04 April 2011

A long response to Twinkledorp

(I was going to post this in the comment section of the last entry of IDGOFB but blogspot claims I used too many characters. So here is my long response to one of Twinkledorp's posts)

Twinkledorp,
I thought it might be fun to address this as well.

"Just consider me a Skeptic. Whilst you may believe your scinetific methods tell you one thing, I am not going to go on 'faith' and believe evolution is all that you believe it to be."


And what are you going to "go on" to reject the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis? It appears at first that we be both believe that faith is an exceedingly bad thing. Do you really have good grounds to reject the findings of nearly 200 years of biology? If you do I think you should publish them, if you don't (and judging by the reasons you give below, we can see you don't) aren't you really just staking out another contradictory faith claim?

"What others 'know as a scientific fact' is of little importance to me. I have yet to be convinced for a few reasons:"


This could be rephrased to I really don't care what the evidence demonstrates because I have this a priori conclusion from which I will not be budged in the slightest.

"1). Though born Atheist, my free thinking process has lead me to the conclusion God exists, though not the Christian or religious God
that you might assume I may be referring to."


Interesting, but essentially content free. Your "free thinking" is meaningless if it isn't backed by some form of verifiable evidence. You could be absolutely, completely, devastatingly correct in every way, and everyone would be absolutely correct to reject your new paradigm if you cannot adduce anything to back it up but your thought, and your, ahem, logic.

"2).
During darwin's time, Science and Religion were at war. Scientists were scratching at the bit to 'give ot to' the Religious folk and there was no way in Hell they were going to have God play any part in the evolutionary process were thus 'intelligence in design' had to be excluded from their conclusions."


Actually this is precisely the opposite of true. Lyell, the great geologist and good friend of Charles Darwin was a more or less orthodox religious man. He, in fact, seemed to hope that Darwin was wrong despite being a very great admirer of Darwin's work. But Lyell also was one of the first to realize how mind-numbingly old the Earth really was. Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discover of natural selection with Darwin, maintained a belief in God (a god of some kind any way) because he simply couldn't think of a way humans could have evolved. I could go in this way for some time. Darwin was probably the only textbook atheist in the bunch (though he was't always so, and his theory of evolution by natural selection probably had less to do with his loss of faith than did the problems of theodicy).

Also while you may say that scientists were "scratching at the bit" (I think you mean tugging at the bit, or chomping at the bit) to, as you so elegantly say, "give ot to" religionists, this seems largely false. Darwin, at least, waited decades to publish because he was sensitive to the injury it would/might do to people's religious sensiblities.

Most of the scientists of Darwin's time would have been believers who didn't take the scriptures literally, they, like many a scientist before them were curious about the true nuts and bolts of God's creation, not what they considered the metaphors of holy books. What is true is that religion has always had an uneasy relationship with an honest pursuit of the truth because it so easily makes canards of holy canon. So, probably as far back as Hypatia (and I would imagine even further) to now, clerics pitch a fit when cherished dogma is challenged by the rigorous findings of any science.

Also there has, as yet, been no need, nor any evidence that would imply an "intelligence in the design" of things. It all just looks like one example after another of "survival of the stable." Which is a great, if simplistic, descriptor (not my coinage) of the natural world.

Also, this is all incredibly irrelevant. Whatever the case was in Darwin's time has no real effect on the science that took place after. The evidence is what the evidence is, and it was compiled by believers, unbelievers and agnostics, and it all seems to support evolutionary biology.

"This poses a massive credibility problem and therefore any conclusions drawn should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, the main objective at the time (which continues today) was winning the war with Religion therefore objectivity was sacrificed in the name of 'Victory'."


There was no war on religion, as I stated above. Scientists just work on their problems, and often unwittingly step on cultural landmines. Scientists are comprised, as I said above, of believers and unbelievers of every stripe. One of the most comprehensive efforts at public understanding of evolutionary biology, and explaining the evidence that supports it was written by a fairly standard god-bothering Christian. The book (excellent by the way) which you should definitely read is Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters by Donald Prothero. Its kind of pricey but it will give you one of the best overviews of the state of evo-bio, probably not offend you, and provide plenty of papers for you to track down and read from its literature cited section.

Sorry Max11.

I doubt this very much. Its Max II not, 11.

Evolutionist will need to do a bit of evolving themselves to ensure objectivity and good old common sense in their work unless of course you believe houses are built without blusprints, and people speak 1st and then think, which in your case I could almost be convinced is true.


Objectivity in the pursuit of scientific discovery arises from transparency of experimental design and the replicablity of results. Not from worrying over much about the kinds of thoughts particular researchers have about the status of the universe. Incorrect findings, errors, fraud will be discovered with time and research.

And common sense is useless in science. It leads more often than it does not to rather severe errors. Our common sense fails when it is put to the task of thinking about deep fundamental aspects of nature, human nature included, because nature is vastly weirder than our day to day lives.

Stop by and visit my site anytime.

Do leave a url and I will.

"Twinkledorp Peabody IV."

Fascinating name.

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