1. I am not interested in seeing the whole of evolutionary biology fall apart. There is an enormous amount of valuable knowledge connected to it. My interest is simply to see it presented in a more honesty and forthright manner.
Oh? And what "valuable knowledge" exactly can you share with us, since you haven't actually formally studied the science? The only people shouting "dishonesty" are creationists who haven't done their homework on the subject, and have presuppositional precommitments to their theology that they have assumed from the outset and want desperately to protect.
2. In many ways, the Theory of Evolution provides valuable insight into why God is the more rational and plausible explanation for the world we live in. Still, it’s existence is inconsequential to whether a belief in God is accurate or not.
First, you haven't even attempted to either define (in a coherent useful way) the term "God" (and I do not think you can), and second you (unlike the actual scientists who know this stuff) have been attempting to draw an arbitrary and artificial line of "micro/macro" when no such line exists. The scientific community at large is quite clear about this and there is no debate about it. Nothing stops small changes amounting to bigger ones. The fact that you don't accept the science is just evidence of your arrogance in ignorance and confirmation bias on the subject. This is evidenced by the fact that many professing Christians accept the science (such as Ken Miller from Brown University) and actually have room to talk about the subject because they are experts in their field.
I've asked you at least twice now to present the exact courses pertaining to biology you have taken. Still nothing.
Your comment here seems to presume that non-natural causes can only exist if naturalistic evidence for them can be presented. There is no logical path available to form such a demand. In other words, there are many non-empirical aspects to our reality that point more in favor of God than they do to naturalistic causes.
This is a "because I say so" argument. What the heck are "non-empirical aspects" and how does that (assuming it's even coherent) point to some "God" thing?? Furthermore, what the heck is "non-natural"?? What does that even mean? By what process can you even reliably define and demonstrate
that there is such a thing as "non-natural"? These just sound like talking points you're taking from Christian creationist websites instead of actually thinking for yourself. If you are referring to philosophical arguments for a God, I've already dealt with the ones you presented before (cosmological, teleological, moral argument, etc) and none of those actually demonstrate what you claimed. Again, you just CLAIMED them
but didn't bother defending the claims (or admitting your fallacies). How can you even begin to assess what "points to" where if 1) you haven't even coherently defined your terms, and 2) you have no data set by which to make such conclusions?
[EDIT: Please answer this one in the following post.]
My arguments may not sound like they come from a very informed person. I get that. But, I really do think part of it is because what others see as “science” I see as made up stories so my arguments probably don’t seem scientific because I don’t think the topic is based on real science.
Earlier, you said to someone else that you were willing to admit that ID is not science. Then, I asked you to specifically point out what it is (what the things are) about ID that are NOT science. Conveniently, you dodged the question and didn't answer. So please answer it. What exactly about ID is not science and why?
Second, you don't think your accusations of "made up stories" could have anything to do with your confirmation bias, and the fact that you have so much at stake in your theological precommitments? You don't think that has anything to do with why you continually seek out creationists sites instead of actually taking classes? Others have been trying to point this out to you. You have built up some weird expectation of what you think evolution is, and what you
should be presented with. Then on top of that, it seems you've built up your own expectation of what you personally
think the expectation should be regarding evidence in evolutionary biology. I'm sorry, that isn't how science works b/c many of the things scientists discover are counter-intuitive and require years of intense study (specializing in particular fields). Did you not know this? Instead of trying to tear down evolution by nit picking from creationist website (which nearly always misrepresent what evolution actually is) why don't you consider enrolling in some actual courses and sit under some actual evolutionary biologists and paleontologists?
Despite what some may think, I am NOT this militant anti-evolution thug who thinks that the theory is a complete farce. Some of it is, indeed, a theory….and a solid one. Unfortunately, a lot of it is not theory and that is what I contend. Too much of it has a religious overtone to it. The ToE reminds me of one of those exploding golf balls. It looks like a real golf ball. It feels like a real golf ball….and it does good at tricking the ball striker into believing it is real. But, when you hit it, that mutha' blows up and you realize that what seemed real, was actually just an illusion. The inside was filled with a bunch of white powder that rendered the ball completely unfit for the game of golf…..just like a lot of the storytelling does to an otherwise good theory.
Your statement here demonstrates quite clearly that 1) you don't understand the science in the manner in which both evolutionary biologists and paleontologists do (or their students do), and 2) you have built up your own non-scientific expectation of what you think the evidence should do for you (i.e. - what exactly
it should say to you - that somehow it should meet your
standard). How arrogant!! Sorry (and once again), that isn't how science works. You don't get to pick and choose what counts as evidence of common ancestry and what doesn't. Perhaps instead of tirading on this anti-common descent parade you are on you should humbly sit under the scientists who have spent their lives studying this stuff and try to figure out (directly from them
) why they hold the positions they do on evolution (i.e. - that it is a theory; meaning the highest point in science). Scientists have just as much evidence for plate tectonics, germ theory, and gravitational attraction as they do for evolution by natural selection. Perhaps you should ask yourself why you are singling out evolution and not those other theories. Could it be because you have a bias which is based upon your theology and that evolution is the only one of those that conflicts with your personal theology? Only you can answer that but this seems certainly the case from where we stand (especially since common descent and god belief are not mutually exclusive!). This is why I asked you how much you have to lose in this. If you found out common descent was true tomorrow how would your life (theology, family, friends, social situation, etc) change?
Absolutely. All it would take is one confirmed trail of fossils that clearly depicted the transition of a dinosaur evolving into a bird.
There it is right there, for all to see - your faulty expectation of what you think evolutionary theory must
give you in order for you to accept it. This demonstrates that you clearly do not understand how the science works and need to stop trying the Google Scholar approach and actually take some real classes in evolutionary biology, biological anthropology, and related fields.
Conversely, scientists DO actually have very good transitional fossil evidence (along with multiply attested genetics, geological time scales, and a ton more) . Have you even bothered to research this? Why not dedicate yourself to staying away from creationists websites and actually research the specific scientific sources that do not agree with you (b/c this is what academic and intellectual honesty requires).
Using the current demarcation criteria, probably not. The methods used to qualify some of the methods as scientific are disturbing. I know the following quote has probably been cited excessively but I think it describes how many of us see the science behind evolution:
1. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, . . . in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated commitment to materialism. . . . we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. Lewontin, Richard, Review of The Demon-Haunted World, by Carl Sagan. In New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997.
Here again is your confirmation bias for all to see. Is Ken Miller a materialist?? NOPE! He is a Christian. There are hundreds of Christians, Jews, Hindus, and spiritualists that accept evolution and common descent as well. This assertion of "a commitment to materialism" (or "not letting a divine foot in the door") is absolute and utter fucking bullshit (and you know it). The fact that you can't see your own blatant bias here is astonishing. Countless scientists are god believers and accept the theory. Further, you haven't even begun to discuss the bounds of science. So your attempts to demonize those who want to keep pseudoscience and non-science out of the scientific community (what you call the demarcationists) is nonsense. Is astrology science? Is alchemy science? Is witchcraft science? You aren't standing on anything firm here. It's just moaning and groaning b/c you don't like how science works.
The bottom line here, I think, is that you just don't like science b/c it conflicts with your theological precommitments (I would say the same thing to a Muslim). Intellectual honesty dictates, though, that you change your position when shown to be irrational and/or in error (which I have shown numerous times in your fallacies prior). So why aren't you actually demonstrating honesty? Aren't you supposed to be a follower of Christ?
That may have been the case at one time. In fact, I’m sure it was. When I realized, though, that making an honest assessment of the opposing views required an unbiased examination of the evidence, I started doing what was fair for myself.
You haven't even attempted to make an honest detailed depiction of what evolutionary biology actually states (all you did was post one link in the Texas thread and act like that counts). I don't buy this for a second. Until you actually present ToE as the biologists/paleontologists would depict it
(along with their reasons/evidences) these will be nothing but words with no backing. You clearly have a strong bias toward an attempt to redefine what science is in order to smuggle in non-science through the back door. That isn't an honest way of going about things. Anyone can just redefine their terms when they don't like the outcome of the evidence but that isn't honest either. Science has no reliable method for investigating or demonstrating the "supernatural". If you think it does then the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate how you think you know it can. If you can't demonstrate it, and you wind up using irrational/fallacious arguments (as you have been trying thus far) then you are in error and should correct your position to fit with the evidence, instead of leading
the evidence where you already want it to go (aka - to be in favor of the theology you started with).
You say that if you had to choose between truth and your current belief you would choose truth, but actions speak louder than words and your actions here thus far show the opposite.
I'd also like to know how much is at stake for you. If you stopped being a Christian today, and admitted to all your friends and family that you were having doubts and no longer knew if Christianity was true, what would be the likely consequence or fallout that would ensue?
I think the fallout would be minimal. Many of the people I associate with are non-theists or ‘quiet” Christians anyway. I would probably be asked a lot of questions by fellow Christians but I am rather certain that I would not be ostracized.
Really...You don't go to church? You don't have Christian friends or family? You don't associate with others of like mind? So if you stopped being a Christian today, and told people that you accept evolution and that you no longer believe in Jesus or the things in the bible you think that the people in your church would still be around calling you and wanting to hang out with you (who is no longer a believer like them)? After being a Christian for 20+ years I find this assertion very hard to believe. It's easy to say things like this on a website with no way for anyone to verify but my experience tells me otherwise. What kinds of people are your closest friends in terms of theology? Are your family members believers like you? How would any of your closest, most important and cherished people in your life react if they suddenly discovered you are a non-believer? Remember: Jesus is listening to your answers: Thou shalt not bear false witness.
This isn't a question you need to answer to me here, b/c only you can answer it in time. The subject is meant to ask you to look within yourself for your motivations and biases which are keeping you from seeing things a different way than you now see them (and what emotional mechanisms might be causing you to push back so hard against this one particular scientific enterprise). Do you think it could have anything
to do with your prejudices and/or theological precommitments? If so, what steps will you take to minimize the effects of those biases?