Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
User Journal

Chacham's Journal: Evolutionism 23

Journal by Chacham

Well, I was talking about a topic in some comments, and I mentioned Evolutionism. The religion that believes the Theory of Evolution as fact. Its followers generally attack anyone who doesn't believe in what they believe. They also refuse to acknowledge any alternative forms of belief. I believe that is the usual modus operandi of religious fanatics.

It's funny. I merely mention a word or too, and people go ballistic. I was even modded down twice as "troll". That was a good laugh. I mean, some comments attacked my comments, by using derogatory and unbecoming behavior, yet it was my comment that was modded down. I'm no longer a teenager, maybe I should leave slashdot..... Nah, its too cool.

The most interesting thing is, only one person pointed me to an online resource. Most of the rest misunderstood my comment. Whatever. It's just getting hard to follow all the dfferent threads. The Message center shows me a comment, but many people don't quote enough, and I need to look at the parent comment. It just ends up showing so many comments. It's possible, just confusing.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Evolutionism

Comments Filter:
  • Not a religion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by keesh (202812) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @12:32PM (#3779871) Homepage
    It's not a religion in the conventional sense, because it doesn't have any of the "just believe this, it's a matter of faith". People are invited to challenge, discuss, extend and modify the theories behind it, rather than being told to accept them as blind faith.

    This follows through right down to the fundamentals. People are encouraged to argue about the start of the universe and so on; do you see Christians encouraging this?

    The issue of who is qualified to discuss that kind of thing is, of course, a different issue.

    Now, mod me up please.
    • Mostly just following and reading the comments, but I wanted to pipe up and point out that there is no more a consensus among Christians than with slashdotters or muslims.

      Referring to Christians is very similar to referring to Muslims. Both are very, VERY broad terms that describe a raft of people whose thoughts and ideas are all over the place. I am a Christian. Specifically, an Episopalean. It (along with the COE and the Anglican Churches among others) are catholic churches. But not Roman Catholic churches. What I as an Episcopalean think, do, or say is very likely quite different from my minister, Jerry Falwell, my uncle (member of Church of God), or my in-laws (Roman Catholics), yet we are all Christians.

      And this has only to do with matters of faith. Like what is the meaning of communion? When you start talking about things like science, etc. the answers you will get from a group of 'Christians' are likely to be even more diverse.

      Similarly, there is no reason to use the actions of Bin Laden, etc. as indicative of all Muslims.

      Reactionaries and zealots of all sorts can be bad for most members of a movement. True, there are times when a broad overview or stereotype of a group is necessary, even accurate. But hardly in the case of religious groups (like the philistines who prefer vi over the one, true Emacs).

      • Interesting comment.

        But, (and I ask seriously) what point were you addressing?
        • keech had said something along the lines of 'would a Christian encourage questioning XYZ'. I just felt that while the point was a good one, the manner in which it was made could have been better.

  • I don't think there is any group in the scientific establishment that believe in the theory of evolution as unassailable Fact. Any scientist worth their salt recognizes that there is no proof in science; there is only a preponderance of evidence. Now, I didn't slog through the whole evolution debacle just because it seems like a waste of time. But--and I don't mean to be rude here--it seems to me kind of like you really don't know what you're talking about when you say "the theory of evolution." So a couple of points, and then I'll shut up.

    Point the first. You said that the theory of evolution has changed many times, whereas the theory of creationism has remained relatively stable. I'll grant you this. What I think this shows is not what you claim, that creationism is somehow on firmer ground. I think this shows that people who believe in creation are more likely to dogmatically close their eyes and ears to arguments which counter what they're saying. The fact that people change their minds about evolution is strong indication, in my mind, that there is no Religion of Evolutionism, as you claim. Instead, it shows that people who are interested in finding out the truth are willing to examine the evidence, think about what's possible, and admit that they're wrong and try to figure out what the right answer is. The fact that creationists have remained unchanged despite thousands of years of science really indicates to me that the issue there is not to try and match up theory with fact, and see what works, but rather to try and ignore all pertinent data. That doesn't seem to be sound logical reasoning.

    Point the second. You said: To *disprove* a theory you would have to show how it does not fit. To merely counter it, another theory can be given. If it fits the facts as easily, you have shown another explanation. That in effect counters the power of the first theory, in it being the only explanation. (you said it here [slashdot.org]).

    This is a little bull-headed. The issue is not, can you manufacture a theory which fits the available data. Of course we can. I can think of tons of them off the top of my head. Here's one--I am the only person in this universe, but I am bored, and am imagining you just to amuse me for a while, and I invented all this stuff just so you could go bonkers about it. Here's another--aliens with super-technology ditched all those fossils and shit on earth just to confuse us and divery resources. Or there's a government conspiracy to hide the truth. Et cetera, et cetera. The issue isn't how facile an explanation you can come up with; it's how probable your explanation is. Honestly, I don't believe the aliens explanation because while it fits the available data, it's a really stupid idea.

    If you want to know why people think that we shouldn't teach Creationism in school, think of it this way: Creationism says that some old white guy with a beard just happens to be omnipotent, and he created the world using powers which we can't explain. No offense, but this sounds just as stupid as aliens trying to psych us out.

    Anyways, from a general perusal it seems to me like you have no idea how science operates, or how scientists go about rationally evaluating a claim. One of the best bits I've read on the subject is Probability Theory: The Logic of Science [albany.edu] which is online in incomplete form since (sadly) Jaynes died before it could be finished. If you can, Chapter 1 should be accessible enough to be illuminating, and Chapter 5 talks about how to evaluate evidence supporting ridiculous claims. It might be a little heavy reading, but it seems a little harsh for you to go bashing science, the scientific method, and the conclusions that scientists come to without really knowing what you're talking about.

    • I don't think there is any group in the scientific establishment that believe in the theory of evolution as unassailable Fact. Any scientist worth their salt recognizes that there is no proof in science; there is only a preponderance of evidence.

      Fine. But that is not how it is taught. It is taught as fact.

      Now, I didn't slog through the whole evolution debacle just because it seems like a waste of time. But--and I don't mean to be rude here--it seems to me kind of like you really don't know what you're talking about when you say "the theory of evolution."

      I don't know all the technical details, and I am appreciative when people bring them up. I believe, however, that I have a basic understanding of the general idea.

      Point the first. You said that the theory of evolution has changed many times, whereas the theory of creationism has remained relatively stable. I'll grant you this. What I think this shows is not what you claim, that creationism is somehow on firmer ground. I think this shows that people who believe in creation are more likely to dogmatically close their eyes and ears to arguments which counter what they're saying.

      I didn't mean that the firmer ground was a better proof. Just that when one theory changes, and one theory doesn't, the one that doesn't has firmer ground. It was just a small point. I am not sure if it worth pursuing.

      The fact that people change their minds about evolution is strong indication, in my mind, that there is no Religion of Evolutionism, as you claim.

      Unless those people believe that evolution will be proven as fact. That is nothing short of a belief.

      Instead, it shows that people who are interested in finding out the truth are willing to examine the evidence, think about what's possible, and admit that they're wrong and try to figure out what the right answer is.

      Which is exactly what many religions have done.

      The fact that creationists have remained unchanged despite thousands of years of science

      Thousands of years of science?

      Try maybe two hundred.

      I think it is you that is ignoring thousands of years of religion.

      really indicates to me that the issue there is not to try and match up theory with fact, and see what works, but rather to try and ignore all pertinent data. That doesn't seem to be sound logical reasoning.

      It doesn't have to sound Logical. Logic is the tool of Science, not Religion. In the latter, Faith is a more common tool.

      Secondly, many have applied Logic to the idea (Creationism), in the realm of philosophy.

      The issue is not, can you manufacture a theory which fits the available data. Of course we can.... The issue isn't how facile an explanation you can come up with; it's how probable your explanation is.

      And when another idea that is just as probable comes up?

      And many (probably most) people see alternative beliefs with the same clarity that a few see the Theory of Evolution as.

      If you want to know why people think that we shouldn't teach Creationism in school, think of it this way: Creationism says that some old white guy with a beard just happens to be omnipotent, and he created the world using powers which we can't explain. No offense, but this sounds just as stupid as aliens trying to psych us out.

      I don't know where you got this "old white guy" idea from. Creationism sees a deity, not a person, who created the world. The powers can be explained, and, I am in the understanding that they have been discussed at length in the literature.

      Anyways, from a general perusal it seems to me like you have no idea how science operates, or how scientists go about rationally evaluating a claim.

      In the same sense, you have little knowledge of the depth of Creationism.

      One of the best bits I've read on the subject is Probability Theory: The Logic of Science [albany.edu] which is online in incomplete form since (sadly) Jaynes died before it could be finished. If you can, Chapter 1 should be accessible enough to be illuminating, and Chapter 5 talks about how to evaluate evidence supporting ridiculous claims.

      Maybe I'll take a look later. Thanx for the link.

      It might be a little heavy reading, but it seems a little harsh for you to go bashing science, the scientific method, and the conclusions that scientists come to without really knowing what you're talking about.

      I'm not bashing them at all. I am just trying to say that science is not the only form of proving things.

      • Fine. But that is not how it is taught. It is taught as fact.

        Just like gravity is taught as a fact and relativity is taught as a fact, yet these two are just as much "theory" as evolution is. In fact newtons theory of gravitation is a _FALSE_ theory. Einstein proved that newtons gravity is in fact not true at high velocities. However, this does not mean that because the theory of gravity is false we will all go floating off into space. Just because something is not valid in all cases does not make it invalid in other cases. We can still explain the moons motion around the earth and the earths motion around the sun using newtonian gravity. We can do it using relativity too, but the newtonian formulation is much simpler to calculate and for most puposes its just as good as the einsteinian formulation.
        The powers can be explained

        Kind of. St. Thomas Aquinas put forth the official catholic church version of where god got his powers: God has always existed and has always been omnipotent. Not a very good explanation in my book, but then most scientists counter with "the universe has always existed" And while this may make things a little simpler conform to occams razor, science has a long way to go before it understands the original formation of the universe.

        Thousands of years of science?

        Try maybe two hundred.

        Nope, The basic mathematical principles of geometry were set out by Euclid, thosands of years ago, Erathostenes proved that the earth was round by scientific observation.What about Aristotle, Socrates, and Archimedes? What about Leonardo Davinci, who invented gliders, helicopters and many other innovations. Not to mention the fact that galileo and newton both lived more than 200 years ago.

        As a final thought, have you considered that maybe god created evolution? Considering that god is a perfect being, wouldnt the simplest most elegant solution be the most perfect? Which is simpler, the description of trillions of species through their various DNA patterns or the sentence "Survival of the fittest" Its harder to create all those living things, but it seems more like god to make things simple. After all, if god is omnipotent, he knows how everything will turn out, so he can start things just right in the big bang so that survival of the fittest eventually results in mankind and dogs and chickens and lemurs.
        • Just like gravity is taught as a fact and relativity is taught as a fact,

          There are no real opposing theories to this held by a significant number of people. Further, none of these people have mounted complaints.

          Kind of. St. Thomas Aquinas put forth the official catholic church version of where god got his powers: God has always existed and has always been omnipotent.

          Ah, I believe that's Aristotles view too.

          And, Catholicism is not the only view on the matter.

          And while this may make things a little simpler conform to occams razor,

          Occams razor only help people have an easier way out of certain situations. Nothing ever "conforms" to it.

          science has a long way to go before it understands the original formation of the universe.

          That is assuming that it can. It may or may not. Unless you "believe" in science.

          Nope, The basic mathematical principles of geometry were set out by Euclid, thosands of years ago,

          But there was no scientific community in full force exploring different things until very recently.

          Erathostenes proved that the earth was round by scientific observation.

          Something relgions knew for thousands....

          What about Aristotle, Socrates,

          The philosophers who philosophized (many times incorrectly) about the hows and whys?

          What about Leonardo Davinci, who invented gliders, helicopters and many other innovations.

          And the point that he was ignored for a long time shows that it was individuals with the talent. There was no real community as there is now.

          Not to mention the fact that galileo and newton both lived more than 200 years ago.

          Good point. It may be a bit longer than two hundred years ago when the community thing started happening. But it is relatively recent.

          As a final thought, have you considered that maybe god created evolution?

          A deity could have done that. I am not arguing who or what exists or not, or if evolution happened or not. It is the presence of alternative theories that are completely ignored.
          • Just like gravity is taught as a fact and relativity is taught as a fact,

            There are no real opposing theories to this held by a significant number of people. Further, none of these people have mounted complaints.

            Einstein had an idea that was different than newtons. His idea was that space time is curved, rather than newtons gravitaional force. And what appears to be a force acting at a distance is actually the curvature of spacetime. This completely contradicts what newton said about gravity, while still conforming to observed facts about gravity (things fall down, planets orbit the sun etc) The difference was that einstein had a testable hypothesis and other competing theories do not. I could say that gravity was due to little elves pushing down on every atom in your body, but you cant test wether or not that is true. The difference between science and religion is that science offers testable hypothesies and religion does not. You cant test wether or not god exists, you cant test wether or not creationism is true, you cant test wether or not miracles occur. Miracles by nature are not repeatable and you cant create them by manipulating your surroundings. You can test gravity, you can test relativity.
            So the argument is then, which is more testable, evolution, creationism, or any other theory of how we got here you care to adopt. If you can go out and show me that at ~5000 years ago there is a sediment layer that covers the entrie earth indicating a flood of global proportions, youre getting somewhere. If you can go and show that at 6000 years ago, there is a layer where there are no fossils or strata of any sort, then youve got me close to convinced. And finally, if you can go to the moon and show me that beyond a reasonable doubt that no rock on the moon is more than even 10000 years old, then im convinced and i will shout creationism from the highest mountaintop.
            Until that point in time, the preponderance of evidence suggests that one of two things occured:
            1: Evolution over billions of years led to the flora and fauna that we see today
            2: Somone or somehing has created the earth such that they want us to believe 1 to be true.
            Since im not a big conspiracy buff, and I dont think that god or gods would play tricks on us, I will hold that 1 is true until somone shows me convincing evidence to the contrary. Not because I have "faith" in 1 or because I "believe" in 1, but because thats what the evidence shows. Now youre welcome to come up with a better theory and show me the evidence for it, but it has to be at least as good as the evidence for evolution. Whichever has the better evidence going for it wins.

            • The difference was that einstein had a testable hypothesis and other competing theories do not. I could say that gravity was due to little elves pushing down on every atom in your body, but you cant test wether or not that is true. The difference between science and religion is that science offers testable hypothesies and religion does not.

              I think that is incorrect. I am not sure, but I will propose a thought here. Science is the study of empirical evidence. Science is also used to propose theories and laws to further study to a second step. But, in order to facilitate a study based on firm ground, it was decided that such theories or laws must be verifiable. But, that does not preclude studying and offering non-verifiable hypothesis. They just cannot be used to get to another step. But in-and-of themselves, if they were the product of studying empirical evidence, they actually are science.

              Further, study through religion does not automatically make a theory unverifiable via science. Since it is not cared for, it is unlikely, but I would shy away from making such a blanket statement that anything religion proposes is unverifiable.

              You cant test wether or not god exists,

              You may want to precede that comment with, "Given current knowledge and testing procedures". Who knows how far testing will go. Maybe someday it will be possible to test for what is currently called the "supernatural".

              you cant test wether or not creationism is true,

              Again, only according to what we have now. Let us imagine that time-travel is possible, and a method is created to do such travel. Wouldn't it then be possible to go back to when the theory says something happened and check? Wouldn't that then make it a "testable" theory?

              you cant test wether or not miracles occur.

              Hmm.. Let us imagine that you are told of a "miracle" that will happen tomorrow, details and all. And this miracle was something that was impossible. And you watch it happen. Would that not then make it a "testable"?

              Miracles by nature are not repeatable

              Who said that? I don't see it that way. According to the bible, a traveling rock gave out water for many years in the desert. Assuming you were there, and saw the rock, wouldn't that then make it "repeatable"?

              and you cant create them by manipulating your surroundings.

              Unless the miracle is said to happen when a certain manipulation is done.

              I guess it really matters on your definition of "miracle".

              You can test gravity, you can test relativity. So the argument is then, which is more testable, evolution, creationism, or any other theory of how we got here you care to adopt.

              That is only the argument according to the established rules of science (as aforementioned). It does not, in any way, detract from their probability, given, say, religion.

              If you can go out and show me that at ~5000 years ago there is a sediment layer that covers the entrie earth indicating a flood of global proportions, youre getting somewhere. If you can go and show that at 6000 years ago, there is a layer where there are no fossils or strata of any sort, then youve got me close to convinced. And finally, if you can go to the moon and show me that beyond a reasonable doubt that no rock on the moon is more than even 10000 years old, then im convinced and i will shout creationism from the highest mountaintop.

              Firstly, you are assuming that all was created anew. Creationists believe that trees were created one day. Well, if this Creationist also believe in the Bible, then a deity talked about eating from those trees. I'd have to ask you, how many rings did those trees have?

              If they had no rings, were they really trees? If they had rings, did the deity just contradict himself by creating something that was already there?

              Obviously, the theory holds that it was at least somewhat a work in progress. To what extent, I do not know.

              Also, has science been around for thousands of years to know what that would look like? For all you know, every five hundred years, everything changes drastically. You can claim, that it is unlikely. But I have a counter claim. If according to Science the universe has been around for billions of years, and the science of testing those years is of relatively extremely recent history, is it really plausiable to say that since these few years were order and not chaos, that all years were probably order and not chaos? I'd venture to say that the sample is too small to tell.

              Dating is used quite a bit. First it was Carbon Dating, but that was shown to be easily fooled. So, they moved onto other dating methods. Who says those can't be fooled either? In fact, maybe natural phenomenon changes those things?

              I really don't know. But to think that one can say things unequivocally, without misapplying "Occum's Razor", is rather naive, if not arrogant.

              Until that point in time, the preponderance of evidence suggests that one of two things occured:

              You meant the preponderance of scientific evidence, as studied by the scientific method.


              1: Evolution over billions of years led to the flora and fauna that we see today


              Theory. A nice theory, but still just a theory. The preponderence of evidence by itself, lends to many theories, not just scientific.

              2: Somone or somehing has created the earth such that they want us to believe 1 to be true.

              Nah, it could easily have been a side-effect.

              Since im not a big conspiracy buff, and I dont think that god or gods would play tricks on us,

              Instead of calling it "tricks" you could call it "tests". That gives it quite a different spin, and doesn't conflict with your non-believing in deity-conspiracy. (Hmm.. that'd make a good X-Files though. :-) "Scully, there's an even greater conspiracy going on....")

              I will hold that 1 is true until somone shows me convincing evidence to the contrary. Not because I have "faith" in 1 or because I "believe" in 1, but because thats what the evidence shows.

              Scientific evidence, as studied by the Scientific method, and applied to the current reigning theory.

              Now youre welcome to come up with a better theory and show me the evidence for it, but it has to be at least as good as the evidence for evolution.

              I really don't care what you believe. I just don't want you do force your beliefs on others.

              The other evidence is as good. Or at least most of the world thinks so. It just isn't "scientific".

              Whichever has the better evidence going for it wins.

              You mean, whichever has the better scientific evidence, according to the established rules of Science, will make you believe in it. I will note that you are in the minority. IIRC, most of the world does not use that method to reach their own truths.

2000 pounds of chinese soup = 1 Won Ton

Working...