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Author Topic: Religion...and SCIENCE! (Nee - Re: Oh..those people at westboro baptist are at it again! o3o)  (Read 13329 times)

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Offline RubySlippers

QUOTE FROM EARLIER ON WHAT A THEORY IS IN THE DICTIONARY

A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.
So in other words part of science evidence is the mind on what the MOB says, lets see they used to say the Earth was Flat and the Earth Was the Center of the Universe - very scholarly and scientific. So in other words you can't tell me how life started so you conveniently skip that part and go to what happened afterwards. So why not just say if your an evolutionist life Could Have been created or naturally occuring We Don't Know at least you would not then offend many Christian critics just say God is not scientific but we can't rule out intelligent design as one of many ideas on biogensis.

The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis, as opposed to practice: a fine musician who had never studied theory.
Intelligent Design then is a science it has sxplanatory statements, accepted principles and methods of analysis so it could using this be treated as a science akin to Musicology or Psychology or String Theory or similarly accepted disciplines. You may not like the parts of this and the concepts but its a science nevertheless.

It seems to me people in education and scince seem biased to one view over theother for no major reason save you don't like the implications of ID, well that folks is not a reason to discount a science. AndI just demonstrated one can consider ID a science using dictionary definitions. Or at least could leave a creator in the mix of ideas how it all started.

Offline Nyarly

AndI just demonstrated one can consider ID a science using dictionary definitions. Or at least could leave a creator in the mix of ideas how it all started.
That may be. But one cannot consider ID a science using sanity.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Once more theory is being misused.  Gravity is by definition a force.  There are theories regarding gravity, but gravity is not a theory.  Evolution is not nearly as tangible as gravity, one is a force after all.  When you can measure evolution, then maybe the two can be compared.

Also, you keep stating a scientific and layman definition.  Then you want people to that are discussing science to use the layman.  Evolution is part of science, therefore it is a scientific theory.  That is the only way to be any more specific about the topic.  Honestly, I do not see how that statement can be said any other way.  Evolution is a scientific theory, which means it may be false. 

Evolution is a theory, not a fact.  How is that misleading?  Because it does not carry with it the implication that evolution is a strong theory?

By the way, if I what I was saying sounded hostile to you but the comment made by Lithos about rooting out my religion was not, then certainly there is little to discuss.

Online Lithos

Gravity is a force, not a theory

Actually, how gravity actually works - as in which particles transmit it and so on is still very much a theory. Theory that has gotten a lot more solid and accurate over time - thanks to science, what else. And at the moment, theory of biological evolution has much more tangible proof behind it than current theories of how gravity actually works and is transmitted. Hicks particles have never yet been observed for example. Life forms with exceptionally short lifespan have been proven to evolve in ton of different ways in reaction to their environment and such for example.

The position of these two things is exactly the same:

There is some sort of force that is related to everything with a mass - this is gravity, how it works is still theory, but getting more and more accurate over time.

Living organisms evolve. That is perfectly observable fact, you see it every time some medicine that was commonly used against certain bacteria stops working, and in countless other things. How that evolution exactly started and how did we exactly get to this point is a theory, but getting more and more accurate over time.  Evolution is every bit as tangible as gravity. Some just choose to be blind.

Many people of course would prefer to say that gravity is not really theory but evolution is to not look dumb, cause it would be really idiotic to deny that gravity exists. Sadly, evolution happening in life is actual observable fact as well, and to anyone knowing the field anyone claiming otherwise looks just as stupid.

While in theory I should not care about what happens in school system of some remote country at all, I do find it shocking that education is destroyed in name of religious propaganda in any corner of the world. Some places such as Iran have had that, but I had no idea that the plague had spread to western world as well. Here, school books teach the most proven theory of how things are at the time - and in terms of biology that is at the moment evolution.

When new information is found, when new theories are born and proven there might become something that is more accurate and more experimentally verifiable - then it becomes new main stream theory about that subject and that will be taught i schools. That is how education works and that is how it should be.

Definition of what theory is, how they are formed, and what requirements of proof by experiments is needed to warrant one theory higher position over others is not terribly hard concept to grasp. If there is theory that is backed by observable evidence that someone created everything as it is and things do not evolve, then it will get its position in school materials. Until that happens, such a story belongs to fairytales or religious books, not to material that is supposed to pass on how we understand the world to work, based on current theories and their observable evidence.

Online HairyHeretic

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The main problem is that proponents of creationism attempt to link the theory of evolution to the laymans term, rather than the scientific one. They want people to think that it's simply an idea, that the evidence to back it up is somehow limited.

Until they can produce some quantifiable evidence that 'god did it', then evolution remains the best working theory we have at present. In time it may well change, as more information is discovered, and refined. But it's a lot more solid than the alternative.

ID is not accepted because it does not follow the scientific method. Science starts with observations and tries to work out the theory from those. ID has decided it already has the theory (God did it) and then wants to shoehorn whatever information it can find to fit with that theory.

Science is prepared to test, verify and change the proposed theory when the evidence and observations warrant it. Can you honestly tell me you're going to find a creationist who is prepared to say "Ok, it wasn't actually God did this."

By the dictionary definition you can define a lot of things as science. Hell, I could probably justify my runic divination as science using those terms. Would that make it so?

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

When the statement is made that a ball is picked up, then dropped and there is gravity then the person is not referencing a theory.  They are making a description of the force of gravity.  The attraction between two bodies which has a measurement and a formula.  Were the statement say that a theory about the origin and nature of gravity relates to particles traveling from parallel dimensions and mention of the experiment to find those particles which involves a super collider, then there would be reference to a theory.  That theory by the way is not taught in elementary school physics and probably not in high school either.

The point of her statement being phrased in such a way was to make my contention that a theory is not fact seem all the more absurd.  I even made mention that there are many theories regarding these forces and that they are changing frequently.  Already I had acknowledged that there are theories surrounding the force of gravity, but people seem reluctant to abandon this tactic.  Sorry to disappoint, but the trick of making the religious girl look dumb by denying gravity is an old one.  I know enough about physics to tell the difference between a force and a theory.  Of those people that would not claim gravity is a theory, but a force is the dictionary.  In particular their definition concerning the definition of gravity as described by the study of physics. 

Evolution is indeed based upon observations.  Were evolution not based upon observations then this would not be a scientific theory.  Observations about evolution can be made all around us.  Anytime you see an animal that was breed for a certain trait, such as pure breed dogs or horses, that is evolution at work.  Bacteria that adapt to antibiotics is certainly an example and so are fish that adapt to eat certain prey.  Certain moths developed color schemes over generations to adapt to soot on trees and anytime a mate is chosen for a certain trait evolution is displayed.  In order for a population to not be under the influence of evolution, they have to lack seven traits (I believe its seven).  There has been no population found in nature that does not have one of these traits.

I am well aware of the case for evolution.  I am a firm believer in evolution and apply practices derived from the theory of evolution in work and study.  What I do not believe is that the statement, “evolution is a theory, not a fact” is some how a danger to overthrow science.  I do not believe that the term is misleading unless someone explains it so.  The statement is true.  If someone links the scientific definition of theory to the layman one, then they are misleading.  People that are uneducated and not familiar with the word might draw incorrect conclusions.  At the same time people unfamiliar with a topic often draw incorrect conclusions that does not mean someone is trying to mislead them or overthrow their world.  I don’t think anyone has stated that creationism or even intelligent design should be taught in science class or even that it currently is taught.

As for the refusal of a creationist to say “God didn’t do this.” I respond with a similar query of would a scientist ever say, “Science can’t explain this.”

Online Lithos

I did not go to a religious school; I went to a public school, but I think that only makes my experience all the more telling.  We did not study evolution at my high school.  Inside the front cover of all the books that mentioned it was a sticker, a disclaimer that reminded all of us students that evolution is a theory, and not a proven fact.

Look at the part detailing what was studied and what was not. Statement that evolution is theory and not a fact has nothing wrong with it alone, everything we know is theory and not a fact in similar fashion. We can see apple falling from a tree, but it does not translate to planets following their paths in solar system or our solar system following its path along our galaxy in our minds, like theory of gravity does. We can see living things evolving and adapting, it does not translate to exact image of how life evolved from beginning to end in our minds like theory of evolution does.

That does not mean that general theory of relativity or even newtons gravity is not worthwhile subject to study, it helps us understand how the world works a lot better. Same is true about evolution theory, it helps us understand how biology works, and how to avoid common pitfalls like just throwing medicine you no longer use to sewage system to give bacteria the chance to evolve and adapt to it. Disclaimer that evolution is just a theory is just fine as long as same disclaimer is attached to everything we study, and as long as people are helped to understand that it being a theory does nothing to its significance, and that it is worthwhile subject to study.

Examples like Will details are perfect example of why such things are needed. We need new generations that can build and further on what we know about the world, and that necessitates proper and through enough education. Ignoring it will cause the whole society to decline and suffer, and even more alarming is that it is already happening. Defending such phenomenon is display of unbelievable amounts of disregard towards society and the people in it. Since it is already happening, it is also dangerous and imminent threat, and something needs to be done to it.

Online HairyHeretic

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As for the refusal of a creationist to say “God didn’t do this.” I respond with a similar query of would a scientist ever say, “Science can’t explain this.”

If they have any integrity, then yes, they should say there are things science cannot as of yet explain. Science continues to evolve, and learn, and build on what has been learned.  The mysteries of yesterday become the knowledge of today. Or at least, of tomorrow.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

That was a very eloquent way of saying no.  If science learns about something tomorrow than science could have learned about it the day before.  The question was not whether a scientist would admit to not knowing something, but if science would simply be unable to ever explain something.  Alas I have already addressed this issue if you care to go back and see.

As for imminent danger, what are you talking about?  Enrollment in science courses is growing every year, budget cuts are made to the liberal arts in favor of more financed science programs and across the country tests increasingly favor science over the arts.  Courses in philosophy and theology are being drained of funds and students, while the sciences continue to fill to the brim.  Where is science in decline in the Western World that an imminent danger and threat persists that requires diligent defense against religion.  What advances in science are slowed by cries from religious figures to halt progress?  What religious protest recently has halted some form of research or progress? 

I’m sorry, but from all indications science is driving the bus right now.  Perhaps it’s time people accepted responsibility for what comes from such a heavy focus on science and the consequences of that education.

As for Will’s example, he went to a poor school.  He even admits that his school had little money.  Some poor teacher barely making enough to support herself in a public school system skips over evolution.  A subject that I doubt she feels many of her students would need.  Rural schools tend to focus on what they believe their students will need over more theoretical and what they might feel is less necessary.  Perhaps a federal mandate should be issued detailing the exact lesson plan for teachers.  Mayhap even a paper submitted with pre-printed statements for the teacher.  In fact all lesson plans can be constructed so that every teacher across the country at any given time is saying the same exact statement at the same exact time in order to curb the imminent danger.

He went to a poor school with a teacher that probably lived in the area.  That teacher, more than likely, did not feel that many of her students would go onto college.  So she probably skipped over something that she felt would not interest them, would not help them in life and probably cause her a headache from religious extremist parents.  There are some schools in other countries that have this selective education built into their system and call them track programs. 

Online Valerian

At the risk of falling further into semantics, it simply isn't possible to conclude that science will never be able to explain a particular phenomenon.  We can't predict what new advances may make it possible to explain something we once thought was inexplicable.

If arts are falling by the wayside in the United States (and I agree, they are, and elsewhere in the world as well), that's because of the current economy and the general job mess that sends less skilled jobs elsewhere.  My college advisor all but scoffed openly at my intention to major in English and did his level best to persuade me to switch to business studies so I could get a job.  I stuck to my guns, but it was a telling exchange, certainly.  But how is that the fault of science trouncing religion?  It's a very sad economic fact of life, but I don't see how that proves any triumph of "fact over faith", so to speak.

In the interests of full disclosure, I don't have a horse in this race, as the saying goes, so much of this discussion is purely academic to me.  I was raised without any particular religious beliefs, and still don't have any particular religious beliefs.  While some scientific subjects have always interested me, I'll never be anything more than a casual dabbler in such subjects.  My own personal opinion is that people should be free to believe in whatever combination of faith, science, etc. gets them through the day most easily, without religious proselytizers trying to convert them or Wedge Theorists trying to foist their apparently super-conservative agenda on them.  And in my own personal experience, I've never felt especially pressured by whatever Christian-centric biases there are in this culture, so again, it's primarily academic to me.

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Evolutionists have been very clear about this distinction of fact and theory from the very beginning, if only because we have always acknowledged how far we are from completely understanding the mechanisms (theory) by which evolution (fact) occurred. Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great and separate accomplishments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing a theory--natural selection--to explain the mechanism of evolution.
And requoting, since the intervening discussion leads me to believe it was missed.  If you really want to discuss evolution in terms of fact versus theory, then this distinction becomes vital.  Evolution =/= natural selection.  The former is, by any useful standard, a fact.  The latter is a commonly-held theory.

Online Lithos

That was a very eloquent way of saying no.  If science learns about something tomorrow than science could have learned about it the day before.  The question was not whether a scientist would admit to not knowing something, but if science would simply be unable to ever explain something.  Alas I have already addressed this issue if you care to go back and see.

The issue was not really addressed at all. We are taking our beginning steps still in really understanding nature, we do not even know for sure what all is there, so it is impossible to say whether science can explain everything or not. At the moment, it certainly does not explain everything. It explains heaps and bounds more than it did before, and if proper attention is paid to it, it will explain much much more.

As for imminent danger, what are you talking about?  Enrollment in science courses is growing every year, budget cuts are made to the liberal arts in favor of more financed science programs and across the country tests increasingly favor science over the arts.  Courses in philosophy and theology are being drained of funds and students, while the sciences continue to fill to the brim.  Where is science in decline in the Western World that an imminent danger and threat persists that requires diligent defense against religion.  What advances in science are slowed by cries from religious figures to halt progress?  What religious protest recently has halted some form of research or progress?

I think this reflects some fundamental difference in teaching system, here every student is provided basic package of information, you cannot opt out of something fundamental like basics of science or basics of theology. Science now is doing fine, hampering peoples education might well hamper the science tomorrow. This trend of dumbing down people is actually relatively new phenomenon after a lot more free education at earlier years. Hopefully it never lands on these shores.

I’m sorry, but from all indications science is driving the bus right now.  Perhaps it’s time people accepted responsibility for what comes from such a heavy focus on science and the consequences of that education.

There have only been beneficial consequences so far by large, we have thrived tremendously forward in many areas cause of it. I am glad that you are sorry and accept it, there is a lot to do to keep things on track in this planet in future, and heavy enough focus on science to really push forward new ways of energy and food production are one of the main things that we need to survive on this ball.

As for Will’s example, he went to a poor school.  He even admits that his school had little money.  Some poor teacher barely making enough to support herself in a public school system skips over evolution.  A subject that I doubt she feels many of her students would need.  Rural schools tend to focus on what they believe their students will need over more theoretical and what they might feel is less necessary.  Perhaps a federal mandate should be issued detailing the exact lesson plan for teachers.  Mayhap even a paper submitted with pre-printed statements for the teacher.  In fact all lesson plans can be constructed so that every teacher across the country at any given time is saying the same exact statement at the same exact time in order to curb the imminent danger.

This seems to be some fundamental difference in schooling system. Here schools get exactly same money and are generally not allowed private funding to make sure that quality of education remains constantly good. If finances of schools are endangering education, then perhaps renovation of the education system is in order. There is no reason to skip important part of education due to monetary issues though - if that starts happening the school might just as well not exist.

He went to a poor school with a teacher that probably lived in the area.  That teacher, more than likely, did not feel that many of her students would go onto college.  So she probably skipped over something that she felt would not interest them, would not help them in life and probably cause her a headache from religious extremist parents.  There are some schools in other countries that have this selective education built into their system and call them track programs.

I believe that those are the countries where schooling is dictated by money and students have to pay high semester fees or such. Again, renovation of schooling system should help with that, and money issues should not come in cost of broadness of subjects. I admit that you pay for university level schooling even here, but it is about 50 euro or 65 dollars a year, I am from country, not from rich family but I was able to afford that. And since it covered medical insurance and such it actually was a bargain.

Specialization is important in latter part of schooling, and for that track programs are good. But there should be some measure of basic civil education and certainly basics of sciences should be part of that. I am not sure how it works with religion there but here at very least people who belonged to orthodox or evangelic lutheric church got also basic theology of their religion. Alongside sciences though, not separate from it, and that is important.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 09:02:58 AM by Lithos »

Offline Jude

Everyone else did a fine point of addressing other things, so I'll only respond to one thing.  If you think science is not in danger, I would assert that you're very much wrong:

http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/2010/05/psychological-barriers-facing-mmr.html (about the MMR vaccine lies that persist)
http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=1832 (contains statistics about science education in the US that are disturbing)
http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-03-08-home-school-christian_N.htm?csp=usat.me (about homeschool and evolution)
http://www.uiowa.edu/~grpproc/crisp/crisp15_3.pdf (about science acceptance)

Nevermind all of that, how about the fact that we've done next to nothing about global warming?  There are influential people who believe it will never happen because of religion (not to mention a good portion of the population), once such person was a Republican chairman on an environment committee who openly admitted that he's not worried about it because god won't let humanity destroy the earth during a congressional hearing (his name eludes me at the moment).  Not to mention:

http://coloradoindependent.com/48909/global-warming-skepticism-continues-to-rise-in-the-u-s

We're very much in danger of becoming (if we aren't already there) a nation that ignores science in favor of whatever it is that we want to believe.  The examples are far more numerous than this however, nearly every entry in this podcast that I listen to every week contains more and more proof: http://www.theskepticsguide.org/

Offline Will

Pumpkin, you said you can't assume why there were stickers placed on the inside of my biology book.  You say you don't know why the material on evolution was passed over.  Why didn't we skip plate tectonics?  Why wasn't there a sticker disclaiming the truthiness of the theory of gravity?  Obviously evolution was on someone's bad side.  Trying to say otherwise is just being obtuse.

Oh, and btw, I did not go to a rural school, and a large portion of my class went to college.  Please do not assume what I do not tell you.

Offline Noelle

That was a very eloquent way of saying no.  If science learns about something tomorrow than science could have learned about it the day before.  The question was not whether a scientist would admit to not knowing something, but if science would simply be unable to ever explain something.  Alas I have already addressed this issue if you care to go back and see.

This makes zero sense. If science learns something new, it does not make it a given that they "could've learned about it the day before". Knowledge is always changing and evolving as new perspectives, new tests, new data, etc., all become available to us. If that isn't what you're trying to say, I'm curious as to what you mean, but as it is, it's ridiculous to say "If we can someday send a manned ship to the next galaxy over, we always could've!"

The question as to whether or not science would simply be unable to ever explain something is absolutely pointless and proves nothing. We would never know the answer because science would be constantly looking to explain it. They would admit they don't know the answer or that it is "currently unexplained", but they're looking for the cause nonetheless. What's your point?

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As for imminent danger, what are you talking about?  Enrollment in science courses is growing every year, budget cuts are made to the liberal arts in favor of more financed science programs and across the country tests increasingly favor science over the arts.

Because believe it or not, our students in the US are failing at math and science, especially compared to the rest of the world. We have a shortage of students who are prepared to take over in math and science-related fields, students who are severely behind, taking basic algebra later and later in their schooling because they just weren't ready. Evidence? Sure, I have some.

TIMSS report from 2007 (the most recent I could find):

Quote
4th Grade Students
1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. Chinese Taipei
4. Japan
5. Kazakhstan
6. Russian Federation
7. England
8. Latvia
9. Netherlands
10. Lithuania
11. United States

8th Grade Students
1. Chinese Taipei
2. Republic of Korea
3. Singapore
4. Hong Kong
5. Japan
6. Hungary
7. England
8. Russian Federation
9. United States

Dunno about you, but when these kids grow up and we need doctors and scientists (you know, if religion hasn't taken over *tongueincheek*), I'd kind of like them to be well-educated so when I need to rely on them as surgeons and dentists and researchers looking for cures and advancements and the like, I know they are more than qualified to do their jobs. I'm telling this to you as an artist. As someone who has graduated with a degree in liberal arts. We are in no danger of running out of artists or musicians or writers, and though I enjoyed my liberal arts education, it's not for everybody and shouldn't be forced to be for everybody because it's simply nowhere near as practical as focusing on improving our students where they're failing. It's just a fact that science is going to save more lives than philosophy is and to argue that is completely absurd.

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Courses in philosophy and theology are being drained of funds and students, while the sciences continue to fill to the brim.  Where is science in decline in the Western World that an imminent danger and threat persists that requires diligent defense against religion.  What advances in science are slowed by cries from religious figures to halt progress?  What religious protest recently has halted some form of research or progress? 

Science is gradually shifting towards an incline in schools because we've made it a priority because we were failing at it. It's not hard to put two and two together, Jude's already posted plenty of telling statistics otherwise.

But let's talk about what religion has slowed/stopped.

Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, the Pope informing third-world countries that condoms are evil and thereby limiting advancements HIV/AIDS prevention, stem cell research, evolution, cloning, genetic modification, preemptive genetic screening. Any questions?

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I’m sorry, but from all indications science is driving the bus right now.  Perhaps it’s time people accepted responsibility for what comes from such a heavy focus on science and the consequences of that education.

Yes. All indications that, as I previously stated, most people don't think science is trustworthy even though it provides them with modern conveniences and longer and more comfortable lives. Science must be prevalent in peoples' minds if that's the case, right? ...Anyone?


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As for Will’s example, he went to a poor school.  He even admits that his school had little money.  Some poor teacher barely making enough to support herself in a public school system skips over evolution.  A subject that I doubt she feels many of her students would need.  Rural schools tend to focus on what they believe their students will need over more theoretical and what they might feel is less necessary.  Perhaps a federal mandate should be issued detailing the exact lesson plan for teachers.  Mayhap even a paper submitted with pre-printed statements for the teacher.  In fact all lesson plans can be constructed so that every teacher across the country at any given time is saying the same exact statement at the same exact time in order to curb the imminent danger.

Will already pointed out that you don't actually know any of this, and in fact, you're wrong. It's hard to debate when you're making your points on non-facts.

Quote
He went to a poor school with a teacher that probably lived in the area.  That teacher, more than likely, did not feel that many of her students would go onto college.  So she probably skipped over something that she felt would not interest them, would not help them in life and probably cause her a headache from religious extremist parents.  There are some schools in other countries that have this selective education built into their system and call them track programs.

And you think this is okay? This is biased teaching based on religion, thus furthering my point that it has no place in our education system, and also blatantly contradicting your claim that science is "driving the bus".

Maybe you feel differently, but I wouldn't want my theoretical children to be taught by someone who doesn't believe in higher education and doesn't believe in their students' potential. You don't just NOT teach someone something because "it might not interest them" -- that completely defeats the purpose of education to begin with. Why would you not want to give them a wealth of knowledge? You're advocating liberal arts, but liberal arts also encourages a student to explore MULTIPLE disciplines to expand their general scope, which includes math and science. So many contradictions.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 03:46:13 PM by Noelle »

Offline Vekseid

Also - do not forget that you can combine religion and science!!! (at least superficially)

*snip AIG nonsense*

Creationists spread lies to milk money off of the gullible. Kent Hovind went to jail for his lies, Ken Ham belongs there too.

Thank you Pumpkin for saying what I've become too frustrated to.  I wasn't saying that science is wrong or that I don't trust it; though homeopathic remedies and meditation have done more for me than doctors ever have....

I don't believe you. In fact I would go so far as to say, I am fully confident that homeopathy has done nothing but only hurt your wallet. It can't do anything that meditation or good music can't. Being confident that you will get better is an important aspect of recovery. Homeopathy is still a fraud.

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Anyway, I was simply trying to voice my frustration.  Veks and Jude just pretty much proved my point by debating the Big Bang Theory.  Two intellectuals don't agree on the same topic, so if you can't agree amongst yourselves, what gives any of you the right to wield the science stick and bash me with it and tell me how wrong I am? 

Science is the attempt to describe reality. Jude made a factual error. Disagreements do not change fundamental reality no matter how much you want to believe it.

Considering there is an entire religion based around the idea that the God of the Bible is evil incarnate whose worship should be avoided at all costs (Gnosticism), that is not exactly the sort of logical realm you want to be dealing with. Above and beyond the fact that, again, as a civilization, that gets us nowhere.

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I fully admit that I don't know everything and could potentially be wrong.  I probably shouldn't have said anything because everything was twisted and my points completely ignored.

Name one point of yours that I have completely ignored, and I will apologize and address it.

Just one.

Personally, I feel you've ignored most of what I said.

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I'm just a little ticked off that anything even remotely having to do with religion on this forum turns into a religion bashing fest.  Just because outright insults weren't used doesn't exactly mean no one was attacked.   

A religion is not a defense against falsehood. If someone makes a false claim, it should be treated as false regardless of whether or not its basis was religious.

Truth will set you free.

Once more theory is being misused.  Gravity is by definition a force.  There are theories regarding gravity, but gravity is not a theory.

Sort of. If someone references the 'Theory of gravity' they may be referring to Newton's theory or the theory of relativity. Words can mean multiple things at the same time, and when making logical discussions it's important to be distinct.

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  Evolution is not nearly as tangible as gravity, one is a force after all.  When you can measure evolution, then maybe the two can be compared.

Evolution is measured in terms of shifts in allele frequencies. That is it's most basic definition, and in that sense, it is a fact.

Relatedly:

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Also, you keep stating a scientific and layman definition.  Then you want people to that are discussing science to use the layman.  Evolution is part of science, therefore it is a scientific theory.  That is the only way to be any more specific about the topic.  Honestly, I do not see how that statement can be said any other way.  Evolution is a scientific theory, which means it may be false. 

Darwin's Origin of Species established the theory of common descent. We did not directly observe the origin of species, but this theory has made predictions, many of them, and has become a very well established theory.

The process of evolution is a fact. We watch mutations and shifts in gene frequencies happen across generation.

Even the theory of common descent won't ever become any more false than Newton's theory of gravity, germ theory, or the idea that Earth is a sphere. None of them perfectly describe gravity, disease, or Earth's shape, but we still teach them, because they are accurate enough for their purposes.

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Evolution is a theory, not a fact.

As I states above, it is both. Facts are observations, theories are hypothesis that have made predictions. Hypothesis are explanations that explain the facts known so far.

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How is that misleading?

Because it is a lie.


Offline Brandon

Quote from: pumpkin seeds
I'm just a little ticked off that anything even remotely having to do with religion on this forum turns into a religion bashing fest.  Just because outright insults weren't used doesn't exactly mean no one was attacked.
   

A religion is not a defense against falsehood. If someone makes a false claim, it should be treated as false regardless of whether or not its basis was religious.

Truth will set you free.

I think you missed the point of that statement Veks. If this were gay bashing, racial bashing, or male/female bashing the staff would get on that, but this is about religion another aspect of peoples lives that is not a choice and when its bashed the staff doesnt seem to do a thing. That is my problem, and I think pumpkin is in the same boat as me. Since I dont see you guys fighting against the Theocist comments that means I have to. Sometimes you even seem to participate in the theocism

I have never critisized the staff before but I think this is long past due

« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 08:58:13 PM by Brandon »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Alright, I’m going to have to ask for time to address what has been proposed.  First I will simply state that I am disappointed in the administration staff for this turn of events.  Typically when people on a message board ask for a breather or things become heated, an administrator locks the thread for a day so people can relax and calm down.  This has not happened despite two administrators being in the discussion along with the owner of the site.  There have been a lot of insults flying about, which I am not innocent of making. 

Second point is that I will try to answer people individually at this stage.  I seem to be fighting the same topic on multiple fronts.  Thus far people seem to be taking what I say to one person as applying to themselves, which creates confusion.  For now I will split the argument as I can between respondents.  This will take more time, especially as I am now entering my work week.

Valerian – While I respect that you posted a book containing very detailed discussion on this topic, I will also insist once more that people realize that this is called the Theory of Evolution.  This is how the subject is taught not only in highschool but in colleges.  When we approach the topic of evolution in college, we are not presented with the theory of natural selection.  The theory is of Evolution because evolution encompasses the many aspects from which natural selection is considered. 

When I take a petri dish and set a weak antibiotic into the dish, allow the bacteria to grow, transport them to another dish and treat this dish with the same antibiotic I am searching for evolution.  The bacteria in the new dish should be resistant, via the process of natural selection.  Natural selection is the proposed mechanism for evolution.  While the entire process of natural selection is not understood, we do know that we are seeing is evolution.  Were we to find a population that did not operate by natural selection, then evolution as a theory would have to change.  This is why evolution is still considered a theory because the exact mechanism is not known. 

Evolution is also a fickle thing to witness.  We do not know why some species contain variations in their genetic structure to adapt, while others do not.  For instance when putting the antibiotic into the petri dish, sometimes none survive.  This is a pretty common occurrence in the laboratory setting.  Sometimes these bacteria flourish when they should not because to our knowledge they are not resistant to the antibiotic.  This happens enough to allow us to know we do not understand evolution enough to say that it will occur at all times.  Certain species have shown a failure to evolve, while others that are near the same adapt just fine.  Evolution occurs far more often than it does not, but there are still oddities occurring that are worthy of consideration before making evolution into a law or presenting this as fact to everyone.

Also take note that while science does not need the “missing link” to make the argument for evolution that is certainly a problematic point.  The lack of one does not detract from the significance of evolution as research nor does it subtract from the relevance of the theory.  An inability to trace origins back through time certainly raises questions.  There may be other factors at work in evolution that we do not understand, parts that are missing from our theory.  There are a lot of questions that deserve answers and are required to fill in the gaps.  That is why this is a theory.  To say this is a fact or law is misleading from both a scientific perspective and a layman’s point of view.

Part of this is why I am confused over this vehement refusal to acknowledge that evolution could be wrong.  One of the great and celebrated points of science is that science can be wrong, but that those mistakes will be fixed through experimentation and discovery.  People are far more willing to take on the theoretical nature of things that are not really theoretical than to simply admit that the theory of evolution is still being refined and tested.  Evolution is a strong theory, honestly I think it is the best explanation we have for what is there and I do trust that evolution will stand the test of time.  I do understand though that the theory might change from further discovery and that what I learned in school about evolution may not be what my children learned in school.

Offline Will

I don't really understand why there needs to be a breather.  The majority of responses on both sides of this thread have been very thoughtful and civil.  I'm actually rather impressed; it doesn't happen often with this particular subject.

Offline Jude

Evolution is constantly changing and taking shape.  Just recently they discovered a bacterium parasite that is passed down from generation to generation in a certain species of fruit flies that acts as a probiotic, thus giving the fruit fly species that contains that probiotic an advantage.  That species of fruit fly has evolved, is superior to others, and yet the inherited trait is not genetic; this is something new and will alter the way we think about traits being passed down (as it is a brand new mechanism to do so).  The Theory of Evolution had to be modified for this anomaly so it has changed yet again.

It is still possible for it to be wrong.  It could be that all of the mountains of evidence that we have accrued are nothing more than circumstance, and our minds have created the pattern to explain those circumstances, which we will discover happened only by chance.  It's incredibly unlikely, but it's always a possibility in any empirical endeavor.  Evolution could be wrong; I never said or even implied that it couldn't.

I don't object to the phrase "evolution is a theory not a fact" on the grounds that it makes evolution seem like it's not 100% solid (because it isn't, it's probably over 99%, but no scientific information can be 100% solid, it's all based on inductive reasoning), I object because the definition of theory that any layman has (which has been quoted time and time again) has an entirely different level of validation, solidity, and proof than the scientific version of the term.  You could change, "evolution is a theory not a fact" to "evolution is a scientific idea which fits all the available evidence collected over the past 50+ years, but is not completely proven due to the fact that it's based on statistical induction" and I'd have no problem.  I'd even be OK with them explaining what a scientific theory is before the statement "evolution is a fact not a theory" on the sticker.

The people who got that sticker put in those books knew that when children in high school read it, they're going to think evolution isn't very solid.  In most circumstances, the people who supported the sticker being put in themselves don't even know that a scientific theory is different than its common language counterpart.  It's manipulation and ignorance of the highest order.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Lithos – The point I was attempting to make in my response to HairyHeretic is how that is an unfair criticism of creationism.  To say that someone following creationism will fail to admit that God didn’t do something, while at the same time scientists will make the same claim about science.  Repeatedly in this argument people have talked about how illogical an assumption of divine intervention is when considering an event.  When a patient gets better for no reason that is understood, a scientist doesn’t tell everyone that science does not apply here.  A scientist doesn’t do his studies, finding nothing conclusive and simply state that science is unable to understand this aspect of our world.  My comment is to make light that what he said was not a fair critique.

I do wish children in this country would receive basics in philosophy, theology perhaps but I don’t see that being fairly taught.  Part of this is to avoid conflicts such as religion and state which might be raised in philosophical discussion.  Students tend to take at least one of those classes in college, but I do wish there was more in high school.  I believe that I benefitted greatly from being taught philosophy in high school.  In fairness though this is not a “dumbing down” of education so much as a sterilization of the arts from school.  Part of this is indeed from religious ideology but also from a wave of political correctness that has swept the nation.  There is simply not enough time to devote to what everyone feels is important and so our education system has decided to simply drop the matter.

Why you are happy for me being sorry, I am not sure.  Why you would have the impression I do not accept science as being a leader in this world I am not sure either.  I have spent the majority of my life studying science in one form or another.  While you believe that science has done no harm, history would disagree.  There have certainly been leaps forward but also a great many setbacks, pains and wrongs done to this world because of the drive to advance and achieve.  Certainly I am happy that science is advancing our lives and am proud to be part of the work.  I do think that you have illustrated the point that science needs to accept its lead position and cease to blame religion for mishaps.  Science needs to take responsibility for its actions as well.

There is more than likely a difference in school funding between the two countries.  In the United States schools typically receive their funding from property taxes in the area, which is dependent on property value.  Rural communities have low property value by virtue of the space they have while urban schools tend to have low property values from the sheer amount of people centered on a piece of land, as with apartment buildings.  That is not the fault of religion but of a political system and a flaw in the philosophy of the United States in relation to education.  A school with little money does not have the luxury of giving a standardized education of equal value of weight as compared to one with more funding.  The problem of teachers being underpaid, overworked and not educated enough themselves is a severe problem that our education system is struggling to address.

While evolution might be a big part of biology, there would probably be enough room for a teacher to state that she did not feel such a thing to be vital.  My taking of the ACT and SAT were long enough ago that I do not remember if that subject was even tested.

Offline Will

There is more than likely a difference in school funding between the two countries.  In the United States schools typically receive their funding from property taxes in the area, which is dependent on property value.  Rural communities have low property value by virtue of the space they have while urban schools tend to have low property values from the sheer amount of people centered on a piece of land, as with apartment buildings.  That is not the fault of religion but of a political system and a flaw in the philosophy of the United States in relation to education.  A school with little money does not have the luxury of giving a standardized education of equal value of weight as compared to one with more funding.  The problem of teachers being underpaid, overworked and not educated enough themselves is a severe problem that our education system is struggling to address.
What does that have to do with the situation?  Are you saying that a school system can be too poor to teach evolution?  If it's already in the book, and it is purposely skipped over, then I don't see how funding matters.  You still seem to be trying to avoid the glaringly obvious motivation for leaving out evolution, and as I said before, it's rather obtuse.

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While evolution might be a big part of biology, there would probably be enough room for a teacher to state that she did not feel such a thing to be vital.  My taking of the ACT and SAT were long enough ago that I do not remember if that subject was even tested.
I do vividly recall there being at least one question on my ACT about natural selection; it was the classic bird beak example.

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Alright, I’m going to have to ask for time to address what has been proposed.  First I will simply state that I am disappointed in the administration staff for this turn of events.  Typically when people on a message board ask for a breather or things become heated, an administrator locks the thread for a day so people can relax and calm down.  This has not happened despite two administrators being in the discussion along with the owner of the site.  There have been a lot of insults flying about, which I am not innocent of making. 

No need to get staff involved or be disappointed in them. If you need a breather, just take one. Very simple. :)

I don't really understand why there needs to be a breather.  The majority of responses on both sides of this thread have been very thoughtful and civil.  I'm actually rather impressed; it doesn't happen often with this particular subject.

I was just talking to someone yesterday about how I was pretty impressed with this thread. I find the discussion interesting and have been reading (most) posts with interest.

Online Valerian

Alright, I’m going to have to ask for time to address what has been proposed.  First I will simply state that I am disappointed in the administration staff for this turn of events.  Typically when people on a message board ask for a breather or things become heated, an administrator locks the thread for a day so people can relax and calm down.  This has not happened despite two administrators being in the discussion along with the owner of the site.  There have been a lot of insults flying about, which I am not innocent of making. 
I'm sorry if you feel the thread needed locking; I've honestly found this thread to be refreshingly free of personal insults, especially considering how threads here often turn out.  If there is a specific post you'd like to report as being insulting or inflammatory, please do.

Valerian – While I respect that you posted a book containing very detailed discussion on this topic, I will also insist once more that people realize that this is called the Theory of Evolution.  This is how the subject is taught not only in highschool but in colleges.  When we approach the topic of evolution in college, we are not presented with the theory of natural selection.  The theory is of Evolution because evolution encompasses the many aspects from which natural selection is considered. 
Perhaps this is simply the result of different school districts and teaching styles?  I've not studied science particularly, but in my high school and college classes that touched on the concept of evolution, I was actually presented with the fact of evolution, and natural selection as a probable theory to explain the exact method of evolution.  My teachers were also, however, careful to make sure we all understood how "fact" and "theory" were being defined in this particular case.

As for whether or not either evolution or natural selection will ever be proven wrong, or even shown to need major revisions, I personally can't even guess... but really, I'm not sure anyone who's been participating here is utterly convinced that evolution will never be proved wrong.

A scientist doesn’t do his studies, finding nothing conclusive and simply state that science is unable to understand this aspect of our world.
Well, again, a scientist at that point should say that science is unable to understand a particular aspect of the world as yet.  I'm not sure why you insist on calling that very necessary qualifier a way of ducking the question.  The boundaries of scientific knowledge change so quickly, it would be foolhardy for anyone to state that a particular issue will never, ever be understood.  The problem may turn out to be something as simple as a lack of the proper equipment to test a hypothesis properly, as in the very early attempts to calculate the speed of light.  Saying that "science will never be able to explain X, Y, or Z," isn't admitting to a lack on the part of science; it's only a good way of making yourself look silly when X, Y, and Z are explained ten years down the road, thanks to better equipment, better organized experiments, etc.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Jude – I will break this first part down by the articles presented.

MMR: Reading over this article there is no mention of religion.  Parents are requesting equal understanding and weight to both arguments.  Government sources are not trusted, which has more to do with people’s faith in government then in their religious faith.  That people trust the word of mouth of others is a well documented.  Honestly this is a bit relieving that people are asking for more information before blindly sticking their children with random medications.  I can only hope they will read the warning labels on over the counter medications as diligently.

Science Education – For one, the blog posted that was linked admits that they were revealing only a portion of the article deleted.  Assumptions are openly made about the reason the part was deleted.  As someone that has reviewed many surveys, there are a lot of reasons why the part may have been deleted.  At the risk of having this turn into another nit-pick fight, I will concede religious bias as part of the equation.  Yet the students, when the question was asked differently, replied in the positive and got the question right.  As the article points out, students know the theory but may not believe the theory.  Also, I have a feeling that if the question was rewarded to reflect another species aside from human beings that more would get the question correct.  The blog also notes that interest in science, informal and formal, is on the rise.

Home Schooling – Parents remove their children from school, teach them as they like.  Short of passing mandates that require parents to teach certain things, from certain books and follow a set lesson plan this is does not fall under government purview.  So unless you are now stating that parents who do not use federal funds to educate their children are no longer allowed to teach their children, essentially removing homeschooling entirely, this isn’t a threat to science.  Also these children still have to take and pass the same exams to enter college and take those same classes in order to graduate from college.

Acceptance of Science – Once more this does not relate to religion.  ESP is not considered a religious phenomenon that I am aware of except in smaller ones.  People do want to believe in the paranormal and the unreal.  One theorist, George Ritzer, touched on this notion.  People seeking “enchantment” in a rational world, a sense of mystery and the unbelievable.  He described finding a balance between the rational and the enchanted.  This actually has nothing to do with religion, except that religion does help add some “enchantment” to their lives.  Ironically many people have turned instead for more eccentric remedies and beliefs over religion.

Global Warming – While I do not really want a debate on global warming, I can also safe with certainty that the growing opinion against that is not due to religion.  There have been discrepancies found in the science behind global warming, people from the scientific community have spoken out against global warming and I think people have grown tired of the fear mongering by people who pushed global warming.  Even the article fails to mention religion.

A podcast by a site called the Skeptic’s Guide is reporting that science is on the decline.  You don’t say.

Offline Jude

1)  I never said science was in danger solely due to religion, my post was specifically in response to your "science is not endangered" comments.  So I give you a bunch of examples where it is, and you try and cast things back in another direction that wasn't being discussed.  That's a clear example of the moving the goalpost fallacy.

2)  The site is called the Skeptic's Guide because it's part of the skepticism movement (which is a scientific movement); I'm not really sure what your point is there.

3)  As far as global warming goes, the final review is back from the East Anglia situation and once again the scientists that work there have been exonerated of any charges of data falsification.  The evidence continues to grow, but still people don't listen.  I already gave you an example of a religious statement (made in congress) being used as justification to not do anything about global warming--how can you say religion isn't playing a role when it's influencing officials to make policy decisions that keep us from acting to stop global warming?
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 01:09:52 AM by Jude »