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  Topic: Philo 4483: Christian Faith and Science, Honest questions from Dembski's students< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 16 2010,08:24   

Quote (Doc Bill @ Mar. 16 2010,10:42)
I think that is enough about Dembski for a bit. One might think the class was primarily about him.

To save Louis the trouble of posting, I think this is the only reasonable thing you wrote!

Sorry, can't stay. †Must go out and buy a new irony meter.

You are nothing if not generous. May the heavens rain down beer upon thee...but not in steins that would just be silly and hurt.


P.S. Oh can't I take just one?

1) Why is there such an irrational disgust for scientific data or theories that might combat evolutionary theory? For example, just this past week I was listening to a radio broadcast taking questions/comments on the Texas textbook issues. A gentleman phoned in and suggested that evolution be the only theory taught (period). When the broadcaster questioned, why not teach theistic evolution, creationism, intelligent design, and evolution? The man erupted and was distraught at the idea of any separate (inaccurate Ė the manís wording) theory being taught other than evolution. He confidently asserted that evolution was the ONLY and wholly ACCURATE theory. Why be so dogmatic against other views?

This presumes the scientific validity of these "other views". What if, and this is an important question, they are not scientifically valid? I.e. they lack the data to support them. What if they are exactly as they've been shown to be, intellectually vacuous, previously well refuted claims couched in pseudoscientific jargon designed to gull the electorate and inculcate a specific narrow, religious doctrine into science?

If, and I stress the conditional, this is the case then should we scientists be "open minded" to these claims? Perhaps geologists and astronomers should reconsider their positions on a flat earth, a less than 10000 year old universe, and earth as the centre of the universe. Are they being dogmatic when they don't entertain these "other views" as science? Or are they just practising science as it should be done, i.e. with no view as to what is demonstrably true but rigour regarding how we claim something to be demonstrably true? The word "true" in the previous sentence is used in full awareness of the philosophical niceties and the limits of observation etc.

Perhaps the "irrational disgust" you claim exists (without evidence and support I note. Anecdote and personal interpretations are not evidence) is neither "disgust" nor "irrational".

On the issue of the emotion surrounding the issue, to use an example of Dawkins', imagine you are a classics scholar, an expert in the study of Ancient Rome, and you were frequently subjected to a relatively well organised and extremely popular (in some countries at least) denial of the existence of Ancient Rome (or variant twists on that theme). Is it possible that, among even the most patient and saintly of you and your colleagues, someone would let a teensy bit of frustration creep through now and again? It's an all too human failing. Sometimes, just sometimes, the frustration that creeps through is justified. Not always, just sometimes.

Now, cards on the table, why have I answered you in this way, why have I asked these questions? Because I doubt you have arrived at the position you clearly have arrived at by soberly studying the available evidence. In fact I have an advantage, I know it's impossible for you to have done so in exactly the same way I know a homeopath who claims that water has a memory hasn't studied chemistry in a sober, reasoned evidence based manner. If you wish to take umbrage at that or claim bias on my part, then that is your affair, and your problem. I suspect, however, the evidence is meaningless to you and entirely besides the point as far as you are concerned. I'm very happy to be wrong about that by the way. You, apparently, have been indoctrinated with the view that somehow evolutionary biology is in opposition to what I presume (perhaps wrongly) your religious faith is. This isn't necessarily the case, although for some religious positions it is undeniably so. If the latter is the case, I suggest you follow the words of the Dalai Lama as opposed to the actions of Kurt Wise.


ETA: The majority of the traffic here is humorous for a reason. IDC and it's ilk got old long ago. If the banter and frivolity disturbs you, or if you seek to use it to impugn the seriousness of the participants, or to cast irrelevant aspersions at science then you will get incredibly short shrift. Other people have said this better than I:

"By calling him humourless I mean to impugn his seriousness, categorically: such a man must rig up his probity ex nihilo."

Martin Amis, Experience (2000), Part I: "Failures of Tolerance"

"Nothing is more curious than the almost savage hostility that Humour excites in those who lack it."

George Saintsbury, A Last Vintage, p. 172


  444 replies since Feb. 22 2010,14:06 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

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