Saturday, February 28, 2009

Looks like a politician

     Someone recently said that Dawkins has gone on record saying that he won't debate creationists because he doesn't wnat to give them an air of respectability. I don't know if Dawkins actually said that; but I will comment on the described attitude. It reminds me of advise purportedly given to candidates seeking office. If you are behind in the polls, seek a debate. If you are ahead in the polls shun any debate you can.
     Creationists currently have no argument. They simply say something on the order of "it's too hard to understand how we got here, therefore god must have done it." A debate against that would "lend respectability" only in the eyes of someone who is not actually looking at the arguments. Avoiding a debate on that motivation is only seeking to keep people believing your position uncritically. I expect that if most people believed creationism, creationists would avoid debates for the same reason.
     Now, this isn't to say that there aren't good reasons not to want to debate. Perhaps he is simply not interested in whether uncritical minds agree with him or not. Consider, it is not important to me if people believe the world to be flat. I make an exception for rockets scientists and sattelite engineers. People in fields like that need to know the world is round. But they need to know based on the evidence, not because that is what they are told. It doesn't matter if a surgeon believes the world to be flat. It's not going to change how he does his job.
     I am convinced that some things are taught in elementary school only because religions preached the reverse. That the earth goes around the sun is meaningless to a young child. There seems no point in insisting that they believe that. And they will only be believing that on the authority of the instructor. For people for whom the fact is important, the evidence will be part of their eventual studies. Furthermore, someone committed to either position based on what they were instructed when he was young would make a very poor scientist. So, it shouldn't matter if the church is teaching geocentrism. Any worthwhile scientist should be able to revise the belief based on the data.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A note to Clostridiophile.

     You have demonstrated to me that you are not interested in knowing what my position is, that you are not trying to persuade me to your position, and that you are only looking for something that you can twist and ridicule. I gave you the benefit of the doubt before. But do not bother posting on my blog anymore. I will delete your comments unread. I would love to have a civilized discussion; but I realize that you are just not interested.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

For those who wish to convince me that evolution is scientific:

     Leave the ridicule and the mockery at the door. Thank you very much. I find a great deal of similarity between supporters of evolution and supporters of creationism. One of the similarities is that both groups like to mock and ridicule those who disagree or question. If you resort to saying "sometimes you have to combat nonsense with ridicule" or something similar, I will think that you do not have a case.
     Do not presume to tell me what I think. I will tell you what I think. You can tell me what you think.
     Do not refer me to 29 Evidences for Macroevolution. Its claims of potential falsifications are wanting. This is an example of why I think large-scale evolution does not qualify as a scientific theory. All of the "tests" I see have been "safe bets." For example, it claims that mammals with feathers would have falsified evolution. However, if you at its discussion about cladistic vs. phenetic classification, you will find that such similarities can be dimissed as superficial. If there were mammals with feathers, it would only be asserted that it was not a shared "derived characteristic."
     Do not tell me that I need to conduct an exhaustive search before I can make a comment. I will reject attempts to keep me busy just to quiet my dissent.
     Should I reject a "potential falsifer," do not tell me it was "good" without addressing my specific rejection. For example, if I say that the observation was made before the prediction, you may endeavor to show that the prediction, in fact, came first. If I say that the prediction was hedged with "may" or "might" (chromosome 2, anyone) you may attempt to show that there was no such hedging.
     Do not give me an experiment designed to distinguish potential paths for evolution but which "confirms evolution" for all possible results. It's the first thing I will check. I am looking for something that put the overall idea of large-scale evolution on the line -- not something that ruled out one of the competing mechanisms.
     If you have it, do present me with a prediction made that could not be made without assuming evolution, such that a failure to confirm could not be excused and that a confirmation was not subject to interpretation, together with its subsequent confirmation. Some concepts are vague. If you expect to find a transitional form, you are more apt to interpret something as a transitional form.


     Elsewhere someone has claimed that post means that I think evolution is specificly false. This is not the case. I am uncommitted on evolution (although it looks plausible enough.) I just say that it hasn't been put through the rigors normally required of scientific theories. Evolution (and large-scale evolution in particular) is an idea that fits existing data. However all "predictions" are protected in some fashion. It cannot be falsified. Chromosome 2 was taken as a confirmation of the prediction that they might find a fusion of chromosomes. But, had no such confirmation been found, it would mean nothing against the idea. It was a "confirm or inconclusive" test.

(I have also corrected some spelling above.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It must be said.

A liar named Sye
Asks the same questions again,
Never accepts truth.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Daniel is gone.

     He closed his blog, made his profile private, and left. I don't think he's gone for good. He will probably come up with a new user name and a new doomsday "prophecy."
     I suspect he left because he was afraid he wouldn't even be able to keep up his charade for his followers. He pulled up his stakes shortly after Dan (a fellow christian) agreed with me that being lied about would be frustrating. He didn't specificly agree that Daniel was lying about me, just that it would explain my anger with Daniel if it was the case. Now, Daniel was claiming to be a prophet and, according to christianity, someone who lies about people does not speak for the christian god. If Dan were actually to check for himself and decide that Daniel was a false prophet, the game would be up. I do not know whether Dan would consider it important enough to check. But I think Daniel decided he couldn't take any chances.