September 9, 2012

"Your whole world is just going to be a mystery instead of an exciting place," if you don't believe in evolution.

Says Bill Nye ("the science guy"), arguing that children must be taught evolution as a fundamental truth.
Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology. It's like, it's very much analogous to trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates. You're just not going to get the right answer....

Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don't believe in evolution. I mean, here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils, here is radioactivity, here are distant stars that are just like our star but they're at a different point in their lifecycle. The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent.
Video at link, via Metafilter, which links to this response from the Creation Museum. The world becomes fantastically complicated if you do believe in evolution....

Nye is good on the subject of understanding science and the importance of science, but he dips into the stuff of religion when promotes science for the purpose of exciting us, dispelling mystery, and avoiding feeling crazy. These are the very psychological needs that religion serves quite well for great numbers of human individuals. When Nye proffers science for these purposes, he is promoting it as a religion substitute. Did he even notice he was doing that?!

311 comments:

1 – 200 of 311   Newer›   Newest»
ndspinelli said...

He's no Mr. Wizard.

Andy R. said...

Why do you think science shouldn't excite us or dispel mystery? Seems like a perfectly legitimate thing for science to do.

Hagar said...

Religion is about who created the world and why; science is just trying to find out how it was done.

Ben said...

Why not both? Can't I marvel at God's creation without being mocked as an idiot while also studying the world he left us as he left it to us which seems to point towards evolution? The Bible, for all it's benefits, isn't a science textbook and if people wouldn't use evolution as a hammer to beat Christians with it wouldn't make people like Nye nearly as annoying to me.

edutcher said...

All those holes Darwin said would be filled in by future discoveries haven't.

In fact, they've tended to make the holes even bigger.

Evolution is being treated by the Lefties as holy writ, not as the theory it is, and it's going to fail in that capacity because it will be tested as science, not religion.

Andy R. said...

edutcher is a creationist? You're dumber than I thought.

James Pawlak said...

The problem with "true believers" (On both sides) is that they will not admit that there are no final and settled answers to scientific questions. This has become very apparent by the "true believers" in meaningful, human caused, impact on global warming.

Michael K said...

Evolution should not conflict with religion. Those who push creationist simplicity are doing kids harm. I would write a letter of recommendation for an applicant to medical school who didn't believe in evolution, yet I know doctors (GPs) who are creationists.

Biology and theology should not be in competition. THey don't have to be.

Michael K said...

That should read I would NOT write a letter...

elkh1 said...

Question: How did the first being, whatever it was, evolve? From what? What accident caused it to happen? What randomness? Why are those double helixes twist that way?

I'm agnostic, but I can't understand how the first thing came into being from evolution. May be the atoms bumped into each other, the viable stayed as an entity and "evolve". Who created the atoms?

"God" might not have created humans, but "shits happened". How did the first shits happen?

B said...

Andy R. said...edutcher is a creationist? You're dumber than I thought.

Do you even know how to read? That's an honest question by the way. You have the hardest time understanding the written word.

Freder Frederson said...

All those holes Darwin said would be filled in by future discoveries haven't.

In fact, they've tended to make the holes even bigger.


Can you provide some examples. My understanding (e.g., the discovery of DNA and mechanisms of mutation) is the exact opposite of your assertion is true. The last 170 years of biology, geology, physics and chemistry have strengthen, not weakened, Darwin's original hypothesis.

Freder Frederson said...

but I can't understand how the first thing came into being from evolution.

It didn't. That is a whole different area.

DADvocate said...

The one thing science ultimately doesn't seem to be able to answer is "Why?" Many scoff at intelligent design, but evolution seems to have a built in intelligence.

Evolution moves towards natural selection and survival of the fittest. Is that not a path based some sort of "intelligence?"

I don't concern myself too much with all this though. Figuring out how to support myself and pay my kids' college costs offers a more important challenge.

BTW - I want to thank Andy R for providing the inspiration for my new avatar. I was watching an episode of the Andy Griffith Show yesterday and noticed that Gomer wore his hat much like Andy. I figured if I used Gomer and his crooked hat for my avatar, I'd be cool like Andy.

Dennis said...

It's called Metaphysics for a reason! Science dwells in physics, and it's domain stops where spirituality begins. Religions are the various ways people organize their apprehension of spirituality. How come our smart secularists don't understand this?

Dennis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dennis said...

It's called Metaphysics for a reason! Science dwells in physics, and it's domain stops where spirituality begins. Religions are the various ways people organize their apprehension of spirituality. How come our smart secularists don't understand this?

Dennis said...

It's called Metaphysics for a reason! Science dwells in physics, and it's domain stops where spirituality begins. Religions are the various ways people organize their apprehension of spirituality. How come our smart secularists don't understand this?

dmoelling said...

The left uses a stated disbelief in evolution as a surrogate for saying 'you're a hillbilly" but most don't really understand Darwin.

If you asked most people why a species exists they would ascribe some role to it. For example, mosquitos are a nuisance but they exist so bats can eat them. Greens ascribe nature as having a pre-determined, pre-human balance.

None of this is true of darwinian evolution. Species exist because they are best suited to survive and have been lucky enough to do so. No predestination, no purpose just can they keep living.

Like pure libertarianism, evolution is misunderstood by many

YoungHegelian said...

@elkh1,


"God" might not have created humans, but "shits happened". How did the first shits happen?


For a good theoretical explanation of how non-teleological biological evolution might work, it pays to go back to the "Bible" of the theory: Jacques Monod's Chance & Necessity.

It doesn't mean you'll like his answers --- I certainly didn't --- but it's a great presentation.

Ann Althouse said...

"Why do you think science shouldn't excite us or dispel mystery? Seems like a perfectly legitimate thing for science to do."

I didn't say that. I'm pointing out that Nye is arguing that it must do that for all people, that it is wrong to do anything other than to teach children to believe in science to the exclusion of religion.

It's not even a scientific argument to say that. You're talking about emotional needs that people have and offering cures to psychological ills. Science has never proven that scientific understanding and believe is the only or even the best way to meet these needs.

The failure even to see this problem, by you and by Nye, shows that you are believing in science, not being scientific.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SMGalbraith said...

It is stunning to me that we are here. That I am writing this and you are reading it.

So many things could have gone wrong over the course of time to prevent you and I existing. From the Big Bang to our parents meeting. Everything in between over billions of years.

The naturalistic explanation of how we got here is, to me, far more mysterious and incredible than the explanation that a supreme being created all of this.

Even though I believe it.

tim said...

As an atheist engineering and life science background kind of guy, I do not have the arrogance to believe that every thing I think that I "know" is the absolute truth.


I have also seen enough wholly bad and corrupted "science" to not have religious faith in it either. Bill nye has the same relation to science as obama has to economics.

bagoh20 said...

You are all missing the biggest mystery of all: What was that woman up to just before the camera started recording? Check out her hair. It's like she was stuck upside down in a sleeping bag and just as she pulled her head out someone pressed "record".

Unknown said...

Eminent geologists got on fine without plate tectonics for a long time. Alfred Wegener was a crank far into the XX century.

Unknown said...

Eminent geologists got on fine without plate tectonics for a long time. Alfred Wegener was a crank far into the XX century.

Saint Croix said...

children must be taught evolution as a fundamental truth.

Indoctrination is so dangerous. While liberals recognize the danger in Christian indoctrination, too many of them can be utterly blind to indoctrination from the left.

There are a number of very public atheists who use Darwin to attack religion and religious faith. Knowing that people are doing this, you have to be careful when you're talking about teaching children.

Obviously we should teach Darwin and his theories to children, but if teachers can't step back from their political and ideological commitments, they have no business teaching children anything.

There are numerous scientific issues with Darwin's theory, including a big one: there's little proof of it in the fossil record.

As Stephen Jay Gould puts it, "the extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology."

Darwin's Black Box is a great book to read and ponder.

Also see this webpage for a good discussion of the scientific issues.

rcocean said...

with many people Evolution is just a substitute religion.

Does Nye even have a Biology degree, or does he just play on TV? Too many of his type are Journalists/English Majors who talk about "science". **

** = per Wikipedia Nye is actually an Engineer and failed comedian.

rcocean said...

With many people Evolution is just a substitute religion.

Does Nye even have a Biology degree, or does he just play a Scientist on TV? Too many of his type are Journalists/English Majors who talk about "science". **

** = per Wikipedia Nye is actually an Engineer and failed comedian.

YoungHegelian said...

On the evolutionist side, there's a tendency to not be forthright about the fact that geology & paleo-whatever are not sciences like physics or chemistry. They are sciences of historical processes and, as such, will never attain the level of certainty of the "let's make this reaction happen in this beaker right now" sciences.

When you start looking into deep geology or paleo-X, you'll find it's likely hypothesis on top of likely hypothesis. But when you bore down into a specific event (e.g. causes of the Permian/Triassic Die-Off), the hypotheses come fast and furious, but have huge holes in them.

DADvocate said...

Some of you knuckleheads think about Andy way too much.

How can you think of Andy too much? Andy is the greatest. Watching Andy G., Barny and Gomer, Andy R. just popped into my head. Maybe it was the association of Andy Griffith and Gomer's hat. I found a pix of Gomer from the same episode and knew it was perfect.

This is where science fails. There is no complete scientific explanation for Andy R's appeal. But, it's there. No denying it. Wake up and smell the roses.

Albatross said...

Ben: Why not both?

The Catholic Church doesn't have a problem with that.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

The world becomes fantastically complicated if you do believe in evolution....

But explicable, which is the entire point in the first place.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
caseym54 said...

It is nearly impossible to understand many aspects of the world without understanding evolution. The same processes crop up everywhere, from economics to electronics to astronomy to...

The idea of order coming out of a seemingly bound chaos might seem like it is supplanting religion, but to some it informs it. Evolution and quantum mechanics are proofs of God, not the opposite.

Revenant said...

I realize Nye is trying to simplify things for the sake of his audience, but I'm disappointed to see him commit the all-too-common mistake of equating "evolution" with "everything that isn't creationism".

For example:

The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us.

Well yes, it does -- but "the universe is billions of years old" has nothing to do with the theory of evolution. It is a separate theory. BOTH theories refute the young-earth creationist belief, but that is all they have in common.

ricpic said...

I can live with mystery, why can't my betters? Because they're control freaks, that's why.

Skipper said...

Is biblical creation really that incompatible with evolutionary theory? Perhaps evolution/natural selection is the mechanism by which G-d created life.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

When Nye proffers science for these purposes, he is promoting it as a religion substitute. Did he even notice he was doing that?!

Who cares? What's wrong with finding something both interesting/exciting AND rational? Why some kind of barrier between those things?

And wouldn't this be your largest fear: If science can find a rational explanation, a la evolution and neurobiology, for why religion even exists in the first place? (From a non-supernatural perspective).

Is there a fear of reason and rational explanations? They're not everything, but why fear them? Will they somehow supplant natural boundaries on what people should or shouldn't do?

Maybe they'll merely explain those limits instead of replacing or destroying them.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Which would be a good thing.

Revenant said...

Eminent geologists got on fine without plate tectonics for a long time

In the sense that eminent doctors got on fine without germ theory for a long time.

Which is to say, the standard for "getting on fine" was significantly lower than it is today. :)

sydney said...

We are like the blind men and the elephant, trying to make sense out of that which we can not wholly see. Science and religion are not enemies, they complementary.

For myself, everytime I think about the complex series of events that have to happen in our bodies for even the smallest thing to happen - like blood clotting or absorbing a nutrient, I just can not believe that all of this order evolved out of chaos randomly and by itself. The design is just too elegant.

If I could fathom modern physics, I would probably feel the same about space and time. Maybe that makes me an intellectual midget, but I think of science as the language of God.

caseym54 said...

So many things could have gone wrong over the course of time to prevent you and I existing. From the Big Bang to our parents meeting. Everything in between over billions of years.

You confuse probability beforehand with probability afterward.

Before you roll the dice the chance of a 7 is 1 in 6. After you roll the 7 it is certainty.

DADvocate said...

But explicable, which is the entire point in the first place.

Creationism and evolution both explain the world. Freudian theory explains human behavior, but is now widely held to be a crock of shit.

Science fails to answer the ultimate "why?". Scientists are looking for the "God Particle." What happens when and if they find it? Will it explain why humans exist, why life occurred? Where did it come from?

Synova said...

Carl Sagan and a couple of others did the exact same thing.

You don't need *religion* to be spiritual. SCIENCE can be spiritual, they tell us.

It's essentially saying... religion is unreason, but you know, you can count on Science to provide the same wonder, the same assurance, the same unreason.

Science can replace religion for the *purpose* of religion.

Nye is an ass. So was Sagan when he was promoting this.

As far as I can tell, it's based on the same fundamental assumption, same for Sagan, same for Nye, same for my Earth History 201 professor.

Being wrong about science will plunge the world into darkness. Therefore science mustn't be questioned or misunderstood..

A rational examination of this premise quickly shows it has no objective basis. Everyone in the world, *forever*, has been wrong about science. By it's nature science has to be open to question, examination, and revision. Also, children are invariably taught *wrong*. Not wrong because of the religion of their parents or the society they live in (though that too) but wrong because they are children and their understanding is limited.

And yet, somehow, the world doesn't end.

If there is not room for error, then anything to make everyone come to the correct conclusion is acceptable. Fudging data. Shutting down dissent.

"Shut up," Bill Nye said.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Hell, the world becomes fantastically complicated if you believe in mathematics, or even in biochemistry.

DNA dynamics merely bring that level of complexity to carbon-based lifeforms at a molecular level.

No biggie.

At some point, conservatives should reconcile their beliefs with the fact that a merely material and/or supernatural existence is not enough. The ether between them is and should be occupied by dreams, ethics, creativity and holism.

That should be enough for anybody.

Andy R. said...

The left uses a stated disbelief in evolution as a surrogate for saying 'you're a hillbilly"

Yes, among educated people, hearing someone say "I believe in creationism" is a useful shibboleth for determining whether or not someone is a moron. Too bad for all those idiot Christians/Republicans that keep embarrassing themselves.

caseym54 said...

Well yes, it does -- but "the universe is billions of years old" has nothing to do with the theory of evolution. It is a separate theory. BOTH theories refute the young-earth creationist belief, but that is all they have in common.

Uh, no. Evolution of complex life requires deep time. A young earth would refute evolution.

kentuckyliz said...

Amen @ Albatross. Fides et Ratio.

If you balk at scientists theologizing, you're intuiting Galileo's problem.

Some of the most faithful people I know are scientists. What they know brings them to a place of awe.

It is a fallacy to believe that all scientists are atheists.

I don't like the fundamentalist-literalist approach to treating the Bible as something it doesn't even claim for itself--a science textbook or a court-reporter accurate historical chronology.

Shoot, I don't even think that about the newspapers.

O Ritmo Segundo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
O Ritmo Segundo said...

Creationism... explain(s) the world.

Not in any way that's consistent or compatible with easily observed evidence.

Michael K said...

I can understand why people can live their lives successfully without understanding or believing in evolution. My point was you can't understand medicine without evolution. Or really any science. Except maybe geology. But even there, geology began the doubts about the "young earth" concept.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I lost all respect for Bill Nye when, after it was shown that the Climate 101 experiment that he narrated was faked, instead of being angry about being used, he complained about the person who revealed the truth.

Some scientist.

ElPresidenteCastro said...

Evolution is the creation myth of the 20th century.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

As a child interested in science, evolution made intuitive sense and the Time-Life book on evolution was particularly persuasive.

I have always been grateful that my teachers at the time, Catholic priests and nuns, had no difficulty reconciling Darwin with the Old Testament. Their approach was precisely as Hagar put it at 11:16-- science is the teasing out of the details of God's creation.

It is naive to claim that either religion or science is infallible. The Old Testament is the interpretation of God's plan by people who lived thousands of years ago, and should be judged in that light. Science must be open to constant revision or it is not science.

Science and religion should be viewed as complementary, not in competition with each other. Every revelation of science should make us more aware of the subtlety of creation. The moral guidance of religion should inform us in how we pursue the truths of science. To eschew one or the other is to be an incomplete human being.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

There's a limit to what literal interpretations and even literal perceptions can provide.

If you can learn anything from science or religion, you should learn that.

edutcher said...

Andy R. said...

edutcher is a creationist? You're dumber than I thought.

And you keep exploring new frontiers of foolishness.

At what point did I say I was a creationist? I said there are holes in Evolution even Darwin conceded and those not only haven't been filled, they've been made wider by subsequent scientific discovery.

Frankly, I think there are parts of how the Universe was made that can only be explained by the existence of a Greater Power, but I never said I didn't accept Evolution as a possible explanation for some things. I just said people like you treat it as holy writ and it should be tested by the criteria of science, not religion.

You claim to have an open, scientific mind, but it's more one that has one earring that says, "In", and the other saying, "Out".

Freder Frederson said...

All those holes Darwin said would be filled in by future discoveries haven't.

In fact, they've tended to make the holes even bigger.


Can you provide some examples.


The most popular is the eye. Darwin said the component parts would evolve in the same way as the larger organism, but, as far as we can tell, the eye just appears at some point - no evolution.

That's a good-sized hole. Ann Coulter did a good column on it (whether you like her politics or not) about a year ago and explains it better than I could.

PS Her place isn't the only one I've seen that.

Andy R. said...

I lost all respect for Bill Nye when, after it was shown that the Climate 101 experiment that he narrated was faked, instead of being angry about being used, he complained about the person who revealed the truth.

Link?

Revenant said...

On the evolutionist side, there's a tendency to not be forthright about the fact that geology & paleo-whatever are not sciences like physics or chemistry. They are sciences of historical processes and, as such, will never attain the level of certainty of the "let's make this reaction happen in this beaker right now" sciences.

That's not correct. It is still quite possible to form testable hypotheses regarding geology, paleontology, etc. It is possible to make predictions, as well. What you're forgetting is that new fossils, geological formations are being found all the time. Predictions and theories can be tested against those.

The other thing you're forgetting is that ALL scientific evidence is in the past. You mix X and Y together. The test tube bubbles. You examine it again, and it contains Z. You can't observe a "reaction" happening in a beaker "right now" -- and even if you could, none of the people you're hoping will believe your theory can.

In the end, it is all about plausibility. It could be sheer coincidence that all life on earth and the entirety of the fossil record matches the expected results of evolutionary theory; it could be that scientists have simply "gotten lucky" as each new discovery fails to undermine the theory. But really, is that a plausible explanation? :)

YoungHegelian said...

@caseym54,

Evolution of complex life requires deep time. A young earth would refute evolution.

Depends on what you mean by deep time. More than 6K years, sure.

But one of the strange things about biological evolution is that it doesn't seem to happen in any sort of linear fashion (e.g. the Cambrian Explosion, when out of a few Ediacaran life forms a number of species equal to the number of species alive today arises in a geological blink of an eye).

Evolution may take time, but how long is long enough is a good question.

Dante said...

Ann Sez:

It's not even a scientific argument to say that. You're talking about emotional needs that people have and offering cures to psychological ills. Science has never proven that scientific understanding and believe is the only or even the best way to meet these needs.

It's getting closer, though. Think "Prozac nation."

Meanwhile, until the magic pills are created, religion has done a pretty good job. Too bad the leftists are trying to push down their own version of religious morality down our throats.

Synova said...

I sort of like it when someone like Nye reveals the truth.

Christianity is under attack.

Parents are RIGHT to take the battle to the science classroom.

It's no wonder to me that New Earth creationism has grown just as demands that children be taught IN SCHOOL that there is no God have grown.

Creation and Evolution didn't used to be in conflict.

Sagan, Nye, a couple of others; they really are trying to control what children are taught and demand anti-Christian teaching by force. That is what they are advocating.

Bill Nye said, "Shut up."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why not both? Can't I marvel at God's creation without being mocked as an idiot while also studying the world he left us as he left it to us which seems to point towards evolution?

Exactly. Why not both. Religion and science/math are not exclusionary. This doesn't mean....for Andy's benefit, since he can't seem to interpret the written language.....that I believe in the literal Bible Creation story. However, why not a guiding plan behind the marvel that is life and evolution?

Trying to explain the 'big bang theory' without asking that the theory not be taken on some level of faith in a yet to be proven science is impossible.

ElPresidenteCastro said...

Evolution is the creation myth of the 20th century.

Revenant said...

Uh, no. Evolution of complex life requires deep time. A young earth would refute evolution.

Um, no. It would not.

Evolution isn't something that happened in the distant past -- it is something that is happening continuously. It can be observed in everyday life.

In fact, even if you had absolute proof that some god or other created all life on Earth six thousand years ago, THAT still wouldn't refute the theory of evolution -- it would simply change the starting conditions and starting date. There are, after all, species that exist now that didn't exist six thousand years ago. ;)

YoungHegelian said...

@Revenant,

You attack my assertion without dealing with the example I brought up.

Give me a testable assertion about the Permian-Triassic Die Off.

No, there are testable hypotheses about things like: tectonics plates move -- the North American plate is moving northwest. But the rest is likely hypothesis.

As for finding the gaps in the fossil records --- that's hope & faith. Find them & then it'll be science.

Balfegor said...

I think I've written this here before, but the whole "teach evolution" debate is really just people asserting cultural markers, and has nothing to do with what children really need to learn. The elementary school version of evolution by natural selection takes like five minutes to explain and is easily comprehensible whether you state it as "fact" or call it a "theory" and then say "but really God or some higher intelligence directed the course of evolution." The whole thing is a stupid proxy war between people who loathe the idea of divine providence and people who would really like to call divine providence a scientific theory.

Really, there's no more reason for conflict there than there is between people who believe history has been shaped by divine providence and historians who explain that this historical event resulted from that historical cause. They're not really incompatible explanations. There's always an huge element of randomness and chance and it's big enough to leave space for a divine design, for those who believe in gods.

The debate is a huge waste of time.

rcocean said...

When TNS is proven by the actual fossil record and scientific experiments give me a call otherwise, Otherwise this constant yapping about Science vs. Religion is a big bore.

And no it hasn't been proven yet by either fossil record or scientific experiments. Only the Evolutionary true believers think so.

Freder Frederson said...

that it is wrong to do anything other than to teach children to believe in science to the exclusion of religion.

It is wrong to avoid teaching children scientific facts just because it might conflict with their religious beliefs.

Andy R. said...

Wow, this place is full of dumb creationists.

rcocean said...

Given that most Kids don't even understand gravity or Newton's basic laws of physics teaching them some useless big bang "theory" is a waste of time.

I agree with Balfegor, when you have a half-drunk loudmouth like Chris Matthews talking about "evolution" on his political show - its not really about science.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Revenant, you're doing the right thing here. But technically, molecular clocks are a pretty interesting and useful (in terms of explanatory power) approach to establishing relationships between the passage of time and evolutionary changes.

Evolution happens first at the level of DNA and genotype. Phenotype changes are more easily perceptible, but they don't correlate 100% to genotype and are often more subjective - going on "looks" instead of the reason behind why a species' appearance has changed.

Ultimately, there is a "functional" change that can bridge the explanation between phenotype and genotype. But both scientists and lay people focus too much on that, also.

Synova said...

"In fact, even if you had absolute proof that some god or other created all life on Earth six thousand years ago, THAT still wouldn't refute the theory of evolution -- it would simply change the starting conditions and starting date. There are, after all, species that exist now that didn't exist six thousand years ago. ;)"

And the world wouldn't end. Society wouldn't be plunged into darkness. Doctors wouldn't suddenly not be able to understand the progression of disease.

Honestly, it's just not that big a deal. Scientists fascinated by discovering God's creation gave us science itself.

And they gave it to us in a context that did not justify concealing or fudging data or faking experiments.

Because, (as my EPS 201 prof explained), believing correctly about global warming is *very* important. The most important thing is coming to the right conclusion.

Saint Croix said...

Is biblical creation really that incompatible with evolutionary theory? Perhaps evolution/natural selection is the mechanism by which G-d created life.

Sure. Darwin is not incompatible with Christainity at all.

Of course creationism--the idea that God created life in the universe--is incompatible with atheism. Thus if you're an atheist, Darwin must be right.

Other issues that Christians raise with Darwin is social darwinism (the idea that some people are biologically superior to other people). Christians believe that all people are children of God and thus have equal value. It's this Judeo-Christian belief that lead to our equal protection clause.

Equality isn't a concept that comes out of biology. Some people are better looking than other people, smarter, more athletic. Throughout nature we see inequalities, not equality. The strong eat the weak in nature.

So where does equality come from? I believe it's an idea based on free will, and sin, and theology. For instance both a rich man and a poor man can murder. A beautiful woman and an ugly woman can steal. An Olympic athlete and a couch potato can lie. Regardless of any genetic superiority or inferiority found in nature, we all have the capacity to sin. And thus we are all equal under God.

Social darwinism let to liberals like H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw saying some really insane stuff and arguing that inferiors should perhaps be killed by the state to improve society.

The Nazi Holocaust put an end to that sort of talk. Although you see it resurrected sometimes when people discuss aborting the handicapped.

William Jennings Bryan had some concerns about the textbook used in the Scopes trial. Read these excerpts and see why a Christian might object to that textbook.

Sam Hall said...

Science is about understanding the universe with a prime focus on this world. Right now, the Big Bang, an expanding universe and evolution are the theories that hold up the best.
If you believe in God, then science is understanding how He built this place and what the rules are. Are the current theories 100% correct? The odds are very, very good that they are not.
Are the current theories 100% wrong? Same answer.
If God created life on this planet, then the evidence points to evolution as the way he did it.

YoungHegelian said...

@Andy,

Someone who is critical towards overweening claims of science is not necessarily a creationist.

Folks like you, a toxic mixture of intellectual arrogance and philosophical naivete, may make that mistake, but don't think the rest of us do.

Everywhere one looks the sciences make overweening claims, well, because the human mind wants answers, not questions. And also, one doesn't get grants or on the radio with "You know, we just don't really know that..."

Balfegor said...

Re: Saint Croix:

Thus if you're an atheist, Darwin must be right.

Well, it could always be aliens.

ElPresidenteCastro said...

By saying "End the debate" Bill Nye proclaims himself the Pope Urban of the science guys.

Synova said...

Saint Croix, I'd heard rumors but hadn't found the text. Wow.

"The Remedy. - If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places and in various ways preventing intermarriage and the possibilities of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race. Remedies of this sort have been tried successfully in Europe and are now meeting with success in this country."

But really... monkeys. (eye roll)

Revenant said...

Why not both?

Why not both what?

If you're asking "why not use religion as a source of comfort or wonder" or whatever then sure, go nuts.

If you're asking "why not use religion as a source of understanding of the universe", I would simply point to the large number of mutually contradictory religions out there, and suggest that the odds are stacked against you if you're hoping to pick the one (if there is one) that has the answers.

My experience is that the use of religion to "explain" the universe generally consists of saying "that's inexplicable; God did it". Which is fine, usually, since most of the mysteries of existence don't impact the average person's life. Whether the universe is 15 years old or 15 billion, I still have mortgage payments.

But it does mean that if you're asking "why not seek answers in both"... well, that's like asking "why not spell-check your posts with both a dictionary and a bag of scrabble tiles". The answer is "because one of the two isn't contributing to the solution".

If you want comfort, religion's a good bet. If you want to know, to a reasonable degree of certainty, what is ACTUALLY going on -- and you probably don't, it is usually depressing -- then science is the better bet. :)

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Because, (as my EPS 201 prof explained), believing correctly about global warming is *very* important. The most important thing is coming to the right conclusion.

No. The most important thing is acting on the right conclusion.

And accounting for the risk you take if the conclusion is wrong.

Kirk Parker said...

Dennis,

"It's called Metaphysics for a reason! "

Yes, indeed it is, but not for the reason you apparently think.



K-liz:

"Shoot, I don't even think that about the newspapers. "

Well aren't you the cynic today!!! ;-)

rcocean said...

Science** deals with the material world. In the area's of philosophy, human relations, and of the spirit its almost useless.

The whole Religion vs. Science debate seems like a throwback to 1860.

** By the way, WHICH science? Biology, physics, chemistry, etc?

rcocean said...

Science** deals with the material world. In the area's of philosophy, human relations, and of the spirit its almost useless.

The whole Religion vs. Science debate seems like a throwback to 1860.

** By the way, WHICH science? Biology, physics, chemistry, etc?

O Ritmo Segundo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

"No. The most important thing is acting on the right conclusion.

And accounting for the risk you take if the conclusion is wrong.
"

You can't account for the risk if you inhibit discussion of the conclusion.

You also can't account for the risk if no one explains, or refuses to explain, that the world has almost always been profoundly warmer than it is now, and life thrived. We're in an "ice house" stage and will be for millions of years.

If people were honest then risk assessments could be made. They'd almost certainly not be made in favor of the catastophists preferences.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Social Darwinism has nothing to do with evolution. Evolution is an objective, neutral observation and way of explaining things. Like all science, it is non-prescriptive.

Social Darwinism is a value judgment that says social realities reflect some imagined underlying law and therefore NOT the result of any deliberate and/or arbitrary decisions that could be open to debate, criticism or challenge.

YoungHegelian said...

@Revenant,

If you're asking "why not use religion as a source of understanding of the universe", I would simply point to the large number of mutually contradictory religions out there, and suggest that the odds are stacked against you if you're hoping to pick the one (if there is one) that has the answers.

You mean as opposed to the number of contradictory scientific hypotheses out there?

It's common to hear physicists say String Theory is a big mess that explains everything and nothing. Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity are at odds with each other. And don't even get me started on the underlying epistemological issues that haven't gone away, well, since Aristotle.

You just seem to find much more security in all this than I can eke out.

rcocean said...

Boiled down evolution theory looks like this:

0. ???
1. Empty Earth
2. Evolution
3. ??? for Billions of years
4. Life as we know it

Revenant said...

Social darwinism let to liberals like H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw saying some really insane stuff and arguing that inferiors should perhaps be killed by the state to improve society.

I'm amused that you say that as if genocide against disfavored classes of people was some new idea dreamed up by scientists in the 19th century, rather than being an idea as old as humanity itself.

Describing it as hostile to Christianity is particularly silly, given that the Bible itself contains numerous examples of God ordering genocide against various rival nations to the Israelites. Or if you like more recent history, scare up a copy of Martin Luther's "On the Jews and Their Lies".

Needless to say, Darwin never advocated genocide and genocide has nothing to do with his theory. Blaming the progressive movement's campaign of sterilization on the theory of evolution is like blaming World War II on mechanical engineering.

Unknown said...

The idea that science—evolution and cosmology in particular—provide a tenable, consistent, "sane" view of reality is hysterical, both figuratively and literally. I highly recommend "The Black Hole Wars," "Not Even Wrong," "The Trouble With Physics," "Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism", "The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions," and "The Irrational Atheist" as background reading before attempting to respond to Bill Nye's (well-intentioned) tripe.

O Ritmo Segundo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

1. Empty Earth
2. Evolution
3. ??? for Billions of years
4. Life as we know it

Delete the "3. ???" and bump the third line up to the end of line two. :)

O Ritmo Segundo said...

You can't account for the risk if you inhibit discussion of the conclusion.

Alternatively, if you prevent a certain conclusion from ever being formed or accepted by endless debate then you can conveniently inhibit the action that you never wanted to undertake anyway from ever taking place.

gadfly said...

Bill Nye starts out by admitting that Darwinism is an "idea", which acknowledges the fact that it is nothing more than a theory. Interestingly, his ramblings about "dinosaur bones", "deep space", "radioactivity" and "billions of years" are not explanations for - or definitions of evolutionary theory.

I surely hope that Ann doesn't take this comment the way Chucky, the ponytail man over at LGF, did many years ago when he banned me for disagreeing with him about Darwinism.

"The Theory of Evolution " is nothing more than a societal gate through which progressivism could squeeze out capitalism. We all know how well that is working out!

Charles Darwin’s "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection; or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life" (1859) had an enormous effect on how intellectuals viewed the world. First, it seemed to vindicate the liberal elite who saw the religion of their day as mere superstition. Darwin’s theories permitted the reformers to expound on their own beliefs that they could “reform” society through the miracles of science. Second, it gave impetus to those who believed that government power could be used “wisely” to fashion a new society.

YoungHegelian said...

@Revenant,

Blaming the progressive movement's campaign of sterilization on the theory of evolution is like blaming World War II on mechanical engineering.

You think Darwin didn't supply the basis for Social Darwinism, why? Because you don't like it that theory, that's why. H.G. Wells sure as hell thought he had Darwin on his side, and his scientific credentials were impeccable for his time.

And, yes, Revenant, when Darwin reduces Nature to purely physical processes and removes the hand of God, Morality disappears from Nature, too, because Matter in Motion has no morality.

Into that moral vacuum created by the disappearance of God from Nature, some very ugly demons rushed in, and I'm fucking sorry, modern science owns some of them, and it's historical rubbish to say it doesn't

chickelit said...

Bill Nye, Andy R, Ritmo...the list goes on. I'm always so amused when the willfully childless scream the loudest about what children need.

Not

Bruce Hayden said...

Can you provide some examples. My understanding (e.g., the discovery of DNA and mechanisms of mutation) is the exact opposite of your assertion is true. The last 170 years of biology, geology, physics and chemistry have strengthen, not weakened, Darwin's original hypothesis.

Here is what we seem to "know" right now - that: genetic mutation occurs on a regular basis, and the rate of mutation is relatively known; most mutations are either negative or fatal, but a small number are not; environmental pressures push evolution; that single mutations and genetic changes can be matched to physical changes and theoretically to some sort of evolutionary advantage.

The problem is that we are the sum of millions of genetic mutations (along with invasion by innumerable sympathetic parasites) over hundreds of millions of years, and there are vast jumps in the genetic record that can not, as yet be explained. Even in our recent genome, we see genetic jumps of a dozen or more mutations and the like that are just plausible based on mutation rates, but not more than within the realm of possible.

So, yes, evolution, per se, is fairly well established. But, what has not yet been proven, one way or another, is whether evolution was the cause of those larger jumps in the genetic record, or if there was some intelligent design or godly push involved. I would suggest that those claiming that evolution is the only viable cause for who we are, are just as close minded as those who claim that evolution, even at the lowest levels of single mutations, doesn't work.

Of course, we are making great strides scientifically in this area, and we may, indeed, someday have an answer. Genetic sequencing has become so quick, routine, and relatively inexpensive, that scientists were recently able to show that most non-Africans had Neanderthal genes, and in the last month or so, announced that other hominids had interbred with humans in a small area in Asia.

Revenant said...

You mean as opposed to the number of contradictory scientific hypotheses out there?

Science is a process, not a set of hypotheses. It is a means of testing and verifying or refuting contradictory hypotheses. Religion has no equivalent, that's "the problem", inasmuch as it is a problem.

YoungHegelian said...

@Unknown,

Thank you! A good list.

ElPresidenteCastro said...

Andy,

How does your certainty in evolution comport with your certainty that being gay is a genetic trait? Seems to me that those two thoughts are mutually exclusive.

YoungHegelian said...

@Revenant,

Falsifiability of a hypothesis just allows one to prove something is wrong. It never tells one what's right, what's the way things are! And that's what we're all really looking for, isn't it?

This is 17th-18th century intellectual history all over again, isn't it? The budding sciences saying "look to the empirical phenomena" and the philosophes saying "wait, wait, there will never be certainty from empirical phenomena!".

Darleen said...

science can tell me how a volcano works

science can't tell me why it's wrong to toss a virgin into the volcano

David R. Graham said...

Good point. I doubt it. If he noticed he was doing it he would not do it for fear of being called out by observers.

Evolution is one of three concurrent and equally powerful operations. The others are devolution and involution.

Science makes a poor - in the classical sense of small and paltry - religion. No religious person fears it, either as science or as religion. In the one role it useful to a point. It the other role it is irrelevant.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Geez Chicken Literature - Now you're finding a reason to protest against the existence/explanatory power of evolution? What exactly did I do "wrong" or "childishly" here?

I've been here too long and there's a world of sun and fun (and reality) to explore today. If I want to hear from a chemist batty enough to war against the impact (or even existence?) of deoxyribonucleic acid reactions, then I guess I guess I'll have to come back and hear it later.

What's fascinating is that message-boards are the most hermetic and potentially fact-free, artificial environments we've ever created. If ever there were a forum in which ideas were all that mattered, and facts completely optional, this would be the one.

But feel free to use it to re-impose arbitrarily literal (yet subjective) interpretations of ancient literature by goat-herders over what the evidence of today shows. I understand, there's the supremacy of a fantastically well-organized WORLDVIEW to defend, and we can't tolerate any distractions to that.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

science can't tell me why it's wrong to toss a virgin into the volcano

But reason can. And reason's the stuff of science.

That and facts.

garage mahal said...

science can't tell me why it's wrong to toss a virgin into the volcano

Religion is probably why a virgin is thrown into a volcano.

Andy R. said...

The sad thing is that there are probably a few Republican and Christian leaders who are smart enough to know how dumb creationism is, but they are too scared to stand up to their moronic followers.

rhhardin said...

Darwin could not explain how Sydney Smith, remarking to him that he understood that dear old Lady Cork had been overlooked, managed to imply that the devil had neglected to take her.

Bruce Hayden said...

Boiled down evolution theory looks like this:...

As I pointed out above, there is a fairly well proven part of evolution, and then a hypothesis, accepted as truth by some, that we are the sum result of hundreds of millions years of evolution, and the natural corollary that God had nothing to do with it.

Here is the sort of thing that we do know. Most mammals have bi-color vision. Most old-world monkeys, including, coincidentally, humans, have tri-color vision. The difference can be traced to an accidental duplication of one of the two standard primate color genes. At first, the mutation would seemingly been fairly neutral, since we would still have had two color vision. But, then, the theory goes that the one set of genes was tuned to another frequency (red) by substitution of base pairs, or something like that (the response curves for the cones of aquatic mammals have been significantly retuned over time to allow them to see better under water), and the driving force for that was theoretically the detection of red leaves, which are supposedly more nutritious. And, if for no other reason than which primates inherited this mutation, and which did not do so, a reasonably accurate time frame for this mutation can be estimated.

But, note how limited that sort of knowledge is, and that is why I question the assumption that evolution completely defines who we are.

Revenant said...

I would suggest that those claiming that evolution is the only viable cause for who we are, are just as close minded as those who claim that evolution, even at the lowest levels of single mutations, doesn't work.

Only viable cause, no. Only viable cause we know of, yes.

The main problem with creationism is that it cheats. It presumes (a) that intelligent deities can exist, (b) that, what's more, at least one DOES exist, (c) that they can manipulate DNA without leaving evidence beyond the DNA itself, and (d) that they had the means, motive, and opportunity to do so. Having thus handwaved away all the key parts of their theory, they assign credit for the "evolutionary jumps" to these entities. "Aliens created life on Earth" is technically a more reality-based theory than that, and people think you're crazy if you advocate it. :)

The theory of evolution simply says "you know those non-controversial evolutionary processes we were discussing? The ones we've proven happen, and which COULD have done this? Yeah, they did this".

Is the theory of evolution absolutely true? No. But it is absolutely true that it is the only theory currently on the table that can explain life WITHOUT invoking undetectable powers or forces.

rhhardin said...

Religion is a poeticization of ethics. Science is not.

Oscar Ceara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David R. Graham said...

"It's called Metaphysics for a reason! Science dwells in physics, and it's domain stops where spirituality begins."

I know what you're trying to say but you're saying it's opposite. Meta means before, under, a prius, a pre-condition. Physics rests on metaphysics.

Also, metaphysics and spirituality are not comparable as words and concepts or as phenomena. They have very different referents.

Bruce Hayden said...

But, note how limited that sort of knowledge is, and that is why I question the assumption that evolution completely defines who we are.

Let me add the converse too - that I don't discount the theory that evolution completely defines who we are either. Rather, I am undecided, awaiting further edification and scientific advances.

Revenant said...

Falsifiability of a hypothesis just allows one to prove something is wrong. It never tells one what's right, what's the way things are! And that's what we're all really looking for, isn't it?

A rational individual holds beliefs that accord with the evidence available to him, discarding those beliefs when they are no longer in accordance with the evidence.

Science provides a means of doing that, and religion does not -- which is why "God works in mysterious ways" is such a universally-known cliche in western civilization. ;)

Synova said...

"Alternatively, if you prevent a certain conclusion from ever being formed or accepted by endless debate then you can conveniently inhibit the action that you never wanted to undertake anyway from ever taking place."

A few years is not "endless debate".

Maybe you don't remember what happened. The Global Warming thing was going on for a while, but no one really paid attention. Then a resolution was passed in Kyoto and everyone said, What?

And a whole bunch of people who were not professional green-religionists or a narrow assortment of climate scientists, but who were educated in other science areas, or were working engineers, or who were just people, were told... SHUT UP, THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED.

People who understood the economy said, hey wait, you're talking about crippling progress and technology and the economy.

People who were being asked to "save" the world by inflating their car tires or using one sheet of toilet paper said... that doesn't make sense that this would solve the problem, is another agenda involved?

People who were brilliant scientists like Freeman Dyson wondered if the computer simulations and predictions could possibly account for the variables.

People who were engineers and assumed that the "data in" mattered and wondered about proxies and temperature stations.

Regular scientists and just people thought that the raw, uncorrected, data used ought to be available.

They were all told... the science is settled, there is a consensus, SHUT UP.

There was not endless debate. There was no debate. Gore got fithly rich selling forgiveness for conspicuous consumption, grants were granted left and right if you could show how your study of back-yard gardens among North West Indian tribes related to global warming, data *disappeared*, and a few degrees was portrayed as a catastrophe.

Because the right conclusion had been concluded and convincing people was so important that it justified lying to them. Telling them to shut up, and lying to them.

Darleen said...

But reason can. And reason's the stuff of science.

Oh really? Reason is from the realm of philosophy and practitioners include both Aristotle AND St. Thomas Aquinas.

Observation alone doesn't make "murder" wrong. It may make it impractical, but not wrong.

Ethics morality and the concepts of good and evil are theological arguments. Reason is the bridge holding together science & faith.

Jason said...

The inability for certain materialists to differentiate between old earth and new earth creationism is a useful shibboleth for identifying the ones who are undereducated ignorant fools arguing completely out of their depth. Back to you, Andy.

Revenant said...

"Blaming the progressive movement's campaign of sterilization on the theory of evolution is like blaming World War II on mechanical engineering."

You think Darwin didn't supply the basis for Social Darwinism, why?

You think mechanical engineering didn't supply the basis for World War II? Good luck fighting THAT war without boats, cars, tanks, planes, and guns. :)

Any honest and rational person recognizes that humans have been cooking up excuses to slaughter and oppress other groups for as long as there have been groups of humans TO oppress. Social Darwinists argued against miscegenation on evolutionary grounds; Christians argued against it on the grounds that God intended the races to be separate. Social Darwinists argued that blacks were a lower form of human; Christians argued that blacks were descended from people divinely designated as servants. And so on.

Which goes to show that there is no power on Earth as strong as the human ability to rationalize that what we WANT to do is entirely consistent with our existing belief system.





Because you don't like it that theory, that's why. H.G. Wells sure as hell thought he had Darwin on his side, and his scientific credentials were impeccable for his time.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

"People" paid attention, the major cities are closest to oceans and carry an incomparable economic impact, and -- oh yeah, here's a few pictures showing what I suppose amounts to statistical and historical "noise".

You be sure to take your time with that one.

Darleen said...

Jason

"Inability" has nothing to do with it. It's a deliberately chosen tactic in order to keep the anti-theist troops on message.

People of faith have doubts and wrestle with them all the time.

Anti-theists are absolutely sure of their dogma.

David R. Graham said...

"... evolution seems to have a built in intelligence."

Almost the meaning of Logos in classical Greek philosophy, imported with specifications as basis of Christian Christological and, later, ontological doctrine and preaching.

Logos doctrine was a basis for early Islam - one reason Classical Greek works were preserved - just as it remains for Christianity. Mutazilites. Then the Asherites wiped those out and "Islam" became what we see today. Benedict at Regensburg jumped over the Asherites to recall Mutazilite Islam as having a common basis for peaceful con-versation with Christians. Once upon a time there were intelligent Muslims.

gadfly said...

Andy R. said...
I lost all respect for Bill Nye when, after it was shown that the Climate 101 experiment that he narrated was faked, instead of being angry about being used, he complained about the person who revealed the truth.

Link?

9/9/12 12:00 PM


Andy R: A lesson in finding your own links:

Highlight "Climate 101 experiment that he narrated was faked" here or above and right click. Then click "search Google for ..." in the popup box.

Presto! you get:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/18/replicating-al-gores-climate-101-video-experiment-shows-that-his-high-school-physics-could-never-work-as-advertised/

Darleen said...

Christians argued against it on the grounds that God intended the races to be separate.

Which Christians on what Biblical reference?

Because if one looks at the story of Ruth, it blows that out of the water.

Oh I'm sure racists attempt to figleaf themselves with their own interpretations of Biblical scripture, but that's as legit as Progressives being they can find same-sex marriage in the US Constitution. Both are rewriting the text & intent.

Revenant said...

Because you don't like it that theory, that's why. H.G. Wells sure as hell thought he had Darwin on his side, and his scientific credentials were impeccable for his time.

Er... "impeccable" in the sense that my scientific credentials are "impeccable". We both have bachelor's degrees in a scientific field and careers that have nothing to do with that degree. :)

Saint Croix said...

Describing it as hostile to Christianity is particularly silly

I didn't say Darwin or his theory was hostile to Christianity. That would be silly. What I said was that some people who are hostile to Christianity use Darwin to attack that religion. That's not silly. For instance...

the Bible itself contains numerous examples of God ordering genocide against various rival nations to the Israelites. Or if you like more recent history, scare up a copy of Martin Luther's "On the Jews and Their Lies".

Is it just me or are you showing some hostility to Christianity?

Revenant said...

Which Christians on what Biblical reference? Because if one looks at the story of Ruth, it blows that out of the water.

And if one looks at the actual theory of evolution, "social darwinism" is revealed as the pseudoscientific nonsense it always was.

The point I was making was not "ha ha, Christianity = racism", but that people habitually use ideas inappropriately.

Andy R. said...

Andy R: A lesson in finding your own links:

I was interested in finding a link to this part: "he complained about the person who revealed the truth."

I don't see anything in the link you provided about Nye responding. Do you have a link to back up that assertion?

Revenant said...

Is it just me or are you showing some hostility to Christianity?

I was simply making some factual observations about past Christian support for genocide.

If stating facts is the same as being hostile then... yeah, I guess I'm hostile? About most things, really. :)

rhhardin said...

The inability for certain materialists to differentiate between old earth and new earth creationism is a useful shibboleth

Upper case and lower case, numbers and at least one punctuation mark.

rhhardin said...

A shibbolith on the other hand is a fossilized ear of corn.

Paddy O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paddy O said...

"science can't tell me why it's wrong to toss a virgin into the volcano"

Sure it can. The waste of a perfectly good virgin for not procreative means.

Science can also tell you why it's wrong to be gay. Evolution becomes a very helpful reason for arguing against homosexuality.

But that doesn't stop some people from asserting that contrary to evolution, they create themselves and their own identity. They can do who they want! Theos is replaced by Ego.

Most people, by the by, who only see a binary between religion and science tend to not understand either religion or science or both. And, almost always, they are indeed stuck in a very Modern mode of thinking. Very 1860 indeed.

Note that this goes for many creationists too.

rhhardin said...

The Egyptian egg was initially pyramidish, but evolved into a rounder and rounder shape.

Its exponent approached two.

David R. Graham said...

"Which Christians on what Biblical reference?"

Glad you called him out. I thought about it and dropped it, but it needed doing.

One can also say to him, to summon all three sources of authority, "Which Christians on what Reason (Logos) and Tradition reference?"

Christianity is represented by those three authorities, Scripture, Tradition and Reason. If one wishes to criticize or disparage Christianity, do it at one or more of those authorities, not at individuals or groups calling themselves Christians.

Darleen's point and right on target.

Paddy O said...

"Because if one looks at the story of Ruth, it blows that out of the water."

Or the book of Acts or the Early Church or the Gospels. We have men and women from Africa all throughout the earliest Christian teachings. Egypt was a major player. So was Libya (Cyrene especially) and what is now Tunisia (Carthage). We have the story of the Ethiopian reading Isaiah and getting it explained by Philip.

edutcher said...

Andy R. said...

Wow, this place is full of dumb creationists.

No, this place is full of thoughtful, intelligent people who understand this question is more complicated than the pre-digested, make-me-fell-superior answers you prefer.

And, to echo the other commenter, how does a strict evolutionist explain homosexuality as a trait?

Logically, it would seem to be something that must be lost as the species requires reproduction to be one of its foremost tasks

Andy R. said...

Logically, it would seem to be something that must be lost as the species requires reproduction to be one of its foremost tasks

People who bring this up indicate they are clueless about either evolution or homosexuality, and probably both. We've had this discussion multiple times before in the Althouse comment section. You are around here enough to have caught it if you didn't have a willful desire to remain ignorant.

SteveR said...

The minute chance of some random "accident" resulting in a favorable biologic change might be incredibly small but there is a lot of time and many (billions of) different laboratories. None of that rules out God.

Too bad Bill Nye uses the religious approach to global warming, clearly he values popularity as much as science.

Pookie Number 2 said...

I'm just curious. Is there anyone here that believes that Andy the Douche actually understands the scientific arguments for evolution, rather than accepting it blindly?

Dave said...

Some progressives did advocate what was understood as Social Darwinism in the early decades of the 20th Century, and they were wrong.

But President Obama's accusation of "Social Darwinist" captures the prevailing Republican philosophy pretty well. The point of the label, created by historian Richard Hoftsadter, is that a species of laissez-faire economics treated the market the way Darwinians treat natural selection — as the sole natural and correct mechanism for distributing rewards.

Greg Mankiw, an economist, adviser to Mitt Romney has written:

"People should get what they deserve. A person who contributes more to society deserves a higher income that reflects those greater contributions. Society permits him that higher income not just to incentivize him, as it does according to utilitarian theory, but because that income is rightfully his."

Paddy O said...

The universe agrees with who I want to be!!

If you don't agree, you hate the universe and all the learning in it!

Saint Croix said...

I was simply making some factual observations about past Christian support for genocide.

Said the teacher to his students.

My point is that a number of atheists seem to be deeply attached to Darwin and his theory in an emotional way. And they cannot debate or even discuss the theory without hostility, anger, name-calling. If you sound like hat boy you're in a bad place.

When you engage in this rather heated and emotional debate with religious people, do you sound like a scientist?

Or do you sound like an atheist?

When you buy the Darwin fish bumper sticker and put it on your car, are you really a scientist?

Nobody on this blog is addressing the scientific issues with Darwin's theory.

Scientists would think about it.

Atheists do not. When you're close-minded, people see that. And of course Christians are close-minded on subjects, too. But we don't indoctrinate Christianity in the public schools.

I would like to see more open-mindedness from scientists, as opposed to rigid and dogmatic thinking.

Paddy O said...

"I'm just curious..."

I do know that appeals to authority and popularity tend to only work among those who see credentials and supposed status as indicators of education, which then conveys status by agreement with the assumed position of those with status and credentials.

So, charges of uneducated and ignorant tend to work with people who are assuming an enlightened state, which causes the curious problem of the lesser actually educated to judge the more educated based on often suspect markers.

It's the same method that religions often use to keep people in line with the authority.

Which means that the charge of ignorance is not really what is at hand. We're being called heretics by Nye and others.

Jim S. said...

The doctrine of rationes seminales was a position that originated with the ancient Stoics and was picked up by many ancient and medieval Christian writers. The idea is that the various forms of life that exist were originally created in seed-form, or with certain potentialities, which then developed or unfolded accordingly, and produced the diversity of species. This seems very similar to evolution. Theologians who accepted rationes seminales include Athenagoras, Tertullian, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, Bonaventure, Albertus Magnus, and Roger Bacon. Since such Christian luminaries accepted that the world and its elements developed over time, it is obvious that evolution is not at all incompatible with Christianity.

Paddy O said...

"the prevailing Republican philosophy pretty well."

Well, except for the part that Republicans are actually against killing poor babies whose parents don't want or can't afford them.

We don't want more poor babies is the rallying cry of the DNC.

Jim S. said...

O Ritmo Segundo said...
Evolution is an objective, neutral observation and way of explaining things. Like all science, it is non-prescriptive.


This is incorrect. As Ernst Mayr put it, virtually every advance in physiology has come from asking what a given organ or structure is supposed to do. Whether this prescriptivity -- present in virtually all the life sciences, from biology on up -- can be reduced to naturalistic terms is an interesting question.

Jim S. said...

As a Christian, I'm afraid I just don't feel threatened by evolution. I can take it or leave it: if it's true, great; if it's false, great. I can just follow the evidence wherever it leads (which seems to be that it is correct).

The atheist does not have this option. He has to believe in evolution, regardless of the evidence. He cannot be open to the evidence, because if the evidence went against him, he would be threatened. Evolution becomes an a priori belief rather than an a posteriori one. Since science is inherently a posteriori, this is a glaring problem for the atheist.

Cedarford said...

Balfegor said...
I think I've written this here before, but the whole "teach evolution" debate is really just people asserting cultural markers, and has nothing to do with what children really need to learn. The elementary school version of evolution by natural selection takes like five minutes to explain and is easily comprehensible whether you state it as "fact" or call it a "theory" and then say "but really God or some higher intelligence directed the course of evolution."
======================
By throwing "but God is behind it all" in at the end, you throw bullshit into the education.

We don't know. Some might believe God, Allah, Sweet Baby Jesus, or the Great Spaghetti Entity is behind it all, but there is no observable evidence for that , that warrants it being shoveled on kids in US schools or Paki Madrassahs as "truth".

Could be Allah does make every leaf move, every grain of sand shift, every word from the mouths of Believers.
Or not.
But evidence - naw!

Darleen said...

Sure it can. The waste of a perfectly good virgin for not procreative means.

As I said, that's pragmatism, not morality.

Indeed, you have science "proving" that free will is an illusion.

The consequence of anti-theism is that a human individual has no more moral worth than a rock.

Revenant said...

Glad you called him out. I thought about it and dropped it, but it needed doing.

I didn't take that as her denying that such Christians existed, but as her arguing that it wasn't a universal Christian belief.

The most commonly-used justification was the so-called "curse of Ham", where Noah dictated that Ham's descendants would serve the descendants of his other sons. Africans, in this theory, are understood to be the descendants of Ham (which makes sense, since he went southwest the Middle East).

As for the "God intended the races to be separate", that's just common-sensical reasoning from the premise that God created the races in their current form and placed them in different parts of the Earth.

If you would like to "call me out" on this point further, I'll be happy to explain some more of recent western religious history to you. :)

Revenant said...

"Sure it can. The waste of a perfectly good virgin for not procreative means."

As I said, that's pragmatism, not morality.

We were discussing religion, not morality.

Religion can tell you to throw virgins into volcanos or to stop people who throw virgins into volcanos.

Pragmatism tells you that throwing virgins into volcanos is a stupid idea.

I leave it to you to judge which is a more reliable basis for keeping virgins out of volcanos. :)

jimbino said...

In the interests of advancing science, Bill Nye and other scientists would do well to avoid the use of the word "believe" in reference to evolution or any other scientific phenomenon.

A scientist does not "believe" in gravity; he accepts it as a scientific fact.

It is the astrologer who believes that planetary motion affects human moods, the Roman Catholic who believes in the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception while not even being able to articulate it, the Evangelical who believes in the power of prayer while never subjecting it to scientific experiment.

Science is not a mere collection of facts or a knowledge base regarding nature. It is a way of thinking that infuses your entire life, just as legal training infuses a person's perceptions, from the value of a human life to the rights of animals.

In fact, a true scientist is an agnostic about everything until he is convinced by evidence--that includes God, efficacy of prayer, life after death, and the infusion of the soul in the fetus. There is simply no evidence supporting any of those things; folks who "believe" otherwise are free to apply for the $1M Randi/Scientific American award and show proof.

Folks not trained in law make silly assertions regarding legal concepts, and folks not trained in science are liable to do the same with regard to nature.

Unfortunately, science ability is hard to gain, because its language is math; on the other hand, we are saturated with lawyers, especially in the Federal Government, where, among the 546 of SCOTUS, POTUS and COTUS, there are only about 9 who have shown any sophistication in STEM or Econ. Only one is a self-proclaimed atheist. We are essentially ruled by scientifically illiterate superstitious lawyers. We will probably have to wait on the atheist, math-savvy Chinese to liberate us.

edutcher said...

Andy R. said...

Logically, it would seem to be something that must be lost as the species requires reproduction to be one of its foremost tasks

People who bring this up indicate they are clueless about either evolution or homosexuality, and probably both. We've had this discussion multiple times before in the Althouse comment section. You are around here enough to have caught it if you didn't have a willful desire to remain ignorant.


I must have been out with The Blonde that day.

Paddy O seems to see it the same way I do and ask the same question, although I'll throw in another, "When you had that discussion, how badly did you lose?".

Brian O'Connell said...

Ann Althouse: "It's not even a scientific argument to say that. You're talking about emotional needs that people have and offering cures to psychological ills. Science has never proven that scientific understanding and believe is the only or even the best way to meet these needs.

The failure even to see this problem, by you and by Nye, shows that you are believing in science, not being scientific."

There probably is science out there about whether science or religion is better at "the purpose of exciting us, dispelling mystery, and avoiding feeling crazy." What if the evidence showed that people were more satisfied by religion? I'm sure it does to some extent, and in some areas more than others.

I guess it depends on what the purpose of knowledge is. Would you assign a higher value to knowing the truth, as near as we can currently make out, or would you place a higher value on what meets your emotional needs? You're right in that the question itself isn't a scientific one.

Roy Lofquist said...

Wow! Misinformation and ignorance abound. You are all forgiven. It's taken me more than 60 years to realize just how ignorant am I. Perhaps I might address a few points:

1. Young earth creationism vis a vis generic creationism.

2. Deep time.

3. Evolution need not address the origin of life.

1. Young earth creationism. The 6000 year number is a fallacy based upon a literal interpretation of Genesis. Unfortunately the Bible was not written in English. In fact, until about 900 BC it was not written but rather an oral tradition. The original languages were Hebrew, Armaic and Greek. We may assume that the original recording reflected concurrent language usage. Psalm 94 (King James) c.a. 1000 BC: "For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night". At that time a thousand was the largest named number and was often used metaphorically as we might say "gazillion". Generic creationism assumes this view and does not take "6 days" literally.

2. Deep time. Ah, the innumeracy of soft scientists. Sorry, folks - a little math. There have been about 6.6 x 10^15 seconds during the age of the earth (5 billion years). That's 6 followed by 15 zeroes. The number of possible combinations for the amino acids (4) for the theorized simplest DNA molecule is 4^700,000,000. This number exceeds the capacity of any calculator I've been able to find but if you tried all the combinations it would take more than 10^1,000,000 earth life spans to try them all.

3. Evolution need not address the origin of life. This is the big cop out. The unanswerable question. For the explanation see:

http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=1026

It is in English though I doubt that Andy R et. al. will comprehend much ot it.

Revenant said...

Many scoff at intelligent design, but evolution seems to have a built in intelligence.

That is... pretty remarkably wrong.

Even if we overlook the countless examples of "bad design" in living things, there's the unpleasant fact that at least 95% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct.

A 95% failure rate doesn't say, to me, "whatever did this really knew what it was doing".

Jim S. said...

A scientist does not "believe" in gravity; he accepts it as a scientific fact.

Seriously? What does this "acceptance" consist of? A belief, perchance? To believe something means to accept it as true. You're using an idiosyncratic definition.

I'm afraid I stopped reading your comment after you made this ridiculous claim. Did I miss anything?

Astro said...

Biology didn't end with Darwin anymore than Physics ended with Newton. Evolution is a framework for understanding biology, genetics, DNA, biochemistry, etc., just like the calculus is the framework for understanding physics. Einstein had to add tensors to physics to explain relativity. At some point someone will extend biological evolution (perhaps with some extension to explain viruses) to cover some of the more obvious deficiencies.
But if you insist on 'ultimate' answers, that's religion, not science.

Darleen said...

Pragmatism tells you that throwing virgins into volcanos is a stupid idea.

Not for pragmatists that believe there are enough people already. Then getting rid of no moral-worth individuals on basis of fecundity makes "reasonable sense."

Now, I assumed here that the "religions" under discussion were the various sects within the Judeo-Christian pantheon. Religion as ethical monotheism where the God in question is interesting in individuals doing good and behaving morally.

You know, that "individual rights from Nature and Nature's God" one.

Cedarford said...

Saint Croix -

Social darwinism let to liberals like H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw saying some really insane stuff and arguing that inferiors should perhaps be killed by the state to improve society.

The Nazi Holocaust put an end to that sort of talk. Although you see it resurrected sometimes when people discuss aborting the handicapped.


Once all the blather about a war 70 years in the past finally is reduced to its true historical importance...we can get back to objective conversations about making people "better". Just as we did before WWII since the beginning of organized hominid tribes that wanted to breed in certain characteristics to better ensure survival and prosperity.

And for milennia before WWII and in the years after it with efforts aimed improving crops, animal breeds.

The need is there. We can't keep going on feeding stupid and ill-tempered and ill-fit welfare mommas and their similarly talented 8-9 chilluns - when the producing part of society is down to replacement level birthrates. We don't have the resources, we don't have a suicidal need to destroy our civilization by allowing the Takers to dominate and control the Producers,

We also can't afford to spend 1-3 million on medical care for doomed babies with severe defects. Not when testing can flag carrier parents - testing can detect the defective ones more and more in the early stages of pregnancy.
Why not work to eliminate cystic fibrosis, MD, families that send all offspring to jail, generation after generation due to genetic-based maladoptive behavior (bad seeds).


jr565 said...

Even if we overlook the countless Revenant wrote:
examples of "bad design" in living things, there's the unpleasant fact that at least 95% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct.

A 95% failure rate doesn't say, to me, "whatever did this really knew what it was doing".

It seems that most things/animals are built to not last into infinity, and come with an expiration date. As such, how is the fact that animals do expire somehow an example of bad design or that the designer didn't know what it was doing.

Fen said...

These are the very psychological needs that religion serves quite well for great numbers of human individuals. When Nye proffers science for these purposes, he is promoting it as a religion substitute. Did he even notice he was doing that?!

Of course not, and this is the fundamental weakness of all Athiests:

1) Humans have a hierarchy of needs. One of which is a spiritual appetite that needs to be satiated.

2) People without religion simply redirect that need onto something or someone else: Global Warming, Marxism, Obama. So I'd rather they worship a God in Heaven instead of a GodKing on Earth.

3) I'm sorry Dr. Science-guy, but you remind me of all the attorneys I know who think that passing the Bar makes them an expert on everything outside their field. Your PHDs are actually a limiting factor.

You would think that even the least "enlightened" and "sophisticated" athiest could apprectiate the Bible's warnings against False Prophets, esp during these times. I wonder how many scientists fell for the Hope and Change snake oil...

jr565 said...

Andy R wrote:
edutcher is a creationist? You're dumber than I thought.

Can I ask you a question? Is the only position on this that you can have is evolution or creationism? What about people who have problems with some aspects of evolution or darwinism (and there are many problems) but ALSO don't buy the creationism myth?
Are you not allowed to question the fundamental issues posed by evolution without suddenly becoming someone who believed we were walking around with dinosaurs? Who's closed minded again?

Revenant said...

Paddy O seems to see it the same way I do and ask the same question, although I'll throw in another, "When you had that discussion, how badly did you lose?".

Andy R is right, which may be a first.

There are many ways in which homosexuality may be genetic. There are even cases in which it can be evolutionarily favored. For example:

1. There could be a recessive gene that causes homosexuality but has some positive effect that outweighs the costs, like the sickle cell anemia gene does.
2. It could be caused by a rare combination of multiple genes that, individually, have positive effects but which in combination make the carrier homosexual.
3. It could have a genetic basis but be triggered by environmental conditions such as overpopulation. Modern humans life in packed-together conditions that, historically, would signal "massive famine and disease is just around the corner".

Something else to remember is that homosexuals aren't sterile. They can have children, they simply have a lower average number of them due to a lack of attraction to the opposite sex. But evolution doesn't care how much you hump; it cares how many copies of your genes survive over the long term. Pumping out the most kids possible isn't a long-term survival benefit for apex predators like humans.

So yeah, I'm afraid Andy's right. Anyone who assumes homosexuality must be an evolutionary disadvantage is speaking from ignorance. A simplistic "this gene is good, that gene is bad" way of thinking won't help you understand how the world really works.

Jim S. said...

Just to stir the pot a little: did y'all know that young-earth creationists actually accept hyper-efficient evolution? They think that the millions of species that have lived since the time of Noah's flood are descended from the hundreds or (maybe) thousands of animal pairs that were on the ark. So each pair of animal diversified into a thousand or ten thousand distinct species within a few hundred years.

Brian O'Connell said...

Darleen: 'Indeed, you have science "proving" that free will is an illusion.

The consequence of anti-theism is that a human individual has no more moral worth than a rock.'

A lot of "anti-science", to ape your term, is based on a strong dislike for many of its conclusions. This is kind of obvious, but so much so that it often goes unremarked upon. Many folks are opposed to some science, but very few are opposed to the science that brings us the internet, mobile phones, and miraculous medical procedures.

Some areas of scientific inquiry tend to give results that make many people uncomfortable. But as far as the scientific method is concerned, there's no difference between the science of evolution and the science of electromagnetism. They use the same processes to find answers- you're just ok with one answer and not the other.

Fen said...

I'm just curious. Is there anyone here that believes that Andy the Douche actually understands the scientific arguments for evolution, rather than accepting it blindly?

Andy? His apparent goal is to reinforce all the negative stereotypes attached to gays.

While spreading his hateful bigotry against religious folk.

Quaestor said...

AndyR wrote:
Why do you think science shouldn't excite us or dispel mystery? Seems like a perfectly legitimate thing for science to do.

That askewhatguy thinks science is about dispelling mysteries shouldn't surprise me, that Bill Nye (someone so arrogant that he calls himself the "science guy") should also think so also does not surprise me. Both AndyR and Bill Nye belong to a social group known as "non-scientists".

The domain of non-scientists includes all who are not scientists, and can include persons who hold advanced degrees in science. To be a scientist one must do science, and to do science it helps to know what it is. Science is not the pursuit of fundamental truth; it is the pursuit of information from which a good working explanation of reality can be induced, said explanation being called a theory.

edutcher wrote:
All those holes Darwin said would be filled in by future discoveries haven't. In fact, they've tended to make the holes even bigger. Evolution is being treated by the Lefties as holy writ, not as the theory it is, and it's going to fail in that capacity because it will be tested as science, not religion.

Evidently edutcher is betting science is going to prove the existence of gods, not a bet I'd take...

A theory is a good one if it has predictive power. The Theory of Evolution (we should drop Darwin's name from the theory since when we wrote the Origin the mechanisms of inheritance were unknown) is a good one since it does have predictive power, and it does offer good explanations for observed facts that would otherwise be inexplicable.

For example, why is it that out of the thousands of known amino acids all life on this planet, from bacteria to giant sequoias to blue whales, use only 22? Evolution says this is because all types living things are the descendants of just one type of living thing. Without evolution there is no explanation for this fact apart from divine decree.

Another example: Every terrestrial vertebrate species yet cataloged has five toes -- either five functioning toes like ours or less with vestigial traces of more toes up to five, never six or seven. Why should a monitor lizard have the same number of toes as a man? And why do all terrestrial vertebrates have four legs, with one bone between the knee and the hip and two bones between the knee and the ankle? Without evolution this is a question without an answer. But armed with the Theory we can predict that the ancestor of all terrestrial vertebrates had five toes and two bones above the wrist and two bones above the ankle, an accurate prediction as it turns out with the discovery of Tiktaalic roseae an extinct lobe-finned fish of the Devonian era which fits the description and the time-frame of the ancestor of all landing-living vertebrates. We could function just as well with six toes and six fingers (better if we're pianists) and we could walk and run just as well on legs with two thigh bones and one shinbone, but we've got the arrangement we have because of our inheritance from that first pioneering fish that chose to live on the land. Without evolution we can only explain our anatomy as the whimsy of some god who chose to make things look like evolution in action. (Personally I don't think a deity who engages in deception is worthy of worship. But since there is no deity I don't have to worry about such things as a contemptible god.)

Quaestor said...

There are more examples of evolution, thousands of them. The anti-evolution crowd trots out their "disproof" from time to time, and so far all are variations on William Paley's divine watchmaker analogy, an argument that was insufficient in 1802 and is still insufficient today. The anti-evolution crowd believes that random chance can't assemble a watch, the favorite example given today is a Boeing 747 being assembled by a tornado in a junkyard, and they are right! The problem is they don't understand (or more likely won't acknowledge) that the tornado in a junkyard is not an analogy for evolution. Evolution is not randomness anymore than gold medals are handed out randomly at the Olympics. Evolution is the non-random survival of randomly varying replicators.

jr565 said...

Cedarford wrote:
We also can't afford to spend 1-3 million on medical care for doomed babies with severe defects. Not when testing can flag carrier parents - testing can detect the defective ones more and more in the early stages of pregnancy.
Why not work to eliminate cystic fibrosis, MD, families that send all offspring to jail, generation after generation due to genetic-based maladoptive behavior (bad seeds).
Well, in the case of the bad seeds we don't really know why people are that way. Is it nature or nurture.Is it in the genes for example? Which ones? Mozart was a genius. But his kid was ordinary. Even if you found someone equally brilliant and they bred,is there a quarantee that there kids wouldn't be dullards or bad seeds?

Fen said...

there's no difference between the science of evolution and the science of electromagnetism. They use the same processes to find answers- you're just ok with one answer and not the other.

Depends. Did the "scientists" use flawed models, corrupt the data and then lose their research notes like they did at CRU? We need to know what types of "scientists" are involved here.



Revenant said...

It seems that most things/animals are built to not last into infinity, and come with an expiration date. As such, how is the fact that animals do expire somehow an example of bad design or that the designer didn't know what it was doing.

I'm not talking about animals dying; I'm talking about species dying off. At least ninety-five percent of all species that ever lived ultimately failed at the central function of living things: producing a next generation.

Revenant said...

Did the "scientists" use flawed models, corrupt the data and then lose their research notes like they did at CRU?

The scientists at CRU study evolution? Who knew.

Fen said...

Evidently edutcher is betting science is going to prove the existence of gods, not a bet I'd take...

I would. Science has already proven that Magic exists (or what they once thought was "magic")

Jim S. said...

Brian O'Connell: I accept what science says. I don't accept what it cannot say -- things like 1) the moral worth of human beings. How does science even comment on this subject? How could it comment on this? How do you get from the proposition that we are composed of matter to the claim that we are nothing but matter? Isn't it obvious that that's not a scientific conclusion?

Or 2) that we have no free will. To claim we have no free will is self-defeating: if the person who believes this is determined to do so, regardless of the actual evidence, then I no longer have any reason to accept his claims. Free will has to be presupposed in order for there to be any science in the first place.

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

Did the "scientists" use flawed models, corrupt the data and then lose their research notes like they did at CRU?

Rev: The scientists at CRU study evolution?

Really Rev? Thats your play? You want a mulligan?

We already know that "scientists" routinely cheat to get the result they want. So its entirely reasonable to ask if this set has also cheated, regardless of their field of study.

Revenant said...

Indeed, you have science "proving" that free will is an illusion. The consequence of anti-theism is that a human individual has no more moral worth than a rock.

"Things without free will have no more moral worth than a rock" is a religious belief, not a scientific belief. It is *your* beliefs saying "if a person doesn't have free will, it is OK to rape and kill them". That's not science.

My advice: don't adopt a moral system that is in risk of collapsing if scientists make a new discovery in human neurobiology.

Revenant said...

Really Rev? Thats your play?

That's me mocking you for turning a discussion of evolution and religion into yet another "wah, global warming research is crooked" whine-fest. :)

Brian O'Connell said...

Scientists are humans, and humans cheat from time to time. You shouldn't particularly trust scientists. The evidence is the important thing, and reproducible results.

A scientist who won't show his data is no better than a priest, when it comes to science.

Roger Zimmerman said...

The rational answer to "why" is: that is not a valid question. Existence exists - the laws of nature just _are_. Being humans - we always want an answer to the why questions - this is hard to take. But, you can get used to it. I have.

Nye, by the way, is over the top, here. It is almost never appropriate to indoctrinate children in any ideological matter. It's alright to force feed them basic facts that impact their immediate health and safety ("if you run in front of that car, you will probably be killed"), but there is no need to do such in the realm of abstract conceptualization. Doing so disrespects and actually stunts their cognitive faculty. It tells them that their mind is incapable of grasping reality. This applies to religious indoctrination as well.

The time to present evolution to a person is when they have advanced to the point of being able to think critically, to consider evidence, argument, logic. By then, there is no need to indoctrinate, only persuade. Of course, most people will never reach the stage where they can exercise such critical reasoning. But indoctrinating them is beside the point.

Quaestor said...

Fen wrote:
Science has already proven that Magic exists (or what they once thought was "magic")

WTF??? Words fails me.

Revenant said...

"A scientist does not "believe" in gravity; he accepts it as a scientific fact."

Seriously? What does this "acceptance" consist of? A belief, perchance? To believe something means to accept it as true

A fact is something which is true whether you believe in it or not.

There have, for example, been people who believed that a shirt blessed by their religious leader could repel bullets. The other side of the conflict believed otherwise. One of the two groups, as it turns out, had the facts on its side.

Fen said...

yet another "wah, global warming research is crooked" whine-fest. :)

Really? I don't recall derailing threads into "another" whine-fest about the corrupted research. Cheap tactic and poor form on your part.

I think you're just upset that I question the amount of trust and credibility we lend scientists. Especially those scientists that are caught up in the "politics" of scientific research (AGW, Green Energy, Evolution). Seems that it woudl affect the objectivity of even the most unbiased "scientist".

So I'm left wondering how much evidence supporting evolution is just pure bunk.

At least be sure their model returns a negative number for the sum of two squares, yes?

Brian O'Connell said...

"the moral worth of human beings"

Science doesn't have anything to say about that. Not sure you could even define "moral worth" in scientific way. But science will say there's no evidence that we're anything more than matter (and energy and information).

"To claim we have no free will is self-defeating..."

It's entirely possible that the true underlying reality of the universe contains some very unpleasant facts- facts that could change fundamentally how we see ourselves. "I don't like that conclusion, therefore it can't be right" is a response- but maybe not a very good one. Einstein had that reaction to one conclusion, so even scientists have that reaction sometimes. But ultimately the universe is what it is, and our opinion about it won't change it.

Fen said...

Fen: Science has already proven that Magic exists (or what they once thought was "magic")

Quaestor: WTF??? Words fails me.

Then don't speak. Listen harder instead. Early scientists once thought everything from Supersonic Flight and Katana Blades to be "magic".


Revenant said...

Really? I don't recall derailing threads into "another" whine-fest about the corrupted research.

They say the memory is the first thing to go as we get older.

I think you're just upset that I question the amount of trust and credibility we lend scientists.

Come now, Fen. When have I ever said anything that would give you the impression I respect your opinion on anything? I get "upset" at your criticism of scientists like I get "upset" at Andy R's criticism of free markets. :)

Obviously some scientists are crooked, but using that as an excuse to paint all scientists as presumptively under suspicion places you in the same loony bin as the "all men are rapists" feminists and the "all priests are pedophiles" atheists. It isn't something grown-ups do.

Shana said...

The first thing I thought when I read Nye's quote, was that the world IS fantastically complicated, whether you believe in evolution or creation. The more we know the more complicated it gets. The second thing I thought was: why are "mystery" and "exciting place" considered to be mutually exclusive in Nye's mind? In fact, I think most of us would say the opposite is true.

Quaestor said...

Fen wrote:
So I'm left wondering how much evidence supporting evolution is just pure bunk.

There's your life's work. Instead of complaining I suggest you get busy. In fact I'll get you started: Find a rabbit fossil embedded in Pre-Cambrian sediment and you've won.

Quaestor said...

Early scientists once thought everything from Supersonic Flight and Katana Blades to be "magic".

Bullshit.

Revenant said...

Bullshit.

You did notice whose post you were reading, right?

You might as well try convincing Crack that Mormons aren't an existential threat to American freedom and democracy.

jr565 said...

Fen wrote:
We already know that "scientists" routinely cheat to get the result they want. So its entirely reasonable to ask if this set has also cheated, regardless of their field of study.

One problem I have with evolution which ties into scientists routinely cheating to get the results they want is the linking of data of fossil records separated by millions of years to draw a conclusion that can't be drawn from such data.
Example, if tomorrow they find the remains of a primate and look at the skull and it looks different than a skull of any primate we currently know. HOw does that fossil really have any bearing on us as humans evolving or even other primates evolving? Could it not simply be the bones of a primate that has long been extinct? There are billions of species that have died off that we have never heard of or seen. Yet, finding such fossiled remains only really prove that such a thing existed, not that it or we changed or evolved to it or from it.

Jim S. said...

Revenant said...
A fact is something which is true whether you believe in it or not.


I shall now dazzle you with the perennial Socratic question:

So what?

jimbino said that since a scientist accepts certain claims as facts means that the scientist does not believe those claims. I argued that to accept something as true means to believe it. You responded by ... defining the concept of a fact.

jimbino said something silly; you defended him. You need to atone for your silliness.

Revenant said...

Example, if tomorrow they find the remains of a primate

Except that's not an example of something scientists have actually done; that's an example of something you're claiming they will do.

Now, I'm certainly not going to say there are no scientists who fake data; of course there are. But rather than citing an example that exists solely in your mind, why not cite an example of a paleontologist from, say, our lifetimes, who *actually* found fossils separated by millions of years and linked them together without other evidence, in a manner accepted by other paleontologists?

See, this is the problem. It is impossible to refute a whispering campaign. If no specific allegations are made, how can there be a defense?

Quaestor said...

jr565 wrote:
Yet, finding such fossiled remains only really prove that such a thing existed, not that it or we changed or evolved to it or from it.

This comment reveals you have a fundamental misunderstanding of science.

Paddy O said...

"Anyone who assumes homosexuality must be an evolutionary disadvantage is speaking from ignorance."

Also, anyone who assume homosexuality must be evolutionary advantage is speaking from ignorance.

Your reasons aren't actually proofs or explanations but possible suggestions based on the pre-established assumption.

Just as many, or more, reasons can be suggested that homosexuality is contrary to evolution, and contrary to the survival of the species.

In other words, evolution becomes a question of ethics rather than science in far too many cases, which takes it out of what Nye and others are trying to use it for. It becomes an inspiration and a mystic explanation of its own.

We all want the universe on our side, after all.

But, when we have to argue "Evolution doesn't work like that!" we're expressing it as a religion, and trying to draw boundaries around our confessional understanding of it.

Saint Croix said...

Why not work to eliminate cystic fibrosis, MD, families that send all offspring to jail, generation after generation due to genetic-based maladoptive behavior (bad seeds).

Because I don't believe the government should force abortions on people. I think it's vile and sick. I don't think the government should get rid of the inferiors. I don't think we should "eliminate cystic fibrosis" by knifing the baby. I don't think we should eliminate crime by sterilizing people. I don't believe in an all-powerful state. Not only because socialism is bad and stupid economics, but because it usually ends up with piles of dead bodies. I despise people in our government who want to eliminate the cancer of poverty by providing free abortions to people.

Have you not noticed that you are in the wrong party, C-4?

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