Politics and Beliefs

Pages

AuthorTopic: Politics and Beliefs
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #75
When Alorael is feeling particularly snippy, his comeback is, "Theorize THIS!"

--------------------
[Insert Signature Here]
Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Warrior
Member # 6268
Profile #76
Wow this has been an insanely large amount of posts - I come back after a day and its 75 posts after 20. I can't even follow te thread anymore so anyway:

For someone who asked where I am from: I was born in Zürich, in Switzerland, but I moved to the US when I was 2. I can't speak French completely, but I am good at writing it and am still learning.

Okay here is my view on intelligent design/creationism.

Creationism has no scientific merit whatsoever, because no scientific tests are done whatsoever.

Intelligent Design has no scientific merit, because it does not follow the scientific method:

Step 1: Problem:
The ID hypothesis states that the "scentists" saw a certain repetitiveness in organism structure.

Step 2: Hypothesis:
They thought that such an observation meant that life was created by a Supreme Being, because of too many coincidences.

Step 3: Experimentation:
None.

Step 4: Conclusion:
ID states that life was made by a supreme being.

Step 5: Confirmation by other experiments:
None.

As you can see, it does not follow the scientific process.
On the other hand evolution does, but let me first say that Darwin himself did not develope the scientific theory, but others did; he made the hypothesis.

Step 1: Problem:
Darwin saw on his voyage on the Beagle that species of certain regions of South America were distinctly different from those seen in Europe. Even fossils showed how organisms in the past were greatly different. When he encountered Galapagos Island, he noticed that species found there did not exist anywhere else in the world, but where related to those in South America.

Step 2: Hypothesis:
Life on Galapagos Island must have arrived from South America at one time, but then evolved differently according to their needs. Natural selection occured when a mutation happened that caused an organism the be able to survive better and stay healthier than others of the same species; the mutated organism would be able to produce more offspring and therefore spread its mutated genes unto the next generaton. The organisms with this gene would steadily replace the ones without over a long period of time.

Step 3: Experiment:
Darwin did not carry out any experiments, but the work of other scientists such as Mendel carried out experiments that proved Darwin's hypothesis.

Step 4: Conclusion:
Scientists conclude that all organisms evolve and develop through natural selection.

Step 5: Confirmation from other expiraments:
Experiments such as Mendel's gene experiments and certain observation of fossils and anatomy of animals; another little-known scientist named Lyell also came up with the same conclusion from Darwin's data. In fact many scientists where thinking towards evolution, but Darwin was the first to publish publicly.

There: comparison in a nutshell ;) .

--------------------
Un ronron ronchonne, un ronfleur ronfle.
Un rongeur ronge, un roi règne, une orange roule.
Ça c'est la réalité.
Mais si le ronchon ronge, le ronfleur ronchonne,
Le roi roule, le rongeur règne
Et l'orange ronfle,
Ça c'est une autre histoire.
Posts: 66 | Registered: Saturday, September 3 2005 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 4682
Profile #77
I know this is not how it is supposed to be read, but with the answer 'Homosexuals should not have relationships with each other' for the question about gay marriages, wouldn't that include a gay and a lesbian having a relationship with each other(and yes, I realize that is not likely to happen, but with conservatives and churches trying to stop people having those feelings, you never know...)?

--------------------
If anyone ever asks you why you did something, say "Because I could".
Posts: 834 | Registered: Thursday, July 8 2004 07:00
Warrior
Member # 6268
Profile #78
Actually in some states it is illegal for gays and lesbians to have sexual relationships.

--------------------
Un ronron ronchonne, un ronfleur ronfle.
Un rongeur ronge, un roi règne, une orange roule.
Ça c'est la réalité.
Mais si le ronchon ronge, le ronfleur ronchonne,
Le roi roule, le rongeur règne
Et l'orange ronfle,
Ça c'est une autre histoire.
Posts: 66 | Registered: Saturday, September 3 2005 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #79
Bans on same-sex intercourse are now unconstitutional. Lawrence v. Texas, 2003.

EDIT: It's a little frightening that it took until 2003 for sodomy laws in the U.S. to be struck down, though.

[ Sunday, October 09, 2005 09:08: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

--------------------
Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #80
quote:
Originally written by Lord Nicodemus:

Step 3: Experiment:
Darwin did not carry out any experiments, but the work of other scientists such as Mendel carried out experiments that proved Darwin's hypothesis.

Not quite. As far as I know, even creationists have given up disputing microevolution. It has been observed over and over both in experiments and in the wild. Macroevolution, or the creation of one species from another, has not been observed at all, and that's where the creationists have their luck fighting science.

Evolution explains why the fossil record shows great changes in which species exist over time and events like the Cambrian Explosion. Creationism relies on denying the validity of fossils by claiming that the universe is only a few thousand years old and coming up with strange arguments for why apparent speciation is not actually speciation. Creationism is suspect on the second count for spectacularly ignoring Occam's Razor.

—Alorael, who doesn't sip skribbane or take his sniper rifle to cocktail parties. That is an absurd suggestion. Why would he ever go to a cocktail party and possibly miss a pedestrian or two?
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 3368
Profile #81
http://www.venganza.org/index.htm

--------------------
"Like most of life's problems, this one can be solved with bending"
Posts: 287 | Registered: Tuesday, August 19 2003 07:00
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #82
*sigh*

Most of you are intelligent people, so I'm hoping that you will actually think about the following:

Evolution is THE most comprehensively established scientific theory in modern biology. It draws VERY strong evidence from the the fossil records, genetics, microbiology, zoology, biochemistry and philogeny. It is no exaggeration to say that it is the cornerstone of all modern biology and medicine.

Over time, the evidence of evolution has increased substantially. When Darwin theorized about evolution, he had no idea that 100 years later, Watson and Crick would discover the mechanism via which an organism passes on genetic information to offspring. Nor did he know that cellular biology would result in cloning 150 years later. I feel the Alo twitch when I see people say "its just a theory".

Gravity is also defined as a "theory", and as the Onion once insightfully quipped, it is a "theory" susceptible to a competing "theory" of "intelligent falling".

So all you people professing to be "impressed" with intelligent design, allow me to remind you of Occam's Razor - When you are offered two competing theories, the simpler one is to be preferred. If I look for my keys and don't find them, I can theorize that the Key Fairy stole them, or that I forgot them at the office. Which is more likely to be true?

SImilarly, if I can see a mountain of evidence of evolution due to natural selection, I can say "hey, maybe those species with favorable genetic mutations that allow it to better survive and pass on those traits to its offspring will be more successful in the long run"

Or I can say "Hey, maybe a great man, who lives up in the sky, designed humans. And this great man was in a funny mood, so he gave us a 98 percent match in DNA structure to other primates."

Here is the fundamental problem with ID - it is a bogus theory that tries to rationalize facts that contradict religious text written thousands and years ago. Why is it so difficult to throw out two thousand year old religious text on this issue? Do you practice animal sacrifice as called for in the Bible (Basically chapters 1 to 9 of Leviticus)? Do you eat hot dogs? Do you eat clams, oysters, crabs, lobsters or shrimp? And if having children is so blessed, why does the bible EXPLICITLY say that having a child is dirty, and call on you to sacrifice a pigeon and a lamb when a child is born (Leviticus 12:6)? Do you try to cure leprosy by getting two birds, killing one, dipping the other one in the dead one's blood, sprinkle the blood on the leper seven times, and then let it fly away (Leviticus 14:2-52)?

Those who profess deep piety and do not do the above are at best guilty of selective reading of religious texts and at worst hypocrisy in its application. Shoot, I stopped after finding the above weird things in Leviticus in 10 minutes, but I could go on and on.

I'll leave you with the parable from Antony Flew's article "Theology and Falsification":

Once upon a time two explorers came upon a clearing in the jungle. In the clearing were growing many flowers and many weeds. One explorer says, "some gardener must tend this plot." The other disagrees, "There is no gardener." So they pitch their tents and set a watch. No gardener is ever seen. "But perhaps he is an invisible gardener." So they, set up a barbed-wire fence. They electrify it. They patrol with bloodhounds. (For they remember how H.G. Wells's The Invisible Man could be both smelt and touched though he could not he seen.) But no shrieks ever suggest that some intruder has received a shock. No movements of the wire ever betray an invisible climber. The bloodhounds never give cry. Yet still the Believer is not convinced. "But there is a gardener, invisible, intangible, insensible to electric shocks, a gardener who has no scent and makes no sound, a gardener who comes secretly to look after the garden which he loves." At last the Sceptic despairs, "But what remains of your original assertion? Just how does what you call an invisible, intangible, eternally elusive gardener differ from an imaginary gardener or even from no gardener at all?"

--------------------
Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #83
quote:
Originally written by Severity:

Not quite. As far as I know, even creationists have given up disputing microevolution. It has been observed over and over both in experiments and in the wild. Macroevolution, or the creation of one species from another, has not been observed at all, and that's where the creationists have their luck fighting science.
Not true. Breed separate populations of fruit flies in the lab for long enough and they're very likely to start speciating, as determined by the fact that they can't interbreed any more. IDers say that doesn't count because the different species aren't different enough. Talk about shifting the goalposts.

--------------------
My BoE Page
Bandwagons are fun!
Roots
Hunted!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 3437
Profile Homepage #84
I've actually agreed with the majority of the group in all these, I guess, except minimum wage. Which seems to be an issue that people are only seeing one side of. If it's raised, that means that the low-profit small businesses are going to have problems. And if it's raised just a bit too much, they'll be put out of business. And this decreases employment even more, which is definitely not something we need right now.

I voted that it should be kept the same (until inflation becomes too much of a problem, of course), but I'm strongly against it being raised. I'd prefer it to be lowered as opposed to raised.

Note: This is coming from someone who's paid $5.25 an hour, almost a dollar less than minimum wage. >.<
Posts: 3 | Registered: Friday, September 5 2003 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #85
A lot of small businesses have starting wages over minimum wage anyway; before I got into test prep, the best-paying jobs I'd found were small, family-run enterprises. The big corporations tend to be the ones that pay the bare minimum.

Also, try owning a home and supporting a family on $10,300 per year. Minimum wage is $5.15 nationwide right now.

[ Sunday, October 09, 2005 14:33: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

--------------------
Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
E Equals MC What!!!!
Member # 5491
Profile Homepage #86
Zorro: Try Occam's Razor on this.

Situation: A great many people, including people who are otherwise quite intelligent and reasonable, believe something that you consider to be ridiculous.

You can conclude:

1. That we are all morons/brainwashed.

or

2. That perhaps you have failed to understand our point of view properly.

Which makes more sense?

--------------------
Sex is easier than love.
Posts: 1861 | Registered: Friday, February 11 2005 08:00
Warrior
Member # 6347
Profile #87
~takes the Zen approach~

Everybody's wrong! About everything! Including me, regarding this statement!

~cackles insanely and stumbles away~

--------------------
"Take time to listen to what is said without words, to obey the law too subtle to be written, to worship the unnameable and to embrace the unformed." -- Lao Tzu
Posts: 124 | Registered: Monday, September 26 2005 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #88
Ash: Isn't the burden of explanation upon those backing the theory? I've never heard a reasonable explanation of creationism or ID that stands up to serious critical review.

—Alorael, who wouldn't call Occam's Razor a good determination of validity anyway. It tends to be true, but it isn't always true. For an easy example, it's tempting to use Occam's Razor on Einstein and support Newton, but Newton was wrong and Einstein was right. (Experimental evidence supports Einstein anyway, but an Occam hack and slash isn't good science any more than blind belief.)
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 1468
Profile Homepage #89
quote:
—Alorael, who wouldn't call Occam's Razor a good determination of validity anyway. It tends to be true, but it isn't always true. For an easy example, it's tempting to use Occam's Razor on Einstein and support Newton, but Newton was wrong and Einstein was right. (Experimental evidence supports Einstein anyway, but an Occam hack and slash isn't good science any more than blind belief.)
Using something that isn't always right to prove a point is a bad idea. Using Occam's Razor to support Evolution is like using the rule "'i' before 'e' except after 'c'" to try to support a theory that says the word 'their' is spelled 'thier'.

--------------------
"We can learn a lot from crayons. Some are short, some are dull, some are sharp, some are tall. Some have funny names and they are all different colors, but they all learn to live in the same box."

"Happy is the man that has wisdom and gets discernment. For having wisdom as gain is better than having silver as gain and having wisdom as produce is better than gold itself" Proverbs 3:14-3:15

The horrible part about life is, you'll never get out of it alive.

Currently boycotting: AngelFire, GameFAQ's
Everybody should go to this site at least once.
Posts: 818 | Registered: Tuesday, July 9 2002 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #90
Ash: Amend the first statement to include the word "ignorant," and I'll agree with that one. Most people who deny the evidence for evolution haven't heard the basic arguments (the panda's thumb, etc.), aren't aware of the experiments (like Thuryl's fruit fly example), or do not understand the genetic evidence.

Those who believe in creationism or intelligent design need not deny the evidence for evolution, but if they don't, they fall into the "brainwashed" category, believing something in direct contradiction of the evidence.

--------------------
Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Warrior
Member # 6268
Profile #91
quote:
Originally written by Zorro:


"Evolution is THE most comprehensively established scientific theory in modern biology. It draws VERY strong evidence from the the fossil records, genetics, microbiology, zoology, biochemistry and philogeny. It is no exaggeration to say that it is the cornerstone of all modern biology and medicine.
...

Here is the fundamental problem with ID - it is a bogus theory that tries to rationalize facts that contradict religious text written thousands and years ago."

quote:
"Ash: Amend the first statement to include the word "ignorant," and I'll agree with that one."
Je dirais même plus.

quote:
"Gravity is also defined as a 'theory', and as the Onion once insightfully quipped, it is a 'theory' susceptible to a competing 'theory' of 'intelligent falling.'"
He he I read that one:
The Onion Article

EDIT:
Oh yeah, and by the way intelligent design was thought of by clever people who are trying to get creationism taught in schools. When I say clever, I do not meen good cleverness; I mean bad cleverness. They reason that when trying to make creationism sound "scientific", they can sell it to the general public. Intelligent Design = Creationism.

[ Sunday, October 09, 2005 17:49: Message edited by: Lord Nicodemus ]

--------------------
Un ronron ronchonne, un ronfleur ronfle.
Un rongeur ronge, un roi règne, une orange roule.
Ça c'est la réalité.
Mais si le ronchon ronge, le ronfleur ronchonne,
Le roi roule, le rongeur règne
Et l'orange ronfle,
Ça c'est une autre histoire.
Posts: 66 | Registered: Saturday, September 3 2005 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #92
quote:
Originally written by Eldibs:

Using something that isn't always right to prove a point is a bad idea. Using Occam's Razor to support Evolution is like using the rule "'i' before 'e' except after 'c'" to try to support a theory that says the word 'their' is spelled 'thier'.
That's what the text you quoted said. The main arguments for evolution don't depend on Occam's Razor, which is why they are scientifically accepted when the simplest solution really would be that species are fixed and unchangeable.

[Edit: Okay, the below comes out sounding bad. It's not meant maliciously. It's meant as a comment on the strength of belief. Some people simply will not allow their belief to be tested no matter how obviously wrong the beliefs seem to others.]

—Alorael, who would add "willfully" to Kel's "ignorant." Some people would rather believe in creationism than believe that the foundations of their belief could be false. There's nothing wrong with that as a personal view, but it becomes a problem when it bleeds into public policy.

[ Sunday, October 09, 2005 20:36: Message edited by: Hands and Minds ]
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #93
quote:
Originally written by Ash Lael:

Zorro: Try Occam's Razor on this.

Situation: A great many people, including people who are otherwise quite intelligent and reasonable, believe something that you consider to be ridiculous.

You can conclude:

1. That we are all morons/brainwashed.

or

2. That perhaps you have failed to understand our point of view properly.

Which makes more sense?

But Ash - I think you're making my point. Scientists are mostly empiricists. They look and describe the properties of the world and create a testable hypothesis to prove or disprove the hypothesis. And over the last 150 years, Evolution has grown more robust and strong from such experiments. In addition, we've discovered a huge number of the mechanisms that account for observed evolution, including genetics and random mutation. It is among this group that I have the most respect. Creationists and IDers have generally relied on one or two fringe scientists to state a position that is generated in accordance with church dogma. These people are less credible because:

(a) They don't propose testable hypothesis
(b) They don't make any testable predictions and experiments
(c) The argument shifts as new facts and technologies are discovered
(d) The one constant in their argument is to make the facts of the world accord with a 2000 year old text that a literal reading demonstrates to be absurd in modern understanding.

I do not accuse religious types to be morons or idiots. I accuse them of either, at best, an ignorance of science leading to an unconscious selective understanding of the world, or at worst, willful selective understanding of the world due to ideological commitments.

Mind you, it isn't only religious types that fall prey to this sort of nonsense. Mao wrote that crops should be planted in half the space, thereby doubling the production of food per hectare. This was, of course, foolish and led to destroyed the crops where it was applied. However, so strong was the desire to make Mao "right" reality be damned, that they would do all kinds of silly things. In fact, communism is a lot like a religion, in that it has its concept of heaven "the post-communist state" and has tended to deify its leaders. For as much as I dislike GWB, he isn't running around the country building statues of himself like Lenin or Stalin.

Z

--------------------
Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
E Equals MC What!!!!
Member # 5491
Profile Homepage #94
*sigh*

I have neither the time or interest to get into another creation/evolution debate where I am vastly outnumbered. Just a few quick points of clarification.

quote:
Originally written by Zorro:

Those who profess deep piety and do not do the above are at best guilty of selective reading of religious texts and at worst hypocrisy in its application. Shoot, I stopped after finding the above weird things in Leviticus in 10 minutes, but I could go on and on.
My post was directed at this as much as the evolution stuff. I find it somewhat insulting that Zorro, having read Leviticus for all of ten minutes, considers himself enough of an authority on the Bible to accuse me and all other Christians of selective reading or hypocrisy (since I'm not a selective reader, I guess I must be a hypocrite). If he had read the whole Bible (Acts in particular) and made an effort to understand Christian doctrine, he'd probably see the flaw in his argument.

In the same way, many of the things posted in this thread (such as the Theology and Falsification thing) misrepresent the opposing point of view either intentionally or (much more likely) through ignorance. I at least try to understand a viewpoint properly before attacking it, and would appreciate it if more people would do the same.

Excuse the venting.

--------------------
Sex is easier than love.
Posts: 1861 | Registered: Friday, February 11 2005 08:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #95
Hmmmm, well, hmmmm....been avoiding this one largely because I find both traditional sides of the argument predictable and intractible. Both stances feel like religious belief to me, because neither is really provable and requires some degree of assumption or belief.

I see a huge difference between microevolution and macroevolution. The two almost shouldn't be intermixed into the discussion. The incredible adaptability and diversification of living things makes plain how variable development is within kinds. Just observing the variation in dogs and cats which humans have bred in the last few thousand years can show us how that works.

I have some much cherished spiritual perceptions of our universe which can be called beliefs. I also marvel at what science has been able to uncover and determine in our natural universe. I'm also a healthy skeptic about both realms. If there is anything which has become evident to me during my life, it is how so many things are not what they appear, and how there are more explanations for many things than so far anyone has come up with possible explanations.

I also have seen enough of human nature, inherent biases of whatever sorts, the pressure (if only internal and subconscious) to deliver the goods when you are doing scientific research. Never underestimate the personal ego and how it factors into the desire to come up with something concrete and notable.

And I look at the history of scientific "understanding" and every generation has its dogmatic faith in some present paradigm only to be radically overturned at some future point. I don't think I see enough humility and pause these days. We worship science and medicine like new religions for a technological world. We do place a degree of blind faith and trust in the the systems, the structures, the methods, and the persons in those fields. But they are just as exceedingly fallible as any one else. Bottom line: good to keep an open mind that many things are not what we think they are...still. We shouldn't fall prey to the conceit of our time...imagine we are finally smarter or less biased or less ego-driven than those who came before.

So, that said, I personally find it very hard to picture the leap between, say, a lizard and a bird. Or imagine how the first eyeball or heart or fingernail or hair or anything developed from something not there or entirely not like what it becomes. Simply because in so many cases the intermediate "species" is a unthinkably unfunctional freak of nature which is badly DISadvantaged to survive....especially in sufficient numbers of the same mutations over millions of years. Half feathers?

I'm just talking common sense here. Plus there is very little evidence of any of these required intermediate critters.

I have no problem with it being possible though or with vast eons of time transpiring for all things having developed and evolved in whatever way they do. I have a strong personal sense and conviction that there is something truly special and "other" about human beings from any animal, and that relates to the spiritual.

The marvels of the complexity and beauty and purposefulness of everything from the smallest particles to cells to the existence of emotions, love, the way sex works...etc. etc. it's just all massively overwhelmingly indicative to me of a mighty clever Mind and Heart alike behind the way things are. I see a great order and purposefulness fraught with symbology and meaning in multiple layers in all created things. But that's me, my conviction, my revelation, and it is ultimately a spiritual issue. I can't transfer my sense of knowing or vision to any other, though I can rave about it or try to describe it.

I actually don't have trouble reconciling things in the Bible with science either, because, for instance, Genesis I think is quite clearly a parable about the nature of creation rather than a literal or scientific account of events. Numbers are highly symbolic in Semitic culture, and the Genesis account is chock full of powerful spiritual symbols which carry through many passages of Scriptures. Snakes and serpents which become dragons as mankind multiplies, male and female, sixes and sevens, trees, leaves...all symbolic of spiritual events and aspects however things literally occured.

One last little thing. Hebrew "yom" is the word "day" in the Genesis account of days of creation. It is a word used much like day is used in English. It has many meanings with many implied possible times. Think of grandpa saying, "Sonny, in MY day we used to..." and "it is the day of the dinosaur." Hebrew yom is used in the same kinds of ways. So you get symbolic days representative of something which was developed in the natural, yes, but pointing to the spiritual counterpart even moreso. 'Tis quite likely our earth is billions of years old. I don't see a God in a hurry. He's got all the time in the universe to play with and vast, gradual developments tell us something about the nature of spiritual evolution too.

What should be taught in public schools in America? I hardly care anymore. They are in such a sorry state, I'm not relying upon them to educate my children. If they go to public school, they will be well-supplemented by ideas and perspectives at home and taught most of all to think for themselves and to question all things. Because the "authorities" and "experts" and "scientists" of every time are always wrong about more than they'd ever know or admit. As is institutionalized religion for the exact same reasons. It's a human nature thing.

Don't believe what they tell you, whoever they are. Methinks we are still much more wrong about things than right. There is much we simply yet cannot know. It's fun to speculate and try our best though.

[ Monday, October 10, 2005 17:11: Message edited by: Synergy67 ]

--------------------
[Insert Signature Here]
Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #96
quote:
Originally written by Synergy67:

So, that said, I personally find it very hard to picture the leap between, say, a lizard and a bird.
So do I. But also find it very hard to picture a continuous, n-dimensional matrix or how the heck one could ever apply to real life, but I know that quantum mechanics is based on such things, and quantum mechanics is by far the most proven theory in science. Being difficult to visualize is no bar to being true, especially in modern science.

quote:
Plus there is very little evidence of any of these required intermediate critters.
This is not entirely true; several (a real biologist can tell you more) have been found. Also, as any papyrologist will tell you, the fact that something hasn't survived in the ground for thousands (or millions) of years doesn't even remotely indicate that it never existed. More significantly, the genetic record is filling in some of those gaps.

quote:
I have a strong personal sense and conviction that there is something truly special and "other" about human beings from any animal, and that relates to the spiritual.
Yes, and this is the lure of ID. But does this make it scientific? It may be emotionally tempting, but should it be taught in a science class?

quote:
The marvels of the complexity and beauty and purposefulness of everything from the smallest particles to cells to the existence of emotions, love, the way sex works...etc. etc. it's just all massively overwhelmingly indicative to me of a mighty clever Mind and Heart alike behind the way things are.
What about things that don't work very well, like the panda's thumb (and others)? What about vestigial organs, like the vermiform appendix? Why would a creator build these into our systems? Biology is full of these.

quote:
And I look at the history of scientific "understanding" and every generation has its dogmatic faith in some present paradigm only to be radically overturned at some future point.
This is true but misleading. In physics, we say that new theories reduce to old theories in the limiting case. (Einsteinian relativity and Newtonian mechanics, for example — if you're not going near the speed of light, they're the same thing.) In biology, new explanations for the mechanisms of evolution — exactly what kinds of genes are responsible and exactly how — will likely come to light. It is extraordinarily unlikely, however, that anything will supplant evolution entirely, unlikely enough that evolution needs to be taught in our bio classes.

I'm completely fine with doing a unit on scientific literacy, which explains the methods of scientific inquiry and the evidence upon which scientific conclusions rest, as well as the questions which the scientific method is capable of answering and the questions with regard to which it is helpless, and I'm fine with using biology as a case study of this. If done well, this could be a fascinating part of the course. However, we must be honest with our students and teach them what science has actually learned, and evolution is one of those things.

Informed questioning in order to understand better is fine. Willfully ignorant doubting in the form of spurious questions is not going to lead anywhere good.

--------------------
Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Warrior
Member # 6347
Profile #97
quote:
Originally written by Synergy67:

I have no problem with it being possible though or with vast eons of time transpiring for all things having developed and evolved in whatever way they do. I have a strong personal sense and conviction that there is something truly special and "other" about human beings from any animal, and that relates to the spiritual.
I think this is the first and only thing that you've "said" since I've "met" you that I disagree with.

But even then, not entirely, as I could twist your words to make sense in my way of things. It's not even really twisting, it's more a matter of adding:

"I have a strong personal sense and conviction that there is something truly special and "other" about human beings from any animal, and that relates to the spiritual; a lack of spirituality."

...

My personal beliefs are of my own design, to a degree. I follow no known Faith. If one already exists which mirrors mine, I've yet to learn of it.

For the sake of simplicity and coherence, though, I'd describe myself as a Wiccan(Pagan)/Buddhist/Gnostic... and if I had to pick only one, Buddhism is probably closest, lumping in there (unfairly, I might add, but for the sake of making my list shorter at first glance) Zen and Taoism.

I see a (non-human) animal's life as being supremely zen-like in nature. Of no observable spirituality for the simple reason that they already exist on a "higher" (although "clearer" or "simpler" might be a better term) spiritual level than we do.

We question, they do not. And I don't see this as lacking anything as much as already being in a certain state of being in respects to the natural world around them which is far more balanced than ours.

I am reminded of the Zen Mu* insofar as it relates to the fact that spirituality—as humans understand and perceive it—is irrelevant to "animals" because they exist in a spiritual state independent to our own; one which is, by default and necessity, in harmony with nature around them. The link will explain more.

I am also reminded of the Taoist Wu Wei. Wu being the Mandarin equivalent to Mu. Look at the link for an explanation. Or at my sig (kind of).

To me, that is pure "animal nature", and already of a more enlightened nature than ours, as these are things which we take great pains to learn, if we ever learn them at all.

[/end rant]

* UBB won't allow parentheses in hyper-links, so I can't give you the direct link (which is "/Mu_(Japanese_Word)"). Choose the third option from the list; mu (無) is a Japanese word important in Zen koan practice, and is sometimes used to mean "the question contains an invalid assumption"

--------------------
"Take time to listen to what is said without words, to obey the law too subtle to be written, to worship the unnameable and to embrace the unformed." -- Lao Tzu
Posts: 124 | Registered: Monday, September 26 2005 07:00
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #98
quote:
Originally written by Ash Lael:

...

My post was directed at this as much as the evolution stuff. I find it somewhat insulting that Zorro, having read Leviticus for all of ten minutes, considers himself enough of an authority on the Bible to accuse me and all other Christians of selective reading or hypocrisy (since I'm not a selective reader, I guess I must be a hypocrite). If he had read the whole Bible (Acts in particular) and made an effort to understand Christian doctrine, he'd probably see the flaw in his argument.

In the same way, many of the things posted in this thread (such as the Theology and Falsification thing) misrepresent the opposing point of view either intentionally or (much more likely) through ignorance. I at least try to understand a viewpoint properly before attacking it, and would appreciate it if more people would do the same.

Excuse the venting.

No excuse necessary for venting! That's why we're here :)

Let me say that I do not consider myself an authority on Christianity. I have read the Bible and the Qu'ran and the Torah. I also (though this may be a rebuttable presumption) consider myself an intelligent person. My contention is this:

The Bible, the Torah and the Qu'ran are best described as the practical wisdom and mythology of people in their times. They reveal less understanding of the natural world than the writings of Aristotle - who claims no divinity - and they are certainly less detailed in their mythology than that of the Hindis. The Qu'ran goes on at length on the proper treatment of slaves - an odd thing, I think, for a divine being to write rules about. I quoted from Leviticus because I found its fascination with very detailed methods of animal sacrifice, and the uses of animal sacrifice, to to illuminating in a discussion of biology. We also know from historical record that these were not taken as metaphorical sacrifices, but as ACTUAL acts to be done. In other words, I very much doubt that if an early Christian were to meet a modern Christian, even of the most fundamentalists sort, he would even recognize him as a co-religionist.

That said, I honestly don't care if you're a religious person. I DO care when you think that religious commitment entitles you to twist science to accommodate your ideology. Evolution and ID/Creationism and very different - one is built on the painstaking gathering of small bits of knowledge with an impressive body of accomplishments and successful predictions, the other is an assertion of faith, and a disguised assertion of faith that says "well, it LOOKs like it was designed". Yes, and it looks like the Earth stands still and the planets move around it (albeit in weird ways).

And Ash - I truly am sorry to have insulted you. That is not the intention of my remarks. I'm trying to describe my position within a debate which matters a great deal to me. I hope your understand that no offense is meant.

Z

--------------------
Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #99
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Being difficult to visualize is no bar to being true, especially in modern science.

Agreed.

quote:
Plus there is very little evidence of any of these required intermediate critters.
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

This is not entirely true; several (a real biologist can tell you more) have been found.
I’m thinking of the ratio of so many discretely separate kinds of animals we have found in the fossil record compared to all the missing intermediates. It doesn’t add up to me how the fossil record could be so fantastically discriminating, even in the light of a few scattered possible or apparent exceptions. Occam’s Razor, which has become popular to summon around here of late, suggests to me that it is more likely that A didn’t evolve into C in many disparate cases where we have many many different A’s, and many many different C’s, but such a tiny potential representative of B’s which should be roughly equal in number. It’s just common sense to me.

What’s the likely explanation for perfectly absent intermediates between most expected examples? The other problem is we can’t really prove the link of A -> B -> C without DNA or some other means we do not yet possess. A -> B -> C may appear to be a feasible path, but that’s not science, it’s a best guess based on the evidence. The earth-centric working universe was worked out by scientists at one time, so it was thought to be madness to consider any other explanation. We’re good at making things appear to explain things, because we demand explanation according to our present dominant paradigm of explaining things. Once it was more mystical and religious. Now it is dominantly scientific of a certain construction. It could be something yet different tomorrow. It seems each time acts as if it believes it has arrived at the pinnacle of method and perspective.

quote:
I have a strong personal sense and conviction that there is something truly special and "other" about human beings from any animal, and that relates to the spiritual.
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Yes, and this is the lure of ID. But does this make it scientific? It may be emotionally tempting, but should it be taught in a science class?

No, and no. ID is plainly philosophy or religion, but not science. But science is a system of belief of its own, and I am not a devotee to the religion of science any more than I am to all the tenets of my Christian upbringing. I think it is quite possible and likely that there are aspects of this universe with which science as it is now practiced can never intersect. I also must suggest that science is always shaped by the underlying philosophies of the time/people/nations/systems which formulate and implement it. In that sense, the two are also oddly inseparable.

quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

What about things that don't work very well, like the panda's thumb (and others)? What about vestigial organs, like the vermiform appendix? Why would a creator build these into our systems? Biology is full of these.
The simple answer is I don’t really know, but I can imagine many possible kinds of explanations. My conjectures include the following:

The family of animals in which pandas reside all have had thumbs. For whatever reason the panda’s thumb may have micro-evolved into something we perceive as unuseful presently.

I don’t consider the human appendix to be an unfunctional organ and have heard some good explanations of its function. Tradiational Western medicine may have no explantion for its functional usefulness, but I don’t particuarly subscribe to the allopathic medical theory. I think a good chunk of it is based on an unfortunately faulty premise of disease and treatment.

Granted, either or neither may be correct or one or each could be partially correct. I am willing to accept exceptions to any rule, on either side of the coin (which probably has many more than two sides). It could also be said that the design of something less than wholly effective could also communicate something intended by a Creator’s Mind, or it could represent a subsequent decay of conditions set in motion. There is plenty of evidence of corruption and decay in the system, either by original intent or subsequent change. Either way, I see it as intended and purposeful. Order in disorder.

For me, having an organ or appendage which has ceased to function is greatly removed from imagining the possible slow evolution of a feather from nothing, and which until it is finally complete is quite disadvantageous. Does the feather somehow say to the DNA, “Hold on a few million years and put up with me until I finally actually do something useful for you?” Why would over and over again half-feathered lizards who are encumbered so they can neither walk as well as before nor fly be likely to come out on top over millions of years? I remember a couple years after Jurassic Park came out, I read blurbs in the newspapers about how newer research was showing less likelihood of the lizard->bird link than was so recently enthusiastically embraced, but of course, no noise and excitement is made over the retractions. I smell ego and that always warns me of the fallibilty factor.

quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

It is extraordinarily unlikely, however, that anything will supplant evolution entirely, unlikely enough that evolution needs to be taught in our bio classes.

It will only be supplanted if something contrary to evolution becomes provable according to the acceptably prove-worthy methodology of the day. Meanwhile, it’s the best explanation for a non-ID universe, and it may be the true explanation for an ID universe as well. Another consideration is that far enough out into the future, systems of thinking and belief—and experience—may have shifted so that the rational thought and scientific method in high vogue today may not closely resemble the dominantly favored methods for ascertaining many things about the universe. I know that’s hard for us to imagine.

If it is a spiritual universe first and foremost as I perceive (and anyone is welcome to question my basis for perception as it is by definition, my solitary un”proveable” experience), then one aspect of that spiritual universe may be an unfolding revelation and access to undeniable awareness of and experience of that reality in ways not yet known or widely known. There are more possible variables and outcomes than we typically entertain in our thinking. We tend to be biased by our history so far and by our times at present.

quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

we must be honest with our students and teach them what science has actually learned, and evolution is one of those things.

I agree. Science has learned it is the best explanation it has under its own assumptions about the nature of the universe and how a large portion of humankind has chosen to approach it. I’d perhaps like it to be taught with a little more humility and admission of some of its inherent weaknesses, omissions, and present unproveability in many aspects. It’s one fascinating, compelling, and possible explanation for the incomplete data we have on hand to analyze.

quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Informed questioning in order to understand better is fine. Willfully ignorant doubting in the form of spurious questions is not going to lead anywhere good.[/QB]
If there is no spiritual component to the universe, then there is no spiritual insight or knowledge possible and the scientific approach is perhaps the only possible path to truth. If there is a spiritual component underlying all things, then there are very different ways knowledge and understanding of various truths/facts can possibly be acquired. The questions some ask may or may not actually be spurious in that case, but the two systems of knowledge may appear to be at impossible odds with one another until both are acknowledged for their rightful place.

If I didn’t before, let me make it clear that I have no problem with the possibility that evolution is the genuine mechanism for how things have come to be as they are. That too could be an intelligent design for how things got from A-> B. I’d like to understand at what point man becomes a spiritual being inhabiting a physical body, because that is the most difficult part of full evolution for me to resolve with my limited imagination and faculties. But I can’t rule it out. That would be unnecessarily conceited.

Basically, I’m not sold on what either camp (science or religion) has to sell. I think the evidence and knowledge is very incomplete on both sides and both have their conceit. I know I have mine, and my own ego, even as I seek the diminishment of both in myself over time. I think no one yet can know the actual answers to the big question of the mechanics how we got from Big Bang to 2005 A.D. It’s fun to contemplate and debate and imagine. I’m kind of an equal-opportunity devil’s advocate. In most things in life, I both agree with and disagree with both sides of the argument.

You’re a strikingly brilliant person, Kel, sharp as a tack. You can run circles around me easily and many here no doubt. We each got our role to play in life and I think there is necessity for scientist and philosopher alike. I like it best when the two and others can play together and mix it up over the mysteries of the universe.

Respectfully,

Doug

P.S. Muji...you know, it's kind of my personal take and bias that humans are spirit beings inhabiting human bodies and animals do not house the same kind of spirit. But I have to admit that I also believe all things are of spirit and from One Source ultimately, so I can't really say what the distinction might be. Some suggest animals have a collective animal soul and humans have discrete soul (spirit). I don't know. Western thought has much to learn from east and vice-versa. Your thinking on the matter could entirely be correct without negating my belief that humans have a particular sort of unique role spiritually. I don't know, and I don't know that it matters as much as I have typically been inclined to believe it does.

[ Monday, October 10, 2005 19:54: Message edited by: Synergy67 ]

--------------------
[Insert Signature Here]
Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00

Pages