STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Justin on Science: It's about time for a real rant

Alright, it's on. I've been thinking about writing something on this topic for a while, and the time is now.

The following is a quote from this article in Time magazine:

It has been said that the spread of the scientific spirit in the 17th and 18th centuries was one of the things that stopped the burning of witches. Learning how the universe is governed by the impersonal principles of a final theory may not end mankind's persistent superstitions, but at least it will leave them a little less room.

I don't think I've ever read a more wholey arrogant and offensive comment. Just so we're all on the same page, I am assuming that by "mankind's persistent superstitions" the author is referring to belief in a creator God. If you think that is too generous an assumption, feel free to let me know, but personally I think the statement is particularly pointed.

I have, over the last little while, taken a particular interest in the evolution vs. Intelligent Design(ID) argument. It was inspired by reading a debate on another blog site about this issue. I was trying to refind the site to read some more but I'd lost the address, and so I did a Google search using some keywords that were relevant to this particular topic. As you'd imagine, the list of results was quite enormous, but what particularly caught my eye was the two or three lines of text that Google displayed for each page in the search results.
Result after result began by flaming the crap out of Creationists, who apparently invented ID as a means to bring their hokey ludicrous theory back into battle against evolution, which almost every page held up as being the most solidly proven fact science has ever discovered. All this, in 3 lines of text. I read through a few pages, and discovered that most of the results were all people stating the following, without providing any reliable evidence:

  1. Evolution is fact, as it has been proven by science
  2. Creation and Intelligent Design are superstition/hokey religion/crap
  3. All scientists who advocate Creation/ID are non-credible
  4. None of the above mentioned scientists' research can be referenced as evidence in debate, due to the previous point.
  5. Science will eventually know/explain everything

The last point is more inference from discussion the actual statement made in my reading. However, it is the most interesting. All debate I read is based on people's faith that not only is present scientific practice infallible, but that science will eventually have explanations for everything we could possibly want to know.

Horse crap, my friend, with a capital C.

I wrote a post on the blog I mentioned previously pertaining to this discussion, and I've quoted it for your reading pleasure below:

You know, I think life is like a game of Quake 3. When I boot up my computer, and I start the game, there are characters running around a world which has a set of clearly defined rules. If you suddenly gave them intelligence, and then could ask them what their origins were, they would probably begin to investigate their environment and draw conclusions about how it came about - none of which would be even remotely like the truth. Why? Because from within the reality they exist in, they cannot comprehend or discover anything outside. They can test, and investigate, and probe the rules of their environment, but there is no possibility that they could "scientifically" discover ANYTHING beyond the bounds of the world they exist in, simply because the rules do not allow them to do so. However, it is possible that they could observe changes instigated by an outside force (me), and conclude that there must be something beyond themselves and their environment.

Science is all well and good, but it only acknowleges discoveries that hold true to it's beliefs. of the rules says "if you can't observe it, it doesn't exist." This is why you won't see articles on creation or intelligent design in science journals - what reputable atheistic scientist would concede that science won't ever supply the answers? None of them would. To do so would be to dissolve their own worth. If God is the creator, then science will forever be at odds with this idea, as God exists outside the realms of provability and scientific observation. It's like trying to prove a third dimension to a 2-dimensional world. It just can't be done.

Now, the observations I received back from this comment were twofold: 1.) not all scientists are atheists, and 2.) we are aware of more then 3 dimensions. I'll leave number 1 alone, as I'm well aware of this fact and the guy was just fumbling for something to disprove. I was talking specifically about the subset of scientists who are atheists, not labeling scientists as atheistic. Number 2 however, interests me. Someone, anyone at all, prove a 4th physical dimension to me. Not using the logic of "we can't explain something, and a 4th dimension would explain it", but actually show me how it works. YOU CAN'T DO IT. Why not? For the same reason that there is no physical object that is truly 2 dimensional, and that if you pretend that pencil lines have no height on paper, you couldn't construct a truly 3 dimensional shape by drawing it. We can assume or guess or theorize that there are more dimensions, and they may well exist, but I think it's highly unlikely we could ever actually prove it, as it would be beyond our ability to observe.

Here's what I think about all this:
Science is great for explaining things that are within the realm of the observable. You can observe the effects of penicillin on bacteria, or of reactions between various elements and compounds. You can even reproduce these things. However, you can't observe macro evolution. You can't observe the creation of the universe. You can observe the current state of animals and plants, or of planets and stars, but all you can do with that is theorize about what might have happened. And yet for some reason completely unbeknownst to me, scientific types think they can prove these things, and that they should be held up by all as fact. It's like the Quake 3 example - the actual truth could literally be anything, and yet by observing the inside of the box, they're trying to explain what the world outside looks like. Well, in this case they're trying to prove it doesn't exist.
I'm not out to discredit all the work science has done to better the human race. I'm just out to express my dissatisfaction at people insulting those who won't just blindly accept evolution as fact.

Shmer. OK, I'm done. Go nuts, people who feel it's important to defend the scientific faith.


Tam said...

Maybe Dr. Zaius should read this...(hee hee...inside joke (see the site Justin refers to)).

Dr Zaius said...

Dr Zaius has read it. Why dont you post as much detail on WorldView Justin? Your comments are short and shortsighted. You, also, have not been carefully reading my friend. I have stated numerous times that science readily admits that it is fallible. That is one of the many checks that keeps psuedoscience like ID out of peer reviewed journals. The checks and balances of science include constant and unmerciful critiscm scrutiny and replication. It approximates viable scenarios in order to draw out conlusions. These very same checks give you confidence at the dentist that he wont kill you. That youll turn on your computer and it wont blow up. That you go to the doctor and he can diagnose an ailment and maybe treat it. I dont see you complaining about all this yet you have selectively picked out evolution because you think it clashes with your religous dogma. Interesting dont you think?

Furthermore, if you can get access to the peer reivewed journals (got to your local research university's library) were all science of any kind is discussed reported and debated then it would take you a ten minute search to see that Dembski, Behe and all the other IDists show up almost zero times. You will also quickly find that any hits will be in other areas not pertaining to ID and that NONE will mention ID. Interesting again.

These journals are the precursors to the implementation of any information Justin. If you dont believe me, run down to the local university and ask any research prof for an explanation. This is why your ID theories only show up in ID sponsored newsletters and "journals." This is why those "journals" are not at MIT or Harvard as peer reviewed journals. They hold no merit. These would be earth shattering ideas if they held the LEAST bit of credibility and would immideately foster worldwide attention and research by countless labs. But this hasnt happened. Interesting again.

So, out of curiosity, you must not agree with history in general then? Chinese, Japanese, Egyptian history could not have happened in 6000 years without some seriuos rearanging of the recoreded events.

Go back to worldviewsociety and check out some more of the arguements against creation pertaining to the flood and tranistional fossils. Take a stab at those since you are obviously more versed in science than scientists. should be a great place to put down some wisdom and educate all of us fools who think science is a better explanation than God creating the earth in 6 days. Finally, you are likely not able to understand the methods of science without some serious training just like I couldnt do the work of an MBA by reading a couple of websites. You know where I'll be...

Justin Warner said...

Dr. Zaius,
I prefer to write my own blog. As you can see, I don't just write about scientific stuff on here. I write about whatever occurs to me - hence this article.

The thing I must now assume you are deliberatley overlooking, Mr. Zaius (as you constantly ignore it) is that the scenarios you presented as science-fact are short-term and observable and the WHOLE POINT of my post is that macro-evolution is NOT observable, and yet science holds it as fact. NO ONE HAS SEEN ONE SPECIES EVOLVE INTO ANOTHER IN RECORDED HISTORY. You can theorise based on fosils, but it ain't happened in however many million years you believe people have been writing stuff down. There are aboriginal paintings in outback Australia that they say are 4 million years old, and you know what? They depict the EXACT same species of animals that are in outback Australia today. Funny that.

You keep presenting the same arguments (science is checked and balenced, science is published in peer reviewed journals) but you forget that science is making it's own rules. Exactly like I said, you wouldn't see a scientist advocating evolution or ID in a peer-reviewed journal as no scientist who didn't belive in a God would dare say they had a convincing argument - it would undermine their entire profession and ethos.

You need to grow up, Mr. Zaius. Ridicule and arogence prove nothing.

Dr Zaius said...

About the resonse I expected Justin. You have overlooked numerous attempts to be educated on evolution and science because it would undermine your dogma. Everything in science is based both on short term observable events and inferences about the future and past. Your manner of thinking only holds up if you assume that fossils are fake, that A does not lead to B and that God interevened at some point and then let the world coast. ID has no explanations for the very innefficent means by which living organisms work because it is a blanket theory made to coincide christian beliefs. If you would check up on some scientific methods as I have suggested numerous times you would quickly see stupid your train of thought it. We make theories from data, evidence. Your theoris [ID] cannot account for the complexity of life however evolution can. By the way if you check out a post in worldview regarding the primate skull you can clearly see the tranistion from ape to human. It might not be the exact path, but the similarities are undeniable and so clearly obvious. Whales with legs, the ear bone of the human has a very elegant path that can be traced from reptile jaw bones. Vestigal organs and atavisms in embryos also strongly allude to common, very drastically different ancestors and forms. There is a mountain of evidence which you choose to ignore because it keeps the blinders on! Go do some research and see if your pastor or ID theories hold up. This is why I constantly use the same arguments. You refuse to look past what you are told or what you read on a bias news forum. Go to the source, go to where science is conducted and I dare you to tell me that there is Zero evidece and that ID is supported. Of course, you would also need to understand how science works but again you refuse to even consider that you might not be an expert in the least on this.

Furthermore, your argument about seeing a macro jump is also naive. It takes millions of years, no one is ever going to see it. However you can observe it in progress by just seeing how quickly and dramatically viruses like AIDS change their DNA and overt structures to adapt to human hosts.

So aboriginal paintings are millions of years old yet you advocate a 6K old world?? How is this evidence and everything else not, because you picked it out to support you? Did you think that similar animals have been around in similar forms for a long time? Perhaps as long as say...humans? If the earth is young then shouldnt paintings like this show dinos and all manner of strange creature that scientists think did NOT live at the same time as humans??

"Exactly like I said, you wouldn't see a scientist advocating evolution or ID in a peer-reviewed journal as no scientist who didn't belive in a God would dare say they had a convincing argument - it would undermine their entire profession and ethos."

Where do you get your ridiculous info from?? I have been invovled in large scale research for over 11 years now and I have never observed anything in science that would not immidiately clear the way for a new theory if it was insightful, no matter what it said as long as there was evidence!!! How much time have you spent involved in research that allows you to ACCURATELY comment on it methods? You see this is why I tell you to do homework before spouting out things. The nature of science is such that everyone would jump to study ID or creation if it had ANY evidence. Even if the only agenda was to dissprove it. All this attention would be immidiately by grant submissions, meeting presentations and journal articles but there is no such trend! You are dreaming and you need an "evil syndicate" to further your lack of proof.

Finally, as I assumed, you did not address my numerous questions and comments [expertise, MBA example, history in general, where your info comes from regarding the consipracy to surpress the truth, where your info comes from about a lack of evidence for evolution, where the evidenc is for ID etc]. I see you like to post but not explain. You mistake regurgitation for thinking.

Justin Warner said...

You must be the most nieve person I've ever heard from. Read this again. You said:
"...I have never observed anything in science that would not immidiately clear the way for a new theory if it was insightful, no matter what it said as long as there was evidence!!!"

That would have to be the most ridiculous comment I've ever heard. If you think that science would immediatley change their tune if someone provided evidence that undermined their ENTIRE UNDERSTANDING TO THIS POINT, you would have to be the greatest fool on this planet. If they tried to disprove it, they would just be lending credit to it - credit they would not want to be seen to be providing. Who would fund their research? Do you think that a university or goverment science organisation would fund research into God? You have to be crazy.

I'm not going to bother with you anymore Dr. Zaius. You spout expertise, but you just deliver arrogence and pointless arguments.
"Your theoris [ID] cannot account for the complexity of life however evolution can."
God couldn't create complex life? Are you mad, or just stupid.

Ultimatley, you believe that scientific method is flawless, even if it's theories can be flawed. There's one enourmous problem with this: the method was created by scientists. Probably the most arrogant and egotistical people on the planet.

Don't bother replying anymore. I'm done with your crap.

Dr Zaius said...

Yes many people would jump to study it to either prove or disprove it. Government would fund it if there was evidence. You speak from ignorance. Proof of God would mean headlines and more money for research not to mention the basic question has interested just about everyone as long as the earth has existed. You think there is the large consipracy yet you have likely never even met a researcher dealing with evolution. Ignorance.

I never said the scientific method was flawless, you did. I have touted it as a method of observing nature that has been proven time an time again to be reliable. That means errors as well as triumphs.

And of course God could explain these things but you are arguin ID which is portrayed as a sciedntific theory but does want to adhere to scientific principles. Do you see the problem here? ID claims to have a data based theory that includes divine intervention but also natural proccesses. However these processes are not testable and therefore not proveable. Furthermore, there is no overarching theory. In anycase I will quit replying to you as well. Dont include me any of your posts or mention me and I will stay away. God forbid you actually try thinking...