Sunday, August 19, 2007

Like a Broken Record ...

 
Matt Nisbet is at it again. His particular spin frame on the rationalism vs. superstition debate is that the rationalists are making too much noise. According to Nisbet, we atheists are hurting the "cause" (what cause?) by speaking out loudly against superstition in the form of religion. Apparently it would be better to tone down the rhetoric in order to avoid offending those who believe in superstition. This is the strategy that has been followed by Americans for the last 100 years or so. No matter how stupid the religious extremists are, whether from the pulpit or on talk radio, we mustn't say that they are stupid because that would hurt their feelings. Or rather, it would hurt the feelings of the moderate believers who tolerate and support the religious extremists.

Of course Matt doesn't recognize that this is just his personal opinion. Oh no, that wouldn't be right, would it? If you are going to attack Dawkins, Hitchins, and Harris then you'd better frame it make it sound like an attack based on solid scientific reasoning. Here's what Matt Nisbet says in his latest posting [Why the New Atheist Noise Machine Fails].
Everything we know from social science research on attitude formation and beliefs predicts that the communication strategy of the New Atheist noise machine will only further alienate moderately religious Americans, the very same publics who might otherwise agree with secularists on many social issues.
Everything we know from history predicts that social change is often stimulated and led by vocal "extremists" who dare to speak out even if it offends those who prefer the status quo. This was true of the women's movement, the civil rights movement, and the gay rights movement. In those cases it was the moderate male chauvinists, the moderate racists, and the moderate homophobes who were initially offended. They didn't like being told that their long-held beliefs were wrong. In all those cases I suspect there were Matt Nisbets who tried to silence the outspoken leaders because they were offending the average moderate citizen.

If social science "research" says that the cause of outspoken individuals always fails then that says a lot more about the so-called "research" of social scientists than it does about reality.
The Dawkins/Hitchens PR campaign provides emotional sustenance and talking points for many atheists, but when it comes to selling the public on either non-belief or science, the campaign is likely to boomerang in disastrous ways.
The experiment is under way. Up until 2005, atheism was pretty much hidden under a bushel and religious superstition was rarely confronted in public. The result is that America is the most religious country in the industrialized world and evolution isn't taught in schools. Let's see if there's any change in the status quo over the next decade as the Dawkins/Hitchens framing PR campaign continues. According the Nisbet, the country will become even more religious because of the backlash. I'm betting that religion will become less important to Americans when they realize that there are other options.

There are times when I wonder which side Nisbet is on. It sounds to me like he's perfectly happy with the way things have been for the past several decades.

54 comments :

  1. In some ways it's harder to get through to the religious moderates, as they are by nature much more adept at doublethink than are the fundamentalists. The fundamentalists at least recognise that their religion is logically incompatible with science, so they (erroneously) reject science so they can keep believing their religion.

    Moderates, on the other hand, must believe many mutually exclusive ideas simultaneously, and when pressed tend to retreat from Christianity (say) to deism (which isn't incompatible with science/reality).

    When these moderates insist that their religion is not incompatible with science, they are invariably in deist mode; they switch back to Christian mode, quite seamlessly, once the danger has passed. So, from their point of view, it really must seem like atheists are simply wrong in rejecting their beliefs as illogical; hence the anger.

    ReplyDelete
  2. (q. from a non american)

    "evolution is not taught in schools)

    i thought evolution was taught in
    most American schools, with only few exceptions. Is that not true?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Although I may disagree with them on a few minor points, Dawkins, Hitchens, et al have done a great job in popularizing atheism, and giving something for the undecided (present and future) to think about. I wouldn't worry too much about polarizing the already polarized.

    Most atheists will probably disagree with me on this (and I may be wrong), but I suspect that religious zealotry will moderate somewhat over the the next 4-5 years - at least if a democrat is elected. Other mounting problems may shift attention away from religion.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous, evolution is required to be taught in most states (I believe, I know it is here in Texas), but how well it is taught is another thing. Many teachers either do not believe it (I know of a creationist biology teacher - makes me mad) or feel pressured not to teach it.

    I commented on Nisbets blog but wanted to say that if the vocal atheists are failing in their message, then why are their books selling so well, and why is atheism suddenly being talked about. Seems that their strategy is working in that regard.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ian, I think that Nisbett is being condescending, but not to the atheists. He is patronizing the so-called moderates, the ones he implies "can't handle it."

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous (the first one), this map may help, but it's from 2002. Not that standards change that quickly, I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  7. America is the most religious county [sic] in the industrialized world

    That about sizes the problem up. I see that Nisbet insists on his parochial outlook. Neither Dawkins nor Hitchens are americans. (Hitchens is multinational.) Even if Nisbet conclusions had been verifiable, they wouldn't be applicable to the scope of D&H actions.

    At least Nisbet now is aware that US is a part of a larger, uh, frame. (... serves to further balkanize America ...) Maybe that is progress. I would like to chalk that up to the D&H campaign, since Nisbet didn't mention Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett or Vic Stenger.

    We can probably continue to rehash this point. My take home message from this thread is that one important aspect of social movements is to show that repressed social options are still democratic and fair options. And that this seems to have worked on Nisbet.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I for one am getting sick of the moderate theists complaining that Dawkins, Hitchens et al are making things harder for them. If their strategy is such a good one how come nearly 50% of Americans think the earth is only a few thousand years old ?

    It is about time the moderate theists and their apologists said sorry and let the big guns take the field of battle.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Like a broken record" is really all that needs to be said about Nisbet. He's one of those guys you just have to ignore in order to keep your blood pressure down, because no amount of criticism will ever reach him through his wall of self-satisfaction and thick skull.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Concerning Michael Nisbet - I am a ‘believer’ and I don’t care how much noise rationalists, atheists, materialists, evolutionists or skeptics” make about the issue of science. The more noise they make, the better! They have been silent about their motives too long. The more noise they make the more they will be forced to reveal and defend their own superstitions, and come clean about their religion of naturalism with tax-payers, schools and courts. It will be a good exercise for both theists and atheists, and it has the potential of moving the fence-sitters to one side or the other with scientific data as the neutral arbiter.

    Scientific data itself continues to offer little or no solace for naturalism, and the dominance of skeptics in science is running headlong into the reality of nature’s contrary testimony at the speed of its own research. Just like Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the harder naturalists try to disprove purpose and design, the more they reveal it. That is what is emboldening theists of all stripes (Ken Ham, Hugh Ross and Anthony Flew). It’s only ‘natural’ (Pun intended) that dogmatists like skeptics and young-Earth creationists are left to debate only with pejoratives, because the facts of empirical data are not supporting either view.

    Skeptics often say that they seek ‘truth.’ Well then, reveal the truth of your beliefs and how your value system impacts science. Let’s hear some noise! Why not start with a naturalist’s definition of truth.

    Dragon

    ReplyDelete
  11. Nisbet doesn't seem to actually care very much about his own posts. He rarely engages the abundent commenters regardless of how much time and effort they put into their comments.

    He knows that posts like this one are good for the statcounter, that seems to be the only reason he makes them.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Just like Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the harder naturalists try to disprove purpose and design, the more they reveal it.

    What is the purpose of purpose?

    Why not start with a naturalist’s definition of truth.

    I am the truth, the way, and the life. If you don't believe me, you'll burn for ever and ever. Amen.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "Scientific data itself continues to offer little or no solace for naturalism"

    Huh? science deals with nature.

    "Just like Einstein’s theory of general relativity..."

    yeah right haha

    "...the harder naturalists try to disprove purpose and design, the more they reveal it"

    why, of course, of course hahahaha


    Dragon, your first paragraph is kind of interesting, I agree that these rabid atheists have actually little moral substance for all their preaching. It's pretty easy to blame religion. I think science is to blame for not being able to seduce people away form religion. We must self criticize too. maybe the lack of this self-criticims is what got us here. Too much arrogant creeps in science is more of a fact than a speculation, I dare say.

    But your second paragraph is veeeeery bad, Dragon.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Responding to Anonymous’ question, “What is the purpose of purpose?” I think it has something to do with asking questions.

    Dragon

    ReplyDelete
  15. Responding to Anonymous’ question, “What is the purpose of purpose?” I think it has something to do with asking questions.

    Not quite. If everything has a purpose, then purpose itself must have a purpose, nicht wahr? And that purpose must also have a purpose, and so on. Infinite regression...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous, “purpose itself must have a purpose, nicht wahr? And that purpose must also have a purpose, and so on. Infinite regression...”

    I couldn’t agree more. But, you’re going to have to look outside the self-imposed limits of materialism to find it.

    Dragon

    ReplyDelete
  17. in other words: don't look for it in the natural world.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous, “purpose itself must have a purpose, nicht wahr? And that purpose must also have a purpose, and so on. Infinite regression...”
    I couldn’t agree more. But, you’re going to have to look outside the self-imposed limits of materialism to find it.


    It has nothing to do with "materialism". Purpose is not a material concept. It has to do with logic - something that creationists seem to have a difficult time with.

    in other words: don't look for it in the natural world.

    Imaginary worlds, then?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Imaginary, depending on whether you are a believer or not. But the good stuff is, whatever the case, it remains that ultimate purpose cannot be looked for (or found) in the natural world. Ultimate purpose is not a scientific matter.
    ID'ers screw up becuase they want us to belive they have found eidence in nature for ultimate purpose. Not possible, as we have figured out here.

    ReplyDelete
  20. To Sanders and Anonymous.

    Looking at the natural world is fine and good. I’m glad scientists do it. What you see there is the metaphorical thumbprint or signature of the creator, you can get a glimpse of his logic and creativity. If you want to see his thoughts, what he wrote that defines purpose for his creation, you’re going to have to look outside materialism.

    Dragon

    ReplyDelete
  21. "Looking at the natural world is fine and good. I’m glad scientists do it. What you see there is the metaphorical thumbprint or signature of the creator, you can get a glimpse of his logic and creativity"

    You are welcome to reflect like that, in the domain of metaphysicis on religion. But you would be wrong if you attempted to impose that on others as "the only logical thing" or a "scientific" conclusion.

    A question, Dragon. Do you require evolution to be false to be able to see that "metaphorical thumbprint"

    ReplyDelete
  22. Dragon,

    The same goes for invisible pink unicorns.

    ReplyDelete
  23. No, I do not require evolution to be false, just testable (I think randomness is not falsifiable.) and logical. A few people laughed, when I said “the harder naturalists try to disprove purpose and design, the more they reveal it.” Einstein and Hubble tried to prove the cosmos’ infinity and the endless potential for evolution’s gradualism. Upon testing they discovered that the universe had a beginning (a singularity and an unexpectedly limited time for random selection to form and sustain life).

    Stanley Miller tried to show how life emerged on Earth. Later testing showed that he actually made a form of formaldehyde – no life there! What’s worse for naturalists is that the phenomenal scientific discoveries in the decades since Miller’s experiment have produced absolutely no evolutionary postulate for how life emerged from non-life on early Earth, and zero evidence for a primordial soup.

    The discovery of the human genome and DNA will settle the evolution debate once and for all, Right? Wrong! Only more ‘evidence’ for design.

    Naturalists can argue all day long about random genetic drift. But, no time + no soup + no evident randomness = no evolution. Will those who are really illogical and superstitious please stand up. Come on now, stand up.

    Dragon

    ReplyDelete
  24. As before with your Einstein comment, you have again come up with bizarro "scientific" statements, trying to scientifically justify your theistic views. You wish to pretend that you are on a somehow higher academic ground? You are fooling nobody.

    More than the scientific inaccuracy and vagueness of your recitations, it is the philosophical oxymoron that is most crucial: the notion that if we have available natural explanations for the origin of life and species, is somehow at odds with the metaphysical appreciation of the universe as a reflection of the mind of a creator. You seem to equate "natural explanation" with "equiprobable randomness" and "exclusion of god". What can I say. I have no idea how you come up with that, It looks like a response to a whole lot of the more bad atheist arguments.

    There has got to be smarter, philosophical religious people out there that ar not trying to pretend they are lab coat scientists. You know, people with some actual self-acknowledgment of their faith and mysticism

    ReplyDelete
  25. Sanders, what’s bizarre? Before Einstein’s theory of general relativity, naturalism and Darwin’s theory relied on infinite gradualism for the success of evolution. Einstein even fudged his theory with a “constant” to make it consistent with his naturalistic notion of cosmic stasis. There’s was nothing metaphysical about the fact that Einstein, once he met with Hubble (who actually observed heavenly objects moving away from each other), removed his naturalistic “constant” and admitted that the universe was not unchanging and unending, but had a beginning, just like the Bible says. It’s no secret that even till the 90’s, naturalists were still trying to prove Einstein wrong, for the sake of materialism. The list of these types of scientific facts, which coincidentally are consistent with an orthodox interpretation of scripture goes on and on, and is growing.

    I’m not making any theistic religious points. I’m simply pointing out that the religion of naturalism shoots an arrow at a tree and then paints a target around it. The Bible painted a target and science’s evidence is increasingly hitting it’s target. It’s simple science and there’s plenty of documentation about it, if one reads both from the materialists’ library and the Bible.

    Dragon

    ReplyDelete
  26. Sanders, what’s bizarre? Before Einstein’s theory of general relativity, naturalism and Darwin’s theory relied on infinite gradualism for the success of evolution. Einstein even fudged his theory with a “constant” to make it consistent with his naturalistic notion of cosmic stasis. There’s was nothing metaphysical about the fact that Einstein, once he met with Hubble (who actually observed heavenly objects moving away from each other), removed his naturalistic “constant” and admitted that the universe was not unchanging and unending, but had a beginning, just like the Bible says. It’s no secret that even till the 90’s, naturalists were still trying to prove Einstein wrong, for the sake of materialism. The list of these types of scientific facts, which coincidentally are consistent with an orthodox interpretation of scripture goes on and on, and is growing.

    I’m not making any theistic religious points. I’m simply pointing out that the religion of naturalism shoots an arrow at a tree and then paints a target around it. The Bible painted a target and science’s evidence is increasingly hitting it’s target. It’s simple science and there’s plenty of documentation about it, if one reads both from the materialists’ library and the Bible.

    Dragon

    ReplyDelete
  27. yeah, well....that the universe actually did have a starting point was within the philosophical grasp of many others beside those who wrote the bible. Again, you are welcome to reflect on this as a consistency with theistic visions, but not as a scintifici demonstration of these visions. If the universe had always been, would this means that god does not exist? In fact, as you probably know, many theists consider the big bang a "non-exlanation" and a philosophical aberration. Everything must come form something and to them that something would be god. So is the big bng friend or foe of theism? as with all scineitific facts, the answer is: neither.

    Theistic interpretations can be built around science, but they cannot be said to be "scientific", inescapable conclusions

    ReplyDelete
  28. Apart from the fact that you have absolutely no freaking idea what you're talking about, "Dragon", your comments are brilliant. ;)

    Just to give one example. Not only did Darwin's theory NOT require that genetic change exhibit the "infinite gradualism" about which you babble but- unknown to Darwin- natural selection could not work if genetics worked that way. This was proved by the founders of the "Modern Synthesis", who showed algebraically that discrete, Mendelian inheritance is required in order for variation to be preserved long enough to be "visible" to selection. (To be fair, Darwin was aware of the problem blending inheritance would pose for his theory, but was not aware of the correct solution.)

    But it's a free country, so feel free to keep on demonstrating that you're a clueless ignoramus.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Sanders Sanders Sanders.... Did you not read the part where Dragon wrote "I’m not making any theistic religious points?"

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hehehe. Oh yeah. I also read what he said about Stanley Miller.
    And I also noticed he really meant "yes" rather than "no" when I asked him if he required evolution to be false to see the thumbprint of god.
    Its his thing against nature that is MOST bizarro, though.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Dragon -

    So, you wanna give us the *scientific* explanation for the origin of a Creator/Designer/G-d in a universe that can't make life from non-life? Or is this where we just gotta have faith?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Steve, as a fan vs. a player (professional scientist) I don’t know about "Modern Synthesis." I’ll have to read up on it. I do know about the Cambrian explosion. Darwin himself said that if the fossil record validated the Cambrian explosion then his theory was challengeable. Well, the fossil record has not only validated the Cambrian explosion, but naturalists have developed absolutely no explanation for how more species existed about 500 million years ago than exist today (even phyla), and how that extraordinary quantity of very complex species appeared from very simple species virtually overnight (no gradualism). In my view, those facts turn Darwin’s tree of life on its head and trump evolution theory. I wonder if any of the Sandwalk readers can calculate the odds of the Cambrian explosion or emergence of life on Earth ever even happening.

    Sanders, all the point about the Big Bang means is that each model, evolution or creation, should be testable. When tested, naturalism’s infinite gradualism did not hold up and the comparative Biblical reference to a single creation even did. Naturalist’s views were forced to come into line with a Biblical statement that had been made thousands of years earlier. I think that makes it a fulfilled prediction. The point of theory is not only to explain but to predict. Fulfilled predictions serve to validate. The Biblical statement was therefore validated. And, by the way, I DO NOT “require evolution to be false.” I just require something to be testable, because the ‘testing’ allows impartiality and objectivity. Worldviews imposed over science do not foster impartiality or objectivity, whether it’s yours or mine.

    Jud, Yes I do. Read Hugh Ross’ “Creation as Science.” It is completely *scientific* and it even makes predictions that you personally can monitor.

    Dragon

    ReplyDelete
  33. I asked: "So, you wanna give us the *scientific* explanation for the origin of a Creator/Designer/G-d in a universe that can't make life from non-life?"

    Dragon responded: "Jud, Yes I do. Read Hugh Ross’ 'Creation as Science.' It is completely *scientific* and it even makes predictions that you personally can monitor."

    I have not read the book, but here is an excerpt of a favorable (5-star) review posted on Amazon:

    "One of the points made in the book is that a vast array of factors had to be done with precision far beyond that which is within the bounds of human ability (and most certainly beyond any reasonable probability of being carried out by random accident), and therefore would imply a creative intelligence."

    Sorry, Dragon, but if this review correctly characterizes the book, then the book doesn't answer my question. I want to know, given the impossibility of creating life from non-life in our universe, what the scientific explanation is for the origin of the *Creator*, not the Creation.

    In other words: If the universe can't produce a bacterium in 13-point-something billion years, then exactly how did it manage to produce a being complex, powerful and intelligent enough to *create* a bacterium (to say nothing of the rest of life and all else we see around us)?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Noy just the USA and Canda, either.

    I have just been disbarred (I hope temporarily) from the "Comment is free" section of the Rnglish Newspaper "The Guardian".
    My crime?
    A thoughtcrime in fact - I described islam as:
    "their misogynistic, mediaeval, murderous and intolerant religion."

    But, although every word of thta is true, you are apparently, not allowed to say it.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I do know about the Cambrian explosion. No you don't, idiot. You know no more about it than you do about anything else in biology, namely nothing at all. Now, if you'd like to shut up and learn something for a change, go here:
    http://tinyurl.com/2oxbc5
    and also the next claim after that one, CC301.

    ReplyDelete
  36. "Now, if you'd like to shut up and learn something for a change, go here:
    http://tinyurl.com/2oxbc5"

    Or here: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/11/the_cambrian_as_an_evolutionar.php

    And biodiversity was greater 500mya than today? Where the hell did you pull that one from? One, if you think about it doesn't make any sense. Two, if you spend 30 seconds on google you'll see how wrong that is. This is elementary stuff, really.

    ReplyDelete
  37. (the rest of my link should be: rian_as_an_evolutionar.php

    ReplyDelete
  38. Here's a tinyurl to make it easier to access Matthew's Pharyngula link: http://tinyurl.com/2ps6st

    ReplyDelete
  39. As |Steve’s article says: 5 million years isn’t sudden, although perhaps unprecedented in evolutionary history. There may be an analogue with industrialization: 200 years covers the “technological” explosion; its future archeological trace may give the impression that industrialization came from “nowhere”; but in actual fact the causes of industrialization seem to be the result of an array of precursors coming together and opening up the “flood gates” of innovation - there is no need to invoke any ‘magic’ to explain it. (There have been other apparent quasi-social ‘explosions’ – farming & writing). Evolutionary history is exploring the vast configuration space available to “complex adaptive systems”. So who can tell - there may be domains in that vast space of “design” where some kind of “critical mass” of complexity is reached enabling evolution to run relatively “fast” for a while; As with industrialization once certain antecedent conditions are realized a rich vein of possible development opens up. Interesting to note that technological development does move in stops and starts – may a be lesson there.
    (Note: I am a theist so I agree with Dragon on that score)

    ReplyDelete
  40. So, you think evolution isan untestable, unscintific claim.
    Do you feel the same way about cotinental drift? the big bang? The existence of columbus? Any other thing we can't sjust reprodue ofn the lab bench that yiu would like to include?
    YOu use a caruacture of the notion of "test". All of these are facts that have been established through many indepenende lines of evidence that confirm them.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Let me correct, the typos are too many hehe

    So, you think evolution is an untestable, unscientific claim.
    Do you feel the same way about continental drift? the big bang? The existence of columbus? Any other thing we can't just reproduce on the lab bench that you would like to deny?
    You use a caricature of the notion of "test". The hypothetic-deductive mehtod is not only used in lab experiments. All of these are facts have been established through many independent lines of evidence that independently confirm the same conclusion.

    Another question, Dragon. How did the human species originate if not by reproduction from a previous species? Have you got a better SCIENTIFIC explanation? We are all ears

    ReplyDelete
  42. I agree. Broken record. Dog with a bone. Whatever.

    The big question is what the hell Michael Shermer thought he was doing with his ill-advised "open letter" to Dawkins and co.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Jud,

    First - If you are ruling out reading “Creation as Science” because of an ID inference, then it seems to me that you may be allowing you personal opinion to get in front of science. Hugh Ross is not an ID advocate. He is a highly scientifically qualified Creation advocate. When the term Intelligent Design is used as a noun, it does not receive Ross’ endorsement. For those of us who are not bound to a materialist value system, the implication of design comes unavoidably from science itself.

    Second – You know that theoretical probabilities are a factor in all areas of science, and certainly in evolution theory. Probabilities can become a ‘testing, validation’ component of the scientific method. To many, even naturalists (Antony Flew’s soon to be released “There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind”), emerging probabilities do not strengthen evolution theory, but rather the notion of design. If you wish to avoid reading Ross’ book because you wish to avoid the implication of probabilities for or against evolution or design, that’s your choice.

    An example of probabilities that don’t support evolution’s timing - by people I presume to be naturalists is: Astrophysicists Barrow, Carter, and Tipler (When attempting to quantify the likelihood that intelligent life exists in the universe beyond Earth.) calculated the probability of humans emerging from bacterial species in “10 billion years or less at 10-24,000,000. To put this probability in perspective, proof for human (Not hominid.) existence can only be found from about 40,000 to 100,000 years ago, at the most. The Earth itself is only about 4 billion years old, not 10 billion. Four billion years (and an even smaller window of habitability) is an entirely too brief period to have allowed humans to ‘evolve’ from inorganic material. These probabilities strangle evolution theory time requirements, which means, from a naturalistic perspective, no physical intelligent life exist at all anywhere in the universe.” Some would agree J

    Last - Putting aside probabilities and design, “Creation as Science” offers the first fully testable (relatively short term) scientific model for our origins since Darwin’s naturalist model. It offers the scientific basis for 74 scientific and 15 philosophical testable predictions. The predictions of naturalistic evolution and progressive creationism are contrasted purely scientifically, along with a couple other prominent worldviews. I hope you find time to read Hugh’s book. Along with all our Sandwalk friends, I’d love to read your take on the Ross’ views and how he supports them.

    You guys are wearing me out. I’ve got a life to live, a wife to serve and grandkids to love. I’m taking a break from Sandwalk for a few days.

    Dragon

    ReplyDelete
  44. I'd take a break form the Ross book too if I were you. Some say having read only one book is far worse than having read none. I agree.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Alos, please *consider* the possibility the mathematical genuises you blindly trust for your probabilites, can also make mistakes.
    Or be straight-out charlatans with an agenda.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Well, after I got a gander at Steve Lebonne’s remarks, I just couldn’t help but postpone my Sandwalk-break. Here we go:

    Steve - You are right. I (as a fan) don’t know much about the Cambrian explosion. But, the people who do, write, and I like to read. Therefore, I will support my points by quoting the players (scientists). With limited exceptions, I have used quotes from your naturalist soul mates.
    · Biochemist and skeptic, Francis Crick, in “Life Itself”: “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.” Dragon thinks there is no room for miracles in materialism or evolutionism – even when suggested by a bona-fied skeptic.
    · Evolutionary scientist, Jeffery Swartz, in “Homeobox Genes, Fossils, and the Origin of Species”: … the major animal groups “appear in the fossil record as Athena did from the head of Zeus – full blown and raring to go.” Dragon thinks that if the fossil record does not agree with evolution’s gradualism, it should not be used to support one of the theory’s essential requirements.
    · Philosopher, scientist Stephen Meyer, in “The Cambrian Explosion: Biology’s Bog Bang,” from “Darwinism, Design, and Public Education”, co-authored with biologist Paul Chien, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson, and paleontologist Marcus Ross: “The fossils of the Cambrian Explosion absolutely cannot be explained by Darwinian theory or even by the concept called ‘punctuated equilibrium,’ which was specifically formulated in an effort to explain away the embarrassing fossil record.” Dragon thinks that every time an evolutionist tries to explain away the obvious, he’s obviously wrong.
    · Geneticist, John F. McDonald, in “The Molecular Basis of Adaptation: A Critical Review of Relevant Idea and Observations,” from the “Annual Review of Ecology and Systemics”: referring to “a great Darwinian paradox.” (The kind of mutations that macroevolution needs – namely, large-scale, beneficial ones – don’t occur, while the kind it doesn’t need – large-scale mutations with harmful effects or small scale mutations with limited impact – do occur, though infrequently.) Dragon thinks that when evolutionists see the evidence and deny it, they make a myth.
    · Biochemist, Michael Denton, in “Evolution: A theory in Crisis”: ‘the idea that undirected processes could somehow turn dead chemicals into all the extraordinary complexity of living things is surely “no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth” of our times.’ Dragon thinks that myths are not reserved for stupid idiots.
    · Former editor with “Science” and “New Scientist” magazines, Roger Lewin, in “Evolution Theory Under Fire” from “Science”: “The central question … was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomenon of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the position of some people … , the answer can be given as a clear, No.” Dragon thinks that it is sad that offering an informed opinion runs the risk of offending naturalists.
    · Evolutionary biologist, F. Clark Howell, in “Thoughts on the Study and Interpretation of the Human Fossil Record”: “There is no encompassing theory of [human] evolution. Alas, there never really has been.”

    Steve - You know that I haven’t even dusted the surface of the documented scientific evidence that has been plumed deeply by the ‘players’ I have quoted. If a fan can find this stuff, imagine what the players must know. Therefore, you’re wasting your time and passionate energy casting your slings and arrows at me. Cast them at the ‘players’ or forget me and find out what they know.

    Sanders – Concerning the testability of evolution, I’ll come back to that in a week or so. Mean time, I hope you’ve read the above and what the science fact-checkers say. And, those “mathematical geniuses,” they’re members of your church. Not mine. Do yourself a favor and take the suggestion I offered to Steve, forget me and find out what your philosophical peers have discovered that you haven’t.

    Dragon

    ReplyDelete
  47. Yeah, well I won't be precisely piddling in my pants to hear your alternative "scientific" explanation for the origin of the human species.
    We already know what sorta thing you have in mind.

    ReplyDelete
  48. And, stop the quote mining. Nobody is going to go into each of those citations in a blog conversation. No matter how silly or out of context they may be. It is just not worth it and is a quite old and low brow strategy in general.
    Try to do some actual thinking of your own instead of merely invoking the thinking of others. THINK, dammit! yes, YOU!! (haha).

    ReplyDelete
  49. Dragon, what you're doing is called quote-mining -- tossing out sound-bites (many of which turn out to be out of context) as if they were supposed to prove something. It doesn't.

    And as far as these people being "players" (ie. scientists stating a well-supported opinion) is concerned: Paul Nelson and Malcolm Ross are Young-Earth Creationists (not sure about Meyer, although he's at least an ID-ist; don't know about Chien). Behe is an IDist -- I've read his book, and even a "fan" like me could see it was stupid. In short, none of these guys are "players" in this particular debate -- they are ideologues who have prostituted their credentials to produce propoganda.

    Denton is merely a twit who wrote a book on a subject he didn't understand (and I believe he has since recognized his errors. Go google talkorigins.org for more info).

    ReplyDelete
  50. eamon knight - What's the difference between an ID or creationist ideologue and a skeptic / atheist materialist ideologue?

    Dragon

    ReplyDelete
  51. Sanders said – “I won't be precisely piddling in my pants to hear your alternative "scientific" explanation for the origin of the human species.”

    Dragon replies – I said that I’d reply about the “testability” of evolution. For example, in order to falsify (test) a materialistic evolutionary process, one would have to show that an infinite number of random, unintelligent, undirected processes could not have produced a bacteria flagellum. There is no testable data for an infinite number of random unintelligent, undirected processes, therefore, evolution cannot be tested. However, a design / creation process that could produce a bacteria flagellum is falsifiable by testing existing empirical data, and by finding only one random unintelligent, undirected process that could produce a bacteria flagellum. Scientists have found no such random unintelligent, undirected (materialistic, evolutionary) process.

    Point? Testability and falsifiability (compared to predictions – like Darwin’s) help to build a platform for facts and truth based on evidence. It is virtually impossible to build such a platform for evolution.

    Sanders said – “THINK, dammit!”

    Dragon replies – Think about what? You haven’t given me anything to think about except how you communicate with strangers. Give me something to think about that doesn’t fill the blog with pungent perfume. I’m a ‘fan.’ You aught to be able to challenge me with something that makes me do some homework.

    If you like thinking so much, I’ve got a question for you: How did life begin on Earth? I don’t mean how it might have begun, or what’s your guess that will be supported with future discoveries. I mean, how did evolution actually turn non-living matter into living stuff?

    Eamon Knight said – “they (Dragon’s sources) are ideologues who have prostituted their credentials to produce propoganda.”

    Dragon replies – “Ideologues.” Wow! What an effective way to kiss-off years of hard work and dedication by professionals. A declaration like that certainly removes any responsibility on your part to check out a contrary opinion. You remind me of the young-Earth’ers. Anyone that doesn’t agree with them is simply condemned to (‘imaginary’) hell. Without hell as an option, you condemn people to stupidity and bad motives (hell on Earth). I can’t wait till Antony Flew’s new book comes out, “There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind” and see how unceremoniously you kiss-him-off. I’ll bet the atmosphere around Sandwalk will be filled with dreadful damnations.

    P.S. All you Canadians, did you see David Warren’s, “The tyranny of science,” in The Ottawa Citizen? http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=b31fa316-d716-488b-a49c-eae2b708b444

    Dragon

    ReplyDelete
  52. You continue avoiding the question.That question was good enough. It should make you think. Do you have a truly "scientific "explanation? No, you don¡t. That is why you reject naturalism: to interject a supernatural intervention.
    But see, intervetions of the supernatural are not part of ay proper scientific explanation.
    same thing for the origin of life. Life will have arisen form chemical precursors, under specific conditions (as with any specific reaction). No matter how challneging the question or how much remains unknown, if you want ot interject a supernatural explanation for the origin of life, do not expect other people to acknowledge it as scientific. Duh.
    And these are my last words to you, Dragon. There is truly no more simpler way to put it. So take care now, and byebye then.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Au revoir, new friend.

    Dragon

    ReplyDelete
  54. Larry, I'm sort of late to the page but I wanted to thank you for your post. I'm really sick of hearing that atheists should just sit quietly and politely at the back of the bus where they belong.

    ReplyDelete