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Talk:Charles Darwin

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Controversial and "about half of Americans doubt it..."

Who cares about Americans and what they think? A lot of Americans still think Elvis is still alive, but his death isn't "controversial." Evolution is only a "controversy" among people who subscribe to one particular narrow worldview. The word should be excised. TheoryOfPractice 03:08, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

A controversy is, by definition, "a prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; disputation concerning a matter of opinion." As a theistic evolutionist, I have no problems with evolution, but I think it would certainly qualify as a "controversy" given that definition. Historian 03:12, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Teach the Controversy! --Gulik 08:32, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

66% of the world's population believes in something other than Christianity, yet no one here would use that as an argument against the validity of that faith. This site should avoid the use of argumentum ad populum references when dealing with science-related topics, because it's all too easy to toss irrelevant statistics in to support points that can be made in more credible ways. --DinsdaleP 15:21, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
This site should avoid the use of argumentum ad populum references when dealing with science-related topics... I agree, and speaking personally, I do avoid such arguments. That is, in regard to the validity of an argument. This discussion was about justification for the claim that the topic is controversial. The popularity if a viewpoint is relevant in some respects; it's just that validity is not one of them. Yet I note evolutionists frequently using arguments ad populum to defend their belief, as in "scientists agree that evolution occurs", but when creationists and ID proponents point out that it is not quite the consensus they claim, they object on the grounds that it's an argument ad populum! Hypocrisy abounds! I've had that sort of debate on another site in the past few days, where evolutionists were trying to justify their dismissal of ID and creationism by calling them a "fringe view" (i.e. small number of adherents). Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 15:36, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I think there is a valid difference between the statements "x% of people (i.e. laymen) have doubts about a certain scientific theory", and "x% of scientists support the validity of a certain scientific theory". The former is general opinion, while the latter is the opinion of people with training in the scientific method regardless of their discipline, and who are far more likely to have their opinions based in relevant expertise.
I also believe that the "fringe view" label is not meant to apply to the population as a whole, but to the ratio of creation scientists out of the worldwide body of scientists in general. Classical scientists work with observation and theory, and are willing to discard or radically modify even the most fundamental of scientific beliefs when they are objectively proven to be false, incomplete or limited. Creation scientists, on the other hand, are constrained by their findings having to conform with religious scripture in addition to the objective evidence they observe and measure. It is the requirement to operate under that severe scripture-based constraint that puts them on the "fringe" of mainstream science, which operates without regard to religious conformity.
So scientists can learn about radioactivity, decay rates and half lives, and independently confirm that they are consistent not just now, but across the vast majority of time-based samples as decay theory would predict. Exceptions are found, but from a statistical point of view the evidence for radiometric dating being fundamentally valid as a date-approximation tool is overwhelming, and accepted by mainstream scientists. However, since these principles do not conform to the YEC view of scripture, creation scientists will not accept that the scripture could be wrong, but instead seek to invent alternate explanations for radiometric phenomena that validate scripture instead. That is the mindset that leads many to consider it fringe science. --DinsdaleP 18:28, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
There is also something to the authority of people who have studied biology for many years and researched it as opposed to the general public who have not. Does the authority "prove" anything? Of course not. But there is something to studying biology as your field. I'd rather ask a doctor about medicine than the general public. As for whether there's a "controversy," I've always liked the example of the tobacco companies, who, upon considering the epidemiological evidence, said that whether tobacco caused lung cancer was a "controversy." The parallels to the theory of evolution vs. the invention of creation debate are stunning. Sterile 18:38, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I think there is a valid difference between the statements "x% of people (i.e. laymen) [vs. scientists]. ... [scientists] are far more likely to have their opinions based in relevant expertise. There is a difference, but I think the difference is overstated. All scientists are (hopefully!) trained in the scientific method, but they don't all get trained in evolution. Outside their own specialist fields, scientists are laymen. They are not that more likely to have their opinions based in relevant expertise. Mostly, they trust (have faith in) the expertise of other scientists.
I also believe that the "fringe view" label is not meant to apply to the population as a whole, but to the ratio of creation scientists out of the worldwide body of scientists in general. I have two problems with this. First, it was not (and is not normally) qualified in that way. Astrology is bunk, and rejected by the vast majority of scientists, but I wouldn't call it a "fringe view". Such labelling is used merely to avoid debate. Second, see the main page of this encyclopædia regarding the ratio of creation scientists. Any view that has, say, 100,000 scientists supporting it cannot fairly be called a "fringe view" even within the scientific community. "Minority view", yes, but not "fringe view".
Classical scientists work with observation and theory, and are willing to discard or radically modify even the most fundamental of scientific beliefs when they are objectively proven to be false, incomplete or limited. Except when you are talking about historical science, which is not observed (how many scientists have observed fish turn into amphibians?) It is clear that evolutionary scienitsts are generally not willing to give up on evolution.
Creation scientists, on the other hand, are constrained by their findings having to conform with religious scripture in addition to the objective evidence they observe and measure. And atheistic scientists are constrained by their findings having to conform to naturalistic explanations. A creationary scientist can ask, "Is this due to nature or design?" An atheistic scientist has already ruled out one of those options a priori. The hypocrisy of this criticism is overflowing.
So scientists can learn about radioactivity, decay rates and half lives, and independently confirm that they are consistent not just now, but across the vast majority of time-based samples as decay theory would predict. Except that (a) they can't experimentally confirm that decay rates have remained constant throughout the past as they only have the present to work with, and (b) there are plenty of examples of samples of known age being given wrong ages by these methods. In other words, the methods have been experimentally proved to be unreliable, yet they are promoted as certain.
Exceptions are found, but from a statistical point of view the evidence for radiometric dating being fundamentally valid as a date-approximation tool is overwhelming,... Actually, as far as testing the methods to see if they really do work (i.e. by comparing the results of the methods against samples of known age), I believe that the evidence is strongly on the side of them being unreliable. I'm not actually aware of any such tests showing that the methods work reliably, but I'm aware of many showing that they are unreliable.
However, since these principles do not conform to the YEC view of scripture,... Just as other evidence does not conform to a naturalistic view of things...
...creation scientists will not accept that the scripture could be wrong,... Just as atheists won't accept that naturalism could be wrong.
...but instead seek to invent alternate explanations for radiometric phenomena that validate scripture instead. They don't "invent" alternative explanations; they can substantiate them. And its the evolutionists who invent things, such as Ernst Haeckel did, and the person behind Piltdown Man. I'm not saying that most evolutionists are dishonest, but Haeckel was a major player in promulgating evolution, and there's enough other examples to blacken the credibility of evolutionists.
There is also something to the authority of people who have studied biology for many years and researched it as opposed to the general public who have not. We were talking about evolution, not biology. Most scientists, even most biologists, have little to do with goo-to-you evolution.
I'd rather ask a doctor about medicine than the general public. And I'd rather ask someone who witnessed past events (e.g. God) about past events than ask scientists who weren't there to observe it.
As for whether there's a "controversy," I've always liked the example of the tobacco companies... I thought similar. Evolutionists are like the tobacco companies who kept denying that there was good evidence when it was staring them in the face. Yes, the parallels are stunning.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 00:40, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

All scientists are (hopefully!) trained in the scientific method, but they don't all get trained in evolution. Outside their own specialist fields, scientists are laymen. If that is so Philip then why trust the CMI? As it happens, I don't see one of them trained in evolution. Ace McWicked 00:51, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

My statement was generalising. First, although it's correct that most scientists don't get trained in evolution (to any real extent), that doesn't preclude some of them knowing lots about it through their own research. So some, including creationary scientists, learn a lot about evolution through their own efforts, but that doesn't change the fact that most scientists are laymen in evolutionary fields. Second, when I referred to them not getting "trained in evolution", I was referring to various fields of study in which evolution would be a significant part, not a Ph.D. in "evolution". As such, I would point out to you that you are wrong about your claim, as in the list you pointed to, Peter Sparrow has a degree in palaeontology, and several others have qualifications in areas of biology, which might well have included more than superficial training in evolution. Further, you chose a fairly small sample (CMI doesn't just publish papers by its own staff). This is a better list, and includes others with some qualifications in more evolutionary fields, including Dr. Gary Parker and Dr. Dean Kenyon, who wrote textbooks on evolution (although those facts are not mentioned in that list) before they became creationists (due to the evidence, I might add). Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:16, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for that, you just proved your own argument to be irrelevant. Ace McWicked 01:20, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
"Proved"? On the contray, you've just dismissed it without reason. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:43, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
You made your own argument a moot point. The scientists who speak about evolution without training are speaking as laymen except the ones that aren't. Hence, its a moot point. Ace McWicked 01:49, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
The argument is that the vast majority of scientists accept evolution. That most are not experts in it is the point. You are side-tracking. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:06, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
The vast majority of creation scientists do not accept evolution yet no little, to nothing, about it. Ace McWicked 03:21, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure what particular point you are arguing, but they know as much as the evolutionary scientists (many of them were once evolutionists), and the leading creationists probably know a lot more about evolution than most evolutionists. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 00:14, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
If that is so why do creationsts fail so heavily at explaining, debating, refuting or even understanding evolution? Such as that moron Sarfati who states "...evolution is not just about ape-like creatures turning into humans. Evolution is a philosophy trying to explain everything without God." Massive fail. Also, please explain your definition of "evolutionist". Is that just someone who believes in evolution?Ace McWicked 00:20, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
If that is so why do creationsts fail so heavily... That is a loaded question, like "have you stopped beating your wife". I don't agree that they have failed, let alone heavily.
Such as that moron Sarfati ... That is uncivil namecalling. You must retract that and apologise of face a sanction.
Massive fail. In your opinion; you apparently consider your response to be self-evident truth, which it's not.
Generally I use the word "evolutionist" to refer simply to someone who believes evolution to be true, although I probably also tend to use it with the connotation of someone who does or would defend the view as distinct from the average bloke who believes it because he thinks that everyone else does but knows little about it.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:00, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
He is a moron because his description of evolution is completely false, hence I retract nothing. Ace McWicked 05:24, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Ace McWicked has been sanctioned (see his talk page) for his failure to retract and apologise and for repeating the claim. On his talk page I have also demonstrated that Sarfati was being reasonable (which is not to say whether or not he was correct) as his comment was in line with views expressed by prominent evolutionists. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:18, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
  • What did God tell you when you asked him about evolution and creation?
  • Can you show me a general biology text that does not include evolution in it? (If it's not that important to biology, there should be quite a few.)
  • The tobacco companies never said there was a controversy until after the epidemioloigal evidence was in. Then it was all controversy. Claiming that there was a controversy caused millions of deaths. Sterile 02:29, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Whether or not evolution is included in biology textbooks is not a test of whether or not its important to biology. Regardless of what the tobacco companies might have said when, there was a controversy well before all the studies were in. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:06, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Darwinism's death toll over a hundred million

What's wrong with those additions? They're properly sourced to creation.com. Pascal 07:56, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

"... no theory is responsible for its extremists. These extremists alone feel the blood on their hands, and the guilt on their souls. If theories could be held responsible for the unforeseeable results generated, and abandoned as such, most every theory - scientific, religious, or otherwise - would have been abandoned today as "morally bankrupt." This is a quote from a personal acquaintance which puts the point better than I could. User 11speak to me
Also: "Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection says absolutely nothing about what is, or is not, morally right for humans to do. It merely describes the mechanical functioning of natural selection. Basing a moral philosophy on evolution makes about as much sense as basing morality on the theory of gravity, or the speed of light – it’s an absurdity." User 11speak to me 08:28, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Also,also: "Nazism and Hitler also depended on concepts like "nationalism," and "pride in country," and "German-ness" to justify their reign of terror. By this logic, Germany is suspect as a concept and a country, and ever shall be. So is nationalism." (See also Godwin's law (wp)) User 11speak to me 08:42, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

I'm afraid you're missing the point, Miz Wilson. Creation Ministries International is a reliable source linked dozens of times on this site, and Mr. Rayment has repeatedly shown his support for this. If they say Darwin's theories led to over a hundred million deaths, then it's perfectly proper to put that in this article. Whether it's true or accurate is another matter entirely. Pascal 08:56, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

can I put one in that Christianity caused millions of deaths and promoted slavery, then? User 11speak to me 09:00, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree with User 11: ascribing all those deaths to Darwin's theories is an absurdity. Why not just say that they have had a strong influence on many schools of thought in the last 100-150 years, which is undeniable, and then give a few specific examples?--CPalmer 09:03, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Listen, if you want to argue with what CMI says, you can argue with CMI. But they're a reliable source, so such statements - no matter how ridiculous, absurd, or totally and pathologically dishonest - are fine for ASK articles. As for the millions of deaths caused by Christianity, if you can find an article stating such on creation.com, I'm sure PJR will be happy to include it in the appropriate articles.Pascal 09:10, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Are you trying to say that you don't think we should use CMI as a source? If so, please do so directly, on the talk pages of articles where you think it is incorrectly cited. Please do not make points obliquely by deliberately messing up other articles.--CPalmer 09:45, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

I have actually already started drafting an article (edit: here) along the lines of the Pascal's edit, and have no real problem with the edit itself. But comments above tend to confirm my suspicion of a parodist at work, and the reaction to the edit misses the mark.

...no theory is responsible for its extremists. Which begs the question of whether it was just extremists.

If theories could be held responsible for the unforeseeable results generated, and abandoned as such, most every theory - scientific, religious, or otherwise - would have been abandoned today as "morally bankrupt. The real question is whether the results really are attributable to the ideas or not, which has not been addressed in this dismissive quote. In any case, the edit and quote said that "There is a clear line between Darwin's ideas and Nazism" and "Darwin’s theory ... clearly contributed to ...". It didn't say that evolution was solely responsible for Hitler.

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection says absolutely nothing about what is, or is not, morally right for humans to do. And yet many of its supporters have used and do use it in just that way.

Whether it's true or accurate is another matter entirely. Not so. That's Wikipedia.

can I put one in that Christianity caused millions of deaths and promoted slavery, then? No, because Christianity did not cause them, and they were contrary to Christianity. But I note the hypocrisy: Evolution is not responsible for the actions of its followers, but Christianity is. And no, this claim was not just made in response to Pascal's edit, but has been many by many sceptics for a very long time.

Why not just say that they have had a strong influence on many schools of thought in the last 100-150 years, which is undeniable... What the edit said was not really much stronger than that.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:47, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, I have attempted what I see as a more balanced rewrite. Feel free to edit or revert as you see fit. Also, to Pascal, perhaps it would be possible for a source to be reliable on some topics but not on others?--CPalmer 09:54, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
No, it's quite clear that creation.com is a reliable source for any occasion. After all, PJR said he has "no real problem with the edit itself". And if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for ASK. Pascal 09:59, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Pascal, you seem to be equating PJR's position at ASK with AS's position at CP. I wonder if PJR seems himself in this light.--Bob M 10:11, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I certainly don't see myself as equivalent to Andy in imposing my will on articles. Of course, some do see that differently to how I see it! But I would also hope that contributors here realise that there are differences between how Andy and I handle such matters, even if there are also some similarities. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:48, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Philip, no hypocricy was intended, just trying to make the point that you can't take a direct link from theory to act. However it seems to me that M Pascal is a trolling parodist just trying to get a rise, out of whom I can't be sure. User 11speak to me 12:15, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Saying "Darwin is responsible for deaths" is like saying the chemist that discovered heroin is responsible for people's drug addictions. Sterile 12:53, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

That point is only valid if evolution was a discovery, rather than an invention. It wasn't. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:23, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
But evolution has been going on for millions, nay billions, of years. Of course he didn't "invent" it.--Bob M 13:47, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Apart from Bob's point, the evolution article on this wiki states that "evolutionary ideas have been around for thousands of years," which would seem at odds with evolution being Darwin's "invention." I wonder who added that to the article? (Cue attempt at redefining invention now.) Sterile 14:44, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
But evolution has been going on for millions, nay billions, of years. This is, of course, begging the question (as was my comment), but the question was implicitly begged in the original claim.
I don't need to redefine invention. Whether it was invented by others, or whether Darwin invented a new version, in neither case does it mean that it was discovered rather than invented.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 15:51, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Oh, I got it wrong. You're redefining discovery. Sterile 15:56, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm worried that if this discussion continues, it might not be very productive. Don't say I didn't warn you!--CPalmer 15:58, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

The moral of the story is, of course, don't use loaded language to make your point. Sterile 16:00, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

No, the moral is don't construct straw-man arguments. Saying "Darwin is responsible for deaths"... Nobody actually said that, yet that is what you were protesting against. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 16:08, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

I will stop this discussion as per CPalmer, although if you call evolution an invention, I will call creationism an invention. Only seems fair. Good day. Sterile 16:21, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Regardless of whether one is an invention and one isn't? So the facts don't matter? Interesting. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 00:46, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
PJR: Saying "Darwin is responsible for deaths"... Nobody actually said that, yet that is what you were protesting against.
Nobody? It all started with this: inserting some important information on the millions of deaths Darwin caused
DiEb 16:27, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but that comment is a mischaracterisation of that edit, which merely said things like "There is a clear line between Darwin's ideas and Nazism" and "Darwin’s theory ... clearly contributed to ...". Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 00:46, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

(undent)

It gives me eyestrain to try and insert point-by-point comments within the prior text, so I'll just make a few responses here to Philip's comments above.

  • Sure, some branches of science rely on the interpretation of historical evidence to try and decipher what happened, but that doesn't make the methods used in them any less scientific or conclusions invalid. Forensic science solves many crimes convincingly without a live witness needing to be there to correlate the findings.
  • Perhaps we can split hairs of "fringe" vs. "minority", but the distinction is still clear. Creation scientists constrain their findings by having to have them be compliant with a specific book of scripture. To say that I should also characterize "mainstream" scientists are "constrained" because they restrict their explanations to natural phenomenon is not a flaw in their thinking, it's the discipline to either say "we don't understand this yet", "we think it's this, but have no way to verify the theory yet", rather than relying on supernatural explanations to act as the necessary wildcard to keep their worldview intact. The Flood model involves improbable levels of global reshaping in a rapid timeframe, coupled with the survival of a single boat, animals and plants surviving on floating mats of vegetation, freshwater and temperature-sensitive marine life surviving in intact pockets of their native environment - and ultimately God's guiding hand is invoked as the reason it all happened against our understanding of laws we can observe today. God stretched spacetime to allow for the creation story to hold up against the starlight problem, etc. I'm sure you'll find issues with these examples, but it comes down to a basic question - how many creation scientists can testify on a Bible that they learned science, observed the natural world, and came to conclusions that conformed to Biblical scripture without having a knowledge of that scripture first? I'm guessing zero, because the story framed and constrained their mindset.
  • When you say that scientists who dismiss scripture-based explanations are being equally close-minded, that's a false comparison because they are being equally dismissive of other supernatural frameworks as well. They are seeking non-supernatural explanations because by definition the supernatural is impossible to measure, analyze or use predictively. They are simply trying to find explanations that can be independently verified without relying on God, Zeus, Shiva or any other unprovable entity to be part of the answer.

In the end, people like me may be wrong and God may exist (and we'll have to face the consequences), but when we are judged, we can at least say that we were searching for truth in good faith and trying to use the most level playing field to do it on - the natural existence around us, uncompromised by anyone's supernatural explanation our search had to conform to. --DinsdaleP 01:20, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Sure, some branches of science rely on the interpretation of historical evidence to try and decipher what happened, but that doesn't make the ... conclusions invalid. It doesn't necessarily make them valid, but it does make them less than observational objective science.
...that doesn't make the methods used in them any less scientific ... Ummm, why not? If science is supposed to involve observation and repeatable testing, and if this can not be done for unique past events, then surely the are less scientific.
Forensic science solves many crimes convincingly without a live witness needing to be there to correlate the findings. And yet it's not always reliable, as shown in the case of cp:Azaria Chamberlain, where forensic evidence was used to override accurate eye-witness testimony. Yes, this may be an exception, but the point is that forensic/historical science is not as good as empirical science. Further, forensic science draws conclusions about things that we have witnessed, such as concluding from claw marks that a cat made them, because we can observe and test what sort of claw marks a cat leaves. Much of evolution is about things that are never observed or tested.
Perhaps we can split hairs of "fringe" vs. "minority", but the distinction is still clear. There is still a distinction, but dismissing creation, ID, etc. on the ground that it is "fringe" when it's not is not a case of "splitting hairs". It is, as I said, an attempt to dismiss without addressing.
Creation scientists constrain their findings by having to have them be compliant with a specific book of scripture. And what's wrong with that if the book has accurate history?
To say that I should also characterize "mainstream" scientists are "constrained" because they restrict their explanations to natural phenomenon is not a flaw in their thinking,... Your attempted explanation of why this is so doesn't actually explain it. You are simply trying to rationalise a priori exclusion of a particular potential explanation by using ridicule ("supernatural explanations to act as the necessary wildcard to keep their worldview intact.").
The Flood model involves improbable levels of global reshaping ... The levels are no different than proposed by mainstream scientists.
...in a rapid timeframe... We have observed many geological event happen rapidly (multi-layer sedimentation in hours, major canyon formation in days, etc.), events which mainstream science has taught take a very long time. We have not observed them taking a long time. What is so "improbable" about it?
...ultimately God's guiding hand is invoked as the reason it all happened against our understanding of laws we can observe today. That what we observe today can explain it all is nothing more than a philosophical assumption.
God stretched spacetime to allow for the creation story to hold up against the starlight problem, etc. No, that was not the reason, as I expect you would already realise, but claimed anyway.
I'm sure you'll find issues with these examples,... Given the enormous holes in them...
... how many creation scientists can testify on a Bible that they learned science, observed the natural world, and came to conclusions that conformed to Biblical scripture without having a knowledge of that scripture first? Probably very few given how widespread knowledge of that Scripture is. A better question is, how many came to that view based on the evidence rather than on Scripture? Lots. Many evolutionists become Christians for various reasons, but decide that God used evolution. It is later that they become creationists, in many cases because of the evidence rather than for scriptural reason. How many of the main founders and promoters of evolution can honestly testify that they came to their evolutionary conclusions without having a naturalistic (philosophical) worldview?
When you say that scientists who dismiss scripture-based explanations are being equally close-minded, that's a false comparison because they are being equally dismissive of other supernatural frameworks as well. That doesn't make it a false comparison.
They are seeking non-supernatural explanations because by definition the supernatural is impossible to measure, analyze or use predictively. That is a non-sequitur. Being unable to measure etc. doesn't mean that supernatural explanations are false. Is their goal to find out the cause, whatever that might be, or to try to explain things without invoking the supernatural, which is a ideological goal?
...when we are judged, we can say that we were searching for truth in good faith... Not if you are excluding the right answer for ideological reasons. That's not good faith. And when the consequences are leading millions away from the truth, the gravity is enormous.
...trying to use the most level playing field to do it on - the natural existence around us, uncompromised by anyone's supernatural explanation our search had to conform to. In other words, "my philosophical starting point is the right one, because I like it". This is nothing more than a futile attempt to justify excluding a potential explanation a priori. To characterise that as fair and right is to call black white.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:01, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Edit break

My final comments, since I think this one's been taking enough time from other things I need to focus on:

  • Forensic science not being as precise or verifiable as empirical science does not remove its validity or usefulness in searching for truth. Geology and astronomy in particular focus more on the interpretation of forensic evidence than recreating processes experimentally, and neither are considered irrelevant or "lesser science" because of it. This is an apples and oranges comparison - fruit of a different nature, but still fruit.
  • Do errors get made in criminal forensics? Sure, just as live witnesses can give erroneous or even deliberately false accounts. We don't rule out the validity of either in searching for truth because they are not perfect, though.
  • I'm not dismissing creation science or ID because some folks use the label "fringe" to describe them. I considered creation science to be "out of the mainstream of science" because it is constrained by the conclusions having to conform to a book of scripture, regardless of the results of any observations and experiments.
  • Stating that mainstream science rules out the supernatural by definition is not ridiculing the supernatural or people's faith in it - it's my attempt to define mainstream science as distinct from spirituality and theology. Science is always looking for naturalistic answers to puzzles and theorizing concepts like "gravity waves" and "dark matter" to explain them, and these premises are either validated or discarded. What mainstream science doesn't do is have the story end at "this was the action of God or a supernatural force" when people hit a wall trying to understand a phenomenon. For example, to explain an accelerating, expanding universe mainstream science comes up with a theory like "dark matter" and tests the theory, and if it's wrong the search continues.
  • You may have objected to the example of God "stretching the universe" as my choosing something discredited, but I was picking an explanation off of the "starlight Problem" entry here. It's also interesting that the "c-decay" theory as described in this article is described as disputed/discredited by many creation scientists. What then, is the current accepted theory by the majority of creation scientists to explain/resolve the starlight problem?
  • My point about creation scientists concluding things in the absence of scripture lines up with your response - people are exposed to scripture, and if they believe it then they also believe that their judgment in the afterlife is at stake if they don't support it. They are then expected to reach conclusions that may or may not fit scripture without a bias towards being scripture-compliant? The better question to ask is if there's a practical way to set up a control where evidence can be examined fairly by scientists with no pro or anti-scripture knowledge or bias, and have them cone to the same conclusions as creation scientists a statistically significant number of times. For example, could we take kids raised in a third-world setting where they don't have exposure to both Judeo-Christian scripture, nor a "Western/naturalistic/secular" bias, and train them in pure math and scientific techniques. If this could be done, what evidence would you give them to analyze that would support scripture after an unbiased analysis?
  • A more streamlined question recapping the last point: If we want "pure, unbiased" science that removes the chance of creationist scripture predisposing the results, but you insist that a naturalistic view is unfairly biased as well, then what viewpoint should a scientist have that would allow "pure science" without any bias at all?
  • "Being unable to measure etc. doesn't mean that supernatural explanations are false" Yet not being able to witness long-term evolution or old-earth history directly makes naturalistic theories about them bad science?
  • As for associations, you can find chilling, eugenic-supporting quotes by Hitler and individual scientists that could support a strawman case that belief in evolution can lead to their way of thinking. It's equally easy to find examples of people like Fred Phelps and the Puritans of Salem whose views and actions could be used to associate people of faith with people who hate and abuse those who do not share their faith, particularly when the faithful are in the majority. Associations are not causality, as others have said on this page, and my voice is added to theirs.

Anyway, it's time for me to let this one go. I don't come here to strictly be a contrarian, Philip, as my Artist metaphor elsewhere should show. It seems like there's a growing irritation with the people like me on this page who disagree with you, so I'll make a final comment regarding that. Disagreement is not hostility, and the vast majority of us are not here to annoy you or to divert you from building content on your wiki - we were the source of the no-vandalism position regarding ASK, after all.

I'm hoping that instead of getting irritated with us, you can regard us as a constructive resource that will help you tighten and improve your explanations in the articles over time. If you have evidence supporting a scripture-based worldview and put it out there, you will get skepticism in response to be sure. Just use the feedback to either bolster or reconsider your evidence, and keep building. We'll try to keep the comments constructive, and the end result can only be improvement, then, right? Have a good weekend. --DinsdaleP 19:03, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I'll respond bullet-point by bullet-point to avoid quotes:
  • It doesn't remove it, but it does reduce it. Considered by whom? Evolution is not "considered" lesser either, by evolutionists. But like evolution, to the extent that geology and astronomy are talking about the past, they are in the same category. Using scientific techniques to study the past is useful (still fruit), but not in the same league as testable science (some fruit is better than other fruit).
  • Again, I'm not totally rejecting it; just pointing out that it's open to some interpretation. You agreed that errors get made in forensics, but then compared that to live witnesses, rather than to repeatable, testable, science.
  • Are you agreeing that creation and ID are science, albeit not mainstream? Because the people who label it fringe were rejecting it as science at all. As for conforming to a book, you've yet to explain how that's different to conforming to a philosophical view (materialism) as mainstream science does. Further, observations and experiments don't conflict with the biblical account.
  • I know you weren't trying to ridicule the supernatural, but you were trying to make an artificial distinction between the basis of creationary science and the basis of materialistic science. Why does science limit itself to "looking for naturalistic answers"? Why not "look for answers", no matter where the evidence leads? On the contrary, you reject the validity of creationary science because it has to conform to a book "regardless of the results of any observations and experiments", yet try and justify materialistic science doing exactly that! This has been admitted by such a scientist: "Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic"[1] (my emphasis). And no, the premises are not always either validated or discarded. Rather, additional premises are added to explain discrepancies. The idea is only discarded when a better idea comes along. Until then the idea is kept. Which might be acceptable, if they hadn't already ruled out a potentially-better idea. For example, there were increasing problems with the geocentric view of the Earth, but rather than discard the idea, initially extra "cycles" and "epicycles" (I think were the terms) were added to prop up the idea. Similarly with comets: They are supposed to have been formed with the solar system, but at the rate they fall apart, they can't be that old. So is the idea discarded because it is not validated? No, an additional premise is added: that there is a supply of fresh comets circling the solar system beyond our (current) ability to detect them. Then there is the Big Bang, with its 97% (I think) "fudge factor" of dark matter and dark energy, the only evidence for which is that it must be there if the Big Bang is correct! (So your comment about testing dark matter is dead wrong.)
    Sorry, I have to quote: What mainstream science doesn't do is have the story end at "this was the action of God or a supernatural force" when people hit a wall trying to understand a phenomenon. And neither does creation science, as I've already touched on. Rather, creation science (as with ID) says that there is much evidence for God, in the form of design. Design indicates a designer. God (/a designer) is demonstratable from the evidence; it's not simply a fall-back from a lack of evidence.
  • My objection was that you were claiming the stretching as invented for the purpose of explaining away a problem. As far as I know, some version of time dilation (per Humphreys or Hartnett) is generally considered the best explanation, but neither is claimed as definitely correct.
  • My point was that it was not a fair test, given that there is virtually no "control group" of people not so exposed. It is probably not possible to set up a test as you suggest, as science itself has philosophical underpinnings, which you are effectively proposing be ignored (for the test). An interesting read on this topic would be He Who Thinks Has to Believe, by Wilder-Smith. I don't normally recommend books here on the grounds that the people I'm talking to may not have the money nor time for a book, but Amazon has used copies available for $2.95 and it's quite a small book. I can't locate my copy at the moment (I think I have one), but I'd guess it's about 30 pages. In it, Wilder-Smith uses a fictional story of a tribe who've never been exposed to other societies to show how they would, just with their human intelligence, come to the conclusion that there is a God.
  • In a sense, unbiased science is not possible. But that's not what I'm saying we should have. Rather, we should allow science from both biases, rather than exclude one a priori.
  • It's only "bad science" when it insists that it's right and opposing views are wrong (on scientific grounds).
  • As I've said before, it's not mere association, but whether the association is valid. Phelps is clearly (to those willing to see) being inconsistent with biblical teaching in some of his attitudes (e.g. lack of love and compassion). Hitler's actions were, for the most part, consistent with evolution (because they were, to a fair extent, based on evolution). And referring to "individual scientists" skims over the fact that it was people like Haeckel who set up the conditions for this, and Haeckel was probably the main promoter of evolution in continental Europe (and not just in the publicity sense, but in formulating (and fabricating) evolutionary "evidence"). That would be like me saying that the apostle Paul was an "individual" misusing biblical teaching!
I'm hoping that ... you can regard us as a constructive resource that will help you tighten and improve your explanations in the articles over time. I'd like that, and if everyone was like you, I'd be happy. But when there's so many people putting up fallacious arguments such as straw-man arguments, it does frustrate me.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 06:39, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Guess I can't help myself after all, because there were a couple of points that I'm unable to leave unaddressed:
"Why not "look for answers", no matter where the evidence leads? On the contrary, you reject the validity of creationary science because it has to conform to a book "regardless of the results of any observations and experiments", yet try and justify materialistic science doing exactly that!"
Materialistic science, as I understand it, rules out the supernatural because to do otherwise would not make it based in the material existence around us. I don't see it as a bias hostile to religion as much as an acknowledgment that the supernatural, by definition, cannot be studied or verified using the scientific method.
As far as conforming to scripture being more of a constraint than conforming to seeking non-supernatural explanations, consider a simple example. Naturalistic science can have a shifting view of the age of the Earth and the universe around it, based on new findings or insights being reviewed and validated independently. It also allows for the possibility of the universe being older than the Earth as something to be proved or disproved. If better measurements reset the theorized age of the universe by a billion years in either direction, for example, it would become accepted as the best current understanding if the findings stand up to scrutiny and independent verification. Conformance to Biblical scripture, however, requires creation to have taken place within a six-day timespan, and constrains any conclusion about the age of the Earth and the universe to be approximately 6,000 years. If you find any evidence significantly to the contrary, then a creation scientist is duty-bound to reinterpret the evidence or propose new theories to support scripture, instead of accepting those findings for what they are.
The other issue with "creation science" being less open-minded than naturalistic science is that the scripture that reality must conform to is pre-determined. There is no search to see if reality conforms to one religion's creation narrative better than any other - the answer is pre-defined based on the Bible, therefore the conclusions must be pre-defined to that specific scripture as well.
The only metaphor I can come up with for equating creation science with naturalistic science is algebra. Naturalistic science starts with factors (evidence) and variables (theories), and works towards an answer, while creation science starts with the same factors, but because it also starts with "the" answer, focuses on redefining the variables and the formula itself so that as variables become factors the formula still arrives at the same answer. Since both sides claim to be using math, both claim equal legitimacy for their work. Where the metaphor breaks down, though, is that "the" answer which creationists work backwards from is not a real, measurable value, (i.e. a naturalistic explanation) but a symbol that can be whatever the mathematician believes it to be (i.e. a supernatural explanation). To recap, creation scientists are claiming to do valid math too, but they are solving for "alpha", and "alpha" is subjective because it's supernatural. (I'm not saying God is subjective, but man's view of God certainly is)
Yes, creation science finds evidence it interprets as the result of design, and infers from that interpretation that there must be a designer, God. My problem with that approach is that with no supporting evidence, the "who-designed-the-designer" chain arbitrarily ends with God. Claiming that statements from God to man in the Bible serve as that evidence is not science, btw, since there is no way a contemporary scientist can witness or recreate that experience. --DinsdaleP 22:39, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Materialistic science, as I understand it, rules out the supernatural because to do otherwise would not make it based in the material existence around us. Yes, true, but that's like saying that you are going to try and determine how Joe, a suspected criminal, broke into a bank. To look at the possibility that it wasn't Joe but someone else would negate the point of the investigation, which is to find how Joe did it. Now if all you are doing is trying to determine how Joe might have done it, that might be okay. But if you are trying to find the truth in order to convict Joe, then the investigation is improper, because it's already ruled out the possibility that someone else did it. Similarly, any research that says that evolution occurred or that the Earth is billions of years old because an alternative explanation has already been ruled out is an invalid argument. Is science merely an academic exercise to see how it might have happened materialistically, or is it a search for what did happen? If the former, then all those scientists claiming that science has shown the biblical account to be incorrect (including that evolution occurred, etc.) are guilty of making unsubstantiated and logically-invalid claims. If the latter, then science is being biased.
As far as conforming to scripture being more of a constraint than conforming to seeking non-supernatural explanations, consider a simple example. That it is "more" of a constraint is, I suppose, a matter of subjective opinion. Beyond that, all your example does is demonstrate that believing the Bible is a restriction, but as you have not shown that believing in materialism is not a restriction, you've still not refuted the charge that materialistic science is biased.
There is no search to see if reality conforms to one religion's creation narrative better than any other... According to whom? You? Just because creationary scientists believe the Bible doesn't mean that they don't or can't check to see if reality concurs. On the contrary, they have demonstrated numerous times that it does concur. Further, although they must accept the biblical account if they are creationary scientists, they do have the freedom to renounce their Christianity.
Your algebra analogy is faulty in a number of respects. For one, the analogy is not clear. What is the formula equivalent to, for example? You say that creationists redefine the formula, which suggests that the formula is the belief in God. But if so, the materialists' formula is belief in natural causes, and you've just begged the question by claiming that it is creationists and not materialists' who are doing the redefining. For another, you claim that the creationists' answer is not a measurable value, yet don't explain how the materialist's answer is. What makes a "naturalistic explanation" a "measurable value"?
My problem with that approach is that with no supporting evidence, the "who-designed-the-designer" chain arbitrarily ends with God. First, there is supporting evidence, and second, ending with God is not at all arbitrary.
Claiming that statements from God to man in the Bible serve as that evidence is not science, btw, since there is no way a contemporary scientist can witness or recreate that experience. You mean like they can witness and recreate the Big Bang?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:51, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Is there a way to get past this?

I've seen variations of this debate in so many places that I'm surprised people haven't made more of an effort to resolve it in terms of an editorial policy for this wiki (I gave up hope for CP a long time ago). When I read these threads I think about coining a new term, Argumentum ad Evilum, to describe the discrediting of something because an evil person used it as justification for their actions. Bad people used their interpretation of the Bible to justify slavery and the execution of people they considered heretics. Bad people used their interpretation of evolutionary theory to justify murdering "inferior races" (btw, who decided what the the "inferior races" were? Thugs with guns, not scientists).

The temptation to cast evolution and Darwin's research in a negative light in this manner hurts the credibility of this project, and I strongly advise against it. Instead, people who disagree with the theory should refute the theory itself and provide alternatives that work better to explain the findings of the natural world in a consistent manner. It doesn't matter if a good or evil person uses basic chemistry, because basic chemistry works in a predictable manner for everyone. Find a better alternative to evolutionary theory that works the same for everyone, and you've accomplished your goal. --DinsdaleP 18:54, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

...I think about coining a new term, Argumentum ad Evilum, to describe the discrediting of something because an evil person used it as justification for their actions. That is not the argument being made.
Bad people used their interpretation of the Bible to justify slavery and the execution of people they considered heretics. Bad people used their interpretation of evolutionary theory to justify murdering "inferior races"... Bad people misused the Bible that way. Leading evolutionists used (not misused) evolution to justify their views.
...(btw, who decided what the the "inferior races" were? Thugs with guns, not scientists). No, scientists such as Darwin, Haeckel, etc.
The temptation to cast evolution and Darwin's research in a negative light in this manner hurts the credibility of this project, and I strongly advise against it. How does speaking the truth hurt credibility?
Instead, people who disagree with the theory should refute the theory itself ... that is also being done. It doesn't need to be "instead".
It doesn't matter if a good or evil person uses basic chemistry, because basic chemistry works in a predictable manner for everyone. Unlike goo-to-you evolution, which is not testable, and unlike evolution which does have important implications for our behaviours, as admitted even by evolutionists (see for example the quotes from Sullivan and from Julian Huxley in Influence of evolution).
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 00:56, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Bad people misused the Bible that way. Leading evolutionists used (not misused) evolution to justify their views. Philip, that sentence shows a fundamentally flawed understanding of the theory of evolution. The theory says nothing that in any way supports murdering "inferior races". Your ignorance in this respect is of concern given the amount of time you spend discussing evolution on this site. --Horace 01:03, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Hitler was not a "leading evolutionist", Philip, he was a thug with guns. My objection is with associating monsters like him and Dahmer with evolution as if the latter inevitably leads to the former. I realized that this is a dead-end thread when you considered bad people trying to leverage the Bible to justify their views to be "misusing it", but bad people trying to leverage evolution as justification were "using it". Killing innocent people is wrong. Killing people for some subjective value like their skin color, their ethnicity, their tribal heritage or nonsense like "their race being inferior" is wrong, but has happened throughout history long before Darwin and evolutionary theory; it's just a sick part of human nature that needs to be fought at every turn. Fight it for what it is, though, instead of ignoring the millions and millions who accept evolution without ever contemplating ill will or violence because of it, and playing up the acts of a relative fraction of a fraction as if there's truly a causal connection. --DinsdaleP 02:18, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
The theory says nothing that in any way supports murdering "inferior races". On the contrary, that's almost exactly what "survival of the fittest" is about.
Your ignorance in this respect is of concern given the amount of time you spend discussing evolution on this site. Ad hominem argument.
Hitler was not a "leading evolutionist"... Where did I say that he was?
My objection is with associating monsters like him and Dahmer with evolution as if the latter inevitably leads to the former. The association is there, and nobody is claiming that evolution "inevitably" leads to slaughter.
Killing innocent people is wrong. Yes, the Bible teaches that. Evolution doesn't, yet evolution effectively teaches that the Bible is wrong. See the problem?
Killing people ... happened throughout history long before Darwin and evolutionary theory... Not on the same scale as it happened after.
Fight it for what it is, though, instead of ... playing up the acts of a relative fraction of a fraction as if there's truly a causal connection. There is a causal connection, evidenced by some of the leading promoters, so the "fraction of a fraction" description is misleading.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:14, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I hesitate to respond to this--things seem a little bit too emotional here--but there is the problem that association does not imply causation. You need to do a better job at isolating evolution as a cause to Hitler's genocidal tendencies to make that claim. Can you really say that evolution was Hitler's sole reason for genocide? Did he have any other motivation? Have you looked at multiple historical documents and cross-checked sources to make that argument? Did Hitler learn about evolution and then become genocidal? Sterile 03:31, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I address only the points raised against my own post: (1) You clearly have no idea what you are talking about if you assert that the theory of evolution supports the murder of "inferior races". It does no such thing and I am utterly astounded that you make such a stupid allegation. It says absolutely nothing about what society ought to do. Ever. Period. It merely observes that in circumstances wherein natural selection operates there can be a change in the gene pool of a species over time. It does not ever suggest that such a change ought to take a particular direction. It makes no value judgments whatsoever. Which brings me to: (2) Yes, ad hominem. But, having regard to the grade-school level of the argument you were making (and, it seems, continue to make) - quite justified. --Horace 03:31, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
...there is the problem that association does not imply causation. On the contrary, association does imply causation when one precedes the other. But I've always agreed that association does not prove causation.
You need to do a better job at isolating evolution as a cause to Hitler's genocidal tendencies to make that claim. That's subjective. I believe that the "job" has been done adequately. Sure, it can always be done "better", but that doesn't mean that it's inadequate as it stands.
Can you really say that evolution was Hitler's sole reason for genocide? Am I actually saying that? No. Please stick to what I am claiming instead of overstating my claims in order to reject them.
You clearly have no idea what you are talking about if you assert that the theory of evolution supports the murder of "inferior races". It does no such thing and I am utterly astounded that you make such a stupid allegation. Despite me producing evidence of such. Not stupid at all.
It says absolutely nothing about what society ought to do. Ever. Period. Yet, as I've said, evolutionists have often used evolution in just that way. For example:

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.[2]

So the fact is that, regardless of whether it should be used that way, it is used that way, despite your protestations.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:12, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
The quote you provide contains a conclusion drawn by an individual which does not form a part of evolutionary theory. Further, you conclude that regardless of whether it should be used that way, it is used that way I take it that what you mean by comment is that evolution is misused by some. Just as the Bible has been misused. You then go on to say: despite your protestations What protestations? I never said that people did not attempt to justify their errant behaviour by reference to evolution. But those justifications are, in all cases, wrong. Just as religion has been similarly used as an excuse by evildoers.
I note your comment: Despite me producing evidence of such. Not stupid at all. I have no idea what you are talking about. No such evidence exists. --Horace 04:27, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I guess that I wasn't clear, and inadvertently conflated two closely-related questions (although I'm not the only one; others here have also). The two questions are:
  1. Is it appropriate to use an idea (e.g. evolution) as a basis for morals (for lack of a better description; include in this beliefs about free will, etc., per the quote above.)?
  2. If so, are particular morals legitimately based on the idea?
Let's put this in a matrix:
Question Evolution Bible
(1) Can morals be based on it? (Answer A)
You are arguing "no". I and many other evolutionists say "yes".
(B)
Yes
(2) Can x (e.g. killing "unfit" humans") be based on it? (C)
I argue yes. Leading evolutionists have used it this way.
(D)
No (e.g. Exodus 20:13)
  • Question 1 assumes that the idea (evolution or the Bible) itself is true and correct.
  • This discussion is not about whether or not evolution is true. Evolution is true or not true regardless of answer (A).
  • If the answers to question (1) are "no", then question (2) is null and void.
  • You and/or others here have suggested that it is improper to use evolution as a basis for morals, and have said that doing so is misusing it like people misuse the Bible. However, here you are confusing the two questions, as you are trying to draw a parallel between (A) and (D). Answer (D) cannot be used as a precedent or parallel for answer (A), as they are answers to different questions.
  • I expect that (B) is agreed: it is entirely proper to use the Bible as a basis for morals. Therefore it is legitimate to ask question (2) to determine if people are properly using or misusing the Bible.
  • So the disagreement is mainly over (A), although there has been some disagreement with (C) also.
  • Regarding answer(A), I have demonstrated with an example that there are evolutionists who do answer "yes". And I could supply more examples, and these examples are not from people such as Dahmer, but from respected promoters and even 'designers' of evolution. The response has been to assert that answer (A) is "no", but this has not been demonstrated
The quote you provide contains a conclusion ... which does not form a part of evolutionary theory. Whether it is "part of" evolutionary theory or not is not the question. The question is whether it's legitimate to base morals on it.
...those justifications are, in all cases, wrong. Just as religion has been similarly used as an excuse by evildoers. Another assertion that has not been demonstrated.
I have no idea what you are talking about. No such evidence exists. That's a big claim; that no such evidence exists. So you know all the possible evidence that there is to know about the matter? There's absolutely nothing that you don't know about it? You should be able to win a few quiz shows with your eyes closed! Seriously, the evidence I was referring to is here with regard to the views of Haeckel and his disciples, not to mention people such as Stalin and Mao.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 15:13, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
No Philip. Just plain no. The first of your two questions has formed no part of our discussion. I have made no comment about it and your assertion that I have taken a position in relation to question 1 is wrong. Nor is it even relevant. Our discussion began as a result of your assertion: Bad people misused the Bible that way. Leading evolutionists used (not misused) evolution to justify their views. The justification you were referring to in that sentence was the murder of "inferior races". I pointed out that such an assertion demonstrated an astounding level of ignorance in relation to the theory of evolution. I maintain that position. Evolution says nothing that in any way supports murdering "inferior races". It is a scientific theory that makes no comment on what society (or particular members of society) ought to do. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. NO COMMENT AT ALL.
The example that you need to provide me in order to win your point is the portion of the theory of evolution that does support the killing of "inferior races". You have not done so to date. I think I know why. Hint: it doesn't exist Philip. --Horace 07:59, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
The first of your two questions has formed no part of our discussion. On the contrary, although it is my wording, not yours, that is, in essence, what you are referring to with the following claims:
  • "[Evolution] says absolutely nothing about what society ought to do."
  • "[Evolution] is a scientific theory that makes no comment on what society (or particular members of society) ought to do. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. NO COMMENT AT ALL."
If evolution says nothing about what society ought to do, then it is answering "no" to the first of my two questions.
I have pointed out where evolution supports murdering "inferior races": survival of the fittest (which means non-survival of the inferior).
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:27, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

(Unindent) And where exactly, Philip, does the theory of evolution state that society should pursue a "survival of the fittest" policy? --Horace 04:38, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

P.S. I should also respond to the suggestion that we were discussing whether one could base a system of morals on the theory of evolution and/or the Bible. We were not. The discussion was and remains simply a discussion of whether the theory of evolution provides support for the murder of "inferior races". I will allow readers of this thread to draw their own conclusions. --Horace 04:48, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Philip? --Horace 12:05, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
On the one hand, I missed this, sorry.
On the other hand, you've added nothing new.
And where exactly, Philip, does the theory of evolution state that society should pursue a "survival of the fittest" policy? That's not the claim I was making. Rather, I said, "Leading evolutionists used (not misused) evolution to justify their views." (emphases in my original wording).
I should also respond to the suggestion that we were discussing whether one could base a system of morals on the theory of evolution and/or the Bible. We were not. Yet I pointed out where we were, with direct quotes, and all you've done to rebut that is assert that we weren't!
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:32, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Let me get this absolutely straight Philip. You wrote: I have pointed out where evolution supports murdering "inferior races": survival of the fittest (which means non-survival of the inferior). I responded by asking where exactly the theory of evolution stated that society should pursue a "survival of the fittest" policy. You then wrote: That's not the claim I was making. Rather, I said, "Leading evolutionists used (not misused) evolution to justify their views." (emphases in my original wording).
Seriously, you're going to have to help me out here.
First of all can you confirm that you agree with me that nowhere in the theory of evolution does it state that society should pursue a "survival of the fittest" policy? --Horace 12:01, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
The confusion is over "evolution stating that society should pursue" something (your wording), and "evolution supporting" something (my wording). I'm not sure how an idea can "state" something, at least in this context. And perhaps that is your point: evolution does not literally talk to us and give us instructions. But that's not what I was suggesting. Rather, I was claiming that we can derive implications from the idea that can legitimately be used (and have been used by leading evolutionists) as a basis for our beliefs and/or actions. So because evolution says that the less-fit have to die for the species to survive, we can argue that killing off the less fit is something good, because it advances the species. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:11, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

(undent)

Regarding this comment:

"So because evolution says that the less-fit have to die for the species to survive, we can argue that killing off the less fit is something good, because it advances the species."

Why is it necessary to conclude that a species has to advance through killing off the less fit, as opposed to the more fit simply prospering more? People who are physically & mentally healthy will, statistically, do better in life, live longer and probably have more healthy kids than those who are not. Over time, the number of fit who thrive will surpass the number of unfit, and no eugenics are required for this to happen. I'm the parent of several children with disabilities, and I am completely able to accept the scientific validity of the theory of evolution while repudiating anyone who believes that society should cull the less fit. What I believe instead is that if there is such a thing as a universal purpose in life, it is for each of us to live to the highest potential we can given the environmental & genetic circumstances we were born with. It is offensive to have people stereotype someone who accepts evolution as valid as someone who also believes that the less fit aren't able to have meaningful lives. I might have a child who will not be a top athlete, or have the mental/emotional makeup of someone who will make $100K+ per year in the business world. Does that make this person incapable of having meaningful friendships, making a decent living, finding love and building a happy life with that person? Of course not, and if he lives to his potential and does all these things I'd consider him to have had a good life, even as people around him achieve more materially. So please, please stop degrading evolution as something that inevitably leads to cold, inhumane thinking, because people who interpret evolutionary theory in that manner have made a choice to interpret a body of science in that manner - the science itself says nothing about how we should treat each other. --DinsdaleP 16:54, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Philip, it seems to me that the problem is that you are labouring under a popular misconception as to what the theory of evolution states (or "supports" if you like). You said: So because evolution says that the less-fit have to die for the species to survive, we can argue that killing off the less fit is something good, because it advances the species. That statement reveals misunderstandings as to the scope and nature of evolutionary theory. First, the theory does not state that "the less-fit have to die for the species to survive". That is just wrong. Further, it merely observes that certain individuals in a given population in the wild tend to die as a result of their genetic make-up producing a phenotype that is less able to survive than that of other individuals (and thus less able to reproduce). It is an observation only and the theory says nothing about whether the result is good or bad. Thus there is no support in the theory for an argument that killing off the "less fit" is good.
I hope that clears that issue up for you. --Horace 01:30, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Why is it necessary to conclude that a species has to advance through killing off the less fit, as opposed to the more fit simply prospering more? My first answer is because that's what Darwin proposed. It's because of this very nature of evolution that we have phrases such as "survival of the fittest" (and not "greater reproduction of the fittest") and "nature red in tooth and claw". Part of the basis for evolution was the Malthusian concept of competition for scarce resources. If there are enough resources for all, there need be no competition, hence no advantage in being fitter. My second answer is that I'm not saying that it's necessary to conclude that they must be killed; rather that evolution does require that the less fit don't survive (even if only by dying out rather than being killed) and nature does have creatures killing other creatures. Therefore, killing off the less fit is a good thing in advancing the species by helping evolution along.
So please, please stop degrading evolution as something that inevitably leads to cold, inhumane thinking... The problem is that evolution did and does lead to that, whether it's technically "inevitable" or not, and further that there is good reason for it leading to that.
...people who interpret evolutionary theory in that manner have made a choice to interpret a body of science in that manner - the science itself says nothing about how we should treat each other. That implies that the people who "interpret" it that way are misusing it, yet some of the people who draw those conclusions from it were leading evolutionists! Surely they would be the ones to know if their "interpretation" is a valid one or not?
Horace, you have cleared up nothing, because you have totally ignored all the argument that I've been making about what people have based on evolution and why it's reasonable for them to do so, in favour of simply reasserting a viewpoint that is not consistent with what leading evolutionists have thought.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:22, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Two things Philip: 1) Unless you actually address what I have said it is difficult to progress the discussion. I made specific criticisms of your statements. 2) I keep asking you exactly why "it is reasonable" for people to base such arguments on evolutionary theory and you keep failing to provide an answer. Once we clear those matters up we can move on to "leading evolutionists". --Horace 03:43, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
P.S. I note that you wrote the following in reply to another editor above: ...rather that evolution does require that the less fit don't survive (even if only by dying out rather than being killed) and nature does have creatures killing other creatures. That statement again illustrates that you have a very limited understanding of evolutionary theory. Evolution does not "require" that the "less fit" not survive. It merely observes that some genetic traits are not as advantageous as others. And the statement Therefore, killing off the less fit is a good thing in advancing the species by helping evolution along, with respect, is just bizarre. What on earth do you mean by "advancing the species by helping evolution along"? Again, nothing to do with evolutionary theory as understood by actual scientists. --Horace 05:01, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
I made specific criticisms of your statements. You repeated what you had previously said, and which I had already addressed.
I keep asking you exactly why "it is reasonable" for people to base such arguments on evolutionary theory and you keep failing to provide an answer. I don't think you have asked that (rather, you've asserted that it's not correct), but it's "reasonable" because that's a common thing that people do in all sorts of different areas. They use facts (or claimed facts in this case) on which to form opinions. For example, many people believe that because the Australian Aborigines were in Australia before Europeans, the Aborigines have rights to compensation for land that non-Aborigines now occupy. The claim that Aborigines were here first, to paraphrase your wording, "is an observation only and says nothing about whether the compensation is good or bad". But using such facts to guide our thinking is a normal thing to do. Why should the supposed facts of evolution be the exception to the rule?
Evolution does not "require" that the "less fit" not survive. It merely observes that some genetic traits are not as advantageous as others. First, you might as well argue that gravity does not "require" items to fall. Second, evolution doesn't "merely" observe certain things. It goes much further, in making claims that are not observed. If evolution was merely a description of observations, we wouldn't be arguing about it.
...just bizarre. What on earth do you mean by "advancing the species by helping evolution along"? What don't you understand about it? What is bizarre about it?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:39, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Controversy?

PJR reverted my edit to this page concerning the "controversial theory of evolution". Where is the controversy? Aside from here and other creation "research" think tanks? I think the only real controversy is centered around mechanisms of evolution and the like, not actually whether or not its true. Sure you can say "but half the United States...blah blah" but thats not controversy. Please direct me to this "controversy". Ace McWicked 23:26, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

I directed you to the first section of this page. And no, the controversy is not just around the mechanisms. It's not just on this site, but also on Conservapedia, Wikipedia, probably hundreds if not thousands of Internet discussion sites, and many other places.
Aside from ... creation "research" think tanks? Apart from the inaccurate and offensive use of "scare quotes" around "research", this itself speaks against your argument. A controversy is between two (or more) sides. A "creation think tank" is only one side.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:01, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
yes, discussion sites (P.S. Conservapedia is not a good example!) but where is the controversy amongst the scientific community? You know, amongst those who actually know about this sort of thing? Not just the general public. Ace McWicked 01:05, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I have pointed this out to Philip before. Unfortunately it turns out that he inhabits a parallel Earth where a controversy does actually exist. So his comments are accurate. --Horace 01:08, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Appearently anyone discussing alternatives to evolution is counted as legitimate controversy. Including people like, I dont know, Ken DeMyer. Ace McWicked 01:13, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
...where is the controversy amongst the scientific community? On the evolutionary side, at TalkOrigins.org, the National Center for Science Education (set up primarily to fight creation), in the pages of science magazines such as New Scientist and Scientific American, and many other places. Or are you going to argue that these venues don't have scientists contributing? Or are you going to claim that you were actually unaware of these?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:19, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
So you are saying that there is controversy in New Scientist about whether or not evolution is fact or if YEC is real? Not in any New Scientist I have read. In fat I have on my desk here that talks about YEC as being totally unscientific. Controversy indeed. Ace McWicked 03:25, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I read New Scientist every week. There is certainly no controversy about the fact of evolution there. There is also no doubt about the errors of YEC. As with all scientific issues they talk about ongoing debates about mechanisms, because all of science is a developing work on progress. Buy anybody who suggests there is some debate about the existence of evolution, or the age of the earth, has clearly never read it.--Bob M 06:53, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I said, if you note, that the controversy "On the evolutionary side" is in places like New Scientist. That is, there are scientists at, for example, CMI arguing one side of it, and there are other scientists, in places like New Scientist, arguing the other side. You (Ace) have acknowledged that New Scientist does take part in the controversy, by talking about how wrong they think YEC is. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:14, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
They are not taking part in the controversy, they report on its instance but not "take part". That's like saying newspapers take part in terroism by reporting on it. A broad example but valid nonetheless. Ace McWicked 07:32, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, NS reports that some sectors like to pretend there is a "controversy". They might also report that some people think the Earth is flat. But that's hardly taking part in the "flat Earth controversy".--Bob M 08:20, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
And here is NS reporting on the "controversy".--Bob M 11:17, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

They are not taking part in the controversy, they report on its instance but not "take part". That's like saying newspapers take part in terroism by reporting on it. I find it insulting that you presume that I can't tell the difference between reporting and taking part, and criticise me for your false presumption. Bob M has provided and example of them "reporting on" an issue (a very loose description of a book review, but valid in this context), but here is an example of them taking part, i.e. actually putting up arguments as to why creationism is (supposedly) wrong. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:32, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Nothing to do with the present argument but thanks for the lovely link, Phil. User 11speak to me 03:52, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
You're welcome ...(I think). But before you try to use any of them, it would be wise of you to also read a rebuttal. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:06, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Removal of "controversial"

I often despair at how anti-creationists try and push their views on sites like this rather than improve articles. Ace McWicked above tried to remove the description "controversial" on the grounds that evolution is not controversial (or to describe it as merely controversial to start with). On this he is dead wrong. However, his cynical attempt to put the same term in biblical creation did cause me to realise that, although the description is correct, it probably doesn't need to be right there in the introductory sentence. Hence I have removed it from both articles. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:27, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Don't take this the wrong way, but it's really hard on an inherently and openly biased site for someone--creationist or evolutionist--to not push someone's view. One could argue that the entire premise of the site is to push a view. Sterile 03:41, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I can understand that, but some people seem so focussed on pushing their view that they are blind to other goals. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:01, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I am not "pushing a view". Ace McWicked 04:43, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
Didn't Project Steve adequately demonstrate to you just how manufactured the "controversy" surrounding evolution is? If the discovery institute can't find as many as a score of biologists who legitimately "dissent from Darwinism", but you can trivially dig up 500 named Steve who support it, how can it possibly be controversial? --Jeeves 08:42, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I am not "pushing a view". You certainly appear to be pushing the view that evolution is not controversial and likely that evolution is true.
Didn't Project Steve adequately demonstrate to you just how manufactured the "controversy" surrounding evolution is? It demonstrated that evolutionists are happy to use an argument ad populum to disprove a non-existent argument ad populum by opponents of evolution! And haven't I demonstrated above that it is controversial?
If the discovery institute can't find as many as a score of biologists who legitimately "dissent from Darwinism", but you can trivially dig up 500 named Steve who support it, how can it possibly be controversial? I note the word "legitimately" in there, as you have just dismissed most of their list. Regardless of that list, there's good evidence for far, far more than "a score".
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 15:21, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
No, I am not pushing a view, I was trying to make you understand that evolution is not considered controversial and, if it is, then surely creation is controversial too. Hence adding it "cynically" to the creation page also. Ace McWicked 21:10, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
I was trying to make you understand that evolution is not considered controversial ... That is a view that you are pushing.
...if it is, then surely creation is controversial too. Hence adding it "cynically" to the creation page also. I agree. Creation is definitely controversial. I was being totally honest above when I said that I removed it from both for a reason other than the accuracy of calling it controversial. And consistency was then my reason for taking the initiative to remove it from this article. So as far as your edit comment ("you see what i mean now?") is concerned, no I don't "see" what you mean in the sense that I accept your argument. It is still incorrect.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:17, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
You have yet to show any valid controversy. Evolution may be controversial in religious circles but it is not in the science world. When 98% of biologists agree (off the top of my head - but I know its around that number) that evolution is scientifically sound and is an explantion for the diversity of life then there is no controversy. And before you state argumentum ad populum, remember that we are dicussing a controversy so argumentum ad populum is a valid argument in that we are discussing how many people agree or disagree with a certain subject. So, show me the controversy that evolution is incorrect or not scientifically sound within the scientific community. Ace McWicked 05:11, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
You are essentially saying that evolution is not controversial among those who accept it, which is, of course axiomatic. But you ignore that (a) scientists are not the entire world, and (b) many of those opposed to evolution (creationists and ID proponents) are scientists. You are also moving the goalposts, in asking me to show that there is a controversy "within the scientific community", whereas the wording you disputed in the article did not refer to just the scientific community. There is a controversy, it is not just in "religious circles" (it crops up in the mass media, for example), and sides are taken within the scientific community, even if a large majority of them are one one side rather than the other. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 06:48, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
To use your reasoning Philip I could say there is significant controversy surrounding the exsitence of Santa Claus because all the worlds children accept it. The reason I say in the scientific community is because it is irrelevant what "some guy average joe" thinks, I want to know if there is any controversy within those that spend their lives in the service of the scientific community. Which is fair enough. Ace McWicked 06:53, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
My reasoning is not just that there are people who believe both sides, but that are arguing both sides. Where are the children arguing with logic and reason that Santa Claus is real?
The reason I say in the scientific community is because it is irrelevant what "some guy average joe" thinks... So scientists are the only ones who's opinions count? You're being very elitist there.
I want to know if there is any controversy within those that spend their lives in the service of the scientific community. Which is fair enough. That may be a fair question of itself, but it wasn't the discussion we were having. (And of course, as I have said, there are significant numbers within the scientific community who reject evolution.)
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:20, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
No, that was the discussion we were having, you havent shown where there is controversy. Scientists opinion is what counts here because anyone could rattle off what they believe but they need to back it up with proof and the average joe is unable to do so unless they are give the opinion of someone who has studied such things, hence that is why the scientific community is where it counts in this instance. Significant numbers? What significant numbers? You have not provided a single shred of proof that there is any controversy among those "in the know" so to speak. Ace McWicked 07:29, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Outside their own specialist fields, scientists are laymen. They are not that more likely to have their opinions based in relevant expertise. Mostly, they trust (have faith in) the expertise of other scientists.. You said this but now you are arguing that the average laymen's opnion does count and to say differant is elitist? Ace McWicked 08:33, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
No, that was the discussion we were having... This all started with this change to the sentence "Charles Darwin ... was a biologist whose principal works ... outlined the controversial theory of evolution.". You can easily see that the controversy referred to was not qualified at all to being about a controversy within the scientific community.
Scientists opinion is what counts here because ... they are ... [the ones who have] studied such things. That begs the question. On the one hand you have materialistic scientists making one claim about the past (goo-to-you evolution) and on the other hand you have biblical scientists making another claim about the past (creation). The former have no experimental evidence or direct observation of the past to go on. The latter have what is claimed to be eye-witness testimony about past events. Why is it that materialistic scientists are the supposed experts here? Why not historians (as it's about the past) or theologians (as the Bible and its historical claims are a factor)? Saying that (materialistic) scientists are the relevant experts prejudges the question.
For that matter, why not take this principle you espouse further? Why not argue that the creationists are the experts on creation, and that the evolutionists are not experts on creation, so their opinion doesn't count? Because I would be very confident that, in general, evolutionists understand creation far less than creationists understand evolution. So really, the creationists are the experts, not the evolutionists.
Significant numbers? What significant numbers? See the main page of this encyclopædia.
You have not provided a single shred of proof that there is any controversy among those "in the know" so to speak. On the contrary, I have, except that you have excluded all my evidence on the grounds that people who don't agree with your POV are not "in the know".
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:49, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

This discussion is getting almost unbearably silly and I hesitate to contribute, but I must ask: Which creationist observed days one to five of creation week? Since there were no humans until day six, this is problematic. For that matter, did Adam observe his own creation? Sterile 13:36, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Sterile this is a silly question. Obviously God:
Choose 1 (or more) from:
  1. told Adam who passed it down to later generations including Moses
  2. told Moses
  3. told either some individuals or all the tribe sometime between Adam and Moses.
  4. took Adam outside the universe where he could see it for himself
  5. took Moses etc.
  6. took either some individuals or the whole tribe etc.
  7. showed Adam a vision of it all happening
  8. showed Moses etc.
  9. showed either some individuals or the whole tribe etc.
  10. made Adam know it by implanting it in his brain.
  11. made Moses know it etc.
  12. made some individuals or the whole tribe know it etc.
  13. sent Angel(s) to tell Adam.
  14. sent Angel(s) to tell Moses.
  15. sent Angel(s) to some individuals etc.
  16. handed the book to Moses already done.
Dunno which of or indeed if any of is the official CMI version but really, you can't doubt the Bible, can you? User 11speak to me 17:06, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Sterile, User 11's basic answer: God. There, that wasn't so hard, was it? And didn't need that big list of options (and she missed the one that I favour). Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:30, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Enlightenment requested, I thought I'd covered all the options. User 11speak to me 04:49, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Goddit. Because he's God, and can do things mere mortals cannot comprehend. The EmperorRise, my apprentice 05:00, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Good ol' creationist escape hatch. Evolutionary biologist have to do work, but creationists just have to refer to their omnipotent being. Actually, I'd be curious as to which one you do favor, Philip? Or is it in the Bible somewhere? Sterile 15:05, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

User 11, No. 1 could be considered my preferred option, except that with option 16 you draw a distinction between verbal and written revelation, and therefore I read No. 1 as verbal revelation. My preferred option is that God wrote it (i.e. Genesis 1:1–2:4a) down for Adam and it got passed down to Moses.

The remaining comments by The Emperor and Sterile are mockery, strawmen, and false claims, and don't deserve a response.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 06:03, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Pascal's and OscarJ's edits

I have re-removed the section described by OscarJ as "parody". It is not appropriate.

OscarJ was also fully entitled to remove the other text with the {{fact}} tags, given that nobody had supplied references despite those tags being there for some time. However, as both Pascal and I support them being there, I would suggest that they stay. That is, there appears to be agreement that the information is correct, even though it would still benefit from references.

For what it's worth, I have previously proposed that we not use the {{fact}} template, as it appears to question the accuracy but actually asks for references. I prefer that we have separate tags for (a) objecting to material on the grounds of it being incorrect, (b) questioning the accuracy of material without claiming that it's incorrect, and (c) asking for references without disputing the accuracy. This suggestion was opposed (by one person), and I haven't pursued it, but this is an instance where this proposal could have been useful.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:38, 18 October 2009 (UTC)


I have made a suggestion regarding the fact tag here. BradleyF (LowKey) 23:31, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
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