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Thread: Increasing acceptance of biological evolution in the US

  1. Top | #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aesthete View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    How is God an explanation? ...
    As for your "ignored" questions, these would get us away from the science discussion, which I have tried to stick to. But the Bible is true. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is true and was observed by numerous eyewitnesses, who were willing to die for what they had witnessed. The Bible could not have been written by men alone. Jesus fulfilled every one of numerous prophecies about Him in the Old Testament. It's been calculated that the odds of His fulfilling just 8 of them are like dropping a blindfolded man off in an area the size of Texas, covered 2 feet deep in silver dollars, and have him find just the one silver dollar that is marked. But He fulfilled more than just 8, and there are other obvious similitudes in the Bible such as the example of Abraham that I mentioned, which point to Jesus Christ and to the Bible's divine authorship.
    That's circular, using the Bible to support the Bible. It's no better than a fan of a fictional work saying "the later bits are the fulfillment of the earlier bits (so it's all true)".

    The alleged eyewitnesses to the resurrection are characters in the book witnessing an event in the book. The fulfillment of prophecies is the author(s) referencing earlier bits of the book! The odds of the writer being able to fulfill the book's earlier 'foreshadowings' are pretty good.

    You're the victim of some severe illogic. I suspect you prefer the science discussion because that way you can report what you've read on creationist websites and thereby let others do the thinking for you.

    ---

    You responded to my post but didn't really comment on what I was getting at. Which is, I don't know how saying God made the universe, or directs anything in the universe, really explains anything in the universe. It doesn't replace my lack of knowledge about how the universe does what it does with knowledge.

    And that's true for you and all theists too. You're throwing up your hands and saying "I don't know therefore God... so ta-da! now I know what I didn't know!"

  2. Top | #62
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aesthete View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowy Man View Post
    If in a few years the scientists develop a better understanding that mitigates or eliminates the current uncertainties would you be willing to reassess your conclusion that “recent creation” is the answer?
    Frankly, the onus is on the secularists to come up with those evidences.
    Shifting the burden of proof. Aesthete, the burden of proof is on you to prove that the Universe is only around 6000 years old. What evidence do you have that it is around 6000 years old and not around 4000 years old or 8000 years old or 12,000 years old?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aesthete
    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Aesthete View Post
    The alternative is that God created the heavens and the earth. ...
    Which God, Aesthete, which God? People have worshipped oodles of deities.
    The God of the Bible.
    Why the Bible? Why not the Koran? Or the Theogony? Or the Vedas?
    The Bible wasn’t written by a single man or all at once. To give just one example, the story of Abraham preparing to sacrifice his “only son” Isaac foreshadows Jesus Christ, because Abraham believed God’s promise that God would multiply his seed. So Abraham counted God able to raise him from the dead. It’s a picture of the faith of Abraham. There is a ton of this kind of stuff, plus directly fulfilled prophecies, and it couldn’t have happened by chance.
    (1) Overimaginative interpretation (2) Self-fulfilling prophecy

    Quote Originally Posted by Aesthete
    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    Stars are braked by their magnetic fields extending out into their stellar winds.
    A “theory” that doesn’t seem to have much support. Only that the nebular model is falsified if it’s not true.
    I found numerous hits for "stars magnetic braking" over at Google Scholar - Aesthete, you have to get out of your creationist bubble.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aesthete
    Quote Originally Posted by Aesthete
    Earth: According to the nebular model, the earth is too close to the sun for water to have condensed. For this reason, secular scientists theorize that the earth acquired it water via comet strikes. Besides the lack of evidence of this hypothesis, ...
    What would you consider acceptable evidence for it?
    Acceptable evidence for earth’s water coming from extraterrestrial bombardment? I don’t believe it exists. It’s a really wild idea, quite frankly, but is necessary to support the secular model.
    Why do you call it a "wild idea"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aesthete
    Aesthete: "Gas giants: Jupiter and Saturn cannot have formed in their respective locations according to the secular models."

    Check out the Nice model and the Grand tack hypothesis for the early Solar System. Both of them posit outer planets having moved from their original orbits. That is also posited for many exoplanets: Hot Jupiter - Planetary migration.
    My point exactly. They cannot have formed in their present locations. So wild ideas are needed to explain how they got there.
    Why are those "wild ideas"?

    We weren't around to watch any of this happening, so we have to work backward from what we see in the present day.
    Only if you ignore God as the explanation.
    Goddidit! Goddidit! Goddidit! Is that what we are supposed to say?

  3. Top | #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    You're the victim of some severe illogic. I suspect you prefer the science discussion because that way you can report what you've read on creationist websites and thereby let others do the thinking for you.

    ---

    You responded to my post but didn't really comment on what I was getting at. Which is, I don't know how saying God made the universe, or directs anything in the universe, really explains anything in the universe. It doesn't replace my lack of knowledge about how the universe does what it does with knowledge.

    And that's true for you and all theists too. You're throwing up your hands and saying "I don't know therefore God... so ta-da! now I know what I didn't know!"
    I think the classic example of answering a question without providing any knowledge or understanding is the one about the moon and its phases.

    The question is asked: "Why does the moon go through phases?" The knowledge-free response: "Because its in the nature of the moon to go through phases."

    Religious folk just substitute their woo for nature and claim to have answered the question. It must be a very satisfying way to fool oneself into feigning understanding but unlike scientific inquiry it doesn't add any knowledge that seeks to answer the question.

    On the other hand, however, religious contemplation is likely great exercise for the brain, and neural gymnastics are always a good thing. Religious answers are best seen as pseudo-intellectual exercises which may eventually lead to scientific awareness, given time and proper circumstance. At least that seems to be the path human society has thus far taken.

  4. Top | #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elixir View Post
    IANAP, but - the so-called horizon problem seems to be slightly misstated in the wiki link: ""CMB regions that are separated by more than 2° lie outside one another’s particle horizons and are causally disconnected." opens the door for creationist bullshit ...
    The horizon problem, along with the flatness problem, are both solved by cosmic inflation. Quantum fluctuations get frozen into place as they get stretched by the exponential expansion to more than the size of the horizon. After the end of inflation, stuff stops going out of each point's horizon and starts going back into it. This produces a spectrum of primordial fluctuations, a spectrum close in shape to what we observe.

  5. Top | #65
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Billions and Billions of Demons | by Richard C. Lewontin | The New York Review of Books (paywalled, but I once got a copy of it)

    I found it nauseating.

    RL recalled when he and Carl Sagan debated some creationists in Little Rock, AR in 1964. He had a take on it that I consider rather odd. He seemed to think that creationism was some sort of revolt of Southern-state proletarians against a Northeastern-state bourgeoisie. There may well be an element of that, but it says nothing about the truth of creationism. He also noted that both sides have their professional experts, as if that makes both sides equally valid.

    He said that some woman in Texas was unwilling to accept that we could receive broadcasts from the Moon because she can't receive broadcasts from Dallas, a position he considered "sensible". I think that this Texas woman was being naive, because NASA could easily do over-the-horizon reception with its communications satellites, and she didn't have access to any.

    He also complained about the absurdity of believing that the smell of Limburger cheese was due to "odorless packets of energy", when smell doesn't work that way. Molecules don't *directly* have smells. Instead, they stick to olfactory receptor neurons and make them emit electrical signals. It reminded me of this:
    CHURCH FATHERS: Divine Institutes, Book III (Lactantius)
    How is it with those who imagine that there are antipodes opposite to our footsteps? Do they say anything to the purpose? Or is there any one so senseless as to believe that there are men whose footsteps are higher than their heads? Or that the things which with us are in a recumbent position, with them hang in an inverted direction? That the crops and trees grow downwards? That the rains, and snow, and hail fall upwards to the earth? And does any one wonder that hanging gardens are mentioned among the seven wonders of the world, when philosophers make hanging fields, and seas, and cities, and mountains?
    I note that Richard Lewontin was a geneticist. In this connection, I also note that many people in the past have believed in Lamarckian inheritance. So why doesn't he defend Lamarckism as "common sense"?

    He also claimed that scientists have promised too much. That may well be the case, but the development of theoretical science has made possible a *lot* of things that would otherwise by *very* difficult. Like computers.

    He also claims that it was improved sanitation, not antibiotics and vaccines and the like, which stopped a lot of infectious disease. That may well be the case, but it's hard to justify improving sanitation without the germ theory of disease. Understanding that theory has also justified making medical procedures much more sanitary. There are also plenty of diseases that have been at least partially conquered with vaccinations, including diseases that have recently been allowed to spread by anti-vaxxers.

    He also moans and groans about dismissing outright the hypothesis of meddling by the Xian God. What does he expect?

    He kvetches about the Human Genome Project, claiming that it was fundamentally pointless or some such. He almost seemed to have some ideological objection to it. He also claimed that it was oversold as offering clues to diseases. Maybe, but it's a valuable first step.

  6. Top | #66
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    Science & 'The Demon-Haunted World': An Exchange | by Wayne C. Booth | The New York Review of Books
    In “Billions and Billions of Demons,” Richard Lewontin has directed some misleading assertions and unwarranted criticism at genetics research in particular and science in general. In continuing his crusade against genetics as it is studied and applied in the context of what he has previously termed “bourgeois science” and now refers to as “elite culture,” Lewontin implies that genetics has made no significant contributions to medicine. With regard to cancer treatment, he writes: “The realization of the role played by DNA has had absolutely no consequence for either therapy or prevention….” And on “diseases” in general: “We do not yet have a single case of a prevention or cure arising from a knowledge of DNA sequences….”
    Letter-writer Harold Dorn pointed out counterexamples, like Tay-Sachs disease.
    Lewontin’s targets are not limited to genetics; he also takes aim at the entire scientific enterprise which he now sees, dialectically, in terms of a “confrontation between elite culture and popular culture.” Creationist opposition to teaching evolutionary biology is blamed on “the elite culture [that] was now extending its domination by attacking the control that families had maintained over the ideological formation of their children.” He even finds fault with the open, self-critical tradition of science, comparing it unfavorably with Hasidic scholasticism: “If [one] really wants to hear serious disputation about the nature of the universe, [one] should leave the academic precincts…and spend a few minutes in an Orthodox study house in Brooklyn.”
    I'm baffled by that assertion. What could RL have possibly had in mind???
    Lewontin’s antipathy to the culture of scientific research is misconceived and misguided. In attempting to discredit what he and many scholars and scientists in the elite culture see as an imperfect society he is directing his fire at its most commendable institution, an institution which in fact functions in accordance with essentially the same norms across various social systems. It is unfortunate that a scientist of Lewontin’s caliber continues, in the name of world betterment, to minimize the achievements of science and fellow scientists.
    Richard Lewontin died on July 4 of this year, so I've had to adjust some of the verb tenses.

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