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What is the moral of the story? Is it that making up anecdotal stories about events that never happened makes a point about the origins of species? It doesn't. A story like this "means" something only to those who've already decided that they're satisfied with stories instead of facts. That tells us much about why people believe in certain religions, but it tells us nothing about what is objectively real.

Speaking of bears eating people, is there is a god who created our world in such a way that most of the sentient creatures in it would have to kill and eat each other to survive? That's another excellent question, which Matthew asked Paszkiewicz in class (wonder where he got it!): If there is a god who made all the creatures on Earth, why do most of the sentient ones have to kill and eat each other to survive? Why would a loving and omnipotent god make the world like that? Free will is no answer, because according to Christian theology, the animals did nothing wrong, and for that matter neither did any of us before we were born. Even Paszkiewicz admitted in open class after Matthew pressed him on it that he didn't know why "God did it that way." Does anyone who believes that the world was created by an omniscient and omnipotent god have an answer that makes sense? If so, what is it?

Of course, none of this has anything to do with the facts that prove the truth of evolutionary theory.

Come on Paul, I know you loved the story...lol!

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Guest Guest
One important issue highlighted by the proselytizing teacher episode is the relationship between science and theism. (I use the term theism instead of religion because not all religions invite a conflict. Buddhism, for example, does not propose the existence of a god, and Humanism is a religion one of whose highest values is the scientific method.) This is a topic that is increasingly gaining attention across the world, but perhaps not so much attention locally. So I wanted to post this thread to see if we might discuss it.

For me, the most commonly overlooked point, fundamental to this relationship between science and theism, is that their methods of thought are profoundly different:

1. All scientific truths are provisional, meaning they are always subject to further evidence, examination and change. By contrast, while theistic beliefs change in practice over time, many theists claim their beliefs to be unchanging and eternal.

2. Science begins with a hypothesis, and proceeds through the collection of data toward theory. By contrast, theism begins with doctrines and dogmas, sometimes looking at evidence along the way but sometimes ignoring the evidence to preserve current belief. Interesting enough, scientists sometimes do that too, but once it is recognized, it is considered a departure from the scientific method.

3. Sometimes hard-line theists (not all theists fit this description!) mock people of science because their theories are constantly changing over a broad span of time. What those changes represent is growth. There's little to be proud of in never changing. It means there is no growth. The hard-line theistic argument assumes that the natural state of affairs is for humans to know the final answers to the greatest of all questions, when the fact is we don't even know what questions to ask or how to ask them.

4. Many theists can reconcile their beliefs with science. For example, some have no difficulty accepting evolution of species and still believing in the Bible — they interpret the Bible symbolically and spiritually. Others take a hard-line, literalistic approach to scriptural interpretation. Inevitably they run into major conflicts with science, and inevitably over time, they lose. Copernicus' idea that the earth revolves around the sun is one example. Today, evolution of species is another.

I'd be interested in people's thoughts on evolution of species as it pertains to the relationship between science and theism, or for that matter between science and religion. Most people do not realize how thoroughly well established evolutionary theory is, how thoroughly modern biology depends on it, or how many of the recent medical advances that have extended lifespans in the developed world by more than a decade in the past generation or two are based on it. They also do not realize the size or extent of the enormous data base that now supports evolutionary theory, or how many different ways the theory is tied together and proved beyond any reasonable doubt to most knowledgeable scientists all over the world. This is among the most striking points listening to the early sessions in Matt's "history" class this season.

Finally, that word "theory." The common misconception is that "theory" implies an absence of proof. Just the opposite is true. A hypothesis is an organized explanation of phenomena or events that lacks sufficient supporting evidence to be considered reliable. A theory is an organized explanation that has sufficient supporting evidence to be considered reliable. A theory can also be a fact. A hypothesis can also be a fact. The difference is in the degree and quality of the evidence supporting it.

Of course, that last sentence will not satisfy those who demand final answers even as we just begin to ask the questions. That last statement is a good illustration of the difference in the scientific and hard-line theistic modes of thought. It also explains why having a discussion with some of the folks who post here is practically impossible.

Dear Mr. Scientist, I would like to know if you really believe that you came from the monkeys? Beacuse I know I didn't....After reading your comments and looking at your son's pictures, I am starting to believe that some people probably came from monkeys....you know the evolution! lol!! Also, what happened to the evolution? The monkeys all of sudden stopped becoming humans?

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Guest Paul
Did you miss the offer of evidence ("I could draw on plenty more")?

Yet you ignored it.  Why am I not surprised?

I didn't miss the so-called "evidence" and didn't ignore it. I pointed out how irrelevant your plate tectonic paper was. The problem was you didn't read the paper you linked.

I know what I'm talking about, which is going to S**K for you and your reputation on this board (heh--"Guest").

The intellectual level of your posts was never high to begin wtith. But now it actually look like it comes from a grade school student. "S**K"? Attempt to make fun of me cause I'm using a guest login? What's next? Screaming "YOU LOSE AND I WIN" perhaps?

Absolutely.  They agree with me.

And you'd be delusional.

Apparently you have a reading comprehension problem where you fail to realize that Paul is the one arguing against relativity of motion.  He says that acceleration can allow science to fix an objective (absolute) point of reference.

Obviously you have a reading comprehension problem. My arguments were never directed at Paul. You are the one who argued, and I quoted, that "If position is relative, then two objects whose position in relation to one another changes in a non-uniform manner may still be described in terms of either object being the fixed stationary point." All I did was to correct your nonsense.

You stopped reading too quickly:

"After defining his theory of special relativity, Albert Einstein realized that forces felt by objects undergoing constant acceleration are indistinguishable from those in a gravitational field, and thus defined general relativity that also explained how gravity's effects could be limited by the speed of light.

Hence an accelerating object experiences a force that will require an additional gravitational force to cancel out. While a stationary object does not. Therefore, your orginal statement "If position is relative, then two objects whose position in relation to one another changes in a non-uniform manner may still be described in terms of either object being the fixed stationary point." is nonsense. And your contention that the geocentric model is equivalent to a heliocentric one is also wrong because the geocentric model never incorporated a compensating gravitational force component.

You lose, and Paul loses.

I was right. I am wasting my time with a grade school kid.

But you're anonymous, which is still wise of you.  You wouldn't want this flub up associated with your real name, I'm sure.

If I were you, I'd be more worried about having to have your name associated with the nonsenses you've been spewing out so far.

Yes.  Did you?

I did recommend the wrong page number, since Adobe has a page number indicator that sometimes misleads.  I should have said see page 7.

Apparently you didn't read it.

Yes, I know what plate tectonics is.  Why do you ask?  The paper is not only about plate tectonics.  Just look at the URL.  It's about Occam's razor.  I was showing how Occam's razor served to distinguish between the geocentric view and the heliocentric view.

Uh, yeah.  Get back to me after you've read page 7.

Yes I did read the paper. Page 7 quoted the opinion of William Derham who died in 1735, long before the development of general relativity and modern physics. How is that relevant?

Guest, it's very simple. Bryan thinks he knows science, but he doesn't. In fact, he sounds a lot like Paszkiewicz. The fact that scientists all over the world are applying evolutionary theory in medicine and other fields, with practical results in everyday life, means nothing to him. His mind is made up.

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I've participated in evolution vs. creationism discussion fora on the internet for a number of years.  My background is in primate evolution. One recognition that is all too often missing among the creationists who confuse religion with science:  faith stands alone, and cannot invoke scientific support.  All efforts at inserting creationism into science undermine real faith.  The intelligent design proponents are destroying faith, and it is only those who are truly thoughtful who recognize how spiritually dangerous the ID movement is.  If they teach people to rely upon empirical evidence for God, then where does that leave pure faith?

Just one question.

How do you define "faith"?

Okay, one more question. :lol:

Is "blind faith" a redundancy, IYO?

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Did you miss the offer of evidence ("I could draw on plenty more")?

Yet you ignored it. Why am I not surprised?

I didn't miss the so-called "evidence" and didn't ignore it. I pointed out how irrelevant your plate tectonic paper was. The problem was you didn't read the paper you linked.

I read it more thoroughly than you did, since I knew what was on page 7 while you did not. That should be obvious to anybody. And how did I find the relevant information on page 7?

I know what I'm talking about, which is going to S**K for you and your reputation on this board (heh--"Guest").

The intellectual level of your posts was never high to begin wtith. But now it actually look like it comes from a grade school student. "S**K"? Attempt to make fun of me cause I'm using a guest login? What's next? Screaming "YOU LOSE AND I WIN" perhaps?

Maybe I should start insulting you. That seems to be the mode of communication you favor.

Absolutely. They agree with me.

And you'd be delusional.

And you're still without evidence beyond your assertions (unless we count the insults).

Apparently you have a reading comprehension problem where you fail to realize that Paul is the one arguing against relativity of motion. He says that acceleration can allow science to fix an objective (absolute) point of reference.

Obviously you have a reading comprehension problem. My arguments were never directed at Paul.

I never took your arguments to be directed at Paul, and what I wrote above gives no indication that your arguments were directed at Paul.

So, what's wrong with your reading comprehension, that you thought otherwise?

You are the one who argued, and I quoted, that "If position is relative, then two objects whose position in relation to one another changes in a non-uniform manner may still be described in terms of either object being the fixed stationary point." All I did was to correct your nonsense.

And this was you?

"And as long as we're talking about whether the sun is revolving around the earth or not, we are talking about non-uniform motion since acceleration is involved. In this case, science can (and has) absolutely prove by experiments that the earth is moving and is not stationary."

So, cite the experiment already.

And who told you that scientific experiments can "absolutely prove" something?

You stopped reading too quickly:

"After defining his theory of special relativity, Albert Einstein realized that forces felt by objects undergoing constant acceleration are indistinguishable from those in a gravitational field, and thus defined general relativity that also explained how gravity's effects could be limited by the speed of light.

Hence an accelerating object experiences a force that will require an additional gravitational force to cancel out.

Huh. I thought I quoted more than that. What happened to the "all reference frames are equivalent" part?

While a stationary object does not. Therefore, your orginal statement "If position is relative, then two objects whose position in relation to one another changes in a non-uniform manner may still be described in terms of either object being the fixed stationary point." is nonsense.

So cite the experiment already, then.

And your contention that the geocentric model is equivalent to a heliocentric one is also wrong because the geocentric model never incorporated a compensating gravitational force component.

And it would be impossible to do? Or was it falsified?

You lose, and Paul loses.

I was right. I am wasting my time with a grade school kid.

You're way too smart to do that.

:lol:

But you're anonymous, which is still wise of you. You wouldn't want this flub up associated with your real name, I'm sure.

If I were you, I'd be more worried about having to have your name associated with the nonsenses you've been spewing out so far.

So cite the experiment that objectively establishes the movement of the Earth regardless the validity of any reference point according the general relativity.

Yes. Did you?

I did recommend the wrong page number, since Adobe has a page number indicator that sometimes misleads. I should have said see page 7.

Apparently you didn't read it.

Yes, I know what plate tectonics is. Why do you ask? The paper is not only about plate tectonics. Just look at the URL. It's about Occam's razor. I was showing how Occam's razor served to distinguish between the geocentric view and the heliocentric view.

Uh, yeah. Get back to me after you've read page 7.

Yes I did read the paper. Page 7 quoted the opinion of William Derham who died in 1735, long before the development of general relativity and modern physics. How is that relevant?

I was showing how Occam's razor served to distinguish between the geocentric view and the heliocentric view.

Remember?

You alluded to the fact yourself, I think, by noting that the geocentric system (as it was) was not elaborated to account for some observations.

That touches on parsimony.

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Dear Mr. Scientist, I would like to know if you really believe that you came from the monkeys? Beacuse I know I didn't....After reading your comments and looking at your son's pictures, I am starting to believe that some people probably came from monkeys....you know the evolution! lol!! Also, what happened to the evolution? The monkeys all of sudden stopped becoming humans?

Wow. Is this a parody? Or are there really people this stupid still wandering around loose among the rest of us?

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Guest, it's very simple. Bryan thinks he knows science, but he doesn't.

Great idea, Paul. Skip right over the dispute in favor of the personal attack.

"Guest" doesn't understand science, which is borne out by the fact that he thinks that an experiment can "absolutely prove" something (such as an objective reference point). That's not how science works

In fact, he sounds a lot like Paszkiewicz. The fact that scientists all over the world are applying evolutionary theory in medicine and other fields, with practical results in everyday life, means nothing to him.

So, let me get this straight.

Scientists all over the world are applying evolutionary theory in medicine and other fields with practical results in everyday life, therefore an objective reference point exists?

If that's not the logic, then it looks like you've produced a whopper of a red herring.

His mind is made up.

I'm the one producing the arguments and the evidential support.

You and "Guest" have stood pat with bald assertions.

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Guest Guest

I read it more thoroughly than you did, since I knew what was on page 7 while you did not. That should be obvious to anybody. And how did I find the relevant information on page 7?

You meant how did you find irrelevant information on page 7. I don't know. My guess would be by not understanding the paper you linked and regurgitating pseudoscience nonsense you overheard in creationsim websites.

Maybe I should start insulting you.

Start? So far your posts have consisted of nothing other than pseudoscience nonsense, irrelevant info, and insults. So you don't need you worry about starting to insult me, it's been you main way of communication already.

I never took your arguments to be directed at Paul, and what I wrote above gives no indication that your arguments were directed at Paul.

Then why brought up Paul at all. You wrote and I quote: "you fail to realize that Paul is the one arguing against relativity of motion." None of my arguments was directed at Paul. What I wrote has nothing to do with Paul. Why brought him up? Or is that just another irrelevant gargabe sentence that you fill your posts with.

So, what's wrong with your reading comprehension, that you thought otherwise?

Nothing wrong with my reading comprehension. Plenty wrong with your brain though.

And this was you?

"And as long as we're talking about whether the sun is revolving around the earth or not, we are talking about non-uniform motion since acceleration is involved. In this case, science can (and has) absolutely prove by experiments that the earth is moving and is not stationary."

So, cite the experiment already.

Sure. How about These?

And This?

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Guest, it's very simple. Bryan thinks he knows science, but he doesn't. In fact, he sounds a lot like Paszkiewicz. The fact that scientists all over the world are applying evolutionary theory in medicine and other fields, with practical results in everyday life, means nothing to him. His mind is made up.

Very true.

Bryan's absolutely "sure" about his "science" just like he's absolutely "sure" that Paszkiewicz didn't violate the First Amendment because "he's not the Congress."

It's been a waste of time "debating" with him.

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How do you define "faith"?

This is an excellent question. I think I touched on it early on in this topic. And though you didn't ask me, Bryan, I'll take this opportunity to respond because I think this is a critically important question.

The Christian theologian Paul Tillich made the point in his little book on Faith that Western monotheism, as commonly practiced, has rendered faith a sham and a travesty. Many people in our culture use "faith" as an excuse to believe whatever they wish to believe. Obviously, that is fundamentally irresponsible and the exact opposite of what religion requires: being religious demands that we conform ourselves to those powers or forces or laws, or whatever one wants to call them, which govern our lives and the universe. Expecting the universe to be conformed to our wishes and beliefs is profoundly arrogant, which is why many hard-line theists display so much arrogance. It seeps into their way of thinking.

A productive definition of Faith is: acting for good even though we have no guarantee what results will follow from our actions. Examples: A young person goes to college or professional school, not knowing he or she can succeed, but knowing that this act of Faith is the only way to succeed; A scientist pursues a cure for cancer, not knowing for sure that there is one, but knowing that seeking the cure is the only way to find one; A young man strikes up a relationship with a young woman, not knowing how it will turn out, but knowing that this is the only way to see whether it might lead to something lasting; Annie Sullivan tries to teach Helen Keller language, even though no one has ever done that with a blind, deaf child before. The last example is a miracle (an occurrence that is so far outside what we thought possible that its creative power takes our breath away), hence the title of the film, "The Miracle Worker." All these are acts of Faith. Another way to say it: Faith is acting to open life's possibilities. It is an action more than a belief. That is where its creative power lies, and the fascinating thing about this is how closely it expresses the Christian trinity, with Jesus acting in the world to bring the combination of the Father (word, or intellect) and Mother (Love, or emotion) into reality. That is my concept of Faith.

The hard-line fundamentalists may not agree with it, but it is deeply religious.

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The New York Times, Saturday, December 23, 2006, carried a front-page article entitled "From Scum, Perhaps the Tiniest Form of Life." http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/23/science/...r=1&oref=slogin

The article explains how this new discovery could make it "necessary to reconsider the existing paradigms for the minimum requirements for life."

This is an important statement, because it expresses how science operates and progresses. By its very nature, science is always open to new information. A paradigm is a way of looking at things, or a set of assumptions about a field of study. Scientists never claim to have final answers, but by the process of continual investigation they learn more and more all the time. And of course, the past several centuries of scientific progress are proof of that.

By contrast, any "religion" that is not open to new information is by its very nature areligious or even anti-religious, since it is no longer open to the truth as we continue to discover it; no longer open to what is universally true, but stuck in what men and women of the past have declared to be true. This failure characterizes the hard-line fundamentalism of Paszkiewicz and his defenders.

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Guest Paul
This is an excellent question. I think I touched on it early on in this topic. And though you didn't ask me, Bryan, I'll take this opportunity to respond because I think this is a critically important question.

The Christian theologian Paul Tillich made the point in his little book on Faith that Western monotheism, as commonly practiced, has rendered faith a sham and a travesty. Many people in our culture use "faith" as an excuse to believe whatever they wish to believe. Obviously, that is fundamentally irresponsible and the exact opposite of what religion requires: being religious demands that we conform ourselves to those powers or forces or laws, or whatever one wants to call them, which govern our lives and the universe. Expecting the universe to be conformed to our wishes and beliefs is profoundly arrogant, which is why many hard-line theists display so much arrogance. It seeps into their way of thinking.

A productive definition of Faith is: acting for good even though we have no guarantee what results will follow from our actions. Examples: A young person goes to college or professional school, not knowing he or she can succeed, but knowing that this act of Faith is the only way to succeed; A scientist pursues a cure for cancer, not knowing for sure that there is one, but knowing that seeking the cure is the only way to find one; A young man strikes up a relationship with a young woman, not knowing how it will turn out, but knowing that this is the only way to see whether it might lead to something lasting; Annie Sullivan tries to teach Helen Keller language, even though no one has ever done that with a blind, deaf child before. The last example is a miracle (an occurrence that is so far outside what we thought possible that its creative power takes our breath away), hence the title of the film, "The Miracle Worker." All these are acts of Faith. Another way to say it: Faith is acting to open life's possibilities. It is an action more than a belief. That is where its creative power lies, and the fascinating thing about this is how closely it expresses the Christian trinity, with Jesus acting in the world to bring the combination of the Father (word, or intellect) and Mother (Love, or emotion) into reality. That is my concept of Faith.

The hard-line fundamentalists may not agree with it, but it is deeply religious.

Sorry, this was my post.

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I read it more thoroughly than you did, since I knew what was on page 7 while you did not.  That should be obvious to anybody.  And how did I find the relevant information on page 7?

You meant how did you find irrelevant information on page 7. I don't know. My guess would be by not understanding the paper you linked and regurgitating pseudoscience nonsense you overheard in creationsim websites.

I guess you're resistant to learning the role of parsimony in science.

That's too bad.

Maybe I should start insulting you.

Start? So far your posts have consisted of nothing other than pseudoscience nonsense, irrelevant info, and insults.

Give me an example where I insulted somebody, then. Since you're implying that it's common, you should have no difficulty providing an unequivocal example.

So you don't need you worry about starting to insult me, it's been you main way of communication already.

Incorrect (oops--did that insult you?).

And this was you?

"And as long as we're talking about whether the sun is revolving around the earth or not, we are talking about non-uniform motion since acceleration is involved. In this case, science can (and has) absolutely prove by experiments that the earth is moving and is not stationary."

So, cite the experiment already.

Sure. How about These?

Graduate students answering questions? Its a bit on the conversational side, such that the student doesn't point out that there is no such thing as a sure scientific proof. No "absolute proof," as you put it.

"In addition, the article includes discussion of other incorrect ideas such as the view that evidence leads to sure knowledge, that science and its methods provide absolute proof, and that science is not a creative endeavor."

http://amasci.com/miscon/myths10.html

This "absolute proof" suffers the same problem.

Nice try, though.

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This is an excellent question. I think I touched on it early on in this topic. And though you didn't ask me, Bryan, I'll take this opportunity to respond because I think this is a critically important question.

Hi, Matthew. Thanks for responding to my question--though I can't make much sense of what Bones wrote when I insert your definition into his post where he used "faith."

I'm sincerely sorry that you've been threatened, and I have nothing against you whatever. I support your right to complain about Mr. Paskiewicz, but on the other hand I think his actions are defensible (at least what I know of them).

I realize it may not be apparent right away how I would defend his actions. There has been plenty of social conditioning that permeates church/state issues in this country.

Hopefully the discussion you've helped prompt will advance the issue in a truly helpful way (even if it's not necessarily the way you or I would like to see it turn out).

Cheers.

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Guest Guest
The New York Times, Saturday, December 23, 2006, carried a front-page article entitled "From Scum, Perhaps the Tiniest Form of Life." http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/23/science/...r=1&oref=slogin

The article explains how this new discovery could make it "necessary to reconsider the existing paradigms for the minimum requirements for life."

This is an important statement, because it expresses how science operates and progresses. By its very nature, science is always open to new information. A paradigm is a way of looking at things, or a set of assumptions about a field of study. Scientists never claim to have final answers, but by the process of continual investigation they learn more and more all the time. And of course, the past several centuries of scientific progress are proof of that.

By contrast, any "religion" that is not open to new information is by its very nature areligious or even anti-religious, since it is no longer open to the truth as we continue to discover it; no longer open to what is universally true, but stuck in what men and women of the past have declared to be true. This failure characterizes the hard-line fundamentalism of Paszkiewicz and his defenders.

awwwwwww....look who showed up! Let me guess, did dad tell to write that?

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Guest Guest

Give me an example where I insulted somebody, then. Since you're implying that it's common, you should have no difficulty providing an unequivocal example.

No problem. Here. Attributing someone's disagreement with you to "utter stupidity." You're right - I have no problem finding an unequivocal example.

Graduate students answering questions?

So now you have stoopped to the level of falsifying the qualifications of someone instead of admitting that you're wrong? A graduate student huh? The author Matija Cuk holds a PhD in astrophysics from Cornell, works as a professional astrophysicist in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of British Columbia, published refereed papers on serious academic journals such as Astrophysical Journal, Astronomical Journal, Dynamics of Populations of Planetary Systems. Moreover, he specializes in the orbital dynamics of celestial bodies, so he should know a thing or two about whether the Earth moves or not.

So Bryan, those are Matija's real qualifications. What about you - what's your qualifications in astrophysics in general and in celestial body dynamics in particulars? Care to share your list of published papers in astrophysics?

Its a bit on the conversational side, such that the student doesn't point out that there is no such thing as a sure scientific proof. No "absolute proof," as you put it.

I see that after falsifying Matija's qualifications, you switched tactics and try to split hair with my wordings instead. I know very well that there are no "absolute" proof in science if you use "absolute" in the strictest technical sense. By "absolute proof", I meant overwhelming proof (almost) univerally accepted by the scientific community. Just like when I say "this is absolutely the best soup I've ever had", I don't mean it literally. Does all the hairsplitting make you happier?

And you think that if an article on specific scientific experiments doesn't include a mention of "no absolute proof", that would make the experiment themselves any less valid?

So instead of falsifying the qualifications of the article's author and nitpicking the author's style and my wordings, how about you actually tell us what's wrong with the experiments I quoted? Or you can just admit that you're wrong.

This "absolute proof" suffers the same problem.

Instead you prefer to play yet more wordgame. No surprise.

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Richard Dawkins (atheist).. one of the greatest thinkers of our time

watch as he answers every question with logic and reason

He's a dope, his arguments are scattered at best, and his logic is flawed. I'm not saying that there is a God. I'm just saying that this guy is the wrong to guy to hang your hat on to disavow his existence.

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Give me an example where I insulted somebody, then.  Since you're implying that it's common, you should have no difficulty providing an unequivocal example.

No problem. Here. Attributing someone's disagreement with you to "utter stupidity." You're right - I have no problem finding an unequivocal example.

Your report is inaccurate. I did not attribute the odd opinion of my debate opponent to utter stupidity. I asked him what could account for his opinion other than utter stupidity. Clearly, that leaves him the opportunity to provide an explanation that should exclude the proposition that he is utterly stupid (and I was open to the explanation, albeit skeptical that he would produce).

How come you couldn't figure that out?

Graduate students answering questions?

So now you have stoopped to the level of falsifying the qualifications of someone instead of admitting that you're wrong? A graduate student huh? The author Matija Cuk holds a PhD in astrophysics from Cornell, works as a professional astrophysicist in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of British Columbia, published refereed papers on serious academic journals such as Astrophysical Journal, Astronomical Journal, Dynamics of Populations of Planetary Systems. Moreover, he specializes in the orbital dynamics of celestial bodies, so he should know a thing or two about whether the Earth moves or not.

So Bryan, those are Matija's real qualifications.

If you look a bit more closely, you'll see that Matija answered questions for the site between 2002 and 2004. He graduated in 2004.

That means he was a graduate student (or extremely recent graduate) when he answered the questions.

So that means you'll apologize to me, right?

What about you - what's your qualifications in astrophysics in general and in celestial body dynamics in particulars? Care to share your list of published papers in astrophysics?

I'm a knowledge generalist. I'm four years old and I'm considered above average in my preschool class. Fortunately, I'm more savvy about the way I treat scientific claims that the student Matija. And you.

Its a bit on the conversational side, such that the student doesn't point out that there is no such thing as a sure scientific proof.  No "absolute proof," as you put it.

I see that after falsifying Matija's qualifications, you switched tactics and try to split hair with my wordings instead.

Heh. Just think about what a hypocrite you are right now. Let it sink in.

Next you'll offer me something Einstein wrote when he was 3 years old and tell that it reflects the wisdom of the guy who came up with the theory of relativity.

I know very well that there are no "absolute" proof in science if you use "absolute" in the strictest technical sense. By "absolute proof", I meant overwhelming proof (almost) univerally accepted by the scientific community. Just like when I say "this is absolutely the best soup I've ever had", I don't mean it literally. Does all the hairsplitting make you happier?

Not until you realize the implications of what you're saying, which is that any point of reference may be considered the center of the universe. It's just harder to come up with a parsimonious explanation depending on what point you choose.

It should be a simple point, but you miss it in your zeal to pursue your anti-fundie vendetta (I guess).

And you think that if an article on specific scientific experiments doesn't include a mention of "no absolute proof", that would make the experiment themselves any less valid?

I don't remember forcing you to use the term "absolute" in making your claim. You want me to apologize for your poor choice of words?

Experiments, as you should know by now, do not prove anything. Theories may be falsified via experimentation, but it is not the theory of a fixed Earth that is falsified in any of the experiments you cite. Rather, the experiments support (not prove) a theory contrary to the fixed Earth idea.

That doesn't mean that a fixed Earth theory could not be developed and supported via experimentation. But it would be complicated, to say the least.

So instead of falsifying the qualifications of the article's author and nitpicking the author's style and my wordings, how about you actually tell us what's wrong with the experiments I quoted? Or you can just admit that you're wrong.

I'm not wrong.

You were wrong about Matija's qualifications in the material you cited, however.

This "absolute proof" suffers the same problem.

Instead you prefer to play yet more wordgame. No surprise.

Okay, so when you say "absolute" you don't mean "absolute"--and I'm the one playing the word game.

Gotcha.

It's about time you taped up the mirrors in your house, isn't it?

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Your report is inaccurate. I did not attribute the odd opinion of my debate opponent to utter stupidity. I asked him what could account for his opinion other than utter stupidity. Clearly, that leaves him the opportunity to provide an explanation that should exclude the proposition that he is utterly stupid (and I was open to the explanation, albeit skeptical that he would produce).

By asking a person what could account for his opinion other than utter stupidity, you are insulting that person.

If your wife (or mother, or father) say "I like this movie." and you respond "Why would you think that, other than utter stupidity?" That's not an insult? Why not try saying that to people and see what responses you get.

How come you couldn't figure that out?

From now on when you talk to people, when they state an opinion, say "Why would you think that, other than utter stupidity?" It's fun, really. And it's not an insult.

Wait, you do have people you can talk to, right?

If you look a bit more closely, you'll see that Matija answered questions for the site between 2002 and 2004. He graduated in 2004.

That means he was a graduate student (or extremely recent graduate) when he answered the questions.

So that means you'll apologize to me, right?

Yes I apologize. I did miss the date of the answer.

But that didn't change the essense of my argument. Matija, even in 2002, as a PhD student in astrophysics, was much more knowledgeable in the field of astrophysics than you. His answer was posted on the Cornell Astronomy Department website. For you to dismiss it as "Graduate students answering questions" is laughable. And if you think there're specific mistakes in the experiments I linked to, what are they then?

I'm a knowledge generalist. I'm four years old and I'm considered above average in my preschool class. Fortunately, I'm more savvy about the way I treat scientific claims that the student Matija. And you.

In your dream only.

If you think there're specific mistakes in the experiments I linked to, tell us already. Why keep skirting the issue?

Heh. Just think about what a hypocrite you are right now. Let it sink in.

What hypocrite? Just because I missed the date on the web page that makes me a hypocrite?

Next you'll offer me something Einstein wrote when he was 3 years old and tell that it reflects the wisdom of the guy who came up with the theory of relativity.

Yes I'm sure Matija was 3 years old in 2002. Yet more inanity from you. What a surprise.

And I'll say this again: even at 2002, Matija was still far more knowledgeable in the field of astrophysics than you. He was 2 years short of a PhD. How about you?

Not until you realize the implications of what you're saying, which is that any point of reference may be considered the center of the universe. It's just harder to come up with a parsimonious explanation depending on what point you choose.

Let's stop skirting the issue shall we. You asked me to show you scientific experiments that show that the Earth is moving. I did. Are you going to tell me what makes those experiments invalid?

I don't remember forcing you to use the term "absolute" in making your claim. You want me to apologize for your poor choice of words?

That wasn't a poor choice of word. It's a common usage of the word. How many people mean the technical, strictest sense of "absolute" when they say "absolute"? It's not my fault that you live in your own little bubble with absolutely (that word again) no understanding of social convention.

So are you going to try the experiment asking people "Why would you think that, other than utter stupidity?" and see if they take it as an insult? Go ahead, it's fun. That is, assuming you know people you can talk to.

Experiments, as you should know by now, do not prove anything. Theories may be falsified via experimentation, but it is not the theory of a fixed Earth that is falsified in any of the experiments you cite. Rather, the experiments support (not prove) a theory contrary to the fixed Earth idea.

Experiments do prove things. Just like a prosecutor can prove that someone committed a crime. When the rest of the world say "prove", they mean showing something is true with enough evidence to beyond a reasonable amount of doubt. You're free to stick to your own definition of "prove" that nobody uses (besides some loony creationists that is.) But then you'll be cut off from the rest of the world. And in that case why do you post here? Shouldn't you stick to creationwiki?

That doesn't mean that a fixed Earth theory could not be developed and supported via experimentation. But it would be complicated, to say the least.

Why don't you do it then. Develop and prove your theory. Write a paper about it and get it accepted in a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal (creationwiki doesn't count, sorry.) Then we can talk. Until then all this is just fundie fantasy with no bearing on reality.

I'm not wrong.

Yes keep telling youself that.

You were wrong about Matija's qualifications in the material you cited, however.

Yes I was. So what? Matija in 2002 was still far more knowledgeable about astrophysics than you ever will be. That's absolutely for sure.

Okay, so when you say "absolute" you don't mean "absolute"--and I'm the one playing the word game.

Gotcha.

Next time when someone say "This is absolutely the best soup I have." be sure to grill him about how on Earth that out of the tens of thousands of soup he's ever had in his entire life over all those decades, he could remember clearly the taste of every single one and be absolutely sure none was better than that soup.

By the way have you tried the "utter stupidity" experiment yet?

It's about time you taped up the mirrors in your house, isn't it?

Why? I'm not the one who has trouble with human interaction.

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Dear Mr. Scientist, I would like to know if you really believe that you came from the monkeys?

Strawman. Evolution shows both modern humans and the 'great apes' to have evolved, not one from the other, but both groups from one common hominid ancestor.

Beacuse I know I didn't....After reading your comments and looking at your son's pictures, I am starting to believe that some people probably came from monkeys....you know the evolution! lol!! Also, what happened to the evolution? The monkeys all of sudden stopped becoming humans?

Let this be a testament to the ignorance of fundies. Call me insensitive as much as you want, but this is the kind of ridiculous behavior/words that just show just how idiotic fundies can be.

First off, in that chunk, is someone using his buddy, Mr. Evolution Strawman, to try and insult the person whose post he is replying to. Then, a ridiculous statement in which he thinks he is making a point by 'wondering' why evolution isn't presently occuring according to his strawman.

You are a total imbecile, and I have no qualm about stating it outright. Anyone who makes such retarded, intentionally uninformed statements, deserves all the ridicule they get.

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Your report is inaccurate.  I did not attribute the odd opinion of my debate opponent to utter stupidity.  I asked him what could account for his opinion other than utter stupidity.  Clearly, that leaves him the opportunity to provide an explanation that should exclude the proposition that he is utterly stupid (and I was open to the explanation, albeit skeptical that he would produce).

By asking a person what could account for his opinion other than utter stupidity, you are insulting that person.

That post was not about a matter of opinion, but a matter of argument. I had provided a rationale that had been completely ignored by the other person in his/her response.

One cannot argue effectively without taking into account the other person's argument, under any ordinary circumstances.

Such an odd approach to debate is easily explained as a case of utter stupidity, though there may perhaps be other reasonable explanations.

It is true that a person might feel insulted at my pointing out the obvious, but mine was a comment directed (contingently) at the argument, not the person providing the argument.

If your wife (or mother, or father) say "I like this movie." and you respond "Why would you think that, other than utter stupidity?" That's not an insult? Why not try saying that to people and see what responses you get.

Again, this was not a matter of opinion. If we went to a movie and my wife/mother/father got through with the movie and apparently had no idea what the movie had been about, it would be appropriate to ask why ("Were you asleep or what?").

How come you couldn't figure that out?

From now on when you talk to people, when they state an opinion, say "Why would you think that, other than utter stupidity?" It's fun, really. And it's not an insult.

When they state an opinion, eh?

Wait, you do have people you can talk to, right?

What, here at the hermitage?

If you look a bit more closely, you'll see that Matija answered questions for the site between 2002 and 2004.  He graduated in 2004.

That means he was a graduate student (or extremely recent graduate) when he answered the questions.

So that means you'll apologize to me, right?

Yes I apologize. I did miss the date of the answer.

I'm pleasantly surprised.

But that didn't change the essense of my argument.

Matija, even in 2002, as a PhD student in astrophysics, was much more knowledgeable in the field of astrophysics than you. His answer was posted on the Cornell Astronomy Department website. For you to dismiss it as "Graduate students answering questions" is laughable.

Well, that's a straw man. One would expect you to go to an authority higher than that for the kind of proof you were seeking, first of all. I felt that you may have overestimated the authority to which you appealed.

The important point in my response is that the questions were answered in conversational layman's terms, which provided a distorted picture of the quality of proof. The evidences for a moving Earth do not falsify the stationary Earth hypothesis, and you fell short in supporting your claim of an absolute proof.

And if you think there're specific mistakes in the experiments I linked to, what are they then?

The experiments could be absolutely perfect and they'd never support the claim you made. Science works by falsification, not proof in the hard sense. The moving Earth hypothesis is favored on the basis of parsimony.

I'm a knowledge generalist. I'm four years old and I'm considered above average in my preschool class. Fortunately, I'm more savvy about the way I treat scientific claims that the student Matija. And you.

In your dream only.

If you think there're specific mistakes in the experiments I linked to, tell us already.

You're missing the point.

Why keep skirting the issue?

Why would you think I'm skirting the issue? Are we not talking about your claim that it has been absolutely proven that the Earth is stationary?

Am I not dealing with that issue?

It is not in the nature of science to prove anything in the hard sense. That's basic to the philosophy of science.

Heh. Just think about what a hypocrite you are right now. Let it sink in.

What hypocrite? Just because I missed the date on the web page that makes me a hypocrite?

You truly need an explanation?

What if I had misread something that led me to falsely believe that graduate students had written the answers to the questions? Would I be falsifying their credentials to express my sincere belief in print?

Next you'll offer me something Einstein wrote when he was 3 years old and tell that it reflects the wisdom of the guy who came up with the theory of relativity.

Yes I'm sure Matija was 3 years old in 2002. Yet more inanity from you. What a surprise.

And I'll say this again: even at 2002, Matija was still far more knowledgeable in the field of astrophysics than you. He was 2 years short of a PhD. How about you?

I'm only 4"1'.

Not until you realize the implications of what you're saying, which is that any point of reference may be considered the center of the universe. It's just harder to come up with a parsimonious explanation depending on what point you choose.

Let's stop skirting the issue shall we. You asked me to show you scientific experiments that show that the Earth is moving.

You involved yourself in an existing conversation with this claim:

Position is relative, but non-uniform motion is not. And as long as we're talking about whether the sun is revolving around the earth or not, we are talking about non-uniform motion since acceleration is involved. In this case, science can (and has) absolutely prove by experiments that the earth is moving and is not stationary.

I asked you two things in response. First, for the experimental proof you claimed, and second for the identity of the person who told you science can prove things absolutely.

You ignored the second question when you could have taken the opportunity to clarify what you meant.

That hurts your present attempt to claim that you meant "absolute" in some everyday sense that means something less than absolute.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/absolute

There really isn't any weaker definition of absolute. I think you're trying to claim you were using hyperbole or something. That claim isn't particularly plausible, considering the context.

I did. Are you going to tell me what makes those experiments invalid?

At best, they did what scientific experiments do. They supported (not proved) the hypothesis. That's how science works. The aim of the experiment is to falsify the hypothesis. Failure to falsify offers inductive support for the hypothesis.

I knew that going in.

I don't remember forcing you to use the term "absolute" in making your claim. You want me to apologize for your poor choice of words?

That wasn't a poor choice of word. It's a common usage of the word. How many people mean the technical, strictest sense of "absolute" when they say "absolute"?

Probably the majority (in the sense of "certain"), or else we'd see a weaker version of the definition in the dictionary somewhere.

It's not my fault that you live in your own little bubble with absolutely (that word again) no understanding of social convention.

After this post, I'm putting all unregistered "Guest" posters on a short leash.

You'll need some rep to lure me into wasting time.

Experiments, as you should know by now, do not prove anything.  Theories may be falsified via experimentation, but it is not the theory of a fixed Earth that is falsified in any of the experiments you cite.  Rather, the experiments support (not prove) a theory contrary to the fixed Earth idea.

Experiments do prove things. Just like a prosecutor can prove that someone committed a crime. When the rest of the world say "prove", they mean showing something is true with enough evidence to beyond a reasonable amount of doubt. You're free to stick to your own definition of "prove" that nobody uses (besides some loony creationists that is.) But then you'll be cut off from the rest of the world. And in that case why do you post here? Shouldn't you stick to creationwiki?

Don't play dumb. I specifically said that the stationary earth hypothesis had not been falsified. If you know science then you know what that means.

If you don't know science then you had no business trying to meet the challenge in the first place.

<"Guest" supplies a bit more evidence that he's not interested in learning how parsimony works in science ... so we're done>

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That post was not about a matter of opinion, but a matter of argument. I had provided a rationale that had been completely ignored by the other person in his/her response.

You were stating your opinion, weren't you? An opinion that was not at all widely accepted. It wasn't like what you stated was a fact at all. So yes, you insulted the other person by saying "Why would you think that, other than utter stupidity." The fact that you're now claiming you weren't insulting the other person just shows that you're clueless about human interaction, or that you're being disingenuous.

Again, this was not a matter of opinion. If we went to a movie and my wife/mother/father got through with the movie and apparently had no idea what the movie had been about, it would be appropriate to ask why ("Were you asleep or what?").

Huh? Why wouldn't you ask "Are you stupid or what?" It's not an insult according to you.

Actually, a more appropriate analogy is if your wife/mother/father observed that the movie plotline made no sense and then you asked "What made you think that, other than utter stupidity?"

Well, that's a straw man. One would expect you to go to an authority higher than that for the kind of proof you were seeking, first of all. I felt that you may have overestimated the authority to which you appealed.

That authority is/was still much more an authority in astronomy that you are. Or are you going to claim otherwise?

The experiments could be absolutely perfect and they'd never support the claim you made. Science works by falsification, not proof in the hard sense. The moving Earth hypothesis is favored on the basis of parsimony.

Science also works on empirical evidence. I've shown you plenty of scientifc experimental evidence of the moving earth theory. Why don't you sHow me scientific evidence for your stationary earth hypothesis?

You're missing the point.

You are. And you don't even know about it.

Why would you think I'm skirting the issue? Are we not talking about your claim that it has been absolutely proven that the Earth is stationary?

Am I not dealing with that issue?

No you're not. You're skirting the issue by hairplitting the meaning of "absolute" when I clearly meant "prove with overwhelming evidence."

I asked you two things in response. First, for the experimental proof you claimed, and second for the identity of the person who told you science can prove things absolutely.

You ignored the second question when you could have taken the opportunity to clarify what you meant.

Huh? First of all why is that question relevant? It's like me asking you who told you there is a god. Second of all, when I said "absolute prove", I meant prove with overwhleming evidence. I've clarified that. Yet you chose to ignore my clarification and instead focus on this straw man of "science cannot prove anything absolute in the strictest sense," which I readily agree. So all this tactics to avoid address the real issue - telling me what's wrong with the experiments you asked for and I supplied?

Don't play dumb. I specifically said that the stationary earth hypothesis had not been falsified. If you know science then you know what that means.

If you don't know science then you had no business trying to meet the challenge in the first place.

You really don't know what you're talking about. The stationary earth hypothesis had been falsified by experiments. Such as Foucault Pendulum. A stationary earth could not have produced this experimental result. That was the whole point of the experiment - to prove that the Earth is not stationary.

But you go ahead and stick to playing word game with "absolute" and just ignore 150 years of physics. Why did I expect anything better from you? I'm done wasting time with you.

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That post was not about a matter of opinion, but a matter of argument. I had provided a rationale that had been completely ignored by the other person in his/her response.

You were stating your opinion, weren't you?

Only if you understand everything to be opinion (strike one).

"The background of the stop sign is red" is not generally considered to be mere opinion, virtually regardless of who advocates the proposition.

An opinion that was not at all widely accepted. It wasn't like what you stated was a fact at all.

What evidence was there that my rationale had been treated in that earlier response, then, that my statement could be taken as opinion (strike two).

So yes, you insulted the other person by saying "Why would you think that, other than utter stupidity." The fact that you're now claiming you weren't insulting the other person just shows that you're clueless about human interaction, or that you're being disingenuous.

It shows that are able to ignore the facts of the matter (by calling them opinions).

Strike three, "Guest*."

*anonymous guests warrant limited investment of my time where the posts commit serial error

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The New York Times, Saturday, December 23, 2006, carried a front-page article entitled "From Scum, Perhaps the Tiniest Form of Life." http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/23/science/...r=1&oref=slogin

The article explains how this new discovery could make it "necessary to reconsider the existing paradigms for the minimum requirements for life."

This is an important statement, because it expresses how science operates and progresses. By its very nature, science is always open to new information. A paradigm is a way of looking at things, or a set of assumptions about a field of study. Scientists never claim to have final answers, but by the process of continual investigation they learn more and more all the time. And of course, the past several centuries of scientific progress are proof of that.

By contrast, any "religion" that is not open to new information is by its very nature areligious or even anti-religious, since it is no longer open to the truth as we continue to discover it; no longer open to what is universally true, but stuck in what men and women of the past have declared to be true. This failure characterizes the hard-line fundamentalism of Paszkiewicz and his defenders.

Did daddy write this one too using your name to make you look intelligent? lol!

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