about positivism?

My question is simply: how do we know that all knowledge falls under science? Why is it impossible that there are things outside of the testable realm?
It's all very interesting...

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Re: Creationism

Postby Macbi » Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:13 pm UTC

Nearly by definition, you can only know something by testing.
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Re: Creationism

Postby PhilSandifer » Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:48 pm UTC

Macbi wrote:Nearly by definition, you can only know something by testing.


That's not true.

It is true that scientific knowledge is only developed by testing - i.e. falsifiability.

However I do not know that DNA exists in my cells by testing. I have never tested this. I know it through other means.

More fundamentally, I do not know that I can trust the evidence of my senses (and thus trust the scientific tests I engage in) via testing - that's something I can only know through some form of metaphysical knowledge.

Science is not the only form of knowledge in the world. There are areas in which it has a strong claim to being the best and most effective form of knowledge. But it is not the only form of knowledge.

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Re: Creationism

Postby Jonolith » Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:18 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:And why don't you believe in all of the other gods that have been prayed to throughout history? Many of them promise an afterlife, too.


Here's an interesting challenge. Let's start by putting my finger on what it is I do believe and move from there.

Christianity is a belief that Jesus showed up and did some stuff that he said he did, for God. Now, I can't really simply believe that Jesus was "Just a good teacher" simply because of the bold claims that he made. (You can attempt to argue Jesus' existence all you want, I'll just say that there are people who don't believe Shakespere existed either.) My options with Jesus are that I believe him to be a liar, crazy, or correct. I believe him to be correct in his claims. (See: Lee Stroble's "A Case for Christ", and if you haven't read it, The Bible is a nice book too.)

Alot of people have used Jesus for their own political agendas and so forth leading to alot of people making claims such as "Religion is the opiet of the masses" and so forth, but none of that has any actual bearing on what Jesus means to me as an individual. To put it succinctly, I don't care what you think about Jesus, I care what I think about Jesus.

So, why exclude all other religions from this system of belief? Well let's go through them.

Hinduism and Buddhism. Now I understand that these two hold their differences, but their central beliefs which effect me are pretty much the same. Both will tell me that I'm a hindu or a buddhist whether I believe in it or not, and both will tell me that I'm coming back to earth as a worm or a dog or a demi-god or something. Primarily I just don't see a reason to bother digging deep into the faith when they're telling me that the effects of it don't rely on my belief at all. Secondary, I'm not a huge fan of coming back to earth. Earth sucks. There are sucky people in it and I'll be equally as floudering and helpless then as I am now. And it seems to me that there's no real way of knowing whether or not I've come back a thousand times or once, so I shrug my shoulders and say "If that's what's going to happen, I guess it will." But I'm not going to put my chips into that pot because there's simply no reason to. It's just a bad bet.

Taoism and Confusionism. Philosophies more than anything. Both arose out of the collapse of the chinese empire some thousand years ago or so, and both are pretty much at odds with one another. Confusionism was clearly the religion of the state designed to organize and catagorize it's people; Taoism was a religion for the people which was more concerned with simply enjoying life. Neither really offered anything beyond that though, so I don't really see a reason to bother.

Any Religion involving an idol or an object at the center of worship. This includes the Egyptian Pantheon, shamanism, ect ect. I don't have any use for putting my faith in a rock. It's a rock. I don't care about a rock, and if a rock is my god then I'm in trouble. I can smash a rock, I am more powerful then a rock. A rock is just not useful to me, and I don't need it, so I'm just going to not bother with it.

The Greek Pantheon. We climbed the mountain, and they weren't there. Even if they were there Socrates made an excellent arguement for why worshipping them was a bad idea. At the end of the day I have no use for a god like Zues who uses mankind as his play things.

Judaism. Christianity is actually an extention of Judaism, and we really believe in the same God. The sticking point comes on Jesus, and that's a discussion that'll be ongoing for a long time.

Islam. Islam makes the claim to be the extention of Christianity. Now, my research on this is largely incomplete but a simple cursory glance at the history of Islam tells me that it's largely a political religion, and was always meant to be. It didn't come about until Constantine Politicized Christianity and made it the state religion. This offered him alot of benefits as the majority of the people under his power were Christian in spite of being aggressively hunted and killed for four hundred years. Mohommed, a rich merchant, comes forth with new teachings from God, which the Christian community largely rejects. The major successes of the spread of Islam come from holding a sword to someone's neck and saying "Believe in Islam or die." I have a tough time giving a religion a break when their primary source, from the very beginning, of spreading their message is military might. (I understand christianity has had it's fair share of this as well, and I condemn those who did it, and who do it today. But Christianity's largest successes were never military ones and always missionary ones.) Ultimately though I'm faced with a simliar problem with Islam as it says that Jesus was simply a prophet. This would make him either a liar, or crazy, which is something that the Islamic church doesn't acknowledge. Again, my research on Islam is ongoing, and largely incomplete.

Athieism: Pretty much offers me nothing except the guarentee for death. I don't see the purpose in it, and putting my bet on it is just a bad bet all around.

Ultimately I have found that Jesus is a historical figure tied to an incredibly ancient and long standing religion and he's the one actually offering something. All the other ones either promise nothing, or don't require me to pay attention for them to take effect. You'll find that my central arguement rests entirely on Christ. He was kind of a big deal.

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Re: Creationism

Postby Anpheus » Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:50 pm UTC

First, you need to tell your Philosophy teacher he pretty well failed to educate you on the differences between various beliefs. Hinduism and Buddhism are not "close enough" that you can just use them interchangeably. Neither is Taoism and Confucianism.

Second, your entire argument is based on Pascal's Wager. Basically, your argument for believe in Jesus is because he gives you the most benefit in your eyes. For example, you won't go to hell, you get to have a happy afterlife, etc.

But what if I made a new religion, say, Flying Spaghetti Monsterism (where we worship a floating pile of spaghetti with meatballs for eyes.) In this religion, if you don't believe in it, you die and go to a place worse than hell: a hot teflon pot without enough water. Your entire existence afterward will be eternal suffering from the several hundred degree pot scorching every surface of your body until, hah. There is no until. Forever. If you do believe, you will be granted an afterlife in which you may forever feast upon His Noodly Appendage, or in fact any delicious food item of your choice made with pasta. You can do whatever you want, you can kayak the creamy alfredo rivers, you can fly through the air, meet everyone who ever lived and believed in Pastafarianism, etc. It's very good.

Now, do you believe in this religion? If you don't, you're going to have one hell of a time after you die, right? And since you seem to only be concerned with the untestable claims made by religions (does it offer you anything after you die, does it provide any intangible benefit to you now, what happens if you don't believe in it, etc.) I can't imagine you wouldn't choose to believe in Pastafarianism / Flying Spaghetti Monsterism.

Oh yeah, and you can't get into Pasta-heaven without believing in Pastafarianism. There's no "if you're a good enough person, God will let you in" loophole like for Christianity. When you die, you won't be placed in front of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and asked if you believe, you won't be given a chance to change your mind. Nope. If you don't believe, you go to the boiling pan that somebody forgot to add water too. You will forever lie in torment on the surface of the pan, the pain never diminishing.
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Re: Creationism

Postby VannA » Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:10 am UTC

mrandrewv wrote:Hang on

Someone a few pages back wrote:

"The scientific method is applicable to absolutely everything, even a creative entity."

But what if God doesn't want to be found?

I am definitely not a theist but it just smacks of human arrogance to assume that our approaches are so good that we will someday be able to track down everything.

Let's say FSM exists, but he doesn't want us to know this. That would lead us to be in a world where every physical thing can be explained except the "why" (the why would of course be because his noodley appendages did it).

A hardcore positivist would then say "well if it can't be measure then it is useless to us". Except it isn't useless, because belief in it leads us to meatball heaven. It may be useless to science, but that doesn't mean it is useless to humanity, or even epistemology.

But any this all came from me not really getting why "there are no beliefs outside of science". If you could explain that I would be greatful :)


If it interacts with us, we will eventually find it.

This includes the oh-so-elusive soul.

I will acknowledge there is potential for our universe-as-system to be monitored in stop-states that would be undetectable to us, and that copies of us made during such states could then be subjected to heaven/hell.

I'm just not sure its valid.
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Re: Creationism

Postby sporkify » Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:39 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I present the most foolish argument by creationists to date! The misunderstood, misinformed, Peanut Butter argument, based on the thinking outlined two posts ago!



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4yBvvGi_2A

This is actually meant to be serious. I'm still laughing.
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Re: Creationism

Postby seladore » Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:41 am UTC

I present the coconut, the theists nightmare!

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Re: Creationism

Postby mrandrewv » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:33 pm UTC

VannA said: "if it interacts with us we will eventually find it."

Excuse me but can you prove that? And I don't mean "prove" as in "create perfect evidence for". I mean "prove" in the only way it is ever used outside of maths, and sometimes physics: "there are more reasons to believe this argument/theory than the other arguments/theories."

Anyway enough bs: please explain why you are so sure that we will eventually find everything that has an effect on us? Cause if you can't explain why then it means you are just taking it on faith, and then the world will explode! :shock:

I mean hypothetically if FSM exists and his noodley appendages really are made undetectable by virtue of his goddish poowers then while we might be able to detect and measure the EFFECT of his interactions with our world the CAUSES of these effects are unmeasurable, because while the effects exist in our physical reality the appendages themselves do not.

Now I know what you are thinking: this is nonesense because it fails the test of falsifiability!
Except that falsifiability only applies to scientific theories, this is not a scientific theory because it deals with an entity that exists beyond our physical world.

Now some people will be thinking: ha! you can't fool me like that! It is foolish for us to try and prove that something DOESN'T exist!
Except that's not what I am asking.

My original question remains the same: what is your argument for believing that all knowledge falls within the realm of science?
It's all very interesting...

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Re: Creationism

Postby Anpheus » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:44 pm UTC

Anything that repeatedly interacts with the observable universe should be found using the scientific method by some combination of simulations, reproductions of the situation that resulted in the mysterious interaction, etc.

For example, if human beings have a soul that interacts with them, or causes their actions, then we should be able to eventually create a perfect simulcra of a person. A digital representation of every neuron, every cell, etc. If we run that simulation, and yeah this is probably a century or more from now that we'll be able to do this, then we should see whether or not it's intelligent. If that simulation is capable of thought, etc, then there is no soul that drives human beings to be thinking beings.

The only problem I can foresee with that is ethical, because you would have to run that simulation until the death of the simulcra.
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Re: Creationism

Postby Varsil » Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:47 pm UTC

Jonolith wrote:(Long discussion of reasons)


That all seems to boil down to Pascal's Wager, combined with a little bit of "This would be convenient if it were true". As has been pointed out, though, a logical extension of Pascal's Wager would be that you basically have to worship the most vindictive imaginable God.

Or, consider this: I am a deity, and I will send you to super-hell after you die if you don't send me twenty bucks. Being omnipotent, I can do this despite any other promises other deities might give you. Surely you're ready to send me twenty bucks now?

Probably not, I'm guessing.

You'd want some further evidence. So behold: I created the Internet. You might think that this is a ludicrous claim, because there's no evidence of that, and other plausible explanations for how the Internet came to be. But these are just the means by which I created the Internet. Not convinced yet? I also created taxes, as a small demonstration of what a hell could truly be like. And elevator music. Also, the smell of rotting fish.

The best part? I'm not asking for you to rewrite your belief system, or stop believing in other deities (who may also want your cash--I'm not one to step on another deity's racket). Just a small one-time payment. By comparison with your diety, I'm asking for incredibly little, and threatening you with more.

I also note that it's incredibly disrespectful of whatever deity you're choosing to worship. It's like paying your protection money to the toughest, meanest gangster in town. In fact, you've ruled several religions out because they're insufficiently bastardly. Says something about the one you are sticking with, doesn't it?

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Re: Creationism

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jul 23, 2008 8:48 pm UTC

Self interest can cause us to act in certain ways, Jonolith, but I fail to see how your "dying for someone" example can account for the justification of beliefs. Even if you can convince yourself to believe something because your incomplete understanding of Pascal's-Wager type arguments says it's in your best interest to do so, I doubt many of us would really agree that this is a reasonable *justification* for that belief. (Like stated above, it's also in my best interest to believe I'll win the lottery tomorrow (it'll make me much better at not letting things bother me today, for example). But this doesn't actually make my belief at all justified, let alone actually any more likely to be true.)

And it may indeed be overstated to say, "If it interacts with us, we'll find it", because maybe we'll go extinct first, or something.

But it is a simple statement of logical fact that, "if it interacts with us, we could in principle make some observation that would provide evidence for its existence". And that's what science is about. We may not actually end up finding it, sure. But as long as we could in principle, you've made a scientific claim. If, on the other hand, you're talking about a "god" who is so good at hiding that there is no way, even in theory, anyone could observe something that would distinguish between a universe with this entity and one without it, then you're not making a scientific claim. You're making an invisible unicorn claim. It's scientifically meaningless.

Varsil wrote:I also note that it's incredibly disrespectful of whatever deity you're choosing to worship.

This is true even if you don't bring other gods into it at all. Telling your deity, "I worship you because you'll make it suck if I don't," is like telling your parents, "I'm polite to you only because you'll beat me if I'm not."
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Re: Creationism

Postby Anpheus » Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:53 pm UTC

I'm real nice to the mods and admins here because otherwise they'll get the lash out again.

I'm sorry I know I'm not supposed to talk about it, don't hurt me.
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Re: Creationism

Postby VannA » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:37 am UTC

Anpheous already clarified everything I would have said in my defence.
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Re: Creationism

Postby EmptySet » Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:01 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I present the most foolish argument by creationists to date! The misunderstood, misinformed, Peanut Butter argument, based on the thinking outlined two posts ago!


The worst I've seen is the argument that, if the Big Bang had occurred, everything in the universe would spin in the same direction. It was an article which used to be up on Answers In Genesis, though I can't find it anymore - perhaps someone pointed out just how ridiculous it was.

The claim was that everything was spinning at the time of the Big Bang, and so should continue to spin in the same direction forever due to conservation of angular momentum.

Now, the funny part is not the misunderstanding of fairly basic physics, but rather that said misunderstanding resulted in a claim which it is utterly obvious is untrue - for example, a doorknob changes its direction of spin after you turn it, to return to its original position. There can't possibly be a physical law which prevents things ever changing their direction of spin because we witness it occurring dozens of times every day. The fact that someone managed to overlook this and assert, in all seriousness, that things should always spin the same way is astounding.

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Re: Creationism

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 24, 2008 1:48 pm UTC

I for one would like it if everything *were* spinning in the same direction, because then time travel would be possible. :-)
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Re: Creationism

Postby ParanoidAndroid » Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:28 am UTC

Not that I actually have something to contribute to the debate...just a little aside, I guess.

shmack92 wrote:
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Because belittling and insulting your ideological opponents is conducive to open-minded discussion!

Jonolith wrote:Secondary, I'm not a huge fan of coming back to earth. Earth sucks. There are sucky people in it and I'll be equally as floudering and helpless then as I am now.


Well, the Bible tells us that we are coming back to Earth. Revelation 21 tells about the Kingdom of God coming down to the new, restored Earth. It's not leaving Earth for Heaven, it's Heaven coming to Earth.


Anpheus wrote:Anything that repeatedly interacts with the observable universe should be found using the scientific method by some combination of simulations, reproductions of the situation that resulted in the mysterious interaction, etc.


Um, says who? Yes, any physical entity that repeatedly interacts with the observable universe should be able to be found. Why make the assumption that everything that interacts with the universe plays by the universe's rules?

For example, if human beings have a soul that interacts with them, or causes their actions, then we should be able to eventually create a perfect simulcra of a person. A digital representation of every neuron, every cell, etc. If we run that simulation, and yeah this is probably a century or more from now that we'll be able to do this, then we should see whether or not it's intelligent. If that simulation is capable of thought, etc, then there is no soul that drives human beings to be thinking beings.


What do you define as a "soul"? What is "intelligent"? What is "capable of thought"? Would that imply that people in a vegetative state are somehow soulless? Does it make sense to assume that there are no glass bottles under the sand just because your metal detector doesn't find it? Who says that the soul "drives human beings to be thinking beings,"?

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Re: Creationism

Postby Quixotess » Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:36 am UTC

Wait. I'm confused.
ParanoidAndroid wrote:Why make the assumption that everything that interacts with the universe plays by the universe's rules?

Wouldn't anything interacting with the universe be part of the universe, and wouldn't its rules therefore be considered the universe's rules?
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Re: Creationism

Postby VannA » Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:27 am UTC

Welcome, Quix, to General Systems Theory.

It simply increases the scope of the system.

You can arbitarily define our Universe as our Universe, and its feasible to do things during a stop-state, as I alluded to above.. In which case you have a new system interacting with out system, in a seemingly 1-way fashion.

Questions about the soul quickly devolve into questions about Free Will, because its the only remotely sensible postulation for Free Will to exist..
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Re: Creationism

Postby Anpheus » Sat Jul 26, 2008 9:39 pm UTC

If the soul interacts with people in a non-random, definable way, it will eventually be possible to test this. Period. That soul will be as much a part of the natural universe as anything else.

However, no one has even presented a falsifiable theory for the soul yet. No church is willing to do it, etc.
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Re: Creationism

Postby Undersiege » Tue Jul 29, 2008 7:10 am UTC

True. If a soul interacts with people in a definable way, then regardless of whether or not we can define the soul, or interact with it, it can be tested by its absence*. However, its absence does not require it to be as much a part of the universe as anything else... it would just require it to be absent.

*(Life, for example. There is no physical difference we can really see between a living creature the instant right before its death and the instant right after its death, (aside from any effects from the cause of its death), yet whatever it is that is removed in the death is definable by its absence... right?)

Anyway... ((INVITE TO DEBATE))

I am a Chrisian, and I do believe in intelligent design. The universe is sufficiently complex (and evolution sufficiently unconvincing) to explain away to mere chance. Logically, this is the best explanation. You might not agree. Sorry. I invite debate, and would be interested in seeing something believed by (whoever) to be evidence of evolution (haven't seen anything too convincing yet). I may be able to refute it already. I may not. I may not be able to offer sufficiently meaty evidence for my point of view. It is entirely possible. I am not even out of high school yet, and many questions thrown at me would require quite a bit of research or be entirely over my level. I'd be willing to do the research though.

One of the biggest "origen of the universe" problems is that whether or not it was spoken into existance by God or created in a rapidly expanding clump of space-time and matter (did I malign the Big Bang theory? Hope not...) it can't be done again in a laboratory. We can't reproduce God speaking in a lab, obviously, (not being gods...) and you can't reproduce evolution (because, even if it were possible, the chances of it happening while you're looking are SO small...) so it's down to your faith or belief. Faith and your interpritation of the evidence from the world around you. Everyone is biased. Some more than others. I've known very biased Christians. I've known biased evolutionists, or both in combination. Nobody's perfect. I've also known very lightly biased Christains and evolutionists... so it can happen. I am one of the lightly biased ones.

It is a real shame about some creationalists, though, and I see where some of you are coming from... there are a couple flavors of us, as there are of any other type of people. There are the inquisitive, "Here are the facts - Lets see where they go" people. I am one of them. There are also the die-hard, my-momma-told-me-this-so-it-has-to-be-true types, and those seem much more common. Unfortunate. (Those of the first type are often disillusioned evolutionists =) )

And the inquisitive type typically get to reap the whirlwind from the others... oh well. Life.

Oh -- I am not famillier with the "Peanut Butter" argument. My internet is slow dialup. Could someone sum it up for me please?

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Re: Creationism

Postby Gadren » Tue Jul 29, 2008 7:38 am UTC

First, I'd like to point out that speciation has been observed in the laboratory. There is a lot of evidence of smaller changes out there; for example, there are bacteria in the Chernobyl area that have adapted to feed off of the radiation there, and we've known about bacteria that consume nylon for some time. The fact that these were not natural parts of their environment shows that these organisms have evolved. And there's really no difference between microevolution and macroevolution, other than the passage of time.

Next, it's important to understand that evolution by natural selection is not mere chance. Rather, it is the non-random selection of random mutation. If some organism has a mutation that lets it survive better or pass its genes on better, it will tend to survive better or pass its genes on better. It's simply the inevitable result of system that features mutation (random changes), reproduction (the ability to pass on changes), and selection (some environment that determines which changes get passed on).

You also seem to be lumping together three different theories: the Big Bang (origin of the Universe), abiogenesis (origin of life), and evolution (change and diversification of life). The Big Bang is very well-supported (read up on the COBE Mission, mentioned in xkcd's store under the "Science: It works, bitches" shirt), but not relevant to discussions of evolution. We're still figuring out abiogenesis, but there's some good evidence that the conditions of Earth in the distant path were such that would naturally lead to the formation of the building blocks of life.

Ignoring the link I've posted about speciation being observed in the laboratory, I feel like you have an incorrect view that, unless we can directly observe or replicate something, we can't say it exists. Such an attitude would mean our crime-scene labs would be declared useless (since they weren't there at the time of the murder). The difference between evolution and creation is that evolution is falsifiable and we can study it by determining what the theory predicts and seeing if the natural world coincides with that. Creation, on the other hand, cannot be falsifiable because examples of "unintelligent design" can be explained away by saying it's God's will (I'm not just making this up -- Phillip E. Johnson, one of the fathers of the modern ID movement, has written that any flaws in an organism's design is merely due to the Creator's "inscrutable will").

It often feels like, in the midst of heated debate, it's best to merely throw one's hands up in the air and say that no side can ever really know. But that sort of equivalence needs to be grounded, and it isn't in this case.

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Re: Creationism

Postby Anpheus » Tue Jul 29, 2008 7:44 am UTC

Rant on why improbability of life arguments are epic fail follows.

If you flipped a fair coin 20 times unpredictably and you got heads each time, you might say, "Ah, this is sufficiently unlikely that this could not have occurred, thus I or some other force must have made it heads each time." This would be false. 20 heads is just as unlikely as 10 heads and 10 tails in that order. Or heads, tails, heads, tails, etc. Or heads, heads, tails, tails, etc. Getting heads on the coin 20 times in a row is just as unlikely as every other possible result. Yet I dare say, few of us would ever question the possibility of it happening. After all, it happens one in a million times. Surely someone, somewhere on earth has flipped a close-to-fair coin twenty times in a row and gotten heads each time?

Now amplify that a billion billion billion billion (keep going) times. One cosmological theory posits an infinite number of possible universes, one member above believed that one brand of string theory posits 10^500 universes within a "multiverse" (many, many, many googols. Billions upon billions upon billions. It would not be possible to write the number of billions in this space.)

And in each universe you can have, as in ours, billions upon billions of galaxies, each with hundreds of millions of stars. And each of those stars can, as we see anecdotally, have nearly a dozen planets in orbit. And each planet could have a surface area in the hundreds of millions of kilometers. And any such planet with an ocean could have billions of cubic kilometers of ocean.

So is it really all that unlikely that life would evolve through random chance somewhere in the universe? Given the odds, I'd say a universe (or multiverse, or what-have-you) devoid of life would be astounding. Even when you dumb down the rules to the point of absurdity, as in Conway's Game of Life, you find enormous complexity. There are gliders and breeders and guns, and it's even possible to make a Universal Turing Machine in Conway's Game of Life. Crazy, huh? You can actually make a device in Conway's Game of Life that can compute anything your computer running the simulation can. You could, theoretically, implement Conway's Game of Life within Conway's Game of Life. That's fantastic isn't it?

The universe is much larger and much stranger and much more varied than you or I can comprehend, and the marvels never cease.

Rant over.

That rant above on why life is likely aside, I will tackle the specific points you make in your post Undersiege, because as a developing intellect you deserve worthy rebuttal.

First, on death: if you can't define the instant before or after death, who's to say one such instant exists? I mean, if there's no physical difference which can be examined, then there is no "instant of death." Rather, we see that in life there are shades of gray. There are people who are very arguably dead to us whose bodies can be sustained indefinitely (see: Terry Schiavo,) and people whose bodies are withering while their mind burns bright (see: Steven Hawking.)

Second, on intelligent design versus evolution. The logical solution is the one that you can test and examine the validity of. There is no such thing as testing intelligent design. When a so-called scientist of intelligent design asks, "How come nature is like this?" he cannot search for answers, for his belief is: "It was made that way." It's a non-answer. And rather than try to examine evidence, you always rely on the same non-answer: "It was made that way." It's not logical because you cannot argue it. There's no such argument that you can use against intelligent design. However, you can argue against evolution. And in fact, the current theories (plural) of evolution are vastly different from the idea of natural selection first posited by Darwin. Every time we've changed the theories behind evolution, we've said, you know what, our previous theories were wrong, they were incomplete, and we've made them better. You cannot do that with intelligent design. There is no way to increase one's understanding of the world.

Third, on biasing problems in the evidence for the big bang and a supposed lack of experimental evidence. You can, actually, recreate the conditions similar to the big bang. Obviously the actual incident isn't reproducible, but we can observe the effects of that instance by looking into the sky (the further away you look, the longer it took that light to get here, hence it's like looking into the past.) And there are cadres of very highly skilled theoreticians, physicists and engineers seeking to further improve the tools we have for finding yet more evidence to back up, or as the case very likely will be, rebuild our theories. 2008 isn't just an exciting year for all the games and movies coming out (it's one of the best years in the entertainment industry ever,) but it's also a big year for science! The Large Hadron Collider will begin operations this August, allowing us to probe energies much closer to the beginning of our observable universe than ever before. And lastly, we have observed every one of the currently known processes of evolution. Every mechanism of gene transfer that exists under the umbrella of evolutionary theory is something that has been documented either as occurring in laboratory conditions or through the behavior of animals in the wild.

Fourth, the peanut butter argument is a pro-creationist argument such that, because we make a lot of peanut butter and because (they say) scientists say that life can occur just whenever it wants to, that we should open up a jar of peanut butter and find completely new life. Well, actually if you leave the peanut butter sealed long enough, you will find new life. Any organism that adapts itself to live off the particular blend of nutrients in peanut butter would be pretty novel. If you want to accelerate this process you can heat up the peanut butter a bit (increases the rate at which chemical reactions take place.) Of course, the result probably won't be completely new life, as peanut butter is missing a number of chemicals that are amenable to starting life from scratch, and as you may have noticed, it doesn't really mix around. It's not like a soup, it's like putty. So if you have two chemicals that you need to combine to make life and they're on opposite sides of the putty, they'll never interact. To summarize, the peanut butter argument is a facetious attempt at using "scientific logic" (in quotes) to debunk evolution.
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Re: Creationism

Postby seladore » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:57 pm UTC

Short post, but...

The idea that 'if you can't reproduce it in a lab, then you have to take it on faith' is simply wrong.

For example, we cannot see any astrophysical phenomena in a lab. We have to use observation and interpolation to try and work out what is going on. I can't imagine you would want to argue that all of astrophysics is "down to your faith or belief"

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Re: Creationism

Postby oxoiron » Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:53 pm UTC

Undersiege wrote:I am a Chrisian, and I do believe in intelligent design. The universe is sufficiently complex (and evolution sufficiently unconvincing) to explain away to mere chance. Logically, this is the best explanation.
Using your logic, the being that designed the Universe must also have been designed, since the designer is clearly too complex "to explain away to mere chance."

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Re: Creationism

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:19 pm UTC

The peanut butter argument is against the spontaneous generation of life. It has nothing to do with peanut butter, only being demonstrated IN peanut butter. The argument is that because evolutionists are arguing for the spontaneous generation of life (some aren't! There are other hypothesis! but anyway), that we should expect that somewhere, in the shit ton of cans or packaged preserves or foods we've made, that if we opened a can there'd be spontaneously generated life inside. The narrator of the video, an avid Creationist figurehead of some sort, pops open a jar of peanut butter dramatically and goes "Look! no life! Clearly those evolutionists are full of crap!" or such.
The argument is bunk, because
1) it assumes an equal number of 'stuff' to that present when life DID evolve. That there clearly isn't as much packaged goods as there are is ocean space by a WIIIIIIDE margin is enough to negate this argument.
2) it assumes an equal timespan of 'stuff reacting' in packaged goods as 'stuff reacting' in the ocean. Considering the creation of life is theorized to have occured of the scale of a multiple millions of years, this is again enough to negate this argument.
3) it assumes packaged goods contain the proper conditions for the spontaneous generation of life. I'm not sure, but I don't believe raman noodles to be rich with UV sheltering clay composites and amino acid soups.
4) it doesn't actually address any evolutionist discoveries/arguments. It'd be like me flipping over a rock and saying "Hmm, gods not here. Therefor god doesn't exist. Case closed"

I said this earlier in the thread, but I"ll repeat it anyway, because who isn't entitled my opinion?

Science has no problem with faith. A good deal of scientists, and DAMNED good ones, are fairly faithful people. E.O. Wilson is one of my heroes, and the mans a pious southern preacher of some sort. I can easily understand how someone would find their faith enhanced by the science they learned; afterall, the universe and everything within it is fucking amazing, beautiful and elegant and sublime, and that in and of itself, can reaffirms one faith in the beautiful, the elegant, and the sublime. That however, does not mean that we need to worship something that we superficially believe has created it all. Religion SHOULD have surpassed the "Why does the spider weave a web" creation myth that mankind spent a few thousand years spinning, religion SHOULD now be a set of moral codes and life rules for how to be a good person, for how to find a connection with your fellow man. (Note that does not mean you must have religion to be a morally good person!)

But intelligent design is something pretty insidious. It is the opposite of scientific inquiry, thinly veiled by fairly intelligent people with an agenda. Scientific inquiry is about saying "I don't know the truth of something, lets set up some experiments to find out that truth!" and discovering something new. Intelligent design is saying "I don't know the truth of something, but rather then find out that truth, I'm going to assume that the truth is unknowable, because God did it".

ID is at it's core, anti-science, it is a backhand deal made to continue pandering the ignorance of "Gods work" rather then grasping at some responsibility and seeking truth for yourself, and more generally, seeking truth in a greater framework then what's found between the covers of that thing called the Bible.
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Re: Creationism

Postby Undersiege » Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:53 pm UTC

I will reply out of order, but I'll try to get everything.

On death: I referred not to the absence of a mind but of life. We cannot sustain a body that has died. However, we can't explain what has happened when it dies (yes, the various cells starve of oxygen and die, and the whole critter dies because the individual cells die) but I've never seen a good definition of what it is that leaves when something dies - the dictionary I have access to right now states that death is the "the permanent ending of vital processes in a cell or tissue" which is true, but what caused the vital processes in the first place? Say we took a freshly dead organism (not a just-living one in which the majority of cells were still alive, but one in which there had been, as yet, no decay) and tried to bring it back to life. We could probably mimic some of the basic electronic impulses that get it's heart beating, we could push air into it's lungs, ect, but we couldn't bring it to life, despite there being no obvious reason (except that "It's dead") that we couldn't. I am half asleep: My argument may be better later.

On intelligent design versus evolution:The logical solution is the simple one, actually. We can indeed increase our knowledge of the universe, just like anyone else can. We look at the evidence differently than evolutionists do, typically, in that we come to a different conclusion, but we aren't always right, and we know it. Theories about the origen of the universe, for example, abound, with the criteria being that they both fit observable evidence and the Bible. (For example, Starlight and Time, by D. Russel Humphreys, is an attempt to fit observed data with what the bible says. I don't honestly know how well his theory stands up to physics. I do know that you've got to at least give him credit for trying - instead of just saying that "It was just Built that way").

On biasing problems: I give you that they are trying to look for evidence to support their theory. Commendable.(By the way, I got this from the article you linked me to... "CMB was not that of a true black body. In a sounding rocket experiment, they detected an excess brightness at 0.5 and 0.7 mm wavelengths. These results cast doubt on the validity of the Big Bang theory in general and help support the Steady State theory.[2]") You cannot, however, recreate the conditions of the big bang. For that, you would have to create a point within our space-time oriented universe (I said that very badly, but hopefully you know what I meant) for a point where there was no space, no time. Because the theory speculates that space-time and matter were made at the same time, and thus you couldn't hope to reproduce their creation without eradicating the surrounding space-time. (Did that make any sense, or is it all in my head? It makes sense to me... but I may have to rephrase it later to be understood) The various mechanisms required by Darwin's theory have been seen, true... but not all in the forms nessisary for (macro evolution) to work. Required are mutations, natural selection, and reproduction, as stated by Gadren (I'll get to you in a minute). Mutations are observed in the laboratory. Almost all the time they are detremental. However, there are instances where they can be helpful to the organsim - for example, bacteria that become immune to certain antibiotics. That would be a mutation coupled with natural selection. However, there haven't been documented mutations that actually added information to the DNA of the creature type in question. Shuffle it around, yes. Detract from it, yes. The antibiotic resistant bacteria have various forms of mutation that actually stop them from transporting chemicals across their cell walls correctly. They can do it, but because it's the wrong "shape" the antibiotics don't manage to screw it up. However, the "shape" (Is there a better word?) is not as efficient as the original, and when the influence of the antibiotics is taken away, the super-bacteria get out-breeded by the normal ones and die out. They aren't better, they're simply stronger against one thing and weaker against another than normal ones. Natural selection is not argued here - the fittest, in the absence of tampering, do out-survive the less fit. I've not seen mutations that add information though, and the addition of information would be required to evolve from one species to another (macro evolution).

On peanut butter: In an infinate universe, despite odds against, organsims would show up in the peanut butter. However, the odds against are sufficently high that I wouldn't think it possible to have it happen while we watched... and the argument is pointless. I agree... some logical arguments are decent. That one is not one of them.

Gadren, the article on speciation finnicked with the definition before showing the examples! What the crap... (here's dictionary.com's version: " Biology. the major subdivision of a genus or subgenus, regarded as the basic category of biological classification, composed of related individuals that resemble one another, are able to breed among themselves, but are not able to breed with members of another species") anyway, I'm still reading it... but I'll respond to your other points. Nylon eating bacteria... that would likely be simply natural selection. Nylon may be synthetic, but the chemicals it is made from do occur in nature, in various compounds. Nylon may fit the requirements of a certain form of bacteria... but they would probably be happy elsewhere as well. As for the life inside the reactor, I'm still reading up on that one too. Wouldn't want to say something stupid, huh?

(Oh, and there is a difference between Micro-Evolution and Macro-Evolution. Micro is inter-species, and works by changing which pieces of genetic info come to the surface, if you will, and show up in the organism. Macro evolution has not been observed, and functions by adding information (through mutations) to existing genetic code so that information that previously did not exist comes to the surface and manifests in the organism. The difference is actually a major one.)

I may indeed be lumping them together. Would you prefer to discuss them seperately? Fine by me, but detemining the origen of the universe would determine whether or not the universe is infinate, which would be a very useful piece of data when examining the theory of evolution. Abiogenesis (spontanious generation of life) is one of the biggest questions... and it should be replicatable in the laboratory. This seems to me to be one of the greatest failures of the theory of evolution, as, if it were true, scientists should have stumbled upon the correct methods of creating life from non-life by now (knowing conditions of its origen, right?) Now, leading up to the building blocks of life... that would be the miller experement you refer to?

I didn't say, or didn't intend to say that unless we can replicate something we can't say it exists... though, we can in fact replicate crime scenes, because all the important variables can be re-done (acting out the murder, robbery - whatever. Can be done) I don't believe I said it doesn't exist, merely that we cannot hope to prove that it does scientifically. We can certainly show that it is the most logical explanation (fits all the data, is better than any of the other theories) but if we can't repeat it we can't know for certain if it works. Creation does allow for room to change to what we see in the world... we know He did it, we don't know how he did it. Evolution does allow for falsification... but creation theories do too. I am not arguing with your quote from Phillip E. Jonhson... but can you supply an example of uninteligent design?

It does feel like the best way is to throw your hands in the air sometimes... but I do appreciate the civility of this discussion. I was steeling myself for a somewhat... more hostile... reception.

Finally, on the rant... Nice rant. I love statistics... I can understand what you're saying. However, fact is, you've a basic flaw in your logic: We don't know whether or not there are 10 to the 500th universes out there. That little bit is based off of a string theory. In that it is still a theory, let's not be basing other theories off of it just yet. True, assuming abiogenesis is possible, in a near infinate universe (or an infinate one) life would have to show up somewhere by statistics. In an infinite universe, it should show up an infinate number of times, actually. The fact that we don't yet have proof that the universe is or isn't infinate is what I'm getting at here. Currently, the belief that the universe is finite is as valid as the belief that it is not.
However, you've given the odds a slightly unfair twist... the area of possible life is a great deal smaller than that... only a handful (if that many) of the dozen planets you speak of could support life, only a handful of star types would be correct for planets to form (or life on the planets) ... the odds are rather more stacked against than you imply. However, in an infinate universe you'd still get infinate forms of life.

If anyone wants to hear a slighly humorous (not logical or decent, and certainly not usable, but humorous) argument against an infinate universe, I know one that makes the peanut butter one sound smart... =)

Oxoiron: As to the "who designed the designer" argument... admittedly, there are things to be left to faith. I could expand to a theologic argument here, to explain my understanding of this, but I don't know if theology would be allowed here. Tell me if it is, and if it is I'll give it a go.

Izawwalgood: What other hypotheses? And ID is not anti-science... it's an approach to science with a different bias than your own. (I could say similar things about evolution... notice I haven't) I have already commented on the Peanut Butter argument... no argument there.

If I don't post this now, I may have yet (another) post made before I've posted again. Don't wanna write a freakin' book here... now do I?
Last edited by Undersiege on Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:12 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Creationism

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:10 pm UTC

Other hypotheses for the beginning of life include the metabolic theory, wherein life doesn't suddenly come to be as a freestanding DNA molecule that goes "Holy shit! I am the blueprint for a simple bacterium thing! Quick, lipids, to me, form a bilayer that I may begin copying myself" (which admittedly, is cool), but instead arose as a series of quasi-metabolic reactions, wherein complex aminoacid/chemical combinations started replicating themselves, or 'metabolizing' other things, until when a soup of enough complexity formed, it already had a wide range of basic 'lifelike' functions. Its really a matter of what came first, the instructions for the metabolism, or the metabolism to be written into instructions. Both have ample evidence supporting them, including chemical support in the form of extant and fossil records of proper conditions, biological support, int he form of molecular evidence of evolution of certain processes, and reproducibility (an important scientific axiom!) in the form of Stanley Millers experiments demonstrating the easy production of complex organic molecules.

On peanut butter: The argument, again, is not saying life will emerge from peanut butter. Spontaneous generation is not saying that there is this small chance for life to appear anywhere, it's saying that if the conditions are proper, and time and space of large enough, due to the tiny tiny tiny chance of life forming, it will. Jars of peanut butter are not proper conditions, so don't go throwing a 'infinite universe' argument into this. The Earth is not an infinite universe.

Undersiege wrote:And ID is not anti-science... it's an approach to science with a different bias than your own. (I could say similar things about evolution... notice I haven't) ...


Yes, that is precisely my point, Sciences bias is "Discovery of truth through experimentation", whereas ID's bias is "Assumption of truth based on faith". ID is not science. The biases science makes are hypotheses, hypotheses that are either disprovable or rigorously tested. The biases that ID makes are again, based on faith, and are neither testable, nor disprovable. So, yes, they have different biases, because one is based on a testable methodology, and one is based on assumption.
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Re: Creationism

Postby Exenon » Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:21 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Science has no problem with faith. A good deal of scientists, and DAMNED good ones, are fairly faithful people. E.O. Wilson is one of my heroes, and the mans a pious southern preacher of some sort. I can easily understand how someone would find their faith enhanced by the science they learned; afterall, the universe and everything within it is fucking amazing, beautiful and elegant and sublime, and that in and of itself, can reaffirms one faith in the beautiful, the elegant, and the sublime. That however, does not mean that we need to worship something that we superficially believe has created it all. Religion SHOULD have surpassed the "Why does the spider weave a web" creation myth that mankind spent a few thousand years spinning, religion SHOULD now be a set of moral codes and life rules for how to be a good person, for how to find a connection with your fellow man. (Note that does not mean you must have religion to be a morally good person!)


This is an important statement : science and religion are not incompatible ! Its quite the opposite, they blend together !
But we should not mix them up ! Science has it's limits and mostly acknowledges them. The scientist will probably never be able to explain questions like : "Why do whe exist ?" or "Does God exist ?" . And somehow its better this way, it allows everybody to choose for himself what his beliefs are. Everybody is right, nobody can be wrong as we don't "know" the answer, we make our own.
But religion has its limits too ! And when science is in the place, religion has to leave. And fanatics (because normal belivers certainly don't) obviously dont like to see the room for religious explanations shrinks a lot. But they dont see that there are still a lot of questions that need answers, and extremely important questions that will never get one from science !

And this is the point where ID comes. In my opinion, ID trespassed this limit between science and religion. This is totally unecessary and ridiculous, but somehow, there are even people how what to see it in the classrooms !! Ok, why not ? I mean, we're just going back to middle age, but why not !!

That's my opinion. And by scanning through the posts, i have the impression that 99,999% of the writer are about the same. With little differences, but nobody wants to see ID taught as a science.
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Re: Creationism

Postby Undersiege » Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:02 pm UTC

Izawwigood wrote: Yes, that is precisely my point, Sciences bias is "Discovery of truth through experimentation", whereas ID's bias is "Assumption of truth based on faith". ID is not science. The biases science makes are hypotheses, hypotheses that are either disprovable or rigorously tested. The biases that ID makes are again, based on faith, and are neither testable, nor disprovable. So, yes, they have different biases, because one is based on a testable methodology, and one is based on assumption.


No... you've got my argument wrong. "Discovery of truth through experimentation" is not the bias. That is science. Hypothoses are not biases. (Arg... spelling!!!) They are part of it.
Evolution's bias is that, quite honestly, when an evolutionist goes out to look for evidence, he expects to find evidence to support evolution, and will probably not take note of contradictory evidence. That is a bias. Honestly, creationists have the same problem sometimes. The easiest... possibly the only... way to get things done right is to have people of both biases look at the same thing, then argue it out till they find middle ground. (if it exists...) But that's a problem for later.

As to conditions for emerging life: Present conditions are wrong. Oxygen is highly detrimental to the formation of life-sustaining compounds, and there's too much in present-day atmosphere. As to fossil evidence of previous atmospheric conditions, I don't know. I'll look into it. However, you mentioned the Miller-Urey Experement as proof for the possible creation of complex organic molecules. I do know something about that, and I'll happily give you some help.

The miller experiment was made to simulate the (then) believed conditions of the early atmosphere, and see if life could have come about.

Image

They used the gasses methane, ammonia, hydrogen, and water, because these were thought, at the time, to be what the early atmosphere was composed of. (They've changed their minds, just so you know... "‘… the accepted picture of the earth’s early atmosphere has changed: It was probably O2-rich with some nitrogen, a less reactive mixture than Miller’s, or it might have been composed largely of carbon dioxide, which would greatly deter the development of organic compounds.’")

They ran sparks through the mixture of gasses to simulate lightning, and caught the results in a water trap. They ended up with a mixture of simple amino acids and water.

Unfortunately, the results don't prove anything about life simply because of a very odd thing called chirality, which means that the molecules can be "left handed" or "right handed". Honestly, that makes no sense to me... any biology majors who could explain it to me? But a mixture of these cannot be expected to form life, becuase "left handed" molecules are the ones used in living cells, and "right handed" molecules kill living cells. I don't understand why... but they do. Also unfortunately for miller, life is a lot more complex than simple chemicals, and their experement does nothing to show that complex molecules needed for life, such as enzymes and DNA, could be produced. They found an interesting (and innefficient) way to make comparatively simple acids, but the mixture of "left handed"ness and "right handed"ness would be detremental to emerging life anyway.

And the kicker is that with the newer theory of the composition of the early atmosphere, the experiment yealds no organic molecules at all!

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Exenon: you are in some ways correct: Science has its limits. Religion has its limits. But when you blend the two, you can come up with the correct answer. Science will not answer "Why am I here." Religion will. However, science may not answer "how did life come about" or "how did all this cool stuff around us come to be?" and ID has this right.

Honestly, it would be find by me if ID wasn't taught in schools... if evolution wasn't. You see, we need a fair playing ground here, as it were. Evolution has to take a lot by faith, namely that life could arise from non-living things, that the universe could come about from a big bang... (it IS expanding. Yes. But why? And if a big bang... why did the thing blow up in the first place?)
You know, they call it a "theory of evolution" because they can't prove it. But they teach it as fact in schools.

Honestly, don't you think it would be acceptable to teach both and say "here are the facts. Here are two different ideas that could be applied to them...(ID and Evolution) make up your own minds."

Until it steps past the realm of theory into fact, it shouldn't be taught as a fact. And if it is taught as a theory, let other theories be taught too. See my point?

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Re: Creationism

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:24 pm UTC

Except that evolutionists are basing their theories on the evidence they find. If you can point out some contrary evidence, I'd be curious to hear it.

As for your impression of primordial Earth, I'm sorry to say that there is ample evidence (rock cores, ice cores, etc) indicating that the early Earth was NOT comprosed of gaseous oxygen, but primarily the gases found in Millers experiment. I admit, his experiment doesn't PROVE anything, but it lends credence to the formation of compounds necessary for life in conditions that wouldn't have indicated their presence. Oxygen was not a significant player in Earths atmosphere until photosynthesizing bacteria hit the scene, and over the course of many millions of years, turned Earths atmosphere into a largely oxygen bearing one. This resulted in a large die off of life, but allowed for oxygen utilizing organisms.

Here, scroll down to Evolution of Earthon that linky.

Your idea of when early earths, oxygen rich atmosphere was present is sometime waaaaaaaaay after life started.
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