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 Guide to 'intelligent design' disputation, redux.
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Abdul Alhazred
Skeptic Friend

USA
58 Posts

Posted - 07/09/2007 :  18:50:53  Show Profile  Visit Abdul Alhazred's Homepage Send Abdul Alhazred a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Re-post after incident. I make no attempt to address some points that came up, just re-do the original post (which was mostly copied from something I posted elsewhere).



Before entering any disputation about evolution, it's important to define your terms.

Most of you will know these things, but I'm trying to lay it all out in convenient form. Nor can such a list be complete, but I'll try.



The theory of evolution purports to explain the development of the variety of life. No more no less. As with any scientific theory, it can be examined and disputed. But you need to stay on track.

It does not cover everything in science that may contradict something in Genesis.

Evolution does NOT:

1) Explain the ultimate origin of life. The science for that is still very speculative at best. And not part of the theory of evolution.

2) Prove the earth is billions of years old. That's geology not evolution.
2a) Disproof of Noah's flood is also geology not evolution.

3) Explain the origin of the universe. No, the "Big Bang" is not part of the theory of evolution even though Doctor Hovind says it is.

4) Explain the meaning of life, provide a moral philosophy, replace religion, save your soul, nor require atheism. Nor socialism or whatever. No more than other theories such as Ohm's law or universal gravitation.



Once you've got that down and are really focusing on the theory of evolution -- Evolution does NOT say:

1) That it all came about by "random happenstance". So disproofs based on the improbability of "random happenstance" are irrelevant. Random mutation is just part of the raw material. Natural selection is not random at all.

2) That we're "nothing but" animals. The "nothing but" animal does not exist. It's not just religious folks who make this particular mistake about evolution.

3) That we're monkeys. That negroes are closer to monkeys than white folks. Or anything like that.



Moving right along. If you want to keep on track about evolution and not go into a rant about religion in general, it's necessary also to bear in mind some things about the "intelligent design" movement that may not be well understood by many intelligent people who are beguiled by it. But you should not bring these points into the argument unless something specific is said that brings it up.

So-called "intelligent design" is NOT the same as the position that God intelligently designed the laws of nature. The whole "irreducible complexity" line of reasoning has God making explicit exceptions to the laws of nature wherever there's no scientific explanation handy (and sometimes when there really is one).

The whole business of "getting people to acknowledge that there is a God" is a strawman. Like it or not, most people do (at least in the USA), so that's not why they are making a big deal. And even fundies are apt to be non-literal about unscientific scriptures. For example, no stupid nonsense about the firmament (usually).

It's about preserving the Adam and Eve story against all reason because that one (in the traditional Christian interpretation) is the "historical" basis for why Jesus had to die for our sins.

If you want to argue evolution, keep all that in mind but see if you can't get the other guy to stick to evolution. But you'll have to do the same.

The lack of a rational explanation is not evidence for an irrational explanation.

JEROME DA GNOME
BANNED

2418 Posts

Posted - 07/09/2007 :  19:02:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send JEROME DA GNOME a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Do you have this saved? It reads the same as the last.

Anyhoo, I think we will have enjoyable talks.


What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires -- desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way. - Bertrand Russell
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Abdul Alhazred
Skeptic Friend

USA
58 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2007 :  06:49:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Abdul Alhazred's Homepage Send Abdul Alhazred a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I re-copied it.

We had quite a nice little discussion going before the technical problem.

Any takers this time?

The lack of a rational explanation is not evidence for an irrational explanation.
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JEROME DA GNOME
BANNED

2418 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2007 :  07:08:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send JEROME DA GNOME a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Abdul Alhazred

I re-copied it.

We had quite a nice little discussion going before the technical problem.

Any takers this time?



If you want the truth about the so called technical problems LOOK HERE. Seek the truth behind the lies!


What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires -- desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way. - Bertrand Russell
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2007 :  15:34:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Abdul Alhazred
2a) Disproof of Noah's flood is also geology not evolution.

I don't agree with this. "Disproof" of the flood comes from having an alternative that better explains observations. Evolution explains the ordering of fossils better than the creationist's "flood sorting". Geology also, of course, speaks against a flood scenario,

So-called "intelligent design" is NOT the same as the position that God intelligently designed the laws of nature. The whole "irreducible complexity" line of reasoning has God making explicit exceptions to the laws of nature wherever there's no scientific explanation handy (and sometimes when there really is one).

Yes and no. ID says nothing specific at all about how the supposed designer did things. From an ID perspective, you are no more justified in claiming that the designer designed the laws of nature (and perhaps change them now and then) than you are in claiming that the designer tinkers with DNA now and then using fairly standard laboratory techniques.

Otherwise I probably agree with what you wrote. But I think that the most important thing of all when having an evolution/ID/creationism discussion is to stick to a narrow topic and not let the other guy jump from assertion to assertion. This has a tendency to end up with you having to "debunk" heaps of stuff while the other guy rarely meets your objections (the so-called Gish Gallop).

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2007 :  16:58:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have some minor objections, but this is a real pet-peeve of mine.


Once you've got that down and are really focusing on the theory of evolution -- Evolution does NOT say:


You stated everything before this as fact, to be accepted without question. Why not explain the reasoning behind the previous statements? Do you really think anyone who disagrees with any of the above will really just take it on your say-so? No, you have to convince your audience, not lecture them.


Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2007 :  17:09:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Before the database crash, one of the things I was trying to get across was that whether an IDer is more like a theistic evolutionist or more like a six-day creationist isn't really important to the primary goal of presenting good science in the face of anti-evolution arguments. Sure, we can say, "well, cosmology isn't a part of evolution," but to just leave it at that is to throw away an opportunity to present good cosmology.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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dv82matt
SFN Regular

760 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2007 :  18:00:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dv82matt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Abdul Alhazred
Evolution does NOT:

...

2) Prove the earth is billions of years old. That's geology not evolution.
I don't think this is entirely accurate. Barring conflicting evidence, evolution is sufficient to establish that the age of the earth is in the range of billions of years. In fact, one of the early stumbling blocks for evolution was that geologists of the time calculated the age of the earth as being no more than 400 million years which seemed highly implausible to most biologists.
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Abdul Alhazred
Skeptic Friend

USA
58 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2007 :  19:45:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Abdul Alhazred's Homepage Send Abdul Alhazred a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In so far as the alleged flood took place in historical times, all it takes is geology to prove it didn't happen.

That is different from an evolutionary explanation versus "creation science" nonsense about how fossils got on top of mountains.

The lack of a rational explanation is not evidence for an irrational explanation.
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2007 :  21:26:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Abdul Alhazred
2a) Disproof of Noah's flood is also geology not evolution.
...

In so far as the alleged flood took place in historical times, all it takes is geology to prove it didn't happen.

That is different from an evolutionary explanation versus "creation science" nonsense about how fossils got on top of mountains.

Sure, geology alone is enough to say that "the flood" is nonsense. That doesn't mean that evolution and even written history don't point in the same direction. The "disproof" of "the flood" comes from many independent sources, evolution being one of them.

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2007 :  21:37:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Before the database crash, one of the things I was trying to get across was that whether an IDer is more like a theistic evolutionist or more like a six-day creationist isn't really important to the primary goal of presenting good science in the face of anti-evolution arguments. Sure, we can say, "well, cosmology isn't a part of evolution," but to just leave it at that is to throw away an opportunity to present good cosmology.
I agree with this, Dave. By automatically rejecting all the complications that the Creationists like to toss in as distractions, we also can sometimes find ourselves over-compartmentalizing science. Biological evolution science in fact relies upon geology, which itself relies upon biology, cosmology, and nuclear science. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for any of these, or other, sciences to stand alone, as though they were independent. In a sense, these fields are separated only for practical purposes as study specialties, but are really unitary in nature itself.

It's important, though difficult, to show how all real science is interdependent, while trying to avoid some of the worst Creationist distracting debate tactics.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Abdul Alhazred
Skeptic Friend

USA
58 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2007 :  04:59:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Abdul Alhazred's Homepage Send Abdul Alhazred a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One thing to understand is that "creation science" takes some liberties with the Bible as well as being scientific nonsense.

It comes from the intellectual dishonesty of trying to make the Bible fit science, something that the authors of Genesis never conceived of.

Fake science is not enough, the Bible must be fudged.

For example, the silliness about kangaroos etc being miraculously transported back to Australia from Mount Ararat after the flood. There's nothing quite that ridiculous in the Bible story itself.

Whoever wrote the story from an earlier legend didn't know about Australia and just supposed the animals walked home.

There might even have been a real flood that got bigger with each re-telling before it was written down.

The lack of a rational explanation is not evidence for an irrational explanation.
Edited by - Abdul Alhazred on 07/12/2007 05:00:12
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