Out of the mouths of blondes »« How not to stage an atheist debate, part 2

How not to stage an atheist debate, part 3

I want to digress from the format of the debate to look closely at some of the content that Ross hurled out there at breakneck pace. I’m looking at a yellow piece of paper, of which a copy was left near every seat in the house. The title is “RTB Testable Creation Model Predictions.” It lists under four major sections: “Origin of the Universe,” “Origin of Life,” “Origin of Animal Species,” and “Origin of Humanity.”

I can’t find a copy on the net and I’m not interested in typing the whole thing, but let me just grab a representative example. This is just one that especially caught my eye. Under “Origin of Humanity,” prediction number 3 says: “Humanity’s origin will prove to date back to between ~40,000 to 150,000 years ago.”

All by itself, this is a perfect representation of what Hugh Ross cluelessly imagines to be a scientific prediction. First of all, because it’s absolutely non specific in what the nature of the evidence might be. How will humanity’s origin prove to date back to that point? What kind of artifacts will be uncovered that will confirm this? Where shall we attempt to look for these things?

This may be a prediction, but it is not a testable prediction, because there is no concrete plan of action to actually perform the testing. Hugh Ross is perfectly content to sit on his ass and say “Future scientists will prove that I was right” — not entirely unlike George “only future historians can judge me” Bush I might add. (Cheap shot!) There is also no time frame for this “prediction” — if it never comes true in Ross’s lifetime, oh well, we have the rest of future history to wait.

And the second thing is, it’s really not a prediction of creationism. Oh sure, it’s a prediction of this particular model of creationism, so tautologically it says “If humanity came into existence more than 150,000 years ago, then my theory that humanity came into existence more than 150,000 years ago is falsified.” Doesn’t make the slightest impact on the general proposition of whether creationism is true.

To satisfy yourself that this is the case, I want you to imagine that conclusive evidence were found indicating that humanity came into existence 150,001 years ago. Furthermore, let’s suppose that this evidence were so incredibly persuasive that Rana and Ross had no choice but to accept it. Yeah, I know this strains credibility, because there is nothing a creationist is required to accept when it comes to fact-checking, but just play along. Suppose that tomorrow Ross were genuinely convinced that humanity came into existence at least 150,001 years ago.

Now my question is: Can you honestly imagine Ross going on to say “I guess that proves that creation is wrong, then!” Because I sure can’t. At most, I can see Ross going back to his little Word document, and quietly changing it so that NOW it says “Humanity’s origin will prove to date back to between ~40,000 to 160,000 years ago.” Then he’ll claim he has updated the model, and the new model has not been falsified.

This is the problem with a theory that presumes the existence of an infinitely powerful being. It confounds all possible attempts at prediction. The god can just as easily do things one way as another. Sure, you can SAY something like “My theory predicts that life originated abruptly” (which Ross does, in the “Origin of life” section, bullet point #3). But if your god felt like creating life slowly, then he could create it slowly. Hence life originating abruptly is actually not a prediction of the theory at all, because if the prediction is wrong then it doesn’t falsify the theory.

To his credit, Michael Shermer made a good effort to drive this point home later, but here he was both helped and hindered by the extremely stacked audience. During his presentation, he yelled out “If this prediction were shown not to be true, would you all stop believing in God?” and the crowd obligingly yelled back “NO!!!!!” To people who already understood his point, Shermer drove it home again. But to the people who were actually shouting at him, it went right over their heads. I could hear them: they were PROUD of themselves for having the conviction to stand up for their faith. They obviously didn’t feel like a point had been made at their expense. In my opinion, Shermer needed to back up his showmanship with an easily understandable explanation about how none Ross’s predictions constitute falsifiability even to Ross himself. It might be the time constraints, but I didn’t feel that this came across.

Okay, this is turning into quite a marathon, but my notes are much sparser for Rana and Shermer’s presentations. I’ll get to them next time.

Comments

  1. says

    There is a problem with falsificationism (at least in its naive forms) in that legitimate scientific theories have their specific predictions falsified all the time and they go back to the drawing board to adjust and regroup all the time. This has been the case for probably most theories we accept today, so I don’t think the mere fact that the creationists WOULD go back and change this 150K yr theory makes Ross’s argument nonsense by itself. It’s probably more the fact that the “prediction” of 40K-150K is ad hoc and has nothing to do with Ross’s assumptions.This is part of the problem with creationists recently. They start with statements that are often legitimate (eg. the fossils don’t speak for themselves and don’t automatically prove evolution) but then they use this as a springboard to make 1001 fallacies and peddle nonsense. And this also gives them the cheap trick when you argue back of making it seem like you denied their original springboard statement.However the fact that the audience is going to believe in a manner completely *independent* of this RTB theory is what I think puts the nail in the coffin.Not sure if my point is relevant to debating creationists but keen to know what you think. Maybe the only lesson to draw is that because creationist arguments are ad hoc this puts them at an advantage in many debates since it lets them play games that look legitimate to an uninformed person. Not sure what the best solution would be though.

  2. says

    I think an awesome response to the people in the crowd shouting “No” could have been:”Then why are you here, listening to this debate? Clearly you all have already made up your minds about what you believe is true and no significant amount of evidence is going to change your minds. What is your purpose in being here?”

  3. says

    I agree with Frinkle.Many theories, even evolution , have predictions that were falsified and scientists had to go back to the drawing board and make minor changes and improve the model. We cannot fault Ross for doing the same with his model.And never mind that things like falsifiability are controversial issues within philosophy of science today.I think the question Shermer asked was inappropriate. I would be like me going up to an atheist and asking “If evolution was disproven would you give up your atheism?”. Of course when the question is targeted towards you , you recognise he false dichotomy. Evolution could be false and another naturalistic theory (panspermia , alien designers..etc) be true.If Hugh’s progressive creation model was falsified there are many other models Christians could hold to (Old Earth creation, Young earth creation,Intelligent Design, ,Theistic evolution).Shermer plays up a false dichotomy of Christianity vs. Evolution.

  4. says

    The point was that Creatonism makes no real model/predictions. Saying “humanity was created 15,000 years ago” is a guess. Why do they believe that? What’s the observation data they used for it? The fossil record disagrees, DNA philogony disagrees, it seems like an unfounded hypothesis. Next the question remains “HOW did humans arise 15,000 ago” God did it DOES NOT WORK because it is undifferentiated from “Alah did it” or “Time paradox from future humans” or “Flying Spaghetti monster”. It’s not the prediction that is unfalsafiable it is the mechanism. Spontaneous Genesis was a mechanism that was disproved. Classical cell theory was a mechanism that was disproved. God did it is NEVER falsifiable because it doesn’t say how.

  5. says

    Evolution could be false and another naturalistic theory (panspermia , alien designers..etc) be true.Even if panspermia were true or alien designers, evolution is STILL observed and is still a fact. All that would mean is that our evolution was started by an alien force…one which would have required evolution of its own to come into being. Your grasp of evolution is bad and you should feel bad.

  6. says

    “The point was that Creatonism makes no real model/predictions.” Even if creationism didn’t make predictions that wouldn’t mean it was unscientific. Forsenic science and the historical sciences are not so much concerned about what will happen in the future as to what happened in the past.”Even if panspermia were true or alien designers, evolution is STILL observed and is still a fact. All that would mean is that our evolution was started by an alien force…one which would have required evolution of its own to come into being. Your grasp of evolution is bad and you should feel bad.”I was just saying hypothetically , it could be false to illustrate that it was a false dichotomy.I have a fair grasp of evolution

  7. says

    MrFreeThinker,I guess the only other thing is that if this is a false dichotomy it was started by Ross. And Shermer’s question actually points this out to the audience, even if few understood (ie. the fact that they would not change their minds if the 150K prediction was falsified shows that at best it’s a false dichotomy and at worst they’re completely set in their beliefs)

  8. says

    ” Forsenic science and the historical sciences are not so much concerned about what will happen in the future as to what happened in the past.”I explained in the past how science works. Those are application experiments. THEY ARE USING previously tested models that ARE FALSIFIABLE to make predictions. IE if this kind of insect is present in a body than it is BLANK days old. THAT is a prediction You are deducing something from the model regardless that it was in the past. Once again.1) you look at the data and form a hypothesis (observation2) you try to disprove the hypothesis (Testing)3) when a hypothesis is proven to be reliable you can form a model and FROM that model you can deduce information using that model. IE you make predictions. Just because it’s not about future events does not make it not a prediction. In fact that’s ALL what the creationists on the debate did “I predict that it will be revealed that mankind was only descendants from Noah and Eve” They make a prediction about the past. The fact they’re actually doing a BS pansy cop out by leaving the actual evidence to be found by OTHERS doesn’t change the fact that they have speculated about past events.”I was just saying hypothetically , it could be false to illustrate that it was a false dichotomy.I have a fair grasp of evolution”NO you don’t…that’s the POINT. You don’t understand science in general as I’ve explained to you the difference between observation, testing and application experiments SEVERAL times and you don’t understand evolution specifically. My point was your so called example of OTHER naturalistic principles rely on evolution itself. This speaks volumes. You CANNOT postulate an intelligent design process that uses natural principles that doesn’t use evolution. Therefore creationism is not science. To quote Willy Wanka “WRONG SIR!”

  9. says

    Ing,Whilst I’m about as certain that evolution is true as I am of anything else, surely whether there’s an alternate consistent theory (that explains the diversity of life without recourse to the supernatural) is a matter that time will tell?We can’t really postulate about legitimate explanations that may come into existence in the future. I think it suffices to say it’s the only sane explanation we’ve been able to come up with in all the millenia of human existence where we’ve wondered about these things.

  10. says

    But to the people who were actually shouting at him, it went right over their heads. I could hear them: they were PROUD of themselves for having the conviction to stand up for their faith.This is one of the hallmarks of the authoritarian personality – he regards a willingness to abandon independent thought and uncritical obedience to authority figures as a strength.And never mind that things like falsifiability are controversial issues within philosophy of science today.WTF? Russell, Martin – I’m formally petitioning to have Facilis/Mr. Free Thinker labeled an irredeemable troll and to have him banned. anyone in agreement?

  11. says

    I don’t understand the WTF, he is correct in that there are plenty of good arguments against falsificationism (at least as it has been used by Popper as some ultimate basis of science).He definitely doesn’t sound like a troll.

  12. says

    Thanks for the updates on the debatcle (that’s a new word that should be applied here.) I was extremely excited to hear about how it went since it was first mentioned that the ACA was queried for sponsorship.I must admit, however, that the discussion on this week’s Non-Prophets was a bit of a let down. It seemed like the team (especially Matt) fell into the trap of debating semantics rather than getting to the main points. At one point, someone (I’m not sure who) made a comment to the effect of “arguing english makes for great radio! This “can’t see the forest through the trees” situation seems to arise too often, especially in theist/atheist debates. Atheist debaters get caught up arguing the details, which plays to the theists’ strengths. Sometimes, the atheist needs to take a step back and say that the details don’t matter, the argument is bullshit because the foundation is bullshit, and here’s why.An excellent example is the argument over the 2 vs. 7 animals in the flood story. Who cares; the story is bad and you should feel bad!

  13. says

    One question: Without testing, what does a creation science researcher do? Without a falsifiable test, then what is the point of the test?Science’s greatest triumph is that it uses well-structured testing to weed out BS claims, and has earned a great deal of credibility by producing results.The problem with creationists, is that they want to discard the BS detector and “redefine” science so that their assertion gets approval. It’s like declaring yourself an FDA official and stamping “FDA Approved” on random products that you dug out of a landfill. Lowering the bar enough for your idea to pass, does not give you a better product. It merely harms everybody who actually earned the credibility they have.

  14. says

    I don’t understand the WTF, he is correct in that there are plenty of good arguments against falsificationism (at least as it has been used by Popper as some ultimate basis of science).”So basically you don’t think science is valid. You’re arguing for the anti-intellectual movement. The ability to test claims is what makes science reliable. NO scientist worth his salt (and I am not makeing a no scottsman here thought it may seem that way) would argue that falsafiability is something that science DOESN’T need and doesn’t require. Just like the evolution/creation ‘debate’ saying there’s a ‘debate’ does not make it so.”Whilst I’m about as certain that evolution is true as I am of anything else, surely whether there’s an alternate consistent theory (that explains the diversity of life without recourse to the supernatural) is a matter that time will tell?”None has been offered. The question is not whether there is an alternative answer. It is whether THIS is the alternative answer. And the answer is “no”. Saying that evolution model as we know it may not be correct does not mean creatonism is a valid scientific stance. Nor does it even mean evolution does not exist. It does. This is undeniable through the evidence. I swear to god! people. All of the arguments against it are made by people who don’t understand/misunderstand the science and then refuse to be educated when someone corrects them. If I sound like a prick in my posts it is because I have banged my head against the wall for YEARS trying to politely explain a) what science is b) what evolution is c) what biology is to people. Not one has EVER accepted polite attempts to educate, even people who are aware of my area of study and interest and should damn well KNOW that I clearly know more on the subject than they do. After listening to people ptu their hands over their ears and go “LALALALALLALALALALALALA” for so long, yes, I give up. For people who SEEM earnest I still try to politely and helpfully explain what if anything I know to help expand their knowledge. For people like Mr. Freethinker I quickly give up and just feel more satisfied pointing out that he’s a crap spewing ass (the worst kind, as we all know!)”We can’t really postulate about legitimate explanations that may come into existence in the future. I think it suffices to say it’s the only sane explanation we’ve been able to come up with in all the millenia of human existence where we’ve wondered about these things.”Right, we can’t. So saying that it is “god did it” is beyond moronic. Likewise I am going to take a leap of faith (all of the above puns intended BTW) and say that I don’t think a good non-evolution mechanism will ever present itself. The data is too conclusive. It would be tantamount to finding out that the sun DOES revolve around the earth, there are nazi UFOs in the center of the hollow earth or Pauli Shore is a good actor. With the decoding of genomes we are running out of unknowns in the areas of genetic mechanisms. If anything I suspect that the model for allelic change in genetic populations will be better understood. Let me give you a comparable example. Benzene is a aromatic ring. Aromatic rings are a series of alternating pi electron orbitals where the pi electrons are equal to 2+4n where n is any integer including zero. Typically aromaticity is shown by alternating double bonds…however the rings do not show pure properties of that. It seems that the electrons are in a constant shift, shared around the system in a constantly flux of resonance structures. We of course do not have absolute evidence of this. It could very well be that there is some other unknown chemical mechanism that will be discovered in the future explaining the aromaticity of benzene…however; our current delocalized resonance model more or less explains and predicts every reaction of the ring, and there are no reactions that seem to contradict it. Because we are not absolutely certain is it proper to say that the electrons are moving to the hum of God’s rhyme, is an appropriate alternative hypothesis?

  15. says

    Sorry for the double post but pre-emphtive explanation”NO scientist worth his salt (and I am not makeing a no scottsman here thought it may seem that way) would argue that falsafiability is something that science DOESN’T need and doesn’t require.”This is not a no True Scottman here since a good scientist is one who relies on empirical evidence and testability. Someone who rejects these notions even if they are in a scientific field and hold a degree are poor scientists by definition. The denial of testability and falsifiability is what gives the sexy latin prefix to PSUEDOscientist.

  16. says

    Ing, yes I understand it’s not a no true scotsman.However if I do a “proper” response it might be too off topic for this blog post anyway and I don’t want this to take over — let me know if you’d prefer an email response

  17. says

    Frikle, three things:1. You’re new here. If you look at some of the previous threads, you’ll see that Mr. “Free Thinker” is completely immune to any sort of reason. Each of his responses is a knee jerk reaction to a perceived threat to his belief system. He simply doesn’t listen. To me, that’s a troll. Furthermore, he goes all over the web, pulling the same crap, often under the pseudonym “Facilis”. He’s already been banned from at least one of the science blogs on Seed. 2. I know of no scientist who questions the value or necessity of falsifiability.3. You define yourself as a Jewish atheist. MFT is a Christian fundamentalist who believes you’re going to be tortured for all of eternity. For that reason alone, he deserves your contempt.

  18. says

    The process of establishing provisional truth in the form of scientific theories is a messy one.We model it by suggesting that the process is one of 1) collecting data, 2) forming a hypothesis ( an explanation for the obseved data that appears to flow logically from the intial data 3)making predictions using the hypothesis, 4) testing the predictions against more data and repeat.Howver in practice these stages are often running in tendem.”Falsifiablity” can arise in all these stages.1) The intial data may not form a proper set – in the sense that any apparent connection of the initial obsevations could be shown to be spurious.2) The hypothesis could be shown to fail to flow logically from the the data.3) The stated predictions may not flow logically from the hypothesis. Thus the predictions are falsified in relation to the hypothesis.4) The predictions and or the hypothesis may be falsified by subsequent data.Generally for any active area of scientific study it seems to me that there is usually debate going on around all these points – -usually at the same time which is why the model is a great simplification.Now lets look at the creationist science process.1) Collect your data by reading your Bible.2) Form your hypothesis – what does the Bible say on the subject?3) Make your predictions – providing these are consistent with the Bible4) Collect more data. If it doesnt fit your hypothesis then re-interpret or deny it until it fits with your Bible view.This shows why creationist “science” is such a sterile pursuit compared to human science. God made Phlegm? Why?

  19. says

    I was only aware of Mr Free Thinker from his comments here not on other posts/blogs.Just a quick note on my comments here: I am certainly not defending any creationist or disparaging science etc etc.My point is that some of the characterisations of science and critiques of creationism that have been employed tend to oversimplify the situation (a crude example would be if someone said “evolutionary theory is proven” — not that this is said often).Now, you could make the argument that for the sake of public debate oversimplification might be necessary (and maybe even desirable), and I’d agree to an extent. But this is a different question.Not sure if this makes sense or is of interest to those reading this post — since Russell is dealing with how to counter creationists not subtleties in the philosophy of science.

  20. says

    My point is that some of the characterisations of science and critiques of creationism that have been employed tend to oversimplify the situation (a crude example would be if someone said “evolutionary theory is proven” — not that this is said often).Frikle, I can’t think of a single thing that’s been said about creationism on this blog that I’d consider an oversimplification. Creationism/ID is, by definition, an oversimplification. That’s why it appeals to fundies, who lack the subtlety of mind to appreciate anything truly sophisticated or complex.And evolutionary theory is proven – in the conventional, if not the absolute, sense.

  21. says

    Cipher and Ing you both have a highly naive view of how science works.No doubt you think there is a magical tome handed down by Karl popper that all scientists have to follow. Pick up “philosophy of science: the focal issues” or read something on the scientific realist-anti-realist debate.A good piece on the history of science was this book by Thomas Kuhn.Heck even wikipedia has the names of scientists who have critiqued falsifiability. I wonder what happened before this notion of falsifiability was formally developed. Does this mean there were no scientists before Popper?

  22. says

    “You define yourself as a Jewish atheist. MFT is a Christian fundamentalist who believes you’re going to be tortured for all of eternity. For that reason alone, he deserves your contempt.”Didn’t I tell you on this blog before that I don’t believe in eternal torture.

  23. says

    Didn’t I tell you on this blog before that I don’t believe in eternal torture.Well, I haven’t seen you write that, here or anywhere else.

  24. says

    Oh and I forgot to congratulate Ing on his circular logic.1)How do you know who a real scientist is (as opposed to a psuedoscientist)?Ing: A real scientist uses falsifiability2)How do you know falsifiability is a valid criterion?Ing: All the real scientists use it3)How do you know who the real scientists are?…Of course I doubt Ing cares anything about the philosophy of science.

  25. says

    Ing, whoever it was earlier who suggested ignoring him was right. I don’t intend to address him any further.

  26. says

    Cipher and Ing you both have a highly naive view of how science works.”You fucking bastard. How dare you. Really how dare you. Considering I have shown you have NO idea how science works how dare you be so condescending. Do you really want to assert that you know more about science because you did a Wikipedia search for JUST the people who support your selfish view? I have a naive view of how science works that rules are given from most high. PROJECTING MUCH!?!?!??! Science has to be testable this means verifiable. It is more useful to see if something can be falsified than to PROVE it which can only be done in a vacuum such as in mathematics. That you don’t understand that and call me naive is inexcusable. Really. How would you present science as workign? Everyone can propose anything and even if its absurd and there’s no way of testing it (God hid the fossils for people to find) You sir…are a moron. You are an arrogant, slimey moron. You have the balls to think that your wikiknowledge makes you a better authority than people who..Oh i don’t know…actually put in the time to study science. You ignore arguments, quote mine, straw man, and are generally all around cowardly. To answer your insulting question. No falsifiability is not sacred because it’s a divine inspiration you twit. It’s vital to science because IT WORKS. It works and THATS why it is now indivorcable from science.

  27. says

    Oh and I forgot to congratulate Ing on his circular logic.1)How do you know who a real scientist is (as opposed to a psuedoscientist)?Ing: A real scientist uses falsifiability2)How do you know falsifiability is a valid criterion?Ing: All the real scientists use it3)How do you know who the real scientists are?…Of course I doubt Ing cares anything about the philosophy of science.”Again, my proof that you are a moron who intentionally ignores arguments.Let me fix it for you1)How do you know who a real scientist is (as opposed to a psuedoscientist)?Ing: A real scientist uses falsifiability2)How do you know falsifiability is a valid criterion?Ing: It is proven to be the most reliable method of testing the accuracy of a model3)How do you know who the real scientists are?…Ing: um…didn’t you hear me I’m trying to explain what…4)How do you know falsifiability is a valid criterion?Ing: What? Look stop ignoring me when I explain it. You’re being rude for…5) How do you know who the real scientists are?.Ing:….6) How do you know falsifiability is a valid criterion?Ing: You’re mother’s a whore7) How do you know who the real scientists are?.Ing: *gets up and leaves*8) How do you know falsifiability is a valid criterion?My argument is actually1) science if defined by the ability to use analytical verifiable data to deduce reality2) A scientist is someone who uses this process and then creates testable models using this data to try to explain the world3) it is easier to test to see if something can be made false rather than to go out and prove that it is absolutely true. For all practical purposes this is the most reliable method for analytical data.4) A person who rejects the idea of relying on data and testing models is counter intuitive to the scientific process5) therefore someone who rejects the scientific process is not a very good scientist.Just like a football player who always fumbles is not a good athlete, because he is failing at the core definition of athlete. A scientist can suck at science due to a poor grasp of the principles.Again, congradulations…you’re able to miss represent my view point to force it into a circular logic. “This is not a no True Scottman here since a good scientist is one who relies on empirical evidence and testability. Someone who rejects these notions even if they are in a scientific field and hold a degree are poor scientists by definition. The denial of testability and falsifiability is what gives the sexy latin prefix to PSUEDOscientist.”Hell…where at ALL do I say that circular crap you were saying….this is all explained pretty well I think. I’m sorry if i was misleading but I thought I covered it well. If you wonder why I’m so nasty to you, this is why. Next time I’m just going to reply with a haiku insulting your penis size…since clearly you aren’t ready for real grown up talk.

  28. says

    “Ing, whoever it was earlier who suggested ignoring him was right. I don’t intend to address him any further.”Yeah it was me. I am in agreement. I just closed up my responses to the few questions he left open…because I like to finish things rather than just walk away and pretend that it never happened. Unless he surprises me with a real good argument I won’t reply again.

  29. says

    “Didn’t I tell you on this blog before that I don’t believe in eternal torture.””Well, I haven’t seen you write that, here or anywhere else.”That does raise an interesting question, Cipher. What does someone who believes in Christianity -hell really believe in? That the God destroys the souls of the non-believers and only believers get to live forever? Isn’t that more or less just as xenophobic and discriminatory and hateful as hell? We get to be saved…those dirty jew/atheist/muslim/hindu etc get their souls obliterated and cease to exist. Jimmicky jillikers, thanks for not sending us to hell though..so nice to know that even without hell we’re STILL worth shit in the loving god’s eyes. Does everyone get into heaven? If so what is the point of belief and why do some of those people find it so important?Really with or without hell it’s either insulting or nonsensical. Again why I personally think this mythology is too incoherent to be salvaged. Really, so much could just be answered if they did a slide back to Ditheism or the like.

  30. says

    How do you tell the un-teachable apart from the trolls?”Effectively they’re the same thing.

  31. says

    Ing,the friendliest version was one that an Anglican/Episcopalian described on Colbert.It’s like, we all work for the coming of the Kingdom here on earth, sort of preparing the world, even the atheists and including everyone who generally does good. Of course this version will have the faith-only-works-stink fundie foaming at the mouth. Anyway, the result is that we get one big multiplex heaven where there’s a nice comfy area for all those who have no interest in groveling and glorifying for ever and ever and ever, and those who really think that’s a good idea and have been proper Christians get to chew on God’s coattail for ever and… you get the picture.The question is then, how does the Episco know that the mother of all grovels is really the wonderfullest? The A/E strongly acknowledge the transmission of The Word by very very fallible men, but still force themselves to have faith that these few men of all humanity are the grand exception and are not in the least corrupted by personal interest or ignorance. And that they, the faithful readers, of all men are getting their interpretation right. At least that’s the only version that makes sense at all in context with an omnibenevolent and loving God.

  32. says

    That the God destroys the souls of the non-believers and only believers get to live forever? Isn’t that more or less just as xenophobic and discriminatory and hateful as hell?Well, I suppose it’s marginally better.I always contrast Christianity with Buddhism. In Buddhism, the goal is to become a Bodhisattva, a type of enlightened being who could become a Buddha and exit samsara, this suffering reality, but elects to remain behind to work for the liberation of all other sentient beings. A Bodhisattva takes a vow not to be released from samsara until all ofter beings are released first – and since (depending upon whom you talk to) the number of sentient beings is infinite, theoretically, the job never ends.Christianity, on the other hand, is all about personal salvation. A fundie couldn’t even understand the concept of the Bodhisattva, and would see it as well-intended but misguided at best. The ethos underlying Christianity is “I’ve got mine, you get yours.” As long as I get saved, that’s all that matters; everyone else can (quite literally) go to hell.It really is the most awful, hateful belief system. Many non-believers say, “As long as they keep it to themselves and don’t try to impose it upon the rest of us, I don’t care what they believe.” You’ll never hear me say that; I do care. I deny, categorically, its right even to exist. I refuse to recognize their “right” to indulge in this abomination, and to indoctrinate their children with it, generation after generation. It should be seen as a form of child abuse (if not criminal insanity), and recalcitrant fundies should have their children taken away. In fact, they shouldn’t be allowed to breed in the first place.

  33. says

    @CipherWhen I hear Hitchens or someone say that they are arguing against religion because it won’t leave the non-religious alone, well, I have to disagree. Even if it was the minority view and had no real power it would still be dangerous and it would still need to fought against. I’m not in favor of legislating thought, but in principle, I agree.

  34. says

    The ethos underlying Christianity is “I’ve got mine, you get yours.” As long as I get saved, that’s all that matters; everyone else can (quite literally) go to hell.Cipher, that certainly seems to be the Rhology version of Christianity. He wrote on my blog that both he and I were horrible people but that he was forgiven. I find that ironic, because he likes to describe “atheist” morality as being me-centered, but I cannot think of a more me-centered morality than his.I refuse to recognize their “right” to indulge in this abomination, and to indoctrinate their children with it, generation after generation. It should be seen as a form of child abuse (if not criminal insanity), and recalcitrant fundies should have their children taken away. In fact, they shouldn’t be allowed to breed in the first place.The problem with that line of argument is that they can propose the same policy. Atheists shouldn’t be allowed to have children, because they are damning those children to hell and eternal suffering.Like it or not, we all have to find a way to share this world with each other. To paraphrase Jesus, the deluded you will always have with you.

  35. says

    I find that ironic, because he likes to describe “atheist” morality as being me-centered, but I cannot think of a more me-centered morality than his.Absolutely. It’s the very essence of selfishness.It’s the height of irony that these people believe themselves to represent the cure, when in reality, they are the most egregious manifestation of the illness of which humanity needs so desperately to be healed, but almost certainly won’t be.

  36. says

    “When I hear Hitchens or someone say that they are arguing against religion because it won’t leave the non-religious alone, well, I have to disagree. Even if it was the minority view and had no real power it would still be dangerous and it would still need to fought against. I’m not in favor of legislating thought, but in principle, I agree.”Sadly Hitchens is right. I went on youtube earlier for a study break (like this one) and wanted to check out the national geographic “sea monster” special clips (the doc where they use Jurassic park CG effects to recreate ancient sea predators) Not wanting at all to deal with any creationist crap…the whole clip was dominated by the same insane arguments. What the hell is wrong with people?

  37. says

    Frikle, I can’t think of a single thing that’s been said about creationism on this blog that I’d consider an oversimplification.cipher, the only thing I meant was what I stated in my 1st comment. Let’s consider 2 concatenations of propositions:System OneP1 = God existsP2 = something else…PN = humans should be between 40K and 100K years oldSystem TwoP1 = Atoms existP2 = something else…PN = the mass of an electron should be 2.45 * 10^-23 (I made this number up).Now, system 1 is nonsense and system 2 is science. But if we disprove PN in system 2 (eg. we measure the electron as 2.2) this does not falsify P1 (that atoms exist). The scientist would be justified in modifying his/her system.So the fact that believers wouldn’t give up their P1 if their PN was disproved is not sufficient to brand the system as pseudoscience.It still IS pseudoscience but for other reasons (eg. they will probably keep P1 no matter what else there is in their system — THIS is fully suggestive of nonsense)I know I was being nitpicky, sorry if this annoyed anyone!

  38. says

    @ Frinkle It’s not really your stance, as eloquated by your e-mail, that people disagree with. It’s the misconstruction of it and bastardization that Mr.Freepinker did. You presented something valid which he latched upon for his “I’m right all of you are dumb poopie heads” theology. On a side note I keep wanting to address you as Fingle. First time doppling?

  39. says

    Point taken. Just as science itself is often misused for nefarious purposes, so can philosophy of science be.There’s something strange about my blogger name — it’s Frikle without an N but most people put an N in! (This happens independently on many blogs)

  40. says

    @Ing“That does raise an interesting question, Cipher. What does someone who believes in Christianity -hell really believe in? That the God destroys the souls of the non-believers and only believers get to live forever? Isn’t that more or less just as xenophobic and discriminatory and hateful as hell?”Isn’t that what atheists believe is going to happen anyway? I don’t see how not existing after you dies is much worse than the other couple billion years you did not exist.I personally believe that hell is a place of shame, not torture.It’s a smple ethic of reciprocity those who dishonor God , receive dishonor in return and those who choose to honor and worship God are sent to heaven which is a place of honor and glory. “Does everyone get into heaven? If so what is the point of belief and why do some of those people find it so important?”It would be rather pragmatic to just believe so you get heaven and all the goodies. I’m sure most people would want to serve God even if there was no reward.“It’s the misconstruction of it and bastardization that Mr.Freepinker did. You presented something valid which he latched upon for his “I’m right all of you are dumb poopie heads” theology.”Ing, I personally dont believe in Ross’ brand of creationism. I was just saying I saw no good scientific reason to rule it out. However I just wanted to point out that falsifiability is controversial, demarcation between science and psuedoscience is difficult. Oftentimes I see people making sweeping claims about the nature and philosophy of science based on something they read off the ACLU website or a court ruling in Dover.

  41. says

    Thanks for covering this. I, too, am an ACA member who attended this “debate” and was severely disappointed. How appropriate for a religous organization to use deception to achieve their goals- in this case, attracting people to this farce of an event.I’m curious to know by what objective means Dr. Ross and company determine whether or not a system, structure, etc…is just too complex to have come about by natural means and must, therefore, have been designed. Where is that line drawn? Talk about being limited by your own imagination…. I could rant on but I think you’ve covered it all very nicely!

  42. says

    “I’m curious to know by what objective means Dr. Ross and company determine whether or not a system, structure, etc…is just too complex to have come about by natural means and must, therefore, have been designed. Where is that line drawn? Talk about being limited by your own imagination….”Since they say that everything looks designed, I’m guessing there is no line and everything is too complex. I really don’t understand why people have a problem with chaos and probability. Uncontrolled events with only a few restrictions on them can create complex phenomena…it happens all the time. The phlegelum that is supposed to be too complex to be by chance…runs based on chance. The ‘motor’ has two settings, swim or tumble. swim moves forward, tumble causes it to rotate eratically (changing it’s orientation randomly) Negative stimuli cause the chance of a tumble state to increase. The closer the microbe gets to a negative stimuli the more it tumbles and the greater chance it has to turn away. It’s a game of Hot/Cold and it runs by ‘chance’ with the likelihood of tumbling being the only perimeter. From that we get microbes ‘dodging’ toxins and bad environments…and a few unlucky ones that tumble and plow head first into it and die. If the microbe that functions more like chemical reactions than what we see as life on the macroscopic scale can keep itself alive by ‘chance’ why could it not have originated by ‘chance’.

  43. says

    It’s actually pretty simple Ing. You studying chemistry right?Imagine I presented you with a specific polymer structure. Do you think you could reasonably tell if it certain polymers are synthetic as opposed to natural?

  44. says

    Isn’t it funny when people who don’t know science at all try to pose a question they think makes sense but really doesn’t?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>