06-16-12, 06:37 PM #1
Why does it seem that whenever there is a religious argument on the forum, empiricism and the scientific spirit go out the window?
I am by no means a religious man, but it always frustrates me to see the people who are supposed to be rational saying something to the tune of; "Creationism is stupid because there are no facts to support it."
This is not necessarily inaccurate, however the issue I have with such statements is that they abandon empirical notions of falsifiability, and in fact reject the very essence of what it means to be a scientist. Nothing can be discerned as completely true in the scientific community, which acts as a stable house built upon a foundation of sand.
It feels rather ridiculous, therefore, that such brilliant empiricists as the ones whom use this forum should be reduced to embracing the notion of "truth" in the sense of dogmatically defending their views.
I would like to reiterate, in the offchance that it will prevent me from being flamed and/or bashed, that I am not religious and do fall within the empiricist mindset.
06-16-12, 07:37 PM #2
Given your affinity for empiricism, I'm surprised you didn't collate your findings from the threads here and provide us some statistics to address. By contrast OPs that advocate certain religious positions are sometimes easier to put to Bayesian testing with only superficial analysis.
06-16-12, 11:25 PM #3
06-17-12, 12:25 AM #4
InsanityOriginally Posted by TravisW
To wit, with certain issues, when various tinfoils and other fringe elements wander into the main stream of discussion, one can often say, "Well, if some change of such magnitude had occurred, we would have heard about it."
You know. Like if it turns out the Holocaust was a hoax. Or if someone actually proved God existed. Or if it turned out that algebra was wrong.
That sort of stuff.
With religious arguments in scientific issues, there hasn't been any real change.
• If [religious argument] was demonstrated empirically true, we would have heard about it by now.
This much is obvious. For instance, creationism. If "intelligent design" was demonstrated true, or even remotely possible without substituting myth for reality, we would have heard about it.
Riding a slightly lesser wave:
• If [religious argument] had evolved, we would have heard about it by now.
Imagine you're at a scientific symposium.
A speaker from the Discovery Institute gets up and reads off a presentation chock full o'horsepucky. Well, you've listened through, and there's nothing new. Big deal. You've given those folks their chance.
The next speaker comes up. He's from the Institute of Creation Research. His presentation, too, could fertilize the daisies for years.
By the time you get to the tenth speaker offering a creationist presentation with no affirmative science, are you really going to pay that much attention?
Do you really owe it to the creationist presenters to put science on hold while you recalculate all the numbers on the spot just to make the point that creationism isn't valid?
So as you go on to present your own research on mitochondrial DNA from ancient primates, are you really going to take time out to argue that the world is more than six thousand years old? You know, because you can't actually be presenting research on million year-old remains, since there are no million year-old remains because the Earth is only six thousand years old.
At what point do you get to put your foot down and say, "Shut the hell up until you can bring me some real science!"
Religion is religion. Catholicism, for instance, is logically tight as long as you observe strictly the presuppositions. Unscrew one of those a priori nuts and the whole structure collapses. Within religious confines, and attending the presuppositions agreed upon—e.g., God exists, the Bible is His Word, a virgin gave birth to the Savior—it is possible to argue religious outlooks with a good deal of logical validity.
But this does not magically transform religion into science. It does not transmute faith into fact.
Until one arrives with fresh evidence that can be scientifically tested for validity and reliability, why should people put everything else on hold in order to reiterate what creationists have already demonstrated no interest in listening to?
The idea that, "Nothing can be discerned as completely true in the scientific community, which acts as a stable house built upon a foundation of sand," is, in this case, something of a canard. Yes, the Universe could spontaneously end for no good reason next Thursday right before lunch, but I'm not going to bet on it.
One might point out that the pyramids in Egypt are slowly decaying. But they're not going to blow over in the breeze next week.
It is possible—even likely—that one day, if someone manages some decent scientific argument derived from religion, that many scientists will miss it. But that's not happening.
It is not dogmatic to dismiss from consideration arguments that do not qualify to enter the arena. That is, science is science is science. Circular arguments depending on untestable a priori assumptions simply are not science.
And when a religious argument shows up that can be scientifically tested, yes, it can and will be considered in a scientific context.
Meanwhile, it's possible that two physicists will argue about how a campfire spreads underground to set the whole damn forest aflame. I just don't see how "angry fire god" is going to suffice. It's not so much bringing a knife to a gunfight, but, rather, bringing cold cuts to a battlefield. The physicists will be shooting scientific bullets at one another. What, am I going to whack them with an olive loaf and praise the glory of God?
Yes, scientists can be rigid sometimes. But you're in the realm of tilting windmills.
06-17-12, 03:04 AM #5
06-17-12, 08:04 AM #6
There is a famous definition of insanity attributed to Albert Einstein that says insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.
My opinion on this topic is the philosophy of atheism has been embraced by, and/or has infiltrated into science. That means emotion and bigotry has entered science so name calling and gang tackling is considered is good as reason. There is no need to prove anything other than having faith in the gospel of atheism.
Atheism is not science, but a mirror religion. If religion says X then atheism will say it has to be Y. Since science embraces this, it makes it happen, even it it takes science magic.
For example, studies show that married people have the longest life expectancy compared to other relationship combinations. Yet science will help pitch that all combinations are relative. This mutant science is due to the philosophical bias that says if religion says X it has to be Y.
The way the magic trick works, is the magician sets up a distraction with his left hand so everyone looks there. This connected to showing how atheism is better since it does not use mythology but rather science and reason. With the other hand, the magician does the bait and switch where what is encouraged is relative behavior, which the data has shown is not even rational to the facts and data.
The atheists tend to be bullies, which is why TravisW, tried to preempt attacks, before they try to intimidate him into the line of the propaganda. This is a form of rational atheism. One is not supposed to point out the irrational bias that atheism has brought to science. Science needs to separate from this philosophy and stick to objectivity even to atheism.
06-19-12, 01:47 PM #7
edited handle reference for correct author -Originally Posted by wellwisher
Such as:If religion says X then atheism will say it has to be Y.
- - - -
For example, studies show that married people have the longest life expectancy compared to other relationship combinations. Yet science will help pitch that all combinations are relative.Originally Posted by travisw
That's the creationist's common form of argument (science hasn't "proved" evolution is true, hasn't observed it, hasn't replicated it in a lab, it isn't a "fact", etc etc etc) mirrored, and it's much less often found outside of their posts (or their fellow travelers in the rest of the rightwing universe - climate change "skeptics", Ayn Rand economics, Holocaust denial, etc).
What I see more often is "Creationism is stupid because it is contradicted by so many facts" - often (if the poster isn't just tired of the whole mess) followed by longs lists of such facts and explanations of the problems they pose for attempted creationist explanation. Now you may object to the "is stupid" part, or not, but there's nothing irrational or wrongheaded about the form of the argument.
Last edited by iceaura; 06-20-12 at 11:03 PM.
06-19-12, 02:01 PM #8
06-20-12, 02:51 AM #9
06-20-12, 10:03 AM #10
Extraordinary assertions must be supported by extraordinary evidence before anyone is obliged to treat them with respect.The reason for this is the same as the reason for another rule of science: It is never necessary to prove a negative. And that reason is that the resources of science are finite. If we were required to test and peer-review every crackpot hypothesis that is brought to the door of the academy, all of our resources would be dissipated on wild goose chases, and there would be none left to actually advance science and improve civilization.
Of course it's not unreasonable to argue over the meaning of "extraordinary." But when it comes to hypotheses, there can be no serious argument that one which claims to falsify the premise that underlies the entire scientific method, which is that the natural universe is a closed system whose behavior can be predicted by theories derived logically from empirical observation of its present and past behavior, by insisting that an invisible, illogical supernatural universe exists from which fanciful creatures and other forces emerge at random to perturb the behavior of the natural universe, is indeed extraordinary, to put it politely. The scientific method has been tested for half a millennium, frequently with great hostility by people who would love to be on the cover of the next issue of Newsweek over the caption, "The Man/Woman who disproved science," and it has never come close to being falsified.
Therefore, an assertion which, no matter how intricately worded, in essence says that science is false, is an extraordinary assertion.
And when it comes to evidence, the argument is equally simple. The only evidence these people have ever come up with is along the lines of a occasional tortilla, out of billions manufactured, bearing a scorch mark that is said to be the spit and image of a person who lived two thousand years ago, of which no portraits exist against which to compare it. This is not extraordinary evidence; in fact it is not even ordinary evidence!
Science is not a "spirit," as you call it. It is a method, and like any method it has rules. We are following the rules of the scientific method to the letter, when we don't allow crackpots into the academy, no matter how popular and beloved their particular form of crackpottery may be.
When one shows up with evidence, we'll let him in. This controversy is so sensitive that I'm sure we'd bend the rules and let him in with merely ordinary evidence, just to placate the undereducated masses. But said tortilla is not evidence of any kind. It's just wishful thinking.It feels rather ridiculous, therefore, that such brilliant empiricists as the ones whom use this forum should be reduced to embracing the notion of "truth" in the sense of dogmatically defending their views.
The scientific method even allows for the fact that no hypothesis can be proven 100% true. (Unlike mathematical hypotheses, which can be so proven, because they relate only to the universe of abstractions.) Scientific theories are overturned occasionally, although they are more often simply updated, such as Einstein's expansion of Newton's laws. But canonical scientific theories, although theoretically capable of being disproven, rarely are. I can't think of one that has been disproven in the last hundred years since electronics has so greatly improved the scientist's toolkit, but I'm sure somebody will fill us in.
Yet what these nice folks are trying to do is not merely disprove a scientific theory with no even halfway-respectable evidence (although the American chapter of the International Crackpots' Union does seem to focus specifically on evolution), but to disprove science itself with no even halfway-respectable evidence. If there truly are supernatural phenomena that can make the natural universe go berserk and behave in unpredictable ways, then science is useless. The Rule of Laplace is waiting for these folks with tar and feathers.I would like to reiterate, in the offchance that it will prevent me from being flamed and/or bashed, that I am not religious and do fall within the empiricist mindset.
The statement, "XXXX is stupid because there are no facts to support it," is not a fair transcription of our response, at least not to the people who present us with XXXX. (Yes, in the academy's lounge, with our lab coats off, we do indeed refer to them as crackpots, but we'd never let them know that.) What we say is, "You have presented no evidence to support your hypothesis. Please come back when you have some. There are ten thousand people ahead of you in this line, and we only let one in every few months to interrogate in front of our students, to show them how the scientific method deals with unscientific hypotheses." We can easily peer-review crackpottery, and it is indeed useful to show young people how it's done: exactly the same way we peer-review anything else. We just don't need to, because they fall flat on their faces when we ask Question #1: Okay, let's see your evidence." And we can't really, because even though they're easy to peer-review, there are so many of them that we'd never finish.
Last edited by Fraggle Rocker; 06-20-12 at 10:09 AM.
06-20-12, 11:51 AM #11
What's wrong with saying that there is no evidence for creationism? There isn't.
06-20-12, 01:26 PM #12
06-20-12, 11:01 PM #13
Originally Posted by wynn
Although - you sure the judgment wasn't accurate anyway, as posted?
Originally Posted by spidergoat
Last edited by iceaura; 06-20-12 at 11:11 PM.
06-20-12, 11:51 PM #14
But there is lots of contrary evidence, therefore, stupid. I agree about speculation and fantasy, but it's also important to recognize it as such.
06-21-12, 12:13 AM #15
06-21-12, 12:54 AM #16
So when I see someone who is seemingly otherwise fluent in English, but appears to have missed the point of a statement, I tend to assume they fall into a non-american or non-western category. Either that or they simply haven't come across it before inspite of its popularity.
I was recently surprised by the number of people I know who were unfamiliar with the term Pyrrhic victory, inspite of its popularity within my social circles.
But hey, if you find the facilitation of education offensive, then that's your perogative I guess.
06-21-12, 01:07 AM #17
Oh, and you are trying to subtly imply that my victory here is Pyrrhic?
06-21-12, 01:29 AM #18
No. I mentioned it because it was an example that was fresh in my mind. Tomorrow or yesterday it might have been a different example.
Besides, in order for something to be a pyrrhic victory, it must by definition first be a victory.
06-21-12, 01:36 AM #19
06-21-12, 01:41 AM #20
This is why creationism is an extraordinary claim, and why, in order for us to treat it with respect, extraordinary evidence must be provided in its support.
An analogy: My neighbor has a gigantic dog, well over 100lb/45kg, that is not a purebred and of unrecognizable ancestry. He says she is part Mongolian mastiff and part Anatolian. This could be true. Those are both gigantic breeds, and their appearance is so different that a hybrid would be unrecognizable, just an enormous mutt.
So his assertion is reasonable. There is no evidence to support it except his word, but it might be true. There's no reason to accuse him of lying, or even joking.
But suppose he told me that her father was a Jack Russell and her mother was a beagle? Neither of those breeds exceeds 30lb/13kg. You don't have to be a dog breeder to see the flaw in this assertion: there's a limit to the capacity of a bitch's uterus, and a limit to the growth rate of a puppy into an adult. This is an extraordinary assertion. I need evidence of a much stronger nature than his word before I will believe him. Indeed I need that evidence before I will even treat his assertion with respect. I will just laugh and assume he's joking. I wouldn't even accuse him of lying since this is so preposterous that he can't be serious.
This is a fairly good parallel to the argument of the creationists: It is so preposterous that they must be joking. It's difficult to imagine how any educated person in the 21st century can take them seriously.
By Doreen in forum General PhilosophyLast Post: 08-11-10, 04:54 PMReplies: 61
By Doreen in forum General PhilosophyLast Post: 04-07-10, 11:22 AMReplies: 50
By wynn in forum General PhilosophyLast Post: 12-18-09, 01:20 AMReplies: 29
By lightgigantic in forum Religion ArchivesLast Post: 09-09-07, 04:56 PMReplies: 47