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29894Re: Has Evolution Really Been a Help?

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  • khunsinger33
    Oct 24, 2012
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      > Kurt: Good points and good question. We can all benefit from the sincere study of nature from both evolution-minded and creation-minded folks. Just reading Origin of Species is a huge undertaking for most of us, I respect it. My concern is the unjustified authority evolutionary theory enjoys.

      gluadys: In science, evolution enjoys exactly the same authority as any other theory well-grounded in and substantiated by relevant evidence and capable of stimulating additional research in the field. No more, no less. This is not unjustified. It is the basis of justification for all scientific propositions. I would challenge you to find a better one.

      Kurt: I appreciate your even, informed tone. Stewart posed a similar challenge to me. I have no better basis upon which to judge what science is nor any scientific propositions to offer. I'm not qualified to do so. But at the same time, I don't think a person should be called on to find a better lightbulb in order to converse on the impact the existing one has had. I'd like to look at the unjustified authority thing just a little more. Evolution and the Myth of creationism. Consider that. If Evolutionary theory really did "enjoy exactly the same authority as any other theory… no more, no less" then why not Theory of Radioactivity and the Myth of Creationism? Would Eldridge have sold as many copies with the title The Triumph of Molecular Bonds and the Failure of Creationism? And Dawkins certainly has every right to say in God Delusion "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" no matter how wrong he is, but don't all these authors owe their acceptance - and book sales - to a kind of theological symbiosis with creationism that benefits evolutionary theory? Aren't these authors only able to include the words creation, religion and God because they are considered authorities on them by virtue of their evolutionary education? That is what I mean by unjustified authority.

      gluadys: I would say you have it backwards about. Evolution is in charge of nothing but natural selection. OTOH rationality, applied to the observation of biological beings past and present, justifies the perception of evolutionary change and how that comes about.

      Kurt: I've no issue with an evolutionary perception of how change comes about when applied to the observation of biological beings. What does OTOH mean?

      Gluadys: As for "creationism", what do you see as its salient defining qualities? Why do you see it necessary to contrast "creationism" with the fact and/or theory and/or history of evolution?

      Kurt: Depends on what you mean by creationism. I have no input here on Scientific Creationism or ID or Creationism as identified with any particular group or as a theory of any sort. My intention is not to compare or contrast theories but to examine the impact evolutionary theory has on existing beliefs. So for salient qualities of creationism I have none. Creator-belief, however, is quite a different thing all together and its overwhelming persistence for millennia is indeed a defining quality. I've also argued that evolutionary theory is an example creator-belief, not an example of creationism.

      gluadys: A special question for Christians is to ask about the role the churches should be playing to help their members understand evolution as part of God's creation and therefore non-threatening to Christian beliefs. Why do we have to leave this to parachurch organizations like BioLogos? (link)

      Kurt: will have leave this one for next time.

      Gluadys: No more or less than any other field of science. Let's remember that the concept of objectivity is built into the Christian doctrine of creation. It is an affirmation that God did not place us in a sort of complex holographic world, as in the movie, Matrix. Creation is real, not a temporary movie set. Further, creation is knowable. We all experience the same created cosmos, even if we experience it from different perspectives. And there is enough overlap among those perspectives to permit shared inter-subjective knowledge which we can rely on.

      Kurt: Not always sure what Christian doctrine means. Christian doctrine and Egyptian mummification seem pretty much the same to me, parts and parcels of the same goal, the same desire, the same people heading up the same hill in intersecting spirals. As a Christian you may feel differently. Wouldn't mind hearing from you on that.

      It is certainly true that we need to be careful about asserting certainty as to the objective reality of many things, especially as we are far more aware than we used to be about the intimate relation of observer to observed. But science is an excellent tool for questioning the accuracy of our objectivity. The intense scrutiny of evolution, especially as we get into the observation of the molecular underpinnings of evolutionary change, has ensured that it is one of the best studied scientific theories, and therefore, as reliably objective in its conclusions as is humanly possible.

      Kurt: Objectivity. I'm not convinced it is humanly possible at any level in or out of science. I can admit that that might be a bias. But from what I can gather from researchers like Pim Lommel and Fred Wolf objectivity may be nothing more than a vanity.

      gluadys: IOW, you are not willing to judge the theory on the basis of a) understanding its propositions, and b) testing them against the evidence of nature. Instead, you buttress your rejection of this science with unsupported armchair psychoanalysis… Do you understand the following line of logic?
      If A is true, B, C, D & E must also be true…
      Suppose they find everything they began to seek out? The logical conclusion is that they have discovered something profoundly true about nature. The understanding may not be complete and may continue to be revised with new observations, but they are confident they are headed in the right direction.

      Can you provide a better way of coming to understand the reality of the created world?

      Can you understand why, on the basis of this rational test, scientists put the theory of evolution in the third category?

      Kurt: I don't have experience at looking at it this way. Will have to read this a couple more times before I can reply.

      >

      gluadys: As a believer, I would consider the role of the Holy Spirit in influencing behaviour.

      Kurt: This is a good answer. When I asked the question, what drives behavior if not biology? I had hoped someone might sincerely offer this kind of answer. If not biology, what indeed? Of course Holy Spirit is not the only name such an influence has been given over time and around the world and not each and every single solitary person feels such an influence, but humanity as a whole has and does consider this kind of influence a significant player in their lives. I am beginning to see why that is not considered significant to evolution theory, but it seems so hugely significant otherwise that I am mystified that so much evolutionary literature seems bent on rebuking it.

      Theres a bunch of your points that will take a bit more time for me to wrap my head around and will hit next time.







      --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, "gluadys" <g_turner@...> wrote:
      >
      > --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, "khunsinger33" <khunsinger33@> wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Kurt: Good points and good question. We can all benefit from the sincere study of nature from both evolution-minded and creation-minded folks. Just reading Origin of Species is a huge undertaking for most of us, I respect it. My concern is the unjustified authority evolutionary theory enjoys.
      > >
      > >
      >
      > In science, evolution enjoys exactly the same authority as any other theory well-grounded in and substantiated by relevant evidence and capable of stimulating additional research in the field. No more, no less. This is not unjustified. It is the basis of justification for all scientific propositions. I would challenge you to find a better one.
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      > >Dawkins a good example, exploit the perception that evolution in charge of what is rational and creationism only in charge of what is irrational.
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      > I would say you have it backwards about. Evolution is in charge of nothing but natural selection. OTOH rationality, applied to the observation of biological beings past and present, justifies the perception of evolutionary change and how that comes about.
      >
      > As for "creationism", what do you see as its salient defining qualities? Why do you see it necessary to contrast "creationism" with the fact and/or theory and/or history of evolution?
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      > >Which is exactly how most people accept the theory.
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      > You probably mean "most Americans". Not surprising, as Americans have been among the most heavily saturated with nonsense about evolution and had very little exposure to a good scientific education about what it is and isn't. There is no point debating uninformed public opinion about evolution other than to ask how it can become better informed.
      >
      > A special question for Christians is to ask about the role the churches should be playing to help their members understand evolution as part of God's creation and therefore non-threatening to Christian beliefs. Why do we have to leave this to parachurch organizations like BioLogos? (link)
      >
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      > >
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      > > Evolution proceeds and feeds on the empty promise of objectivity.
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      > No more or less than any other field of science. Let's remember that the concept of objectivity is built into the Christian doctrine of creation. It is an affirmation that God did not place us in a sort of complex holographic world, as in the movie, Matrix. Creation is real, not a temporary movie set. Further, creation is knowable. We all experience the same created cosmos, even if we experience it from different perspectives. And there is enough overlap among those perspectives to permit shared inter-subjective knowledge which we can rely on.
      >
      > It is certainly true that we need to be careful about asserting certainty as to the objective reality of many things, especially as we are far more aware than we used to be about the intimate relation of observer to observed. But science is an excellent tool for questioning the accuracy of our objectivity. The intense scrutiny of evolution, especially as we get into the observation of the molecular underpinnings of evolutionary change, has ensured that it is one of the best studied scientific theories, and therefore, as reliably objective in its conclusions as is humanly possible.
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      > >Some would say science is self-correcting, we have the scientific method after all, right? But I don't buy it. There is power to be had here, influence, peers to gain praise from, reputations to uphold, a group to be a part of. These are not small components to the issue, these are potent motivators and none among are immune. Evolution is fine, Wielding lagrely unchecked authority and religious influence are making evoltuion too big for it's britches.
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      > IOW, you are not willing to judge the theory on the basis of a) understanding its propositions, and b) testing them against the evidence of nature. Instead, you buttress your rejection of this science with unsupported armchair psychoanalysis.
      >
      >
      >
      > Do you understand the following line of logic?
      >
      > If A is true, B, C, D & E must also be true.
      > A (the "if" statement) is the hypothesis whose validity we are testing.
      > B, C, D, & E are specific observable consequences that logically follow from A.
      >
      > This sets the research program for scientists. How can we determine whether or not B exists in nature? C?, D?, E?
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      > Suppose scientists find none of these things? Logically they have to conclude the original hypothesis, A, is false—and whatever observations led to that hypothesis must be explained differently.
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      > Suppose they find some, but not others? Logically, they have to conclude that the evidential support for the theory is ambiguous and not certain.
      >
      > Suppose they find everything they began to seek out? The logical conclusion is that they have discovered something profoundly true about nature. The understanding may not be complete and may continue to be revised with new observations, but they are confident they are headed in the right direction.
      >
      > Can you provide a better way of coming to understand the reality of the created world?
      >
      > Can you understand why, on the basis of this rational test, scientists put the theory of evolution in the third category?
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      > > Gluadys: Have you questions about the Darwinian theory of evolution as it applies to the changing nature of the biosphere? Those would be scientific questions and relatively easy to answer.
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      > > Kurt: The Changing nature of the biosphere? No, I don't think so. Maybe later. I would like someone to address how evolution deals with the existence of consciousness.
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      > Well, that is a frontier question. No one has more than speculative musings on it yet. Probably the most important discoveries of recent times have been in elucidating the consciousness of non-human creatures.
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      > In any case, just as one must learn to walk before running, it might be better to ask about basics first, then move into issues still on the fringe.
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      > > Without [consciousness] nothing happens. At least not on this issue for sure. But evolution seems to ignore it.
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      > Oh, not at all. It is a very active and interesting field of research. Very controversial too. Check out neuropsychology. But our consumer culture values conclusions over questions (so antithetical to true wisdom—think of Job) and so the media do a lousy job on ongoing research.
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      > > gluadys: But one thing we cannot ask about any of them is "what explanation does evolutionary theory offer?" Evolutionary theory offers no explanation or perspective on any of these fascinating questions, because that is not its function.
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      > > Kurt: Not sure I get that. In the world of regular folk, in the minds of average people, evolution does offer explanations. "it evolved that way" is at least as common as "God did it". Offering explanations is evolutions accepted function.
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      > No, "offering explanations" without qualification is not the function of the theory of evolution. It is not even the function of the whole of science. Science seeks empirical explanations of the material relationships, (especially cause & effect) within the world of space-time we are embedded in and experience through sensory perceptions. Sometimes, the explanations themselves are not directly empirical, (no one has ever seen an electron) but they still have observable, empirical consequences by which the theoretical explanation can be tested in the real world. Evolution provides empirical explanations of observed patterns in the world of living creatures: patterns of distribution through space and time, patterns in embryological development, patterns which lead to a specific form of classification whether morphologically or genetically. Within appropriate parameters, evolution, and more broadly, science, do indeed offer explanations of a certain type. But only within these parameters.
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      > Now a philosophical question is whether those parameters are co-extensive with the whole of reality. Or whether knowledge gained via scientific methods constitutes the only reliable form of knowledge. These questions, however, do not impinge on the validity of the knowledge science has gained for us.
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      > > Gluadys: You claim your point is not philosophical, yet you begin with a philosophical assumption--that behaviour (presumably including human behaviour) is driven solely by biology. Should we not actually begin by questioning that premise?
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      > > Kurt: Maybe so. What would you question about it?
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      > As a believer, I would consider the role of the Holy Spirit in influencing behaviour.
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      > > gluadys: No, it is not at all cowardly for scientists to refuse to answer a non-scientific question.
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      > > Kurt: If evolution did not function as a belief system I would agree.
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      > Evolution is not a belief system. That is a bit of creationist (the evolution-rejecting type) crap.
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      > >But fact is it does not play solely a scientific roll, it enjoys a popular support that other sciences do not because of its creator-related influence.
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      > That is hardly factual. In America, the only other field of science without significant popular support is climatology. No one is spending billions of dollars attacking gravity, chemistry or astronomy. But there is immense financial support behind both evolution denialism and climate change denialism. The last time we experienced such a concerted attack on scientific evidence was the tobacco industry's lobbying to suppress the fact that smoking causes cancer.
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      > > Gluadys: Well, no it isn't. An important component of the theory is traits which are inherited and may be affected by natural selection. Often such traits are behavioral, but behavioral traits have no special importance vis-vis morphological or physiological traits. All heritable traits are potentially selectable, and all selected traits contribute to the shaping of a species over time.
      > >
      > > Kurt: My point was that how any given creature behaves is of interest and can be used to assert any given evolutionary hypothesis. B F Skinners pigeons being a convenient example. Human creator-related behavior is deemed unworthy of this process only out of bias I believe.
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      > Not "assert"; the word you are looking for is "support". But not "any given evolutionary hypothesis" either. Most such work is narrowly focused on one hypothesis. (one of B, C, D, E, etc.) Each requires a different set of tests and observations.
      >
      > What is your hypothesis regarding "human creator-related behaviour"? (Your "A" statement.)
      > What sort of empirical evidence would follow if this is a valid hypothesis?
      > How would you determine if this evidence exists?
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      > > gluadys: Scientists know why sharks swim continually. Unlike other fish, they have no swim bladder to regulate their position in the water column. So to maintain themselves at the appropriate depth, they have to keep swimmimg.
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      > > Kurt: True. But it wasn't till recently by tagging great whites that we found out what vast distances they traveled. That's what I meant by swim around so much.
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      > Ah, so you are really referring to studies in migration. Well, why not? We also study bird, butterfly, whale and human migration—and seed dispertion as well. Such studies have important ramifications in many areas.
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      > Just picking up some earlier thoughts from other posts in this thread.
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      > > > > Kurt:
      > > > > Take the time to talk with some average evolution-believing folks and ask them to define evolution or even give an example of Natural Selection. I've asked people those questions for years, friends, acquaintances and students, and the answers you overwhelming get are about the varieties of dogs or improved crop production. Even the really silly answers like the evolution of the wheel to the airplane are more common than answers that show even the most basic understanding of Darwinian theory. After a 140 years of Darwinism permeating the culture, and two generations of teaching it in public schools, evolution, as it really plays out in the lives of average people, has become a wish-daddy, a faith, an accepted-by-authority, over-intellectualized religion.
      > > > >
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      > I am glad to see that you are concerned with "the most basic understanding of Darwinian theory". I would certainly agree that the vast majority of people who accept evolution on the basis of a high-school course dimly remembered and/or a few not too reliable programs on public television likely don't have such an understanding, so naturally they flounder when trying to describe it. This doesn't mean much, of course. Most of those who deny evolution are just as ignorant of both evolution and the pseudo-science opposition.
      >
      > To get an actual grasp of evolution, one has to be prepared to study it, formally or informally. To get an actual grasp of the logic (to use the word loosely) of evolution denial, one has to research the material published by the professionals in the field: ICR, AiG, & Discovery Institute. It is pretty silly to base conclusions about evolution or evolution denial on talks with average evolution-believing/denying folk. All that gives you is a snapshot of uninformed opinion which has no relevance whatsoever. The only thing to consider about the average folk of either persuasion is how to expand their base of knowledge and their capacity for rational thinking, so they can better come to soundly informed conclusions.
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      > Meanwhile,would you like to summarize for us "the most basic understanding of Darwinian theory" as you see it. What basics would you like these average folk to understand?
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      > > Kurt: Evolutionary scientists create philosophical conclusions,. . ."
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      > Do they? Examples?
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      > > Kurt: [The author]'d make a wild guess at something, like the eye beginning as a fleshy protrusion that somehow had a mysterious sensitivity to light,
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      > Not mysterious: chemical. The chemistry of light-sensitive pigments is well understood by bio-chemists. And that early light-sensing organ was more likely a pit than a protrusion. Check "evolution of the eye" in your browser.
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      > For a full-length treatment on the role of vision as a possible trigger of the Cambrian Explosion, see "In the Blink of an Eye" by Andrew Parker. While his thesis about the Cambrian Explosion is controversial, the book is a gold-mine of information on biological adaptations to light.
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