Kentucky religious conservatives cannot wrap their head around theory of evolution

I actually understood the first time. It's getting through the idea that that's not the point that's the hard part, especially because everyone just keeps repeating the same soundbyte (with some very notable exceptions; you know who you are, thank you for comprehending).

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.

I think we are all aware of how attached you are to semantic arguments over substance. It's part of the problem I was alluding to.

Jayhawker 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.

I think we are all aware of how attached you are to semantic arguments over substance. It's part of the problem I was alluding to.

edit: you know what? Maybe it's best for me to just say you are not aware of that. You think that, but you are wrong. And the reason you are wrong is actually related to why some of you that have problems with LarryC have those problems. Some of us recognize what you call problems as opportunities, and can learn from the dialog that flows from that discussion. Your loss and my gain, I guess.

CheezePavilion wrote:
Jayhawker 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.

I think we are all aware of how attached you are to semantic arguments over substance. It's part of the problem I was alluding to.

edit: you know what? Maybe it's best for me to just say you are not aware of that. You think that, but you are wrong. And the reason you are wrong is actually related to why some of you that have problems with LarryC have those problems. Some of us recognize what you call problems as opportunities, and can learn from the dialog that flows from that discussion. Your loss and my gain, I guess.

Right, it is great that you gain from it - but you are one poster, and it is a big forum. Some of us like to discuss in general terms, without having to constantly break down every minute detail. It can be hard to have a discussion if you have one or two posters who parse every sentence with a fine tooth comb. I refuse to believe you don't understand what most people are talking about without having to derail with 50 questions until you personally are satisfied.

SallyNasty wrote:

Right, it is great that you gain from it - but you are one poster, and it is a big forum. Some of us like to discuss in general terms, without having to constantly break down every minute detail.

Yes.

And those people are not in P&C.

And no--it is not a big forum: "This is the least visited area of the forums"

It can be hard to have a discussion if you have one or two posters who parse every sentence with a fine tooth comb. I refuse to believe you don't understand what most people are talking about without having to derail with 50 questions until you personally are satisfied.

If you think there are only one or two 'fine toothed combs' around here, I believe your problem is in thinking that just because you find some discussions difficult, that means you like discussions in general terms.

I've actually thought about this: about what it means to keep a discussion in general terms, where people can feel free to express what they are thinking without too much individual, particularized criticism. I don't see that. I don't feel when people respond to what I say they are just keeping it in general terms. There are plenty of cases where people put 50 questions to me when I think what I'm talking about can be perfectly understood without the derail they want to take me on. What you're talking about would be an interesting format for a forum--and like I said, one I've thought about as a kind of 'safe space' but for every topic--but ah, regarding this one and those one or two 'fine toothed combs' you're talking about:

Face it--to the rest of the site, we're all freaks here in P&C. Maybe we should be a little more forgiving of the splinters in each others' eyes.

LarryC wrote:

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.

"No need to question" is a shorthand for "This is what respected scientists understand to be the current explanation for a given subject. Since respected scientists have, in the past, invented computers, got us to the moon, cured diseases and provided many other examples of why "science works", as a non-scientist, I'm going to trust that they have the right understanding of this issue as well, as I don't have the ability, time, money or initiative to go through the scientific process required to understand this concept in full myself."

Once again, less of a mouthful. If I was a scientist, perhaps I would feel the need to question the issue. Or I might not, scientists specialise in a field for a reason, building upon the knowledge or one another like a wall of bricks to create something bigger, upon the assumption that the other bricks will hold. Since we have a lot of brick walls, it's safe to make some assumptions about the underlying science. But since I'm not an evolutionary scientist, and without evidence to contrary, I find it much easier to accept the Theory of Evolution as basically the truth. The difference between my truth and a Creationists truth being that I'm actually open to changing my view should a respected scientist, backed by his peers, give me a reason to believe otherwise.

And those people are not in P&C.

I'd imagine he was talking about himself when he said that. Since he is in P&C, this statement is incorrect.
I, personally, bounce between the two depending on the topic, how recently I'd been in a semantic argument about it, and whether or not I'd already been in a semantic argument on the topic with the poster. Considering that every time the Theory of Evolution has come up recently, LarryC has turned the thread into a semantic argument about the word "theory," I'd say we're pretty safe in assuming it as read and moving past it.

Nope, I got the point, just backing up Sally that not everyone wants every thread to turn into a semantic discussion.
He said "Some of us like to discuss in general terms, without having to constantly break down every minute detail" which you dismissed with "those people are not in P&C" when clearly they are.

Stengah wrote:
And those people are not in P&C.

I'd imagine he was talking about himself when he said that. Since he is in P&C, this statement is incorrect.

I think you skimmed--read the rest of my comment, and it'll be more clear.

edit:

I, personally, bounce between the two depending on the topic, how recently I'd been in a semantic argument about it, and whether or not I'd already been in a semantic argument on the topic with the poster. Considering that every time the Theory of Evolution has come up recently, LarryC has turned the thread into a semantic argument about the word "theory," I'd say we're pretty safe in assuming it as read and moving past it.

See, I don't think it does. I don't think it's just semantics. I think it gets us to a distinction that gets glossed over: that between what I guess you can call experimental science and natural history. It's a deep question--where does the statement "the life we see today on earth evolved from earlier life forms" belong? Is it science or is it history? There's plenty of science in history--to cross over with religion, think of the tests done on the Shroud of Turin. So that doesn't settle it. It's pre-history because there are no textual sources, but that doesn't automatically make it science.

To whatever extent it is a derail, recognize that it's not a semantic, meaningless derail. It actually forces us to ask some difficult questions about science and about knowledge in general. Maybe it won't make the case for Creationism any stronger, but those of us who believe in the Theory of Evolution will come away with a better understanding of it.

Stengah wrote:

Nope, I got the point, just backing up Sally that not everyone wants every thread to turn into a semantic discussion.
He said "Some of us like to discuss in general terms, without having to constantly break down every minute detail" which you dismissed with "those people are not in P&C" when clearly they are.

Then you didn't get my point.

Then maybe elaborate instead of just telling me I read it wrong?

Stengah wrote:

Then maybe elaborate instead of just telling me I read it wrong?

Will you accept that I'm a bit wary of running afoul of the powers that be by getting further into a discussion about the semantics of those statements in the middle of a meta-discussion about individual posters and constantly breaking down the every minute detail of the things people say until there's a semantic derail?

IMAGE(http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i453/czpv/semantics.jpg)

I guess, but it still seems like you were telling sally that if he didn't like semantic arguments that he didn't belong in P&C.

Stengah wrote:

I guess, but it still seems like you were telling sally that if he didn't like semantic arguments that he didn't belong in P&C.

It's more that I'm saying that, to a lot of outside people, P&C probably looks like one big pit of semantic arguments, and it's easy to lose sight of that.

A favorite Principal Skinner moment, from "The Boy Who Knew Too Much":

Skinner wrote:

Why, there are no children here at the four-H club, either!
Am I so out of touch...? No, it's the children who are wrong.

See, I don't think it does. I don't think it's just semantics. I think it gets us to a distinction that gets glossed over: that between what I guess you can call experimental science and natural history. It's a deep question--where does the statement "the life we see today on earth evolved from earlier life forms" belong? Is it science or is it history? There's plenty of science in history--to cross over with religion, think of the tests done on the Shroud of Turin. So that doesn't settle it. It's pre-history because there are no textual sources, but that doesn't automatically make it science.

To whatever extent it is a derail, recognize that it's not a semantic, meaningless derail. It actually forces us to ask some difficult questions about science and about knowledge in general. Maybe it won't make the case for Creationism any stronger, but those of us who believe in the Theory of Evolution will come away with a better understanding of it.

One thought on this, though - many times, the deeper inquiry into the meta-analysis of a term means never getting to the actual *point* of a discussion, and that didactic approach to seemingly everything can be difficult for people interested in an issue to get past. If someone is talking about, say, the merits of Irreducible Complexity and it's refutation, then bringing in a full-bore discussion of whether evolution is a science or history, and what *are* science and history anyway, will usually be seen as willfully avoiding the point of the conversation, and causes a lot of frustration.

Just an observation. Sometimes, it's better to start a new thread with an interesting question that's meta for a particular thread, than to inject it and expect everyone to be content with the new line of reasoning.

Redwing:

I suspected so. Another way to put it: "These men are wiser than me, so I'll believe what they say implicitly, and against the authority and word of myself, and other men."

Accepting any scientific theory as "basically the truth" without doubt or question turns it into faith; "religous belief" as Robear put so above. It seems that my overall impression about the situation has been correct all along, all allegations to the contrary. Note that this is no longer me reading "belief" incorrectly, but your entire expanded definition of how "we don't question -blank-" works.

Where in some people "blank" is Bible, for others it is "science," frequently badly understood versions of scientific theories. Replacing one with the other doesn't change the process of thought and action. It just changes which authority figures you accept as holy writ.

This is where the Creationists actually have a point.

Ironically enough, their insistence on teaching two theories instead of just the one, and letting the kids figure it out for themselves, is actually more consistent with critical thinking - just as they rightly point out - than teaching ToE as fact. The latter is far more dangerous to actual scientific endeavor, IMO.

Redwing wrote:

Faith is belief without proof. I trust the scientists that tell me why things work.

BIG difference.

I trust the priests that tell me why things work. Where's the difference? Is it that your priests are better than mine, for reasons that I'm sure you'd be happy to expound?

I get the same exposition crap from Mormons trying to convince me why Catholicism is crap.

Faith is belief without proof. I trust the scientists that tell me why things work.

BIG difference.

Edit: Besides which, you're just not getting it. I didn't say that as a society we should all believe some things without question, I'm just saying that, in day to day life, I don't need to know why the light switch works to be able to use it. I'm not a scientist, I cannot understand everything, and I don't need to.

Comparing that to unshakable faith in a deity is ludicrous.

LarryC wrote:
Redwing wrote:

Faith is belief without proof. I trust the scientists that tell me why things work.

BIG difference.

I trust the priests that tell me why things work. Where's the difference? Is it that your priests are better than mine, for reasons that I'm sure you'd be happy to expound?

I get the same exposition crap from Mormons trying to convince me why Catholicism is crap.

No, it's the method used to determine why/how things work. Clergy of any faith or sect - Mormons, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, whatever - use non-evidential, faith-based methods with antiquated mythological texts as source material. Is that the method you use as a scientist? I hope not. You see the difference?

LarryC wrote:
Redwing wrote:

Faith is belief without proof. I trust the scientists that tell me why things work.

BIG difference.

I trust the priests that tell me why things work. Where's the difference? Is it that your priests are better than mine, for the reasons that I'm sure you're happy to expound?

Once again: the difference is that the scientists work have been gone over by others, and you can go over it yourself if you so desire. The scientists aren't claiming that what they say is the capital "T" Truth. They have data that backs up whatever it is you're trusting their conclusion on.

The difference is the ability to change one's mind upon further evidence. Faith does not allow that.

It's an immense difference that you seem unable to grasp.

LarryC wrote:

The process here is that you look for a bunch of authority figures whose word you trust, and then you trust them implicitly without question. Isn't that how you explained it?

Where are you coming up with the "implicitly without question" part?

Redwing wrote:

The difference is the ability to change one's mind upon further evidence. Faith does not allow that.

It's an immense difference that you seem unable to grasp.

But you're not changing your opinion on further evidence, because you're not examining the evidence. You're asking the scientists to do so; and then you accept their word on it. You're mistaken in thinking that faith doesn't allow people to change their minds. The Catholic Church has changed its stance on a number of issues over the years.

Note how it no longer combats heliocentric theory.

The process here is that you look for a bunch of authority figures whose word you trust, and then you trust them implicitly without question. Isn't that how you explained it?

Stengah:

Once again: the difference is that the scientists work have been gone over by others, and you can go over it yourself if you so desire. The scientists aren't claiming that what they say is the capital "T" Truth. They have data that backs up whatever it is you're trusting their conclusion on.

So scientists are better authority figures than priests. Is that what you're saying? Just clarifying.

Nicholaas:

No, it's the method used to determine why/how things work. Clergy of any faith or sect - Mormons, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, whatever - use non-evidential, faith-based methods with antiquated mythological texts as source material. Is that the method you use as a scientist? I hope not. You see the difference?

First, I think you don't have a very clear idea of how theology works.

Second, the method used by authority figures to arrive at their teachings doesn't necessarily change how those ideas are transmitted and accepted by the public at large.

Stengah wrote:
LarryC wrote:

The process here is that you look for a bunch of authority figures whose word you trust, and then you trust them implicitly without question. Isn't that how you explained it?

Where are you coming up with the "implicitly without question" part?

I took it from the "don't feel the need to question" highlights I've been alluding to since page 2.

Stengah wrote:
LarryC wrote:

The process here is that you look for a bunch of authority figures whose word you trust, and then you trust them implicitly without question. Isn't that how you explained it?

Where are you coming up with the "implicitly without question" part?

Yeah the thing is, other scientists will be the first people to question one another should there be any doubt on a subject. Thinking that I personally need to know everything is ridiculous. You have to trust some people for society to work.

Redwing wrote:

"No need to question" is a shorthand for "This is what respected scientists understand to be the current explanation for a given subject. Since respected scientists have, in the past, invented computers, got us to the moon, cured diseases and provided many other examples of why "science works", as a non-scientist, I'm going to trust that they have the right understanding of this issue as well, as I don't have the ability, time, money or initiative to go through the scientific process required to understand this concept in full myself."

I've bolded the important part. It's not like we're basing this trust on nothing. If scientists were in the habit of lying to us, our society would simply stop functioning the way it does.

Larry,

I know full-well how theology works. I spent a good number of years earning an undergrad in Judeo-Christian theology. The process is, when it comes down to it, attempting to learn about the natural world around us by way of supposed "supernatural" sources (divine revelation, personal experiences, "revealed" texts", etc). The rest is fluff, self-important naval gazing with no substance or basis in reality. It doesn't work. Ever. Science, however, does work. It is a naturalistic method used to learn about our natural world.

Redwing:

See, I see what you wrote, and other than that you trust scientists for reasons that you accept, I don't materially see anything different from trusting scientists and priests. Don't priests of various religious persuasions challenge each other all the time, sometimes even violently?

On what basis are you saying that scientists don't lie? Scientists lie all the time. Have you read journals lately? In fact, lying on studies and scientific works is such an endemic problem in the field that there are ways and means in place to deal with just those sorts of things. In general, I'm more inclined to think an individual priest of any denomination to be more forthright, since the daily practice of that profession actually depends on moral integrity of some sort.

LarryC wrote:
Once again: the difference is that the scientists work have been gone over by others, and you can go over it yourself if you so desire. The scientists aren't claiming that what they say is the capital "T" Truth. They have data that backs up whatever it is you're trusting their conclusion on.

So scientists are better authority figures than priests. Is that what you're saying? Just clarifying.

Depends on what you want their authority on. If you want to know why there are so many different types of animals, a biologist is a much better authority figure than a priest. If you've got a question about the Bible, a priest is a better authority figure to go to than a biologist (biblical scholar would be the best though). Personally, with the caveat that it won't work well for everyone, I'd trust a scientist to tell me how X works or why Z happens over a priest every time. When a scientist is wrong they just modify their views/knowledge to incorporate the right answer. It's a bit harder for priests since the wrong answer was part of their religion.

Nicholaas wrote:

Larry,

I know full-well how theology works. I spent a good number of years earning an undergrad in Judeo-Christian theology. The process is, when it comes down to it, attempting to learn about the natural world around us by way of supposed "supernatural" sources (divine revelation, personal experiences, "revealed" texts", etc). The rest is fluff, self-important naval gazing with no substance or basis in reality. It doesn't work. Ever. Science, however, does work. It is a naturalistic method used to learn about our natural world.

If your undergrad is worth anything, then you must know that theology is founded on logic. They take their assumptions and premises from Biblical sources, but it's not fluff. It's often very rigorous logic, and interpretations of public sentiment and moral trends. Have you read Pope John Paul II's works on human sexuality?

Moreover, you seem to be saying that science is a better religion because its magic works. Clarification?