Friday, September 28, 2012

Don't Impose Your Views ... Only We Can Do That!

Worldviews Passing in the Night
Following the last post, I want to finish with the most important issue that I believe was exposed with Bill Nye's ridiculous video by devoting a separate post to my interlocutor's (tildeb) final comment, the gist of which is as follows:
I suspect we would agree on almost everything - like family and friends and jobs and the cost of living and health concerns and so on... right up until you tried to have your religious beliefs privileged or their intentions imposed on others or if I argued to keep true to the secular ideals of personal autonomy! … All religious claims for historical creationism are equivalently based solely on belief. At best - like abiogenesis - we should agree that neither of us knows and hold that opinion until such a time that reality offers us compelling evidence to adduce a change. Belief of the religious kind does not produce knowledge and certainly doesn't fill in gaps where we currently have none. Yet far too often, this is exactly where religious belief stakes out its ground. As if this weren't bad enough, too often the conclusions deduced from these beliefs are then imposed on the rest of us by influencing public institutions, public practices, public policies, public law, public education, and so on. Nowhere is this more problematic than over issues claimed by the religious to be about morality... but that's for another day.
I don't want to cut and paste the whole thing but I believe this gives proper context to tildeb's point. What I want to concentrate on is the idea that he brings in the emphasized phrases of his quote -- because this is where the real crux of the issue resides. Like Bill Nye (on the video in the original post), tildeb does not want to allow people who think like me to "have their beliefs privileged or their intentions imposed on others ... by influencing public institutions, public practices, public policies, public law, [or] public education."

The mind-numbing arrogance and irony contained in this way of thinking is breathtaking. Notice that tildeb will not only mock the beliefs of others, he will fight to keep them from ever having them "imposed" on those with whom he agrees. How does he believe this should be handled?

By imposing his beliefs on those who disagree with him.

Notice that those who take Intelligent Design seriously and understand what it claims (as well as what it does not claim), are perfectly content to "teach the controversy." This means that they want to teach everything about Darwinism -- including its presuppositions, missing evidence, process flaws, and catastrophic inability to explain the origin of anything, let alone life itself. They have no desire to ban the teaching of Darwinism or to avoid it in any way. In fact, they have argued passionately for the opposite.

It is not "Creationists" who are imposing their beliefs on anyone. It is the materialist priesthood of Darwinist believers who are imposing their metaphysical worldview on others and enforcing it in every public institution that tildeb mentioned. You can read my thoughts on that subject here: "Defrocking The Priests of Scientism".

The final irony in tildeb's way of thinking is that he claims that this issue is "nowhere more problematic than over issues claimed by the religious to be about morality."

Apparently those who think this way believe that it would be immoral for religious believers to impose their views on them. This charge is brought to us by subscribers to a worldview in which "morality" has no basis ... and pontificated on by those who are perfectly happy to impose their religious views on us.

Ironic is a nice word for that ...







Tuesday, September 25, 2012

None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See

Recently, I posted a rebuttal to a recent video by Bill Nye, "The Science Guy" that generated more hits on my blog than any other single post I've ever put up. What followed (at least with one respectful commenter, tildeb) was an ongoing conversation about the differing views that Christian and secular folks have with regard to the role and implications of science and what we can infer from it about the real world. I have to say that though "tildeb" (I don't know his name but this is a link to his blog) and I see the world through completely different lenses, the conversation that was generated was pretty informative. I don't want to rehash it here (you can go to the comments section of the Bill Nye post if you're interested), but I did think the following exchange (which occurred near the end of the conversation) is telling about how two people can look at the exact same data and draw completely different conclusions. I'll let readers draw their own conclusions. Here's the beginning of tildeb's argument ...
There really are compelling reasons why nearly 97% of university tenured biologists reject all forms of creationism; the assumption of supernatural causation is not borne out by information we adduce from this natural universe. In fact, the overwhelming mutually supporting evidence from independent lines of research all point in one direction: common ancestry by natural selection. 
The important aspect here is often ignored by those who cling to creationist beliefs: the evidence did not have to be this way, yet it is! Genetics could have pointed to a single founding couple. Yet it does not. Geology could have pointed to a single creation event. Yet it does not. Topography could have pointed to a global flood. Yet it does not. Radioactive dating could have shown a uniform age of sedimentation. Yet it does not. Physiology could have shown distinct and separate ancestry. Yet it does not. Astronomy could have shown our solar uniqueness. Yet it does not. Physics could have shown exemptions were possible from natural laws. Yet it does not. Chemistry could have shown us cellular rejuvenation through intercessory prayer. Yet it does not. Biodiversity could have shown us stable population dispersal. Yet it does not. Over and over again, opportunities to adduce creation events are plentiful. What's strikingly absent from all this evidence is any indication for a creationist event.
There really are compelling reasons why nearly 97% of university tenured biologists reject all forms of creationism...

Correct. It’s called groupthink. There really were compelling reasons why nearly 100% of university tenured scientists rejected all forms of heliocentrism before Copernicus/Galileo proved their geocentric view was false. There really were compelling reasons why Einstein (and many others) rejected the notion of an expanding universe because they "knew" the universe was static and eternal.

Your appeal to authority does nothing to change the fact that the sudden appearance and expansion of the universe implies an external cause.

...the assumption of supernatural causation is not borne out by information we adduce from this natural universe. In fact, the overwhelming mutually supporting evidence from independent lines of research all point in one direction: common ancestry by natural selection.

And while you continue to pretend the origin of life is irrelevant to the worldview you are defending, I will continue to insist that you have to explain it too. Even if universal common ancestry is true, it does nothing to explain the origin of complex, specified information in DNA. Nothing.

Genetics could have pointed to a single founding couple. Yet it does not.

Well, actually it might seem far-fetched to think we could find “proof” of the first couple, but you also might be interested to know that research indicates that modern humans can be traced back to a single location while mitochondrial DNA analysis points to a single woman as its source. I guess the fact that the science community nicknamed her “mitochondrial Eve” is just coincidence. {Sources: Linda Vigilant et al, “African Populations and the Evolution of Human Mitochondrial DNA,” Science 253 (1991); M. Hasegawa and S. Horai, “Time of the Deepest Root for Polymorphism in Human Mitochondrial DNAs,” Journal of Molecular Evolution …There are more but I’m running out of space.}

Geology could have pointed to a single creation event. Yet it does not.

Well, actually that is kind of silly. Scientists who are looking at the “single creation event” are astronomers and cosmologists, not geologists. While geology might show traces of evidence for how the Earth formed and for what has happened to it since, it won’t really tell us much about the “single creation event.” For that, see Einstein, Hubble etc. Or, are you suggesting (like many young earth creationists) that the Earth was created before the Sun and the galaxy in which we reside? :-)

Topography could have pointed to a global flood. Yet it does not.

I agree. That’s why I don’t accept the idea of a global flood (defined as one that covered the entire earth). Go here for my explanation: The Extent of Noah’s Flood

Radioactive dating could have shown a uniform age of sedimentation. Yet it does not.

Once again, I agree! See how similar we are?! But that does nothing to undermine the case for a Creator. It only goes to undermine the case for young earth creationism which, I think you would agree, is nonsense.

Physiology could have shown distinct and separate ancestry. Yet it does not.

Well, actually that is not true either. Recent studies of human DNA distribution (2002) compared 377 DNA regions for 1,056 individuals from 52 different population groups and found 93-95% of all genetic variation occurs within all populations and only 3-5% of genetic variability occurs between populations. In other words the human genetic unity is very unusual. {Source: Noah A. Rosenberg et al., “Genetic Structure of Human Populations,” Science 298 (2002)

Astronomy could have shown our solar uniqueness. Yet it does not.

Apparently you unfamiliar with (non-Christians) Ward and Brownlee’s, Rare Earth. No time to go into it here but you can read the book which makes exactly the opposite point of your assertion here. Though you probably reject it without consideration, there is also Richards and Gonzalez's, The Privileged Planet, which deals with similar information and also shows how that information is perfectly consistent with the Christian view of reality.

Physics could have shown exemptions were possible from natural laws. Yet it does not. Chemistry could have shown us cellular rejuvenation through intercessory prayer. Yet it does not.

So, like many materialists, you seem to believe that science can disprove miracles. The glaring problem in that assumption is that it makes a colossal and inappropriate category error. In what alternate universe do you think science (the study of the material world) could prove or disprove miracles (which are, by definition, not material)?

Over and over again, your attempt to deny reality comes back to bite you. Over and over again you fail to see the myopic view you (along with Bill Nye, “The Science Guy”) are attempting to defend has glaring holes in it that you refuse to acknowledge. Hopefully, you have something to think about now ...  if you're honest with yourself that is ...

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As you can see, there are perfectly valid, reasonable and rational explanations for each of the phenomenon tildeb claims are non-existent. He doesn't have to accept them, but that does nothing to undermine their validity. Tildeb (and others like him) can continue to ignore these explanations and thereby remain intellectually dishonest in their claims that they don't exist.

I prefer to engage the best arguments of my opponents, not ignore them and I will let the reader decide if their blindness is of the willful or ignorant persuasion.