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2 years ago  ::  May 17, 2012 - 11:02AM #131
McAtheist
Posts: 7,592

d_p_m: Except maybe some branches of philosophy....


LOL --- My statement was too sweeping --- I stand corrected.  Thanks, d_p_m.


But I think in general, my idea stands: everything we do in our day to day life is predicated on the notion that the world around us is real and the information we receive about it is valid.  People who disagree with that premise get run over by taxis or walk off of cliffs. We learn to make predictions based on those experiences and to evaluate the related experiences of other.  Such a naturalistic understanding of the world and how it works is in place long before a child gets his/her first lesson about gods. 


Also, I think a case could be made that assuming an orderly god not only doesn't precede logical, scientific-style thinking, but logical, scientific-style thinking leads to the invention of orderly gods. Due to their day to day experience of the real world, humans are trained to expect causes for events; when we are unable to discern a cause, we invent one.  Thus Thor is invented to explain thunder and lightning, Hades/Persephone/Demeter invented to explain the changing seasons and a creator god is invented to explain the origin of the current phase of this universe.  This is my personal opinion, but I think it is just as valid as the standard theistic one.

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2 years ago  ::  May 17, 2012 - 11:12AM #132
Oncomintrain
Posts: 2,861

May 17, 2012 -- 1:27AM, CaliberCadillac wrote:


Nonsense! Science is founded upon the presuppositional belief that the human mind is capable of extrapolating true knowledge about the world we live in by observation and experimentation.  This fundamental BELIEF is what gives us the confidence in the Scientific Method.



Several others have commented on this. I'll leave it to them.


It should be also noted this confidence that the human mind is reasonable is systemic of the belief that a reasonable God created us and gave us reasonable minds by which we could employ such methods with any degree of certainty. To paraphrase Alfred North Whitehead and Robert J. Oppenhiemer, ‘modern science was born out of theistic (and more specifically Judeo-Christian) worldview.’



You're still acting like we're trying to attack theism, and that's simply not the case.


Dennett was at least good enough to point out that John Locke thought it was impossible that “pure incognative matter should produce a thinking intelligent being.”  (references in last post).  So far, naturalistic Darwinianism hasn’t shown that Locke was wrong.


If anything, the idea that pure incognative matter has produced our minds, only by way of random mutation and natural selection, then we have every reason to doubt our confidence in the Scientific Method.



If you're claiming the existence of the mind as proof of the insufficiency of the Theory of Evolution, I would respond that the brain is a remarkably complex organ that we are only beginning to understand, particularly with regards to consciousness. That's a Gap I wouldn't stuff God in, if I were you.


May 16, 2012 -- 10:40PM, Oncomintrain wrote:


I agree that Ussherism is not science.  I do not agree that it puts one in such an intellectual straight-jacket or that it inhibits one’s ability to obtain pure intellectual freedom.  One could can understand everything about evolution and still doubt it.  That doesn’t make him or her intellectually confined, just skeptical.  It certainly doesn’t make them stupid or insane.



You're conflating. There is nothing crazy or stupid about being skeptical about the Theory of Evolution. There IS however, something QUITE crazy and stupid about adopting an alternative explanation (Creationism, especially if it is Young-Earth Creationism) that is utterly at odds with all available evidence. And being forced to twist or ignore much of the available evidence from the world is an intellectual straightjacket.


I’ll try and elaborate further on the rest of your comments later.  Without elaborating, I’ll just say it’s NOT hypocritical for me to quote Dawkins and Dennett when their quotes are NOT just directed toward Creationism, but rather the people who have embraced it.



The hypocrisy is not in quoting, but from taking those quotes and extrapolating them to imply they say something that they don't. Those quotes did NOT say "theists are stupid," but that's what you interpreted them to mean.


When I talk about the necessity of God, I don’t mean in terms that I’m using any biological gap to conclude the necessity of God; I mean in terms of them using evolution as an argument against the existence of God.  And you know they do.



No, I don't know any such thing. Would you mind please providing some quote from either one, to that effect? I'm sure they've both claimed that evolution makes it unnecessary to posit a Designer of Biological Life, but that isn't the same thing. I've read quite a lot of Dawkins, and I don't believe I've ever once seen him claim that evolution disproves God.


Lastly, I’m really not worried one wit about evolution being taught in classrooms.  Keep in mind, my original focus here was on prejudice.  




Prejudice against Creationists (and as always, I mean that term in the conventional sense)? Tell me: if someone told you he/she was a Flat Earther, wouldn't you immediately suspect that he/she was crazy or stupid? You might be generous enough to hear him/her out, but wouldn't that be your immediate gut assumption?


Well, that's what we face with Creationists: a group of people who have adopted a belief that is deeply contradicted by evidence. So it is a reasonable assumption, based on past experience -- barring any indication to the contrary -- that they A) are ignorant/misinformed of the evidence, B) incapable of sound reasoning, and/or C) are lead by religious fanaticism to hold counter-factual beliefs. In my experience, if you can rule out A and B, is a real good bet that the person is a religious fanatic, though they frequently try to hide that motive.


You can call that prejudice if you like, but I'd say it is more akin to Pavlovian conditioning. 

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2 years ago  ::  May 17, 2012 - 11:27AM #133
upsala81
Posts: 2,129

And most importantly, the Greeks and Romans are clearly the founding fathers of Western science and scientific thinking; I honestly don't know how anyone could argue otherwise.




While that may be so, just read an article by a Christian Philosopher who makes this point.  The Greeks and Romans were only able to take science so far and while there were other advanced cultures, it was in Christian western civilization, that science as we know it now developed.  His thesis is that the much discussed conflict between Christianity and science seems not to match the historical evidence.  It seems that a Christian worldview may have helped the development of science.

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2 years ago  ::  May 17, 2012 - 11:28AM #134
d_p_m
Posts: 9,047

May 17, 2012 -- 11:02AM, McAtheist wrote:


Also, I think a case could be made that assuming an orderly god not only doesn't precede logical, scientific-style thinking, but logical, scientific-style thinking leads to the invention of orderly gods. Due to their day to day experience of the real world, humans are trained to expect causes for events; when we are unable to discern a cause, we invent one.  Thus Thor is invented to explain thunder and lightning, Hades/Persephone/Demeter invented to explain the changing seasons and a creator god is invented to explain the origin of the current phase of this universe.  This is my personal opinion, but I think it is just as valid as the standard theistic one.




Indeed. One of the primary functions of mythology is to explain the natural world in pre-scientific societies. There was a marvelous course at my university called History, Myth, and Legend, which looked at the nature, functions, and utility of those three things. What you are articulating was one of the fundamental issues dealt with in that course.

PHARAOH IRY-HOR, FROM THE 3100s BC, IS THE FIRST HUMAN WHOSE NAME WE KNOW.

-- cool facts from xkcd


"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."

-- Albert Einstein
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2 years ago  ::  May 17, 2012 - 11:48AM #135
d_p_m
Posts: 9,047

May 17, 2012 -- 11:12AM, Oncomintrain wrote:


Prejudice against Creationists (and as always, I mean that term in the conventional sense)? Tell me: if someone told you he/she was a Flat Earther, wouldn't you immediately suspect that he/she was crazy or stupid? You might be generous enough to hear him/her out, but wouldn't that be your immediate gut assumption?


Well, that's what we face with Creationists: a group of people who have adopted a belief that is deeply contradicted by evidence. So it is a reasonable assumption, based on past experience -- barring any indication to the contrary -- that they A) are ignorant/misinformed of the evidence, B) incapable of sound reasoning, and/or C) are lead by religious fanaticism to hold counter-factual beliefs. In my experience, if you can rule out A and B, is a real good bet that the person is a religious fanatic, though they frequently try to hide that motive.




From dictionary.com:


prej·u·dice

noun


1.
an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.


2.
any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.






3.
unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.



-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


From wikipedia:


Gordon Allport defined prejudice as a "feeling, favorable or unfavorable, toward a person or thing, prior to, or not based on, actual experience."



-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


We've had a lot of 'actual experience' with creationists here. I can assure you, my feelings about them are based on what I've learned... and the more I've learned, the lower my opinion has become.


Quote mining, circular reasoning, denial of evidence, denial of the existence of scientific explanations, an apparently willful effort to avoid using accurate terminology, a refusal to define in scientific terms creationist claim, outright lying and misrepresentation, invalid logic, invalid mathematics, cherrypicking of scientific measurements - all this an more can be found on the web, and by following links posted here by the 'creationist side' of the creation vs ToE argument.


In short, our individual and collective opinion of Creationism, expressed here, is not prejudice, but a considered conclusion backed by long experience.

PHARAOH IRY-HOR, FROM THE 3100s BC, IS THE FIRST HUMAN WHOSE NAME WE KNOW.

-- cool facts from xkcd


"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."

-- Albert Einstein
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2 years ago  ::  May 17, 2012 - 12:01PM #136
Ken
Posts: 33,860

May 17, 2012 -- 11:27AM, upsala81 wrote:


And most importantly, the Greeks and Romans are clearly the founding fathers of Western science and scientific thinking; I honestly don't know how anyone could argue otherwise.


While that may be so, just read an article by a Christian Philosopher who makes this point.  The Greeks and Romans were only able to take science so far and while there were other advanced cultures, it was in Christian western civilization, that science as we know it now developed. 


The Greeks and Romans were able to take science only so far because they didn't have time to take it further. Remember, they had to start from scratch. And if Christianity was such a help to science, why did the Christian West take over a thousand years to pick up where the Greeks and Romans left off? The Renaissance seems to be the key - and it was not about Christianity.

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2 years ago  ::  May 17, 2012 - 12:09PM #137
amcolph
Posts: 16,344

May 17, 2012 -- 12:01PM, Ken wrote:


May 17, 2012 -- 11:27AM, upsala81 wrote:


And most importantly, the Greeks and Romans are clearly the founding fathers of Western science and scientific thinking; I honestly don't know how anyone could argue otherwise.


While that may be so, just read an article by a Christian Philosopher who makes this point.  The Greeks and Romans were only able to take science so far and while there were other advanced cultures, it was in Christian western civilization, that science as we know it now developed. 


The Greeks and Romans were able to take science only so far because they didn't have time to take it further. Remember, they had to start from scratch. And if Christianity was such a help to science, why did the Christian West take over a thousand years to pick up where the Greeks and Romans left off? The Renaissance seems to be the key - and it was not about Christianity.




That's an easy one. Most of the people who take that line are Protestants, and their standard answer is that Christianity had to be 'perfected' by the Reformation before it could generate true advances in science.

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2 years ago  ::  May 17, 2012 - 12:21PM #138
upsala81
Posts: 2,129

It's an article from Peter Van Inwagon from Notre Dame.  If you go to page 11 or for more of the heart of it on 12 of the PDF and read a bit, you'll get his thesis.



andrewmbailey.com/pvi/Quam_Dilecta.pdf



Wish I could just copy and paste the part of the article I'm referring to, but as you see the PDF is just a photocopy from the book God and the Philosophers.

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2 years ago  ::  May 17, 2012 - 12:23PM #139
rsielin
Posts: 3,945

May 16, 2012 -- 5:40PM, CaliberCadillac wrote:

What you are referring to should more properly be term “Ussherism,” after Bishop James Ussher the Irish clergyman who in 1650 came up with the whole YEC doctrine.


May 16, 2012 -- 11:04PM, rsielin wrote:

The term "fundamentalism" has its roots in the Niagara Bible Conference (1878–1897), which defined those tenets it considered fundamental to Christian belief. The term was popularized by the "The Fundamentals", a collection of twelve books on five subjects published in 1910 and funded by the brothers Milton and Lyman Stewart. This series of essays came to be representative of the "Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy", which appeared late in the 19th century within some Protestant denominations in the United States, and continued in earnest through the 1920s. 


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalism


May 17, 2012 -- 1:48AM, CaliberCadillac wrote:

"Creationism in this more restricted sense entails a number of beliefs. These include a short time since the beginning of everything — ‘Young Earth Creationists’ think that Archbishop Ussher's sixteenth-century calculation of about 6000 years is a good estimate)"


plato.stanford.edu/entries/creationism/


When you're this loose with the facts, you can almost prove anything. Standard and expected creationist tactic.


Compare emphases. Ussher did not "come up with the whole YEC creationist doctrine," only a date. YEC's picked Ussher's date after the establishing their tenets 250 years later not because of it. L2 (understand what you) read, not just knee jerk and parrot.


Watch Caliber dig his heels in rather than be corrected. Another standard creationist tactic. 

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2 years ago  ::  May 17, 2012 - 12:26PM #140
upsala81
Posts: 2,129

The Greeks and Romans were able to take science only so far because they didn't have time to take it further.


Yet modern science as we would define it, did not develop in say China with an even larger amount of time. 

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