I had an epiphany

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Wened
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I had an epiphany

Post by Wened » Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:06 pm

Hello

I had noticed something interesting and after few days it came to me that it's bloody genius.

Long story short. In last few years i witnessed various discussions between Evolutionists and Nutjobs (proponents of intelligent design). So i'm quite familiar with all the arguments, rebuttals and dirty tricks the other side has. I even once tried myself to have such discussion but it was too frustrating for me and i withdrawn from it.

Few days ago i was reading a comment section below some YouTube video and some creationist asked an evolutionist if he believes in evolution. That evolutionist answered "Of course i don't. But I understand it" (Not exactly in these words I'm afraid). It was funny.

Today i understood that by replacing "I believe in evolution" with "I understand evolution" we can basically score points before proper discussion even starts. They have it harder to accuse anyone of having blind faith in Darwinism and it very popular trick among them.

Furthermore it lets us to change rules of this discussion from what they want:

"We have totally valid scientific theory of intelligent design and will criticize evolution without understanding basics of it"

to what we want:

"We understand evolution and You do not. Can You prove it is otherwise?"


I'm not sure if it's anything new. Just needed to share my observation.

Bye
"They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth." - George RR Martin
Ygern
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Ygern » Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:41 pm

I think you are probably right, but as you point out the "you believe in Darwinism" accusation is just a trick, or logical fallacy; and the theists who use it are in fact missing one vital point:

Even if we were people who blindly believed in Evolution, worshiped small statues of Darwin and prayed to the Missing Link seven times a day it wouldn't help Creationists "argument" one bit. It doesn't mean that Creationism is true, it doesn't even mean that there is a remote chance that Creationism is true.

So in essence, this is a type of ad hominem attack against people who don't believe Creationism. It's trying to discredit people who understand the science. It doesn't in fact say anything that discredits the truth of evolution and it says even less about the intellectually bankrupt proposition of Creationism / Intelligent Design / Irreducible Complexity.

"We understand evolution and You do not. Can You prove it is otherwise?" is 100% correct, but it won't make any difference to the theist who has been convinced by his church to go out & battle the evil evolutionists. It won't prevent them from using this tactic at all. It's the only one they have left. They can't prove evolution incorrect but it doesn't stop them from repeating the same old refuted arguments. They haven't any alternative testable theory either no matter how many articles William Dembski writes.

This is not a battle of two equal theories, it's about trying to silence and possibly assassinate the characters of people who teach evolution by right-wing fanatical Christians. Therefore there is not much point in trying to engage one of them in an argument. It is a far better tactic to educate yourself and those around as well as possible about the science and evidence behind evolution. Leave the fanatics to themselves.
The universe is huge and old, and rare things happen all the time ~ Lawrence Krauss
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Ygern
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Ygern » Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:53 pm

Example of Dembski's arguments & why they don't work: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com ... nt-design/
More on attempts to weaken the theory of evolution: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com ... e-quickly/
More on the Creationism movement: http://pandasthumb.org/archives/what-mo ... eationism/
More on the evidence for evolution: http://www.talkorigins.org/
The universe is huge and old, and rare things happen all the time ~ Lawrence Krauss
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Wened
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Wened » Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:13 pm

You are of course right. What i really want to point out is that by saying that we believe in evolution instead of saying that we understand the theory we commit simple mistake that could be avoided without any effort on our side.
Imagine someone who is on the fence about this whole matter and he keeps hearing us say "Believe". Maybe we could "save" few undecided/misinformed fellows if we would make our stance clearer. Maybe if we give creationists less occasions for these fallacies they will need to resort to even dumber arguments.

I You know the other side is going to attack no matter what You do, it does not mean you should left Your gates open.
"They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth." - George RR Martin
Mirthomaniac
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Mirthomaniac » Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:20 pm

We will all agree that it is impossible to 'believe' in something that you know to be true. You simply acknowledge it.

In a discussion I had with a really curious and open-minded Jewish man on Reddit, I pointed to something he would definitely understand about why knowing something to be true has nothing to do with 'belief': the exponential function. He, being a graduate in mathematics, recognized how amazing it is that there is a function that changes at a rate exactly equal to its value. Would I believe this if it were simply postulated without proof? I would struggle.

In fact, I have 'struggled' to comprehend the idea that there is a 'base' rate of growth for a continuously compounding process. But I can pull out a page of graph paper, do the basic calculus, see the multiple proofs and subsequently accept it, irrespective of what I 'believe'.

But as Ygern says, none of these carefully pondered arguments matter. These are people who have been taught to see reason as an attack on faith. There is no reasoning with such people.
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Ygern » Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:17 am

I completely agree that using the words "I believe in evolution" is just asking for trouble if you are talking to an opportunistic creationist, but then again belief is not really the dirty word that they like to pretend it is. They believe, they just believe irrationally in an ideology without evidence.

One can hold reasonable, rational beliefs too such as believing that Mount Everest is the highest peak in the Himalayas - without having measured it myself, without even knowing the exact height, without being able to identify it on sight I can believe quite reasonably that this is a fact. I think the same goes for a lot of people who accept the theory of evolution to be a fact. Dan Dennett gave a very interesting talk on different types of belief.

I myself also try to be careful about using the word "belief" for the very reasons you have pointed out, but in the end I doubt it makes a difference. Examine what theists are trying to do when they raise this line of argument:

Are they:
- saying that belief is wrong? No - they believe themselves. Faith is in fact the heart of why they do what they do.
- saying that your belief is equal to their belief? No - they think their belief is better than yours
- proving that there is no evidence for evolution? No.
- proving that evolution has some major problems? No.
- proving there is evidence for creationism? No.

So what does the Creationist argument really boil down to?
A: evolutionists believe the same way that fundamentalist Christians believe
B: therefore Creationism is an equal theory to Evolution
C: therefore Creationism wins

The argument doesn't make any logical sense. A & B are demonstrably wrong because of all the evidence for evolution, and zero evidence for any alternative "theory". C is a non-sequitur based on wishful thinking. You're not going to convince Creationists. But you can convince people who may not have examined the evidence or arguments themselves. They are far more likely to respond to evidence & logic though :)
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Ter
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Ter » Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:36 pm

I've discussed evolution with a number of people and I have learned to stress that "I accept evolution", it's worth adding "on the basis of the available evidence" too. If you fall into the trap of agreeing when they ask if you 'believe' in evolution you are setting yourself up for the old Darwinism/Evolutionism/Atheism is just another belief system runaround.

Yeah, it's a silly word game, but you save yourself a lot of unnecessary explaining by putting this one to bed early.
Wened
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Wened » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:08 pm

Ter wrote:"I accept evolution"
And they ACCEPT Jesus Christ as their savior :)
Ter wrote:Yeah, it's a silly word game, but you save yourself a lot of unnecessary explaining by putting this one to bed early.
Exactly.

But by saying that you understand evolution You not only state what is your position but You also suggest that they do not understand this theory.
"They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth." - George RR Martin
Tulip1
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Tulip1 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:34 pm

since I agree with Ter that is a silly word game I think Wened is absolutly right, Understand is a simple brilliant word to put the discussion right on the track you want it.
Pope says atheists pick & choose their morals. Correct. Today I will be frowning on child abuse & not having a problem with homosexuality.
Wened
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Re: I had an epiphany

Post by Wened » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:50 pm

Tulip1 wrote:Understand is a simple brilliant word to put the discussion right on the track you want it.
Thank You sir. You just typed exactly what i think, but for some reason was unable to put it in right sentence.
"They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth." - George RR Martin
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