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Re: [skeptical] Digest Number 230

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  • Ari
    ... That is entirely untrue. The perfect example is the first cloned mammal - Dolly. The status quo had been that it was pretty much impossible to clone a
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 6, 2004
      >
      >>I often witness people citing peer review as a litmus test for
      >> determining the validity of a scientific theory. The argument goes
      >> something like this 95% of the scientific world has ascribed to this
      >> theory, therefore any other explanation could not be science.

      That is entirely untrue. The perfect example is the first cloned mammal -
      Dolly. The status quo had been that it was pretty much impossible to clone
      a mammal.

      However, when the mammal was cloned, it was peer review that went over the
      evidence and experiments to make certain the animal was a clone. The fact
      that it was published in Science, indicated that other scientists could
      test the validity of the claim by *reproducibility*. Reproducibiliy is one
      insurance against fraud.

      Whenever there is a new hypothesis in science, peer review is right there
      to analyze the evidence. There *are* other ways to introduce something
      into the scientific community and peer review has it's limitations, but
      almost everything introduced into peer review via journals, is NEW
      science, not some dogmatic "no, there can't possibly be a clone because
      it's scientifically impossible."

      It's not a clone, just because someone says so. Einstein's theories are
      modified, evolutionary theory is modified when new evidence becomes
      available. But the fact that something is updated, does NOT prove it is
      false. Newton's laws are still true, however, were not complete and did
      not include small particles which Newton had no way of knowing about.

      >
      > For it to be scientifically factual, there has to be a
      > clincal trial.
      >
      >>Evolution and evolutionary cosmology by the nature of the length of time
      >> they claim to span outlast the life span of the scientist. Consider how
      >> many key elements of organic evolution and evolutionary cosmology have no
      >> observable working model and are accepted by blind faith.
      >
      > 1. Null space, a particle, a singularity, a dense object (Insert guess
      > here) exploding at the moment of the big bang and producing all of the
      > matter and energy in the universe.

      There are good reasons for current theories. You don't have to actually
      observe the big bang to find evidence that it occured. You don't have to
      observe a mammal being born, to know that it was born, simply by the fact
      that it's alive. You don't need to see it being born, to know it was born.

      > 2. This rapidly expanding sphere of matter producing all of the
      > observable celestial objects, galaxies, stars and planets. Why would all
      > of the irregularities of the dispersion of matter exist if all matter
      > originated from an explosion at one point. Why according to angular
      > conservation of rotation would some planets and galaxies spin in different
      > directions.

      The way science works, is a hypothesis is introduced. The evidence or
      observations regarding the hypothesis is presented. However any scientific
      theory may be modified or disproven.

      In the above paragraph you ask "why". Why is a telological question, and
      is not within the scope of science.


      > 3. In spite of the universally observable principle of entropy would
      > simple elements progress into greater and greater complex organic
      > compounds.

      Go read the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics on google.

      The 2nd law of thermodynamics is that IN A *CLOSED*-*CLOSED*-CLOSED*-
      system, with no further energy input, entropy is the natural order.

      The early earth was NOT a *CLOSED* system. The most prominent example is
      that the earth gains energy from the sun every single day. That is a
      constant source of energy in a closed system.

      How is it that plants go from a seedling to being able to fix carbon to
      make their own "bodies" - thereby being non-entropic? Simple - plants are
      not a CLOSED system. Plants abilities to build their bodies out of "air"
      and water, is due to the sun (energy) driving photosyntheis. Humans, who
      eat the plants, are also putting energy (food) into their systems in order
      to maintain their non-entropic state.

      > 4. In spite of astronomical improbability why would these randomly
      > combine to form complex protein chains.

      Even early models of the "primordial soup" showed that amino acids were
      created. Once there are amino acids, a protein can be formed.

      You ask another "why" question. The scope of science is not telological.

      > 5. Why would these randomly combine to form a nucleus a genetic code,
      > cell walls and ultimately life.

      "Why" is a telological question. "Why" is not covered by science.

      The genetic code is not "random" in any case. DNA forms based on the
      chemical nature of it's components. This is covered in Organic Chemistry.
      If you sonicate DNA, so that it is in random pieces, it will find a base
      pair match within thousands of non-matches. This is due to the chemical
      nature of the DNA base pairs.

      > The system of evolution and its related cosmology has other major gaps
      > that are bridged with conjecture that appears to be bridged with wide
      > steps of blind faith.

      Gaps in a theory do not disprove the theory. The theory spans disciplines,
      and has so much support, that it is at the level of a "fact".

      When I went to college, the most obvious "gap" in evolution was from
      upright hominids to Homo Sapiens. There were serious gaps in the fossil
      evidence. Creation Scientists went to town on this "gap". However, 20
      years later, the gaps are filled. There is a virtually complete fossil
      record of the evolution of man.

      If you study mitochondrial DNA, you can also find human dispersion patterns.

      >>I like this analogy and totally agree with its implications.
      >
      > At one time, everyone in Europe believed the world was flat. Thousands or
      > millions of people believed this, or that rats spontaneously arose from
      > rags. That does not make it true.
      >
      >>Evolution in its purest form believes that given enough time and the
      >> right set of circumstances rats will arise from rags. As a improbable
      >> theory it is defended with extreme prejudice as science.

      Huh? Evolution has no such statement that life can spontaneously arise in
      rags. Arising from rags, means that you leave some rags out and come back
      a day later and life has been spontaneously generated - like there's a
      mouse in there. Evolution states that over BILLIONS of years, life
      evolved. And the early earth was not a "rag" but a soup of amino acids,
      DNA and RNA precursors.

      Think again on that one, my friend.

      It's hardly an "improbable" theory. It's right there in the genetic code
      of life. You can even see it at work as population geneticists see. An
      example is that there is a naturally white moth, that eventually became
      darker in color to live amongst gray buildings. Evolution occured with
      selection of the darker moths for that particular environment. Do you
      think the moths just decided to be dark in color?

      >
      > Having been in many waste of time arguments, I found that I was not
      > convincing any group, though I deluded myself that I was. What it really
      > boiled down to, in an argument with an individual is that "I'm right and
      > you're wrong". It as all ego.
      >
      >>This is where I also agree with you. If I examine my motives for
      >> debating most of the things that I have spilled many key strokes it boils
      >> down to my own ego.
      >
      > This is pointless. You can not argue faith into someone. Once someone has
      > accepted something into his core of essential values you can not debate it
      > out of him.
      >
      > This is observable in Christians, skeptics, evolutionists, and quacks.
      > Evolutionists thump their theories as hard as Christians thump their
      > Bibles.

      Right. Everyone "thumps" something. However, Science is the only system
      you have listed above that bases it's "thumping" on facts and not faith.
      To some, that's entirely irrelevant.

      There's nothing wrong with faith, it's just not science.

      The perfect example is my own vitalism. I believe in it based upon faith.
      A matter of faith may never be addressed by science. I don't expect it to.
      And I clearly state that my belief is non-scientific, and is not part of
      any hypothesis I've put forth in my career.


      >
      > People over the age of 30, who have extreme beliefs, like the Shroud of
      > Tourin or creation science are not going to change their minds. They are
      > powered by the "Lord" and there's just no logic in an argument like that.
      >
      >>I don't really get the comparison between the Shroud of Turin and
      >> creation science.

      They are both based on poor evidence. In both cases, some of the claims
      can be disproven.

      The Shroud of Turin is probably a manufactured middle
      >> age relic that is a crutch for the weak faith of superstitious believers.
      >> It doesn't prove or disprove a bodily resurrection from the dead and is
      >> irrelevant to most believer's faith.

      The Shroud of Turin is a very obvious and extreme form of faith. I *still*
      see shows about it. Carbon 14 dating has proven it's from the middle ages.
      However, no matter how many scientific studies prove that it did not date
      back to the time of Jesus, people continue to believe.

      No, it does not prove or disprove bodily ressurection, however, it is
      adulated - yes, adulated - as a record of Christ's ressurection by
      hundreds of thousands of people. It is considered sacred even though it is
      just a middle aged hoax.

      And here is the perfect example of what I dislike about science trying to
      "prove" faith.

      If you want to believe in the ressurection of Christ, you do not need to
      "prove" it scientifically. In fact, science does not "prove" things
      (unless you call evidence formulating a hypothesis to be "proof"). Science
      disproves things. Mathematics and some forms of logic "prove" things.

      >>In all complex mechanisms: A computer, an automobile, a watch, a global
      >> ecosystem, a human I see the handiwork of a the intelligence of a
      >> creator.

      OK, whatever. I can formulate no scientific answer to your faith.
      Education in science might help, but I'm not here to provide that.

      >>Calling it blind faith really doesn't bother me, but I don't think that I
      >> had to check my brain in at the door to accept this as faith.

      Oh, there are people with genius level IQs who have "faiths". I have a
      "faith" belief in vitalism. I just don't mix faith and science.

      > If I wanted to change the minds of people I could have done many things,
      > including writing articles, going to the legislature or some other
      > activist outlets. That is much more logical than arguing with a single
      > person.
      >
      >>Why is activism necessary to crusade for a scientific theory?

      Because most people are not intelligent enough to understand many
      scientific theories. A couple of examples with my own family - I COULD NOT
      explain String Theory or AIDS to my family. No matter how simplified I
      made it, I could not make them understand.

      However, what about people who believe AIDS is caused by self-hatred and
      not a virion? The reason activism would be needed in that case is that if
      people believe that AIDS is not caused by a virus, they may have unsafe
      sex.

      Is not the
      >> crucible of the scientific method enough to validate or invalidate a
      >> theory.

      Yes, AIDS is caused by a virus. Evolution occured. There are tons of the
      highest quality of evidence to support these assurtions.

      I would not doubt that science "proved" that a latex condom could prevent
      AIDS by testing to see if a virus could penetrate latex.


      If the theory is accurate, publish it. Let it stand the tests of
      >> criticism. Observe the results, attempt at all points to falsify the
      >> theory. Allow yourself to be skeptical, and refine your results to that
      >> which is demonstrably true.

      That's what I do. If you take an article in Science, and you have the
      means, you can reproduce any experiment within.

      > Activism is only necessary for matters of faith, which you and I both
      > agree are pointless to debate.

      No, activism is necessary to for our society to be based on facts and not
      religious prejudices or absurd beliefs.

      I'll tell you one example. My father is a Science of Mind (New Age)
      practitioner. I have a disability. The disability has very good evidence
      to be genetic, and structureal, even have shown up in post-mortem
      studies, indicated that there is a physical flaw in my said system.

      My father is not interested in this. More accurately, he cannot understand
      the science behind what I am saying. He believes that I should be able to
      heal myself with faith, and if I do not, that I just am inferior or do not
      have a proper relationship with God.

      So, I take prescription medication. None of it is narcotic. I don't drink.
      Yet, he's told me that I should "wean myself from my drug addiction"
      (referring to my treatments for my disability) and join AA for it.

      Well, I won't get into it but I told him he should join A**-a-holics
      anonymous and take some prozac or something until the point where is no
      longer afflicted with his "a**-a-hole-ism".

      Needless to say, I've entirely cut off my relationship with my father due
      to his New Age beliefs. I'm not about ready to be called some type of
      "substance abuser" when I'm getting my medication from my MD, and none of
      it narcotic or addictive (as some doctor's will give).

      This is just one example as to why science needs activism. Because there
      are these idiotic New Age philosophies out there.

      Then I could go on to Scientology which is strictly a cult.

      And televangelists? They outright CLAIM that if you tithe to their
      organization that all of your financial worries will go away. They CLAIM
      that they can heal you. Both of these assertions could be easily proven
      false. They should not be on the air if they are only there to profit from
      desperate people. That's where activism comes in.

      Ari
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