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Author Topic:   No evolution/creation debate in Europe
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 2439 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008

Message 86 of 107 (479418)
08-27-2008 2:53 AM
Reply to: Message 68 by Beretta
08-24-2008 5:38 AM

Re: the evolution indoctrination
Beretta, you have been making a lot of claims in this thread that would need to be backed up with evidence in order to be sustainable, but you never provide any evidence -- you just stand by your claims as if they justify themselves. For the most part, your arguments here are based on a notion that evolutionary explanations are founded on a "faith" or "belief" in a particular "world view", rather than observable supporting evidence. But you systematically dismiss and ignore all the evidence without taking any time to understand what it is. And you do this because you believe that the world view underlying evolutionary explanations is antithetical to your own personal world view.
So let's clarify this difference in world views. I think the following statements of yours will provide a good starting point:
Beretta writes:
Evolution is historical science as opposed to experimental observational science. Evolution is also a philosophical worldview based on the belief that matter is all there is. It provides a framework for materialists to insert their observations into. Creationists and ID’ers insert the very same facts into their respective worldviews and try to make sense of them in that way. They say that matter is not all there is and that intelligence was required to bring about life and all of its complexity, rather than just chance mutations and natural selection.
Your distinction between "historical" and "experimental" science is a false one. Both are based on observation, both involve positing hypotheses that lead to specific predictions about what further observations can be expected to show, and in both cases, those further observations are doable and will either support or falsify the hypotheses in question. But that's not the main point here. Let's follow your argument a little further:
Beretta writes:
If my doctor tells me I have a disease and need this or that treatment, evolution never played a part. If my dentist tells me that my wisdom teeth are impacted, is it important to know his evolutionary view about my apparently vestigial teeth or should he know how to extract them? ... Do we need to know how our hearts adapted from ape hearts to be able to do heart transplants for example?
Saying that "evolution never played a part" in these matters is one of those claims that actually would need to be proven. How do you know that evolutionary explanations and research have played no part in helping to develop recent advances in medicine? How can you determine (let alone assert as fact) that doctors and dentists are not aided by an understanding of the commonalities among different species, together with a purely physical explanatory model of how the differences and commonalities came to be as they are? Still that's not the main point here, but we're getting closer.
My intention here is not "quote mining" -- I'm just trying to get my head around your point of view. So here's a piece that looks like a basis of common understanding that we can work from:
Beretta writes:
Genetics works perfectly well apart from evolution. All we need to know is how mutation and natural selection works which we all agree works.
Again, there's a problem in what you've said: for those who understand the evidence, it makes no sense to say "genetics works perfectly well apart from evolution". Genetics is the very basis for evolution -- it is the thing that inescapably entails evolution as a process intrinsic to life. If you "agree" that genetics, mutation and natural selection "works", then you cannot deny that evolution is a natural result of that, unless you simply want to violate the common definitions for these various terms.
But let's get to the main point, about the difference in "world views". To do this right, some basic questions need to be answered, to clarify our respective views. The first three questions focus on the theistic world view, and the rest focus on the materialistic:
  1. Do you believe that God is actively intervening in events in the physical world today?
  2. Do you believe that prayer can change things, in the sense that it can influence God to bring about particular results?
  3. Suppose that you or someone you know should suffer some illness or medical problem, you pray to God for healing, and the problem is subsequently overcome. Do you believe that God was responding to your prayer?
  4. Let's suppose that in addition to praying for healing, you also went to a qualified doctor, and received medicine and surgery in accordance with evidence-based treatment. Do you believe that this treatment worked only because you had been praying?
  5. Now suppose that an atheist, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic or Aboriginal Animist were to be afflicted with the same problem, and happened to go to the same doctor. Assuming that this patient does not convert to Christianity (accept Christ as their savior and all that) and does not pray to God for healing, should it be the case that the treatment must fail?
  6. Should the discovery, testing and refinement of new medical treatments take into account anything beyond what the "materialist framework" provides? If the "intelligence" that underlies your worldview should be taken into account when developing new treatments, can you describe a possible protocol for doing so? Can you point to any cases where such a protocol has been applied with measurable success? Would such a protocol be limited in its success, in the sense that the patient must accept/believe in the same world view in order for the treatment to work?
I know there are those who believe that healing is something that can result from belief in and practice of one or another particular religious faith. I don't know whether you are one of those people, but based on your statements that I've quoted above, I gather that you would accept evidence-based procedures as being effective, and you might not expect a patient's religious beliefs to have any direct effect on the success of those procedures. (But I'm not sure...)
Also, you should not expect that the discovery, testing and refinement of new procedures needs to depend in any way on the religious beliefs of the people developing those procedures. That is the value of accepting the "materialist framework": it doesn't matter whether the person doing the development is atheist, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic or anything else, just as it shouldn't matter for the beneficiaries of the procedures. It only matters that the developers get a scientifically valid education and that they work with scientific discipline -- i.e. using the "materialist framework".
Now, the main point: Why insist on creating a schism, an impassable divide, between our understanding of the modern world and our understanding of how this world came about? Why impose a set of false dichotomies and spurious "controversies" on science education when it comes to discussing questions that can span the full duration of astrophysical, geological and biological development?
Trying to "balance" evidence-based explanations with Bible-based explanations in a science class can only lead to a failure to educate students in the scientific method, and a failure to give them a coherent basis for understanding and exploring the physical world.
If you want to declare something in a science class like "the evidence can be interpreted to show that chimps and humans cannot have developed from a common ancestor that lived about 3 million years ago" (* see footnote), you have to pick at least a few discrete branches of relevant evidence and start doing distortions of observation and contortions of logic, like: "the shared DNA sequences do not entail genetic relatedness, even though equivalent commonalities do entail relatedness when observed within the same species"; and/or "dates older than 8000 years are wrong because rates of radioactive decay must have changed drastically, even though this would have had dire consequences for life on earth".
That is the sort of arena where creationism/ID shows no shortage of "innovation." {ABE: Well, considering how often creos/IDists keep repeating the same set of stale misconceptions as "controversy", it seems that real innovation is actually a rare thing for them.} And what good does that do, other than to allow a minority of stubbornly dogmatic Christians to use public schools in propagating a particular interpretation of Biblical text as if it were somehow factual?
(In case there's any doubt, my own personal answers to all 6 questions above are consistently "NO", but that's not the main point here. )
(*) Reference for the "3 MYr" estimate: Hominid Species -- the image is at the bottom of a long page describing the major points in the fossil record.
Edited by Otto Tellick, : (added correction regarding creo/ID "innovation")

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 68 by Beretta, posted 08-24-2008 5:38 AM Beretta has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 95 by Beretta, posted 08-31-2008 8:31 AM Otto Tellick has replied

Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 2439 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008

Message 103 of 107 (480073)
08-31-2008 7:00 PM
Reply to: Message 95 by Beretta
08-31-2008 8:31 AM

Re: the evolution indoctrination
Beretta writes:
Keeping students protected from a competing hypothesis that is generating a large amount of controversy is not the way to educate students...
When the so-called "competing hypothesis" (ID) is generating only controversy, and no supporting evidence, keeping it out of the science classroom is not so much a matter of keeping students "protected" -- it's simply a matter of keeping the science course material on topic.
This seems to be the point where the American and European populations differ: the control of school policy affecting classroom teaching tends to be more intensely localized at the community level in the U.S., presenting more opportunities for small-community sentiments to be imposed as school policy. When any small fundamentalist Christian community decides, on the basis of its religious beliefs, that teaching evolution and "godless" scientific method is a threat to their established dogma, it can find the means to push some form of religious doctrine into the science class.
This has been attempted and even accomplished repeatedly. Each time it is accomplished, money and effort must be spent by others, both within and outside the affected school district (the Dover PA court case being the most prominent example recently), in order to bring the school district back into conformance with normal, legal and correct conditions, as established by amendments to the U.S. Constitution: the congress shall pass no law that establishes any religion, and this extends to all levels of government, down to the local school boards. The reasons for these conditions should have been made clear from understanding the 6 questions I posed previously.
(Apologies if you found the list of 6 questions too long to get through -- I had hoped it wouldn't be too great a burden, since they were all basic yes/no questions.)
I was puzzled by your quotations from the work of fiction by Roddy Bullock (The Cave Painting, A Parable of Science is identified as a novel). In what sense does this have anything to do with presenting, addressing or understanding evidence? I don't expect you to answer that, given your general avoidance and misunderstanding of evidence, and of reasoning based on evidence. What basis do I have for saying this? Here:
Beretta writes:
... the assertion [ that "Science is restricted to explaining natural phenomena using only natural causes " ] assumes the truth of the premise that there are only natural causes, and enforcing the assumption excludes the design hypothesis by definition rather than by evidence.
My friend, the concept is so basic, yet you are so far from it. When you try give an explanation of natural phenomena based on anything other than natural causes (that is, causes grounded in observable situations and processes), your explanation is not and cannot be objective, regardless of whether you are looking at "historical" or "experimental" matters. When your explanation fails to be objective, you forfeit any claim to verifiability -- you become bankrupt with regard to truth value, except in the eyes of those whom you can convince to believe as you do without the need for supporting evidence.

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 95 by Beretta, posted 08-31-2008 8:31 AM Beretta has not replied

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