Kentucky religious conservatives cannot wrap their head around theory of evolution

No, Malor. I don't believe in the Theory of Evolution the same way I don't believe in the Theory of Gravity. Scientific theories are not concepts you believe in. There is no faith involved in them. They organize data. That's it, the whole it, and nothing but the it.

Believing in the ToE makes about as much sense as believing in my Memento database.

I suspect that when most people say they believe in the theory of evolution (or any other scientific theory) what they effectively mean is that they believe it is the best model we currently have for the data we currently have. You may have a point there though in that given how theists use the term 'belief' perhaps it is best to clarify such as not to fuel anyone trying to claim these are matters of faith.

So can a competent scientist also be a Christian, a Muslim, a believer in Judaism?

MacBrave wrote:

So can a competent scientist also be a Christian, a Muslim, a believer in Judaism?

I think the answer is generally yes as long as he/she can compartmentalize religious belief as either allegorical or culturally important without it informing one's view of the physical universe.

MacBrave wrote:

So can a competent scientist also be a Christian, a Muslim, a believer in Judaism?

http://bigthink.com/ideas/13148

Neil DeGrasse Tyson on religious scientists. I watched a talk with him basically saying that even in the highest echelons of the hard sciences that religious belief, although much reduced, is still there among a few scientists.

LarryC wrote:

No, Malor. I don't believe in the Theory of Evolution the same way I don't believe in the Theory of Gravity. Scientific theories are not concepts you believe in. There is no faith involved in them. They organize data. That's it, the whole it, and nothing but the it.

Believing in the ToE makes about as much sense as believing in my Memento database.

Larry, you are making the same mistake that religious people are making.

When religious people hear "theory", they hear theory the way that a layperson uses theory. When you are reading people say that they believe in the theory of evolution, what they are actually saying is that they feel that the ToE has the required data and supporting evidence such that they accept it and no longer fel the need to question it.

Oh f*ck, here we go again.

Which is exactly the wrong way to look at any scientific theory. You always need to question it, or you look at every new piece of data with confirmation bias; reinterpreting the facts to jive with what you know to be true. That's the point at which it passes from science into faith. At that point, "belief" in exactly the way it's meant by religious people, is absolutely and totally apt.

It is at this point that Creationism begins to actually have justification. When you're teaching science in a faith-based way, then how is it wrong to teach other faiths? Treating science like that only gives them more ammunition; and it alienates people of faith who rightly feel that what this is is faith and not science.

It's not that they can't understand it; they won't because of how it's presented.

Tanglebones wrote:

Oh f*ck, here we go again.

We were going again right from the thread title.

Tanglebones wrote:

Oh f*ck, here we go again.

Yup. I had written up a nice explanation to LarryC for the millionth time that we do not have "faith" in Scientific Theories, but that theories are the best explanations that have scientific backing, blah blah blah. But then I deleted it because I don't want to go down that road that has been driven a million times...

ZaneRockfist wrote:
MacBrave wrote:

So can a competent scientist also be a Christian, a Muslim, a believer in Judaism?

http://bigthink.com/ideas/13148

Neil DeGrasse Tyson on religious scientists. I watched a talk with him basically saying that even in the highest echelons of the hard sciences that religious belief, although much reduced, is still there among a few scientists.

Some of the finest earth bound astronomical science is coming from the Vatican these days.

I was talking with my fiancee on this last night, relative to Neil Armstrong dying. Many of the NASA pilots were men of science, military men, and men of god. They saw their privilege to go out into our solar system as getting them closer to the divine. But their faith was not confined to hastily assembled oral stories, fables, and alternate history. Theirs was a god not confined to black ink.

Science is not at all compatible with a fundamentalist view of the bible. Somewhere down the line many Christians trapped god within those pages.

Yeah. There is no way that this conversation will go anywhere useful. This path has been trod many times before.

"Believing" in a scientific theory, LarryC, means accepting that it is the best current explanation. That's all it means. A new explanation could come along next week that replaces it entirely, much like relativity replaced Newtonian mechanics.

So, by that standard, do you believe in evolution? Do you think it's the best available explanation for the evidence?

Depends on the evidence you're talking about. Darwin's finches? Sure. Sounds good there.

However, I'm highly skeptical that "believing" is "all it means." Just above we have a quote from a person who thinks that "believing" means that we stop questioning the validity of the theory, even for a second. That's empirical evidence that that's not all it means.

When you no longer feel the need to question, that's blind faith. Can we agree on that?

LarryC wrote:

Depends on the evidence you're talking about. Darwin's finches? Sure. Sounds good there.

However, I'm highly skeptical that "believing" is "all it means." Just above we have a quote from a person who thinks that "believing" means that we stop questioning the validity of the theory, even for a second. That's empirical evidence that that's not all it means.

When you no longer feel the need to question, that's blind faith. Can we agree on that?

And that's a straw man argument. Can we agree on that?

Not at all. The fundamental quality of blind faith is that it doesn't question. Science is founded on the opposite of that - critical thinking. Just because the axiom you happen not to question is a scientific theory doesn't change the thought process or what it is.

LarryC wrote:

Not at all. The fundamental quality of blind faith is that it doesn't question. Science is founded on the opposite of that - critical thinking. Just because the axiom you happen not to question is a scientific theory doesn't change the thought process or what it is.

You are arguing a stupid point that doesn't need to be proved. It's why time and time again your presence in threads results in long back and forths that sheds the thread of most of its readers. You feel vindicated if you can get two or three guys to get suckered into your circle of death.

I've been sucked, as well as many others. It always ends the same.

KingGorilla wrote:

Conservatives hate NASA because it inspires children to take up science.

We also dial the phone funny and smell faintly of balsam.

Jayhawker:

On the contrary Jawhawker, I feel that it does need to be said; especially when this goes under the radar as perfectly acceptable:

When you are reading people say that they believe in the theory of evolution, what they are actually saying is that they feel that the ToE has the required data and supporting evidence such that they accept it and no longer fel the need to question it.

That is a pretty plain and bald statement. That is not any idiom that I can parse that means anything other than not questioning things.

That is the crux of the point wherein Creationism is wedging its foot into education in order to hijack science to teach faith. That's the problem, right there. I am not the only one here who thinks this; though I am aware that I am the only one who thinks that mentioning it will make any difference.

Yeah, you're just dodging the question and strawmanning.

Larry, a lot of us speak in informal English, using shorthand notation that we all have an agreed meaning for, especially when we're discussing science and politics on a video game forum. If it makes you feel any better, every time someone says they "Believe in evolution" or similar, just pretend they're actually saying "The theory of evolution through natural selection is what I currently understand to be the best explanation for the diversity of species on our planet, pending further information of the subject that may or may not arise."

Sure, the former is less correct, but it's also less of a mouthful. Bogging down the discussion in a semantics argument that we've all seen a hundred times before is pointless. You know it's pointless, because you've already participated in it innumerable times before and achieved exactly zip.

Jayhawker wrote:
LarryC wrote:

Not at all. The fundamental quality of blind faith is that it doesn't question. Science is founded on the opposite of that - critical thinking. Just because the axiom you happen not to question is a scientific theory doesn't change the thought process or what it is.

You are arguing a stupid point that doesn't need to be proved. It's why time and time again your presence in threads results in long back and forths that sheds the thread of most of its readers. You feel vindicated if you can get two or three guys to get suckered into your circle of death.

I've been sucked, as well as many others. It always ends the same.

+1.

Redwing:

It's not a semantic argument, Redwing. When someone says "not feel the need to question," what's that the shorthand for? I really don't know, and I would like to know.

Creationism doesn't belong in the science classroom for the simple reason that it is theology, not science. Anything that draws away from this simple fact strengthens the case for Creationists; because the simple fact that it's not science is all you need not to include it in a science curriculum. Anything else just muddles the discussion, which is exactly what they want.

Larry, this is what we're up against here:

Science & Human Origins, the provocative new book from Discovery Institute Press, boldly addresses some of the most popular evolutionary arguments pertaining to controversial claims that humans and apes are related through common ancestry.

In Science & Human Origins three scientists challenge the claim that undirected natural selection is capable of building a human being. The authors critically assess fossil and genetic evidence that human beings share a common ancestor with apes, and debunk recent claims that the human race could not have started from an original couple.

“The research of leading scientists in this field has empirically shown that the Darwinian mechanism is severely limited in what it can produce, especially in higher organisms like humans,” says one of the authors, Casey Luskin.

The three scientists—molecular biologist Dr. Douglas Axe, developmental biologist and geneticist Dr. Ann Gauger, and earth scientist Casey Luskin investigate some of the most pressing questions in the human origins debate.

Dr. Axe is a molecular biologist and Director of Biologic Institute, and received his Ph.D. from Caltech. He explains why the Darwinian mechanism cannot produce complex multimutation features under reasonable timescale. According to his research, there is dramatically insufficient time allowed by the fossil record to evolve observed biological differences between humans and apes by random mutation and natural selection.

Dr. Gauger, a Senior Research Scientist at Biologic Institute who holds a Ph.D. in developmental biology from the University of Washington and did her post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University, then tackles the hottest topic in the debate over human origins—the genetic evidence and claims that it proves humans could not have been descended from an initial pair. According to Gauger, those who argue that genetics negates the possibility we are all related through an initial pair of humans have overstated their case.
Casey Luskin, who earned his M.S. in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego and conducted geological research at the Scripps Institution for Oceanography, then looks at the fossil evidence, and explains why an objective assessment of the fossil data does not support the view that humans evolved from ape-like ancestors.

“Dr. Gauger concludes on the basis of population genetics that the genetic evidence is quite compatible with the view that humans are descended from an original pair,” explains Luskin.

The debate over common ancestry and human origins is in full swing in the scientific community. If you want to fully understand this issue, you need to read this book.

So in the US, there are scientists who argue that man could not have come about from natural processes - ie, man was created. And they do this from a think tank and publish books by scientists supporting their ideas.

And as noted, "belief in" a proposition in science in American vernacular is equivalent to "this is the best explanation I've seen so far", not "I unquestioningly accept a premise and refuse to consider further evidence". But I think you know that by now. I think this is partly because for some Americans, religious explanations of the world are "the best I've seen so far", and so there is a fundamental understanding that science AND religion offer equally valid understandings of the world. Which is off the tracks, for me, but there it is.

Robear:

Alright, man. I wasn't going to name names, but you agreed with me when I said that critical thinking is lacking - that's the key and most important problem here. I even heard it said here that maybe, maybe teaching science to children as theories that are not meant to be questioned is a better way to go.

That's not teaching science at all, for me.

You see, you can't say that "belief" is NOT a shorthand for "I unquestioningly accept a premise and refuse to consider further evidence," when I see it described in just the ways I've highlighted above. In fact, I'm of the opinion that this is far more common; and I thought that you were of the same opinion as well.

Of all the Miss America contestants I saw answer the question of Evolution vs Creationism, not one ventured to answer about teaching science as science, and theology as theology. Maybe they're all selected to be incredibly stupid, or perhaps I'm not getting it right, but it sounded to me like they didn't understand your shorthand the way everyone here seems to explain it.

If there are scientists who make studies that man was not developed of evolutionary processes, is that not scientifically good? So long as the processes and premises are sound, that's VERY good. Science progresses when novel ideas are tested and explored.

The problem with Creationism isn't because it is inspired by Biblical sources. The problem with it is that it's bad science. You can't fight bad science by teaching worse science, even if you're teaching the theories that are currently favored by working scientists.

I agree with you - there's been a direct attack on the entire concept of critical thinking in the US.

You see, you can't say that "belief" is NOT a shorthand for "I unquestioningly accept a premise and refuse to consider further evidence," when I see it described in just the ways I've highlighted above. In fact, I'm of the opinion that this is far more common; and I thought that you were of the same opinion as well.

I would refer to that as "religious belief", even if it addressed a point of science. I was trying to talk about the state of "belief in science" by those who use the phrase. But yeah, it's hard to sort out a consistent position on this, given the disparity in usage. I guess my comments above would be limited to most of the people here, if that helps.

If there are scientists who make studies that man was not developed of evolutionary processes, is that not scientifically good? So long as the processes and premises are sound, that's VERY good. Science progresses when novel ideas are tested and explored.

The problem with Creationism isn't because it is inspired by Biblical sources. The problem with it is that it's bad science. You can't fight bad science by teaching worse science, even if you're teaching the theories that are currently favored by working scientists.

Right. But your point earlier, that Creationism is not science, is just not descriptive of the way it's viewed by tens of millions in the US. They believe it's science, and that it's *good* science. Which gives us another set of ambiguities about the term "belief" in the US.

Robear:

Agreed. However, I am not of the opinion that the fight against Creationism can be won by attacking the movement on the basis of all the objections and points they have raised. Naturally, they will have raised those points precisely because those are their strongest positions.

Granted, they're not that strong; but they otherwise have bupkiss to work with, so it's sound strategy.

The fact that millions of US citizens believe that Creationism is good science isn't a Creationism problem. It's a science problem - namely that all those millions of people can't tell what is or isn't science if it bit them on the behind. Teaching ToE over Creationism isn't going to make that go away. If anything the "teach ToE as if it were fact" strategy only makes it way, way worse. It's beneath a Pyrrhic victory at that point; it's avoiding defeat at the hands of Sauron by reviving Melkor.

To go back to an earlier conversation, I think this is a matter of how LarryC understands that word 'science' as different from us. What we are calling science he might be more comfortable calling 'natural history'. I know in that one conversation, we all seemed to gloss over the numerous times he indicated that his idea of science doesn't involve selecting between incompatible paradigms. We just assume that, because to us that's understood as part of 'science'. Once that registered to me when I made sense of what he was saying about empiricism, it all started to make sense.

SallyNasty wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
LarryC wrote:

Not at all. The fundamental quality of blind faith is that it doesn't question. Science is founded on the opposite of that - critical thinking. Just because the axiom you happen not to question is a scientific theory doesn't change the thought process or what it is.

You are arguing a stupid point that doesn't need to be proved. It's why time and time again your presence in threads results in long back and forths that sheds the thread of most of its readers. You feel vindicated if you can get two or three guys to get suckered into your circle of death.

I've been sucked, as well as many others. It always ends the same.

+1.

Meh--I know I've come to a deeper understanding of the issue by, for example, having to explain to LarryC the difference between what goes on for me when believing a scientist and believing a priest.

CheezePavilion wrote:

Meh--I know I've come to a deeper understanding of the issue by, for example, having to explain to LarryC the difference between what goes on for me when believing a scientist and believing a priest.

Which would be nice if he could remember it the next time the issue comes up instead of making everyone explain the diference to him again.

Stengah wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Meh--I know I've come to a deeper understanding of the issue by, for example, having to explain to LarryC the difference between what goes on for me when believing a scientist and believing a priest.

Which would be nice if he could remember it the next time the issue comes up instead of making everyone explain the difference to him again.

Would be nice if everyone was capable of that.