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The Expelled Evolutionist - Comments

Ansu's Avatar Comment 1 by Ansu

Teachers should have the right to teach what they believe is right, even if it runs counter to the scientific mainstream

or logic, or anything that is not what they believe in.

Isnt that the definition of Truthiness?

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 10:08:00 UTC | #179590

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 2 by mordacious1

Kind of a rehash of what we already know.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 10:13:00 UTC | #179591

KRKBAB's Avatar Comment 3 by KRKBAB

"Teachers should have the right to teach what they believe is right even if it runs counter to the scientific mainstream". Wow. That's horrible. How about if you tag onto the end of that: "as long as they have sufficient evidence that their "beliefs" are on a reasonably level standing with the rigors and integrity of scientific mainstream". A teacher shouldn't be allowed to teach what she/he believes if it flies in the face of rational thought!
P.Z. Meyers says "I personally believe that religion is a lie and a danger". Ayup! (Maine speak) We need more direct statements like this to be made. I think that statement of P.Z.'s rates right up there with Dawkins' frequent remark: "I'm not concerned with (fill in the blank), I'm just interested in whether it's true or not". That one always makes me cheer out loud (looking rather silly I would suspect). He (Dawkins)just re-directs the discussion back to the center after some post-modern bullshit usually tries muddle things up.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 10:30:00 UTC | #179598

black wolf's Avatar Comment 4 by black wolf

The point is that the 'academic freedom' offense is not about being contrary to the scientific mainstream, which in itself isn't uniform down to the last detail. Their pursuit is to make completely unscientific - in terms of methodology, evidence, logic, parsimony and just about every conceivable other factor - ideas appear as having scientific credibility. Once they get that into place anywhere, pupils will leave school with the impression that there is some sort of science behind the claims. These students then go on to vote on or become school board members, which is precisely the political snowball method creationists want to achieve. It's the wedge to eventually get the very definition of science changed, just as Behe explained at Dover. If they can't do it by force, they'll try to deteriorate and muddy the definition bit by bit. An idea that thrives solely in the realm of politics and propaganda has no place in science classes.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 10:34:00 UTC | #179599

Quine's Avatar Comment 5 by Quine

PZ:

Often we put too much emphasis on Charles Darwin

Yes, this causes the other side to relate to him (Darwin) as if he were equated with one of their prophets (personally) instead of dealing with the facts and inferences of the ToE. This is why I strongly believe our side needs to adjust (evolve) to their tactics by dropping the terms "Darwinism" and "Darwinist" from our vocabularies, and forcing ourselves to say "Darwinian evolution" when that is what we actually intend.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 12:33:00 UTC | #179622

flobear's Avatar Comment 6 by flobear

Teachers should have the right to teach what they believe is right, even if it runs counter to the scientific mainstream.

Is being an idiot a right? I guess it is. I don't have any ethical problems with idiots as long as they are not teaching my children about science.

edit: So I guess these people wouldn't mind a Muslim science teacher explaining that the Koran is the ultimate truth about the universe. Seriously, these arguments are so inane I can't believe they're spoken by actual adults.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 12:36:00 UTC | #179624

jonjermey's Avatar Comment 7 by jonjermey

...and English teachers should have the right to spell words any way they want, and geography teachers should be able to put Alaska on the equator if they want to, and maths teachers who aren't comfortable with the idea that 2 plus 2 = 4 should be able to teach the controversy...

What precisely is it about the words 'It's not true' that they don't understand?

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 12:44:00 UTC | #179631

Corylus's Avatar Comment 8 by Corylus

Teachers should have the right to teach what they believe is right, even if it runs counter to the scientific mainstream. It's hard to take issue with that in the abstract...
Actually, it is very easy to take issue with this in the abstract and this is because of a lack of clarity about the word 'right'...
... what they believe is right....
Now does this mean 'right' the sense of being 'correct'? (i.e. corresponding to reality) or does it imply 'right' as some form of moral injunction?

Of course, teachers must teach what they believe to be correct, however, what they believe to be 'right' has no place in a science classroom.

'Right' is an ambiguous, emotive term: be cautious. When people use ambiguous, emotive terms (when there are perfectly reasonable alternatives available) : be suspicious.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 12:56:00 UTC | #179635

Pathfinder's Avatar Comment 9 by Pathfinder

Quite frankly, as a Christian I am appalled at the hubris and arrogance of a number of my fellow "Christians". Science is science, religion is religion. If teachers have the right to teach what they believe is "right", without evidence, just based on instinct and conviction ( "the best lack all conviction, the worst are full of passionate intensity" - WB Yeats ) then by the same logic it is perfectly acceptable to aver women, ethnic minorities, homosexuals and people who work on the Sabbath (see Exodus) should be punished and even killed. It's this inconsistency which really gets me.

Personal conviction has no place in a science classroom. In history, maybe, you can argue Napoleon had the whole welfare of Europe in mind when he sought to conquer it and impose his Code.
In science, you can only insert God into the gaps, and even then, WHOSE God?

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 13:22:00 UTC | #179652

robotaholic's Avatar Comment 10 by robotaholic

in response to Pathfinder - science is science and religion is CRAP-

Quite frankly, as an atheist I'm amazed at a number of your fellow christians.

If teachers have the right to teach what they believe is "right", without evidence, just based on instinct and conviction ( "the best lack all conviction, the worst are full of passionate intensity" - WB Yeats ) then by the same logic it is perfectly acceptable to aver women, ethnic minorities, homosexuals and people who work on the Sabbath (see Exodus) should be punished and even killed. It's this inconsistency which really gets me.

well hmm let's just leave that up to the preachers/priests -right

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 13:34:00 UTC | #179656

Corylus's Avatar Comment 11 by Corylus

Robotaholic,

I didn't entirely agree with Pathfinder either, but that was because I do not think that his/hers NOMA position is compatable with an interventionist christian God.

However, s/he is obviously trying to seek areas of agreement. Let's not flame people when they do this.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 13:41:00 UTC | #179658

Pathfinder's Avatar Comment 12 by Pathfinder

Robotoholic, Thanks for your point., although I am at a loss to know what it is, save the usual moronic, visceral "religion is crap". Aside from your penetrating insight, have you anything constructive to offer?

Let me guess: anyone who is not a bona-fide atheist (all agnostics, doubters, Christians, Muslims etc) is a pitiful imbecile. OK. Appreciate your broad-mindedness.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 13:42:00 UTC | #179659

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 13 by Steve Zara

Science is science, religion is religion


I am afraid not. Science is about the investigation of physical reality. Theistic religions make claims about physical reality, therefore theism and science will always overlap and conflict.

In science, you can only insert God into the gaps, and even then, WHOSE God?


Theism is nothing but the insertion of God into gaps in our understanding in all areas. It cannot stand on its own terms, let alone against science.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 13:44:00 UTC | #179660

Pathfinder's Avatar Comment 14 by Pathfinder

I'm confused: I've got one person (Steve Zara) saying there is no overlap with science (with which I BROADLY agree) and another saying I am in favour or concur with the idea of an interventionist God. Can i have some consistency here?

Let's deal with Steve Zara first. He says with sublime confidence God "cannot stand on its own terms", LET ALONE against science. Whose terms are we talking about? Who decides? Empirical, weighed-up evidence? Has God been conclusively disproved? No. Neither, in Popperian terms, has He/She/It been falsified. I think, in view of your Guru Dawkins saying the existence of God being "highly improbable" (not "impossible", note), you should not rush to judgement. Isn't this what scientists are supposed to do? But then atheists are REALLY frustrated Christians, just as they used to say existentialism was curdled romanticism.

What's the betting on Steve Zara and Robotowhatisname being lapsed Christians? I can smell it from here! Careful, guys/gals: Old Nich has your names on a ledger!

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 14:02:00 UTC | #179665

Corylus's Avatar Comment 15 by Corylus

Pathfinder

...another saying I am in favour or concur with the idea of an interventionist God. Can i have some consistency here?
No problem. I came to that conclusion because of your self-declaration as a "Christian."

Christian implies that you believe that god intervened in relation to that resurrection business (even if nowhere else).

If you want to say that God never intervenes then I am, of course, interested to hear you say that. However, if that is the case you need to go sit with the deists and not the theists :-)

Anyway, you wanted to talk to Steve and it is nearly my bedtime...

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 14:12:00 UTC | #179668

ricey's Avatar Comment 16 by ricey

It's good to get an intelligent perspective from a religious person like Pathfinder, because I'm always open to the possibility that he/she, etc, may be right ... but it needs to be PROVED!

I think Pathfinder (good name by the way - mine's just a nickname I had in school) draws the same conclusions I draw from the creationist mindview expressed by I.D., i.e. that it disregards the observable evidence.

I have to ask you Pathfinder, does this not affect your beliefs? Given that the Bible's account of creation is so radically different from the evidence science has provided, why do you accept anything else that book says?

I am willing to accept evidence, not unquestioning belief systems; though you seem to be of the same mind (paradox). Stick around please!

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 14:14:00 UTC | #179669

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 17 by Steve Zara

Comment #189157 by Pathfinder

Provide me with a single falsifiable prediction that remains from the God Hypothesis, and then we can talk how Popper applies.

Forgive me for being so harsh - I am getting less patient in middle age. Your support for evolution is welcome, but my view is that it is inconsistent to complain about people looking for gaps in evolution to put God in when Christianity does precisely that in terms of biology, physics, philosophy and so on.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 14:24:00 UTC | #179673

Pathfinder's Avatar Comment 18 by Pathfinder

Ricey and Corylus: Thanks for your response. A couple of corrections, however. Ricey: did you not read what I wrote? Of course the existence of God cannot be proved! I am aware this is insufficient evidence from a scientific standpoint: no falsifiability, no control experiments, no peer-reviewed papers, no (or not much) competing hypotheses apart from the blindingly obvious... And could I hit on the head that old canard about being a Christian, et ergo,
being an ID/Creationist? I despise the ID movement,being, in my view, both mendacious and ill-informed. Whilst I might respect someone like Francis Collins for equivocating on the matter of probability and fine-tuning, I cannot but despise the Behes of this world!

Ricey, you say evidence. I have been on this website before and had my evidence trashed. OK: it was "witness" and what you'd call "hearsay" testimony. From your point of view I'd guess "inadmissible". I understand the "rules of the game", so to speak. What I am really interested in, is dialogue. Unlike Steve Zara, I do not believe a religious and a scientific view of the world are mutually exclusive. I do not say, either, that they are interchangeable, like Rosencrantz and Gildernstern. I'm just... aw, it's up to you if you want to engage. I'm to bed.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 14:36:00 UTC | #179675

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 19 by Steve Zara

Of course the existence of God cannot be proved! I am aware this is insufficient evidence from a scientific standpoint: no falsifiability, no control experiments, no peer-reviewed papers, no (or not much) competing hypotheses apart from the blindingly obvious...


I knew I shouldn't have come back from a break.

Already I am finding dealing with things here frustrating again.

What I don't understand is why it should then be sufficient evidence from any standpoint.

You are making the biggest possible claims about the nature of reality, yet you make them based purely on what has gone on, uncorroborated, in your own mind. You consider yourself some kind of personal expert regarding reality!

However, as you have more to contribute to this discussion than I have, I shall take another break and leave you to it.... your views regarding ID and creationism are admirable. I hope you get the discussions you want here.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 14:48:00 UTC | #179677

Goldy's Avatar Comment 20 by Goldy

Of course the existence of God cannot be proved!

Why not? And if this is true, why the worship? See why I am an athiest? This is completely inconsistent with rationality, yet it has been fed to me from an early age by society as totally normal and, yes, rational.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 14:59:00 UTC | #179680

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 21 by phil rimmer

I do not believe a religious and a scientific view of the world are mutually exclusive. I do not say, either, that they are interchangeable, like Rosencrantz and Gildernstern. I'm just... aw, it's up to you if you want to engage. I'm to bed.


Damn. damn, DAMN! Now we'll never know. I really think (s)he was going to tell us too.

Its your fault, Steve Zara, asking for those falsifiable predicaments and corroborated whatsits. Nearly two years I've been here and not once have the nice Christians told us their secret. I know it has something to do with feelings and such, but they never tell us HOW THEY KNOW..... Not fair.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 15:05:00 UTC | #179681

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 22 by Bonzai

Goldy



Of course the existence of God cannot be proved!



Why not? And if this is true, why the worship? See why I am an athiest? This is completely inconsistent with rationality, yet it has been fed to me from an early age by society as totally normal and, yes, rational.


This is interesting. I am not saying this is pathfinder's position, but in my experience some "sophisticated" theists actually believe in God exactly because it is not provable. To such believers the status of God would be greatly diminished if he can actually be tracked by science and human intellect. It will lose its mystique as a result. They probably wouldn't believe anymore if there is incontrovertible evidence that God exists.

This is kind of perverted and turns the significance of evidence upside down.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 15:06:00 UTC | #179682

acs's Avatar Comment 23 by acs

What's the betting on Steve Zara and Robotowhatisname being lapsed Christians? I can smell it from here! Careful, guys/gals: Old Nich has your names on a ledger!

Pathfinder, that kind of statement is offensive and is a direct threat against the person of another. Once you reach a certain stage of consciousness, we understand that making such statements is in fact your personal judgement against another person. Please refrain from doing same in the future.

I despise the ID movement,being, in my view, both mendacious and ill-informed. Whilst I might respect someone like Francis Collins for equivocating on the matter of probability and fine-tuning, I cannot but despise the Behes of this world!

Generally, Pathfinder, hate is bad. It is deleterious to the person and can become dangerously overpowering. Please dont feel the need to use that emotion on our behalf. I dont hate Behe et al. They can say whatever they want, they are wrong and they are intentionally manipulating creationism to have a scientific face, but I dont hate them.

At the end of the day we, like all people just want to have the truth heard. Our truth is that the Universe is a logically consistent and explainable phenomenon and that Theism is not logically consistent. I dont want theists to disappear, they are my brothers and sisters. Rather, I want to persuade them that what they tell their children, and themselves, is not true. Hopefully, they will gain from it, not us.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 15:12:00 UTC | #179683

Pathfinder's Avatar Comment 24 by Pathfinder

Steve Zara:regarding your "return" - couldn't have put it better myself!

You seem to think I have some kind of divinely-inspired (Christian pathology, in your view) plan to deliberately confound and frustrate you. Please do me the favor of reading a little more closely and to avoid putting words into my mouth. I do NOT make any claims about reality that has gone on "uncorroborated... in my own mind". My approach to God could best be described as TENTATIVE, as my last post (March/April?) must have made abundantly clear! Had you not, of course, been so fervidly, rabidly enthusiastic about rooting out a supposed theist you might conceivably have noticed that.

My God is, unconditionally, indubitably, a "God of the gaps". That means I am proceeding from a position of RELATIVE unknowability. Personally, I distrust your adamatine certainty there IS NO GOD. Just as I distrust those on "my side" who insist THERE IS A GOD.

I was brought up an Episcopalian and I still adhere to the spirit, if not always the letter, of that creed. The question as to whether had I been a Delaney or O'Connell in Boston and brought up a Catholic, or a Faisal Darweesh from Afula,
Palestine, brought up a Muslim, etc, still remains. I've no doubt I would stay within those respective faiths, had I been born into them. Why not Allah, why not Marduk, why not Moroni, you ask?

The reason is... actually I think I'll be a bit sadistic and let you hang there! Manana.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 15:19:00 UTC | #179684

Goldy's Avatar Comment 25 by Goldy

Bonzai

To such believers the status of God would be greatly diminished if he can actually be tracked by science and human intellect. It will lose its mystique as a result. They probably wouldn't believe anymore if there is incontrovertible evidence that God exists.

Well, I guess this is the god who had no images of himself, unlike other gods ;-) Did have a telephonic link at one time but that's somewhere else now - Ethiopia or Zimbabwe, I forget which was the more credible.
Pathfinder
My God is, unconditionally, indubitably, a "God of the gaps".
And when the gaps close, he becomes a lesser god. A diminishing god - interesting. Or does your god maintain his stature despite the closing gaps because he is an unknowable god etc, etc?
Personally, I distrust your adamatine certainty there IS NO GOD

There is no god except that which we make within us. I can say there is no god with certainty because I never see anything that gods do that don't happen anyway. There are gods, same as dreams. I know dreams exist - indeed, one can see and hear dreams in others. Yet a dream is from the dreamer only, shared only if remembered and recounted. Bit like gods, eh?

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 15:28:00 UTC | #179687

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 26 by Steve Zara

Comment #189176 by Pathfinder

You seem to think I have some kind of divinely-inspired (Christian pathology, in your view) plan to deliberately confound and frustrate you.


It isn't all about you.

I do NOT make any claims about reality that has gone on "uncorroborated... in my own mind".


Of course you do. You are proposing that there is a God, based on no evidence apart from what you think.

Personally, I distrust your adamatine certainty there IS NO GOD.


I have no certainty that there is no God. I have close to certainty that all the supposed evidence and arguments used to justify claims of his existence are nonsense. If there were any such evidence, you would put it forward, rather than admitting it's absense.

I have just grown so tired of seeing the same old views. I have been researching and thinking about this matter a lot since cutting back on posting here.

I find myself impatient with the usually unrealised arrogance of theism, especially the Abrahamic religions. That humans are special, that we are able to discern the nature of reality to an extent that we can fill gaps in our knowledge with God, that our inner feelings, our "revelations" are a direct line to cosmic truth. I find the lack of humility really unsettling, especially when people don't realise the implications of what they are saying.

I also find the ignorance of logic annoying - the same old "you can't disprove it, so there" arguments, each time with the person making it thinking they are being clever and somehow witty.

Oh dear. I'll shut up for a while.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 15:35:00 UTC | #179689

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 27 by huzonfurst

Acs, all people have emotions, so why do you get judgmental on someone when they admit to having them? At least Pathfinder is being honest (and the word used was "despise" not "hate," unless I missed it somewhere).

I for one both despise and hate these meddling, destructive creationist freaks with a great deal of inspiring passion! That doesn't mean I intend to go around causing them physical harm or that I lose sleep from being fired up about them 24 hours a day, but it does mean I will slaughter them verbally at every opportunity and fight them tooth and nail in whatever venue comes to the fore.

These people are serious threats to civilization itself; if you don't hate and despise them, why not??

Yes, *we* want the truth to be heard, but *all* people do not! How can you say such a thing when you know that's not the motivation with religious be;lievers?

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 15:46:00 UTC | #179690

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 28 by Bonzai

Pathfinder

That means I am proceeding from a position of RELATIVE unknowability. Personally, I distrust your adamatine certainty there IS NO GOD. Just as I distrust those on "my side" who insist THERE IS A GOD .


The second sentence is interesting, and it should be highlighted as some of your responders may have just read the first sentence. :)

I don't find your position that unreasonable, though it is usually considered "agnostic" rather than theistic. So am I correct in assuming that you are actually an agnostic with some cultural attachment to Christianity?

You mentioned using God as a gap filler, I think that is problematic because without a clear way to describe what God is like and how he
supposedly "did it", this is like calling an unknown in an equation "x", giving the unknown a name doesn't solve the equation. The difference is, at least in algebra calling something "x" there is indeed an algorithm to find the solution, at least approximately (so the the mathematically informed cannot take me to task over the theorem of Abel and Galois theory), but calling an unknown "God" in science serves no purpose other than naming our ignorance,

Can you tell us what role, if any, does Christianity play in your life? That is probably a more meaningful question than to ask you for evidence, since you have already said you have none and are not interested in making claims other than that some God, with no description, may exist.

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 15:53:00 UTC | #179691

Quine's Avatar Comment 29 by Quine

Pathfinder:

What's the betting on Steve Zara and Robotowhatisname being lapsed Christians? I can smell it from here! Careful, guys/gals: Old Nich has your names on a ledger!


So, Pathfinder, if they never had been Christians, would they not be on Old Nich's list? What if they had lived 20,000 years ago?

I, myself, have to admit to being a lapsed infant. I can't get away from this because there are still elders around who can invoke the "changed your dipers" evidence on me.

P.S. to Steve Zara: "You'll be back."

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 15:58:00 UTC | #179692

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 30 by Steve Zara

P.S. to Steve Zara: "You'll be back."


I am sure :)

I do feel an increasing need to get away from the same old arguments.

It reminds me of when I was teaching.. there was only so many years I could mark the same essays...

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 16:06:00 UTC | #179693