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It’s the evidence! July 9, 2007

Posted by Joe in atheism, belief, creationism, evidence, evolution, freethought, science, skepticism.
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I entered a discussion on the teaching of evolution with some creationists here. Why’d I bother? I’m not yet sure.

I struggled to get across the idea that hollow assertions on a blog shouldn’t be enough to convince anyone about any theory of the real world. (and yet was still accused of wanting them to accept evolution on the weight of my assertions alone!) Pure reason can tell us nothing about the real world! Only actual evidence and data collected from it can tell us what it is really like.

No amount of squabbling with a creationist on the internet (no matter the number of links to sites describing or picturing the evidence) can change minds. What really needs to be done is exposing them physically to actual evidence of evolution. Fossils being the most obvious and the most impressive.

Natural history museums are intended to serve this purpose, though no amount of drawings will convince. We need a place where an immense amount of fossils are set up for public viewing, not just to show the history of developing life, but also to show the history of the developing theories about life. A museum that takes the public through the thought process that science went through 200 years ago. A story of changing theories based on new evidence.

Does such a place exist?

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Comments»

1. John Steyn - July 9, 2007

Hi Joe. Thanks for your contribution at my blog. I’m sorry if you feel the discussion was terminated prematurely. Feel free to drop by again and continue the discussion.

2. religionandatheism - July 9, 2007

There is a problem with creationists: they are neither interested in science, nor even in explanatory power of any kind. Their odd assertions are the composite of a fierce tendency to support Biblical “truths” and make it square with what is generally publicly known about the world. This is a clever tactic. People like Philip E Johnson, Michael Behe and William Dembski, “intelligent” designs main promoters (though Johnson has now retired I believe) play upon the public’s faint knowledge of science. We all know fossils exist, but if you can explain to a layman that there’s another way of thinking about where or how they came to be there, that is a success in the creationists view. Another tactic is to pretend that there’s some sort of controversy in science about whether evolution is true. My challenge to these people: find me a single, academic, peer-reviewed scientific publication that argues creationism or intelligent design as a viable explanation for the data! What is troubling is that science is not well understood in the general public. In the US it is particularly badly understood. In more properly secular countries, people are less vulnerable but they’re still not acquainted with the internal workings of the scientific community. It can afford creationists a platform on which to lie about the existence of actually absent controversies, and, when pushed, to assert that there’s some kind of conspiracy in the scientific community to lock out creationism. This was Johnson’s favourite tactic.
There are some very simple, and disarming reasons why “intelligent” design is false that can be offered in debate with a creationist:
1. Why do men’s prostates get larger as they grow old? Did the creator intend men to have problems peeing? If so, why? Aren’t there more important things to attend to?
2. Why do people take in air and food through essentially the same orifice? (Note that although the mouth and nose are separate entry points, they are connected). Such a “design” is asking for its unfortunate recipient to choke – and many people do. Would it be so hard to create separate breathing holes and eating holes? Of course not. We even see it in mammals: wales.
3. Why did the “intelligent” designer have in mind for the human appendix?

…and so on…

During the Kitzmiller vs Dover School Board trial in 2005, a professor of biology called Kenneth Miller gave some wonderfully compelling reasons why evolution is true and why creationism doesn’t add up. He has written a fascinating book called Finding Darwin’s God (all the more fascinating as he is a Roman Catholic). Some of his videos can be found on ReligionAndAtheism here:
http://religionandatheism.wordpress.com/2007/06/27/evidence-for-evolution-and-against-intelligent-design/

The discovery of the fusion of primate chromosomes is particularly compelling, I think. I’m yet to hear a creationist respond to that one.

More generally, our posts on creationism may be found here:
http://religionandatheism.wordpress.com/tag/creationism/

I hope I’ve been of service.

3. Dan - July 10, 2007

“No amount of squabbling with a creationist on the internet (no matter the number of links to sites describing or picturing the evidence) can change minds.”

Indeed. The whole “discussion” is a bit of a laugh riot, actually, even though it is somehow simultaneously pathetic.

The real trouble that I have however, is that I really cannot distinguish between the parodies and the real thing – the real thing is often even MORE brainless than the parody.

But to the persuasion methods that you describe – at some point, you have to recognize that taking such creationists seriously will only cause frustration, and not get anywhere. Ignorance of this scale knows no bounds, and methinks you’d be wasting your time. (but by all means keep the museums open, in case they open their minds a bit)

4. Jordan - July 25, 2007

Hi again Joe :)
“Pure reason can tell us nothing about the real world!”

So how is it that Einstein, through pure reason and not evidence, came up with the Theory of Relativity (most of which was done in his head while he was in his teens)? It’s because the world is logical and able to be approached by reason.

Yes, I agree that we should look at the evidence, I’m a big fan of science because it is the study of what is known as God’s general rev elation (or as you may know it as creation) (in the same manner as theology is the study of God’s special revelation, also known as the Bible) but I digress… you should all check out http://www.reasons.org

And a question: Can anyone point me to an intermediary species?

P.S. Joe and I are becoming aquainted on another blog. Have a good day.

Jordan

5. Joe - July 25, 2007

Hi Jordan, welcome to my blog.

“So how is it that Einstein, through pure reason and not evidence, came up with the Theory of Relativity (most of which was done in his head while he was in his teens)? It’s because the world is logical and able to be approached by reason.”
He didn’t. But even if he had invented the idea of relativity without any scientific evidence it wouldn’t tell us anything about the world until it was verified by experiment to represent the real world.

PURE reason is useless because no matter how elegant or consistent our ideas about the world, unless we can demonstrate that the real world actually reflects those ideas we are just making up fantasies.

The world is logical and can be approached with reason, but pure reason without reference to evidence has little chance of describing reality.

6. Dan - July 25, 2007

Jordan,
“Can anyone point me to an intermediary species?”

A. afarensis for one. You might also want to look up the evolution of cetaceans, horses, amphibians, or birds, for just the vertebrates. Then there’s plenty on arthropods, plants, fungi, etc.

The ‘gaps’ are more like microfissures, as any paleontologist will tell you.

7. Jordan - July 25, 2007

Hey all,

What do you think of the website I put up.

http://www.reasons.org

I’m guessing that you do your research, as some comments would imply, so I’m hoping that you are searching for what is true and not just trying to fit data to fit your own desires –as some of you may like to think Christians, or theists in general, do :)

I’m also hoping that we can actually have a conversation instead of just thinking the other disillusioned…which I admit is what I think of you. But know that I truly do care about you and that is why I confront you.

Also, has anyone heard or read Richard Dawkins? And what do you think about him going around and proselytizing?

8. Joe - July 25, 2007

I’ve only read Richard Dawkins’ science works. I can’t speak on his newest book.

I haven’t checked out that site yet. I will when I find some time. What is it about?

9. James Andrix - July 25, 2007

Personally, I’m leaning towards an approach to science and scientific education that strongly emphasizes repeating experiments and personal verification.

If we expect someone to believe the earth is round even though they haven’t done the experiment, then we’re not asking them to be scientific, but to trust scientists.

10. Dan - July 25, 2007

If we expect someone to believe the earth is round even though they haven’t done the experiment, then we’re not asking them to be scientific, but to trust scientists.

Sure, there’s trust of scientists – I kind of think of it as trust of doctors (who, incidentally, trust scientifically published results themselves). Why are people willing to trust their lives to a doctor’s facts, but not a biologist’s? That makes no sense whatsoever.

11. Dan - July 25, 2007

Oh, and Jordan,
I think that’s a neat little website, but you misrepresent science to reach conclusions that are based on your beliefs. To pretend that science upholds one religion (in this case, Christianity), is a lie. Nothing has ever been found to show that the Christian God is right, or that the Hindu god Vishnu is right, or that the Norse god Odin was right… and putting up a website that pretends that science supports their religion is one step away from the slippery slope of enthocentrism, exclusion, and intolerance of other faiths. And it sure ain’t science.

12. Jordan - July 25, 2007

Okay, so I just read through what you’re about to read through and it may come off as a bit mean. I don’t do a good job at writing what my tone implies…so please don’t read it as if I were yelling or belittling you…I usually type in short form to keep things simple: poor usage of Occam’s razor I guess.

Ethnocentric? Maybe you should look into who supported The Origen of Species when it came out.

Exclusive? Duh, but so are you.

Intolerant? I’ve never read any report of these guys kicking heads in forcing people to believe what they say…look up the definition of tolerance.

Oh no, someone with a presupposition? Are you kidding me? Please point out someone on this planet that has no presupposition and doesn’t use that to view reality. It doesn’t matter if a person has a presupposition, what matters is if they are right or not. Let me ask you a question: Is there a God? Because if you say there isn’t one: that’s a presupposition; if you say there is one: that’s a presupposition; if you say you don’t know: and your telling the truth: then why not go to this research and legitimitely check it out?

Jordan

13. Dan - July 25, 2007

“Ethnocentric? Maybe you should look into who supported The Origen of Species when it came out.”

Like who? Please tell me this isn’t another trip on the “social darwinism” strawman express…

“Exclusive? Duh, but so are you.”

Why is science exclusive? How is it exclusive – when say, in a science class – you’re pointed out for having an incorrect answer? No… science is both egalitarian and a meritocracy, where empiricism and demonstrability are the limits of its exclusiveness.

“Intolerant? I’ve never read any report of these guys kicking heads in forcing people to believe what they say…look up the definition of tolerance.”

Sure… creationists never threaten biologists.

14. Dan - July 25, 2007

Not sure what happened to my first attempt at a response, but here it is again…

“Ethnocentric? Maybe you should look into who supported The Origen of Species when it came out.”

Like who? Please, don’t tell me that this is a reference to the standard creationist strawman of “social Darwinism.”

“Exclusive? Duh, but so are you.”

I think what you meant to say was, that “so is science,” which is a false statement. Science is both egalitarian and a meritocracy, where demonstrability is the limit of its exclusiveness.

“Intolerant? I’ve never read any report of these guys kicking heads in forcing people to believe what they say…look up the definition of tolerance.”

Sure, creationists are never intolerant. Sure.

“It doesn’t matter if a person has a presupposition, what matters is if they are right or not.”

Precisely. And how do you test what is right or not? You experiment. And who experiments? Scientists. Who doesn’t experiment? Creationists.

“Let me ask you a question: Is there a God? Because if you say there isn’t one: that’s a presupposition…”

No, that’s skepticism. But saying that there is no more evidence for the Christian God over any Hindu, Norse, Greek or other gods, or even over fairies and the flying spaghetti monster, is a statement of fact.

“…if you say you don’t know: and your telling the truth: then why not go to this research and legitimitely check it out?”

Sure, and I don’t know about fairies either. I don’t know that they don’t exist – they very well could exist.

15. Dan - July 25, 2007

Dang – what’d I do? My responses aren’t showing up…

16. Joe - July 26, 2007

Are they all there now, Dan? I guess sometimes there is a delay even when I don’t have to approve them.

17. Dan - July 26, 2007

Nope, but I saved the last comment in a .txt file, so here it is again:

Jordan,
“Ethnocentric? Maybe you should look into who supported The Origen of Species when it came out.”

Like who? Please, don’t tell me that this is a reference to the standard creationist strawman of “social Darwinism.”

“Exclusive? Duh, but so are you.”

I think what you meant to say was, that “so is science,” which is a false statement. Science is both egalitarian and a meritocracy, where demonstrability and empiricism is the limit of its exclusiveness.

“Intolerant? I’ve never read any report of these guys kicking heads in forcing people to believe what they say…look up the definition of tolerance.”

Sure, creationists are never intolerant. Sure.

“It doesn’t matter if a person has a presupposition, what matters is if they are right or not.”

Precisely. And how do you test what is right or not? You experiment. And who experiments? Scientists. Who doesn’t experiment? Creationists.

“Let me ask you a question: Is there a God? Because if you say there isn’t one: that’s a presupposition…”

No, that’s skepticism. But saying that there is no more evidence for the Christian God over any Hindu, Norse, Greek or other gods, or even over fairies and the flying spaghetti monster, is a statement of fact.

“…if you say you don’t know: and your telling the truth: then why not go to this research and legitimitely check it out?”

Sure, and I don’t know about fairies either. I don’t know that they don’t exist – they very well could exist.

18. Dan - July 26, 2007

Just tried again, still not showing up. Maybe something (a word, or the two hyperlinks) might be getting the comment caught in spam filters.

19. Jordan - July 26, 2007

You can e-mail me if you like and I can try to post them for you.
My email is Jordan*dot*Esmay*at*usd*dot*edu
Jordan

20. Joe - July 26, 2007

Sorry, they got marked as spam, but it didn’t tell me about it until just now.

Jordan: I did some spam proofing of your email address. I am not comfortable just putting them out for the bots to collect.

21. Dan - July 26, 2007

Oh cool – thanks Joe! Also, Jordan – I just got done emailing it to you, and took the liberty to elaborate on a couple things in the email.

Thanks.

22. Jordan - July 26, 2007

Hey, thank you both…I didn’t get the e-mail though.

I’ll comment later with a little more elaboration but here’s a start.

How is it that if one believes in God that, that nullifies one’s being a scientist? (so long as they are a scientist: I don’t mean that I am one but the people at reasons.org are) Can only those who don’t believe in a creation be scientists? That sounds like discrimination.

23. Dan - July 27, 2007

Strange that you didn’t receive the email – maybe my laptop has been “acting up” again…

“How is it that if one believes in God that, that nullifies one’s being a scientist?”

Well, it doesn’t nullify it for some. For instance, Stephen Jay Gould defended the belief in God by what he called “Non-Overlapping Magisteria (NOMA).” I never bought into that myself, as you’ve noticed. The reason is that, I think it’s clear that gods disappear as soon as you stop believing in them – Vishnu doesn’t exist for you, because you don’ believe in that god, but for a Hindu, Vishnu is very very real. Similarly for the Greek god Zeus – although there are no “Zeusists” today, 2500 years ago you would have found people defending the existence of Zeus quite ardently, just as you defend the existence of the Christian god. And further, all of it requires that you suspend skepticism and scrutiny on that one subject (i.e. your god or gods).

Discrimination though? I don’t think so – I wouldn’t call it discrimination to deny a geocentrist from getting an astronomy degree, just as a flat-earther or young earth creationist has no business being a geologist, or an alchemist a chemist. When religious beliefs directly interact with known scientific facts, it’s not discrimination in any way whatsoever, merely a statement of fact, that such people do not have the capacity to become scientists.

For more about what scientists find palatable as far as religion goes, check out the recent survey on Evolution, religion, and free will.

24. Joe - July 27, 2007

This is why reasons.org is not doing science: “Every month’s new discoveries about the cosmos, largest scale to smallest, add more evidence to the already weighty case for a transcendent, personal Creator, none other than the God of the Bible.” and “Reasons To Believe is an international, interdenominational ministry established to communicate the uniquely factual basis for belief in the Bible as the error-free Word of God”

Science does not operate with a conclusion decided upon ahead of time. That is the path to confirmation bias. What do you think the scientists at reasons.org do with evidence they find that seems to contradict the “error-free Word of God”?

25. Dan - July 27, 2007

Exactly. And the entirely point of groups like Reasons To Believe, the Discovery Institute, Creation Museums, Answers in Genesis and ARN is explicitly not to advance understanding, but to proselytize.

26. Jordan - July 27, 2007

So they shouldn’t be taken seriously because they are trying to back up what they already believe? If that’s so, then do you hold the same scrutiny to scientists who do the opposite? Such as Richard Dawkins…who I commented on before about him going around proselytizing.

27. Dan - July 27, 2007

Partly, yes. But also partly because such people have made it abundantly clear that no evidence will convince them otherwise.

Dawkins, scientists in general, and myself (who am not far off from Dawkins) would gladly change their minds with enough evidence. Granted, sometimes even the best scientists hold on to their conclusions for longer than reasonable – scientists are still human, afterall, and can err – but they base their judgements on empirical evidence.

Clearly, this is not so with creationists, flat-earthers, geocentrists, and the like.

28. Dan - July 28, 2007

Jordan,
Also, the question can be nicely framed by this flow chart. Or, if you’d prefer, the contrast between ontology (religion) vs. epistemology (science).

29. esmay - July 29, 2007

ontology and epistimology…like the definitions that you pointed to…have to do with philosophy. And the flow chart is really sad.

Joe,
I’d like to apologize for my previous statements on pure reason…I agree with you, and turns out agreed with you from the start. Sorry about that.

30. Joe - July 30, 2007

Is that you, Jordan?

No need to apologize. A simple misunderstanding I am sure. Thanks

31. Dan - July 30, 2007

“ontology and epistimology…like the definitions that you pointed to…have to do with philosophy. And the flow chart is really sad.”

Indeed – the disparity between the philosophies of science and religion is quite sad, as are the religious adherents who put ideology above factual accuracy.

32. esmay - July 31, 2007

Sorry, but I have no clue what you just said. Apparantly I misunderstood your first argument. Are you saying that ontology is the philosophy of religion and epistimology is the philosophy of science?

And yes, that was/is me.

33. esmay - July 31, 2007

And what do you mean by “put ideology above factual accuracy”?

34. esmay - July 31, 2007

P.S. Joe, I’m surprised no one else has commented on your “deconversion” post.

35. Dan - July 31, 2007

Yes, I am saying that ontology is the philosophy of religion and epistimology is the philosophy of science, in essence.

By “put ideology above factual accuracy,” I’m referring to such well-known examples as creationism, geocentrism, and flat-earthism, to name three. Examples of the latter two existed up until the early 1900’s still, and touted scriptural references, as “evidence” of their veracity. For some reason, creationism and its variants still hold on to this day, despite the tremendous confirmation of common descent from virtually every field of science.

36. esmay - July 31, 2007

Okay, you’re going to have to define creationism, geocentrism and flat-earthism. The latter two being one’s we probably agree on…

37. Dan - July 31, 2007

Do I really need to define these terms?

Creationism – I assume you’re asking whether I mean it in the specific sense of the account of Genesis, or something more general? – I mean the more general case, being any invokation of special creation. That is, the argument that things (esp. those being biological) were specially created de novo, precluding descent with modification.

Geocentrism – the view that the Earth is the center of the known universe.

Flat-Earthism – the view that the Earth is flat, unmoving, is held in place atop pillars, and has four literal corners.

38. Jordan - July 31, 2007

Actually, yes, you do need to define them; not becuase I don’t understand what they mean, but becuase I don’t know what you understand about those terms.

I’m guessing you would classify me under creationist. But I’m guessing that you have a misunderstanding of what that all entails (at least from the Christian perspective).

And, geocentrism, flat-earthism, and creationism are not mutually inclusive terms.

Just becuase one is an anaturalist (a disbelief that everything came about “naturally”: with out a creator) does not mean they believe what you are ascribing as flat-earthism or geocentrism.

Also, I wouldn’t say “esp. those being biological” becuase there really is no “especially”: creation is all inclusive.

39. Jordan - July 31, 2007

Hey Joe and Dan,
What do you do for a living–other than breathe, randomly move about, and rag on theists :) ?

I’m an elementary education major and emergency medical technician.

40. Dan - July 31, 2007

Yet you won’t (or can’t) explain what I misunderstand?

No, I understand very well that the creationist viewpoint has its holistic value to certain groups in society (ontology), and that those groups don’t really care about evaluating the basis for how they know what they know (epistemology), and therefore don’t care very much whether their views are true (i.e. correct) so long as they’re “True.”

“Anaturalist?” Did you just make up a word? If so, please define how “anatural” is different from “supernatural.”

And I did not say that creationism was inclusive of flat-earthism or geocentrism, I said that the most literal interpretation of the Bible was inclusive of all three. Whether you interpret just one or all three to be correct is up to you, but I was not saying that you, personally, interpret all three to be correct.

And lastly, yes, the “esp. those being biological” was superfluous – but still, it was useful, because creationists target biology above other disciplines.

41. Dan - July 31, 2007

Usually with these online discussions, I’m either procrastinating or between waiting for experiments to progress – but I’m a postdoctoral associate doing research on cell biology. My current project involves studying the behavior of mouse neural stem cells.

42. Jordan - July 31, 2007

Sorry, what I meant to say was I’m guessing that you have a missunderstanding, that’s becuase you group those three ideas together. I defined “anaturalism”…it was partly a joke…partly :)

Can you show me how the Bible is inclusive of all three, or just the last two?

Also, can you give an example of genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information of the genome? Sorry, I jump around a lot.

43. Dan - July 31, 2007

That’s okay – to the last question first… As I really have a problem with the term “genomic information” (it’s not a term that geneticists use at all – too abstract and unquantifiable) – no, I can’t give an example of such a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process. The closest I can come to that are by bringing up gene duplication and neofunctionalization, which I’d be happy to discuss examples of.

To how the Bible is inclusive of geocentrism and flat-earthism: descriptions fitting both terms can be found in the scriptures, especially (but not exclusively) in the OT. Some examples of scriptures pointing towards one or both of them:

The Bible depicts the earth an firm, immovable, the “foundation” of creation:
1. “Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth.” (Heb. 1:10)
2. The sun, moon, and stars were created after the firm “foundation of the earth” was laid. (Gen. 1:9-18)
3. “He established the earth upon its foundations, so that it will not totter, forever and ever.” (Ps. 104:5)
4. “The world is firmly established, it will not be moved.” (Ps. 93:1 & 1 Chron. 16:30)
5. “For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he set the world on them.” (I Sam. 2:8)
6. “It is I who have firmly set its pillars.” (Ps. 75:3)
7. “Who stretched out the heavens…and established the world.” (Jer. 10:12)

The Bible never depicts the earth as moving, just “shaken,” as in an “earthquake”:
1. “The earth quaked, the foundations of heaven were trembling.”
2. “The earth quakes, the heavens tremble.” (Joel 2:10)
3. “I shall make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken from its place.” (Isa. 13:13)
4. “There was a great earthquake…and the stars of the sky fell…as if shaken from a tree.” (Rev. 6:12,13)

Yes, those can be taken metaphorically, but then again, so can the entire first chapter of Genesis…

44. Jordan - July 31, 2007

So if they can be taken metaphorically then where’s the argument? I’m not saying if all of them fall under the classification of metaphor or not, but I’m saying if they can be taken metaphorically you really have no argument by positing them as all literal.

45. Jordan - July 31, 2007

And actually, my advice for you is to question, that is personally question (in a discussion) scientists who are theistic…becuase really, it’s an area that I ought to bow out becuase I’m not a scientist and am more apt to say something wrong…I’m more inclined to talk philosophicaly, though I’m not a philosopher either, but have a better understanding in that field.

46. Jordan - July 31, 2007

If you really want to learn about a theistic worldview from a philosophical standpoint, I suggest reading/listening to Alvin Plantinga: which you probably won’t like (due to your previous comment on ontology).

47. Jordan - July 31, 2007

Even though Plantinga is a philosopher of epistemology.

48. Jordan - July 31, 2007

You probably have already read this, but anyway:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_argument_against_naturalism

49. Dan - July 31, 2007

44 – The point – (1) that Creation can be taken metaphorically as well; (2) that there were once people who took those passages literally, as recently as the early 1900s; and (3) Biblical Literalism is inclusive of geocentrism and flat-earthism, or it wouldn’t be literalism (yes, I realize that there are a great many Biblical Literalists out there who would say that those verses are not to be taken literally, but that’s not logically consistent, is it?)

45 – Agreed, and I have discussed this with some. I think I mentioned Non-Overlapping Magisteria somewhere early in this thread, which is a common position for theistic evolution.

46 – Yes, Plantinga basis his arguments on ontological categories and induction. As a result, he’s quite convincing, but has the benefit of being unprovable/infalsifiable – a nice position to be in.

47 – Plantinga is indeed known for what he called “reformed epistemology”, which:

seeks to defend faith as rational by demonstrating that epistemic propositions of theistic belief are properly basic and hence justified; as opposed to the truth of theistic belief. Reformed epistemology grew out of the parity argument presented by Alvin Plantinga in his book God and Other Minds (1967). There Plantinga concluded that belief in other minds is rational; hence, belief in God is also rational.

Yet that, and Plantinga’s rationalizations stemming from this argument, are based upon ontological assumptions – which again, are nicely both unprovable and infalsifiable. He’s quite slick like that.

48 – Yep, seen it.

50. Dan - July 31, 2007

Jordan,
To follow up on the Plantinga & epistemology bit – I would add that Plantinga’s “epistemology” is pretty paltry. Epistemology as a philosophy revolves around the question of how we know what we know.

So, how do we know what we know? Well the best way that I know is by observation (i.e. empirically). We observe, measure, compare, corroborate, and test characteristics of what it is we’re seeking to understand.

This is radically different from the “epistemology” that Plantinga offers, if you want to call it that, which is closer to mysticism and ontology. It relies exclusively on intuition and presumption.

Just thought I’d add that.

Also, Joe – sorry for monopolizing the conversation with Jordan! :-)

51. Joe - August 1, 2007

No problem. I am following with interest.

52. Jordan - August 1, 2007

Last night I came to the realization (came to terms with reality) that I’m having this conversation to simply argue and I want to apologize for that. I didn’t start out that way and hopefully will not end that way. It seems I have some reading up to do and a lot of more praying to do about our conversation (not that I be right, but that I have a humble, non-arogant, unprideful heart about it). It may be a few days before I come back, but I will come back, but I will be back…also, I will be gone for the second week and a couple days in August: roughly 8-18. A friend and I are going hiking for a week out in Yellowstone and then I come back to finish buying an engagement ring and figuring out where and when to propose. But I digress.

I’m interested in who I am talking to. That doesn’t mean you have to tell me your names or where you live or anything like that. But, I don’t like impersonal conversations…funny that I started one. You guys should e-mail me…though I can understand if you think it best not to either, so I’m not going to be hurt if you decide it’s too problematic.

Talk to you in a few days,
Jordan

53. Jordan - August 1, 2007

I spelled arrogant wrong.

54. Dan - August 1, 2007

Likewise Jordan, I hope that I remain open-minded to these issues and new information as I learn of it (I hope we all do) – and for myself, let me reiterate my opinion of religion, that you can understand where I’m coming from: religion is most definitely not about reason or rationality. It’s about emotional and social well-being far more than rationality. There are a lot of good reasons to be religious however, and those vary from person to person – but they’re all very personal reasons.

Can science and religion coexist harmoniously though? Probably not, in my opinion, because of the fundamentally different ways of thinking altogether. Does that mean that one has less value than the other? I doubt that too.

Anyway, I’d like to invite you to stop by my blog sometime in the next week or so, where I’ll be posting an essay that I’ve been working on. The essay is for a class that I’ve been sitting in on for the past several weeks (not taking for credit that is), structured around the question “Is the capacity for religious experience adaptive?”

Thanks,
-Dan

55. Dan - August 3, 2007

Joe and Jordan,
If you’re interested, I now have my article up:
Religion and Ethnocentrism: Is Religion Adaptive?

Cheers!


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