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Tony Grist

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Futile [Dec. 13th, 2006|01:49 pm]
Tony Grist
I've been on a message board where Darwinists and Creationists were slugging it out. Ouch, ouch, ouch!

Such dogmatism- on both sides.  But, as one of the posters pointed out, Darwinism is a scientific theory and Intelligent Design is a philosophical theory. They belong in different disciplines. 

It's as if one team turned up for the match in football strip and the other team in cricket whites.
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Comments:
From: frsimon
2006-12-13 12:51 pm (UTC)
In what sense is Intelligent Design a 'philosophical' theory?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-12-13 01:02 pm (UTC)
I know that Intelligent Design is, as presently formulated, a trojan horse for Biblical Fundamentalism, but I'm equating it here with the argument- famously and respectably put forward by Archdeacon Paley- about the Divine Watchmaker.



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[User Picture]From: qatsi
2006-12-13 01:48 pm (UTC)
I like the concept, but I'm not sure how well it works. A theory (of any sort) is something that might be wrong, surely?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-12-13 03:29 pm (UTC)
Oh yes.

Any theory could be wrong.

Actually, I'm not sure we have anything but theories, do we? Some of our theories fit the evidence better than others, but is there anything we think we know of which we can be absolutely sure?
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[User Picture]From: qatsi
2006-12-13 05:18 pm (UTC)
I'm absolutely sure that any theory could be wrong :)

Euclid had his axioms - things which were self-evidently true, but even they started to be picked away by geometers(geometricians?) in the nineteenth century. Rationally, I think we can only place limits on certainty (a theory that is observed to be substantially correct can probably only be wrong in a certain limited way).
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[User Picture]From: red_girl_42
2006-12-13 06:08 pm (UTC)
A theory (of any sort) is something that might be wrong, surely?

Sure, it could be. But scientifically, to achieve the status of "theory," an idea has to have huge amounts of evidence supporting it. You don't just get to be a theory because someone had a hunch.

Sure, evolution is "just" a theory. So is gravity.

Intelligent Design, however, has not achieved the level of theory yet, scientifically speaking.
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[User Picture]From: arielstarshadow
2006-12-13 02:49 pm (UTC)
Bear in mind that those who believe in Intelligent Design view it as scientifically as those who believe in Darwinism.

Honestly, in my mind, science and religion are not mutually exclusive. I've never understood why it's so hard for people to not see that the two fit together perfectly.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-12-13 03:40 pm (UTC)
The Independent Designers are wrong then. For something to be science it has to be testable and
their theory isn't.

I agree about Science and Religion. There's no reason why one shouldn't be a Theist and a Darwinian- and lots of people are. I think Darwin himself may have been. What isn't compatible with Science is the sort of religion that says "my very old book is a better guide to the physical universe than your up-to-the-minute research".
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[User Picture]From: red_girl_42
2006-12-13 06:12 pm (UTC)
Bear in mind that those who believe in Intelligent Design view it as scientifically as those who believe in Darwinism.

They like to *claim* that it has as much scientific evidence behind it, but it doesn't. According to the standards of science--that an idea has to be testable, and then stand up to *repeated* testing--Intelligent Design simply falls flat.

But like you, I don't see why science and religion have to be mutually exclusive. The existence of evolution in no way negates the existence of God. Nor does evolution answer all of the questions that religion tries to answer.

Many scientists, including Darwin himself, are very religious. The only thing that evolution negates is a completely literal translation of the Bible.
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[User Picture]From: red_girl_42
2006-12-13 06:05 pm (UTC)
I hate the term "Darwinist." It implies (as the creationists are trying to do) that it's just a belief system. I'm not a "Darwinist." I'm a rational human being who has looked at the scientifice evidence and determined that it overwhelmingly supports evolution. Therefore, I will accept evolution until the evidence overwhelmingly convinces me otherwise.

Since the "evidence" put forth by creationists is not and never has been scientifically sound, I'm pretty sure I will be supporting evolution for the rest of my days.
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[User Picture]From: pickwick
2006-12-13 06:36 pm (UTC)
Totally agree with this. We don't call people who believe in gravity "Newtonists".
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-12-14 11:12 am (UTC)
But don't you think that Evolutionary theory is propounded a little like a religion? To question it is to invite contempt. I'm not a Biblical fundamentalist (I'm not any sort of religious believer) but I have a nagging feeling that Evolution isn't the whole story, that there's more to find out...
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[User Picture]From: pickwick
2006-12-13 06:57 pm (UTC)
As someone else pointed out, they're using completely definitions of the word "theory". I suppose they're both trying to impose their own definition on the other, but the Creationists seem to be incapable of realising that a scientific "theory" is different, and that just because something says it's a theory that does not mean that there's no more evidence for it than for Creationism. Kind of the reverse, in fact.

I never understood the Watchmaker theory, really - it just seemed to me to move the questions back a step. ("So what created the creator?") Just another Turtles all the way down thing.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2006-12-14 11:20 am (UTC)
No theory- scientific or religious or philosophical can cope with the ultimate questions- like "what existed before the universe did?" Maybe such questions are meaningless.
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2006-12-13 09:27 pm (UTC)
"It's as if one team turned up for the match in football strip and the other team in cricket whites." That's it in a nutshell.
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