The Gross National Debt

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bout dat debate, cats, trees and bad news

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Disclaimers:

• I did not watch the Bill Nye v. Ken Ham debate on creationism v. evolution nor will I watch it.


• Why is scissors spelled with an "sc" at the beginning?

• I am an ordained minister in two groups and support the idea of intelligent design.

• Fried is a food group.

• This post is more or less about that Ham-Nye debate.

• I am giving you nomenclature about the debate with the words in alphabetical order.

Here's a wrapup of the debate from a mostly non-religious view. Here's the same from a religious publication.

Here's a few salient points I wanna address. I quote from the Yahoo news piece.

Ham believes that "kinds" cannot diverge into other "kinds." So far, there's no repeatable scientific experiments which have taken one specie of critter and turned it into another. The "turn" I refer to here is when the two critters cannot reproduce with each other, assuming a pairing of male and female and etc. Experiments with fruit flies have been going on for the equivalent of 12,000 human years. These experiments have also NOT attempted to breed separate species, so you can't draw any firm conclusions there. We have scientific evidence which suggests such evolution.

Scientific AND religious evidence must be interpreted by humans. More on this in a moment.

Point next

"One of the key features of a scientific theory is that it is falsifiable, Livio told Live Science. That means the theory makes predictions that are testable in new experiments."
SCIENCE!

"As long as the results of those new experiments or observations agree with the predictions, the theories hold," Livio said. "Once the results are found to deviate from the predictions, the theory has to either be rejected or to be modified."

I am not, despite surficial appearances of this next statement, anti-science; I am a huge fan and believe in science.

"[S]cientific theory is ... falsifiable." Putting this another way, ideas put forth by science which stood for centuries have been overturned. I suggest a true scientist must view evolution of humanity as something which could be declared false at some time in the future. Best a real scientist can say is "Based on what we know right now..." That's the kind of science I can get behind and support. Religion should be treated the same way.

I must add, a lack of evidence is not proof in either direction. We cannot prove the evolution of humanity in lab. We cannot prove creation in a lab.

Science has repeatedly declared something cannot exist and then it was discovered. Egg on face. Religious "facts" have been shot down repeatedly. Egg on face.

Mr. Nye even admits what we know is infinitesimally small compared to what we may know. Those who read the Bible and believe it must admit to not understanding.

Point next

RELIGION!
"Creationism has no such predictable power, as findings must conform to the creationist's interpretation of God's word."

No. Creationism, by its very definition, must conform to what the higher being has ordered and directed. Human interpretations and observations are irrelevant. Until and unless a human can fully understanding the workings of a higher order being, we'll never know for sure. Reminds me of science.

(In case you aren't wondering, absolutes bother me.)

As for predictions in the scientific realm, light continues to defy predictions, at least of expected behavior. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment. You can know the position of a certain elementary particles or the direction it is headed in, not both. Schroedinger's cat, et al.

Furthermore no one has yet managed to predict with 100 percent accuracy what a human being will do. If science relies on predictive power, then it is starting from a flawed base, a human. This is also a major failing of religion.

Bonus confusing item: For the record, physics states if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, it did not make a sound. So said my dad, an engineer from Georgia Tech, and the math he showed me to explain it. See (pun intended) abovementioned cat.

Point next
And science has brought us ever greater ways to kill each other.

Religion and science are inert. They become a force of good, evil or neutrality ONLY when acted upon by a human being.

Interpreting "evidence" of any kind, be that scientific or religious, relies on a human with all the shortcomings, prejudices and beliefs that human has. There can be no truly objective interpretation of evidence by a human.

Religion can be applied pretty much however an individual wants. While the world's great religions all call for peace, love, understanding and acceptance, religion has also lead to some horrific atrocities.

Science has brought tremendous advances to humanity, but science is also responsible for every human death at the hands another human. Even pummeling someone to death with bare fists relies on an understanding of physics and geometry, whether or not the person can do the math. Swinging a fist implies an expectation of it landing where intended. That's physics and geometry in action.

Point next

"As a result, the debaters were 'playing a game without consistent rules,' Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute who watched the debate, wrote in an email to Live Science."

Ayup. See above statement regarding humans and our amazing ability to be subjective about everything.

Job 42:3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

Science AND religion would do well to remember this passage. Neither has all the answers which may be couched into human understanding.

Point the last


Me bud TC offered this post-debate statement after some observed neither side won: "What a relief. I got a feeling that victory in either case is probably bad news for the rest of us."

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