Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Apt Comments

From this thread:

Consider:

1. Anyone who holds that life could have developed spontaneously here on Earth would likely concede that in principle it could also have developed at one or more other locations in the universe. True? (If false, the claim Earth is in principle unique in the universe would be quite interesting.)

2. If life advanced here, it could have advanced elsewhere. True?

3. We are approaching the ability to manipulate and perhaps even create biological organisms. If we could do so, then there is no reason in principle that another advanced life could not have done so. True?

4. We are already potentially introducing life into other worlds, e.g. Mars, though we have not done so intentionally. That being so, it is possible in principle that others from elsewhere could have done so here. True?

5. Ergo, it is possible in principle that the biological life we see here on Earth may have been designed rather than being the result of entirely undirected processes (just as Dawkins acknowledges in Expelled).

6. In short, it may be the case that our biological life is truly designed in regard to its origin, not merely apparently designed.

7. If so, it may be hopelessly futile to try to distort and disfigure our understanding of undirected processes in the vain attempt to force them to account for what are actually the products of intelligent agency.

For the sake of a proper and correct understanding of undirected processes, such as chemical processes, it is essential that science must be able to distinguish between artifacts and the actual results of undirected processes.

“Can undirected chemical processes plausibly create peer-replicating RNA from scratch?” is not a question that can be addressed by a religion class or any other non-science class. Neither is “Can undirected chemical processes invent symbolic codes and encode symbolic information?” Likewise for other relevant questions.

These must be addressed and answered within science. If the answer is “No”, the best causal inference science can make is that biological life is an artifact of intelligent agency, i.e. it is designed.

This is highly pertinent to science and to sound scientific investigation.

Imagine for a moment the distortion to our understanding of the Earth if we were forbidden to consider the moon when explaining tides? Excluding intelligent agency from consideration likewise distorts our research about undirected processes, including Darwinistic processes.

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The argument being made here specifically has nothing to do about educational systems denying Christian doctrine. But rather that objectively thinking scientists who don’t fit into the hive mind of Darwinistic society are making more and more discoveries that lead them to question fundamental holes in Darwinistic theory.

You do not have to be a creationist or even a supporter of ID or any other alternative stance in order to hold a theory up to scientific scrutiny. You do not require religious motives to be able to critically question a theory that is gradually going down hill.

The fact is that a major part of the true spirit of science is being quelled by the suppression of critical scientific freedom of inquiry. This is the focus of the movie, not the scientific details that serve to challenge Darwinism on a fundamental level (which, by the way there are many).

I’ll say it again in this fashion, you could be the most influential scientific proponent of evolution one minute, and then make new discoveries that challenge evolution on a fundamental level the next minute. If you brought up these new discoveries, questions, scrutiny, and/or critical analysis, you’d be thrown right back into the cage with the rest of the dissenters and even possibly labeled as religiously motivated. Regardless of how much scientific weight your argument carries, evolution has become such a dogma that it can’t so much as be questioned in modern day society without serious repercussions.

THIS is not science.

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The notion that no discussion of religion should be allowed in a science classroom is recent aberration that should end. All important disciplines overlap. That is why truly educated people understand such subjects as the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of science, while uneducated people have scarcely even heard of them. It is one thing to bracket various areas of study in order to focus the mind, it is quite another thing to radically separate them as if one had absolutely nothing to do with the other. This attempt to “purify” science from religion was introduced by elitist power brokers who want to create a nation of myopic specialists—faithful little worker bees who will follow the party line and avoid the hard questions.

This artificial line of demarcation among disciplines is one of the reasons why a college education today is equivalent to a high school education of past generations. Indeed, many of the important questions occur at the intersection of the various specializations such as [sociology/anthropology] , [[paleontology/archeology] ,[ psychology/social psychology/sociology], [biology/embryology/fetology], and [theology/philosophy/ science], just to name a few.

That is also why some of the most na├»ve questions come from specialists who have never even begun to enter into the life of the mind, much less consider the various meta-theories, world views, or systems of thought that frame these issues.. Notice, for example, how often some raise that mindless objection about Dembski’s discussion on ID and ‘Logos’ theory,” attempting to prove that ID is faith based. What do you say to those who know nothing about contextual frameworks or overlapping paradigms?. How do you debate with those who are clueless about the theological and metaphysical foundations of science? At what point do you stop debating and start the remedial education?

True education is less about accumulating facts and more about mastering paradigms that allow the intelligent processing of facts. Without some knowledge of the big picture and the ability to see how the pieces of the puzzle fit together, a man is a slave, even if he doesn’t know it. Indeed, I have noticed that those who know the least are the most cynical. They are the ones who flood the internet with spams, militate against freedom of speech, and allow only one perspective on science. They are the one’s who lampoon, persecute, and “expel,” and yes, they are the ones who insist that no discussion of theology and religion should ever take place in a science classroom.

1 comment:

Stephen J. said...

The problem with this chain of reasoning is that it can be equally easily, and equally unfalsifiably, inverted.

Anyone who holds that life could have spontaneously developed for the first time at one or more other locations in the universe would likely concede that in principle it could also have developed spontaneously for the first time here on Earth.

In other words, either life is capable of spontaneously developing from nothing or it is not; it doesn't matter where it happened or when, only whether it did or not. If proof of another species' intervention in Earth-life development emerged, that would "disprove" spontaneous materialistic development only for our planet, not for life in general. And since we cannot feasibly conduct an experiment of sufficient accuracy, scope and duration to match the original situation - i.e. the first emergence of life in the universe - either answer to the question "Can life emerge spontaneously from undirected chemical processes or can it not?" must be unfalsifiable.

All that said, I have as much objection to people proselytizing atheism under the guise of scientific education as I do to people proselytizing a particular religion under that guise, and I have even more objection to "winning" debates by shutting opponents down rather than through honest comparison of arguments. So I can get behind Expelled without having to agree with all its subjects' theories - which is rather the point of a pluralistic society, I think.