(split) Atheism and acceptance of science

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by S.A.M., Jul 10, 2009.

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  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Nicely put, Dub_.
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  3. Betrayer0fHope MY COHERENCE! IT'S GOING AWAYY Registered Senior Member

    "To [your] knowledge" isn't confirming much.
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  5. Dub_ Strange loop Registered Senior Member

    I hope you find these sources as enlightening as I have:
    29+ Evidences for Macroevolution
    Macroevolution: Its Definition, Philosophy and History
    Observed Instances of Speciation
    Some More Observed Speciation Events
    Miscellaneous rebuttals

    A subset of the above claim, but here are some more sources nevertheless:
    5 examples of transitional fossils which were predicted and then subsequently discovered
    More transitional fossils
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  7. leopold Valued Senior Member

    i've seen a 1 minute video clip of a fertilized cell turning into an insect.
    how something like this can magically appear out of nowhere is laughable.

    i have no idea how old the earth is nor do i know how life got here.
  8. leopold Valued Senior Member

    whatever you might think it means doesn't matter.
    biogenesis states "life comes from life", period.
    see "biogenesis"
    abiogenesis specifically states "life came from nonlife" which directly contradicts the established irrefuted law of biogenesis.
    abiogenesis has exactly ZERO evidence in its favor.
    they both address where life came from.
  9. leopold Valued Senior Member

    the experiments and tests that prove these claims is where?
  10. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    This is hopeless, but anyway: like most theists, you're putting too great an emphasis on the "miracle" of life. Once you get down to the cellular level, and begin studying lipid bilayers, and all of the other constituents of cells, it becomes apparent that life is no more than self replicating molecules. Once you take it down off the pedestal it has been placed on, it becomes much easier to envision how the simplest life forms could have begun on an ancient Earth.

    Either you are willfully ignorant, or unreasonably skeptical then, because the geologists and astronomers have deduced the ages of this planet and this solar system to a fairly accurate degree. No one knows for certain how (or where ) life began, but that uncertainty doesn't justify believing in some sort of creator.
  11. Dub_ Strange loop Registered Senior Member

    I think that my point went over your head. Let me try again.

    Biogenesis = life comes from life
    Abiogenesis = life came from nonlife

    The contradiction between these two is entirely spurious. The statement "life comes from life" does not preclude the possibility that life can and did come from nonlife in the past. Likewise, the statement "life came from nonlife" does not preclude the possibility that the life which came from nonlife could, in turn, produce life. In other words, abiogenesis is the process responsible for creating the first life, and biogenesis is the process responsible for creating life thereafter.

    Importantly, the above point would break down if we were to insert the critical word only -- e.g., life only comes from life. But that's not what the law of biogenesis says. In fact, here's the entry on "Law of Biogenesis" from biology-online.org:
    Emphasis added. As you can see, the law of biogenesis is directly opposed to the idea of spontaneous generation, but not to the more general concept of abiogenesis. It is clear that, at some point, life must have come from nonlife. We know this because at some ancient time there was only nonlife, and then later life appeared. This logically and necessarily entails that life had to arise from nonlife. The only question is what caused the original life to arise from the nonlife. As the article above points out, creationists claim that God is the source of abiogenesis -- that life is from bits of clay or something. Other theories of abiogenesis attribute the beginning of life to more mundane sources. One of these theories has to be right (and indeed it may be that more than one is right, if we entertain the idea that abiogenesis occurred more than once), and none of the theories conflicts with the concept of biogenesis -- as elaborated above.

    If you actually read the sources, you'll see that the citations and references are all there in the links. Not a single claim is presented without being substantiated. It's all there for you, really.
  12. leopold Valued Senior Member

    the question was asked of me, not some geologist.
    did i say creator anywhere in this thread?
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Please read up on the rather common phenomenon of cognitive dissonance and then get back to us.
    It does both. The scientific method is a search for both kinds of evidence. If evidence is discovered that a hypothesis is false then the hypothesis must be revised to accommodate it. If his cannot be done then it must be discarded. If no evidence is discovered that a hypothesis is true, then the question must be asked, "Why are we wasting our time on this?" Where did such a hypothesis come from in the first place?

    Is it a hunch? Well okay, hunches are acceptable because they are often the result of unconscious reasoning, but usually the huncher can explain himself cogently and justify the expenditure of labor and other resources to prove it. If it's a tenuous hunch he might be given permission to use his lab after hours, but not be assigned any assistants.

    Or is it crackpottery--a hypothesis based on lines of research that have already been discredited, or on erroneous logic? This hypothesis will not be assigned any resources and the huncher must work on his own time in his own dungeon. And it will call into question his credentials as a scientist.

    Or is it based on faith? Faith is generally the manifestation of one of two things... 1. Wishful thinking: If apricot pits can cure cancer then I might be able to save my daughter from death. 2. Instinct: I have "known" since birth that there is a supernatural universe full of wonderful, unobservable, illogical creatures and forces, so it must be true, and don't confuse me with Jungian psychology and talk of archetypes, preprogrammed synapses and genetic bottlenecks. Hypotheses based on faith fall into the same category as crackpottery.
    The Rule of Laplace is a paradigm for sorting out hypotheses that merit the assignment of scarce resources for research. I haven't seen a formal definition of an "extraordinary assertion," but I see it used consistently to mean either: 1. An assertion that contradicts more than one canonical scientific theory, or 2. An assertion that contradicts the premise that underlies the scientific method: the natural universe is a closed system whose behavior can be predicted by theories derived logically from empirical observations of its present and past behavior. (Yes I know there's argument over the precise meanings of "closed system" and "empirical observation" but they're good enough for this thread.)

    "Extraordinary assertions require extraordinary evidence before anyone is obliged to treat them with respect." This does not mean that everyone is required to treat them with disrespect, but it explains why no science department chairman will be criticized by his superiors for turning down a request for funds to investigate the flat earth, pyramid power or young earth hypotheses.

    And the same is true of the hypothesis that an unobservable, illogical supernatural universe exists whose creatures and forces perturb the behavior of the natural universe. This contradicts the fundamental premise that underlies the scientific method (and thereby virtually all canonical scientific theories so I suppose Rule 2 is a special case of Rule 1), yet no even halfway respectable evidence--much less extraordinary evidence--to support it has been brought forward in the half millennium since the scientific method began to be formulated. All of the "evidence" for gods and angels and demons and heavens and miracles falls into three categories: 1. Out of the seventeen zillion tortilla chips that have been manufactured, one has Jesus's face on it if you squint just right and that can't possibly be a coincidence; 2. Nobody has yet figured out why [fill in the blank or just insert "abiogenesis"] happened so it must be an Act of God; 3. It's all written down in a book that has been passed down since the Stone Age.
    No, that's not quite true. For starters the subject of that sentence is "scientists," not "atheists." Second, we only reject outright extraordinary claims that have no evidence. Sam, if your looney neighbor barges in and tells you that your house is on fire, and you ask her, "Did you see smoke, did you smell smoke, did you hear my smoke alarm going off?" and the answer to all those questions is, "No, but I'm sure it's on fire because I read it in my horoscope," would you interrupt your dinner to investigate?

    Well that's exactly the case when an entire community of looney religionists insists that there are gods and angels and devils and miracles, but when pressed cannot provide a single rational reason for believing that, especially when Jung has helped us understand why they believe that.
    I can't speak for all atheists, but the ones I've talked to don't assert that there is no god. They merely assert that the existence of a god is an extraordinary assertion and there is no evidence to support it; therefore we are not obliged to treat it with respect. It's no different from the assertion that my looney neighbor is receiving mental transmissions from Alpha Centauri. I don't have to prove that he's wrong because his assertion contradicts several canonical scientific theories.
    What scientific law might that be? We all know that life begets life, but it doesn't answer the question of where the first life came from. Neither do the religionists. They say that a God created life, but they conveniently ignore the fact that the god is alive and they almost never question his origin because that would be "blasphemy." So their reasoning is circular and therefore fallacious.
    I'm not sure what you mean by "positive evidence," but the hypothesis of existence of gods contradicts the fundamental premise of science and I'm just looking for evidence strong enough to explain why I should doubt five hundred years of assiduous research. If such a powerful creature exists, is it not fair to ask for some evidence of that power? Does he just sit in his celestial recliner smoking dope and listening to his Jimi Hendrix tapes?

    I understand that some of the Eastern "religions" (which don't all quite satisfy the Western definition of the word) can accommodate a god who never makes his existence clear--and having grown up over there you probably take them into account more than we do--but the Abrahamists whom we Westerners have to wrestle with intellectually at every turn insist that their god loves to pull off amazing stunts like parting seas and flooding planets. If he does that, why is there absolutely no credible evidence? You'd think the world would be littered with it and it's not unreasonable to be skeptical of someone whose assertions are not internally consistent.
    Excuse me, but faith and love are acts performed by mankind. Also by other species such as dogs.
    Indeed. The people who established science during and after the Enlightenment were religious--probably every one of them. Galileo objected to the Church's dogma of geocentrism, not to the belief in a god. The schism between theism and science is of recent origin. The more we understand how the universe works, without finding any evidence of gods and angels lurking about, the more we wonder where that particular bit of crackpottery came from. And now that Jung has told us where it came from, it all starts to make sense.
    Be careful of using the word "truth." Science never proves anything absolutely true, merely true beyond a reasonable doubt.
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    But something like this doesn't appear out of nowhere, does it? There are complicated biochemical processes going on that make it all happen.

    You're being disingenuous. You must have some view about the age of the earth. How could you have no idea, and yet confidently expound on things like the fossil record?

    This point has been addressed by Dub_, above.
  15. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    The statement isn't quite accurate but I suspect that you meant something along the lines of scientific knowledge being in a constant state "tentativeness". Science does however prove some things absolutely true. For example, it is absolutely true the Earth is older than 5000 years.
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Dropping the "believing in" vocabulary, and observing that all "cause and effect" explications of event derive - in scientific theory - from probability calculations, we see that anyone finding a contradiction between random and caused is confused about both concepts.

    The scientific description of the universe involves the human concepts of "randomness" and "cause/effect". It excludes the human concepts of "magic" and "uncaused (supernatural) effect".
    Depends on who you think is Dawkins's "ilk", and who you think are the "religious". Dawkins himself has had no visible effect on the US fundies, aside from their using his name rather than Bertrand Russell's or the like in their screeds.

    I suppose one could argue that, on the principle of noblesse oblige (adult) and not picking on retards in the school cafeteria (pre-adult), the atheistic should not speak crudely or openly of the common theistic manifestations, at least not where the theistic can hear them and be offended. Because if they do, the fundies might develop an antipathy toward anything obviously associated with atheism, such as rigorous science. But it seems more reasonable to me to treat fundies as if they were adults, fully responsible for their opinions and behaviors.
    More and more, I see fundies noticing the conflict between scientific understanding and their own beliefs, and discrediting scientific understanding accordingly. What should be done about that?

    Should the conflict between scientific understanding and fundie beliefs be concealed from the fundies?

    Hence the rejection of miracle, special creation, etc, and the development of better approaches - so that magic is not invoked, and the time and place are investigated with a view toward determining them if possible.
  17. Smuggo Registered Member

    It IS incompatible -- or at least most current forms of religion are. We have as much reason to believe in Gods as we do that leprechauns and faeries live in our gardens. Such things are magical. Do we believe in magic? No? Then we simply have no reason to believe in mythical sky daddies either.
  18. leopold Valued Senior Member

    the only thing relevant here is the predictions.
    the title states a "possible" explanation.
    as far as i know no lab test has confirmed macro evolution.
    in essence the entire scope of OOL and macro evolution is nothing but words, no lab test has confirmed either one.
    on the other hand biogenesis has been confirmed time after time after time without a single instance of it failing.
  19. Dub_ Strange loop Registered Senior Member

    Did you read the links at all? They contain documented evidence from both lab experiments and fossil findings. Macro evolution and speciation have been observed in laboratory settings! We can observe it happening in species that have extremely short generations, most commonly fruit flies and bacteria. The evidence for macro evolution is conclusive and unequivocal.

    And how do you still not grasp that biogenesis is not "on the other hand" at all? Not only is biogenesis not contrary to abiogenesis, it's certainly not contrary to evolution!

    I am truly astounded by your refusal to accept these basic facts.
  20. leopold Valued Senior Member

    what did these fruitflies turn into? a fish? a man? a tree?

    there is nothing to be astounded about.
    biogenesis is a scientific law, abiogenesis is, at best, a hypothesis. period.
    why you want to keep brushing this aside is anyones guess.

    BTW, can you point me to the lab test that demonstrates one species turning into another different species?
  21. leopold Valued Senior Member

    according to abiogenesis it did.
    it's older than 6,000 years.
    the fossil record is essentially a timeline, i have no idea how old the oldest fossil is.
  22. Dub_ Strange loop Registered Senior Member

    You're truly a special individual, Leo. Please let all onlookers note that this is my fourth (4th) time to refer leopold to a long list of citations/references describing a wealth of evidence for macro-evolution/speciation. Note additionally that Leo has given no indication whatsoever that he has even clicked on any of the links, much less examined the contents therein.

    Leo, regarding directly observed instances of speciation (read: not including other forms of evidence, particularly fossil evidence), please see section 5 of the link entitled "Observed Instances of Speciation." See also the entirety of the link entitled "Some More Observed Instances of Speciation."

    Excuse me? Brushing it aside? Allow me to direct your attention to two of my previous posts in this very thread that addressed the biogenesis/abiogenesis issue in a very direct manner.
    Post #100
    Post #108
    I might add that you have yet to rebutt either of these -- particular #108. I eagerly await such a rebuttal.
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Leo, as a Moderator I have a special obligation to treat all members with civility and avoid insults. But in your case I feel justified in joining the chorus of critics who demand that you exert a little more initiative in tracking down information that is absurdly easy to find. I can't help asking whether you know how to use Google and Wikipedia because some of your questions are worthy of the label "bonehead." Your posts are starting to look like trolling--repeating the same assertions while ignoring rebuttals, or asking the same questions while ignoring the answers. Other members have cited specific examples of this practice and they are quite correct.

    Trolling clogs the forum's bandwidth, wastes the time of the Moderators and other members, and decreases the perceived value of this website to people who stumble into it from an internet search or who are recommended by their friends.

    For these reasons, trolling is a violation of the SciForums rules and is grounds for banning. You are hereby officially warned to curtail the practice.

    In answer to your question, the oldest fossils are on the order of two billion years old. It's hard to place the date any more precisely because the microscopic, soft-bodied creatures they represent are not as obvious and definitive as dinosaur bones.

    So I suppose that technically, this was not a "bonehead" question.

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