Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Three Answers From The Blog Threads
Selected, revised and expanded upon.

Unfortunately, I'm on a connection too slow for You Tube, but I'd expect it's pretty funny.

I'm not a scientist, though I did do more math than is normal for a music major. The "framing" issue is what brought me here since it astounds me how the side with all the arguments, the evolution side, is so incredibly stupid about the simple necessity of selling your message to the general public. It's very simple, evolution is science, the idea of a designer isn't. There isn't any reason for science to have to deal with it unless some try to foist the phony science onto 1. the schools, 2. the public funding system. 3. misc.

Mixing the message for evolution with other misc. such as the war against belief is too big a burden for science to carry. If you doubt that might be true, look at the mewling when you just suggest to scientists that scientists are the best people to make the case and that if they want to explain themselves to non-scientists they are going to have to speak the language that the voting public will understand. All the nonsense accusing people with a realistic view of what will be effective with the public "you want us to support creationism" is just nonsense UNLESS that has actually been proposed.

If the goal is actually to protect the teaching and funding of science then that should be the matter or most importance. Snark will not help, it has been and is counter-productive.

Let me suggest to you, friends, that you will find more useful material to plan your battles with from Ogilvy on Advertising than the pseudo-skeptical literature so much in vogue at present. I assure you that even if the present course wins you something, better and clearer explanations to the people you want to win over to science are not only a good idea, they are the only one that will work.

This sounds like standard Solipsism to me. I reject it for the same reason I reject Solipsism.

You are free to reject anything. But you will notice that I am not the one who is trying to find either objectivity or proof. It is the fetish of these things that my comments com, from which you are trying to discern some larger philosophical position. There might be one, I don't know.

In so far as it's possible to absolutely know something with anything like certainty, math is about the only intellectual field that provides that. And a lot that is known in math isn't known in its full implications. In all else, all knowledge is contingent. In any area of science in which a direct observation can't be made, studied, measured, analyzed, the knowledge becomes strikingly contingent and fraught with the possibilities of being over-turned. Sociobiology morphed into evolutionary psychology and E.O. Wilson sensibly turned to protecting biological diversity. Evolutionary psychology is a choice of words I've got great reservations about since I think it appropriates the real science of evolution in an attempt to keep it's speculations alive a bit longer than it's forerunner schools. I suspect that it's version of "science" which relies rather stunningly on making up stories, quite often in the total absence of physical evidence, in order to come up with something like an explanation for very complex phenomena, which it assembles into "behaviors", is a prelude to extinction at a rate not much less rapid than it's ancestors. I suspect that the avocation of Richard Dawkins might be his golden parachute from the anticipated wreck.

No, I don't think that we should forget that very little of what we rely on has been proved and that much of it isn't able to be proved now, and much of it ever.

I hope you didn't find that too standardized.

Listen, Sonny. I got into disputes defending evolution against Biblical literalists when Sam Harris was in training pants. One thing that you can still count on coming up is “well, they’ve never been able to find THE MISSING LI-INK”. That friggin’ missing link, or should that be missing friggin’ link? The problem wasn’t that the stupid idea couldn’t be refuted, it’s that it’s refutation, depending on the history of a science that the fundamentalist is even more ignorant of than the science itself and a long explanation of science they don’t have a clue about, is a practical impossibility within a real-time argument. That is except in miraculous instances of seeming instant enlightenment, rare and not replicable in controlled conditions.

Not helping is the fact that generation upon generation of scientists hadn’t found it a true, beautiful and worthy expenditure of their veddy, veddy, precious, time to eradicate the dumb idea from the vulgar public’s consciousness or even in the press. One could be forgiven for suspecting that some of them found it quite useful in their public careers. Piltdown? The really sensible thing would have been to stomp it to dust back in the early 20th century. Perhaps some of them, instead of finally forcing the punctuation to the end of the pseudo-evolutionary belief, thought that it would evolve into reality very gradually in accordance with the best classical tradition of their chosen heterodoxy. Maybe some of them feared that correcting anything about evolution risked adding force to the arguments of the enemies of science, their version of the most ingrained Vatican insider’s “giving scandal to the simple people”.

I suspect that clearly idiotic condescension is still a large part of the more impractical reaction to creationism today. No. Either you believe in honesty and telling the entire truth or you don’t. You don’t get to keep the whole truth about evolution within professional science. That is one of the biggest problems that science faces today, it has been believed that it could get by without effective missionary work among the backward rabble. Well, the rabble are at the gate to the compound and they’ve been told some stories they don’t like one bit. Telling them the truth on their own terms is the only thing that’s going to avoid ruin.

Now that I think of it, that’s a pretty good indication of why the great war to eradicate religion is such a stunningly stupid idea. They can’t even get rid of an massively erroneous myth about evolutionary science yet they want to take on the entire range of entirely non-scientific religious belief and grind it into dust? Um, hum. I see.

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