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49388Re: Creationism etc

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  • ted.wrinch
    Feb 8, 2012
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      This line of thought has other implications. Der Staudi has stated that creationism is wrong, calling its adherents stupid and 'knuckleheads' (see WC message 7669 for a typical example). But most of the religiously minded people in the world, which means most of the world, are creationists of one kind of another, including orthodox Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians etc. Der Staudi has said on other occasions that he 'takes the spiritual in history seriously' and likes to buttress his credibility in this area by making statements like the below from time to time:

      "..most of the world's population believe in a wondrous variety of spiritual things"

      WC message 11815

      However, if he thinks creationists are 'knuckleheads' then this must be what he thinks of the members of creationist religions, such as the ones I've listed. This contradicts his profession of 'wonder' above, which is to say he is being hypocritical. So perhaps we can addd 'hypocriticalness' to the other attributes of the Zander-Staudenmaier method.

      T.

      Ted Wrinch

      --- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, "ted.wrinch" <ted.wrinch@...> wrote:
      >
      > There's an interesting lecture - to me at least - on Australian Broadcasing Corporation TV of Eliot Sober presenting a third option between the positions he describes as 'atheistic evolutionism', and 'theistic/creationist rejection of the theory of evolution' (http://fora.tv/2010/04/22/Elliott_Sober_Darwin_and_Intelligent_Design#fullprogram ). He calls this position the neutral one, where evolution (he used the term 'theory of evolution' where I'm abbreviating it to 'evolution') says nothing about the existence of God. He says further that resolving the battle between the creationists and atheists in some amicable manner is important for the future of America. We don't seem to care much about these sorts of issues in Europe and people tend to be enthusiastically atheistic supporters of evolution (pace Dawkins) or follow other perspectives.
      >
      > This Hindu perspective, from Wiki, old earth creationism, is interesting and has some similarities to Steiner's view (e.g. man has always existed, though not 'fully formed'):
      >
      > "According to Hindu creationism, all species on earth, including humans, have "devolved" from a state of pure consciousness. Hindu creationists claim that species of plants andanimals are material forms adopted by pure consciousness which live an endless cycle of births and rebirths.[2] Ronald Numbers says that: "Hindu Creationists have insisted on the antiquity of humans, who they believe appeared fully formed as long, perhaps, as trillions of years ago."[3] Hindu creationism is a form of old earth creationism. According to Hindu creationists the universe may even be older than billions of years. These views are based on the Vedas, which depict an extreme antiquity of the universe and history of the Earth.[4][5]"
      >
      > At the end of the lecture, Sober is asked whether evolution is consistent with the biblical image of the creation of man in God's image with a soul. He says it is and then get's a little uncertain and continues with the notion that though evolution seems true it *may* not be complete; in this context God may have intervened at some point to form the image of man and endow him with a soul; he's not saying he believes this, just that, in his view, evolution doesn't rule it out.
      >
      > I regard this as sophistry, a rearguard action by the hard science brigade to prevent revolt amongst the American populace, of whom, on Sober's statistic, 90% believe in a personal God (interestingly only 10% of Science Academy members do). It's equivalent to Gould's NOMA hypothesis: the non-overlapping magisteriums of faith and knowledge, religion and science. It's sophistry because, in the light of his claim to believe that evolution consists of a random, undirected process of mutation, pruned by a naturally selective 'survival of the fittest' (which latter is anyway a mere tautology and not scientifically provable one way or the other), there's no way for a shaping impetus, that could create a being like us, to take place. For such shaping to have occurred, mutation cannot have always been random and without direction, though that's the appearance it apparently has in the lab today. Actually, I'm not convinced that this latter is the case: much evidence for the previously derided Lamarckian theory - for instance in epigenesis - has been emerging in the the last few decades, which was always there, just had been ignored in the past.
      >
      > His position on the soul is that he does't know much about it and he *thinks* evolution says nothing about it. He gives the example of the Catholic conception of the soul being implanted in a human at birth. Boy is he being careful not to step on the Catholics' toes!
      >
      > Another questioner asks him about the argument of improbability and whether it disproves evolution (segment 22 in the video) - this is the same argument claimed to have been dismissed in that paper Diana-Der Staudi referenced in the debate with Charlie. But The argument he uses in the lecture is a different one: he says to consider the hypothesis that the tossing of a particular coin has the probability of falling a head or tail with probability 1/2 - it's a fair coin. Now consider tossing the coin a thousand times. The chance of a particular sequence turning up is 1/2 to the power 1000, an extremely low probability. Yet, he says, this is not a good reason to reject the hypothesis that the coin is fair. But no one would assume that it is a good reason: for a test of the fair coin hypothesis one needs to look at the total number of heads and tails, which should be roughly equal. On which point I notice that William A. Dembski, one of Sober's targets in writing that piece, says:
      >
      > "Probabilists distinguish between outcomes or elementary events on the one hand and composite events on the other. To roll a six with a single die is an outcome or elementary event. On the other hand, to roll an even number with a single die is a composite event that includes (or subsumes) the outcome of rolling a six, but also includes rolling a four or two.
      >
      > In the Caputo case, it's not the event E (Caputo's actual ballot line selections) whose improbability the likelihood theorist needs to compute but the composite event E* consisting of all possible ballot line selections that exhibit at least as many Democrats as Caputo selected."
      >
      > http://www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_anotherwaytodetectdesign.htm
      >
      > His notion of a 'composite event' is the same concept I'm describing with the idea of 'look[ing] at the total number of heads and tails'. To check the fair coin hypothesis one must look at the 'composite event' of all possible combinations of equal heads and tails. So, he's independently made the same analysis, and consequent discovery of error, of Sober's approach that I've just done. Just goes to show: the only way to know is to think it out for yourself, something I was never able to get anyone on the Hole to do: they prefer deferring to authorities ('Where's your PhD, Ted', Pete K)
      >
      > But the next question is how is his analogy is supposed to apply to evolution: what is he saying here: he doesn't elaborate and never did in the paper either. What I think he's trying to say is that coin tossing is analogous to mutations occurring within evolution, which is supposed to be random according to the theory. So the sequence of coin tosses is equivalent to the sequence of mutations within an organism. And the fair coin proposition is equivalent to the proposition that the mutations are random. But why are we supposed to be interested in proving that mutations are random when we assume this, or perhaps measure it in a lab?
      >
      > The questioner had asked about the apparent (im)probability of the sequence of mutations required to achieve an organism, which by definition is not random - it has achieved the goal of producing an (apparent) direction and order out of the supposed randomness of the initial situation. In the theory, of course, this 'direction' (quoted because the theory always says it's only apparent, and really random) is achieved by the Deus ex Machina of 'natural selection'…the struggle for existence in the 'environment' (where any teleological, purposive sounding words like 'struggle' are *supposed* to be merely analogical in some sense). But what is the 'environment'? Everything! All the bio-sphere, the lithosphere, the atmosphere …every damn thing. The whole thing, built on chance and driven by complexity is a 'we have no idea'. This is not to say that evolution hasn't and doesn't happen, just that the current 'theory' is a nice bed-time story that says everything is 'random and complex and what survives is what survives (the tautology of 'natural selection')'.
      >
      > T.
      >
      > Ted Wrinch
      >
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