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George.
01-19-2006, 06:02 AM
After that little "trial balloon" over which we had such an impassioned bilge debate, the Catholic Church has reafirmmed its support for evolution and its distaste for the sort of obscurancy purveyed by the Intelligent Design quacks:

In 'Design' vs. Darwinism, Darwin Wins Point in Rome (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/19/science/sciencespecial2/19evolution.html)


ROME, Jan. 18 - The official Vatican newspaper published an article this week labeling as "correct" the recent decision by a judge in Pennsylvania that intelligent design should not be taught as a scientific alternative to evolution.

"If the model proposed by Darwin is not considered sufficient, one should search for another," Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna, wrote in the Jan. 16-17 edition of the paper, L'Osservatore Romano.

"But it is not correct from a methodological point of view to stray from the field of science while pretending to do science," he wrote, calling intelligent design unscientific. "It only creates confusion between the scientific plane and those that are philosophical or religious."
...
In October, Cardinal Schönborn sought to clarify his own remarks, saying he meant to question not the science of evolution but what he called evolutionism, an attempt to use the theory to refute the hand of God in creation.

"I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained," he said in a speech.
...
In the Osservatore article, Dr. Facchini wrote that scientists could not rule out a divine "superior design" to creation and the history of mankind. But he said Catholic thought did not preclude a design fashioned through an evolutionary process.

"God's project of creation can be carried out through secondary causes in the natural course of events, without having to think of miraculous interventions that point in this or that direction," he wrote.
I wonder if people like SamF will now recant, or will choose to break ranks with the Vatican and continue to peddle ID snake oil...

sharpie
01-19-2006, 07:51 AM
You seem to be surprised. :rolleyes: Niether SamF, nor Dennis, nor peb would have been surprised at such a statement. The method of scientific investigation was never in question, but the unscientific conclusions drawn from them were. Consequently, both materialism and ID are philosophical positions/conclusions that do not rest on the methods of science.

TomF
01-19-2006, 08:09 AM
Originally posted by sharpie:
You seem to be surprised. :rolleyes: Niether SamF, nor Dennis, nor peb would have been surprised at such a statement. The method of scientific investigation was never in question, but the unscientific conclusions drawn from them were. Consequently, both materialism and ID are philosophical positions/conclusions that do not rest on the methods of science.I disagree Sharpie. I repeatedly said almost word-for-word what the cardinal now says in this new comment (my emphasis)
I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintainedThis directly supports the view that there are non-overlapping magisteria - areas for appropriate scientific inquiry, and areas for appropriate philosophic/moral inquiry. And that's been an overwhelming area of contention between SamF and many others here.

The Cardinal's comments, and certainly the quotes George has posted from Dr. Facchini's article, also knock the legs out from under Sam's claim that supporting the scientific consensus on the development of the diversity of life requires one to be a scientific materialist. Neither George, nor Keith, nor I have ever disputed that there is a philosophical position called "materialism;" we've just disputed whether one MUST be a materialist to agree with the scientific consensus on the development of life's diversity.

Keith Wilson
01-19-2006, 09:04 AM
I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained.Excellent! Two cheers for the Catholic Church!

SamF tried to equate Darwinian evolution with a philosophical idea he called "scientific materialism". This respects neither the legitimate borders of science nor the borders of philosophy.

jack grebe
01-19-2006, 09:14 AM
sounds like they don't want to make up their mind or piss anyone off....

Chris Coose
01-19-2006, 09:16 AM
As long as my kids know they came from the union of me and their mother and I know I came from the union of my mom and dad I am absolutely satisfied.

That is a history that leaves no imagination to the imaginator.

ahp
01-19-2006, 09:44 AM
I don't know how the Catholic Church would react either, but I believe they considered the possibility several centuries ago.

PatCox
01-19-2006, 10:21 AM
SamF's entire method of debate was to tell his opponent what his opponent believed (materialism) and then show the opponent that the opponent was wrong.

but none of the people arguing with SamF were proponents of materialism. That didn't bother SamF, he would insist that they believed what he said they believed, rather than what they said they believed. Handy way to win an argument.

Sam F
01-19-2006, 11:43 AM
Originally posted by PatCox:
SamF's entire method of debate was to tell his opponent what his opponent believed (materialism) and then show the opponent that the opponent was wrong.

but none of the people arguing with SamF were proponents of materialism. That didn't bother SamF, he would insist that they believed what he said they believed, rather than what they said they believed. Handy way to win an argument.Pat you've missed the point haven't you? For instance I took a moderate point of view towards evolution - I acknowledge that it has happened and only disagree with Darwin's Materialism and with a corruption of science that views Materialism as Science.
That Darwin's theory is Materialist is simple fact. If one insists on defending that theory one is (on that matter at least) Materialistic.
Yes I know that Moderns habitually hold contradictory views - Materialist here, "Spiritual" there, Hedonist over here and Puritan over there - But there's no discussion nor any argument with such incoherence. I simply took each facet of the Modernist personality at face value - if such a person defends Materialism then that is the only coherent way to address the issue. If however you have some method where one can address mutually contradictory "truths" then I'm eager to hear it.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
01-19-2006, 11:45 AM
What the Catholic church thinks is irrelevant.

PatCox
01-19-2006, 11:47 AM
I am in complete agreement with Dr. Facchini, I always have been, I don't think that means I am holding contradictory beliefs.

Keith Wilson
01-19-2006, 11:54 AM
Same old song, one more verse.


That Darwin's theory is Materialist is simple fact.Nonsense. Darwin’s theory is neither materialist nor anti-materialist, like all of the rest of science. LIKE ALL SCIENCE, it bases its conclusions on observation and experiment, and does not speculate about that which cannot be observed. Although some foolish people have tried to use Darwin in support of their materialist philosophy, it is inherently not one bit more or less materialistic than solid-state physics, chemistry of surfactants, metallurgy, theories of kidney function, design of roof trusses, or plumbing. Sam, you apparently are in complete disagreement with Dr. Facchini?


If one insists on defending that theory one is (on that matter at least) Materialistic.Totally false. Darwinian theory is about what happened and how it happened. Even the Catholic hierarchy appears to recognize the Evolution = materialism canard for what it is; a misunderstanding of both Darwin and materialism.

[ 01-19-2006, 12:01 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Paul Pless
01-19-2006, 11:56 AM
Well now that everyone seems to be here , I'm fully expecting y'all to make a good ten page or so run at Darwin.

reay, set, go!

Joe (SoCal)
01-19-2006, 11:58 AM
Sammy's last 10 post's


1 Catholic Church chooses truth over obscurancy (post #000009) Misc. Non-Boat Related 01-19-2006
2 10 million abortions (post #000063) Misc. Non-Boat Related 01-19-2006
3 10 million abortions (post #000061) Misc. Non-Boat Related 01-19-2006
4 I.D. gets slammed by a federal judge (post #000077) Misc. Non-Boat Related 12-22-2005
5 I.D. gets slammed by a federal judge (post #000076) Misc. Non-Boat Related 12-22-2005
6 I.D. gets slammed by a federal judge (post #000074) Misc. Non-Boat Related 12-22-2005
7 I.D. gets slammed by a federal judge (post #000071) Misc. Non-Boat Related 12-22-2005
8 I.D. gets slammed by a federal judge (post #000057) Misc. Non-Boat Related 12-21-2005
9 I.D. gets slammed by a federal judge (post #000053) Misc. Non-Boat Related 12-21-2005
10 I.D. gets slammed by a federal judge (post #000051) It says on his profile that his Interests are: boating (sail or paddle), gardening, woodworking

Never hear about them only about his CATHOLIC interest's :rolleyes:

[ 01-19-2006, 11:59 AM: Message edited by: Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ) ]

PatCox
01-19-2006, 12:00 PM
Well, how does one avoid being materialist when it comes to roof trusses? Must one eschew any analysis of the forces and loads and simply seek divine inspiration for the specs?

Paul Pless
01-19-2006, 12:03 PM
joe, I'm not getting down on Sam, hell I'm not getting down on anybody. I'm just stating that between george, sam, pat, and keith, that everyone is in one spot ready for an unending arguement over darwin

Paul Pless
01-19-2006, 12:04 PM
and in the end not one person, active poster or lurker, will have changed their mind one bit

uncas
01-19-2006, 12:06 PM
Paul Pless
.
Member # 7451

posted 01-19-2006 12:04 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
and in the end not one person, active poster or lurker, will have changed their mind one bit

And I have written that on many of the threads which seem to have no end....at least, not in sight... :rolleyes:

Keith Wilson
01-19-2006, 12:07 PM
About roof trusses and materialism:

Science studies the material world using observation and experiment. Materialist philosophy claims that we know that the material world, that which can be studied through observation and experiment, is all that exists. Roof trusses are part of the physical world (at least mine are). Saying that we should use the methods of science to design roof trusses says nothing whatever, for or against, about things other than the physical world.

Paul Pless
01-19-2006, 12:10 PM
uncas, its really Jamie, right?

I think in the past 2.5 years of me coming to this place my mind has ben changed exactly twice regarding something political or religious.

maybe i'm just hardheaded :D

[ 01-19-2006, 12:11 PM: Message edited by: Paul Pless ]

Joe (SoCal)
01-19-2006, 12:13 PM
Paul you think you're hard headed ;)

Sam F
01-19-2006, 12:23 PM
Originally posted by TomF:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by sharpie:
You seem to be surprised. :rolleyes: Niether SamF, nor Dennis, nor peb would have been surprised at such a statement. The method of scientific investigation was never in question, but the unscientific conclusions drawn from them were. Consequently, both materialism and ID are philosophical positions/conclusions that do not rest on the methods of science.I disagree Sharpie. I repeatedly said almost word-for-word what the cardinal now says in this new comment (my emphasis)
I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained .</font>[/QUOTE]If only people would actually read what was said instead of filtering everything through an pre-determined ideological lens! I do in fact agree with Sharpie.


Originally posted by TomF:
I repeatedly said almost word-for-word what the cardinal now says in this new comment (my emphasis) [QUOTE]I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained

When did I or peb or Dennis ever say otherwise? Indeed, my central objection is that a particular philosophy had crossed the border and is masquerading as science?


Originally posted by TomF:
This directly supports the view that there are non-overlapping magisteria - areas for appropriate scientific inquiry, and areas for appropriate philosophic/moral inquiry. And that's been an overwhelming area of contention between SamF and many others here.

It does no such thing. Science, Religion, Politics and the Arts have their own realms but they do most definitely overlap. Any reasonably informed person can find numerous examples of all those fields overlapping.


Originally posted by TomF:
The Cardinal's comments, and certainly the quotes George has posted from Dr. Facchini's article, also knock the legs out from under Sam's claim that supporting the scientific consensus on the development of the diversity of life requires one to be a scientific materialist.

You’ve got that backwards… If the theory is Materialist, don’t blame me if I noticed.
BTW, it’s a good idea to remember that a consensus is not truth. It is at best a “provisional truth”.
Such tentative “truths” do not and can not demand uncritical assent much less deserve to be enshrined by legal protections and prohibitions against alternatives.


Originally posted by TomF:
Neither George, nor Keith, nor I have ever disputed that there is a philosophical position called "materialism;" we've just disputed whether one MUST be a materialist to agree with the scientific consensus on the development of life's diversity.Missed the point too? Materialist is as Materialist does. I have no quarrel with science or the scientific method. I have defended both the method and its historical origins in Christianity. I have a most definite quarrel with equating science with one particular philosophy: Materialism. Frankly, I was surprised that so many non-Materialists were so adamant in Materialism's defense – even when it was explicitly pointed out that a person’s defense was contrary to his own personal views.
Ah well, that’s one of those mutually contradictory “truths” again isn’t it?

Joe (SoCal)
01-19-2006, 12:27 PM
And were off :rolleyes:

Someone tell me at what page in this thread it might be time to introduce a little Tolstoy into the discussion ;)

Sam F
01-19-2006, 12:28 PM
Originally posted by PatCox:
Well, how does one avoid being materialist when it comes to roof trusses? Must one eschew any analysis of the forces and loads and simply seek divine inspiration for the specs?A very silly misinterpretation Pat. When one deals with a material one must approach it in material terms. When did I ever say otherwise?

Sam F
01-19-2006, 12:34 PM
Originally posted by Paul Pless:
and in the end not one person, active poster or lurker, will have changed their mind one bitHeaven no Paul! For instance, I have changed my view of Liberalism entirely since I came here. Unfortunately, the lack of restraint that this format breeds has not tended to show that particular philosophy in a favorable light.

In my earliest posts I even described myself as a "fellow traveler" with Liberals on economic issues. Boy was I in for a life changing revelation!

George.
01-19-2006, 12:37 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by PatCox:
SamF's entire method of debate was to tell his opponent what his opponent believed (materialism) and then show the opponent that the opponent was wrong.That Darwin's theory is Materialist is simple fact. If one insists on defending that theory one is (on that matter at least) Materialistic.
</font>[/QUOTE]Q.E.D., Pat.

Keith Wilson
01-19-2006, 12:38 PM
Sharpie said:


both materialism and ID are philosophical positions/conclusions that do not rest on the methods of science.And Sam F said, after quoting the above:


I do in fact agree with Sharpie.
And, amazingly enough, so do I. Perhaps we can avoid ten pages for round 12?

[ 01-19-2006, 12:39 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

George.
01-19-2006, 12:44 PM
Sam did disagree with evolution by natural selection before he agreed with it...

Admitting this flip-flop would be asking too much. But I guess we can let him off the hook, if he is at least humble enough to just shut up about the whole thing.

Sam F
01-19-2006, 01:29 PM
Originally posted by George.:
Sam did disagree with evolution by natural selection before he agreed with it...

Admitting this flip-flop would be asking too much. But I guess we can let him off the hook, if he is at least humble enough to just shut up about the whole thing.I have previously stated my position as clearly as I know how and you respond with that? George Dot - that's the sort of thing that makes me ignore your posts. Knocking down a caricature (as Pat also did above) is a counterfeit of argument. I strongly encourage you to do better. I'm quite sure you can. Until then, why should I ever take anything you say seriously?

George.
01-19-2006, 01:37 PM
OK, Sam. You are right. If you feel offended, I apologize.

Please clarify your position: do you agree that evolution by natural selection is how all the different species of living beings were created? And that accepting this does not necessarely mean that one is a "materialist" or an atheist?

Notice that I deliberately use the word "created," to allow for possibility that evolution by natural selection was the tool of choice of some supernatural creator.

Sam F
01-19-2006, 01:37 PM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
Sharpie said:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />both materialism and ID are philosophical positions/conclusions that do not rest on the methods of science.And Sam F said, after quoting the above:


I do in fact agree with Sharpie.
And, amazingly enough, so do I. Perhaps we can avoid ten pages for round 12?</font>[/QUOTE]Careful reading is amazingly effective in preventing long threads.

Paul Pless
01-19-2006, 01:45 PM
Heaven no Paul! For instance, I have changed my view of Liberalism entirely since I came here. rofl

Keith Wilson
01-19-2006, 01:51 PM
Knocking down a caricature is a counterfeit of argument. Very true. When you stop arguing with imaginary "materialists" and notice that most of those who disagree with you here are simply defending the methods and conclusions of science as applied to the physical world, perhaps we'll have a real argument, not a counterfeit one.

Careful reading is amazingly effective in preventing long threads. I strongly encourage you to do better. ;)

[ 01-19-2006, 01:55 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Sam F
01-19-2006, 02:15 PM
Originally posted by George.:
OK, Sam. You are right. If you feel offended, I apologize. I am not offended, nor do I expect an apology. I was only pointing out what is clear; that refuting a caricature is not a valid argument.
If such unfair tactics are carried on at length, despite being pointed out, it is at least reasonable grounds for suspicion of deliberate malfeasance. The alternative explanation is unfortunately, worse.


Originally posted by George.:
Please clarify your position: do you agree that evolution by natural selection is how all the different species of living beings were created? Natural Selection is absolutely true and for the purposes of science absolutely useless. It has no value either as an explanation or for its predictive power, for it does neither. How many times do I have to say that?


Originally posted by George.:
And that accepting this does not necessarily mean that one is a "materialist" or an atheist? Of course not. This is confusion between a position one holds and what one is.
Any argument must be taken on its own terms and any and all extraneous personal beliefs are simply not germane. If for example, one argues for a Materialist position, it is completely irrelevant what one’s other beliefs are or are not. It is still less useful as a refutation of any argument.
One may be an old-fashioned Spiritualist finding personal fulfillment in séances, but what use is that fact if one is supporting an entirely different position? Not a bit.
For example, to say: “I’m not a Materialist because I’m a Spiritualist, therefore I prove that your statement that I hold a Materialist position.”, at best only admits to a serious personal contradiction.
Some posts in the Evolution thread are perfect examples of this. One poster argued tooth and toenail for a Materialist Neo-Darwinism and simultaneously professed to be a non-Materialist. I do not doubt that personal belief, but personalizing the discussion did nothing to forward any understanding. Indeed such incoherence positively impedes understanding.

Sam F
01-19-2006, 02:22 PM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Knocking down a caricature is a counterfeit of argument. Very true. When you stop arguing with imaginary "materialists" and notice that most of those who disagree with you here are simply defending the methods and conclusions of science as applied to the physical world, perhaps we'll have a real argument, not a counterfeit one.
</font>[/QUOTE]Keith, I have expended way too much effort in trying to steer discussions around to that very condition – that is a valid argument.
See the quote above for an excellent example. As I said earlier: Materialist is as Materialist does. I have not the slightest concern for anything other than the principles attacked or defended in a given argument. That you can hold mutually contradictory beliefs is a testament to your internal resilience, but is neither useful nor germane to any particular point.

PatCox
01-19-2006, 02:26 PM
I can appreciate the fact that a lot of anti-theists (what I call militant atheists, the kind who think religious faith is a mental illness or sign of weakness) think that Darwin somehow disproves the existence of God; witness their stupid bumper stickers with a "darwin" fish (just like the ichthyos fish but with little legs) eating the Jesus fish.

But I don't believe that the majority of people take the theory of evolution that far. I mean, I don't think that 90% of the people who are not sceptical about evolution (disbelief in a scientific theory would be what the logical positivists call a meanningless statement, wouldn't it?) take it to that materialist extreme. Ironically, its probable that most of those who would take it that far are religious fundamentalists who think that evolution would, if true, disprove the existence of god. Literalism and biblical inerrancy are to me a form of materialism, too. Literalism and biblical inerrancy rest on a completely materialistic conception of the universe (heaven is where we sit around on clouds, God looks just like us, but with a white beard and he's real big).

PatCox
01-19-2006, 02:29 PM
See what I mean, Keith? Sam just told you what you believe, contradicting what you just told him you believe, and then insisted that this contradiction is yours, not his. Fascinating. Meanwhile, his subtle way of saying that science is inevitably and always materialism is to say "materialism is as materialism does." Thats profound, reminds me of forest gump, "stupid is as stupid does."

[ 01-19-2006, 02:32 PM: Message edited by: PatCox ]

TomF
01-19-2006, 02:33 PM
Good afternoon, Sam. Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

t.

Sam F
01-19-2006, 02:55 PM
Originally posted by PatCox:
See what I mean, Keith? Sam just told you what you believe, contradicting what you just told him you believe, and then insisted that this contradiction is yours, not his. Fascinating. Meanwhile, his subtle way of saying that science is inevitably and always materialism is to say "materialism is as materialism does." Thats profound, reminds me of forest gump, "stupid is as stupid does."Well, stupid is as stupid does - isn't it?
Or do you mean to say that when someone takes a stupid position in an argument that allowance should be made for the fact that he is not in fact stupid about everything and that therefore his "argument" is all right?
Really Pat, can't you at least make an effort to try to understand what I'm saying?

George.
01-19-2006, 02:56 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:
Natural Selection is absolutely true and for the purposes of science absolutely useless. It has no value either as an explanation or for its predictive power, for it does neither. I confess that I do not understand what you mean. How can something that is absolutely true be absolutely useless to science?

As far as explanation or predictive power - I find that it does both. But if you disagree, how can you still say that it is true?

What does "truth" mean, at all, if it is something that is useless either to explain what happened or to predict what will happen?

Sam F
01-19-2006, 02:56 PM
Originally posted by TomF:
Good afternoon, Sam. Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

t.Glad to be of service Tom. I hope you are well!

Sam F
01-19-2006, 03:03 PM
Originally posted by George.:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:
Natural Selection is absolutely true and for the purposes of science absolutely useless. It has no value either as an explanation or for its predictive power, for it does neither. I confess that I do not understand what you mean. How can something that is absolutely true be absolutely useless to science?

As far as explanation or predictive power - I find that it does both. But if you disagree, how can you still say that it is true?

What does "truth" mean, at all, if it is something that is useless either to explain what happened or to predict what will happen?</font>[/QUOTE]Tautologies can be quite true as pointed out many times on this Forum. The statement that "My mother is a woman." is both true and useless. Of course she is a woman because that is required by the fact of her motherhood.
In the same way, the fittest survive because they are fittest. How do we know that they are fittest? Because they survive.
Quite true and quite useless.

Try this: Use Natural Selection for a real prediction. Take a population and predict which traits will predominate in the future.
Of course it can't be done - even making allowance for the long time involved because you can't possibly know what trait will be fit at some indeterminate time in the future.
No one would have predicted the demise of the dinosaurs - they were demonstrably fittest by any measure one could imagine - yet nevertheless they are gone.

Keith Wilson
01-19-2006, 03:07 PM
Pat understands what you’re saying perfectly well. That does not however, mean that it makes sense.

Sam, you have repeatedly been challenged to show ANYTHING in any part of science (or technology or engineering, for that matter), which is not part of the physical world, not known through observation and experiment, not “materialist” by your “materialist is as materialist does” definition. You have not provided an example, because there isn’t anything. Evolutionary biology may be “methodologically materialist” by Norm’s reckoning, but so is every single other field of scientific study; in fact “methodological materialism”, learning about the world by observation and experiment, is the very definition of science.

The reason you can’t twist the argument around so you can attack your straw man is that materialist philosophy is entirely irrelevant. It is no more necessary for evolutionary biology than is Catholicism.

Joe (SoCal)
01-19-2006, 03:10 PM
Tolstoy time? :D

PatCox
01-19-2006, 03:13 PM
Sam, there are a million circumstances in which valid scientific theories cannot predict the future state of a complex system affected by multiple causes and factors. This fact is explained by chaos theory. No amount of mathematics can predict turbulence, for example

Validation of such theories usually comes about through controlled experiments, therefore, in which some or all of the various causal factors are removed.

An example of this would be "unnatural selection." As in dog breeding. Breeders can indeed predict the changes they induce through selecting which individuals will succesfully reproduce and which will not. Same thing, though, in nature, there might be an almost unlimited number of factors which influence which individuals breed successfully, in the kennel, there is only one factor, the breeder's decision. Nevertheless, it is clear that environmental factors which favor one trait over another (the presence of a breeder is indeed part of the dogs environment) can produce inheritable changes in the animal, and over a longer length of time than dog breeding has been going on, this would result in speciation, really just a matter of an increase in the degree of difference.

[ 01-19-2006, 03:17 PM: Message edited by: PatCox ]

PatCox
01-19-2006, 03:17 PM
I was suggesting that saying "materialism is as materialism does" begs the question, it just removes your essential strategy of altering your opponents argument into the argument you prefer to argue against one further step, I would guess in an effort to hide what you are doing.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-19-2006, 03:17 PM
Originally posted by Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ):
Tolstoy time? :D NO - not before page 7, and perhaps not even then.

George.
01-19-2006, 03:18 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:
Try this: Use Natural Selection for a real prediction. Take a population and predict which traits will predominate in the future.
Of course it can't be done ...
On the contrary. It is done on a daily basis. You really must inform yourself about modern biology before making such sweeping statements.


Originally posted by Sam F:
No one would have predicted the demise of the dinosaurs - they were demonstrably fittest by any measure one could imagine - yet nevertheless they are gone.They were hit by a comet, Sam. That pretty much re-wrote the rules on fitness. This sort of mass-extinction only happened five times in four billion years.

This is as silly as saying that physics and engineering are useless because the WTC towers, which were demonstrably well-built, did not survive being hit by jetliners.

Joe (SoCal)
01-19-2006, 03:19 PM
Originally posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Joe ( Cold Spring on Hudson ):
Tolstoy time? :D NO - not before page 7, and perhaps not even then.</font>[/QUOTE]Fine that should be about 7:00 pm smile.gif

PatCox
01-19-2006, 03:22 PM
Physics can predict that a certain number of molecules of a given unstable isotope will break down in a given time, but it cannot predict which molecules will break down; does this failure to predict the future disprove physics? Physics can in many circumstances predict the parameters of a result, but not the actual result, does this render physics invalid? Just wonderin.

Meerkat
01-19-2006, 04:02 PM
Sam is just a material boy... ;) :D

Sam F
01-19-2006, 04:18 PM
Originally posted by PatCox:
I was suggesting that saying "materialism is as materialism does" begs the question, it just removes your essential strategy of altering your opponents argument into the argument you prefer to argue against one further step, I would guess in an effort to hide what you are doing . I am not suggesting but stating definitively that bringing in a point of view that is extraneous to the point at hand makes rational discussion impossible. As does the personalizing of any “debate” as in:


Originally posted by PatCox:
SamF's entire method of debate was to tell his opponent what his opponent believed (materialism) and then show the opponent that the opponent was wrong. . If one takes a Materialist point of view it makes no difference if that person is or is not a Materialist. Argue to the point Pat or provide a superior method.


Originally posted by PatCox:
but none of the people arguing with SamF were proponents of materialism…. As pointed out earlier this is a caricature of my position. A handy way to “win” an argument granted, but still thoroughly invalid.

I couldn’t care less what you or anyone believes unless that is relevant to his argument. To support one philosophy and simultaneously hold others is perfectly possible, but no one can address multiple contradictory points rationally. The only alternative I know of is to use the point at hand – whatever it is - and ignore the rest.
If you have any other way to handle it I await your exposition of the technique.

[ 01-19-2006, 04:19 PM: Message edited by: Sam F ]

Sam F
01-19-2006, 04:29 PM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
Pat understands what you’re saying perfectly well. That does not however, mean that it makes sense.

Sam, you have repeatedly been challenged to show ANYTHING in any part of science (or technology or engineering, for that matter), which is not part of the physical world, not known through observation and experiment, not “materialist” by your “materialist is as materialist does” definition. Keith you are quarreling and not reading. When did I say that “any part of science is not part of the material world”? This is a straw man of the worst and most obvious sort. Not only have I pointed this out before but have done so repeatedly. I can imagine no honest excuse for using such tactics. If however you insist in this course may I at least suggest that you not accuse me of using a straw man argument while you do so yourself in the same breath. Really it’s just TOO obvious!


Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
You have not provided an example, because there isn’t anything. Evolutionary biology may be “methodologically materialist” by Norm’s reckoning, but so is every single other field of scientific study; in fact “methodological materialism”, learning about the world by observation and experiment, is the very definition of science. Didn’t we go over that already? About 10 times? Why is it science when Astronomy or Physics admits the possibility of a deity and “religion” when one does so in Biology?


Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
The reason you can’t twist the argument around so you can attack your straw man is that materialist philosophy is entirely irrelevant. It is no more necessary for evolutionary biology than is Catholicism.
Keith, was Darwin a Materialist or not? Answer the question please.

Keith Wilson
01-19-2006, 06:16 PM
Why is it science when Astronomy or Physics admits the possibility of a deity and “religion” when one does so in Biology?
Oh, Sam . . .

Deities of any type, unless they can be studied by observation and experiment, are not subjects for scientific inquiry, whether in Astronomy, Physics or Biology. There is no difference.

If you cannot show me how evolutionary theory is any different from any part of the rest of science in terms of materialism or non-materialism, then all your rhetoric about materialism is just so much empty wind.

And Darwin's personal philosophy is stupefyingly irrelevant. Newton’s laws of motion are neither more nor less true because he was a religious wacko. Darwinian evolution is about what happened and how it happened, and is true or not irrespective of what you, I, Darwin or anyone else believes.

Paul Pless
01-19-2006, 06:19 PM
Deities of any type, unless they can be studied by observation and experiment, are not subjects for scientific inquiry, whether in Astronomy, Physics or Biology. There is no difference. Albert Einstein, perhaps the greatest scientist to have ever lived, claimed that his search for scientific answers was his search for God. And he spelled God with a big G.

Donn
01-19-2006, 06:42 PM
Einstein sez:

"Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."

"I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details."

(boat related) "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."

peb
01-19-2006, 08:17 PM
Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
I've often wondered how the Catholic Church would react if, for example, extra-terrestrial civilizations were found on other planets in other solar systems, etc...

The article mentioned in this thread is encouraging. It seems the Catholic Church, despite it's faults, is at least able to reconcile the advance of secular knowledge with the traditions of faith.Norman, to you second point, the Catholic Chuch doesn't have problems reconciling "secular" science with the traditions of faith, it has ALWAYS been a big supported of science. Indeed, modern science came out of the Church.

As to your first question, well maybe it would prompt more Catholic theologians to dust off their Acquinas books, which could sure help the Church smile.gif

peb
01-19-2006, 08:28 PM
Originally posted by TomF:

...
This directly supports the view that there are non-overlapping magisteria - areas for appropriate scientific inquiry, and areas for appropriate philosophic/moral inquiry. And that's been an overwhelming area of contention between SamF and many others here.
...
This "non-overlapping magisterias" is really non-sense. Science (and our senses) has shortcomings, it always had, it always will. We should use our minds to explore beyond these shortcomings, that is what philosophy is all about. That is why the great early scientists were pretty good philosophers. Philosophy opens up questions that maybe science could help explain. That is why Church has always supported the sciences.

I can understand that a science class in school should stick to the "observable" areas of study. But a science class should openly state the questions that are still remain. Bioloogy textbooks don't do this.

The problem is that our schools do not teach philosophy. Of course, with the rigid seperation of Church and State rules it would be a joke if they tried. So there is this BIG hole in our kids education.

Of course, my kids go to a Catholic school where all of these issues can be discussed.

We only want to train accountants, doctors engineers these days. We don't really educate anyone.

[ 01-19-2006, 08:29 PM: Message edited by: peb ]

Meerkat
01-19-2006, 08:30 PM
Philosopy is not taught in schools because Christians won't allow it, not because of separation of church and state.

peb
01-19-2006, 08:34 PM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
Philosopy is not taught in schools because Christians won't allow it, not because of separation of church and state.Could you show some documentation for this claim?

Now I will admit that some protestants have always been skeptical about philosophy, but certainly not Catholics or Anglicans or the Eastern Orthodox. And I have never seen that Christians have kept it from being taught in our public schools.

Keith Wilson
01-20-2006, 12:18 AM
This "non-overlapping magisterias" is really non-sense. Aside from being a very awkward turn of phrase, why do you say it's nonsense? Have you read Gould's essay in which he explains what he means? If I may summarize and perhaps oversimplify, it's that the methods of science are appropriate for understanding the workings of the physical world, while the legitimate area of religion/philosophy/ethics is questions of meaning and morality. There are of course many questions in the real world that involve both disciplines - questions that are about both some aspect of physical reality, and about right behavior, but the essential idea of different and separate areas of legitimacy seems quite reasonable to me. Is there something that religion can legitimately teach us about the physical world? Can science tell us what we ought to do? I think not. (Science will tell us that if we do A, B will happen, but that's not the same thing at all.)


Indeed, modern science came out of the Church. This is a VERY broad claim which I really don't think is justified. The popular idea of unrelenting hostility between the church and science is not correct either, but the relationship is more complex than that. Sometimes the church encouraged science, sometimes it was dead against it. Modern science developed mostly (although not entirely) in protestant countries after the reformation. Italy and Spain, the countries where the church’s control remained strong the longest, were relatively backward, although the church is not the only reason

[ 01-20-2006, 12:42 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-20-2006, 04:27 AM
"non-overlapping magisterias"It might be seen as nit-picking but:
Does anyone else have trouble with that final "S"?

George.
01-20-2006, 05:39 AM
Originally posted by peb:
The problem is that our schools do not teach philosophy. I heartily agree. Philosophy is the foundation of all other fields of study. By skipping over it, our schools (here as well as in the US) end up pushing information without supplying knowledge - let alone wisdom.

But I agree with Meerkat on one point: if fundamentalists cause so much trouble by trying to influence the curriculum of biology classes, imagine what they would do with philosophy classes. Too much for timid public school administrators to want to get into.

peb
01-20-2006, 09:09 AM
George., yes the fundumentalist might be a problem with philosophy curriculum, but probably not as much of a problem as the ACLU bunch (in this country). Can you imagine the philosophy of Acquinas, Pascal's Pensees, or some of the work of Karol Wojtyla being taught in a public school in the US.

Keith, as far as defending the fact that modern science came out of the Catholic Church, I will givw you a few examples:
Fr. Christopher Clavius - mathmetician and astronomer who gave us the Gregorian calendar
Jean Buridan - developed the ideas of momentum and inertia (14th century, Sorbonne)
The Cathedral School of Chartres - the first university with extensive studies in physical sceince.
Roger Bacon (a franciscan) - the scientific method
St. Albert Magnus - (1200-1`280), studied physics, biology, and geology. Here is a quote: "the aium of natural science is not simply to accept statements of others, but to investigate the causes that are at work in nature for themselves".
Bishop Grosseteste (bishop of london) - the first man tyo write down a complete set of steps in performing a scientific experiment.
Fr. Nicolaus Steno, 1638-1686 - the father of stratigraphy
Jesuit Fr. Giambattista Riccioli - Published in 1651 the encyclopedia of astronomy, "Almegestum Novum".

I could go on, but simply, no other institution or civilization in the world took an interest in the study of nature to the degree that Western Europe and the Catholic Church starting in the middle ages. It is from this point that modern science developed.

Can you provide examples of the Church being "dead against science"?

[ 01-20-2006, 09:11 AM: Message edited by: peb ]

peb
01-20-2006, 09:23 AM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> This "non-overlapping magisterias" is really non-sense. Aside from being a very awkward turn of phrase, why do you say it's nonsense? Have you read Gould's essay in which he explains what he means? If I may summarize and perhaps oversimplify, it's that the methods of science are appropriate for understanding the workings of the physical world, while the legitimate area of religion/philosophy/ethics is questions of meaning and morality. There are of course many questions in the real world that involve both disciplines - questions that are about both some aspect of physical reality, and about right behavior, but the essential idea of different and separate areas of legitimacy seems quite reasonable to me. Is there something that religion can legitimately teach us about the physical world? Can science tell us what we ought to do? I think not. (Science will tell us that if we do A, B will happen, but that's not the same thing at all.)

</font>[/QUOTE]A couple of thoughts come to mind:

If there are "of course many questions in the real world that involve both disciplines ", then why is the strict separation of the two so reasonable. By strict separation, I mean why do we teach one and we don't teach the other. In other words, our scholls include one area and exclude the other (eg I am not arguing that a science class should be teaching the ten commandments). If there are these two magisteria (note, I will leave off the S smile.gif ), why is only one being taught in our schools.

Another thought, I noticed in the bottom half of your explanatiuon, you drifted towards the morality half of "meaning and morality". I may be reading to much into this, but this seems to be illustrative of the problem. People are just scared to address the meaning of things.

[ 01-20-2006, 09:23 AM: Message edited by: peb ]

Keith Wilson
01-20-2006, 09:30 AM
. . . no other institution or civilization in the world took an interest in the study of nature to the degree that Western Europe and the Catholic Church starting in the middle ages.Well, one could argue the Chinese Empire - until the Renaissance at least they were far ahead of Europe, but that's not really the point. All of your examples are very good, but almost all of them are quite early, pre-reformation, when the church had an farily effective monopoly on anything approaching higher education, even on literacy at some times and places. There was not much in the way of secular intellectual life as we understand it today. Obviously the beginnings of modern science are to be found in the church, not necessarily because teh church was particularly congenial to them, but because in Europe there was nowhere else for them to be. As counter-examples, one could of course give Galileo and Giordano Bruno.

One could, however, make an excellent case that the development of modern science absolutely required the revolt against the authority of the church, first of the reformation and then the enlightenment. The magisterium of science, the authority of understanding the physical world through observation and experiment, had to be wrested from the church by main force. The modern church is not generally hostile to science at all, (except in a couple of isolated bizarre cases such as condoms and AIDS), but trying to take credit for it is really overreaching.

[ 01-20-2006, 09:34 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Keith Wilson
01-20-2006, 09:49 AM
If there are these two magisteria . . . why is only one being taught in our schools? A reasonable question. First, the other magisterium, IS taught,. although not in state-supported public schools. There is no restriction at all on churches, religious schools, or universities teaching anything they like, and religion and philosophy is most certainly taught, discussed, and debated. The reason that religion, or even philosophy, isn’t taught in public schools – well, I’ll leave that to you, but even leaving aside separation of church and satate, deciding which version to teach might be a bit contentious, you think? Even a Philosophy 101 overview might generate far more heat than light.

I still think the idea of the two areas of authority is legitimate. Science tells us about the working of the physical world, and is always being tested against physical reality. Because the physical world is one and is consistent, science is pretty unified, if constantly changing. Religion/philosophy/ethics, OTOH is not at all unified; there are innumerable competing varieties and systems, and despite a lot of commonality, most claim the others have it all wrong.

George.
01-20-2006, 09:51 AM
Originally posted by peb:
If there are these two magisteria (note, I will leave off the S smile.gif ), why is only one being taught in our schools.

Perhaps because while there is only one science, there are many religions, and they are in contradiction with one another.

While there are controversies in many fields of research, the fundaments of science are unanimous. No scientist argues against the theories of gravity, or relativity, or evolution, or continental drift, or the periodic table.

On the other hand, if you were to teach religion, to be fair, you would have to teach all religions - including atheism, pantheism, animism, etc. That might be unacceptable to the many religious people who think that their version is the only true one.

Having said that, an unbiased survey of religions would be a fine thing - perhaps as part of that philosophy course that is not being taught either...

peb
01-20-2006, 09:55 AM
Keith, I could not disagree more. Utter nonsense!!

"Obviously the beginnings of modern science are to be found in the church, not necessarily because teh church was particularly congenial to them, but because in Europe there was nowhere else for them to be". What about places elswhere than Europe. It didn't happen!! That is the point. Modern Science came out of Europe and in Europe at that time there was "nowhere else to be" than the Catholic Church.

"As counter-examples, one could of course give Galileo and Giordano Bruno." Give me a break. I do not have time to debate these cases. Let me make a simple, but always overlooked point: the Church was the sponsor of Galileo!!! Yes. the church struggled to come to grips with Galileo's findings, you can always find examples of this tye of struggle. The point is,the Church never stopped encouraging the study of the natural world. Indeed the Church believes there can be no contradiction between science and faith and we should understand our world so we can better appreciate the Creator's power.

So try again, please provide an example of the Church being "dead against science"?" Galileo doesn't count, the Church supported his research. Bruno is a much more complicated story. He was prosecuted and executed on his theological grounds, not his scientific studies.

peb
01-20-2006, 10:10 AM
Keith Wilson wrote:

The modern church is not generally hostile to science at all, (except in a couple of isolated bizarre cases such as condoms and AIDS), This is ridiculous also. You know good and well the Church's position relative to condoms and AIDS is a moral issue, not a scietific issue. I guess your implication that it is scientific is and example of the "non-overlapping magisteria" being allowed to overlap one direction, but not the other.

Keith Wilson wrote:


First, the other magisterium, IS taught,. although not in state-supported public schools Interesting, it seems okay to you that it is NOT taught in public schools. Isn't what is taught in public schools the whole point of the thread. So now it is okay to exclude things from public schools as long as it is taught/argued elsewhere in society? So let's just skip teaching evolution in public schools. You know, when I was a kid, I didn't have a chance to take Calculas in high school, but my son does. I think it should just wait also. Lets waste our high school kid's time with health classes.

Keith Wilson
01-20-2006, 10:18 AM
Galileo doesn't count, the Church supported his research.Right, until he started to come up with results they didn't like. Then they were somewhat less supportive, and took 300+ years to officially recognize their mistake. His book was on the prohibited list for a VERY long time after his heresy trial. Galileo counts.

Modern science really got going after both the Reformation and the Enlightenment. Most progress was made in either Protestant northern Europe, or in the Catholic countries where the church's influence was weakest: England, Germany, France and later the US.

Please don't polarize things unnecessarily. I'm not trying to argue for a 19th century view of an eternal war between science and religion, that's at least as much of a distortion as "the church is responsible for science" but in the 1500s and 1600s the church did not recognize any higher authority than itself about anything, whether in the physical world or not. It’s come a long way.

[ 01-20-2006, 10:39 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

peb
01-20-2006, 10:23 AM
Keith wrote:

Please don't polarize things unnecessarilyAnd


One could, however, make an excellent case that the development of modern science absolutely required the revolt against the authority of the church, first of the reformation and then the enlightenment.I gotta go. Have a good day.

Keith Wilson
01-20-2006, 11:06 AM
You know good and well the Church's position relative to condoms and AIDS is a moral issue, not a scientific issue.I was referring specifically to the claims by Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, Archbishop of Nairobi Raphael Ndingi Nzeki, and others, that condoms do not protect against AIDS; that the HIV virus can pass through condoms. To quote López Trujillo, “The AIDS virus is roughly 450 times smaller that the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the ‘net’ that is formed by the condom.” This false information has been widely circulated in Africa.

The church has every right to say that condom use is immoral, although I would strongly disagree. However, the permeability of condoms is a scientific question, not a moral one. The church does NOT have the right to spread false information in an attempt to get people to behave in a way they believe is moral

[ 01-20-2006, 11:07 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Sam F
01-21-2006, 09:48 AM
Originally posted by peb:
I guess your implication [speaking of Keith's statement] that it is scientific is and example of the "non-overlapping magisteria" being allowed to overlap one direction, but not the other.
Bingo! That's exactly the way it works. Overlap is only allowed in one direction - science overlaps religion. Naturally such hypocrisy has real effects - such as the present push toward human genetic manipulation (aka eugenics) not to mention a host of other problems engendered by a science unrestrained by moral considerations.

Sam F
01-21-2006, 09:55 AM
Originally posted by George.:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:
Try this: Use Natural Selection for a real prediction. Take a population and predict which traits will predominate in the future.
Of course it can't be done ...
On the contrary. It is done on a daily basis. You really must inform yourself about modern biology before making such sweeping statements.</font>[/QUOTE]Please provide examples where this is done for the core "insight" Darwin provided: The Origin of species.


Originally posted by George.:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:
No one would have predicted the demise of the dinosaurs - they were demonstrably fittest by any measure one could imagine - yet nevertheless they are gone.They were hit by a comet, Sam. That pretty much re-wrote the rules on fitness. This sort of mass-extinction only happened five times in four billion years..</font>[/QUOTE]George, you've missed the point. Could you have predicted that occurance based on so-called "Natural Selection"?
No.
Nor could you predict any of the other things that cause a species to suddenly become unfit -
Climate change, continental drift, or that some random storm may blow in spores of a fungus or plant that makes a previously fit organism unfit.
Remember, the point is not that Natural Selection is untrue - only that it is Useless.
Your challenge is to prove this tautology useful. Good luck!

George.
01-21-2006, 10:05 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by George.:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:
No one would have predicted the demise of the dinosaurs - they were demonstrably fittest by any measure one could imagine - yet nevertheless they are gone.They were hit by a comet, Sam. That pretty much re-wrote the rules on fitness. This sort of mass-extinction only happened five times in four billion years..</font>[/QUOTE]George, you've missed the point. Could you have predicted that occurance based on so-called "Natural Selection"?
</font>[/QUOTE]No, Sam. You missed the second part of my statement, or left it out of your quote intentionally:


This is as silly as saying that physics and engineering are useless because the WTC towers, which were demonstrably well-built, did not survive being hit by jetliners. Being unable to predict the effects of catastrophic events does not negate a scientific theory. Just like the theory of gravity, which predicts the path of the moon around the earth, would not be invalidated if the moon were struck by an asteroid which knocked it out of its orbit.

George.
01-21-2006, 10:35 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by George.:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:
Try this: Use Natural Selection for a real prediction. Take a population and predict which traits will predominate in the future.
Of course it can't be done ...
On the contrary. It is done on a daily basis. You really must inform yourself about modern biology before making such sweeping statements.</font>[/QUOTE]Please provide examples where this is done for the core "insight" Darwin provided: The Origin of species.
</font>[/QUOTE]Please note that you have shifted the target, from "Take a population and predict which traits will predominate in the future," to "provide examples where this is done for ... the origin of species."

The theory of evolution by natural selection is indeed used on a daily basis to predict which traits will predominate in a species in the future, from pesticide resistance in insects, to size of fishes under intense size-selective predation, to color changes in animals whose environment changes.

OTOH, the origin of a whole new species, taking a few millenia or more, cannot be predicted on a "daily" basis. I am sure you can understand why. ;)

However, it would not be difficult to predict what new species might arise under given selective pressures. The only problem would be that none of us would be around to see how the prediction turned out. :D

sharpie
01-21-2006, 11:45 AM
The fiction of non-overlapping magisteria emerges out of the modern era's determination to establish empirical truth as the sole measure of truth. Catholic thought sees the relationship between faith and reason as one of unity rather than distinct and separate realms as does the empirical mindset-- one true and one mere subjective opinion. John Paul II in "Fides et Ratio" provides a brief snapshot of the Church's teaching over the past two millenia. "Faith and reason," he says, "are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth..." Moreover, he correctly points out the problem with the separation of these complementary ways of knowing:

"With the rise of the first universities, theology came more directly into contact with other forms of learning and scientific research. Although they insisted upon the organic link between theology and philosophy, St. Albert the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas were the first to recognize the autonomy which philosophy and the sciencs needed if they were to perform well in their respective fields of research. From the late Medieval period onward, however, the legitimate distinction between the two forms of learning became more and more a fateful separation...what for Patristic and Medieval thought was in both theory and practice a profound unity, producing knowledge capable of the highest forms of speculation, was destroyed by systems which espoused the cause of rational knowledge sundered from faith and meant to take the place of faith...In the field of scientific research, a positivistic mentality took hold which not only abandoned the Christian vision of the world, but more especially rejected every appeal to a metaphysical or moral vision. It follows that certain scientists, lacking any ethical point of reference, are in danger of putting at the center of their concerns something other than the human person and the entirety of the person's life. Further still, some of these, sensing the opportunities of technological progress, seem to succumb not only to a market-based logic, but also to the temptation of a quasi-divine power over nature and even over the human being...[T]he role of philosophy itself has changed in modern culture. From universal wisdom and learning, it has been gradually reduced to one of the many fields of human knowing; indeed, in some ways it has een consigned to a wholly marginal role. Other forms of rationality have acquired an ever higher profile, making philosophical learning appear all the more peripheral. These forms of rationality are directed not toward the contemplation of truth and the search for the ultimate goal and meaning of life, but instead, as 'instrumental reason,' they are directed -- actually or potentially -- toward the promotion of utilitarian ends, toward the enjoyment of power...In the wake of these cultural shifts, some philosophers have abandoned the search for truth itself and made their sole aim the attainment of a subjective certainty or a pragmatic sense of utility. This in turn has obscured the true dignity of reason, which is no longer equipped to know the truth and seek the absolute." F&R #s 45,47,48. NB: philosophy here includes the sciences.

George Jung
01-21-2006, 12:41 PM
Am I missing something here? Or is someone not reading what's written:


Being unable to predict the effects of catastrophic events does not negate a scientific theory. Just like the theory of gravity, which predicts the path of the moon around the earth, would not be invalidated if the moon were struck by an asteroid which knocked it out of its orbit. In response to:


George, you've missed the point. Could you have predicted that occurance based on so-called "Natural Selection"?
No.
I don't see anything about 'negating a scientific theory' in this exchange; only that, it does not allow one to predict future occurences.

peb
01-21-2006, 01:30 PM
Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> So try again, please provide an example of the Church being "dead against science"?" Galileo doesn't count, the Church supported his research. Bruno is a much more complicated story. He was prosecuted and executed on his theological grounds, not his scientific studies. I posted an example earlier: Champillion, who investigated the meaning of hieroglyphics. The Church insisted that he not publish anything contrary to it's traditional teachings... specifically, the idea that the pyramids and Egyptian artifacts might indeed pre-date the Great Flood.</font>[/QUOTE]I am not familiar with this. Can you please point me to the source of this claim?

Sam F
01-21-2006, 09:08 PM
Originally posted by George Jung:
Am I missing something here? Or is someone not reading what's written:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> Being unable to predict the effects of catastrophic events does not negate a scientific theory. Just like the theory of gravity, which predicts the path of the moon around the earth, would not be invalidated if the moon were struck by an asteroid which knocked it out of its orbit. In response to:


George, you've missed the point. Could you have predicted that occurance based on so-called "Natural Selection"?
No.
I don't see anything about 'negating a scientific theory' in this exchange; only that, it does not allow one to predict future occurences.</font>[/QUOTE]Nope you're not missing anything. Be it an asteroid striking the earth, or a severe drought or (as stated earlier) a random storm blowing in spores of a new species - all can render a previously fit species unfit. Nothing exceptional about it, that's the routine way that reality operates. The test for George Dot is to show how Natural Selection is of the slightest scientific use in predicting a bit of it...
A diversion into the engineering of the World Trade Center is quite irrelevant.

TomF
01-21-2006, 09:44 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:
Nope you're not missing anything. Be it an asteroid striking the earth, or a severe drought or (as stated earlier) a random storm blowing in spores of a new species - all can render a previously fit species unfit. Nothing exceptional about it, that's the routine way that reality operates. The test for George Dot is to show how Natural Selection is of the slightest scientific use in predicting a bit of it...
A diversion into the engineering of the World Trade Center is quite irrelevant.Sam, Natural Selection is not intended to predict the trajectories of comets - does it really surprise you that it does not? Does it invalidate Natural Selection that the theory doesn't design species which anticipate cataclysms of the "routine" sort that occur every few hundred millenia? Is it not enough that Natural Selection does, however, predict that such survivors as can continue in the new environment at all will react to such events with a new round of natural selection to determine fitness in the new conditions...

Darwinian evolutionary theories are not looking for the answer to "Life, the Universe, and Everything." Good thing - as we have all since learned, the answer to that question is 42 ... They content themselves with the empirical study of the development of diversity in life.

This does not presume a philosophical position about the primacy of matter, or about the existence of God, or about the proper dominance of one magisteria or another. It simply lays out the chosen field of study, and the tools with which to proceed.

As the opening post of this thread made clear, the Catholic Church endorses the view that the empirical study of evolution - and believing that Darwinian evolution is a workable (and the most probable) current theory - is NOT inconsistent with the idea of a Creator. Why is it that we can't leave it at that? What are you looking for instead, Sam?

Sam F
01-22-2006, 12:00 AM
Originally posted by TomF:

Does it invalidate Natural Selection that the theory doesn't design species which anticipate cataclysms of the "routine" sort that occur every few hundred millenia? Is it not enough that Natural Selection does, however, predict that such survivors as can continue in the new environment at all will react to such events with a new round of natural selection to determine fitness in the new conditions... You too are missing the point. I explicitly included non-catastrophes such as a mere random storm. So drop the Catastrophism. It’s unbecoming to “modern” science isn’t it? :D
Btw, no such high falutin’ terminology as Natural Selection is required to “predict” that after a catastrophe survivors would be “fit” Any astrologer could predict that.
The point is… ONCE AGAIN … If you can’t make a real prediction based on Natural Selection – that is a prediction of future fitness – and you most certainly can’t, then it is USELESS. To use the engineering example so popular here, Natural Selection is an exact analogy to building various structures and having some of them fall down and not know why – one could never know why before the fact. That is extremely useless.
I challenge anyone to provide a valid prediction of any organism’s future based on Natural Selection. Care to try Tom?


Originally posted by TomF:
As the opening post of this thread made clear, the Catholic Church endorses the view that the empirical study of evolution - and believing that Darwinian evolution is a workable (and the most probable) current theory - is NOT inconsistent with the idea of a Creator. The opening link was to the New York Times – hardly the most reliable source for clearly understanding the nuances of Catholic teaching – and come to think of it hardly a reliable source at all. ;) And while we’re on the subject, it’s important to note that L'Osservatore Romano does not speak ex cathedra. That’s not how the Church works. It’s part of an intra-Catholic debate that will no doubt go on for quite some time. This sort of intellectual tension is standard operating procedure and always has been.

In contrast the NY Times spin, here’s a comment on the original article from Catholic.org by John Thavis.

The article said that, unfortunately, what has helped fuel the intelligent design debate is a tendency among some Darwinian scientists to view evolution in absolute and ideological terms, as if everything -- including first causes -- can be attributed to chance.
"Science as such, with its methods, can neither demonstrate nor exclude that a superior design has been carried out," it said.
From a religious viewpoint, it said, there is no doubt that the human story "has a sense and a direction that is marked by a superior design." Now if you want to leave it at that I’m quite prepared to do so. Remember ONCE AGAIN I don’t have a problem with Evolution. I never have. I do have a problem with Darwin’s attempted explanation of it.


Originally posted by TomF:
Why is it that we can't leave it at that? What are you looking for instead, Sam?I'm perfectly willing to “leave it at that”. It would seem that others aren’t. Remember I didn’t start this thread and I didn’t issue a challenge to “recant”.
All my little ‘ol self did was point out that Darwin’s key “insight” isn’t exactly superb science. To reiterate:

Natural Selection is absolutely true and for the purposes of science absolutely useless. It has no value either as an explanation or for its predictive power, for it does neither.Why can’t we leave it at that?

Sam F
01-22-2006, 12:41 AM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
And Darwin's personal philosophy is stupefyingly irrelevant. Newton’s laws of motion are neither more nor less true because he was a religious wacko. Darwinian evolution is about what happened and how it happened, and is true or not irrespective of what you, I, Darwin or anyone else believes.And I can't help but note that you've not answered my question. :D
May I point out that (the "religious wacko") Newton's theory was not incompatible with his view of God? If it had been, do you think he’d have invented his laws of motion?
Still think it's irrelevant?
Remember, as proved in other threads, it's not as simple as “what happened and how it happened”. That’s not how Darwin’s theory “happened”. It is not self-evident and it did not spring full grown from the brow of Jove.

MattL
01-22-2006, 03:29 AM
Ok guys, please explaine something to me, I'm new here. I have been to school, I have been to Catholic church, I use to teach science, I have heard about ID and its mother/father creationism, I have heard about eovlution and darwin. But I have never heard the tearm materialism except as a reference to Madona. Is this a new catch phrase designed by the religous right to further destroy the public school system?

cedar savage
01-22-2006, 07:13 AM
Originally posted by MattL:
Ok guys, please explaine something to me, I'm new here. I have been to school, I have been to Catholic church, I use to teach science, I have heard about ID and its mother/father creationism, I have heard about eovlution and darwin. But I have never heard the tearm materialism except as a reference to Madona. Is this a new catch phrase designed by the religous right to further destroy the public school system?Time to get up to speed then. First, you got your bull$h!t boots on? Good, because you will soon be up to your ears in it.

Second, engage your obscurantism abilities, with an emphasis on obscure (as in obtusely obscure) and rant. The bilge's discussion of materialism has been going on for years, has sold more headache remedies than rap music, and is really basically characterized by quoting quotes quoting quotes and adding an inflammatory one liner, the proces is then repeated. It never makes any sense, although the usual suspects attempt to force some sense from the ones who use the term scientific materialism, no sense is ever forthcoming. But that doesn't stop the discussion. Wash, rinse, spin, repeat.

Here's the definition from Wikipedia:


"Scientific materialism"

Scientific materialism or methodological materialism are interchangable dysphemisms for methodological naturalism (sometimes: scientific naturalism). The term is used to imply that scientists collude to force a materialist (or rationalist) worldview onto people.

The term is usually only used by critics of the scientific discipline, such as the proponents of intelligent design or creationism who make the teleological assumption of purpose or meaning in nature, and want science to be redefined to accept supernatural explanations of natural phenomena. The term has become somewhat more common, as laymen are introduced to the creation?evolution controversy through the Discovery Institute 's framing of the language. Philosophers and scientists never use the term, because it is vaguely defined. Since it conflicts with established language in an already-complex philosophical topic, it introduces confusion. It is intended to introduce the ambiguity and negative connotations relevant to creationist criticisms of naturalism.


[ 01-22-2006, 07:16 AM: Message edited by: cedar savage ]

sharpie
01-22-2006, 08:36 AM
The term is usually only used by critics of the scientific discipline, such as the proponents of intelligent design or creationism who make the teleological assumption of purpose or meaning in nature, and want science to be redefined to accept supernatural explanations of natural phenomena. Mercy! Whoever wrote this particular Wickipedia entry is not prejudiced at all. Neither is this particular individual historically learned, since the idea of materialism extends at least as far as Democritus, if not farther. The debate about origins is older than Darwin. It is as old as humanity itself. To articulate the definition in such contemporary terms is truly irresponsible.

Keith Wilson
01-22-2006, 10:05 AM
All my little ‘ol self did was point out that Darwin’s key “insight” isn’t exactly superb science. To reiterate: Natural Selection is absolutely true and for the purposes of science absolutely useless. It has no value either as an explanation or for its predictive power, for it does neither. Why can’t we leave it at that? Because it's wrong, dead wrong.

Natural selection means that genes for traits allowing greater reproductive success will become more common. That's all it means. Greater reproductive success can come by many routes – resistance to disease, better skills in getting food or avoiding predators, laying more eggs, laying fewer eggs but taking better care of them – whatever works. Over long periods of time, it can produce fairly surprising results, but it's a very simple concept. Sam’s contention that it’s true but useless is false; anyone who breeds animals or plants selects for certain desirable traits, and humans and their symbiotic species (dogs, cats, horses, wheat, corn, rice . . ) have been evolving together for a long time. Oh, but you say, this is not “natural” selection – but of course it is. Those traits in the teozintle plant that were useful to a particular species of primate ensured greater reproductive success, and now its descendants are planted in millions of acres all over the world.

There are two obvious reasons we can’t predict the direction of evolution:

First, we can’t predict what changes in the environment will occur; even without asteroid impacts, we simply don’t know enough. Will the climate get hotter or colder? Will a mountain range erode away or get taller? How will the composition of the atmosphere change? Will the ocean get saltier or less salty? How will these changes affect the entire ecosystem - food sources, predators, diseases - in the area where the species in question lives? We can’t even agree whether the climate will get warmer over the next couple of hundred years from increases in atmospheric C02, much less what will happen in the long term.

Second, mutations, a major source of new genetic traits, are as close to random events as anything I know of. Unless we can predict the transcription errors in the DNA of every individual in a species, we can’t predict exactly what new characteristics may occur.

The criticism that we can’t predict the course of evolution is no criticism at all. The inability to predict the future arises from the nature of complex systems and the limitations of human knowledge. Science at our current state of knowledge does not give us the ability to predict the long-term future of any complex system in any detail, and life on earth is one of the most complex systems we know of. Does that make it useless?

OTOH, the criticism that natural selection explains nothing is simply ludicrous. Sam dismisses any explanation with a wave of the hand and a glib quip about "just so stories" but that won’t make it go away. Evolution through natural selection is the best explanation, based on the evidence, that we have for the way life has developed on earth. The fact that everyone working in the field accepts it as the central idea in modern biology - oh, yes, but they're brainwashed by "materialist" dogma, or perhaps too intimidated by the scientific establishment to point out that the emperor has no clothes, or maybe they're just all idiots . . :rolleyes:

__________________________________________________

Let me try to clarify the idea of “non-overlapping magesteria” a bit:

Science tries to answer questions about the physical world. Its methods are observation, experiment, and reason. The general form of the questions is, “What is this?” “How did it get here?”, “How does it work?” Every statement of truth in science must be tested against the evidence, and must be capable of being falsified if the right evidence comes to light. Science does not answer questions about morality or meaning.

Religion/philosophy/ethics tries to answer very different questions. The general form is., “What does this mean?” “What is the right thing to do?” “What is really important” It does not rely directly on observation and experiment; statements of truth in this area can’t be directly tested against the evidence and proved true or false. It cannot tell us about how the physical world works.

This seems very clear to me, although obviously not to everyone. For those who don’t like that idea, please give us an example of how religion can tell something valid about the working of the physical world. Alternately, an example of how science can tell us what is the right thing to do?

__________________________________________________

And Sam, I don't know whether or not Darwin was a "Materialist" and I don’t care. I'll make you a deal; if you can show me why it’s relevant to the truth or falsehood of his ideas about evolution, I'll do enough research to answer your question

[ 01-22-2006, 10:48 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Sam F
01-22-2006, 12:01 PM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Natural Selection is absolutely true and for the purposes of science absolutely useless. It has no value either as an explanation or for its predictive power, for it does neither. Why can’t we leave it at that? Because it's wrong, dead wrong.

Natural selection means that genes for traits allowing greater reproductive success will become more common. That's all it means.</font>[/QUOTE]Keith, Remember? My point is: how does that aid in future prediction? How is that of any use at all? That all I mean.


Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
... Sam’s contention that it’s true but useless is false; anyone who breeds animals or plants selects for certain desirable traits, and humans and their symbiotic species (dogs, cats, horses, wheat, corn, rice . . ) have been evolving together for a long time. Oh, but you say, this is not “natural” selection – but of course it is. Keith, please tell me how breeding plants and animals by humans is “natural”. Granted humans are a part of nature, but by using your reasoning a chemical plant’s pollution is “natural”. Or the evolution of the Ford Mustang from small medium-powered car into the muscle-car of the 70’s is Natural Selection. Is that really what you think?

Your use of “natural” in this way is outside the word’s usage and definition. The use of directed selection, that is with a goal in mind – which is what human-guided selection is – is an amazingly inapt defense of something that’s supposed to require no intelligence for guidance.


Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
…There are two obvious reasons we can’t predict the direction of evolution: I know that and that’s all I said – that Natural Selection is useless for prediction. If you agree, why argue?


Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
OTOH, the criticism that natural selection explains nothing is simply ludicrous. I said it is a tautology and by definition tautologies are useless. The fittest survive. How do we know that are fit? Because they survived. Sorry, no matter how true that is, it’s still useless. Your pontifications of “ludicrousness” do not further any discussion. If you can prove otherwise, be my guest, but leave the rhetoric behind. The whole focus for science is in prediction – this building will stand, this circuit will work, an earthquake will happen here…
So why is Natural Selection as explanation for the Origin of Species a special category exempt from practical usefulness?

Rick Clark
01-22-2006, 01:16 PM
Religion was formed to control the masses of people, by the people, for the people.

One day a human being decided to create the word ( RELIGON) and tell his neighbours to follow him and pay a little taxes and the there was the new word (GOVERNMENT).

To this day it only has evolved very little in the history of time. Not only for religion but for man too, from the whom to the grave.

Just take it like it comes!! smile.gif

[ 01-22-2006, 01:21 PM: Message edited by: Rick Clark ]

Keith Wilson
01-22-2006, 02:29 PM
Oh, Sam – :rolleyes: - we can't predict the weather two weeks out, does that mean meteorology is useless? We can't predict the behavior of individual electrons - does that mean subatomic physics, much less electrical engineering, is useless? We can’t predict how the continents will move in the future; does that mean the study of plate tectonics is useless? We can’t predict how the sun will change in the future, does that mean the study of the development of stars is useless? We can’t predict accurately how any individual animal will behave; does that mean the study of their behavior is useless? We can’t predict the actions of ANY modestly complex organism; does that mean the study of the brain and how it works is useless? We can’t predict the behavior of complex systems in detail because of their chaotic nature, and because we don’t know enough. Life on earth is more complex than any other system we can study; why should it be any different?

Actually, on a small scale, when we know enough we can make reasonable predictions: bacteria will evolve resistance to antibiotics, even though the exact chemical mechanism by which they do it is unpredictable. Mosquitoes will evolve resistance to pesticides (alas). The size of fish in a population will change according to fishing pressure. Likewise with other very complex systems, on a small scale and over a short period of time, we can also make predictions. We can predict the weather for tomorrow fairly accurately. Over the next couple of thousand years, we can predict the motion of the tectonic plates pretty well..

We can also make larger-scale predictions that are less specific; just as we can say fairly accurately what the average temperature will be in July 2018 in St Louis, we can make predictions that organisms will evolve in a way that is consistent with natural selection. Although we can’t predict the behavior of individual electrons, we can predict their behavior in the aggregate pretty well. Likewise, we can predict in general the way in which organisms will evolve in response to large-scale changes. If the climate gets much hotter, organisms will evolve in a way that allows them to do better in that climate, probably in similar ways to those that now live in hot climates. If there is another ice age, organisms will evolve adaptations to cold and snow. One could reasonably expect animals to have more compact bodies, relatively shorter legs and necks, thicker coats, etc. The details of which organisms will survive and evolve, which will die out, and exactly how the changes will occur, we can’t predict. However, the changes that DO occur, because they happen by natural selection, will make the organisms better-adapted to their environment.

We can predict evolution every bit as well as we can predict the long-term behavior of ANY extremely complex system.

And Sam, try hard and really think about what I said about the evolution of domesticated plants and animals: Organisms, thorough natural selection become adapted to their environment. Those traits which give greater reproductive success become more common. Quite along time ago there was a small nondescript wild grain called teozintle. It’s environment included a large intelligent primate that was fond of eating grain. Some teozintle plants had characteristics that made them more useful to the primates; these plants had greater reproductive success because the primates collected and planted them. This is absolutely no different than the evolution of fruit – bait to get animals to spread the seeds of a plant – or insect pollination of flowers. In evolutionary terms, corn is using us to plant more corn every bit as much as we are using corn to feed ourselves. It’s all one. You may scoff, but the evolution of teozintle into maize is every bit as much a case of adaptation to the environment as heavy fur on mastodons.


I said it is a tautology and by definition tautologies are useless. It is not a tautology. The conditions to which organisms become better adapted – and they ALWAYS become better adapted over time when the environment is fairly stable– are external and given, not circular. The environment may change faster than an species can adapt, but you cannot show me one single example of a species changing in a way that goes against natural selection. A characteristic that decreases reproductive success NEVER becomes more common.

George Jung
01-22-2006, 02:51 PM
I'm amazed - SamF, you have quite the 'gift'; I've never seen another individual so able to get an 'animated' :D discussion going, all the while essentially agreeing with the 'opposition'.

Keith - you do realize you're not quite comprehending all that SamF has said, don't you? As I read it, there is complete agreement (and please feel free to correct if that's a misconception - I know that you will :D ).

All you've said about NS is correct; as I read SamFs' comment, it only says that the predictive value is limited (of little use?) because there are so many variables that are unknown - exactly what you've said. So where's the disagreement - or do you guys just like to chew on the same bone?

I have to laugh - SamF, you've got an ornery streak! tongue.gif

George.
01-22-2006, 03:12 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:
The point is… ONCE AGAIN … If you can’t make a real prediction based on Natural Selection – that is a prediction of future fitness – and you most certainly can’t, then it is USELESS. Well, most people, including all scientists, think that a theory that explains how things work and how they came to be as they are is quite useful. But, according to Sam:

Continental drift can't predict the future shape of continents - therefore it is USELESS.

Oncology cannot predict who will have cancer in ten years - therefore it is USELESS.

Metereology cannot predict whether it will rain next week - therefore it is USELESS.

Cardiology cannot predict who will have a heart attack - therefore it is USELESS.

History cannot predict how nations will fare in the future - therefore it is USELESS.

Naval engineering cannot predict when a ship will sink, or how - therefore it is USELESS.

Oh, and religion cannot predict who will repent and who will go to hell - therefore it is USELESS.

Then again, maybe it is Sam's criterion for judging a scientific theory that is USELESS. ;)

George.
01-22-2006, 03:20 PM
Originally posted by George Jung:
predictive value is limited (of little use?) because there are so many variables that are unknown - exactly what you've said. So where's the disagreement - or do you guys just like to chew on the same bone?

No, he does not. He says that because it cannot predict long-term events accurately, it is useless. We disagree.

He also says that natural selection is a tautology. We disagree. We have challenged him to prove it. He declines... ;)

sharpie
01-22-2006, 04:50 PM
g. said:
He also says that natural selection is a tautology. We disagree. We have challenged him to prove it. He declines... SamF said:
the fittest survive because they are fittest. How do we know that they are fittest? Because they survive. Quite true and quite useless. Tell us g., what part of tautology don't you understand?

Keith Wilson
01-22-2006, 05:52 PM
What part of tautology don't you understand? Oh, bloody hell, here we go again.

First, let’s dispense with “survival of the fittest”. It’s a silly phrase, a late Victorian popularization of evolutionary theory which appealed to the prejudices of the time. It’s not helpful in actually understanding natural selection.

Here’s how natural selection works:

1. Individuals in a population (a group of organisms that regularly interbreeds) vary in numerous inherited characteristics. This is obviously true; all you have to do is look at them.

2. How do the characteristics of a population (the statistical distribution of the characteristics of individuals) vary over time? Which traits will become more common, which less?

3. Over the long run, those inherited characteristics that increase reproductive success (the number of offspring that survive to reproduce in the next generation) for any individual will become more common in the population. This is measurable directly for any individual; had we world enough and time, we could determine the effect of on reproductive success of any inherited characteristic for any living population of organisms.

Note that one cannot determine in advance exactly what characteristics make reproductive success more likely. This will vary with the organism and the environment. What increases reproductive success in one environment may decrease it in another.

4. Over many generations, large changes can take place in the characteristics of a population. If populations of the same species are isolated from each other, and are in different environments, eventually they may change to the point they can no longer interbreed, producing two species from one.

So where’s the tautology?

sharpie
01-22-2006, 05:56 PM
Why dispense with "survival of the fittest" when it summarizes what you just said above? Btw, the quote below indicates that you agree with SamF about the predictability quotient of "sof" as well as the fact that it is a tautology.


Note that one cannot determine in advance exactly what characteristics make reproductive success more likely. This will vary with the organism and the environment. What increases reproductive success in one environment may decrease it in another.

Keith Wilson
01-22-2006, 06:44 PM
Sharpie, have you been taking lessons from Sam in telling other people what they think (which usually bears only the vaguest resemblance to what thay actually think or said)?

The process I described is not a tautology. It may be a statement of the obvious, but it's something that's going on every day all around you.

[ 01-22-2006, 06:46 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

TomF
01-22-2006, 08:48 PM
originally posted by SamF:
The point is… ONCE AGAIN … If you can’t make a real prediction based on Natural Selection – that is a prediction of future fitness – and you most certainly can’t, then it is USELESS.Why is that the sole legitimate goal, upon which the utility of natural selection must rise or fall?

Natural selection works well to describe how the pathways to current species have run through the millenia 'till now. You're a historian by education ... how is such historical analysis "useless?"

[ 01-22-2006, 08:48 PM: Message edited by: TomF ]

Sam F
01-22-2006, 10:35 PM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
Sharpie, have you been taking lessons from Sam in telling other people what they think (which usually bears only the vaguest resemblance to what thay actually think or said)?

The process I described is not a tautology. It may be a statement of the obvious, but it's something that's going on every day all around you.Keith, Mr. Sharpie is only guilty of reading comprehension. If he's misquoted you feel free to explain exactly where.

Sam F
01-22-2006, 10:37 PM
Originally posted by George Jung:
I'm amazed - SamF, you have quite the 'gift'; I've never seen another individual so able to get an 'animated' :D discussion going, all the while essentially agreeing with the 'opposition'.

Keith - you do realize you're not quite comprehending all that SamF has said, don't you? As I read it, there is complete agreement (and please feel free to correct if that's a misconception - I know that you will :D ).

All you've said about NS is correct; as I read SamFs' comment, it only says that the predictive value is limited (of little use?) because there are so many variables that are unknown - exactly what you've said. So where's the disagreement - or do you guys just like to chew on the same bone?

I have to laugh - SamF, you've got an ornery streak! tongue.gif Trust me George it is not a gift. More like a curse! :D But thank you for paying attention.
You are quite correct that Keith isn't comprehending what I've said, despite my repeated invitation to read carefully. You may also have noticed that I specifically mentioned Natural Selection vis-à-vis Darwin's core belief that it was responsible for the Origin of Species. And what do I get by way of an answer? Stuff about bacterial resistance that has nothing to do with speciation and that I have never disagreed with.

The responses from the Secular Fundamentalists here is analogous to an allergic reaction. My certainty that evolution of some type has occurred is of less risk than a pollen grain is to a human’s well being, yet when the slightest doubt is expressed about Darwinian Dogma one sees the same wheezing and huffing and puffing with a generalized distress as if it were a genuine threat.
Really! What's an ornery fellow to do? :D

Sam F
01-22-2006, 10:44 PM
Just a few highlights here Keith. I don’t have time for more at the moment.

Keith’s Statement:
we can't predict the weather two weeks out, does that mean meteorology is useless?

My reply: Well, I consider the ability to predict where a hurricane will come ashore pretty useful!

Statement: We can't predict the behavior of individual electrons - does that mean subatomic physics, much less electrical engineering, is useless?

Reply: The flow of electrons is pretty well covered. It is of no practical import to know which of the 220 volt electrons are buzzing me when I touch a hot wire!

Statement: We can’t predict how the continents will move in the future; does that mean the study of plate tectonics is useless?

Reply: Continents don’t turn on a dime. A prediction for a 1000 years can be made with reasonable accuracy. It is certainly longer than your average car warranty.

Statement: We can’t predict how the sun will change in the future, does that mean the study of the development of stars is useless?

Reply: I do wish you’d tell this to the astronomers. Every book I’ve ever seen on stellar evolution confidently predicts what will happen to our sun.

Statement: We can’t predict accurately how any individual animal will behave; does that mean the study of their behavior is useless?

Reply: My cat’s behavior is predictable as tomorrow’s sun rise. Do you have a psychotic pet or something?

Statement: You may scoff, but the evolution of teozintle into maize is every bit as much a case of adaptation to the environment as heavy fur on mastodons.

Reply: Heavens no! I don’t scoff at the evolution of corn. But it’s a clear case of Intelligent Design and hardly does your case the least bit of good. Or are you claiming that American Indians were too stupid to domesticate plants?

Keith, let’s get one thing straight. We both agree that Natural Selection is useless for prediction but apparently you find uselessness of some intrinsic value. Is that your position?

Sam F
01-22-2006, 11:13 PM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> What part of tautology don't you understand? Oh, bloody hell, here we go again.

First, let’s dispense with “survival of the fittest”. It’s a silly phrase, a late Victorian popularization of evolutionary theory which appealed to the prejudices of the time. It’s not helpful in actually understanding natural selection.

Here’s how natural selection works: </font>[/QUOTE]Here’s how research from source documents works:


I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term natural selection, in order to mark its relation to man's power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer, of the Survival of the Fittest, is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient. (Origin of Species Chapter 3 - Struggle For Existence) Do you want to retract that bit about Survival of the Fittest being a silly phrase or would you rather call Darwin a silly popularizer who appealed to the prejudices of his time and who didn't understand Natural Selection?
Your call.

Sam F
01-22-2006, 11:44 PM
Hi Norm,
I'm headed for bedtime and the rest of this week is looking furiously busy, so I'll have pass on the review - though your request is quite reasonable. Maybe I can work up something later... In the meantime, I'd suggest checking out the Darwin thread for a review. It's hideously long but you could just read my postings and maybe cut it in half. ;) In it you'll see that I'm working out my own understanding of the issue while dealing with many snipings and misunderstandings along the way. I don't have the Google Search page for the Forum but someone may be kind enough to post it.

[ 01-22-2006, 11:45 PM: Message edited by: Sam F ]

Meerkat
01-22-2006, 11:46 PM
Is Sam evidence for unnatural selection? ;)

Peter Malcolm Jardine
01-23-2006, 12:29 AM
Lets face it... How relevant would the Catholic Church be if evolution was accepted by all of their followers?

These people still don't believe in birth control... and they still have all the wealth and trappings of any ancient monarchy... while many of their followers live in poverty. What kind of God would pick one man to be his representative on earth, elected by other men.

As I've said... irrelevant. :rolleyes:

George.
01-23-2006, 06:45 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:
Here’s how research from source documents works:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />(a quote from Darwin's Origin of the Species) </font>[/QUOTE]The above sheds some light on Sam's approach to the theory of evolution.

He refers to Darwin's book as the "source document." He appears to see it in the same way that a Christian sees the Bible - the fundamental text on which his entire theology is built. Other texts may explain it or elaborate upon it, but may never contradict it, for it is the absolute truth on which the entire religion stands.

Of course, to view a scientific work in such a way is senseless. Darwin's work originated a new theory. It had flaws, and was in many ways rudimentary. Subsequent research and analysis refined and improved the theory, and actually did contradict many of Darwin's original points. That is way bringing up any flaws in "Origin of the Species" as proof the the theory of evolution is flawed is silly at best, and perhaps done in bad faith.

Copernicus originated the heliocentric theory, and revolutionized astronomy as much as Darwin revolutionized biology. Yet Copernicus thought that the orbits of the planets were circles, and had no notion of the force of gravity that makes the whole thing work.

Later scientists, like Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, showed us that the paths of the planets are ellipses, and described in detail the force that drives the whole system.

Now, someone like Sam would argue that, because 500 years ago Copernicus got the shape of the orbits wrong, the heliocentric theory is "flawed"... :D

George.
01-23-2006, 06:54 AM
Originally posted by sharpie:
g. said: </font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />He also says that natural selection is a tautology. We disagree. We have challenged him to prove it. He declines... SamF said:
the fittest survive because they are fittest. How do we know that they are fittest? Because they survive. Quite true and quite useless. Tell us g., what part of tautology don't you understand?</font>[/QUOTE]Which part of a statement in plain English don't you understand?


Originally posted by Sam F:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
OTOH, the criticism that natural selection explains nothing is simply ludicrous. I said it is a tautology and by definition tautologies are useless. </font>[/QUOTE]What Sam said is that natural selection is a tautology. And this is not the first time he said it. Neither is this the first time that, when challenged to demonstrate it, he backpedalled into saying that what is a tautology is "survival of the fittest."

The theory is called "evolution by natural selection. Not "evolution by survival of the fittest. And there is nothing tautological about it. It is a simple, elegant, and revolutionary concept. And the Catholic Church agrees with it. smile.gif

[ 01-23-2006, 06:56 AM: Message edited by: George. ]

sharpie
01-23-2006, 07:43 AM
g. -- here is a further post from SamF:


I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term natural selection, in order to mark its relation to man's power of selection. But the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer, of the Survival of the Fittest, is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient. (Origin of Species Chapter 3 - Struggle For Existence) You are neither reading, nor understanding what you read. SamF, has only pointed out that "survival of the fittest" which is a better expression than natural selection, as noted by Darwin's own hand, is a tautology. On page 1 SamF said further:
Natural Selection is absolutely true , and yet somehow you seem to think you are scoring points here against fundies and you even take a certain amount of glee of pointing out what the Church says, when SamF, peb, and Dennis have been saying this precisely all along. You really need to develop a more critical faculty.

George.
01-23-2006, 08:02 AM
Sharpie, as I just pointed out, The Origin of Species is not a holy book. It is the first text about a theory that has been much refined since. Darwin got many details wrong, but that has no relevance to the validity of the theory of evolution by natural selection, which has evolved a lot since Darwin's book was written.

You and Sam do not seem to understand the difference between a scientific text and the Bible.

Regardless, note that Darwin said that the term "survival of the fittest" is "sometimes equally convenient." He did NOT say that it was the same thing as natural selection. And of course, it is not.

Also, note that the term Darwin himself employed was natural selection. Survival of the fittest was coined by someone else, and adopted by Darwin as a useful term for explaining evolution to laymen. Apparently, he was mistaken.

Sam has claimed that natural selection is a tautology. Since it is not, he now tries to claim that "I really meant that survival of the fittest is a tautology, and it is all the same anyway." But it isn't. You would understand that, if you took the time to inform yourself, rather than just engaging in a knee-jerk defense of whatever Sam says.

George.
01-23-2006, 08:17 AM
Originally posted by sharpie:
...somehow you seem to think you are scoring points here against fundies and you even take a certain amount of glee of pointing out what the Church says, when SamF, peb, and Dennis have been saying this precisely all along. :D

This is too good.

Sam and Dennis are on record here in the bilge trying to prove that evolution by natural selection did not - indeed, could not - happen, that it cannot explain either the origin of new species or the development of so-called "irreducibly complex" structures.

They have quoted experts on "Intelligent Design" and used talking points from the Discovery Institute in defense of their claims. They have claimed that Intelligent Design is science, and should be taught in science classes.

They have claimed that belief in "Darwinism" requires disbelief in God, and that only "Scientific Materialists" could believe in evolution by natural selection.

Now, the Vatican has stated that "no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution" and that "intelligent design should not be taught as a scientific alternative to evolution." And what do we see? You and Sam backpedalling and trying to disassociate yourselves from ID, and convince us that you never said the theory of evolution was wrong, or incompatible with God - only useless.

You know, in 1984, the government didn't just change the story - they went back and altered all the records so that they couldn't be caught contradicting themselves. Given the number of pages of pro-ID, anti-evolution posts by Sam, not even Orwell's Ministry of Truth would be up to the task... :D

sharpie
01-23-2006, 08:40 AM
g., Darwin also said that natural selection was "more accurate". Quit cherry picking.

Sam and Dennis, afaik from lurking during the various Darwin threads, do not assert what you claim. I would ask you to prove this, but the way you cherry picked the above quote from Darwin's book indicates that you are a disingeuous sort, and are more into propoganda and smear campaings than accurately representing the thinking of your opponents. Of course, it seems to me that this is all you can do since you really do not understand the nature of SamF's argument.

SamF and Dennis never once challenged the methods of science, nor did they discount the very limited truth of natural selection. What they did contest, and SamF has pointed this out on page 1, are the rather unscientific conclusions drawn from evolutionary theory. These conclusions are philosophical in nature and deal with the notion that evolution is the absolute mechanism by which life came to be on earth and you and others fail to see that in much scientific thought there is more than science going on. Heck, you are not even aware of your own presumptions and presuppositions when you attempt to argue. There are gaps in the theory of evolution that need further working out. There are attempts to deal with those gaps scientifically (i.e., the doctrine of punctuated equilibrium) and not so scientifically, (e.g., the doctrine of pan-spermia).

George.
01-23-2006, 08:50 AM
Originally posted by sharpie:
...the notion that evolution is the absolute mechanism by which life came to be on earth ...That is not what the theory of evolution is about. It is about how one species evolves into another. It does not attempt to explain the origin of life on earth. A red herring.

I could go back and pull up endless quotes from previous threads, showing Sam indeed discounting and trying to discredit the theory of evolution, claiming that it is incompatible with belief in God, and claiming that ID makes more scientific sense - but everyone has seen Sam doing that, page after page, ad nauseam, so I won't bother. :D

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-23-2006, 08:59 AM
So George., given the evidence of the past three pages - what have you learned about the thread topic "Catholic Church chooses truth over obscurancy"?

Is obscurantism now dead in the Catholic, or any other, church?

[ 01-23-2006, 09:00 AM: Message edited by: P.I. Stazzer-Newt ]

Sam F
01-23-2006, 09:16 AM
Originally posted by sharpie:
… but the way you cherry picked the above quote from Darwin's book indicates that you are a disingenuous sort, and are more into propaganda and smear campaigns than accurately representing the thinking of your opponents. Of course, it seems to me that this is all you can do since you really do not understand the nature of SamF's argument.
Unfortunately, what you say seems to be the most likely hypothesis. Any stick will do to beat up orthodox Catholicism. For instance, Mr. Dot approvingly quotes this:


In the Osservatore article, Dr. Facchini wrote that scientists could not rule out a divine "superior design" to creation and the history of mankind.But would he agree with it?

Come on George Dot! Let’s see some consistency here. Since you claim to have “proved” that the Catholic Church now approves of Darwinian Evolution, how do you account for the statement (from your own post) that “scientists could not rule out a divine "superior design" to creation and the history of mankind”? Is it true?

Keith Wilson
01-23-2006, 09:30 AM
I don't care if Darwin himself used it, "survival of the fittest" is still a silly phrase that IMHO causes more confusion than understanding. Many posts on this thread are an excellent example of this.

Again, natural selection, which I did my best to describe above, is certainly not a tautology.


Scientists could not rule out a divine "superior design" to creation and the history of mankind Of course science cannot rule it out. If it cannot be studied by observation and experiment, science has nothing to say about it. This is not the province of science. There is absolutely no contradiction between Darwinian evolution (or the the rest of science, for that matter) and belief in a creator, or belief in an intelligence that has guided evolution. Any being that could create the universe in all its complexity could certainly guide evolution in a way that is indistinguishable (to us) from natural processes.

The claim of the ID crowd is that the supposed faults in evolutionary theory provide evidence of divine intervention; that we have found God’s fingerprints by observation and experiment. This is why they attack evolutionary biology, rather than astrophysics or organic chemistry.

[ 01-23-2006, 09:40 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

George.
01-23-2006, 09:47 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:
... how do you account for the statement (from your own post) that “scientists could not rule out a divine "superior design" to creation and the history of mankind”? Is it true?Of course it is true.

Scientists have described the system by which species evolve, and the forces which drive this evolution. They cannot rule out that the system of evolution by natural selection was designed by some divine entity. Nor do they have any interest in doing so.

The system by which the planets move was described by Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. The impersonal force which drives the system was described by Newton.

This does not rule out the possibility that the "laws" of physics were designed by God, and that he meant for gravity to operate as it does. It does, however, rule out the idea of some deity constantly having to nudge the planets along in their orbits, lest they fly off into space.

You do understand that, don't you, Sam?

Sam F
01-23-2006, 11:25 AM
Originally posted by George.:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:
... how do you account for the statement (from your own post) that “scientists could not rule out a divine "superior design" to creation and the history of mankind”? Is it true?Of course it is true.
</font>[/QUOTE]Then, as George Jung has observed, what are you arguing about?

Sam F
01-23-2006, 11:28 AM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
I don't care if Darwin himself used it, "survival of the fittest" is still a silly phrase that IMHO causes more confusion than understanding. Then Darwin was a silly popularizer who appealed to the prejudices of his time and who didn't understand Natural Selection.
So, if Darwin was such a fool, what exactly is it that you support? I mean this is getting really confusing Keith!

Sam F
01-23-2006, 11:37 AM
Keith you've simply "argued" yourself into a hole. Apparently too proud to say you’ve mischaracterized Darwin himself and misunderstood what the master in fact believed, yet still stuck with a fanatical support of Darwinism. I do have some sympathy with your predicament. Why not just go with Darwin? If he said that “the expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer, of the Survival of the Fittest, is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient.” And I have proved that he did, then just beat a tactical retreat and acknowledge that Survival of the Fittest is in the master’s own words valid and accurate.

Keith Wilson
01-23-2006, 11:41 AM
. . what are you arguing about?This:


That Darwin's theory is Materialist is simple fact. If one insists on defending that theory one is (on that matter at least) Materialistic.And this:


Natural Selection is absolutely true and for the purposes of science absolutely useless. It has no value either as an explanation or for its predictive power, for it does neither.And my goodness, Sam, why in the world should I have a problem admitting that Darwin made mistakes? He was dead wrong on pangenesis, for example. Like every other human being, he had some good ideas and some bad ones. He wasn't a "master" or a prophet, just a very bright biologist. Of course he shared some of the prejudices of his time, notably a rather naive faith in the inevitability of progress. The phrase “survival of the fittest” apparently causes you and sharpie a lot of confusion, misleading you into claiming that natural selection is a tautology.

[ 01-23-2006, 11:42 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Sam F
01-23-2006, 11:45 AM
Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
SamF, can you state your fundamental position in 30 words or less, clearly and cogently, instead of just picking the flys#%t out of the pepper on the precise words of particular responses? The rest of us would appreciate it... then we'd have something to respond to!Cool your jets Norm. Did you check out the Evolution thread as I suggested? Most of what you'd need is in the first few postings
I'm quite busy at the moment and can't devote time for the legally precise wording that would be required in this hostile and frankly irrational environment. Maybe later...

Sam F
01-23-2006, 11:52 AM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> . . what are you arguing about?This:


That Darwin's theory is Materialist is simple fact. If one insists on defending that theory one is (on that matter at least) Materialistic.</font>[/QUOTE]Are you contending that Darwin isn’t Materialist? If so kindly prove it. Otherwise this is just another dodge.


Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
And this:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Natural Selection is absolutely true and for the purposes of science absolutely useless. It has no value either as an explanation or for its predictive power, for it does neither.And my goodness, Sam, why in the world should I have a problem admitting that Darwin made mistakes? </font>[/QUOTE]This is no mere mistake Keith. Natural Selection/ Survival of the Fittest is THE core concept. Abandon that and you’ve chucked ‘ol Darwin, lock stock and barrel. Now that’s OK with me if you insist – but do you really intend that???

Sam F
01-23-2006, 12:12 PM
Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
I was hardly asking for a legally precise wording, ...But that is what you’ll get when (and if) I can comply with your request. You don’t get to make such demands. For an apparently subtle position, such as mine is, it is a practical impossibility to make a hasty reply.


Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
SamF... if you can't come up with a 15 second summary of the major point you're trying to make through seemingly thousands of postings, then maybe you don't really HAVE a point of view. Yeah right Norm. You really believe that.


Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
Your style is… Please. If you don’t like the style, remember the concept of blow-back. A little civility combined with a modicum of reading comprehension on the part of my opponents would go a long way toward reducing the irritating features of my “style”.
If you want a doormat, you’ll have to look elsewhere.


Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
… There are some of us who would like to comprehend your point... and then make our judgments accordingly.

On the other hand, I guess I'm wrong. None of us owe anything to anyone in the course of these discussions... including credibility.What was your point about style? How about yours? :D
But seriously Norm, everything I have ever said here is a matter of permanent record (save for those threads others deleted). Show some initiative and look for yourself please. I really don't have time today for this... That's all for now.

Keith Wilson
01-23-2006, 12:18 PM
Norm, sorry, but I don't think I'll attempt it. Sam appears to have plenty of time to tell George and me how we've got it wrong, but not enough time to make an affirmative statement of his position. He appears to favor intelligent design creationism, but it's hard to pin him down.


Are you contending that Darwin isn’t Materialist?Once again, (sigh . . ) evolutionary biology, like ALL of science and technology, deals ONLY with the physical world, ONLY that which can be studied by observation and experiment. If something does not fall into that category, science can say nothing about it. The more Sam writes, the less I understand what he means by “materialism”, so I will leave that to him, but if evolutionary biology is “materialist”, absolutely ALL of science and engineering and technology is just as “materialist”.


Natural Selection/ Survival of the Fittest is THE core concept.Natural selection is the core concept. Despite what Darwin said, I think the phrase "survival of the fittest" is not a very good description of natural selection, and is likely to lead to misunderstandings. I described several posts back as clearly as I can my understanding of how natural selection works. If anyone has a problem with natural selection, that is what we can discuss.

[ 01-23-2006, 12:22 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

George.
01-23-2006, 01:45 PM
Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
...why 'Materialism' has such import to this discussion. Religion has long been based on using unexplained physical phenomena as "proof" of the existence of deities. It was easy in the old days. Volcano erupting? The gods are angry. Look, thunder! Proof that Zeus exists.

Some Christian scholars have long been obsessed with finding "proof" of the existence of God in the physical world. Unfortunately for them, this was easier during the Middle Ages, when so much about how nature works was unknown.

Modern science asserts that nothing in the physical world is "unexplainable." And it has successfully explained many previously "unexplainable" phenomena without resorting to the supernatural. To people who base their religion on faith, that is OK. But many people seem to need a crutch to prop up their faith - some physical "proof" of the existence of God. These people feel threatened every time their "God of the gaps" is shrunk by a new scientific breakthrough.

The first milestone in this process was the discovery of the physical laws that govern the universe. The Church resisted that, but an accurate understanding of astronomy was too important for navigation and commerce to be dismissed on religious grounds. So the "God of the gaps" crowd retreated to the origin and diversity of life as their "proof" of God's fingerprints. Surely, life is too complex and varied to have come about any other way.

Then came Darwin and the theory of evolution, showing that there are no proofs of the supernatural in biology, either. The struggle was fierce, and still goes on in intellectually primitive societies like Iran and parts of the United States. But the theory of evolution is too important for medicine, biotechnology, and environmental management to be dismissed, so ultimately it, too, will stop being attacked. Even in Kansas. smile.gif

Meerkat
01-23-2006, 02:51 PM
If you give any credence to the Intellectual Delusion of Intelligent Design, the sky's the limit! Immaculate Deception! ;)

MattL
01-23-2006, 03:48 PM
I think people do not have a very clear understanding of what natural selection is in regards to tautology.
Tautology is a strict, "It is either this or not this statement," whereas natural selection is not a "black and white" "this or that" process. There are many factors that come into play. For example it is not just the strongest that is best suited to an environment. The shades between what defines a niche are very subtile alowing various organisms occupying what outwardly apperas to be the same niche to florish.
It appears to me to be another attempt to confuse an issue to get a personal belief system to fill the niche of a scientifc method. I'm sorry but even though it ID people are trying to get their belief into wide spread use, it is not a scientific theory.

Sam F
01-23-2006, 11:56 PM
Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
SamF, can you state your fundamental position in 30 words or less, clearly and cogently, instead of just … The rest of us would appreciate it... then we'd have something to respond to!Cutting out the insults leaves us with something workable. :D

However I can’t help but wonder why on earth you think that a complex subject can be dealt with “in 30 words or less, clearly and cogently”. Did you grow up on a steady diet of sound bites? That doesn’t nourish the intellect you know. ;)

I am already on record as stating in no uncertain terms that evolution has occurred. I only doubt the scientific dogma that it was in accordance with Darwin’s theory. I doubt this for 3 major reasons:

1. The key principle of Darwin is a tautology. Much objections and obfuscations to the contrary can not alter that fact – unless someone can explain how the conclusion of Survival of the Fittest is not a statement that is true by its own definition. Tautologies, besides being logical fallacies are not testable, and are therefore not science.

2. The fossil evidence for the Gradualism explicit in Darwin’s theory of the origin of species is not present. Species are stable for their entire existence. They appear in the record as complete entities and become extinct with little or no observable change. Therefore the theory does not match observed evidence

3. Darwin’s theory is Materialism; not methodological tool, but the real thing. That Darwin was a Materialist is historical fact and one would hardly expect him to think outside this particular box. This is not science but philosophy. Now philosophy is a fine thing, but it is not science.

I have observed many times that this philosophical Materialism holds sway in Biology with a grip not observed in all scientific disciplines. For instance, when the Pluto probe was launched last Thursday NASA administrator Michael Griffin said.

"God has laid out the solar system in a way that requires a certain amount of patience on the part of those who choose to explore it."
Such a public statement would end your career in Biology but is perfectly acceptable in Physics and Astronomy.
The reasons why have everything to do with the reigning philosophy of Biology.

The following are a few quotes of mine from the God vs. Darwin thread that you’re reluctant to read. Yeah I know, there are few sound bites in it so you’ll have to read just a bit. Sorry, but this approach should guarantee that any mischaracterization of my position will fall flat. I say “should” with a sense of irony as mis-reading and hysterical reaction are par for the course when any doubts are expressed about Darwin’s “sacred” theory.


Evolutionary theories do not yet adequately account for the origins of species – that is they don’t [to use the antique terminology] “preserve appearances” well enough to be established as fact. I know that calling [Darwinian] Evolution a fact is a valuable propaganda tool, but it just isn’t so at the present time. I very much doubt that any variant of the theory will be a fact in the near future… And I have no objections to calling Evolution a theory. That’s what it is - a perfectly good theory. A fact it isn’t. And it has no prospects of being anything but a theory anytime soon.
I went on to suggest that while evolution of some type has occurred it will require some other theory to account for observed phenomena – something that the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis does not do. As for Creationism…

Creationism is not science. Have I ever said otherwise? Intelligent Design however is not Creationism as it is usually defined. I.D. does not necessarily imply a god, Christian or otherwise. Time of course will tell if it’s wrong or not.[/i]I am on Intelligent Design as I am on Evolution – an agnostic.
Sadly it is incomprehensible for ideologues to imagine that anyone could understand and defend a position without believing with the same faith they possess. Well there are some things that that such people are psychologically unable to accept and there’s no use in worrying about it.


Survival of the Fittest is no Law.
It is a tautology – buy why take my word for it?
After several pages of demonstration Kenneth J. Hsu (an evolutionist, btw) says in The Great Dying (1986 pg. 22)
quote:
"The law of survival of the fittest may be, therefore, a tautology in which fitness is defined by the fact of survival, not by independent criteria that would form the basis for prediction. The “natural law” that has given a “scientific” basis for so much wickedness may also be falsified: If most extinctions are caused by catastrophes, then chance, not superiority, presides over who shall live and who shall die. Indeed, the whole course of evolution may be governed by chance, and not reflect at all the slow march from inferior to superior forms so beloved of Victorians, and so deeply embedded in Western thought."

(On pg. 24)

quote:
"As a scientist, I see instead an opportunity to pull from beneath any such judgments the justification of science. The law of natural selection is not, I will maintain, science. It is an ideology, and a wicked one, and it has as much interfered with our ability to perceive the history of life with clarity as it has interfered with our ability to see one another with tolerance."
(Emphasis added to be irritating to those who quibble about the role of chance in evolution )

Sam F
01-23-2006, 11:59 PM
Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:

I guess SamF's point is so extroadinarily subtle, as he says, that I'm too stupid to understand it.A dose of patience right about here would have a salutary effect. :D
You have your answer. It remains to be seen if it's too subtle.

Meerkat
01-24-2006, 12:02 AM
You're up late... ;)

BTW, no ethical scientist would call evolution a fact. It is, like everything else in science, a theory. It has the virtue of having evidence that points to it's veracity. It remains a valid theory only so long as the evidence supports it. Otherwise, it will be discarded and a new one that more accurately fits all the observed evidence will take it's place. All you have to do is come up with the contradictory evidence.

BTW, isn't belief in god a tautology? He exists because you believe he exists? (Or she - I'm not misogynistic... ;) )

[ 01-24-2006, 12:07 AM: Message edited by: Meerkat ]

sharpie
01-24-2006, 08:28 AM
g. said:
That is not what the theory of evolution is about. It is about how one species evolves into another. It does not attempt to explain the origin of life on earth. A red herring. No, it is not a "red herring". You simply are talking about science in its purest sense without any regard to the historical movement of ideas, especially over the last 150 years or so. Pontificating in an idealized vacuum may make you look smart, but it demonstrates your lack of knowledge on the issue and contributes to your perennial blindness with respect to SamF's arguments about the issue.

Further evidence of your cluelessness lies in the following:


Religion has long been based on using unexplained physical phenomena as "proof" of the existence of deities. It was easy in the old days. Volcano erupting? The gods are angry. Look, thunder! Proof that Zeus exists.This prejudice against religion is promoted by a 19th century scientific view which is in essence materialistic.


Some Christian scholars have long been obsessed with finding "proof" of the existence of God in the physical world. Unfortunately for them, this was easier during the Middle Ages, when so much about how nature works was unknown. Again, your use of "proof" here is one determined by science. Religious scholars are smarter than scientists in knowing that there are other forms of proof for demonstrating the truth of non-empirical reality. Your use of the term obsession denotes an illness on the part of those seeking a valid demonstration of such a reality.


Modern science asserts that nothing in the physical world is "unexplainable." And it has successfully explained many previously "unexplainable" phenomena without resorting to the supernatural. To people who base their religion on faith, that is OK. But many people seem to need a crutch to prop up their faith - some physical "proof" of the existence of God. These people feel threatened every time their "God of the gaps" is shrunk by a new scientific breakthrough. Yes, some people do, but not Catholics, and quit trying to insist on it by appealing the "first discovery of physical laws that somehow magically happened with Copernicus:


The first milestone in this process was the discovery of the physical laws that govern the universe. The Church resisted that, but an accurate understanding of astronomy was too important for navigation and commerce to be dismissed on religious grounds. So the "God of the gaps" crowd retreated to the origin and diversity of life as their "proof" of God's fingerprints. Surely, life is too complex and varied to have come about any other way. In order to believe in this fiction, you would have to ignore Buridan's contribution in the 14th century to developing laws of motion and inertia that Newton inherited. You would have to ignore Roger Bacon, Robert Grossteste, and a host of others who were Churchmen and who, in fact, were not obstructed by the Church to engage in scientific inquiry. You can hammer on Galileo all you want as "proof" to the contrary, but folks more in the know than your prejudice allows understand that Galileo's case was not ultimately about his science. Of course, your obsessing over this factoid and others like it indicate to me that real knowledge might go a long way in straightening out your crooked and rather warped view of reality.

George.
01-24-2006, 08:52 AM
1. The key principle of Darwin is a tautology. Much objections and obfuscations to the contrary can not alter that fact – unless someone can explain how the conclusion of Survival of the Fittest is not a statement that is true by its own definition. Tautologies, besides being logical fallacies are not testable, and are therefore not science.

Wrong. The key principle of the theory of evolution is NOT survival of the fittest. It is natural selection, which Keith described above, and it is not a tautology.

2. The fossil evidence for the Gradualism explicit in Darwin’s theory of the origin of species is not present. Species are stable for their entire existence. They appear in the record as complete entities and become extinct with little or no observable change. Therefore the theory does not match observed evidence

Also wrong. Species change in the fossil record. FOr the most studied species, such as humanoids, the fossil record shows very gradual change indeed. And further, some species change even as we observe them, over a few generations. To say that species are stable over their entire existence is false.

3. Darwin’s theory is Materialism; not methodological tool, but the real thing.

As Keith said - if so, so is all of science. A pointless argument.

Keith Wilson
01-24-2006, 09:29 AM
Galileo's case was not ultimately about his science. Oh my! Not about his science?? Really?!?

Well, let us look at the original documents. One of the great things about the Roman Catholic Church is that they keep very good records; they weren't made public until the 1870s IIRC, but they are now available to anyone. This site (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1630galileo.html) has translations of the indictment, sentence and "confession" of Galileo in his final trial of 1633.

From the confession:


But since I, after having been admonished by this Holy Office entirely to abandon the false opinion that the Sun was the centre of the universe and immoveable, and that the Earth was not the centre of the same and that it moved, and that I was neither to hold, defend, nor teach in any manner whatever, either orally or in writing, the said false doctrine; and after having received a notification that the said doctrine is contrary to Holy Writ, I did write and cause to be printed a book in which I treat of the said already condemned doctrine, and bring forward arguments of much efficacy in its favour, without arriving at any solution: I have been judged vehemently suspected of heresy, that is, of having held and believed that the Sun is the centre of the universe and immoveable, and that the Earth is not the centre of the same, and that it does move.
Not about his science? Sure. :rolleyes:

Eppur si muove.

[ 01-24-2006, 09:31 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Keith Wilson
01-24-2006, 10:08 AM
I'll take another crack at the “tautology” argument, Sam’s First Article.

Now natural selection operates like this:
- Individuals within a population vary in their inherited traits.
- Some traits lead to greater reproductive success than others.
- Over time, these traits become more common in the population.

This is no kind of tautology, so the Believers fall back on “survival of the fittest”. Let’s examine it in detail.

What is “survival”? In this case, it’s shorthand for “reproductive success”, passing one’s genes on to the next generation, of which survival is one aspect. Survival is actually a subset of the things that can lead to reproductive success, and therfore a bit inaccurate. Survival is necessary but not sufficient. There are various effective strategies; a short life, reproducing as fast as possible, works for some.

What is “fittest”? The traits that make an organism “fittest” are merely those that produce greater reproductive success. These are obviously not the same in every environment, even for the same organism. In a cold climate, thick white fur, shorter legs, neck, and ears to conserve heat, a thick layer of body fat, and diurnal habits may be advantageous. For the same species in a hot dry climate, a thinner brown coat, long legs, neck, and ears for heat dissipation, less fat, and nocturnal habits may work best. The traits that are helpful where food and predators are plentiful may not be good at all when both are scarce. The difference does not have to be large; even a very small advantage will make a large diffrence over enough generations. Again, one obviously cannot say a priori which traits are advantageous; it is necessary to examine the organism in its environment to tell.

So what does “survival of the fittest” actually mean? Simply that some traits lead to greater reproductive success than others. That’s all. This is clearly not a tautology.

[ 01-24-2006, 10:28 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

George.
01-24-2006, 10:51 AM
Keith, if I may ammend your summary, two key aspects of the natural selection mechanism are:

1) For every species, in every generation, there are more born than there were in the previous generation, and more than the environment can ultimately support.

2) There are always individual variations in every population.

Natural selection can only operate because of these factors. If each generation was only as large as the last one, then either all of it would have to survive or the population would shrink to eventual extinction - no "survival of the fittest." And if there wasn't so much genetic variation in all populations of all species, then there could be no selection - they would all be the same.

That is why natural selection is not a tautology. A tautology, by definition, has to be obvious and inevitable. Natural selection only works because the conditions you and I described exist.

cedar savage
01-24-2006, 11:43 AM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
BTW, no ethical scientist would call evolution a fact. It is, like everything else in science, a theory. It has the virtue of having evidence that points to it's veracity. It remains a valid theory only so long as the evidence supports it. Otherwise, it will be discarded and a new one that more accurately fits all the observed evidence will take it's place. All you have to do is come up with the contradictory evidence. David: You really need to read the highly unethical Stephen Jay Gould before participating further in this discussion.

Evolution as Fact and Theory by Stephen Jay Gould (http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_fact-and-theory.html)

Keith Wilson
01-24-2006, 12:36 PM
I guess the thing that I was most interested in understanding (and that I'm not likely to get explained by SamF, I'm afraid), is just why 'Materialism' has such import to this discussion. I have been thinking about this question, and since Sam has not replied, I’ll give my perspective on it. I think the question of what Sam calls “materialism” is central to understanding some of the intensity of the argument. This is a part of a long-running dispute with very deep roots in history; a thumbnail sketch follows (and apologies for both oversimplification and length).

500 years ago Christianity (The Roman Catholic Church, actually, since there weren’t any alternatives yet) was powerful and central to the culture of Europe to a degree that is almost unimaginable today. Its influence has been waning ever since. All western societies today are more or less secular, even the US. There are two main reasons that this happened: first, internal divisions within Christianity, and second, the replacement of religion and the teachings of the church by reason as the central principle in both society and people’s individual lives.

There are, I think, two parts to the ascendancy of reason over faith. The first is modern science, the idea that the proper way to study the physical world is through observation and experiment, which take precedence over authority and revelation. A corollary idea is that the physical world is objective; that considering purpose or intent is not necessary for understanding. The second is the philosophical-political movement of the Enlightenment, which again emphasized reason over tradition, authority, or revelation.

Modern science, and the technology that comes from it, has been tremendously successful. In a word, it works. The proposition that observation and experiment, not authority or revelation, allows one to understand the physical world has been demonstrated beyond the wildest imaginings of its early proponents. It has changed people’s lives more than probably any other thing that humans have ever done. Obviously the effects have not all been positive. Increased understanding gives increased power, which can be used for good or evil, and has been used for both. However, at least in wealthier societies, almost all of our children live to grow up, something that has never been true since the beginning of humanity.

The Enlightenment idea of the primacy of reason over authority, tradition, and revelation has gotten tremendous support from the success of science. It has, in the west at least, effectively destroyed the legitimacy of the authority of the church or king, and replaced it with the free conscience of the individual, the consent of the governed, and the universal rights of humanity. It has also spawned less savory ideas; communism and the subordination of individual people to The People, meaning in reality the state.

Sam has argued strongly against the philosophical/political Enlightenment, even calling it at one point the “endarkenment”. He has repeatedly brought up the suppression of the Catholics in the Vendee after the French revolution, and the dreadful record of the communist states, as evidence of the fundamental wrong-headedness of the whole project. I think the argument goes that if one does not believe in a God who lays down moral absolutes and punishes those who disobey, then one must inevitably believe that human beings are “just animals”, of no intrinsic value, to be disposed of whenever they get in the way. Descent into “moral free-fall” (his phrase, or maybe it was peb) and eventually mass murder on the scale of Stalin or Pol Pot is inevitable. The “materialism” that he fights so hard against is materialism in the Marxist sense, I think; the idea that nothing exists but atoms and energy operating according to physical laws.

Darwinian evolution, of course, is not more or less materialist that the rest of science. However, it HAS been used erroneously, particularly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in support of some pretty unsavory political and philosophical ideas. “Survival of the fittest” was a popular idea among German militarists before WWI. “Social Darwinism” was invoked to justify the abuses of 19th century capitalism. The eugenics movement was inspired by a desire to improve the species, and was taken to its far-beyond-logical extreme by the Nazis.

So I think the essential fuel for the fire is that Sam thinks the success of “materialistic” science has led may people to conclude that the methods of science are sufficient in other fields as well; that experience and reason alone is sufficient, and that religion and belief in anything supernatural, including God, are unnecessary, even delusional. An explanation for the development of life on earth that does not rely on anything other than natural processes thus will lead eventually but inevitably to Stalinist atrocities.

Sam will no doubt tell me I’ve got it wrong. ;)

If anyone is interested, here’s a surprising little article by Wm. Dembski (http://www.leaderu.com/offices/dembski/docs/bd-theologn.html) (a mathematician and prominent supporter of Intelligent Design) which uses very similar tactics and tone to a lot of Sam’s stuff. A brief quote:


The view that science must be restricted solely to purposeless, naturalistic, material processes also has a name. It's called methodological naturalism. So long as methodological naturalism sets the ground rules for how the game of science is to be played, IDT has no chance.

[ 01-24-2006, 02:16 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-24-2006, 03:02 PM
Let’s run one up the flagpole and see who shoots at it.

In Europe it is well known that the civilised world is contained within a quadrilateral having vertices at Athens, Lisbon, Dublin and Moscow, and that while there may be a world beyond these bounds it must be filled with barbarians or perhaps the heathen chinee.

The Americans however have a finely tuned grasp of geography and politico-cultural events; after all isn’t there a World Series for baseball?

These two groups are separated by a sort of semi-permeable membrane through which little bits of ideas leak . This is similar to the familiar osmotic systems and of course huge pressures build up and take the shape of enormous cultural differences, which are but poorly understood on each side of the divide.

It follows that Europeans can be woefully ignorant of what is going on the in Americas, and that Americans have a really poor notion of what is happening elsewhere.

All of which is run-of-the-mill and unremarkable. When, as happens periodically, we hear that one group of biblical literalist stupid barbarians is trying to impose creation science, or intelligent design or whatever this week’s fad is upon the rest of the barbarians; the civilised Europeans shrug their shoulders and mutter “Mad Bastards” or something in Portuguese. Which has exactly no effect on the southern Baptists, or the Methodists or indeed on any of the Protestant groups – who, being accountable to no man for their consciences – are free to believe whatever they want.

But an observant, and orthodox Catholic is an animal of a different stripe, lacking the freedom of conscience which is so dear to the Protestants, he needs to appeal to higher authority.

The “Higher Authority” is in Europe and was not paying attention to the barbarian debate – but I suspect that it is about to wake up, and biblical literalism sits particularly ill with the Catholic tradition.

[ 01-24-2006, 03:04 PM: Message edited by: P.I. Stazzer-Newt ]

TomF
01-24-2006, 03:08 PM
... shrug their shoulders and mutter “Mad Bastards” or something in Portuguese...Brilliant.

Keith Wilson
01-24-2006, 03:21 PM
Hey George, how do you say "mad bastards" in Portuguese? :D

[ 01-24-2006, 03:21 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Meerkat
01-24-2006, 03:34 PM
Originally posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt:

It follows that Europeans can be woefully ignorant of what is going on the in Americas, and that Americans have a really poor notion of what is happening elsewhere.
I missed the domestic national news last evening, but I did catch the late evening BBC News on PBS. I'll bet the bits on Indian politics, building collapse in Africa, the train wreck in Montenegro (well, that one might have gotten 2 lines) and a few other tidbits never made US national news. I think the only 2 that might have gotten air were the Ford and Palastinian politics stories.

How else are we to keep our fine-tuned grasp of geopolitics! ;)

(And 1/2 hour of BBC News is long in comparison to the 18 or so minutes we get richly intersperced with prescription drug adverts in the same 1/2 hour length. US news has become 1/2 hour of drug commercials with bits of BS thrown in to separate them. :mad: )

And a further note that almost none of the BBC stories were on Yahoo News website either!

TomF
01-24-2006, 03:38 PM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
And a further note that almost none of the BBC stories were on Yahoo News website either!You could always look here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/). The CBC website usually steals a fair bit of international news from the BBC too ... showing up about half a day late ... making it not really "news" anymore.

Meerkat
01-24-2006, 03:43 PM
My point was about how well informed the average American is, which is to say: not very!

TomF
01-24-2006, 03:45 PM
Got it. Sad to say, the average Canadian isn't light-years better... despite having broader news coverage.

sharpie
01-24-2006, 03:51 PM
But an observant, and orthodox Catholic is an animal of a different stripe, lacking the freedom of conscience which is so dear to the Protestants, he needs to appeal to higher authority. Assinine :rolleyes:

Osborne Russel
01-24-2006, 03:53 PM
Originally posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt:
biblical literalism sits particularly ill with the Catholic tradition.Why?

Meerkat
01-24-2006, 03:54 PM
Originally posted by Osborne Russel:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt:
biblical literalism sits particularly ill with the Catholic tradition.Why?</font>[/QUOTE]Interferes with the Pope. ;)

George.
01-24-2006, 03:55 PM
Originally posted by sharpie:
Assinine :rolleyes: Asasin. ;)
:D

TomF
01-24-2006, 03:56 PM
Yo! George!
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
...how do you say "mad bastards" in Portuguese? :D

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-24-2006, 03:57 PM
Tyndale (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Tyndale)

Osborne Russel
01-24-2006, 04:00 PM
Originally posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt:
When, as happens periodically, we hear that one group of biblical literalist stupid barbarians is trying to impose creation science, or intelligent design or whatever this week’s fad is upon the rest of the barbariansThese efforts are periodic only in intensity. It is an uniterrupted and venerable tradition in the land of the World Series, fostered by the descendants of settlers from the British Isles.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-24-2006, 04:09 PM
The trying may well be both constant and venerable, the hearing is sporadic.
In October last year not one in fifty Brits could have described "Intelligent Design" or its place in politics.

George.
01-24-2006, 04:09 PM
Filhos da puta malucos. :D

George.
01-24-2006, 04:16 PM
By the way, note that I started this thread to point out that the Catholic Church has actually adopted a quite sensible position about science in general and the theory of evolution in particular.

It was meant to show that one faction of Christianity, at least, is not threatened by science and does not feel a need to clash with observed reality in order to preserve its dogmas.

But some self-professed Catholics have managed to turn it into a parade of obscurantist reasoning. Which reinforces my suspicion that some of these "Catholics" are actually anti-Catholic trolls, out to denigrate the Church by portraying their fringe positions as broadly representative of Catholic thought.

Anyway, dinner time. Tonight it is spaghetti al nero di sepia (noodles with squid ink :D ), with a fish roe/sun-dried tomatoes sauce. With a shiraz from South Australia.

BTW, "fish roe" is kind of redundant, isn't it?

Meerkat
01-24-2006, 04:32 PM
Nope - there's sea urchin roe too. You may have my entire share of this "delicacy". ;)

For that matter, consider the squid ink noodles yours too! :D

[ 01-24-2006, 04:33 PM: Message edited by: Meerkat ]

TomF
01-24-2006, 04:34 PM
Yes Meer. Heard sea urchin roe described as one of the more "challenging" kinds of sushi.

Keith Wilson
01-24-2006, 04:39 PM
Squid ink pasta doesn't really taste much different than the normal stuff if you shut your eyes. Black pasta is strange at first glance, I'll admit.

Meerkat
01-24-2006, 04:43 PM
Originally posted by TomF:
Yes Meer. Heard sea urchin roe described as one of the more "challenging" kinds of sushi.For starters, it looks like something from the wrong end of a baby. Then, there's the taste! :eek:

It's been a good product for New England fishermen though. They export it to Japan by the bucketfull.

[ 01-24-2006, 04:43 PM: Message edited by: Meerkat ]

Meerkat
01-24-2006, 04:44 PM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
Squid ink pasta doesn't really taste much different than the normal stuff if you shut your eyes. Black pasta is strange at first glance, I'll admit.Green (spinach) pasta is my limit! ;)

sharpie
01-24-2006, 08:35 PM
g., it is statements like this that convince me you speak out of your colon. You say:


By the way, note that I started this thread to point out that the Catholic Church has actually adopted a quite sensible position about science in general and the theory of evolution in particular.[QUOTE]

L'Osservatore Romano is not the forum wherein "The Church" takes a position. There are other avenues for this as SamF pointed out. However, just to remind you from page 1, I said:

[QUOTE] You seem to be surprised. Niether SamF, nor Dennis, nor peb would have been surprised at such a statement. The method of scientific investigation was never in question, but the unscientific conclusions drawn from them were. Consequently, both materialism and ID are philosophical positions/conclusions that do not rest on the methods of science. As indicated, members of the Catholic Church have known the Church's position long before you became enlightened. It is a shame that you do not read more carefully, otherwise, you would not continue to embarrass yourself by revealing that your good intentions were rooted in ignorance that you simply fail to address. You tell us:


It was meant to show that one faction of Christianity, at least, is not threatened by science and does not feel a need to clash with observed reality in order to preserve its dogmas. Then, to demonstrate your superior ignorance further, you insult the intelligence of SamF and others by making your ignorance the measure of knowledge when you say:


But some self-professed Catholics have managed to turn it into a parade of obscurantist reasoning. Which reinforces my suspicion that some of these "Catholics" are actually anti-Catholic trolls, out to denigrate the Church by portraying their fringe positions as broadly representative of Catholic thought. Do you indulge in such rhetoric because it makes you feel good? What possible benefit could be derived from the complete mischaracterization of your opponents position than to make yourself look smarter than you are? I would think that Keith Wilson, Norman B, Meerkat and others ought not encourage you in this matter since it is a pathetic display.

TomF
01-24-2006, 09:32 PM
Sharpie,

George was, if anything, trying to pay the Catholic Church a compliment on distancing itself (a) from some aspects of its past, and (b) from the view that ID is Scientific.

You'd prefer that he didn't?

t.

Meerkat
01-24-2006, 09:59 PM
Norman; Thanks for posting the long version of what I posted.

Sam F
01-24-2006, 11:18 PM
Originally posted by TomF:
Sharpie,

George was, if anything, trying to pay the Catholic Church a compliment on distancing itself (a) from some aspects of its past, and (b) from the view that ID is Scientific.

You'd prefer that he didn't?

t.I'd prefer it if certain individuals would quit trying to make ideological hay with a subject they are deliberately uninformed about. What's an authentically Catholic position on this subject?


Let us go directly to the question of evolution and its mechanisms. Microbiology and biochemistry have brought revolutionary insights here....It is the affair of the natural sciences to explain how the tree of life in particular continues to grow and how new branches shoot out from it. This is not a matter for faith. But we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and error....(They) point to a creating Reason and show us a creating Intelligence, and they do so more luminously and radiantly today than ever before....Human beings are not a mistake but something willed.This indicates that Catholicism is never going to accept the Materialism that animates Darwinian Evolution nor will the Materialists ever accept the Church's position.
Why does that quote indicate that?

A fellow named Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote it.

Sam F
01-24-2006, 11:25 PM
Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
Thank you, SamF, for finally posting a bit of a summary of your thinking on this topic... at least now I have a cogent and specific enumeration of your points. Norman there is no “finally” about it. I’ve written these things over and over. It’s not my fault if you’ve missed it.


Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />(SamF said) "I am already on record as stating in no uncertain terms that evolution has occurred. I only doubt the scientific dogma that it was in accordance with Darwin’s theory." Well, I'm going to have to stop you right there. Science is NOT dogmatic. </font>[/QUOTE]Well stop yourself first Norm. Scientists use the term in exactly the same way I did and do so often:

For decades, scientific dogma maintained that the adult mammalian nervous system was incapable of creating new neurons. From Neural stem cells in aging and disease by T. L. Limke *, Mahendra S. Rao


After completing her undergraduate degree, she entered Harvard with an NSF pre-doctoral fellowship, receiving a Ph.D. under Steven J. Gould, four years later. She credits her scientific development to Gould who taught her to question scientific dogma and to always look for the anomaly. Written about Dr. Patricial Kelly – 2003 AWG (Association of Women Geoscientists) Outstanding Educator.


It is true that scientists have often been dogmatic and elitist. S.J. Gould


Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:

The religious definition of the word, according to at least one reference… …Stop again. Any dictionary will show the word dogma has legitimate uses in a more secular sense.
From Websters:

1 a : something held as an established opinion; especially : a definite authoritative tenet b : a code of such tenets <pedagogical dogma> c : a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds. And from Wikipedia:

Many non-religious beliefs are often described as dogmata, for example in the fields of politics or philosophy, as well as within society itself. The term dogmatism carries the implication that people are upholding their beliefs in an unthinking and conformist fashion. Dogmata are thought to be anathema to science and scientific analysis although one could argue that the scientific method itself is a dogma for many scientists.
Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> (SamF said:) The key principle of Darwin is a tautology." Try as I might, I see absolutely nothing in what you have said this is any sort of evidence that 'Darwin' is tautology. Darwin's theory, like ANY existant scientific theory, can be instantly flushed down the tubes, the moment some scientist discovers proof which supports an alternate theory.</font>[/QUOTE]I’m waiting and waiting and… for someone to show me that Natural Selection (also called by Mr. Darwin himself Survival of the Fittest) isn’t a statement that is true by its own definition. It’s no use realizing that Survival of the Fittest is a tautology (as Keith has tacitly done) but claim that it isn’t a valid description of Darwin’s core belief when Darwin himself says it is.


Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> (SamF said:) "The fossil evidence for the Gradualism explicit in Darwin’s theory of the origin of species is not present.... Experts in paleobiology obviously disagree with you, and since I'm not a paleobiologist (and neither are you, I think), I won't bother to debate the specifics of the charge.</font>[/QUOTE]But Norm, I have an unfair advantage on you (and as far as I know everybody else that’s taken part in these “discussions”) I’ve actually read Darwin’s Origin of Species. I have read almost every word Steven J. Gould wrote for a general audience and I've seen him speak in person.
I’ve also read more on the subject that most people would ever dream of doing. How else do you suppose that I have no difficulty in finding quotes from scientists that refute the non-scientific misunderstandings of Darwin’s theory made here? ;)


Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
However, I have a decided problem with the way you speak of 'Darwin'... because you invoke the name in almost the same way that many people would refer to 'Scripture', namely, a single, invariant thing.... and nothing could be further from the truth. Don’t blame me for the reverent attitude toward Darwin. I don’t share it!


Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
Darwin has been dead for 130+ years... The present day theory of evolution bears little resemblance to Darwin's original theory, in the case where conflicting or cloudy evidence has been discovered. If it bears little resemblance to Darwin’s original theory I’d be delighted to hear about the differences. The theory has been expanded with the addition of Mendelian genetics – something Darwin didn’t see the importance of, though he knew of Gregor Mendel’s work. But no where does any Evolutionist claim to do more than build on Darwin. You know it’s not for nothing that today’s Evolution is called the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis.
Repudiation of Darwin isn’t exactly kosher and simply isn’t done… other than Keith’s curious and illogical claim that Darwin had no idea what he was talking about. :D


Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
You say that the fossil evidence for 'gradualism' is not present... I frankly don't know, because I haven't studied it. I have.


Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
Gradualism might be a working hypothesis, or a genuine theory, depending on how you evaluate the evidence. Darwin is Gradualism and so is every variant of his theory:

The theory of punctuated equilibrium itself is gradualist (by God it had better be) in the sense in which Darwin was a gradualist-the sense in which all sane evolutionists must be gradualists, at least where complex adaptations are concerned.Richard Dawkins


Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> Darwin’s theory is Materialism; not methodological tool, but the real thing. That Darwin was a Materialist is historical fact and one would hardly expect him to think outside this particular box. This is not science but philosophy. Now philosophy is a fine thing, but it is not science. I don't know enough about Darwin himself to be able to agree or disagree on this point. If you're referring to 'hard core' materialism, i.e., the absolute denial of supernatural explanations of physical events, you might indeed be right. </font>[/QUOTE]I am quite right. If you doubt it, read Richard Dawkins. He’s an ideal exemplar of the sort of fanatical dogmatism I’m talking about…

Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist
Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories. Thanks Richard!


Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
Whether some guy 130+ years ago was the 'other kind' is irrelevant.
A curious statement. I wonder how many would consider that merely being ancient is the ticket to automatic irrelevance. Socrates anyone?

[ 01-24-2006, 11:28 PM: Message edited by: Sam F ]

TomF
01-24-2006, 11:41 PM
Thank you so much, Sam, for the now-Pope's statement. Pope Benedict cogently affirms here what some at least of us have been trying to say .... to you!

Benedict said zippidy-doo-dah about materialism, or Darwin's own philosophical position. This is, to him, apparently irrelevant. Instead, he affirms that
It is the affair of the natural sciences to explain how the tree of life in particular continues to grow and how new branches shoot out from it. This is not a matter for faith.My emphasis. That's magisterium #1, with no overlapping allowed. The Pope very clearly directs the faithful NOT to have their religious beliefs meddle with scientific investigation, observation, and analysis of the natural world.

Then the now-Pope continues with a marvelous statement of his own faith - of, presumably, what he feels is an appropriate Christian response to Science's outpourings about the natural world. Again, my emphasis added:
But we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and error....(They) point to a creating Reason and show us a creating Intelligence, and they do so more luminously and radiantly today than ever before....Human beings are not a mistake but something willed...And that's magisterium #2 - a credo, a statement of belief. The audacity involved is in making a leap of faith ... but once made, faith provides a rubric for Christians (or at least Catholics) to interpret and invest meaning into the otherwise cold and inert scientific facts and hypotheses. But those facts from the first magisterium are still whatever they were before ...

I agree with the Pope's comments here quite entirely. And frankly, Sam, he seems to agree quite entirely with me. Those of us audacious enough to believe in a Creator will of course derive different meaning from the information in the 1st magisterium than non-believers. But neither magisterium is in a position to invalidate - or validate - an individual's positions in the other. They do not, and according to Pope Benedict, should not overlap.

t.

[ 01-25-2006, 08:02 AM: Message edited by: TomF ]

Phil Heffernan
01-24-2006, 11:43 PM
Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories. If you replace 'Darwinian' with 'Religious', one might make the exact claim...

I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle...

Phil H

Meerkat
01-25-2006, 01:55 AM
I think "the answer" (as though there can really ever be a final one) lies where the evidence points and in no other direction.

The real bitch for anti-evolutionists is that they can't come up with a different answer based on available evidence. Instead, they are forced to posit a deus ex-machina to rationalize their beliefs.


deus ex ma·chi·na Audio pronunciation of "deus ex machina"
n.

1. In Greek and Roman drama, a god lowered by stage machinery to resolve a plot or extricate the protagonist from a difficult situation.
2. An unexpected, artificial, or improbable character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a work of fiction or drama to resolve a situation or untangle a plot.
3. A person or event that provides a sudden and unexpected solution to a difficulty.Bring on that person or event and you've got it made! Evidence required of course.

Phil Heffernan
01-25-2006, 01:57 AM
(as though there can really ever be a final one)Exactly ;)

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-25-2006, 04:29 AM
fellow named Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:

Let us go directly to the question of evolution and its mechanisms. Microbiology and biochemistry have brought revolutionary insights here....It is the affair of the natural sciences to explain how the tree of life in particular continues to grow and how new branches shoot out from it. This is not a matter for faith. But we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and error....(They) point to a creating Reason and show us a creating Intelligence, and they do so more luminously and radiantly today than ever before....Human beings are not a mistake but something willed.
Sam asks:
What's an authentically Catholic position on this subject?Which is, I think, the essential question for this thread.

When Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote this, he was but a Cardinal and subject to the same range of errors as any man, so that while this may be taken as "an authentically Catholic position" it does not, quite, constitute the "View of the Church", there is still some wiggle room.

If however, the same man were to repeat the statement under the right conditions, it could be "The Authentic Position", the wiggle room would have gone, and I.D. would become a closed book to the orthodox Catholic.

In the interim, Sam's quest is still live.

George.
01-25-2006, 06:42 AM
Originally posted by sharpie:
g., it is statements like this that convince me you speak out of your colon.

... members of the Catholic Church have known the Church's position long before you became enlightened. It is a shame that you do not read more carefully, otherwise, you would not continue to embarrass yourself yada yada yada...

:rolleyes:

Well, some people need to read more carefully, and more broadly, before embarassing themselves...

The Catholic Church's position on this issue is not definitively settled yet. No ex cathedra statements have been issued. There are clearly internal deliberations still in progress.

However, Pope John Paul issued a statement that indicated the Church's tendency to accept the theory of evolution by natural selection. Its wording was quite explicit, and was broadly understood to be an endorsement of Darwin's theory - which is taught in Catholic schools and colleges all over the world, without controversy.

When Ratzinger became Pope, a Cardinal Schonbrun (sp?) published an opinion piece in the NYT sympathetic to Intelligent Design. It was most likely a trial balloon, and was not well received by many Catholics. Some others, of course, eagerly embraced it - SamF and his acolytes among them.

Now, L'Osservatore Romano published a piece clearly stating that ID is not science, and that evolution by natural selection not only appears to be true, but does not conflict with the Catholic faith. It may not be an ex cathedra statement, but it is far stronger than one cardinal's opinion, and certainly was approved by the new Pope.

So we have two Popes sympathetic to natural selection and critical of ID, vs. one cardinal sympathetic to ID. But some bilge "Catholics" insist in cherry-picking, trying to keep the ID farce alive. I suspect that these folks are fundies first, and Catholic second.

George.
01-25-2006, 06:53 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:
I’m waiting and waiting and… for someone to show me that Natural Selection (also called by Mr. Darwin himself Survival of the Fittest) isn’t a statement that is true by its own definition. Once again:

Natural selection is the mechanism by which evolution occurs. This is how it works:

- Given that in each generation, every species produces more offspring than can survive;

- Given that mutations constantly occur due to the manner in which genetic information is transmitted between generations;

- Given that every species displays considerable variation in traits between individuals;

- Given that this variation makes some individuals more likely to survive and reproduce than others;

Therefore, each generation is slightly different than the last one. If selective pressures are strong, it can be quite different than the last one.

Over many generations, cumulative change can tranform one species into another, i.e., make it so different from the original that they could no longer interbreed. That is how new species come into being.

If there were no excess offspring, or no mutations, this mechanism would not work.

Got it?

Your turn, Sam. Demonstrate that what I just described is a tautology.

cedar savage
01-25-2006, 07:09 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:
[qb] I’m waiting and waiting and… for someone to show me that Natural Selection (also called by Mr. Darwin himself Survival of the Fittest) isn’t a statement that is true by its own definition. This is relevant how or why? WTF difference does it make if natural selection is a tautology? Who freakin' cares?

Edit to add: Natural selection's a tautology, let's move one, what's next?

[ 01-25-2006, 07:13 AM: Message edited by: cedar savage ]

Donn
01-25-2006, 07:10 AM
There's a much easier and faster way to create a new species. Get some goofball taxonomist to do it. I think they still have some unused Latin words.

TomF
01-25-2006, 08:04 AM
Originally posted by Donn:
There's a much easier and faster way to create a new species. Get some goofball taxonomist to do it. I think they still have some unused Latin words.Judging by the changes on my seed packets, not many ...

sharpie
01-25-2006, 08:45 AM
g. said:
Well, some people need to read more carefully, and more broadly, before embarassing themselves...

The Catholic Church's position on this issue is not definitively settled yet. No ex cathedra statements have been issued. There are clearly internal deliberations still in progress. George, Catholicism has been reflecting on the relationship between faith and reason for nearly 2 thousand years. John Paul IIs encyclical "Fides et Ratio" clearly articulates a summary of the tradition's stance toward this relationship which includes science. If you had read this, you would not be making the injudicious statements you have here. The only thing you know about this is what you read in the newspapers. Which essentially means you know nothing about it.

You further state:
However, Pope John Paul issued a statement that indicated the Church's tendency to accept the theory of evolution by natural selection. Its wording was quite explicit, and was broadly understood to be an endorsement of Darwin's theory - which is taught in Catholic schools and colleges all over the world, without controversy. NO KIDDING. I defy you to show me where either SamF or peb, or Dennis or I have negated this? Science has its legitimate methods uniquely suited to exploring and describing the world as it is. Such an insight is as old as Catholicism itself. You just don't get it. Neither do you understand that what SamF or I have been pinging on, on the philosophical assumptions of the scientific community who advance the rather tentative truths of science as absolutes. Dawkins is a representative of this mindset which is more common than you and your confreres concede. I can only conclude that this particular blindness you and your friends have is in part responsible for your failure to understand this point. Bigotry toward Catholics is another. Now, if you are truly now listening to what the Church has to say, then I would suggest you ponder carefully the further statement by Ratzinger which indicates that any metaphysical assertion based upon scientific methodology that concludes there is no designer to the world in which we live is unreasonable.

You say:
When Ratzinger became Pope, a Cardinal Schonbrun (sp?) published an opinion piece in the NYT sympathetic to Intelligent Design. It was most likely a trial balloon, and was not well received by many Catholics. Some others, of course, eagerly embraced it - SamF and his acolytes among them. But if you go back to the Schonborn thread, there was plenty of discussion there that demonstrated that what he said was not out of line with what the Church has taught for millenia. Again, the knee jerkism of some has created a misunderstanding painting Schonborn, and by extension the Church, as anti-scientific. Of course, the spectre of Galilio has been invoked here so that it is a certain prejudiced understanding of that case that has become the filter through which his whole letter was interpreted.

You say:
Now, L'Osservatore Romano published a piece clearly stating that ID is not science, and that evolution by natural selection not only appears to be true, but does not conflict with the Catholic faith. It may not be an ex cathedra statement, but it is far stronger than one cardinal's opinion, and certainly was approved by the new Pope. Neither SamF nor I have said that ID was science. We are clearly on record saying that it is a philosophical conclusion drawn from other realms of knowledge other than the scientific. Why can you not see that. Moreover, you will never hear the Church make an ex-cathedra statement on science or its methods because ex-cathedra statement deal specifically with matters of Church doctrine and morals. So, stop projecting your nonsense on this matter.

Finally, you say:
So we have two Popes sympathetic to natural selection and critical of ID, vs. one cardinal sympathetic to ID. But some bilge "Catholics" insist in cherry-picking, trying to keep the ID farce alive. I suspect that these folks are fundies first, and Catholic second. And herein lies the heart of your misunderstanding. Schonborn never said ID was a science. The Church has always been sympathetic to science and what we can know through reason about the world in which we live. Since the Church believes that the world was created by God and that God, as any artist, possesses his own unique signature with respect to his craftsmanship, then scientific exploration of the world does not lead to knowledge of a closed material universe that subsists by and for its own sake, but rather the material world itself provides clues to the fact that there is a designer. You have even admitted as such here yourself (does this admission make you an ignorant hayseed fundie?). I think one of the problems here is that you (and others) tend to identify ID with Creationism. This is unfortunate, but given the fact that journalists have done this in representing the ID debate in the media, and since all you know about this, from what I can tell, is from the media, then you participate in the confusion of the masses. It would be nice if you would be more judicious in what you say, both about the Church and its adherents. I, for one, get fed up with you spouting the same old nonsense and measuring what the Church teaches and what Catholics believe by your ignorance.

George.
01-25-2006, 08:46 AM
Check this out. Another of those non-existent "missing links" that show gradual change in the fossil record has been found:

web page (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/24/science/24obox.html)


Scientists in Sweden have filled in a piece of an evolutionary puzzle: how the middle ear developed in tetrapods, four-limbed creatures.

The answer, they report in the journal Nature, is that before the middle ear became part of the auditory system, its precursor might have been part of the respiratory system.

The researchers, Martin D. Brazeau and Per E. Ahlberg from Uppsala University, base their claim on a study of a fossil of Panderichthys, a 370-million-year-old fish that is an immediate ancestor of the most primitive tetrapods.

The fossil has an enlarged spiracle, a passageway between the jaw and the top of the head, as well as other changes that represent a middle ground between the relatively simple structures of more ancient fish and the complex morphology of tetrapods.

"It's got this combination of fish- and tetrapod-like features," said Mr. Brazeau, who undertook the research as part of his work on a doctorate in evolutionary biology.

Scientists have known since the 19th century that in tetrapods, including humans, the middle ear develops from an embryonic structure called the first gill arch. In fish, the first gill arch forms the support for the jaws including the spiracle.

In fish that are ancestral to Panderichthys, the spiracle is small. In Panderichthys, Mr. Brazeau said, "the first thing that happens is that the spiracle becomes very large." Further alterations follow, he said, including changes to a bone that is the forerunner of the stapes, or stirrup bone, that is part of the middle ear structure.

So the Panderichthys fossil, which was found in Latvia, is a useful snapshot of a moment in evolution. BTW, Norman, there are literally countless examples of gradual evolution that have been discovered in the fossil record, from primitive hominids to birds to ancient marine organisms. Keith posted several, with illustrations, in one of those threads that Sam suggests you read - perhaps that is why Sam suggested that you only read his posts, and skip through the rest... :D

TomF
01-25-2006, 09:11 AM
Sharpie, there's some revisionist WBF history in your last post. And I suspect that nobody (except Sam) is willing to trudge through what must be multiple thousands of posts, to find the places where I/you/he/she said whatever.

The gist of it is that Sam believes that the contemporary scientific consensus about natural selection is a philosophy/religion, not a science. And that it should stop masquerading as science. I suspect that he's also got other motivations, though he's not a biblical literalist.

I, and others, believe that he is mistaken. That the consensus regarding natural selection is simply scientists generally doing decent science, and (as Ratzinger directed), keeping their religion and their science separate. In turn, Sam maintains that whatever I might say or believe about my own faith ... in fact I'm a Materialist.

I'd appreciate it if you (or Sam, or Peb) would please deal with my comments about the quote of Ratzinger, which Sam so helpfully provided. Sometime before it gets lost in the mists of time.

If I agree with the now Pope, and he agrees with me ... why do we both disagree with you and Sam?

George.
01-25-2006, 09:15 AM
Sharpie, sharpie...


Dawkins is a representative of this mindset which is more common than you and your confreres concede. For every Dawkins among scientists, there is a Pat Robertson and a Torquemada among church authorities. I suggest you stop bringing up the personal opinion of one man as if it were an accepted scientific conclusion.


...any metaphysical assertion based upon scientific methodology that concludes there is no designer to the world in which we live is unreasonable. I fully agree. And any assertion based on "scientific" methodology that concludes that there is a designer is equally unreasonable.

That is where we differ. I, and most scientists, realize that there is nothing in science that either proves or disproves a designer. And that science is not concerned with this question anyway.


Neither SamF nor I have said that ID was science. I don't know about you. Sam has not only claimed that ID is science, he has claimed that it is more solid than evolution by natural selection. And he has written pages and pages in this bilge trying to prove it, complete with references to "studies" by the Discovery Institute. Look it up - everyone else has seen it. tongue.gif



I think one of the problems here is that you (and others) tend to identify ID with Creationism. This is unfortunate, but given the fact that journalists have done this in representing the ID debate in the media... A very conservative Pennsylvania judge also identified ID with creationism, and concluded that ID proponents are intellectually dishonest and are trying to conceal their religious intent... tongue.gif

PS: stop trying to drag peb into this. While he and I have disagreed in the past, he is a reasonable poster and an honest debater. He has never engaged in the sort of word games and obfuscation that we see here.

And finally, keep in mind that I was born and live in the world's largest Catholic country, and that half my family is Catholic. I just may know something about Catholicism other than what I read in newspapers. ;)

George.
01-25-2006, 09:34 AM
Here you go, sharpie. Sam and the Church don't always agree:


Originally posted by Sam F:
That evolution erodes religious belief seems almost too obvious to require argument. ... “The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution; an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments.” ... is incompatible with anything but the most arid deism.


Originally spoken by the Pope:
"I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained."

Either Catholicism is "the most arid deism," or Sam and the Pope disagree on evolution. One says that it is compatible with Catholicism, the other says that those who accept it must necessarely reject Christianity.

Furthermore, on this thread, Sam insists that the theory of evolution is useless, that it cannot predict anything, and that it is based on a tautology. He is wrong on all three counts, and we are demonstrating it.

You seem to be oblivious to these two discussions, which are the core of this thread, and insist on seeing "anti-Catholic bigotry" where there is none. I suggest you go back and re-read it carefully before you spout off any more insults and accusations directed at me.

Keith Wilson
01-25-2006, 09:36 AM
Quite extraordinary! George and I explain natural selection in profuse and excruciating detail, show exactly why it is NOT circular reasoning, dissect the phrase "survival of the fittest and explain how it merely means that different traits produce differential reproductive success, and as far as I can tell, utterly demolish the “tautology” argument, and what happens? Sam keeps repeating over and over, “Survival of the fittest is a tautology and Darwin said it.” The Return of the Black Knight!

And Sharpie, I’d suggest you might calm down a little. I am a very, very long way from an orthodox Catholic, and have serious disagreements with the church in a number of areas. However, over the past hundred years or so, the church has been extremely reasonable, one might even say progressive, on issues of science and religion in general, and evolution in particular. They’ve come a VERY long way since the time of Galileo. (In fact, the certain way to disarm critics on that old score is not to try to defend the church but to do what the church itself has done, and say, “Yeah, they sure screwed up that one, but that was 400 years ago; they don’t do that any more.” Case closed.) The opposition to evolution in the US, the attempts to keep it from being taught in public schools, and recently to introduce one brand of pseudoscience or another as alternate theories, have come almost exclusively from conservative Protestants.


...any metaphysical assertion based upon scientific methodology that concludes there is no designer to the world in which we live is unreasonable.I completely agree with this. One cannot draw metaphysical conclusions from scientific methodology.

[ 01-25-2006, 09:38 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

cedar savage
01-25-2006, 10:10 AM
Originally posted by George.:
[QB...Sam's approach to the theory of evolution...

He refers to Darwin's book as the "source document." He appears to see it in the same way that a Christian sees the Bible - the fundamental text on which his entire theology is built. Other texts may explain it or elaborate upon it, but may never contradict it, for it is the absolute truth on which the entire religion stands. [/QB]Wow, George., you've nailed it on the head here. Thank you, I finally understand some of where Sam's coming from. Brilliant analogy. Thanks.

cedar savage
01-25-2006, 10:19 AM
Some posts ago, George. said:


Sam insists that the theory of evolution is useless, that it cannot predict anything, and that it is based on a tautology. He is wrong on all three counts, and we are demonstrating it.
I'll cede that the theory of evolution is, indeed, useless. I can know the world without knowing exactly how it works. I can go years and years without needing my knowledge of evolution.

That "evolution cannot predict anything", or perhaps that "natural selection thru survival of the fittest can't predict anything" is, in general, true. True, for now, because the amount of data needed to make an accurate prediction is overwhelming. We could predict with perfect certainty that in the event of a dramatic environmental change, a species will not survive if the necessary gene complex for survival in the new environment is absent. We have no way, at present, at predicting what that gene complex is. Wait awhile, the emerging science of bioinformatics is working on this problem.

I've already ceded that natural selection is a tautology.

So, what's the issue, exactly?

[ 01-25-2006, 10:31 AM: Message edited by: cedar savage ]

sharpie
01-25-2006, 10:30 AM
g., you are as thick as a brick. SamF says:


Originally posted by Sam F:
That evolution erodes religious belief seems almost too obvious to require argument. ... “The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution; an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments.” ... is incompatible with anything but the most arid deism.
In order to point out to you the meaning of the first sentence, let me suggest to you that this particular quote is of supreme importance for understanding that first sentence. I have even bolded the most important points to ensure that you do not miss it.


“ The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution; an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments .” My dog has better reading comprehension than this and, in fact, he is more educable.

Keith Wilson
01-25-2006, 10:33 AM
Darwin used the word 'tautology'?
No, he means Darwin used (but did not originate) the phrase "survival of the fittest". Sam hangs his "tautology" claim on the wording of that particular phrase. Go back a page and there's a lot of discussion.

And Sharpie, you are starting to act like a jerk. There's no need to insult George to make your points.

[ 01-25-2006, 10:35 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

George.
01-25-2006, 10:44 AM
Originally posted by cedar savage:

That "evolution cannot predict anything", or perhaps that "natural selection thru survival of the fittest can't predict anything" is, in general, true. True, for now, because the amount of data needed to make an accurate prediction is overwhelming.
Originally posted by cedar savage:
I'll cede that the theory of evolution is, indeed, useless. I can know the world without knowing exactly how it works. Maybe you can - you do not work in the natural sciences or medicine. But people who work with many things that I am sure you find useful, from producing the food on your table to developing medical treatments you may one day need, the theory of evolution is very useful indeed.

The theory of relativity is also useless to non-scientists, even if as they enjoy the use of transistors, GPS, etc., etc. ;)


Originally posted by cedar savage:

That "evolution cannot predict anything", or perhaps that "natural selection thru survival of the fittest can't predict anything" is, in general, true. True, for now, because the amount of data needed to make an accurate prediction is overwhelming. As with meteorology, that is correct for long-term predictions. Short term predictions are not only feasible, but quite accurate.

For instance, the theory of evolution predicts how pests will react to pesticides, how plants will react to changing soil and climate conditions, how bacteria will react to antibiotics, and how fish will react to certain kinds of fishing. Which in turn is used to develop better pest control and pathogen treatments, crops adapted to new agricultural frontiers, and better fisheries management techniques.

TomF
01-25-2006, 10:44 AM
Originally posted by sharpie:
g., you are as thick as a brick. SamF says:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:
That evolution erodes religious belief seems almost too obvious to require argument. ... “The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution; an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments.” ... is incompatible with anything but the most arid deism. ...My dog has better reading comprehension than this and, in fact, he is more educable.</font>[/QUOTE]Sharpie, I'm living proof that Sam's utterly mistaken. My faith is far from an arid deism ... as any haphazard saunter through any number of our religous threads will quickly demonstrate. But I also believe that God's quite capable of setting up a universe where there's no need for periodic divine handholding in natural processes.

Sam's statement, and your reiteration of it, amounts to slander - and Sam's only defence has been to push and poke at my beliefs, making out that I'm contradictory, or delusional, really a Materialist rather than a Christian.

Not so - there's another option. Perhaps, just perhaps, Sam's made a mistake ... I do, after all, appear to agree with the Pope on this issue.

t.

[ 01-25-2006, 10:56 AM: Message edited by: TomF ]

cedar savage
01-25-2006, 10:46 AM
But, wait, stop the presses. Maybe evolution is useful, maybe evolution can be predictive, maybe natural selection is valid (though still a tautology).

Let's think about practical, applied evolution for a minute, this is a field otherwise known as genetic modification. Take the genes for the ability to thrive in salty water found in certain (useless to humans) plants called halophytes.

Predict that those genes would function in (useful to humans) plants like corn or wheat or rice. Predict that these plants would then be able to grow in slightly salty water, and not able to grow there unless modified.

Transfer said genes. Voila! The useful plants are now growing where they couldn't grow before. We have selected a trait and transferred in toto to another species. Repeat this experiment with resistance to certain viruses and bacteria, production of natural pesticides, and on and on.

George.
01-25-2006, 10:50 AM
Here you go, sharpie:

Nature, God, and Reason (http://www.woodenboat-ubb.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=5;t=024639)

Read it carefully before you come back to tell us what Sam and Dennis have defended, and what they never claimed. tongue.gif

BTW, I found that thread by clicking on your "most recent posts." You seem singularly obsessed with Sam-issues (abortion and evolution), and show little interest in any other subject, boat-related or not.

[ 01-25-2006, 10:52 AM: Message edited by: George. ]

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-25-2006, 10:51 AM
Does anyone else think that this conflation of nonsense might go down in history as:
The American Heresy

George.
01-25-2006, 10:57 AM
Take the genes for the ability to thrive in salty water found in certain (useless to humans) plants called halophytes.

Predict that those genes would function in (useful to humans) plants like corn or wheat or rice. ... Voila! The useful plants are now growing where they couldn't grow before. Cedar, I submit that the halophytes could hardly be classified as "useless to humans" if their genes make possible such a useful result.

There are two types of living species - those that are useful to humans, and those that may be so in the future. smile.gif

BTW, if you are going to insist that natural selection is a tautology, I am going to have to ask you to demonstrate it.

cedar savage
01-25-2006, 11:10 AM
Picky, picky. I don't know how useful halophytes were to humans in the past. You're certainly correct about the value of maintaining biodiversity if for no other reason than the fact that these things contain patentable genes of potential enormous profit.

I think it's really interesting that just as we approach the need for something, like the need to grow halophytic rice in Bangladesh, Voila, there it is, the evolutionary technology to develop it.

It's like we're doing God's work. Which is exactly what He intended in the original design.

Once stated, the phrase "natural selection" is, by definition of the word tautology, a tautological phrase. So bloody obvious as to no longer be necessary or useful, but only once stated.


In logic, a tautology is a proposition that is already true by definition, not because of any logical deduction.
In logic, a tautology is a statement which is true by its own definition, and is therefore fundamentally uninformative. Logical tautologies use circular reasoning within an argument or statement.

Rick Clark
01-25-2006, 11:13 AM
The only thing I can say at this point is there is a lot of typing going on!! smile.gif

Keith Wilson
01-25-2006, 11:15 AM
Once stated, the phrase "natural selection" is, by definition of the word tautology, a tautological phrase. So bloody obvious as to no longer be necessary or useful, but only once stated. Obvious yes. Circular logic, no. Different traits in individual organisms produce different rates of reproductive success. This is certainly obvious, but it's also verifiable (or theoretically falsificable) by observation.

cedar savage
01-25-2006, 11:22 AM
Google define: natural selection (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=define%3A+natural+selection) and show me one that doesn't use synonyms of both natural or selection. Let SamF have the tautology, who cares?

It was one of the Great Truths and had only to be revealed by the Prophet Darwin.

George.
01-25-2006, 11:32 AM
One more time:

Natural selection is the mechanism by which evolution occurs. This is how it works:

- Given that, in each generation, every species produces more offspring than can survive;

- Given that mutations constantly occur in all species;

- Given that every species displays considerable variation in traits between individuals;

- Given that this variation makes some individuals more likely to survive and reproduce than others;

Therefore, each generation is slightly different than the last one. Over many generations, cumulative change can tranform one species into another.

If any of the "givens" were not so, this mechanism would not work. It is perfectly possible to imagine a world without mutations, or without variation between individuals, or without excess offspring being born. In such a world, natural selection would not work. In ours, it does.

I challenge anyone to demonstrate that this involves circular reasoning.

Osborne Russel
01-25-2006, 11:34 AM
Originally posted by Rick Clark:
The only thing I can say at this point is there is a lot of typing going on!! smile.gif That's obscurantism for you. It can't possibly take this many words to state your position.

cedar savage
01-25-2006, 11:37 AM
Focus on how spectacularly uninformative the phrase 'natural selection' truly is. It's a freakin tautology, give the point to SamF.

George.
01-25-2006, 11:41 AM
It is not. Demonstrate it, or admit that it isn't.

cedar savage
01-25-2006, 11:49 AM
Starting to get a little dogmatic here.

Explain to me what difference it makes if I, or anyone else, call natural selection a tautology?

How about if I define it tautologically? Natural selection is the process whereby natural forces select which organisms survive to reproduce naturally. Yes, I can define it non-tautologically, but since I can define it tautologically, natural selection is, in fact, a tautology.

And, please, I know and understand the mechanisms of the evolutionary process at a deeper level than most of the people that post on this thread.

Keith Wilson
01-25-2006, 11:54 AM
Both "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest" are just words, short phrases that attempt to describe in simple terms a process that goes on in the real world. Arguing "tautology" or "no tautology" is playing with the words. OTOH the process that George and I have described actually exists, and operates every day in the real world, no matter what words one uses to describe it.

George.
01-25-2006, 12:10 PM
Chemotherapy is the process by which chemicals are used as therapy to fight cancer - and is therefore a tautology, and useless.

Calculating the center of effort is the process by which the center of effort of a vessel is calculated - and is therefore a tautology, and useless.

Statistical analysis is the process by which statistics are used to analyze something - and is therefore a tautology, and useless.

Oversimplifying is the process by which something - say, the definition of a scientific concept - is simplified too much - and is therefore a tautology, and useless.

;)

Ian McColgin
01-25-2006, 12:12 PM
Is that part of the scientific theory of evolution dubbed by Darwin as "natural selection" tautological? Not in a world where competing theories proved wrong.

Some may recall that Lemarck had proposed a teleological mechanism for evolution with the passing along of acquired traits. Darwin's "natural selection" is the more correct theory and as such can hardly be viewed as a tautology except by folk either not aquatinted with the nature of scientific theories or unconcerned as they are making a different (in the current public debates always anti-evolution creationism of some sort) point.

It is sad that popular education has besmirched Lemarck's genius. Most of his other work as a naturalist has stood well and even where wrong, Lemarckian evolution was brilliant and, most importantly for science, corrigible. Darwin much admired Lemarck and praised his work in "Origin."

A lot of folk are now getting hung in the different orders of theory between individual genetics and species evolution. That was a problem for Lemarck and Darwin, both of whom were spectacularly wrong about individual genetics, as was inevitable in those pre-DNA days. Interestingly, some of Lemarck's insights are showing up anew in the contemporary understanding of epigenetic inheritance.

One does not need an accurate molecular understanding of genetics to get it right that natural selection is evolution's path. The power of that one huge idea makes Darwin perhaps the single most important scientist ever.

Rick Clark
01-25-2006, 12:12 PM
tautology

<study> A repetition of the same meaning in different words; needless repetition of an idea in different words or phrases; a representation of anything as the cause, condition, or consequence of itself, as in the following lines: "The dawn is overcast, the morning lowers, And heavily in clouds brings on the day." (Addison)

Synonym: Repetition.

Tautology, Repetition. There may be frequent repetitions (as in legal instruments) which are warranted either by necessity or convenience; but tautology is always a fault, being a sameness of expression which adds nothing to the sense or the sound.

Origin: L. Tautologia, Gr., cf. F. Tautologie.

Source: Websters Dictionary

(01 Mar 1998)

Tautology
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Jump to: navigation, search

Tautology refers to a use of redundant language in speech or writing, or, put simply, "saying the same thing twice".

[ 01-25-2006, 03:48 PM: Message edited by: Rick Clark ]

Keith Wilson
01-25-2006, 12:13 PM
Oversimplifying is the process by which something - say, the definition of a scientific concept - is simplified too much - and is therefore a tautology, and useless.
:D :D

[ 01-25-2006, 12:17 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

cedar savage
01-25-2006, 12:50 PM
One does not need an accurate molecular understanding of genetics to get it right that natural selection is evolution's path. The power of that one huge idea makes Darwin perhaps the single most important scientist ever. One might as well state that one does not need to read Shakespeare's tragedies and sonnets, only the comedies to fully understand Shakespeare.

TomF
01-25-2006, 12:52 PM
Originally posted by cedar savage:
One might as well state that one does not need to read Shakespeare's tragedies and sonnets, only the comedies to fully understand Shakespeare.No. One need not be a mechanic to drive a car ... or understand wave and harmonic motion to play a guitar ...

George.
01-25-2006, 12:52 PM
And now, for something completely different - nautical tautologies:

- Two-masted schooner;

- Beating against the wind;

- Three-masted ship;

- Expensive rigging hardware;

- Drunken sailor.

cedar savage
01-25-2006, 12:56 PM
Originally posted by TomF:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by cedar savage:
One might as well state that one does not need to read Shakespeare's tragedies and sonnets, only the comedies to fully understand Shakespeare.No. One need not be a mechanic to drive a car ... or understand wave and harmonic motion to play a guitar ...</font>[/QUOTE]In my example, one would only fully understand the comedic side of Shakespeare. Your example is apropos to what, exactly?

cedar savage
01-25-2006, 01:05 PM
A follow up. Natural selection is only a part of the mechanism of evolution. Accumulation of "nonsense" genes and genetic drift play important elements in speciation, completely outside of selective pressures.

George.
01-25-2006, 01:12 PM
Ooh, cedar, you mean Darwin originally missed that, too? You mean it is more complex and subtle than "survival of the fittest?" Now you'll have Sam in a frenzy... :D

cedar savage
01-25-2006, 01:40 PM
;)

How could Darwin ever have gotten it all?

Mendel wasn't rediscovered until 1900.

Watson and Crick didn't publish until 1953(?).

Darwin was just the second, not the greatest. Giants on the shoulders of a dwarf.

George.
01-25-2006, 01:46 PM
Originally posted by cedar savage:
Giants on the shoulders of a dwarf.:D :D

sharpie
01-25-2006, 02:43 PM
And Sharpie, you are starting to act like a jerk. There's no need to insult George to make your points. Am I indeed?

TomF, you may be walking and living proof that contradicts SamF with respect to the comment you highlighted, but the preceding statement about how evolution becomes an alternative faith that tends to replace religious faith is exactly the same concern Ratzinger points to in the quote by Samf on the preceding page.

Consider this quote from Glenn Hughes' "Transcendence and History":

"In the climate of Englightenment thought, a rapidly expanding faith in the modern scientific method as the sole arbiter for determining what is true and real...led the search for the ground [of being] to structures of the physical world and the laws that govern their motions and developments. Various forms of philsophical materialism and determinism (the ground of meaning is matter and the laws that govern matter) made their appearance). More sophisticated types of determinism emerged that take the human subject as agent more fully into account: the ground of meaning lies in the laws that govern the human use of material circumstances, that is, in the forces of productive relations (Marx); or the ground of (human) meaning lies in the sources of psychic energy that, operating below the level of consciousness, guide the direction of human thinking and action with the inexorability of physical laws (Freud). What such answers have in common is their imputation of the ground to some world-immanent aspect or aspects of being. From the point of view of the religions and philosophies of transcendence, they are forms of reductionism, in that thety atttempt to reduce transcendent meaning to purely worldly meaning" (54-55).

Now the brief paragraph I just highlighted encompasses approximately 250 years of thought, and insofar as Darwin was contemporary with Marx, his thinking was very much influenced by this particular quest for an immanent grounding of meaning and purpose. We could call the philosophy that roots life absolutely in evolutionary mechanisms "evolutionism" rather than evolution, so as to distinguish the legitimate isights of biological science arrived at by sound method, from the not so sound philosophical assumptions of evolutionism which parasitically attach themselves to scientific method for legitimation (e.g., Dawkins). As SamF and others have made clear, it is evolutionism that is a concern, and not the legitimate methods of science. To ignore this as if it is a chimera of SamF's fevered mind is disingenuous because the quest for an imminent explanation for the meaning of being is precisely what is known as the zeitgeist of modernity. Just because it is not your position does not mean that it aint so. And my beef here is with folks, like g., who are rude enough to reinterpret what folks say to fit their narrow understanding of the matter as the definitive measure of it. The misunderstandings make it possible to create strawmen that can be easily defeated without one ever having to understand what is really being said. And as often as this type of stuff goes on here, one cannot help but think it is willful.

g. -- so I don't post much above? I note you spend more time down here yourself. What does it prove?

Keith Wilson
01-25-2006, 03:07 PM
Everyone here who has disagreed with Sam (I think everyone - certainly the ones who have been the most active participants) has said very clearly, multiple times, that "evolutionism", by which I presume you mean the attempt to support philosophical ideas with the methods of science, is wrong. Evolution is only a description of what happened and how it happened; it won’t tell us what we should do or what anything means. That’s the whole point of non-overlapping magisteria. (Man, I hate that phrase – any suggestions for a more eloquent replacement would be welcome.) Religion and philosophy will not tell us how the physical world works; science cannot decide questions of meaning or morality. Whenever one poaches on the other’s territory, we have trouble. It works both ways.

However, Sam has NOT merely attacked the misuse of science in defense of one philosophy or another. If he had, there would have been no argument. If you’ll read the previous threads, and even his summary above, he has attacked evolutionary biology as not being scientifically accurate, not correctly describing the physical world. In this he is dead wrong, and that’s why we disagree with him.

TomF
01-25-2006, 03:11 PM
Sharpie, I agree that for some, a belief in technology, or a belief in science has simply replaced the previously Christian dominant western culture with another religion. The same can be said of the pursuit of money. Frankly, I think these aren't new religions, they're simply new manifestations of the old fertility cults. I personally find that worrisome, and the source of much of what's wrong in modern society.

But I see a striking lack of it among Sam's antagonists here. It's part of why I come back here - caring about something as whimsical and lovely as wooden boats seems to attract people who don't measure all value by efficiency and the bottom line.

BTW, the rudeness you mention is experienced as a two-way thing. Paradoxically, without exception (IIRC) each member of the less religious side of these debates has reigned themselves in periodically, and offered apologies in an effort to promote civility and respect. I'm sure you can complete the parallel structure of this paragraph. ;)

Be well.

t.

(edited because, frankly, I'm using "frankly" too much :D )

[ 01-25-2006, 03:14 PM: Message edited by: TomF ]

PatCox
01-25-2006, 03:16 PM
But Keith, in response to you, SamF would say "materialism is as materialism does" and assert that all these people who opposed "evolutionism" did not in fact oppose it and are evolutionists, becuase they beleive in evolution. Its kinda a tautology.

George.
01-25-2006, 03:24 PM
Originally posted by sharpie:
... insofar as Darwin was contemporary with Marx, ... What does it prove?

George.
01-25-2006, 03:25 PM
Originally posted by TomF:
... caring about something as whimsical and lovely as wooden boats seems to attract people who don't measure all value by efficiency and the bottom line.

smile.gif

TomF
01-25-2006, 03:26 PM
True, Norman. This thread, and the many others, are to do with a specific religious reactionary response.

Meerkat
01-25-2006, 03:28 PM
Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
TomF, I think a case could be made for the argument that religious belief and faith are actually undergoing a renaissance in at least American life and culture these days... I think a better case can be made for a loud religious minority trying to foist their beliefs on the legal system. A Really Bad Thing.

Religion never had a chance once radio, tv and movies came along. Much more agreeable forms of entertainment.

Rick Clark
01-25-2006, 04:07 PM
Keith smile.gif


Evolution is only a description of what happened and how it happened; And what's happening now. Even down here in Bilge

MattL
01-25-2006, 04:22 PM
cedar savage

And, please, I know and understand the mechanisms of the evolutionary process at a deeper level than most of the people that post on this thread. A bit proud of ones self it appears.



cedar savage
No. One need not be a mechanic to drive a car ... or understand wave and harmonic motion to play a guitar ...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In my example, one would only fully understand the comedic side of Shakespeare. Your example is apropos to what, exactly?
Apropos to the other wise inane drift of this whole topic, and actually quite well done.

Sam F
01-26-2006, 09:33 AM
Originally posted by Phil Heffernan:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories. If you replace 'Darwinian' with 'Religious', one might make the exact claim... </font>[/QUOTE]Exactly right! Well done Phil. The interesting thing about that fact is why should a Materialist make a statement of faith exactly like one would expect from a more conventional person of faith. The answer is that Materialism as a Philosophy is not Science but in fact, a kind of faith.


Originally posted by Phil Heffernan:
I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle...

Phil HIf real science is what’s in the middle, I’d agree.

Keith Wilson
01-26-2006, 09:40 AM
The answer is that Materialism as a Philosophy is not Science but in fact, a kind of faith.Exactly.

Keith Wilson
01-26-2006, 10:00 AM
They're believing two contradictory ideas at the same time, of course, because evolution = materialism. :rolleyes:

Donn
01-26-2006, 10:13 AM
Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:

Hell, I was told I was a Communist, in another thread... and I didn't even KNOW I was! If it weren't for Donn, I'd still be thinking that I wasn't! THANK YOU, Donn! smile.gif

You're quite welcome, Norman, although I have never told you you're a Communist. I said that you, among others, are further left than Chomsky and Clark. I didn't mention Communism at all.

Sam F
01-26-2006, 10:15 AM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
They're believing two contradictory ideas at the same time, of course, because evolution = materialism.Keith pay attention please. You don't have a patent on the word evolution and it can be used in several ways.

...evolution of some type has occurred it will require some other theory to account for observed phenomena – something that the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis does not do. To be explicit one again - evolution has happened. There is overwhelming evidence for that. What there isn't overwhelming evidence for is that it occurred in a Darwinian fashion.

To use the terms in the way I have done through out these discussions... that is by a special letter designation - i.e. evolution has undoubtedly occurred. Evolution - (aka the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis) = Materialism, because that's what it is.

Sadly, you don't seem to be able to grasp this simple concept. I can only hope that's due to you're own confusion and not a deliberate attempt to cause confusion.

Keith Wilson
01-26-2006, 10:19 AM
Evolution - (aka the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis) = Materialism, because that's what it is. Sadly, you don't seem to be able to grasp this simple concept.Sadly, you don't seem to be able to grasp the simple concept that I understand, but think it's utter and complete hogwash. You have yet to explain how the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis is one iota more materialistic than absolutely all of the rest of science, engineering and technology.

[ 01-26-2006, 10:20 AM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Sam F
01-26-2006, 10:21 AM
The original post seems to have vanished... if this turns out to be a re-post... sorry!

Originally posted by TomF:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by sharpie:
g., you are as thick as a brick. SamF says:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:
That evolution erodes religious belief seems almost too obvious to require argument... “The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution; an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments.” ... is incompatible with anything but the most arid deism. ...My dog has better reading comprehension than this and, in fact, he is more educable.</font>[/QUOTE]Sharpie, I'm living proof that Sam's utterly mistaken. </font>[/QUOTE]Sorry Tom, you’ve misunderstood something… but I supposed you missed my reply because it was directed to Pat:

If one takes a Materialist point of view it makes no difference if that person is or is not a Materialist. Argue to the point [at hand]…
I couldn’t care less what you or anyone believes unless that is relevant to his argument. To support one philosophy and simultaneously hold others is perfectly possible, but no one can address multiple contradictory points rationally. The only alternative I know of is to use the point at hand – whatever it is - and ignore the rest.
Originally posted by TomF:
My faith is far from an arid deism ... as any haphazard saunter…Well I’ll agree that it has a somewhat haphazard quality… smile.gif


Originally posted by TomF:
… But I also believe that God's quite capable of setting up a universe where there's no need for periodic divine handholding in natural processes. I’m not at all sure about that and I rather suspect that if you think about it, you aren’t either. It may very well be that the fabric of the Universe may require constant intervention to even stay in existence – though of course that’s speculation. I have no way of knowing that one way or the other.


Originally posted by TomF:
Sam's statement, and your reiteration of it, amounts to slander - and Sam's only defence has been to push and poke at my beliefs, making out that I'm contradictory, or delusional, really a Materialist rather than a Christian. I do in fact say that you are contradictory, but not that you are personally a Materialist.

Alternatively, if you want to demonstrate that your personal world view is characterized by consistency by all means post an exposition of it – Though I urge you to take this advice first: “Think long and hard before you do!”


Originally posted by TomF:
Not so - there's another option. Perhaps, just perhaps, Sam's made a mistake ... I do, after all, appear to agree with the Pope on this issue.

t. If you agree with the Pope, that makes two of us. Rest assured that I would not have posted Ratzinger’s quote if I hadn’t read, understood and agreed with it. That’s a very important point to remember! Please consider it before issuing any attempt at refutation.

The relevant question is now whether your or I agree it’s… Does a Darwinist agree with the Pope’s statement?

But we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and error....(They) point to a creating Reason and show us a creatingIntelligence, and they do so more luminously and radiantly today than ever before....Human beings are not a mistake but something willed(emphasis added to make it quite plain what I’m asking a Darwinist to agree to)

Tom, if you agree with the statement above you’ve stepped well outside the bounds of Darwinian Evolution. Welcome to the other side!

Sam F
01-26-2006, 10:24 AM
Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> Sadly, you don't seem to be able to grasp this simple concept. Perhaps, SamF, Keith (and I) 'grasp' the concept, meaning we understand what you're saying... but we simply don't agree?</font>[/QUOTE]What is it that you don't agree with?
That I think that evolution has occurred?
Do you disagree with that?
Or that I can find the physical and methodological evidence for Darwinian Evolution unconvincing. Do disagree that I have a right to that?
Or do you disagree that I have a right to express that point of view?
Please clarify Norman.

Keith Wilson
01-26-2006, 10:40 AM
What is it that you don't agree with?
This.


Evolution - (aka the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis) = Materialism Again, Sam (and again, and again, and again :rolleyes: ) Darwinian evolution is a description of what happened and how it happened. Show us, please, how it is any more materialistic than any other part of science, engineering, or technology. If you cannot do that, you must logically either broaden your attack to include all of science, or abandon the contention that evolution through natural selection is particualrly "materialist".

George.
01-26-2006, 10:43 AM
Originally posted by Sam F:
...the Pope’s statement:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />But we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and error....(They) point to a creating Reason and show us a creatingIntelligence, and they do so more luminously and radiantly today than ever before....Human beings are not a mistake but something willed...if you agree with the statement above you’ve stepped well outside the bounds of Darwinian Evolution. </font>[/QUOTE]Not so.

The Pope is saying that he believes there is a Creator, and that the universe, including evolution, runs according to his will.

He does not say that the actual mechanism is not natural selection, which Sam insists on calling "Darwinian Evolution."

If I can set the sails in my boat so that it seld-steers for half an hour with no intervention, I am quite sure that the omnipotent God the Pope refers to could set up the laws of nature so that evolution by natural selection would "self-steer" towards its intended goals... ;)

Sam F
01-26-2006, 01:50 PM
Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
Where does this leave countless paleontologists and paleobiologists who are both religious, AND agree in general with the principles of evolutionary biology?

Maybe they're not aware that they are 'materialists', in the strict definition? I certainly hope "they" aren't that ignorant Norm. I can tell you of one old friend of our family - a biologist well respected enough to have a species named in her honor and who was also a devout Catholic. And the way she described her position (very similar to mine btw) would have been illegal to mention in any public school classroom in the US these days.
Where does the status quo leave such people? Why it's no problem at all... so long as they keep their mouths shut.

Sam F
01-26-2006, 02:18 PM
Originally posted by George.:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:
...the Pope’s statement:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />But we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and error....(They) point to a creating Reason and show us a creatingIntelligence, and they do so more luminously and radiantly today than ever before....Human beings are not a mistake but something willed...if you agree with the statement above you’ve stepped well outside the bounds of Darwinian Evolution. </font>[/QUOTE]Not so.

The Pope is saying that he believes there is a Creator, and that the universe, including evolution, runs according to his will.

He does not say that the actual mechanism is not natural selection, which Sam insists on calling "Darwinian Evolution." </font>[/QUOTE]Sorry Mr.Dot but that’s one of the reasons I find reading your posts so pointless. If you’d care to prove that double negative (“He [the Pope] does not say that the actual mechanism is not natural selection”) feel free to do so. Show me that Benedict is a believer in Darwin’s Materialistic explanation and that his belief in “a creating Intelligence” is compatible with Darwinism.
Then by all means demonstrate that what “I insist” (and Mr. Darwin insisted) that Natural Selection (aka Survival of the Fittest) is wrong - that it's not the same thing as Mr. Darwin’s theory of Evolution.
And then tell me, as a true believer in Darwinian Evolution, that you seriously contend that “Human beings are not a mistake but something willed.”
My goodness that’s FUNNY!!!!

I mean it’s one thing to use any handy stick to beat up on Christianity but to use any quote – from Benedict, no matter that it entirely contradicts your position – and that you contradict Mr. Darwin himself – That’s just too much!
Really George. you’ve stretched credulity way way past the breaking point. How am I supposed to take you seriously? :D :D :D :D

Sam F
01-26-2006, 02:36 PM
Originally posted by George.:
Check this out. Another of those non-existent "missing links" that show gradual change in the fossil record has been found:
So the Panderichthys fossil, which was found in Latvia, is a useful snapshot of a moment in evolution. (from the linked NYT article)

Excuse me? That's a fossil. Note the singular form. What makes you think that illustrates Gradualism George?
As I pointed out in the God vs. Darwin thread - to validly prove Gradualism, one needs a gradual transition of one species to another - that is like a time lapse sequence that shows almost imperceptable changes from one organism to the next with the end of the sequence a different species. You have never provided that.


Panderichthys, Mr. Brazeau said, may have been a bottom dweller and have had the same need for an alternate respiration route. "It may very well have had its face in the mud," he said.(from the same NYT article)

Panderichthys ain't the only one with mud on his face. :D :D

George.
01-26-2006, 03:07 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:
Sorry Mr.Dot ... My goodness that’s FUNNY!!!!

... Really George. you’ve stretched credulity way way past the breaking point. How am I supposed to take you seriously? :D :D :D :D
Originally posted by Sam F:
I have previously stated my position as clearly as I know how and you respond with that? George Dot - that's the sort of thing that makes me ignore your posts. Knocking down a caricature (as Pat also did above) is a counterfeit of argument.Your choice, Sam. We can both try to be polite and address each others posts seriously, or we can descend into caricature and petty insult.

Meerkat
01-26-2006, 03:22 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:

And then tell me, as a true believer in Darwinian Evolution, that you seriously contend that “Human beings are not a mistake but something willed.”
My goodness that’s FUNNY!!!!
What's really funny is that George was quoting the Pope, yet you have him (George) saying it! :D

Keith Wilson
01-26-2006, 03:28 PM
. . . that is like a time lapse sequence that shows almost imperceptable changes from one organism to the next with the end of the sequence a different species. Oh, yes we did. remember the forams? We gave you exactly what you asked for. One example:


Phyletic Gradualism in a Late Cenozoic Planktonic Foraminiferal Lineage; DSDP Site 284, Southwest Pacific
Bjorn A. Malmgren, James P. Kennett
Paleobiology, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Spring, 1981) , pp. 230-240

Abstract:

Shape measurements have been made on planktonic foraminifera from a South Pacific Late Miocene to Recent temperate evolutionary lineage (Globorotalia conoidea through intermediate forms to G. inflata in DSDP Site 284). The sampling interval is about 0.1 Myr over nearly 8 Myr. Gradual evolution (phyletic gradualism) clearly occurs in all but one measured parameter. No clear evidence exists for abrupt evolutionary steps (punctuated equilibria) within the bioseries. If they occur, they are the exception rather than the rule. The number of chambers in the final whorl decreases almost linearly, despite known paleoceanographic oscillations within the temperate water mass. Mean size and apertural shape variations seem to correlate with paleoceanographic change. It is speculated that certain major morphological changes that took place within this evolutionary bioseries (i.e. loss of keel, rounding of periphery) developed in response to a major latest Miocene cooling, associated with instability in the water column and resulting adjustments of the test structure to water density changes. Changes exhibited in shape measurements may offer a precise method of stratigraphic correlation between temperate South Pacific Late Cenozoic sequences. Four species and two subspecies, long recognized to form the basis of this lineage, are redefined biometrically.
Arnold & Parker's work is more recent and covers a longer period, but I can't find anything other than summaries online right now.

[ 01-26-2006, 03:39 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Meerkat
01-26-2006, 03:37 PM
Not that it doesn't richly deserve it, but how is a discussion of science vs. superstition beating up on Christianity?

Oh wait! Christianity is largely superstition anyway! :eek:

Happy now, Sam? :D

Sam F
01-26-2006, 03:39 PM
Originally posted by George.:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Sam F:
Sorry Mr.Dot ... My goodness that’s FUNNY!!!!

... Really George. you’ve stretched credulity way way past the breaking point. How am I supposed to take you seriously?

Your choice, Sam. We can both try to be polite and address each others posts seriously, or we can descend into caricature and petty insult.Oh no Mr. Dot. It’s your choice and you already made it in your very first post.


Originally posted by George.:
I wonder if people like SamF will now recant, or will choose to break ranks with the Vatican and continue to peddle ID snake oil... Gee I don’t know George Dot – How’s about you going first and let’s see what happens?
Or are you too addicted to the strictest of Double Standards?

Sam F
01-26-2006, 03:41 PM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
Oh, yes we did. remember the forams? We gave you exactly what you asked for.
Slipping memory Keith? Being of about your age I can certainly sympathize! smile.gif But why re-post my critique of the sequence of forams again. Just go back to the God vs. Darwin and read it again -perhaps for the first time.

Keith Wilson
01-26-2006, 03:44 PM
Gee, I've become the invisible man! :D

So Sam, are you going to explain how evolutionary biology is "materialist", unlike all the rest of science?

Or perhaps explain the "tautology" in different traits leading to differential reproductive success?

You can repost your critique of the Foram sequences if you like, but it won't make any more sense than it did the first time.

[ 01-26-2006, 03:45 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Sam F
01-26-2006, 03:45 PM
Originally posted by Meerkat:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:

And then tell me, as a true believer in Darwinian Evolution, that you seriously contend that “Human beings are not a mistake but something willed.”
My goodness that’s FUNNY!!!!
What's really funny is that George was quoting the Pope, yet you have him (George) saying it! </font>[/QUOTE]Poor Meer - you got mixed up by George's double negatives I guess. That was confusing all right! Just go back and read it carefully. If I've mistaken George's re-quoting of my posting of Benedict's position, you be sure to point that out. OK?

PatCox
01-26-2006, 03:45 PM
SamF said:
"And the way she described her position (very similar to mine btw) would have been illegal to mention in any public school classroom in the US these days."

You are just a pair of martyrs, aren't you, suffering and oppressed for your beliefs. Wahhhhh.

Okay, but leaving your self pity aside, Sam, it would only be illegal if it was a statement of religious belief, not a scientific statement. Tell me more about this, how would it be that a practicing biologist could not state her position on evolution without making religious statements?

And, if your position is a religious one, its only right and good that it be kept out of the classroom, by the way.

[ 01-26-2006, 03:46 PM: Message edited by: PatCox ]

Sam F
01-26-2006, 03:47 PM
Originally posted by Keith Wilson:
[QB]Gee, I've become the invisible man!
[QB]To cure that hit refresh from time to time. On windows explorer its that little icon that looks like a sheet of paper with the upper right corner turned back a bit. It also has two circling green arrows.

Meerkat
01-26-2006, 03:48 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Meerkat:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Sam F:

And then tell me, as a true believer in Darwinian Evolution, that you seriously contend that “Human beings are not a mistake but something willed.”
My goodness that’s FUNNY!!!!
What's really funny is that George was quoting the Pope, yet you have him (George) saying it! </font>[/QUOTE]Poor Meer - you got mixed up by George's double negatives I guess. That was confusing all right! Just go back and read it carefully. If I've mistaken George's re-quoting of my posting of Benedict's position, you be sure to point that out. OK?</font>[/QUOTE]Consider it pointed out.

Sam F
01-26-2006, 04:05 PM
Originally posted by PatCox:
SamF said:
"And the way she described her position (very similar to mine btw) would have been illegal to mention in any public school classroom in the US these days."

You are just a pair of martyrs, aren't you, suffering and oppressed for your beliefs. Wahhhhh. Okay, but leaving your self pity aside... Still think that personalizing of any “debate” is valid argumentation?
Really that’s pretty sad.
The professor in question retired before the latest legal non-sense occurred. And I’m not a public school teacher. So where’s the cause for “self pity” Pat? I was merely pointing out a fact about the legally mandated Darwinian Dogma in US public schools.


Originally posted by PatCox:
And, if your position is a religious one, its only right and good that it be kept out of the classroom, by the way.My position vis-à-vis Evolution is no more religious than any Darwinists. Where have I ever argued for a biblical interpretation of anything in science? Please document that assertion Pat.
I merely have noticed that any alternative to the Darwinian Dogma is illegal.

Btw, remember where I said?


I couldn’t care less what you or anyone believes unless that is relevant to his argument. To support one philosophy and simultaneously hold others is perfectly possible, but no one can address multiple contradictory points rationally. The only alternative I know of is to use the point at hand – whatever it is - and ignore the rest.
If you have any other way to handle it I await your exposition of the technique.Would you care to explain your technique now? I’m quite eager to find out how.

Take your time… I’ve got some floor joists to hang this afternoon.

Meerkat
01-26-2006, 04:16 PM
Originally posted by Sam F:
I was merely pointing out a fact about the legally mandated Darwinian Dogma in US public schools.

I merely have noticed that any alternative to the Darwinian Dogma is illegal.

Please point out any laws that mandate the teaching of "Darwinian Dogma" in public shcools!

I'll bet you can't find any.

Keith Wilson
01-26-2006, 05:17 PM
. . .any alternative to the Darwinian Dogma is illegal. This is completely false. Any alternative that is supported by evidence, by observation and experiment, any credible alternate scientific explanation, can certainly be taught in public schools. What is forbidden, and rightly so, is teaching a particular religious doctrine as science.

And Sam, here are two more questions from before that you still haven’t answered:

Is there any affirmative evidence for intelligent design? i.e. evidence that’s NOT of the form “we don’t know how this could have evolved so therefore . . .“

How can the I.D. hypothesis “the creator did it” possibly be falsified? That is, NOT by evidence in support of an alternate theory, but evidence that is logically incompatible with intelligent design?

Any progress on the tautology front?

[ 01-26-2006, 05:23 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]