Saturday, February 22, 2014

Is Evolution Irrefutable and Compelling?

On my PL/SQL Challenge website, we have a feature called Roundtable, which offers an opportunity to discuss "big picture" questions relevant to Oracle programmers.

The current discussion (well, sharing, really) asks players to share the programming languages with which they work.

In part of my answer, I wrote:

I should learn new stuff...but, heck, I am 55. I have spent a very large percentage of the last 35 years in front of a computer or talking to other people about how to work best in front of a computer.

I'd rather learn other new stuff, so for the past year I have been intensively studying evolution. How truly incredible and amazing! Now there's a "language" that blows my mind: The coding in DNA is mind-boggling. The irrefutable and compelling logic of evolution is astonishing.

If you have not read about evolution lately (and certainly almost anything you learned in school was both superficial and is now out of date), I strongly encourage you to check out:

Your Inner Fish, Neil Shubin
The Beak of the Finch, Jonathan Weiner
The Darwinian Tourist, Christopher Wills
Why Evolution is True, Jerry Coyne


To which one player responded:


 ==> [The irrefutable and compelling logic of evolution is astonishing.] <==
Is religious zeal allowed on this site? If it is, I am very happy to hear. I have tons of it. Irrefutable huh? Huh. Sounds like religious zeal to me. Please let me know!

I responded in part as follows:

The irrefutable and compelling logic of evolution is astonishing to those of us who use and celebrate science to understand the world and live within that world. Evolution is accepted as fact within the scientific community (which is not to say there aren't a few scientists here and there who reject it, I suppose) and is demonstrated in virtually every branch of science active today.

and offered to start a discussion on my personal blog, where it would be more appropriate to delve into our different opinions about evolution.

So here it is!  I look forward to at least a response from Mike to get this going, and I would ask those who submit a post to tell me what books or articles by scientists that document the evolutionary process have you read. I am not asking if you believed any of it, but simply whether (and which) you have exposed yourself to this information.


 

61 comments:

Zoonhollis said...

Hi, Steven

I love reading about evolution; what a fascinating process it is that drives all of life on earth, and doubtless the entire universe. "Denying" evolution is akin to "denying" gravity or planetary motion. The cool thing is, evolution keeps plodding along, and cares not whether anyone "believes" in it or not.

By the way, I'm a former Quest employee.

Zoonhollis said...

Hi, Steven!

Glad to see you advocating the obvious truth of evolution. Also, I'm a former Quest employee. You helped me a couple of times with PL/SQL issues.

Matt W.

iudith said...

Hello Steven,

Well ... exactly while I was preparing a long post for the original Roundtable discussion, regarding the programming languages, the discussion was deviated into this not less interesting direction ...

I think that regardless of the profession of a person, whether he believes in evolution or not, or, more generally, whether he believes in anything or not is strongly and definitely a result of education and personal life experience.

Education means a whole lot, so, for me personally, it looks strange that anybody ( again, regardless of his profession ) can still put under question whether evolution is a reality or not.

But, at the same time, I can imagine that getting a completely different education, in a different environment, one might have come to believe completely differently.

I do like to read books that deal with such subjects, though, as one player has underlined on the original thread, the day unfortunately has only 24 hours ...
But, at my age, and with my own life experience, I cannot imagine any book being able to change my fundamental beliefs resulting from my education and experience.

I know that in the US the controversies around the evolution are still very hot, I remember that famous film "The Trial of the Monkeys" ... a lot of time since then, but it looks like things did not change too much ... even in the most evolved country of the world.

It is strange that people are ready to adopt so easily all the tools created by today's technology in their practical lives, but it is very hard or even basically impossible to change one's convictions when it comes to believing or not in one theory or another, even if the revolutions in theories
are always accompanied by strong experimental support.

Maybe there is an inner need of a human to believe in something that is beyond his personal control, one may feel more secure if he can believe in something stronger and placed outside of the surrounding reality.

In my opinion, no matter how much progress science will make, the two basic conceptions of putting science or another belief at the very base of the existence will always remain, or, anyway, they will still remain for a very long time.

Also, I don't believe that a person already mature and formed, with consolidated concepts about existence will be able to radically change his concepts based only on reading.
He will however find a lot of spiritual comfort in discovering, through reading, that he is not alone with his beliefs, that many others, including an entire community, are sharing the same concepts.

As far as I know, religion also has given man the freedom of choice,
which, in my opinion, does also include the freedom of belief,
so, if there exists a God of any kind, then he has "endowed" man with the possibility of one day ceasing to believe in his mere existence ...


I cannot but express again my regret that this world is so large ...
How nice could have been a meeting of all the PL/SQL Challengers face to face, knowing better each other not just by means of the programming languages ... in fact, the original thread itself started from this idea,
of knowing each other better and being friends, which is ultimately
the GREATEST result of our community :) :)


Thanks a lot & Best Regards,
Iudith

Unknown said...

Hello,

I am the notorious "unbeliever". Haha.

I am the most unevolved player of the PL/SQL Challenge who dares question the "irrefutability" - oops, let me grant that term the grandeur it deserves: the I-R-R-E-F-U-T-A-B-I-L-I-T-T-T-YYYYY (Chinese gong) of the Darwinian postulation affectionately know as The Theory of Evolution.

Let me begin by saying that it was, indeed, that *one* word that raised my ire, albeit somewhat subdued as compared to what it has been known to be ... ahem. And let me, at this hopefully relevant point issue my standard debate disclaimers: I harbor no sense of obligation whatsoever to respect any inanimate thing: ant, mosquito, tree, idea or even "theory". I may, of course, at times respect something inanimate, but I harbor no obligation for it. On the other hand, I harbor a deep - and nearly totally uncompromising - obligation to respect animate things, and in particular human animates. This is all lovely and sweet. It is not so lovely, though, sometimes when we have to come to terms with the fact that the inanimate things we hold dear - our ideals, philosophies, religions and the like - come under assault. Make no mistake: I intend to ruthlessly assault The Theory of Evolution, showing it no respect whatsoever and, in fact, demonstrating a great deal of disrespect for it.

However, as for you, though you may *feel* personally attacked due to my assault on this inanimate thing you hold dear - I know words cannot convince anyone of such a thing as this - though you *feel* attacked, I assure you, in fact I promise you that I hold you in the highest possible regard. It is in fact, due to my absolute rejection of this Corrupt Creed that I deem such value to you as a person. Further - depending upon the level of discourse you choose to engage in at this point in time, I may - in my own mind - be compelled to submit my own judgment to yours regardless of what side of this issue you reside in your mind. And in the end, I know I am not "right" and that you are not "right", that the truth is not a talisman, it is an ocean and that the both of us are only trying to catch a wave. In my mind God alone reserves the right to be "right"; I am only a hopeful and eager imitator seeking to please not my own self (though it does beg for self-satisfaction!) or others, but God and God alone. An Audience of One, as it is known in my circles of travel.

I believe The Theory of Evolution is a creed for un(mis)educated mongrels, a pseudo-science rooted in self-hatred, hatred of others, disdain for true knowledge, abandonment of personal judgment, racism, bigotry of various flavors (genetic, ideological, nationalistic, etc.), death and age-old pagan nature worship that lead past unnamed and unknown civilizations down paths of self-immolation, bug/tree/sun/dragon worship, widespread fear and panic, oppression and, finally, extinction. Like all lies, it is a formula for degradation, all the while loudly claiming to be a theory of enlightenment, elevation and advancement.

It is the nature of a lie to mock the truth and Evolution's claim that "man pulled himself out of the dirt by way of the deaths of 10Tn amoebae" is a full frontal-assault on the Biblical narrative that God crafted man from the dust of the earth with the promise of life without death, and in full and complete harmony with all other living things. It is not, then, as the Evolutionists' claim (and their lies are as myriad as the species of the earth), that anything said in response to the claims of Evolution is a response to the obvious truths of Evolution. Evolution is itself a response to an older, better-tested, better-substantiated and more widely-accepted (if looking at the world in total, including all of history) Theory of Origins: The Genesis Account.

So, Steven, you asked me to kick-start this thing and some people beat me to it. So ... HAD I made it here first, would this have met your expectations?

Kind regards to all animates,
Mike Kemp

Unknown said...

Oops and I am sorry but in my haste (I am at work for crying out loud!! LOL ...) I mis-categorized ants, mosquitoes and trees as being "inanimate". Ah well, you know, taxonomy is that the Art of the Evolutionist. Creationists embrace taxonomy as well, but only as a helpful organizational tool, not with the same sense of significance that Evolutionists do!. (BTW are trees "animate"? Hmmmmm ... anyway). Yes, I harbor little obligation to respect an ant (though it be animate) and little obligation for a tree (though it be ... uh ... something). Point being: Humans are different and distinct in my book (pun intended). How about an ant as compared to an actual, verified Ming Vase? OK, this is getting out of hand. I do hope you know what I'm trying to say, though, admittedly, I've tied myself all up here in the particulars :-)

Steven Feuerstein said...

Wow, Mike! You definitely have strong opinions on this, way stronger than I expected, as in: "The Theory of Evolution is a creed for un(mis)educated mongrels".

So:

1. I will not take ANYTHING you write as a personal attack on me. Not at all. Go for it!

2. Hopefully you will not take any of my deeply insightful and probing questions regarding your incredibly irrational beliefs personally either. :-)

3. I am going to focus on asking you very specific questions to understand your thinking better, rather than debate Big Issues. We will see how that goes.

So my first question: In what sense is the Genesis Account " better-tested, better-substantiated" than evolution? Do you believe that God did create the world in 6 days, that the world is just 6000 years old, etc.? Do you reject entirely the science of carbon dating, and so on?

Thanks, Mike!

iudith said...

Hello All,

Just a short feedback from me:

I can accept the idea that one can not agree with the Evolution Theory, but let's put science aside for the moment.

If we accept the idea that God created everything that exists, then everything that exists does deserve the *SAME* respect from us, as being equally valid Creations of God, both the animate and the inanimate things that surround us ...

I can already imagine Steven's face when reading something like "We have no obligation to respect TREES" !!!

Oh my, oh my ....

I don't really believe that one can truly respect humans without respecting the ENTIRE NATURE,
regardless of whether the Evolutionist Theory is right or wrong ...

Thanks a lot & Best Regards,
Iudith

Fahd Bahoo said...

Hi, Steven.
Evolution ! yes everything is evolving. Can humans or any creature evolve to such an extent that they can control their Death, Place of Birth, Life? Can Sun evolve to rise from west or moon change its timing? There are limits imposed on everything! Who has imposed these Limits? The one who created Universe (Some of you might say it was an accident).
We are Scientists, Developers. We believe is software evolution. But can we think of software evolution without developers, Testers, Analysts, Managers?
Some don’t believe in God nor they Disbelieve, I respect their believes. But come to conclusion one day.
Can we think of Oracle Corporation without any one managing it? Can Oracle Corporation evolve in such a way? Then how can we think of such a big Universe and all Creatures evolving on its own? (Read http://www.allamaiqbal.com/works/prose/english/reconstruction/ )
Science is not the ultimate truth. Science takes U Turns. Man needs guidance from its creator (Torah, Zabur, Bible & Quran ). Universe Is very old. Human is very old. Where was Modern Science before Quran. What is the origin of Modern Science? Evolution or guidance? Do you really want to know?(Watch http://www.1001inventions.com/media/video/library )?
And find out on your own as well.

Unknown said...

==> [ I will not take ANYTHING you write as a personal attack on me. Not at all. Go for it!] <==

==> [I don't really believe that one can truly respect humans without respecting the ENTIRE NATURE,
regardless of whether the Evolutionist Theory is right or wrong ...] <==

Well I must say I find you people to be very noble! Having said that though, it is my natural state to be *antagonistic* as opposed to laudatory, so that may be one of the last nice, warm and huggable things you hear me say/write! LOL ...

And oh my gosh, I have so very much to say on these subjects so how very saddened I was to find that Blogger restricts comments to 4k, which is even less than Facebook, which allows 8k! I found about the 4k limitation on my last comment! Long comments are such a PITA, I realize, and so I empathize with the 6 people in the world that have read them (my best estimate) with respect to my posts and if you knew me I think you would very heartily agree that that is not the only aspect of my personality that has that effect!! Haha..

So here I go - making my best effort to be focused on the pointed questions ... focus ... focus Danielson .. (I can hear Mr. Miyagi's voice now - ref. Karate Kid, 1984).

==> [2. Hopefully you will not take any of my deeply insightful and probing questions regarding your incredibly irrational beliefs personally either. :-)] <==
Friend, I promise you this: If you do not make me bleed (internally or externally), or convincingly threaten to do so (and the threshold of "convincingly" is set high!), I will not take offense. Also: Please try not to insult my mother, father or other loves ones. Even in these cases, forgiveness will be ready and quickly given if sought :-)

==> [In what sense is the Genesis Account " better-tested, better-substantiated" than evolution?] <==
Check this out: http://www.jpost.com/ and in particular this part: 26 Adar I, 5774. What does "5774" refer to? I have been told (I am not Jewish!) that it refers to the number of years from the first day of the world. I have been told that there are Jewish scholars in Israel who do not debate the 6 days of Creation; that, for them, is a foregone conclusion. Instead, they debate what *hour* of each of the specified activities assigned to each of the Creative Days, did God accomplish a given subtask of the day's respective activities. In other words, given that the fourth day God created the sun, moon and stars, at what *time* of that day did He finish the sun and begin work on the moon? Comical, by my standards, but nevertheless meaningful to the point of how sacred they regard the text and with what degree of rigorous analysis do they apply their inquiries. Now, if all this is true - then, I believe it *can be said* that if Jewish and Christian scholars (historians, theologians, scientists, linguists, sociologists, etc.) have been studying/verifying/questioning these texts for thousands of years, that that work trumps the work so-called scientists have done this "theory" that has only been in existence for less than 300 years.

With respect to the "better-substantiated" piece of the question - I am at 3k+ chars already!! - my God, man, you have to subject yourself to years of Institutional indoctrination (i.e., college and yikes, 3320 chars!!) ... to think otherwise! The passage (IMO) covers the issue of apparent vs. actual age, rocks of actual age of "billions of years" (Evolution's mysticism), speciation, life being made from basic chemical elements, Pangaea and many other (3569 chars!!).

cont1/2...

Unknown said...

cont2/2 ...

==> [Do you believe that God did create the world in 6 days, that the world is just 6000 years old, etc.?] <==
What do *I* believe? I believe anything is possible. I believe ultimately we will find that truth really is stranger than fiction and that fiction is our fumbling best effort to approximate the truth (think Dr. Who, if you will) (3937+ chars!). And finally, I believe all science is fiction. As to the question of 6 days - I regard you as smarter and better educated than I so please correct the following recitation of science as necessary, but I understand the scientific view of time as being the following:
1) Newton: Time is absolute
2) Einstein: Time is relative
3) Current theory: Time does not exist, it is an illusion created by the mind of man.

Now, according to what I perceive to be "logic", if either "2)" or "3)" are true, then that fact renders the whole "Do you ACTUALLY believe the universe was created in 6 days, and that the earth itself is only 6000 years old?" question to be rather meaningless. Would you agree?

==> [Do you reject entirely the science of carbon dating, and so on] <==
I don't know the totality of what is included in the "so on" piece of that question, so I'll have to defer to you for clarification on that :-) But as to the question of carbon dating, let me be more concise and clear in my answer to that than I have been about anything to date: Absolutely. Totally reject. (5069 chars - blew it again!! ah well, I'll have to split this up - NOT the first time that has happened, I assure you!!).

Mike Kemp, Antagonist and PITA at large

Unknown said...

But wait!! I'm not done!! <-I know, I know, ugh->

@Iudith:
==> [I don't really believe that one can truly respect humans without respecting the ENTIRE NATURE,
regardless of whether the Evolutionist Theory is right or wrong ...] <==

I agree completely.

However, the issue is one of priority.

God is a god of Order, and a tree should never receive the same respect as a person, nor a person God, in whose image he is made.

Further, if God says, "eat the tree" (which, I suppose, in some rare instances is possible, but generally, obviously not!) or "take the tree and build a house" ... well ... "respect" is not a monochrome term, but one that - I believe - implies a spectrum, and further, is open to interpretation based on circumstances (time, locale, need, etc.).

Certainly I would love to see an earth where man need not pave over nature (God's handiwork) in order to thrive. Ultimately, when as you say, nature is respected, honored and held in high esteem, man profits over a multitude of dimensions.

Kevin Little said...

For me, this question comes back to a more basic question "What is the meaning of life?"

In a world with God, I know my purpose and place in the world, to glorify him in everything that I say and do.

In a world without God, where Evolution through random chance is the driving force, the winners are predators like Adolph Hitler, facilitating evolution through eugenics to kill off inferior races. The moral consequence of evolution is evil.

So with that said, technically I find "Irreducible Complexity" a compelling argument against evolution. Now that we have electron microscopes and can see small detail at the cellular level, we can see systems that if there were some small random minor change the cell would not be operable. These are systems that appear to have a design that could not have evolved iteratively by incremental minor random changes.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v17/n2/admissions

Another argument I find compelling against Evolution is the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The order of systems decreases with time. As DBAs, we see databases that are clean and proper when we first create them and load the initial model, and then over time we may have bugs, bug fixes, upgrades and application changes with which problems creep into the system, foreign key integrity errors, invalidated procedures and constraints, corrupted blocks, definitely we see plenty of examples of order decreasing with time. With this experience, it is hard to accept the idea that randomly through chance, life may evolve from a less ordered form to a more complex more ordered form. So the 2nd law of thermodynamics applies to a closed system, but if energy is coming from outside the system to initiate the change then it may be explainable. So what is that energy? Perhaps for lack of a better explanation, we call him God, and he is all powerful and can directly create and change or establish natural rules that allow for minor adaptive changes to meet environmental demands as observed by Darwin and for which there is clear evidence. It is an inference though to say one species may evolve from another, never been done in a measurable sense in a laboratory.

So I am a Bible believing Christian, I believe that the details are true as elaborated, that the world was created in 7 days about 6000 years ago, and evidence to the contrary was placed by Satan to delude and tempt us to follow him on a path toward true evil, what you call "Evolution".

Kevin Little

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1

Steven Feuerstein said...

Kevin

1. Irreducible complexity is the same argument as "Wow, this is so amazing it couldn't just happen." That is not an argument against evolution. You can't accept that things CAN just happen. 'Nuff said.

2. 2nd law etc: tell me this, Kevin, what book have you read by scientists that provide detailed evidence of evolution, both historically and in our modern age? I have read a bunch and the evidence seems to be rather overwhelming. What effort have you made to really consider the evidence of all the hard work done by scientists all over the world to painstakingly demonstrate evolution in action?

3. Purpose in life: in a world filled with god believers and god lovers and godly humans, what we get and got precisely are gobs and gobs of death, cruelty, misery, killing. Maybe we should try a life in which humans truly do fashion their own purpose and not try to find it in some book that humans long ago wrote, is filled with contradictions, and is easily used to justify the most horrible behavior.

Steven Feuerstein said...

Mike

I am not sure how far along we will get in this conversation; your mindset seems to be so far removed from mine we might be talking a different language.

So I am, as mentioned above, going to stick to as specific a question as I can.

I will go back to substantiation. If you ask me to substantiate, provide evidence for, evolution, I can give you the results of thousands of experiments, some lasting over decades, which leave no doubt about the process of evolution in action.

Heck, I can do it in two words: anti-biotics and AIDS.

So I will again ask you for substantiation: please provide some sort of evidence that is in any way useful for someone who does not already believe that the Torah is the word of god and that the Genesis Account must be taken on faith.

If all you can do is quote the same resources that you use as the basis of your faith, you have nothing to offer someone who wants to have a rational conversation about these issues.

Steven Feuerstein said...

Mike

Regarding "science is fiction", I find it so odd and oddly amusing when I hear people (a) completely misunderstand what science and the scientific process is, (b) reject science or some part of it, and at the very same time (c) implicitly and thoroughly accept science as truth in their lives in a way they do NOT accept and act on their religious faith.

Science is fiction? I am quite certain you do not believe that when you drive your car, use your smartphone, ingest anti-biotics to avoid dying.

THEN you love and depend on and believe in science.

You just have a hard time accepting the logical consequences of this belief, of the entirety of what science teaches us.

The only religious people I know who truly live and sometimes die from their faith are folks like the snake handlers. I think they're nuts, but at least they act with some minimal consistency on what they believe is god's word.

Have I offended you yet? :-)

Steven Feuerstein said...

Iudith

You wrote "Also, I don't believe that a person already mature and formed, with consolidated concepts about existence will be able to radically change his concepts based only on reading."

Well, maybe not from just reading. But reading and thinking, and for a while not watching TV or accepting other corrupted input sources, yes, an already mature and formed person CAN radically change their thinking.

I know this, because this is precisely what I did "to" myself through all of 2013.

Steven Feuerstein said...

Fahd

You wrote: "Can Sun evolve to rise from west or moon change its timing? There are limits imposed on everything! Who has imposed these Limits? The one who created Universe."

Humans clearly have a need for an answer to the question "Why I am here?" Your answer and those of most religious folks is: I have no idea but there must be someone or something out there that is sort of like me (conscious, seemingly intentional and directive in the way it lives) that at least got everything started.

Fine, believe that. But never forget that this entire realm of thinking starts with "I really don't KNOW, but...."

I choose at this point in my life to not "fall back" on some unknown, unknowable, invisible entity for an explanation, but instead to accept this beautiful and amazing world as it IS and do what I can to stop the human destruction of it.

Fahd Bahoo said...

Hi, Steven
You said, and said it right “Humans clearly have a need for an answer to the question "Why I am here?" And the Answer is very clearly given in Quran (If someone really wants to find the answer). “We have created humans and Jins for My worship” . And worship for what ? to recognize Him(Allah) to Find Him. This is the reason why humans are here, to find out his Creator. (Not to say that we don’t have a creator).
And Allah say’s if someone takes One step towards (to find) me, I take 10 step towards him.(Give a try and take some steps, to find your creator )
And you only responded to only one point of my post. (So I can think that you accept my other points)

Unknown said...

==> [I am not sure how far along we will get in this conversation; your mindset seems to be so far removed from mine we might be talking a different language.] <==
Ha!! Excellent point. That is a great point - and hooks into one of my Pet Theories, the Babel Theory. Specif., that the nomenclature/vernacular of a given industry, entity or field of study is the "one language" of Babel. In essence, the dispersion of Babel (whether viewed as historical fact or instructive fable) was a call and a precedent for diversity. You should congratulate yourself, I think, that you find yourself in conversation with a person whose mindset is so far removed from your own. I am raising a cup of coffee with pinky raised in my own honor and I invite you to join me :-)

OK, I gotta get back to work!

I will write again soon!!

Peace, Shalom - and d-i-v-e-r-s-i-t-y-y-y-yyyyyyy!!

P.S. parting thought: In the absence of diversity, there is no peace, there is only a continuum of indistinguishable elements, which represents chaos and death. Life, by definition, requires diversity, which itself requires order.

P.P.S. I know who holds the eternal patent on diversity This Guy :-)

Now let's see if my link worked this time. I like to fancy :-)

-Mike Kemp

Steven Feuerstein said...

Fahd,

If a person does not accept a book as holy, then quoting from that book does not convince. Do you know what I mean?

Using and Qoran or Torah or Bible as a reference to prove a point doesn't prove anything to a person who doesn't believe that those books are anything more than stories written by people long ago. That is what I believe.

As for comparisons between virtual life (software) and real life, I do not think that anything made by humans evolves the way that life evolves.

I do not believe that because you need a human to create a program, that you need a god to create the world and keep it going.

Or at least if we do, then there is a clear and compelling candidate for that god, real and alive and ever-present in our world: bacteria.

Steven Feuerstein said...

Mike,

I delight in having conversations with people whose views are very different from mine - except that a part of that conversation has to be an acknowledgement by all parties of the distinction between what each BELIEVES (that is, there is no rational basis for the acceptance as 'fact' - you just accept it on faith) and what we KNOW.

We both know that if you jump out a ten story window you die. We both know that if you press your foot on a car accelerator, the car speeds up.

That's different from things taken on faith. In these areas, we have to seek out a common ground to have a meaningful conversation.

Taking me back to substantiation of the Genesis Story. When you get to answering my question on this, please do NOT quote the bible. For me, that offers zero substantiation of anything.

Give me some evidence, something that people who do not already accept the Genesis Story as true, could wrestle with rationally.

Thanks!

Fahd Bahoo said...

Hi, Steven
You said “those books are anything more than stories written by people long ago” , then there is a challenge for you in Quran(not a Quote), that if you say Quran is written by man, make one Verse like Verses of Quran. This is an open challenge of Quran. Accept the challenge if you think you are right….
I think the modern science you believe in is a small part, small understanding of Quran.
You said about virtual life (Software) . Oracle Corporation is not a virtual corporation. Was it made without Larry Ellison? Can it run without any one managing it?
I think everything that is made, is made by a creator and needs a creator to keep it going.
So you think bacteria can be god, and then you have so many gods. We don’t believe in god that dies with medicines. Here is some description of my God.
“He Allah is One. The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need. He neither eats nor drinks. He begets not, nor was he begotten. And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him. Who sustains and protects all that exists. He neither slumbers, nor sleeps. To Him belongs everything. He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them.”
Thanks

iudith said...

Hello All,

I also cannot anticipate how far this thread will go, but I can sign for it blindly
that no one of the involved parts will be able to convince the other, or even raise some doubts.

I personally believe that any point of view which makes a man a better one for the ENTIRE NATURE and ENTIRE UNIVERSE that hosts us all as well as for his fellow humans on this planet is a valuable one, even if it might come in contradiction with any scientific or religious theory.

But, let's be honest: If we look around us at what is going on today in the world,
I am not sure that the partisans of the Evolution Theory are those who should be kept responsible of ruining the lives of so many people ...

Let's admit that there exists a God (or even several ones, for that matter) who indeed created man, and man's purpose in this world is to worship his Creator.
Is men killing each other, so often in the name of one God or another,
a form of worship that the Creator expects and accepts ?

And this just continues to happen today, people are killing each other and remain
unpunished, exactly as it happened along the entire "self-conscious history" of mankind ...

In my opinion, the most valuable point of the Evolution Theory, just like that of
any other science, is that science accepts from the beginning that there is no absolute truth, any truth of any kind is subject to the same evolution that everything else is,
man and societies included, and at any point in the future one theory can be replaced or enhanced by another one, without killing anyone, if we, men, will just want to have
a future at all on this planet ... which seems very improbable ...


Steven, maybe you are right, even a mature person can change his conceptions,
but as far as I am aware, this happens much more as a result of shocks experienced
from the side of his fellow humans.
Yes, one can change his opinions about people and societies, but much, much, much less
about Science, Nature, Universe.

Thanks & Best Regards,
Iudith

iudith said...

Hello All,

I also cannot anticipate how far this thread will go, but I can sign for it blindly that no one of the involved parts will be able to convince the other, or even raise some doubts.

I personally believe that any point of view which makes a man a better one for the ENTIRE NATURE and ENTIRE UNIVERSE that hosts us all as well as for his fellow humans on this planet is a valuable one, even if it might come in contradiction with any scientific or religious theory.

But, let's be honest: If we look around us at what is going on today in the world, I am not sure that the partisans of the Evolution Theory are those who should be kept responsible of ruining the lives of so many
people ...

Let's admit that there exists a God (or even several ones, for that matter) who indeed created man, and man's purpose in this world is to worship his Creator.
Is men killing each other, so often in the name of one God or another,
a form of worship that the Creator expects and accepts ?

And this just continues to happen today, people are killing each other
and remain unpunished, exactly as it happened along the entire
"self-conscious history" of mankind ...

In my opinion, the most valuable point of the Evolution Theory,
just like that of any other science, is that science accepts from the beginning that there is no absolute truth, any truth of any kind
is subject to the same evolution that everything else is,
man and societies included, and at any point in the future one theory
can be replaced or enhanced by another one, without killing anyone,
if we, men, will just want to have a future at all on this planet ...
which seems very improbable ...


Steven, maybe you are right, even a mature person can change his conceptions, but as far as I am aware, this happens much more
as a result of shocks experienced from the side of his fellow humans.
Yes, one can change his opinions about people and societies, but much, much, much less about Science, Nature, Universe.

Thanks & Best Regards,
Iudith

Unknown said...

Good morning Steven,

I hope the day finds you happy, living in peace, prosperity and good health.

==> [

Steven Feuerstein said...3:43 AM
The only religious people I know who truly live and sometimes die from their faith are folks like the snake handlers. I think they're nuts, but at least they act with some minimal consistency on what they believe is god's word.
Have I offended you yet? :-)

] <==
Mike Kemp 20140303_0720am:
I am only offended - and I am very deeply offended about this - that you would consider it possible for me to be offended by something so trivial as you comparing me to snake handlers and implying me to be a hypocrite. What sort of silly, trite, small-minded nymph-brained midget has time for offenses of this nature? And yet you imply that I may be one. :-) LOL ... No, no, I told you: You didn't make me bleed and you didn't insult my mother - so I am no way offended (and even in those cases, the offense would be short-lived and its continuing existence dependent upon you repeating the offense!! LOL ..).But now let me, if I may, try to give you a lesson in the Art of Offense. Let's Get It Started

==> [

Steven Feuerstein said...3:39 AM
I am not sure how far along we will get in this conversation; your mindset seems to be so far removed from mine we might be talking a different language.

] <==
Mike Kemp 20140303_0720am:
I have responded to this once already, kindly. This time ... uh ... not so much.
What I believe you to be saying here is the following: "I am like a telemarketer with a list of scripted rebuttals that I use to respond to prospects' objections. My job is just to read the script. You're saying things that my manager (figuratively) hasn't given me any rebuttals for so I'm getting confused. I don't know what to say. At the Institution (some college somewhere) where I got my telemarketing skills, I took lots and lots of classes where they grilled me over and over with scripts for me to use as rebuttals. They told me I would be invincible if I just memorized the scripts. But the scripts don't seem like they're working here and I just don't understand!! I paid A LOT of money for those scripts, drank A LOT of beer to soften my mind - pharmacological influence it would be called in prison camps - so I could put more faith and belief in those d*&^!! scripts. They kept me up at night - "sleep deprivation" in prison camps - also to soften my resistance to the inherent logical fallacies of the information in the scripts. They intimidated me with group-think and inundated me with THEIR singular, one-sided point of view - also just like they do in prison camps. They told me their point of view was the only one that mattered (prison camps!)!! I believed them!! These scripts HAVE TO work!! THEY HAVE TO and I'm not going to let you make it turn out any different!!". That's what I hear you saying.

-Mike Kemp cont1/2

Unknown said...

... cont2

==> [

Steven Feuerstein said...3:43 AM
The only religious people I know who truly live and sometimes die from their faith are folks like the snake handlers. I think they're nuts, but at least they act with some minimal consistency on what they believe is god's word.

] <==
You say - hyperbolicly, I believe - that I am "inconsistent" in my claims of faith because I don't handle snakes. I understand your point (I think I do, anyway). The way I understand your point also leads me to believe that your understanding of my faith is rooted in a misunderstanding of the term "faith". You believe people of faith should regularly, in showman style fanfare, do stupid things to exercise their faith. Otherwise, their faith isn't "real", it's just a sort of - what's that word - salt over the shoulder - uh - I hate it when I can't remember words - uhhhhhh - aha! superstition!! Superstition is - by my understanding - the opposite of faith and is, in fact, what you embrace, though you don't know it, because your superstition is so strong, widely accepted and broadly developed that you are blind to anything outside the paradigm your superstition has constructed in your mind. This is a deep and difficult subject that I could pontificate on for 4k after 4k after 4 blog comment - so let me depart here from it and instead of trying to explain (which I would likely clumsily and unconvincingly do anyway) and instead try to use your own words to illustrate the point.


==> [

Steven Feuerstein said...3:43 AM
Regarding "science is fiction", I find it so odd and oddly amusing when I hear people (a) completely misunderstand what science and the scientific process is, (b) reject science or some part of it, and at the very same time (c) implicitly and thoroughly accept science as truth in their lives in a way they do NOT accept and act on their religious faith.

] <==
As I find it odd when people who pretentiously claim to embrace "science" summarily reject science when it is not expedient for them to embrace. Your passion - based on this conversation alone (please don't think I would presume to judge you as a person - I don't judge people and further I don't even know you!) - is not "science", your passion is "personal expediency". You don't embrace science unless it's personally expedient for you to do so; you don't exercise logic and objectivity unless it's personally expedient for you to do so. *Scientists* are the one who say all science is fiction!! Do they not? Oh - I see, you're a big fan of double-think. You only know what you know when it helps you to know it. When it doesn't help you to know what you know, you forget you know it, then you forget you forgot what you know. Orwell, etc. Yep, a very common problem. Easy to diagnose, not so easy to cure.

Let's see if we bring you back to the world of science, objectivity and reason. Who - who tells us that there exists contexts (plural) where Newtonian physics become invalid? thinking music. That's right!! Scientists!! When the subject matter becomes very, very big or very, very small everything we know as "science" becomes fiction. So it's all about perspective. Your perspective is "whatever's expedient for me right now, today" so you assume "science" is hard as rock and as reliable as a satellite signal; which, experientially it is. And we all enjoy the fruits of those very reliable truths. Happily, and in my case, with thanksgiving, awe, wonder and meditation.

-Mike Kemp cont2/3

Unknown said...

cont3

NOW - more science. I know, I know children, it's hard, but don't worry when you learn how to stop flipping over into double-think mode, things will be continually hard, yes, but after some time you'll begin to enjoy "hard" and well, THAT is the what being human was always meant to be.

Who tells us about dark matter (make use of thinking music link above as you find it helpful)? That's right!! Oh my gosh you are really learning so fast, it just brings tears to my eyes. That r-i-g-h-t: s-c-i-e-n-t-i-s-t-s-s-s-s!! This is so exciting!! Yes, *scientists* tell us that they *theorize* that due to the fact that the *observable* mass in the universe is insufficient to explain the behavior of *observable* motions of that mass, that there must *at least* 10 times *more* mass in the universe than we can see!! Hoh-Hoh!! Now, you don't have to have a PhD in "logic" to surmise that if we *already know* about circumstances where all our science becomes fiction and we *already know* we don't even *know* 1% of what there is to know about parts of the universe we can see - a.n.d. - we already know we can't even see 90% of what there is to see, well - the safe assumption to make would be that in about 99% of the actual universe, all of what we call science is fictional. Works for us, works for us, we all know that. *Our science* is very, very, very expedient for us, and thankfully so. Then again, so were aqueducts for the Romans and various other technological achievements for past civilizations that we will never know anything about because they're extinct and all we can really learn from their ruins is that they were ... you know, there. For those past civilizations that left ruins, that is. And for those ruins that we have found (so what we know about past civilizations is really when compared to that which have existed is a diminishing number when put through all those filters - kind of like our knowledge of the universe!).

So you might say, "Who cares about the physics of interstellar travel, or subatomic electron-microscope peep-hole gazing?". A valid question, given that we are creatures so obsessed with what is expedient (have you seen the new Galaxy S4 Smart Phone?! oh my gosh, it's like so, totally awesometacular! like I can totally text all my friends at one time, seriously!). The point is, when you start talking about "billions of years" and "random mutations resulting in special advancement from pre-life protein to, say, dolphin, elephant or human" YOU HAVE COMPLETELY ABANDONED THE DOMAIN OF NEWTONIAN SCIENCE (this is not to mention that you can't really explain Evolution with Newtonian science - that's why the Evolutionists employ the use of name-calling, bigotry on the basis of ideology, "your text isn't valid in my domain" fiat arguments, group-think intimidation, purple-faced rage, etc.). And, btw, I made up that phrase "Newtonian science" as representative of all the expedient science we all use to make our lives, happier, freer, richer and more sedentary. I hope you find my extemporaneous phrase acceptable.

-Mike Kemp cont3/4

Unknown said...

cont4

You do not embrace science, you embrace expediency. You don't even think - your react on impulse. Your faith in what you call "science" is a superstition that is demonstrably absurd. Even science says it's absurd; that's why you employ the use of double think. Your actual religion (again, based on these conversations alone) is humanism, which is a religion. The leaders of your church are a rotating staff of "experts" of the day. One day it's Paul Krugman, Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins. The next day it's Al Gore, Carl Sagan and somebody else. Now - true to form - they don't recognize themselves as leaders of a religion, or even call their dogma and doctrines "religious texts". Why? Because it is a religion deceit, trickery and you guessed it, double think. "Let us tell you all about how you don't need no stupid God. But wait, we're not a religion. We're not a religion, but we'll tell you what the meaning of the universe and your place is in it, and how you treat the environment, your fellow man ... and especially (this is where they rubbing their hands together excitedly and wiping the drool from their mouths: and especially how you should treat your government (they practially start bouncing up and down like a child when they say this word!!). Now remember children: We're NOT a religion. Got it?! That's a good boy, that's a good girl. Good boy, go take your medicine now and study your ... your ... ... your *science*."

==> [

Steven Feuerstein said...2:53 AM
Taking me back to substantiation of the Genesis Story. When you get to answering my question on this, please do NOT quote the bible. For me, that offers zero substantiation of anything.

] <==
What is the question I did not answer and why is your question to me automatically more substantial than my question to you? I asked you the following:
==>> [[
Unknown said...10:44 AM
Now, according to what I perceive to be "logic", if either "2)" or "3)" are true, then that fact renders the whole "Do you ACTUALLY believe the universe was created in 6 days, and that the earth itself is only 6000 years old?" question to be rather meaningless. Would you agree?
]] <<== I am not demanding an answer but since you're demanding an answer of me, I'll just ask my question again.
And I'm sorry, but I don't know which question you're referring to when you say I didn't answer your question. If I did I would answer it here.

-Mike Kemp 4 of 4

Unknown said...

Oops let me clarify:

When I said:
==> [

Even science says it's absurd

] <==

I meant to say, "Even science says it's absurd, given many if not all perspectives except our own human-perspective."

To expound on this further, God revealed himself to Moses as "I AM" which, I believe, was a foreshadowing of Einstein's Theory of Relativity. The logic behind this is simple - and it doesn't matter whether you accept the Bible as any kind of legitimate text or not, despite your meaningless and anti-logic protestations - the logic is simple: Anything finite from the perspective of the infinite if infinitely small, which can be said to be the definition of "not existing". Therefore, not only is everything that we call "science" fiction, it doesn't even exist!

If you worship anything finite - anything - it doesn't matter how grand and impressive it is from your perspective - you are worshiping something that doesn't even exist from the perspective of infinity - or eternity. If you, therefore, attempt to proselytize anyone with your "science", it is no different than an Aztec king that subordinates a subdued neighbor's village to the worship of a carved rock or stick or some specific croaking amphibian that when licked causes the worshiper to experience other-worldly hallucinations.

I reject your religion, which you refuse to acknowledge as a religion.

For me, you and all your church leaders are no better than PT Barnum with your buzzing, clicking, flashing technologies (which are great within the context of their actual usefulness, but worthless outside that domain) and fantastically titillating tales of fantasy and imaginatively contrived "artistic renderings" of supposed pre-human life on earth.

Just as your religion is a religion in the absence of that title, neither is your science "science" with its title.

Double-think advances easily to double speak and Institutionally-conditioned people are well-acclimated to both.

Have I offended *you*? :-)

Steven Feuerstein said...

Mike, I must confess that I am finding it very difficult to follow your deluge of words, and don't even know where/how to begin to respond to all of your unusual (and presumptive) characterizations of what you think I believe.

Here's my proposal for continuing the discussion: we take turns asking each other a concrete, self-contained question. We can use all of the above as background. If you agree, then I am happy to offer you the first round.

Don't refer to anything above, just ask me a question that you think will best expose some fallacy in my thought or better help you understand what I believe.

Thanks!

Fahd Bahoo said...

Hi, Steven.
You did not yes Respond to my Post, Do you accept my Argument, then ?
Thanks

Steven Feuerstein said...

Fahd, I am sorry to say that I do not accept your argument. Just because humans need to explicitly and intentionally manage their creations, does not mean that the organic world needs such "direction."

Scientific study and knowledge has shown clearly that precisely the opposite is possible: without any sort of intentional direction or progress, all sorts of forms of life can evolve over geological time.

Could it be that this science is wrong and that we will someday discover that in fact there is a One True God and that god's been extremely busy every minute of every day keeping things going?

Sure, it's possible. But there is no evidence for this, to my mind. It is speculation. It is, to borrow a word used heavily by Mike, fiction. It is, in short, something you believe on faith alone.

I choose to believe instead in what my eyes, ears, nose, skin, fingers, etc. experience directly in the world, and what other humans have experienced using the scientific method.

It's not perfect - and scientists would agree before anyone else that our methods are imperfect and constantly in need of challenge and improvement - but it's the best we've got for understanding the world, living in it, and oh so sadly, destroying so much of it.

Does that help clarify my views?

Steven Feuerstein said...

Mike,

Please explain why you say this about me:

"You don't embrace science unless it's personally expedient for you to do so."

What are you referring to?

Thanks! SF

Fahd Bahoo said...

Hi, Steven
You said “I choose to believe instead in what my eyes, ears, nose, skin, fingers, etc. experience directly”
So you don’t believe in God because your five senses cannot sense God. Which scientist said that to do so , Darwin! Or some other ? Which research laboratory is using this technique? Please let me know?
You said that Quran is written by man long ago. Then accept challenge of Quran “write one verse like verse of Quran, you can call any one for your help“. Quran has an open challenge for the one who say’s that, Or believe that This Book is Guidance of God for man.
Thanks

Steven Feuerstein said...

Fahd, I don't really understand your question. I experience the world around me. I don't see evidence of mystical or super-natural powers. I just see the world and choose to celebrate that.

In terms of:

Then accept challenge of Quran “write one verse like verse of Quran, you can call any one for your help“.

I don't know what to say to that. Many books contain beautiful passages. Nothing like that can convince me of the existence of god(s).

But don't worry about me and what I believe! I don't think I am doing anyone any harm by learning about and deeply appreciating all the aspects of our wonderful and beautiful planet.

Fahd Bahoo said...

My Question is simple.
So you don’t believe in God because your five senses cannot sense God. Which scientist said that to do so (not to believe in anything that your five senses cannot sense) , Darwin! Or some other ? Which research laboratory is using this technique (not to believe in anything that your five senses cannot sense)? Please let me know?
Sure you are not harming any one. But it does not mean you or on the right path. And I worry about you because I Like You very much.

StevenFeuerstein said...

Fahd, you have one belief about the right path; many other humans have other ideas. My idea of the right path, these days, is to do everything I can to heal this poor planet, which humans have so greviously harmed.

As for believing in things that we cannot sense, sure, we ALL do that. I believe, for example, that your brain works a lot like mine, but I have no way of knowing it is true. All I can tell is that you BEHAVE like I do (outwardly).

So I have faith that you and I are roughly the same. That's part of my faith.

But I do not feel the need for a belief in god. Thanks for your concern on this point, but please do not worry too much!

Scott Wesley said...

Yes, I accept the theory of evolution as describing the account of the progression of life on this planet.

In additions to those books we've mentioned already, I also subscribe to a bunch of bloggers (Coyne included) - which I

think is where real, informative, educational, accurate news can be found. I also listen to a bunch of science podcasts,

all of which explore related concepts on occasion.

All describe the scientific method in which this theory has been formed; how facts & observations from many fields

intersect and compliment each other; how predictions have been made and confirmed; and most importantly - where scientific

understanding has been proved wrong, then corrected and improved upon.

Learning what I have, I feel comfortable in responding to many of common rebuttals for the scientific concensus - many of

which occur over & over again. I think if society's body of knowledge continues to increase we can reduce how often these

common questions need to be asked, and responded to. Then perhaps we can move even further forward in the pursuit of

technology & understanding.

Some of these questions have already been posed in this pandora's box of a blog post
2nd law - the sun
irreducable complexity - consider an eye than can differentiate bright/dark. Consider examples of convergant evolution of

the eye - 2 dozen eyes of different 'design' that all work, started from scratch.
evolution in action - look up Richard Lenski, and anything relating to anti-biotics. Even consider human language as an analogy.
why are we here - do we need a why? though we humans are biased in needing to trust authority from a young age, and there are great discussions out there that describes how this had led to religious belief (3000 gods over time & counting)

I don't see it as religious zeal, no more than would be if you described your zeal for proof the earth is round or that

gravity causes tides. It just so happens that some people's religious beliefs happen to intersect this particular branch of

science.
I find it strange many people of faith accept many other forms of science that work in exactly the same manner, but suspend this acceptance because of cognitive dissonance. (Hopefully that sentence is grammatically correct)

What troubles me with religious texts is the faith. We talk of multiple books asserting and interpreting facts, others reviewing these and ultimately coming to a consensus. To have one book, with flaws, no validations, inaccurate history, no useful information (particularly not known at the time) that would have helped humanity 2k+ years ago (say, germ theory) - I can't put faith in that.

Though I have enjoyed the analogies above made with Oracle & programming ;-)

I've often pondered the question - is it ethical to test products on plants - if not, why not?

Scott Wesley said...

(argh, forgot to check spelling - now you can see our reliance on word autocorrect!)

Scott Wesley said...

further apologies - it didn't paste well from notepad...

Scott Wesley said...

You might enjoy this page, Steven.
http://ideonexus.com/2012/02/12/101-reasons-why-evolution-is-true/

Steven Feuerstein said...

Thanks, Scott, that link is excellent and bookmarked!

Fahd Bahoo said...

Hi, Steven
You said “I do not feel the need for a belief in god. is to do everything I can to heal this poor planet”
I ask you, up till when? My grandfather has died you father has died. I will die you will die. Everything is dying.
Lets spose there is no God, and there is no life hereafter, and there is no day of judgment, and when we die and we are finished, vanished. Then what? You don’t lose anything, I don’t lose anything.
But if there is God. And there is life hereafter, and there is day of judgment, and we are not finished, vanished after death. and We can meet our fathers hereafter, Then what? You lose a lot (Get Punishment from God, Burn in Hell fire forever, as God said in His Books ), and I don’t lose anything. In PL/SQL you are not handling This EXCEPTION.
And you could not prove that Quran is not Book of God.
Choose your path intelligently. Don’t just enjoy the world or heal the world, where our stay is very short (Death is the ultimate reality, doesn’t matter how much we EVOLVE)
Thanks.

Steven Feuerstein said...

I will just have to take my chances, regarding punishment from God.

Though I must admit, the likelihood seems to me very small.

I can sort of get my head around some awesomely powerful entity having started the universe with a big bang, but the idea that an all-powerful being would be paying attention to my every move and JUDGING me?

That always seemed kind of silly. But then lots of people seem to think that the way I view the world today is silly.

Mike, you have trouble thinking of a tree as "animate", don't have much respect for an ant.

Then I am a whole bunch of ridiculousness to you, because I have tons of respect for ants and butterflies and bees and all the other creatures that help make life possible and beautiful for both humans and all other things.

What I grapple with these days is: what good are humans, except to other humans?

Silly, I know.

Fahd Bahoo said...

You said “I have tons of respect for ants and butterflies and bees”. Then for you knowledge let me tell you, that the name of one Chapter of Quran is “ant” (Namal in Arabic).

Unknown said...

Mike Kemp speaking (I'm putthing this here because I don't know why my comments keep showing up as "Unknown"!!).


This is a quote from Steven (7:41 AM - and why doesn't it include the date?! LOL..):
==> [
Mike,
Please explain why you say this about me:
"You don't embrace science unless it's personally expedient for you to do so."
What are you referring to?
Thanks! SF
] <==

I have much respect for your revulsion of many words. I even annoy myself at times :-)

Let me try to answer your very polite question *succinctly* and directly. (No meandering *&*it! <-- that's me berating myself!).

First - a reiteration of my universal disclaimer - I am not talking about *you* (I don't even know you) - I am only talking about that representation you give of yourself in this tiny little singularity of this point in time, this particular web page. I hope you will agree that the totality of *you* is *much* more vast, deep and unknowable as what this pinpoint definition of who you are could ever hope to expose. I sincerely believe we *all* are infinitely more mysterious, deep, intelligent, capable and insightful than even we have the ability to know of ourselves. So, please always know that I would never presume to judge *you*. I will frequently and without hesitation though, presume to judge any idea or act or attitude or sock color you may in any given singularity of space and time randomly or otherwise assume.

I hope we all can agree that while no one has the right to judge another person, we all have the obligation - and in fact it is an irrepressible impulse - to judge actions, attitudes and words. Things like thievery, murder, rape, naziism, using certain words in certain places at certain times are all obvious candidates for our judgment, but the *things* we judge need not be so severe as much of that.

Also - in the end - I will *always* make it my signature (I should literally make it my signature!!) - that "You may be right, I may be wrong.". I do not know; I only represent and that as faithfully as I can with as much force and conviction as I deem warranted.

So now, let us continue to embark on this journey in pursuit of diversity!!

"You don't embrace science, you embrace expediency."

Mike Kemp: cont1/2

Unknown said...

Mike Kemp: cont2

What I mean - if I can make this simple: My invented phrase: "Newtonian science" *is* the science of expediency. It is the science that represents "what works" for mankind. But Einstein, did he not, *proved* that Newtonian science is not "truth", it is only a usable approximation. Now, in reference to Einstein's theory that time is relative, modern scientists are saying that Einstein was wrong and that, in *truth*, time doesn't even exist.

So, as a man, I am not *judging* you as it may sound. I am saying that if you will join me by using your imagination along with the scientific theories about quantum physics and dark matter as seeds for this journey; a journey where we step *outside* our humanity, we will see, I think, that everything we commonly call "science" is "truthful" only to the degree that it is exercised within the domain of mankind. If we go very small, it becomes fiction. If we go very large, likewise. According to science, anyway.

You may say, "What's the point of viewing things from an extra-human point of view?!". I say: You cannot pursue truth if you are not willing to go there since the domain of mankind (all that we can see, small, touch, affect, change, etc.) is only 0.000000001% of the universe (if that). Again - anything finite, from the perspective of the infinite is infinitely small and can therefore be said to not exist. Do want worship science, which by definition is the art of making observations at finite points in time, recording measurements and using finite knowledge about things observed at random and finite points in time? You are worshipping something that doesn't even exist!! You are, in effect, worshipping nothing in the exact same way a savage rests all his hopes and dreams in a carved stone or stick or star or painted image.

You want to talk about science? It's a wonderful undertaking that, properly observed, serves the good and interests of mankind. It was Isaac Newton himself that said that science is the act of "thinking God's thoughts after Him.". Any other practice of science is nothing more than praying to a carved stick, and that never ends well.

Einstein on science

On the subject of nothingness

Mike Kemp: I'm finally done. :-) AND ..... I may be wrong. You may be right. Peace.

Unknown said...

Mike Kemp speaking again:

==> [
Steven said (5:59am):
I will just have to take my chances, regarding punishment from God.
] <==

Friend, no. No, no, no. I mean, "no", as in I disagree.

Just as it is that God endowed mankind with the ability to understand the universe in the parlance and nomenclature of what we call "science" and just as it is that mankind *chooses* to misrepresent the laws of science through direct defiance (Columbus' famous trick on the Indians regarding the sun's eclipse ... or was it the moon? How about all the "science" the Nazi's used to "prove" the superiority of their "Aryan" race? What about the lies told about Global Warming ... errrrr ... Climate Change ... errr Anthropogenic Climate Change? What about the fallacy and fantasy of Nebraska Man, the hominid at the center of the famous Scopes Trial?) or negligence (failing to understand and/or verify before acting due to impatience, hubris, professional or political pressure, etc. - sending up the Space Shuttle Columbia when it wasn't ready might be one example), so it is with this matter of God's judgement**.

You have it exactly backwards.

God put man in a universe He designed for us to occupy, and fill. Just as we fail to understand the laws of science, so we fail - as I believe you have failed here - to understand the Character of God. And, ultimately, I believe when we truly achieve scientific understanding of the universe (not just our little pinpoint in it), we will see that there really is no line that distinguishes the Character of God from the Laws of Science. We draw a false line there now, I believe, because it allows us to more easily interpret the universe and the world more immediately around us any way we wish.

God does not "punish" - He withdraws protection. It is many times a question of semantics. One could argue that both are the same. I would not disagree entirely. I would disagree largely.

What you call "God's punishment", I call "the laws of the universe - and God's hand being absent from the space between you and those laws".

If you call on God, His hand will likely be there for you, to protect you. If you curse Him (and the ultimate curse is, "You don't even exist!"), his Hand may very well still stay there. Either way, His hand may retreat and let you face what will be to you the full terror of all that you've been trying to deny, evade, deflect or bury in a truckload of words, ideas, fanciful man-made theories and entertaining, flashing, colorful distractions. I, personally, cannot think of a better reason for God to leave us to our own devices (and just think of the history of humanity, and the atrocities we have visited upon ourselves) than our insistent demand that He leave us alone and that, as far as we're concerned, He doesn't even exist.

Now, let me challenge further: If you must think of God not as a Being but as a metaphor for All that is Good - the known good, the unknown good, the knowable and the unknowable - I, personally, find that to be both intellectually and spiritually redeeming. I would even suggest that one could legitimately say that you and I are metaphors. As I journey in my mind down the road of considering the power and usefulness and meaning of the term "metaphor" I do go to some strange places and in my opinion, the journey sheds some fantastic light on the subjects of "existence" and "reality".

I may be wrong. You may be right. Peace.

Steven Feuerstein said...

Reply Part 1 to Mike

You wrote:

If I can make this simple: My invented phrase: "Newtonian science" *is* the science of expediency. It is the science that represents "what works" for mankind. But Einstein, did he not, *proved* that Newtonian science is not "truth", it is only a usable approximation. Now, in reference to Einstein's theory that time is relative, modern scientists are saying that Einstein was wrong and that, in *truth*, time doesn't even exist.

And I reply:

You mis-characterize science, and then play with words to construct a "straw man" and then bring him down. Humans love to play with words - I sure do - but we should never forget that there is a real world "out there" (outside of our heads) and no matter what we think or dream or fantasize about or write about, the world remains the world, and the totality of the universe remains itself. Humans are, of course, a part of this universe, but just a part, an infinitesimally small part, as you have pointed out, Mike.

Science is not about truth or fiction. Science is all about human beings developing mental models for how they believe the world works. In other words, science is the fundamental tool (a direct application of logic as a survival strategy) way we make our way in the world (destroying much of it, it turns out, along the way).

The scientific method codifies a process that humans (and, I believe, many other living creatures) follow to both survive and thrive: we detect patterns in the way that the world works. We then develop an idea in our head for explaining that pattern. We then test that idea against the pattern by taking action in the world (perhaps to avoid a previously painful scenario or to produce a pleasurable scenario).

If our model is effective at predicting what will happen, then we come to trust that model, depend on it, benefit from it. We call it "true" and a "fact." I suppose you could that expedient. I call it useful. Our bodies and minds call it useful, because we use it.

If it is a bad model, the assumptions do not accurately predict what will happen. The world does not act in accordance with our expectations and we suffer (we might die from a fall, our house might collapse, etc.). Those of us that survive the bad models, change the model in response to the new data/feedback. And on we go through the world, humans and many other living creatures: testing, learning, remembering, changing patterns, developing new models, changing plans based on those models, etc.

Steven Feuerstein said...

Reply Part 2 to Mike

Scientists take this a big step further, greatly formalizing and systematizing the process, as well as developing much more complex models about the world. Scientists have also used these models - and the machines we have produced as a result of their accurate predictions of the world - to "extend" out senses, allowing humans to "see" into the microscopic and then quantum "levels" of reality. I don't think it should come as a terribly big surprise that the models we developed and work very well at the "Newtonian" level (the level that corresponds roughly to our direct sense experience of the world) do not apply much at all when you move "down" to the quantum level.

But just because humans can extract value from a model built on the Theory of Special Relativity doesn't render the Newtownian model to be "fiction" or some sort of lie. It certianly doesn't discredit science and the scientific method. If an apple detaches from a tree, it falls to the ground in ways that can be understood and predicted quite well with Newtonian physics. That hasn't changed with the birth, life and amazing discoveries of Albert Einstein (and many other physicists). We simply have different models to analyze, understand and predict the actions of the world around us.

By the way, I think there is a lot you and I agree on, in what I just said. Scientific models are approximations. There is not "truth". Science is about "what works" for humans. Yes, I agree to all of that! What I don't get is why you think you can use this accurate understanding of science to then debunk science itself. Logically, it's nonsense, though I can see why you might find it very satisfying.

So let's talk about time. Does time exist? Can you go backwards and forwards in time, as some of Einstein's theorems seem to suggest (they are "time neutral")? Should we reject the validity of carbon dating because some scientists think "Einstein was wrong"?

These questions remind me of debates that I sometimes have with my friends about "free will." Is there free will? Are our actions completely determined by our physical state? And so on.

Yes, humans sit around a table and debate whether or not there is free will. Ha! How entertaining. Either you believe there is free will and then the debate is a sort of post-modern theater of free will. Or you don't believe there is free will, and then there really isn't any point to the debate, at all, is there? It's like debating about whether time exists. Gee, I wonder how long that debate will last!

Back to time....in Part 3

Steven Feuerstein said...

Part 3 Reply to Mike

Time: I suppose a human can look at the world around him or her and reject its basic nature, that is, question the existence of "time", but all that questioning, all that rejection, all that puzzlement? It's all in our heads! The world is the world. The world is constantly changing. Actions taken by us or by any other living creature have a causal effect on the world and other living creatures. If you don't want to call that time, fine by me. Then we can end the conversation, since we don't have enough common agreement to continue.

The world exists and since we want to make it conform to our desires, then among many other consequences we find it extremely useful to measure the passage of time. This process of measurement is one that becomes fraught with complexities as you move either "down" to the quantum level or "up" to the astronomical level. So what? That's the world, the universe, just doing its thing - and our measurements of time are in our head, with all the accuracies and inaccuracies introduced by the inherent limitations of our minds.

The world is very old. If you want to reject that, then go ahead, but unless you choose to be incredibly inconsistent, hypocritical and illogical, you must then also reject all the very successful, accurate models of science that give you, well, everything we call "civilization": cars, phones, medicines, etc., and lead us directly to the validity of carbon dating.

It's all part and parcel of the growing body of human knowledge, which is always changing, correcting, enhancing, and so on.

But please don't use the fact that science is always coming up with new and better models as a way to reject science. Coming up with new and better models is a fundamental PART of science.

Science simply reflects/formalizes/extends a fundamental strategy that humans and other creatures use to survive and thrive in the world. We can't reject the scientific method any more than we can reject the input of our senses.

Steven Feuerstein said...

Reply 4 to Mike

Mike, I too feel that it is very important to take an "outside humanity" perspective. I do that a lot these days. But I don't do it in the abstract, theoretical, word-playing approach you take in your post. By which I mean sentences like: "the domain of mankind (all that we can see, small, touch, affect, change, etc.) is only 0.000000001% of the universe (if that). Again - anything finite, from the perspective of the infinite is infinitely small and can therefore be said to not exist."

Feel free to question your own existence. I don't question mine. I am an organism that was born on planet earth, the result of billions of years of evolution by natural selection. I am here, in the world, and I feel damn lucky to enjoy the privilege!

My "outside humanity" viewpoints are driving me - outside. We don't have to reach up to the infinite (which can only happen in our heads) to appreciate the limitations (and very negative effects) of scientific models (or, to be more accurate, what many humans use those models for). We don't have to construct, in our heads (for where else is there any evidence of it), a God or gods that mysteriously creates everything and keeps it going without showing itself to us in any way beyond what we already see with our senses and with our scientifically-generated instruments.

We can just go outside and pay attention, close attention, to the non-human parts of the world. It is an incredibly rewarding experience, to live less in one's head and house, and more in one's world, un-mediated by human construction.

That's what I am going to do now. A beautiful, sunny, not so warm day - off I go to Park 538 of the Chicago Park District to help improve the health of its forest by limiting the damage caused by invasive species introduced by humans.

Unknown said...

Mike Kemp speaking ...

UGH, a record of my presently encountered FAILS:
1) I tried to get my username here to appear as something other than unknown. FAIL.
2) I tried to figure out how to ascertain the date of previous posts and not just the times. FAIL.
3) I lost track of this debate for 1 1/2 months!! FAIL.

Let me get back to this (quickly).
I appreciate your thoughtful responses, Steven.

Let me try to pick one point and respond to that.
Maybe we can take the "Twitter" approach for a while, as opposed to the Encyclopedia Britannica!
Digestible quantities of information, if you're still interested in this conversation.

You said (Part 1 to Mike, 6:22 AM): "By the way, I think there is a lot you and I agree on, in what I just said. Scientific models are approximations. There is not "truth". Science is about "what works" for humans. Yes, I agree to all of that!"

On that point, I read this fabulous quote from Nietzsche:
“Mathematics would certainly have not come into existence if one had known from the beginning that there was in nature no exactly straight line, no actual circle, no absolute magnitude.”
I say: FABULOUS!!

Another that is related (perhaps, distantly and one that is sure to earn some curiosity as to why a fundamentalist would quote such a thing, from what I consider the be a stereotypical agnostic's point of view):
"Learn the rules like a master so you can break them like an artist." - Pablo Picasso (paraphrase)

BUT NOW to more interesting things (i.e., spark-generating contradictions of point of view!):

You also said (Reply Part 2 to Mike, 6:23 AM): "What I don't get is why you think you can use this accurate understanding of science to then debunk science itself. Logically, it's nonsense, though I can see why you might find it very satisfying."

I don't understand how you can't get this :-)
Do you challenge the idea that Newtonian science becomes invalid at Einsteinian (LOL) scales and also at quantum scales?

Steven Feuerstein said...

Nice to hear from you, Mike! To reply to your points....

You wrote:

On that point, I read this fabulous quote from Nietzsche:
“Mathematics would certainly have not come into existence if one had known from the beginning that there was in nature no exactly straight line, no actual circle, no absolute magnitude.”
I say: FABULOUS!!

I say: poppycock. Humans LOVE abstraction and that's all about manufacturing a perfection in our minds that doesn't exist in nature.

You wrote:

You also said (Reply Part 2 to Mike, 6:23 AM): "What I don't get is why you think you can use this accurate understanding of science to then debunk science itself. Logically, it's nonsense, though I can see why you might find it very satisfying." I don't understand how you can't get this :-) Do you challenge the idea that Newtonian science becomes invalid at Einsteinian (LOL) scales and also at quantum scales?

I reply:

No, I don't question the inapplicability of the Newtonian model at quantum scales. But they are both just obviously inadequate models that humans have come up with to try to explain behaviors we observe. For example, when a theory says "Hey, look! You can run time forwards or backwards and the equations still 'work'!" Then I say: crappy model, however useful in some ways.

The fact that the Newtonian model doesn't "work" (accurately predict what will happen) with subatomic molecules cannot be used to attack the validity of science as a whole. Newtonian physics works perfectly well for us in the "real world". Who cares if it doesn't also work at tiny scale and massive scale and whatever else?

Your turn!

Mike Kemp said...

Responding to Steven Feuerstein, 6:13 PM "Nice to hear from you, Mike!..."
Response Post #1 of 5 (oh God, 5?!! Really?!!! )
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Steven:
"I say: poppycock. Humans LOVE abstraction and that's all about manufacturing a perfection in our minds that doesn't exist in nature."
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Mike, casually:
What?!! Me, whom you would likely regard a fundamentalist Christian applauds a quote by a world-and-history-renowned atheist (who coined - or at least made famous - the phrase "God is dead" and "God is a useless hypothesis"), while you - someone who I consider to be stellar distances from a fundamentalist Christian - rejects it?!! Talk about relativity!! There REALLY are no absolutes in this universe!! LOL ...
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Mike, more seriously:
This really is an aside so I'll try to keep it short. Then again, I love asides (it's an ADD thing). My take on Nietzsche's quote is that he's talking about the origins of mathematics, not its continuing embrace and development at advanced levels. I mean, how long did it take men to learn that the earth's orbit around the sun is elliptical and not circular (after 1500 years of thinking the sun orbited the earth, obviously!)? Now, further we learn that there are irregularities in that elliptical path, on varying schedules (well, specifically, I know of only one such irregularity, but I assume there are more!). There, interestingly, is a parallel here to programming, in that at the outset, good programmers (or so I hear!! haha) begin with a simple model of the Technical Requirement, get that working, and build out from there. This, I think, parallels our understanding of science. We get a basic, and simplistic, idea of things and, eventually (hopefullly not as the result of too many deadly and disastrous attempts to master it!!), we learn how our simplistic models must be enhanced. This is the way I read Nietzsche's comment.

Mike Kemp said...

Responding to Steven Feuerstein, 6:13 PM "Nice to hear from you, Mike!..."
Response Post #2 of 5
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Steven:
"Who cares if it doesn't also work at tiny scale and massive scale and whatever else?"
====================
Mike:
Hmmmmm, let me try to control myself here (it would be a first!). Sheesh, man, I do! **ESPECIALLY** when I have people telling me they have found the "secret answer" to the age-old question of where we came from (amoebae), why we're here (to advance our species, and oh by the way a social contract which we shall call "morality" for expediency's sake has been found - after many centuries of trial and error on this point - to be helpful to this end - Adolph Hitler was the most renowned among men, in helping us learn how imporant his "social contract" is to our survival as a species) and where we're going (who knows, a supervirus could wipe us all out any day now, otherwise: Star Wars/Trek here we come!!).

There's a famous old quote that says, "If anything is the answer to everything, it's an answer for nothing.". That's evolution. It's comical to hear evolutionists explain why something is the way it is: Because of evolution. After you hear that about 100,000 times, you just wanna put your thumb under your chin and your index finger on your cheek and say, "YOU DON'T SAY!!! GEE, I WOULDA NEVER GUESSED YOU WERE GONNA SAY **THAT**!!", with your best Jim Carrey impersonation.

But let's depart from the dramatics for a moment ... ahem ... and tinker with some logic. You agreed with me that our little spot in the sun here on earth (get it?: "spot in the sun"...Ho!! I'm funny when I'm not even trying to be funny ... OK, nevermind) represents approximately (since we're big on approxmation these days :-|) 0.1E-1000% of the universe. Obviously, if we don't know how big the universe is (I know, I know, we can *estimate* - ha!, don't get me started on scientific estimations of such things) we really can't know what percent of it we occupy. So let's just say that that estimate of 0.1E-1000% represents our relative occupied real estate as compared to the known universe size. And I just completely made that figure up, and I consider it to be as good as any scientific estimate, since the actual number is so infinitesimally small, that any infinitesimally small number will adequately fill the need here.

Now, if we can - without too much loss of synchronization in thought - stop thinking about the human experience as being defined by "our little spot in the sun" and think less literally about that and instead think of it in terms of sizes, distances, speeds and weights that we as humans can relate to, even if only in terms of our imaginations - if we can do that, and sort of stay on the same page mentally - then I would make the following observation about what evolution proposes. We could call this new, figurative place, perhaps, The Human Dimension, reminding ourselves, again, that it defines not only the time, space and energy we know, experientially, but also that we can relate to vis-a-vis our imaginations.

Mike Kemp said...

Responding to Steven Feuerstein, 6:13 PM "Nice to hear from you, Mike!..."
Response Post #3 of 5
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-- -->> BEGIN WANDA SYKES RANT VOICE --
-- sample of Wanda Sykes: Wanda Sykes sample

So you're gonna tell me that because you figured out something that you think explains how 0.1E-1000% of the universe works, you can tell me how all the universe works, in all time, across all distance, for any scale of operation, at any speed?!! And you already know that your little pet formulas, theories, treatises, experiments, yadayadayada DON'T WORK AT ALL for certain distances, for certain scales of operation and for certain speeds, distances, scales and speeds that ARE WITHIN your Human Dimension? Have you lost your mind?!!

What kind of snake oil salesman are you, and how dumb do you think I am?! YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING, and this is after the people that bring the "science" to you tell you it's all just an approximation for the places it does apply and that it doesn't apply at all outside The Human Dimension?!!

I mean look man, I'm no scientist, but seems to me if a scientist tells me that the best (s)he can do when estimating the speed and mass of something on earth - when (s)he's standing right there looking at it, with her(is) fancy little electronic gadgetry plugged in all around him(er) - is give me "an acceptable approximation" based on Newtonian mechanics, then why would I listen to that person for a single, solitary second if they want to convince me of an "Irrefutable and Compelling" theory on where all matter and all time and all space came from, how life arose from non-life, you know back when random stuff was just happening in the universe and it all really pretty quiet and dead except for the occasional meteor that slammed into some desolate planet to provide - nobody - with a little fireworks activity - I mean, look, this makes no sense. This is like the ant trying to explain to Donald Trump that because he can lift a leaf, he should be awarded the contract to build the new casino, except that THAT scenario is about 10,000 times more believable. An ant!!

Who says "science" can explain anything of real meaning anyway? You? Who are you? Let me tell you: nobody. I'm nobody too. Other Ages in History had their famous people, too, and I'm not talking about Napoleon or King Tut. I'm talking about Ages we have no record of, that are buried 10,000 feet beneath the ocean, or the sand, or the forest. This is not to mention The Remnants of the Ages that no longer exist anywhere, because Time and Decay have completely consumed them!! Those famous people are all nobody, this despite the fact they were 1000 times more famous than anybody we have record of today.

-- <<-- END WANDA SYKES VOICE.

"Not everything that can be measured is of value and not everything of value can be measured." - some saying I heard somewhere!!

Mike Kemp said...

Responding to Steven Feuerstein, 6:13 PM "Nice to hear from you, Mike!..."
Response Post #4 of 5
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The problem with evolution, ultimately, I believe is that its proponents - and adherents - are all locked in the tiny little world of their known known, with their collective fingers in their ears, while they collectively chant "lalalalala we're not listening!!" when somebody tries to explain to them how small their known known world is. They don't consider the unknown known or, God forbid, the unknowable known or the knowable-but-not-yet-known known (and I don't mean a new fossil, that's a factoid-unknown - I'm talking about big not-yet-knowns, as in ideas and fields of study) because everything outside their little paradigm is a threat to their paradigm. And to me, that's an indication of a very weak, unreliable and likely fraudulent paradigm.

There is simply no way to prove - with science or logic or art or music or with any other medium of communication or thought known to man - that uniformitarianism is the correct paradigm to use when trying to understand the earth's history, and the history of life on the earth. There is no way, and I don't care how much memory they can fit on a grain of sand these days. Flashing lights and synchronized varying beeps on some device that's linked to a swarm of satellites that's being controlled by a 3-year old's brain waves in some remote part of the world, and the technology that controls all that, has nothing to do with this question, and it is absurd to suggest that it does.

In our age, a tree grows a new ring once a year. Brilliant. It has been that way - for a long time. What about prior to a long time ago? Is it possible it hasn't always been this way? Tell me. You can, with great gusto and flamboyance and passion and theatrical display pronounce your judgment of this question - and only a fool would believe you. The truth is you have no idea.

The same applies to layers of earth. What about fossils found in "certain" strata of earth? I heard Bill Nye make a big deal about this recently (in his debate with Ken Hamm). What I want to know is, "What percentage of the earth's soil and what percentage of all existing fossils are we talking about here, Mr. Nye?". I would posit that we're facing the 0.1E-1000% principle again.

If my boss asked me for a data sample from a 1,000,000-record table, and I grabbed the first 2 records from that table - because they were the ones most easily accessible to me - would I have done good job? Would I have provided her with a *meaningful* data sample? I think not. The earth is 8,000 **MILES** in diameter!!! How many **miles** have the people who have dug up the fossils Mr. Nye so pompously points to dug down to? Who is to say there are not places where pre-historic life is not buried beneath 10 miles of earth? 100 miles? 1000 miles? WHO IS TO SAY?! I, personally, think 100 miles is unlikely and even more so, 1000 miles. But who am I? Nobody!! I wasn't there when Pangaea started drifting apart. "Drifting", did I say? That's an ASSUMPTION! It may have been cataclysmic, and it may have all happened very violently and very quickly!! Who's to say? A scientist with a hand shovel and 1,000 hired indigenous locals with shovels and brushes and do-rags on their heads to protect them from the sun? Splehhhhh!!!

Mike Kemp said...

Responding to Steven Feuerstein, 6:13 PM "Nice to hear from you, Mike!..."
Response Post #5 of 5 (it's finally almost over!!!!!)
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Have you never heard of the "extinct species" that are "suddenly" rediscovered? The truth is the earth is very, very - very large and man - and all of his collective exploits are very, very, very small. Animals exist ALIVE on the earth today - by the millions of species - and they have never been discovered, and yet these evolutionists claim they've unconvered a **meaningful** population of fossils with respect to the history of life on earth. How much more difficult is it to discover a fossil buried beneath 100 meters of soil, and then construct an **accurate** context for that fossil as a living creature (enviroment, diet, muscle structure, color, mating habits, predominance of population, contemporary species, etc.) than it is to discover a living species and make observations about the same?!! I say: Infinitely more difficult!! And yet they claim to have "irrefutable knowledge about pre-historic life" when they don't even have "irrefutable knowledge" about current-day life!! What word did you use before: POPPYCOCK!!! We're looking at 2 records from the very top of a 10,000,000,000-record table and drawing sweeping conclusions about the rest of the data in the table based on those two records. IT.IS.LITERALLY.INSANE.

I've seen the photos and God knows I've seen the "artistic renderings" of every absurd extrapolation of nonsense based on nonsense - and it all goes back to uniformintarianism and the 0.1E-1000% principle. Nebraska Man, the centerpiece of the famous Scopes trial has no serious competitor in terms of demonstrating the absurd lengths evolutionists go to to "prove" their case. In that case, and entire community of "hominids" was extrapolated from the single tooth of a 100-year old pig. Literally. That's not hyperbole.

People used to think - scientists!! ha!! - that babies grow a little bit every day, and that's how they go from 8lbs to 20lbs. Then - voila!! scientists!! - learned that, no, babies don't grow a little bit every day, they go for many days with no growth and then one night, they'll grow 1 full cm for no observable reason. Is there an object lesson here? I think so. Uniformitarianism is man's folly - it is what Nietzsche dispelled, condemned and made a correct (in my opinion) observation about, and it is what Evolution presupposes at its very foundation.

Science does not promise absolute truth, nor does it consider that such a thing necessarily exists. Science does not even promise that everything in the Universe is amenable to the scientific process.
Isaac Asimov, 'X' Stands for Unknown; "Introduction"

Steven Feuerstein said...

Evolution preaches uniformitarianism? Seems to me evolution is all about exactly the opposite: variation.

Steven Feuerstein said...

This is silly:

The problem with evolution, ultimately, I believe is that its proponents - and adherents - are all locked in the tiny little world of their known known, with their collective fingers in their ears, while they collectively chant "lalalalala we're not listening!!" when somebody tries to explain to them how small their known known world is.

Certainly some "believers" in any group do the "lalala" when they hear reasoned objections to their beliefs. People who believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful God because it says so in a book come immediately to mind. And sure some believers in evolution have the same attitude.

But generally those who believe in evolution, and specifically a vast majority of SCIENTISTS, do so not because they believe they know everything but because they SEE in the world around them constant, relentless evidence that verifies the theory of evolution as an effective model for understanding how the world works.

Find me an evolutionary biologist, Mike, who would claim that evolution is how the entire universe works, every single atom, galaxy, universe in it. Please, find that person for me. And then when you've found one, try to find another.

It's only (broadly speaking) the adherents of a faith-based system like Christianity who would make such grandiose claims.