Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Not quite philosophy discussions, debates, various thought experiments and other topics of interest.

Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby mitchellmckain on August 30th, 2018, 5:33 pm 

There have been a few claims by opponents of evolution that they are not creationists. This is difficult for many scientists to credit though the moral poverty of social Darwinism does look somewhat like a good excuse. Everything I have seen only supports my conclusion that opposition to evolution can be equated with opposition to science itself.

Comments?
Are there other reasons why people might oppose evolution?
How would you test such a claim that an opponent is not creationist?

In the next post, you will see a discussion where this was attempted.
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby mitchellmckain on August 30th, 2018, 5:35 pm 

Reg_Prescott » August 30th, 2018, 3:06 am wrote:
mitchellmckain » August 30th, 2018, 4:21 pm wrote:Objective evidence gives people a reasonable expectation that others should agree. If you can at least provide a rational which substantiates a claim in some way then people at least have some means of evaluating the believability of that claim. When davidm provides these then he is taken seriously, when he does not then I challenge him -- and I have done so frequently. The exact same standard applies to Brent.

...
We covered this in some detail here: (my second to bottom post on page 1)

Yes we covered it before.

Reg_Prescott » August 30th, 2018, 3:06 am wrote:But here's another chance: in virtue of what fact or facts is it epistemically objective that E constitutes evidence for T?

I have answered this before repeatedly... but if you like the use of symbols I can do it that way too.

Objective means the same for everyone. When E is a written procedure which anyone can follow to get the the same results R then E constitutes objective evidence for R. I have changed the letter from T to R because T is obviously meant to represent "theory" rather than result. A theory describes a whole spectrum of results so we can think of it as an infinite set of different results. In this case, the objective evidence E* for theory T is also an infinite set of written procedures which anyone can perform a finite subset of to get the results in the set T every time they do one of those written procedures in set E*.

Reg_Prescott » August 30th, 2018, 3:42 am wrote:
mitchellmckain » August 30th, 2018, 4:21 pm wrote:
1. How long has there been life on the Earth?
2. Do new species appear on the Earth over time while others become extinct?
3. When did humans first appear on the Earth?
4. If you want to know something about the history of species on the Earth where will you look for the answer?
5. What do you say about the modern synthesis reconciling Darwinian evolution with classical genetics.
6. What distinguishes one species from another?
7. What can you say about time to MCRA estimates?
8. Have you seen the comparison of genetic and linguistic evidence for human migrations from Africa to the rest of the world? Any comment?
9, The evolution of new species have been documented since the theory of evolution was first proposed. How did that happen?



But to address your questions (the weather is crap anyway LOL), which I have numbered for convenience.

1. I don't have any objections to the official scientific answer (4 billion years or something?)

So you are not YEC anyway.

Reg_Prescott » August 30th, 2018, 3:42 am wrote:2. Yes

3. See my answer to Q1

4. The Discovery Channel

That rules out more types of creationists.

Reg_Prescott » August 30th, 2018, 3:42 am wrote:5. My own position is that Darwinian evolutionary theory is a steaming pile of excrement

The only thing excremental I see here is your effort to address the question I asked.

Reg_Prescott » August 30th, 2018, 3:42 am wrote:6. Good question. There are various concepts of species. Some claim there is so such thing. Your guess is as good as mine.

Definitions are not a matter of guessing. It is a matter of understanding what science is saying. Evolution is a theory of the origin of the species. How can you understand the theory if you don't have a grasp on the meaning of the words? So FYI a species is generally defined by the ability to produce offspring capable of reproduction. So for example... horses and donkeys are not the same species because the offspring of interbreeding are mules incapable of reproduction. This is the basic idea and general rule anyway, though to be sure the details tend to be a little more complicated.


Why? Did you understand the question? If not, why didn't you make the effort to find out something about it?

Reg_Prescott » August 30th, 2018, 3:42 am wrote:8. Again, don't really have a problem with any of this, whether it be true or false. Why would I? (You can't seem to get it in your head that I'm not a Creationist)

NOOOO.... it is you who can't seem to get it in your head that I am a theist (Christian). So the question is why? Why do you keep equating evolution with atheism when more than half the Christians in the world support evolution? This is the kind of inconsistency in what you say which suggests that something doesn't add up. Were you raised in a creationist family by chance?

I keep taking you at your word and I have discussed you not being creationist before, pointing out that there can be other philosophical motivations for opposing evolution.

These questions were to see if your claim not to be a creationist could be substantiated in some way, in order to address the obvious way in which davidm seems to assume you are lying. This way we could at least find out if your answers were consistent with your claim. In the case of this particular question, it was to see if you could see how evidence in very different fields can correlate with each other to substantiate a theory just as is in the case of the theory of evolution.

It was also to help us pin down exactly where you stand because the situation is not black and white. For example, although I support both evolution and abiogenesis, I also support the claim that God created not only the universe but all the living things in it. It is a matter of HOW did God create these things and where I draw the line is in opposing design as fundamentally incompatible with the nature of living things. I explain that all the examples we know of creating living things are found in farmers, shepherds, teachers and parents, who do not design what they make but nevertheless play an important role in bring them into existence. So I assert that God is the creator of living things in the same way, not as a designer but as a participant in the lives of living things to protect, lead, teach, or provide a heritage of some kind.

Reg_Prescott » August 30th, 2018, 3:42 am wrote:9. No one has the foggiest idea, in my view, asseverations to the contrary from the top dogs notwithstanding. If I understand correctly, Darwinian gradualism implies steady continuity. Meanwhile the paleontologists (Gould, Eldredge et al) have been trying to tell us for years that the fossil record largely evinces precisely the opposite pattern: stasis and discontinuity.

If Gould, Eldredge et al are to be believed, a great many (most?) species enter the fossil record unannounced, do pretty much nothing for a few million years, then vanish equally mysteriously.

Seems to me, Mitchell, that the fossil record is a bewildering jumble that lends support to no particular theory. Fascinating stuff, mind you.

I wasn't talking about the fossil record. I was talking about the documentation of the evolution of new species coming into existence, both in the laboratory and in nature during the time we started looking and experimenting.

Reg_Prescott » August 30th, 2018, 3:42 am wrote:What are your own thoughts on this?

Let me guess.... "Incorrect!!", "Incorrect!! ... "Incorrect!!

Well... this guess is obviously incorrect!


So... what do I gather from your answers. This is a first approximation and perhaps from your responses we can get a more accurate picture: You are not a creationist. You will go with the results of scientific inquiry unless it involves an emotionally charged issue. Then you don't even look at the scientific inquiry -- not at the questions it is addressing, nor the details of the explanation, nor the evidence. When the subject gets near that emotionally charged issue then you are simply not interested. There is nothing dishonest in this. It is perfectly natural. Many people have such disinterests and aversion for all kinds of subjects. Many people really hate mathematics. Others really hate philosophy, or history, or psychology, etc... And why shouldn't they? Time is precious and we have to make choices about what we are going to spend our time on.
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby Braininvat on August 30th, 2018, 7:58 pm 

Thanks for the PM, MM. I only ask this not become another flashpoint and members will be mindful of the full range of theory and evidence. While many aspects of ET are robustly debated, a good faith effort is expected to do some scholarship and acquaint oneself with the well established facts of natural selection. If you want to crack nuts here, you will need to get yourself the right beak.
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby davidm on August 31st, 2018, 10:45 am 

A few general points:

As I explained in the now-closed thread, it’s a mistake for anyone to believe that biological evolution either entails, or offers support for, so-called social Darwinism, which was a misapplication of evolutionary theory. I cited the example of the evolution of nylon-eating bacteria, but would be happy to elaborate further on this point if any are interested.

Even if it were true that one could draw a line from evolutionary theory to social Darwinism, this cannot make evolutionary theory wrong. This is a fallacy, an argument to negative consequences. Anyway, in general, there are lots of nasty features of nature, but it doesn’t mean that humans have to replicate them.

If someone says he disagrees with evolutionary theory but is not a creationist, I must candidly confess that I am disinclined to believe such a person. After all, what is the alternative? Lamarckism? Magic? I have noticed many times that when evolution deniers who claim not to believe in God are pressed to say what they do believe with respect to the origin of species, they are cagey, evasive, or simply clam up.

Another thing I have noticed in these kinds of debates is that those who deny evolution almost always do not understand what the theory actually says, or else if they do, they deliberately misrepresent it — probably for the purpose of erecting a straw man of evolution that is easier to knock down.

I have noticed this same phenomenon with relativity theory deniers. They either misunderstand or deliberately mischaracterize the theory. And both relativity and evolution deniers and very vehement in their denials, their passion rising to the point where one must conclude that there is more here than a simple scientific or philosophical disagreement.

I concur with Mitchell that there is no necessary conflict between theism and evolution — only with certain types of theism, such as the belief that 
God created the universe in six days six thousand years ago. Of course that is ruled out by evolutionary theory, but so too a young earth and quick creation is ruled out by pretty much all of science. So an attack on evolution on this ground is really an attack on all of science, and on rationality itself.

I think, at bottom, the attacks on relativity theory and evolution theory have a religious motivation, which is usually clear in the context of evolution but somewhat puzzling with respect to relativity. Possibly a lot of relativity deniers are just offended that the theory insults their “common sense,” which evidently they hold so dear. But I have noticed that some people misapply “relativity” to a broader context that is not warranted, in the same way evolution deniers may, equally without warrant, maintain that evolution implies or even entails social Darwinism. They may think, wrongly, that relativity implies that everything is relative, including moral arrangements, and so the theory must be battled to forestall a “relativistic world.” This is complete BS, it (almost) goes without saying. Ironically enough, Einstein thought that his theory should have been called the theory of invariance. I wonder if that simple name change would have short-circuited later opposition to the theory.

To me, attacks on relativity and evolution represent a broad attack on science and rationality itself, and on modernity and the better parts of the Enlightenment. Should God exist and there be an after life, it would be amusing to see the looks on the faces of those meeting God when he asks them, “Where were you when I made the world? And who are you tell me how I should make the world go?”
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby mitchellmckain on September 6th, 2018, 6:25 pm 

There is a big difference between saying evolution is wrong and simply saying the mechanism of natural selection is insufficient to explain everything. It brings me to wonder about the motivation of Berlinsky when we take seriously his claim not to be a creationist. Is he simply arguing against the orthodox Darwinists who are making oversimplifications in a way that looks like they are promoting a philosophical agenda such as overemphasizing natural selection to push something like social Darwinism or exaggerating the randomness to push an idea that life is meaningless? Both are motivations which I can sympathize with. Another motivation I can get behind is simply to support the freedom to believe in a creator of life who tinkered with the evolutionary process as much as we do in our simulations. Of course, if this is turned into some kind of argument for the existence of God then my enthusiasm will vanish.
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby hyksos on September 7th, 2018, 3:40 pm 

Ben Shapiro, and Jordan Peterson, and David Berlinski

These men do not publish papers in scientific journals. They do not write history books. If they writes books, no academics ever cite them as authoritative. These men engage in public disputes whose outcome is determined entirely by their mastery of rhetoric. One of the common devices used by these sophists is the technique of Dog Whistling.

Shapiro dog-whistles at audiences full of people who believe that the founding fathers of the United States sat down in a room in Philadelphia and copied passages out of the Book of Leviticus when framing the constitution. Shapiro himself will never state the phrase "The founders took inspiration directly from the Bible when penning the Constitution". Of course he will never say it out loud, because Dog Whistles don't work that way. He will never outright deny the sentiment, and when pressed on the issue against historical facts, Shapiro will retreat to a bag of known rhetorical talking points. These dodges usually come in the form of : "Pascal was religious!" "Newton believed in God!". He will absolve responsibility for dog-whistling at Conservative Christian audiences with these common goal-post switching tactics and distractions.

Macro-evolution
Let's be brutally honest for a minute. "Macro-evolution" is a creationist dog whistle. If I owned and operated this forum, I would state this fact in sticky posts right near the forum rules. The same sorts of rhetorical backsliding and goalpost switching is utilized in Berlinski's rhetoric when he dog-whistles at the Creationists taking up 40% of the seats during his public debates.

In the minds of the vast majority of creationists, "macro-evolution" literally means a lizard turned into a dog. Or a fish turned into a crocodile. Because Berlinski is a sophist engaged in rhetoric , he will utilize in his own words a nuanced and sophisticated definition of "macro-evolution". This nuancing will be lost on 40% of the audience where it counts, but the nuance will allow him to deny everything when challenged by a degree-holding biologist. Thus is the magic of dog whistles.

The audience watching has a short attention span. In the first hour, Berlinski will define "macro-evolution" in a way that is agreeable to the scientists. Then a gap of 90 minutes will transpire. Then Berlinski will suddenly attack a biologist with "Macro-evolution has not been observed!" the scientists will agree, believing he is using his earlier nuanced definition. But to the ears of the untrained in the audience, they will only hear in their minds that "Lizards have never been observed turning into dogs!". And they will conclude that creationism has scored a point against evolutionary theory.

Such is the drama of rhetoric.


Another rhetorical tactic is that Berlinski will state outright with no prerequisite context, the rules of validation of a scientific theory. But these rules were created entirely by him and come from only his own books. They start and stop there. Berlinski will repeatedly state that the Darwinian mechanism falls vastly short of accounting for the complexity exhibited by modern multicellular organisms such as cheetahs and gorillas.

But wait up -- does that theory need to account for that complexity, at all, to begin with? Was the theory even formulated to "account for complexity" even historically? Nobody challenges him on this point. "Well it must account for the complexity exhibited by ---" It must? It must, why?
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby davidm on September 7th, 2018, 3:52 pm 

Yep, with Berlinski and this lot, it's all dog-whisting, goalpost-shifting, and rhetorical sleight of hand. Excellent post.
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby mitchellmckain on September 7th, 2018, 4:42 pm 

Yes, very interesting.

P.S. After a brief visit here by Reg_Prescott, which was deleted almost immediately because in contained nothing but insults, I sent him a message inviting him to address this question of non-creationist opposition to evolution without the insults, science bashing, or delusions that evolution is any more or less that the verdict of the scientific community on its inquiry into the origin of the species -- warning him that the moderators are quite tired of this stuff. So far no reply.

My guess is that even if there are motivations other than creationism for this opposition then he doesn't want to acknowledge them, but instead pretends the objections have to do with "honesty" (LOL and head shaking) and problems with the scientific evidence. All I have seen from him is a highly philosophical/theological approach of critiquing assertions and propositions found in Darwin's text. His denial of the existence of a scientific method seem to part and parcel of his justification for using such a methodology on the scientific theory of evolution.
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby Braininvat on September 7th, 2018, 7:47 pm 

"Macro-evolution" is a creationist dog whistle. If I owned and operated this forum, I would state this fact in sticky posts right near the forum rules.


I would consider that. Thanks. The word contains an unsupported assumption that there is a distinct functional boundary line that there is no warrant to cross. But really, we are speaking of the lengths of generations. The process doesn't fundamentally alter when we go from bacteria to lagomorphs. It just takes longer.
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 8th, 2018, 10:51 am 

mitchellmckain » September 8th, 2018, 5:42 am wrote:Yes, very interesting.

P.S. After a brief visit here by Reg_Prescott, which was deleted almost immediately because in contained nothing but insults, I sent him a message inviting him to address this question of non-creationist opposition to evolution without the insults, science bashing, or delusions that evolution is any more or less that the verdict of the scientific community on its inquiry into the origin of the species -- warning him that the moderators are quite tired of this stuff. So far no reply.

My guess is that even if there are motivations other than creationism for this opposition then he doesn't want to acknowledge them, but instead pretends the objections have to do with "honesty" (LOL and head shaking) and problems with the scientific evidence. All I have seen from him is a highly philosophical/theological approach of critiquing assertions and propositions found in Darwin's text. His denial of the existence of a scientific method seem to part and parcel of his justification for using such a methodology on the scientific theory of evolution.


Thank you, Mitchell, for this opportunity to clear up a few matters.

First of all, an apology is in order. Hyksos started a thread based on three quotes of David Berlinski. Everyone was having a lot of fun lynching the ignorant bastard who wouldn't know evolution from shinola. Then I had to open my big mouth and point out that Berlinski, as far as I can tell, never said any of these things.

It ruined the entire party, and I'm very sorry.

Second, you're right Mitchell. As both yourself and Davidm have suspected for some time, the truth is I'm a New Earth Creationist who believes the world was created five minutes before this post. As we all know, Taiwan has been a hotbed of evil Creationist activity for quite some time. And if it hadn't been for you meddling kids, we'd be back in the Dark Ages already.

Drat! Drat! And double drat!

Third, I should like to express my admiration for your hyperbolic scientistic jingoism. My hero! You're a better man than I. I tried to stop lying once, but, you know, it was unendurable.


As I said to Braininvat in email, I believe it was Weinberg who said -- with embarrassing naivete-- (and I paraphrase) "Good people do good stuff. Bad people do bad stuff. For good people to do bad stuff, that takes religion."

Substitute "evolutionary theory" for "religion" and see what happens.

What a sham! What kinda show are you guys putting on here?

P.S., Fuck you, Mitchell for impugning my honesty.
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby davidm on September 8th, 2018, 11:13 am 

Reg_Prescott » September 8th, 2018, 8:51 am wrote:

As I said to Braininvat in email, I believe it was Weinberg who said -- with embarrassing naivete-- (and I paraphrase) "Good people do good stuff. Bad people do bad stuff. For good people to do bad stuff, that takes religion."

Substitute "evolutionary theory" for "religion" and see what happens.


Of course! Why do you think Richard Dawkins pronounces "evolution" as "evilution?" Mu-ah-ha-ha! Image

Sorry, admins, about the imported smilie. Couldn't resist just this once.
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 8th, 2018, 11:22 am 

And what are you doing, BiV?

You're gonna reward dishonesty and destroy Reg Prescott.

Twas ever thus.
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby Braininvat on September 8th, 2018, 11:34 am 

For the fourth or fifth time: I no longer moderate ET threads. Talk to SciKen. See how posts that are 80% sarcasm and insults do with a different mod. If you come in here and histrionically fall on your sword, I am not providing first aid.
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on September 8th, 2018, 11:42 am 

I liked all your posts.

If you can't beat 'em.....

Er, can we be friends now?

It's sincere friendship I seek. And willing to pay for it.

Personally, I get very nervous on the rare occasions a post gets a "like". These mindless masses can be scary.

You're building a ratship here. A vessel for seagoing snitches.
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby mitchellmckain on September 8th, 2018, 3:35 pm 

It is a poor picked on Reg_Prescott routine now is it?

...Yawn...

Here is a suggestion. Drop the rhetoric and just lay out your position ON THE ISSUE straight and honest. And leave all the person bashing and histronics out of it.


P.S. And no... I see no more honesty in this latest messing around than any of your other antics.
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby hyksos on September 12th, 2018, 2:17 pm 

Rumor has it that Berlinski is a not only a member, but a "Senior Fellow" at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.

Discovery Institute is apparently some sort of conservative right-wing think-tank.

https://www.discovery.org/

I do suggest a more-than-passive reading through this website's articles.
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Re: Exploring non-creationist opposition to evolution

Postby hyksos on September 14th, 2018, 11:50 am 

We might ask if there is something about rhetoric, logic, (or even philosophy itself) where the Nuh-uh position is unassailable. That is skepticism always wins in every debate because it occupies some superb high ground.

Perhaps Berlinski, in the 'war room' of the Discovery Institute realizes that constant denial of a scientific theory always wins out in a public dialog. We reach a point where the justification of a scientific theory is so dry, so technical, and so statistical that it cannot capture the imagination of a lay audience.

First of all, an apology is in order. Hyksos started a thread based on three quotes of David Berlinski. Everyone was having a lot of fun lynching the ignorant bastard who wouldn't know evolution from shinola. Then I had to open my big mouth and point out that Berlinski, as far as I can tell, never said any of these things.

It ruined the entire party, and I'm very sorry.


Perhaps we see a microcosm of this in Reg_Prescott. He does not ever adopt a positive position regarding anything about the world. He seems to have no interest in facts or data collected about organisms in the wild. He is more interested in adjudicating the history of a thread than talking about topics.

I felt a strong desire to correct the claims made in the above quote. We had beyond any doubt shown that Shutzenberger had been quoted in Berlinski's own books. These facts were presented at the top of a thread I made. I find myself at this juncture wondering if I should waste my time this morning trying to "correct" Reg_Prescott. There is a sense that this is what he wants. To pull people into his confusing mire with distractions about exact quotes and other clerical sidebars distracts from the main topical issues.
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