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Switch to Forum Live View Religious extremists at it again.....
3 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2012 - 12:27AM #191
mountain_man
Posts: 39,650

Apr 9, 2012 -- 9:05PM, lucaspa wrote:

Smile"the earth is round" is also a theory.


If one wants to set up an argument based on an equivocation, yes, one could say that. I wouldn't.


Yes, the data strongly support evolution.  Evolution is such a strongly supported theory that we (provisionally) accept it as true.  Just as we (provisionally) accept that the earth is round.   But to say "not a 'theory', but a fact" is not correct.


No, it's a fact. Life on this planet has changed over time. That's not a theory, but a fact. Evolution, to a scientist, and someone that is fluent in English, is BOTH a fact and a theory. That evolution occured is a fact, just like the Earth being round (or rather an oblate spheriod) is a fact. HOW evolution occured is where the word theory comes into play.


This is not opposition to evolution on my part. My posts make plain that I accept evolution.  This is in defense of what science is and how it works.  I don't want science hijacked by ardent supporters of evolution anymore than I want it hijacked by creationists.


And I am trying to show you how you are trying to hijack science with inaccurate definitions.


Not really, not when you examine it closely.  Trying argue what evolution is with the evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr (one of the founders of the Modern Synthesis) is futile.  You really don't have the knowledge base to do that, Mountain Man.


Uh... I do. Evolution, and every biologist I know will agree, is nothing more than change over time. Mayr may have a doctorate to put up against my masters, but he would agree with everything I've said.


That the species on this planet have changed over time is an indisputable fact


That is the "nonconstancy of species" (#1 in the list) theory.


No, it's change over time. It's been proven.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2012 - 12:33AM #192
mountain_man
Posts: 39,650

Apr 9, 2012 -- 8:47PM, lucaspa wrote:

That was only one of the definitions given by your source. Smile  The definition right after is: "a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation"


As I explained those are TWO DIFFERENT definitions. You cannot, as you are trying to do, use both at the same time. Pick one and stick with it.


But didn't you do the same thing?


No, I did not. I used one definition and explained another. I did not use both at the same time as one definition. I know how the Dictionary Game is played and I know how to spot it.


It's not correct to use the phrase "proven beyond a doubt" in science.


Yes, it is. That species have changed over time has been proven beyond a doubt. We have billions of years of proof.


Those two definitions cannot be used for the same word at the same time.



Oh, they can be used for the same WORD....


Not at the same time in the same argument. That's called an equivocation and is at the heart of the Dictionary Game.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2012 - 12:36AM #193
mountain_man
Posts: 39,650

Apr 9, 2012 -- 9:35PM, arielg wrote:

Not yet. What are called "facts" are  theories accepted as reality.


That's not true. In science a theory is an overarching explanation of the facts.


Theories are not just about scientific observations.


In science, that's what theories are.


A theory is a mental construction that explains reality from a certain point of view. ..


No, it explains facts, not points of views.


What do you think?


I think you are highly confused on the meaning of the word. In science a "theory" is not a guess.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2012 - 12:40AM #194
mountain_man
Posts: 39,650

Apr 9, 2012 -- 9:15PM, lucaspa wrote:

No, both of those are theories.


No, that DNA is a helix has been proven. I've seen the X-ray.


Mountain Man, you are dogmatically sticking to the claim that any "religious claim" cannot be a scientific theory....


I'm only sticking to the facts. I've shown you several times how religious claims are  not in any way a "scientific theory." I'm not the one "dogmatically" sticking to wrong definitions.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2012 - 8:25AM #195
TemplarS
Posts: 6,865

Dave, I think you're arguing sematics here. In the real world, even scientists themselves use the word "theory" in confusing ways.  In one breath, they will speak of the theory of general relativity and  string theory. The one has been confirmed (which is, in science, a more appropriate word than "proven") beyond a reasonable doubt; the other (according to some respected physicists such as Smolin) may not be a valid theory at all as nobody has any idea as to how to test it.


There is similar imprecision as regards evolution.  That species change over time (which is the extent of what what some people, granted, think of as evolution)  is (to the extent it is a theory as opposed to an observation)  very broad and of limited use as a theory. Beyond that there are several "theories" of evolution. Darwinian gradualism, driven by survival-of-the-fittest, is one.  Gould's "punctuated equilibrium" is another.  So, for that matter, is Lamarkism. This is where the scientific disagreement is these days.


The failure to understand these  subtleties plays into the hand of creationists, who love to take the simple-minded approach that "it is a theory which means it is unproven, QED."

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2012 - 9:06AM #196
arielg
Posts: 9,116

This is true, but so broad as to be of little use;  and there are degrees of influence and limits as to how this can be applied.



It can take a long time before a practical application for a theory can be found.

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2012 - 10:11AM #197
christine3
Posts: 7,337

Apr 10, 2012 -- 12:40AM, mountain_man wrote:


 I'm only sticking to the facts. I've shown you several times how religious claims are  not in any way a "scientific theory." I'm not the one "dogmatically" sticking to wrong definitions.




There are two things that must be looked at:  Where and when did the religious claim come from.  If you trace a religious claim to a rightful owner, it may not have been uttered from a religious person at all.  It's just that religion got ahold of it and made it a staple.


People in first century Christianity did have methods to get accurate information about the universe, yet they did it in ways that you yourself would not consider scientific.  Their methods were just as reliable and therefore valuable.  They can be tested by the scientific community today and they are all the time.  You'll hear in research that such and such a person who said something thousands of years ago turned out to be right.


Just because something is a religious statement, doesn't mean it isn't true.  It may have been changed so it is unrecognizable today, or it may be talking about something that science has no idea about at this time.  A good example is: "A person old in age won't hesitate to ask a little child seven days old about the place of life, and he will live."  That is an example of the torus, a basic structure of the universe.  In geometry, a torus is a surface of revolution generated by revolving a circle in three dimensional space about an axis coplanar with the circle.  They knew about tori in those days.  Science is just now finding out about the torus in relation to the structure of matter.  Granted, the words in that "quote" may not reveal they are talking about a torus, but they were, as can be proven from a number of other corollary statements along the same vein.  


"Sticking to the facts" can just as well lead one down the wrong path.  Science is not the immaculate conception that you portray it.  It is a way to test.  There are other ways to test also, used by other cultures in other times.  So dogmatic sticks in the mud can exist on both sides, science and religion.  

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2012 - 10:52AM #198
mountain_man
Posts: 39,650

Apr 10, 2012 -- 8:25AM, TemplarS wrote:

Dave, I think you're arguing sematics here. In the real world, even scientists themselves use the word "theory" in confusing ways. ...


Yes, but the main point is that those making the uninformed claim "it's only a theory" are using the word in a pedestrian, not scientific, manner. They're often purposely using the word in in an incorrect manner.


There is similar imprecision as regards evolution.  That species change over time (which is the extent of what what some people, granted, think of as evolution)  is (to the extent it is a theory as opposed to an observation)  very broad and of limited use as a theory.


No, as I stated evolution as change over time has been proven, or if you prefer, confirmed. That is not a theory, but a fact.


Beyond that there are several "theories" of evolution. Darwinian gradualism, driven by survival-of-the-fittest, is one.  Gould's "punctuated equilibrium" is another.  So, for that matter, is Lamarkism. This is where the scientific disagreement is these days.


That's right and that's where the theories come in. Evolution is both a fact and a theory.


Someone here tried to claim that a famous scientist could not be disagreed with; so I'll play the same game and let Stephen J. Gould explain:

In the American vernacular, "theory" often means "imperfect fact"--part of a hierarchy of confidence running downhill from fact to theory to hypothesis to guess. Thus the power of the creationist argument: evolution is "only" a theory and intense debate now rages about many aspects of the theory. If evolution is worse than a fact, and scientists can't even make up their minds about the theory, then what confidence can we have in it? Indeed, President Reagan echoed this argument before an evangelical group in Dallas when he said (in what I devoutly hope was campaign rhetoric): "Well, it is a theory. It is a scientific theory only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science--that is, not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was."


Well evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's in this century, but apples didn't suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.


Moreover, "fact" doesn't mean "absolute certainty"; there ain't no such animal in an exciting and complex world. The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us falsely for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional consent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.


Evolutionists have been very clear about this distinction of fact and theory from the very beginning, if only because we have always acknowledged how far we are from completely understanding the mechanisms (theory) by which evolution (fact) occurred. Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great and separate accomplishments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing a theory--natural selection--to explain the mechanism of evolution.


- Stephen J. Gould, " Evolution as Fact and Theory"; Discover, May 1981



The failure to understand these  subtleties plays into the hand of creationists, who love to take the simple-minded approach that "it is a theory which means it is unproven, QED."


I don't think is a "failure" but on purpose. They are desperate and will grasp at anything to protect their religious beliefs.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2012 - 10:54AM #199
mountain_man
Posts: 39,650

Apr 10, 2012 -- 10:11AM, christine3 wrote:

There are two things that must be looked at:  Where and when did the religious claim come from...


That's irrelevant.


Just because something is a religious statement, doesn't mean it isn't true.


It doesn't mean it can be called scientific.


"Sticking to the facts" can just as well lead one down the wrong path.


They lead down the path to reality. Some don't like reality so they go by beliefs instead of facts. I'll stick with reality.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2012 - 11:54AM #200
christine3
Posts: 7,337

Christine: There are two things that must be looked at:  Where and when did the religious claim come from.


MM:  That's irrelevant.


Christine:  No, for the reason I stated.  There are things in this world that today's science can't explain.  Past cultures showed a higher science than we have today in some specific areas that are being uncovered by today's archeologists.    


C:  Just because something is a religious statement, doesn't mean it isn't true.


MM:  It doesn't mean it can be called scientific.


Christine:  So what.


Christine: "Sticking to the facts" can just as well lead one down the wrong path.


Christine:  What people think are the "facts" may not be true at all.  To clarify, you believe in what science tells you, but it may not be entirely correct.  Look back in history.  Question everything you read and hear.  All we need to do is look in the history books...scientific method took them as far as mental clarity at the time allowed.  It is no different than today.  Plus, scientists are not impervious to protecting their reputations, or even making their reputations with inconsistencies and outright lies.  Scientists are human.  It's not all black and white.  You like to think it is.


MM:  Some don't like reality so they go by beliefs instead of facts. I'll stick with reality.


Christine:  What you call reality is perception.  What you call reality is perception here and now, but can change tomorrow as the viewer grows in perception.  There are some things that science can't touch because the scientific practitioners don't have the complete clarity or the necessary tools to unequivocally corner the transparent truth of a phenomenon as it actually presents itself.   Other people in other times and cultures had their perceptions too, and they weren't all wrong.  You have to bend a little and accommodate others' realities, not just your own, or be plastic and fragile.  You can say "it ain't true, it ain't true" until you are red in the face, and someday you will be proven wrong.  I'm just saying.

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