Origins Debates

Given the ideological opposition by the site’s founder to having ‘debates’ as a way of making progress or solving disagreements over at Peaceful Science (https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/, “In my view, science is not up for public debate.”) on topics related to human and life origins, I wonder what the attitudes of people towards ‘origins debates’ are here at TSZ. Do you call it ‘the Creation Wars’ as S. Joshua Swamidass does?

Below are a few questions for those who do not wish to play by Swamidass’ rules and who indeed, don’t mind putting their ideas, knowledge and ability to answer challenges to their theories, dogmas and biases, to the test in debate. It’s not like Joshua can actually defend ‘methodological naturalism’ other than with multiple falsehoods and having to sell his ‘Me-Scientist’ piety badge at a discount. So, let us imagine a hypothetical and suppose a ‘friendly debate’ were possible to construct and see if anyone here can play along. These are survey questions about a ‘debate’ that many people seem willing to admit they are themselves already engaged in here and elsewhere.

Questions:

1. When considered as not only a discussion, but rather as a ‘debate,’ what is/are the key debate topic(s) over human & life origins really about?

2. Is there a particular intractable problem that you have found never gets resolved in debates about human and life origins?

3. Which debate(s) about human and life origins do you feel most qualified to participate in? Given the diversity of fields and topics involved, it’s expected that everyone should be able to openly admit many things they don’t know about human and life origins.

4. Is there a particular debate topic that you are surprised people try to raise with you because it is so obvious they wouldn’t have more than the slightest possibility of convincing an expert in the field?

5. How many women are ‘debating’ about human and life origins in contrast to men?

6. How many young people are more than superficially interested in human & life origins enough to ‘debate’ about it or to the extent that they keep track of debates on the topic in contrast with older people? Is there a level of getting fed up with listening to too much argumentation and controversy, especially in the USA, regarding this topic that late Millennials, Gen Y & Gen Z are less interested in bickering about events from 50,000+ years ago with only some vague & obscure comparison with ‘modern human beings’ (homo sapiens sapiens)? Are today’s youth much more interested in the recent understanding of humanity in the anthropocene period to worry too much if Darwin killed Adam & Eve or if instead he had just grown comfortably numb in his own unbelief?

7. Is debating about human & life origins any fun? Does it frustrate people here to endlessly ‘debate’ with a guy like ST Cordova who claims to be both an IDist & a young earth creationist, or is it actually enjoyable or valuable for anyone? Not a few people still keep coming back to do it. There must be something motivational in ‘defending the anti-creationist, anti-IDist, anti-theistic evolutionist and sometimes anti-theology and anti-religious side in the argument,’ according to the skeptics here. What is it that makes people want to debate human & life origins?

8. If you could choose one opponent, who would you most like to debate with? If you want to be nice, then don’t name the person’s name, instead just speak of what you want to debate them about. Is there a specific subcategory of IDist, or materialist or evolutionary creationist, for example, that particularly grinds your wheels to a halt when they start speaking, such that you feel you must answer them online?

9. Is it a kind of relentless opposition that is always linked with theology or worldview at its roots, rather than only natural science, which makes origins topics almost endlessly fascinating for people around the world and sometimes nearby at home?

10. Isn’t it almost comic that many participants on public forums like this one think they hold a ‘winning record’ in ‘debates’ about human and life origins on the internet (cf. Dunning-Kruger, illusory superiority) & in reality only few can really claim expertise over others on any given topic or field & if they have it, don’t need to ‘prove’ it anywhere on the internet against amateurs?

This thread ties back with a previous one about origins discussions, in the aim of helping enable conversations without vilification and with more honesty involved and encouraged.

http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/origins-discussions-what-would-be-the-first-question-youd-ask/

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127 thoughts on “Origins Debates

  1. “Can you imagine Behe and Swamidass debating about common descent?”

    Yes, Behe & Swamidass both accept common descent & would thus have no reason to debate it. Paul Nelson would be the one to debate Behe & Swamidass based on his YECism. But Behe & Nelson won’t ‘debate’ of course, at least not in public. Whereas Behe & Swamidass will have other things to ‘debate’ next year, even though Swamidass will pretend he isn’t debating, arguing or antagonizing anyone (Behe was his ‘hero’ for a few hours, before he took that praise down at PS) & that people are simply misunderstanding his intentions (because more than sometimes he doesn’t communicate them clearly).

    “They both believe in it they just differ at what point in the evolution God guided it”

    Here is where you miss the bus. And your eclectic smorgasboard theological ideology (not Muslim, Christian, Jewish or Baha’i, but an individualistic mixture of religions, if I recall correctly your position, peace be upon your path to Truth) seemingly does nothing to correct you otherwise.

    Behe & Swamidass don’t go around looking at ‘nature’ (biology, chemistry, physiology, etc.) for ‘at what point God guided evolution.’ You’re imputing to them the ‘magic wand’ kind of IDism that Pope Benedict XVI warned about, after the Cardinal Schonborn letter made it look like the Vatican was supportive of IDT, which it wasn’t & isn’t (as he latter clarified), other than outliers. They are certainly open to debate the ‘edge of evolution’ or situations of ‘unevolvability’ or whatever ‘poof’ Behe still thinks necessary, etc. They will for all intents and purpose both be aiming to promote ‘good science’ and one will demonstrate they know more of the current literature than the other … because they put their knowledge on the line.

    Those walking around making up their own individual ‘scientific tradition’ without the community, resources, network or research programme to back them up, simply aren’t worth the time of correspondence. They are online poseurs.

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  2. Gregory: At all? No help? No interest in the clearest & most practical example of intellectual chess? Philosophistry is of course ruinous of clear thinking, which is needed in serious debate.

    Debate is not really about ‘antagonism’. It’s actually rather much healthier than the caricature of it you’ve set up for yourself. Careful with that ‘safe space’ in which you virtue-signal a haughty moral disdain for edifying argument and rigour in disagreement.

    Productive disagreement grounded in mutual respect and a shared commitment to replace disagreement with agreement through the exchange of reasons is one thing; acrimonious debate that is structured by an implicit logic of victory and defeat rather than one of arriving at consensus is quite something else.

    For one thing, productive disagreement requires a certain dose of epistemic humility: that one might be wrong.

    Case in point: I’m writing an article this summer arguing that the concept of “representation” plays an important role in cognitive neuroscience. I’m not the first person to argue this (obviously) and there are many philosophers and cognitive neuroscientists who disagree. I’m reading their criticisms and trying to formulate a response that takes their criticisms seriously. And it may be that I am eventually unable to respond to all their criticisms adequately and I shall have to concede the point.

    That’s quite different, for me, from creationism or intelligent design. In that case I simply find it impossible to take the view seriously enough to engage with it. Creationists are for me in the same camp as Holocaust deniers and people who believe in Bigfoot, Atlantis, or the healing power of crystals: we simply do not live in the same reality. There’s not enough shared ground for a productive disagreement.

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  3. Joe Felsenstein: Is directionality provided by natural selection “chance”?For example, fish getting good at swimming, or birds good at flying?

    Some biologists retreat into distinguishing teleonomy from teleology. And leave it at that.

    What I would ask: at what point does ‘agency’ arise in your timeline, Joe? This is asked since biologists don’t typically use the term and thus don’t study ‘agents.’ The notion of ‘natural selection’ is not one of ‘agency,’ at least not without misusing the analogy of human breeders to imply something like an ‘invisible hand’ without a body or mind.

    ‘Directionality’ as in ‘directing something’ for many non-biologists (read: non-naturalists) implies & indeed presupposes an ‘agent’ somewhere along the line.

    That leads to another question: at what point does the agent become a ‘person’. This is also not a ‘strictly biological’ question and is when biology, properly, goes (needs to go) silent to give way to experts from other fields more directly involved.

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  4. I’m seriously interested in what Gregory thinks about the history of life, and whether he thinks there is something inevitable or designed about humans.

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  5. walto,

    Thanks for the citation. I think great care is needed here. What are your thoughts on the following pulled from the bottom of the page:

    *Technically, a “consensus” is a general agreement of opinion, but the scientific method steers us away from this to an objective framework. In science, facts or observations are explained by a hypothesis (a statement of a possible explanation for some natural phenomenon), which can then be tested and retested until it is refuted (or disproved).

    As scientists gather more observations, they will build off one explanation and add details to complete the picture. Eventually, a group of hypotheses might be integrated and generalized into a scientific theory, a scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena.

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  6. Gregory,

    Yes, scientists do need to raise money for research, agreed. That’s the (social) economics of science. Not sure in what way you’re suggesting that impacts what makes people want to debate human & life origins.

    Because both sides of the debate back into an ideological position. We both know that life is not a trivial consequence whether molecules were able to self assemble or cells were made in a cosmic lab.

    There really is very little wiggle room for the random accident hypothesis yet it is attractive ideology for many. Abiogenesis and Evolution is the only hope for the random accident hypothesis.

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  7. 1. When considered as not only a discussion, but rather as a ‘debate,’ what is/are the key debate topic(s) over human & life origins really about?

    It is about how we gain knowledge. With science, we start with the evidence and build to conclusions. In ID/creationism they start with the conclusion and reject evidence that contradicts that conclusion.

    2. Is there a particular intractable problem that you have found never gets resolved in debates about human and life origins?

    ID/creationists never really address the main observations in biology, namely the nested hierarchy, patterns of genetic divergence, patterns of shared and derived features in fossils, and so on. ID/creationists seem to be hyperfocused on single, tiny details like the bacterial flagellum and fail to see the larger picture.


    3. Which debate(s) about human and life origins do you feel most qualified to participate in? Given the diversity of fields and topics involved, it’s expected that everyone should be able to openly admit many things they don’t know about human and life origins.

    I am qualified to talk about most of biology. Exceptions would be the specifics of population genetics. I am not qualified to talk about physics or geology at a high level.


    4. Is there a particular debate topic that you are surprised people try to raise with you because it is so obvious they wouldn’t have more than the slightest possibility of convincing an expert in the field?

    Anyone can change my mind if they have the evidence to support their claims. The main problem is that they usually don’t engage the evidence. Overall, ID/creationists often confuse claims and evidence.

    The rest of the questions don’t seem to be of much import.

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  8. colewd:
    walto,

    Thanks for the citation.I think great care is needed here.What are your thoughts on the following pulled from the bottom of the page:

    I think that you’d prefer certain things not to be true that the best science suggests ARE true, and that, coincidentally, they are many of the same things that Fox News tells you are not true.

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  9. Gregory: Human & life origins is the full topic within origins debates. Choose what you’d like within that to focus on. Answering without theology or religious philosophy on the table for serious consideration as you typically do will leave your answer “about the human part of the life part” profoundly lacking, merely ‘socio-biological’ at best.

    As i’ve already indicated, I have no idea about either. I was trying to get YOUR take on whether it’s the human or the life aspect that is compelling to you on this matter. But rather than answer, you preferred to make some weird attack (at least I guess that’s what it was, but who the fuck really knows with you) regarding Dr. Seuss. And then you repeated the question to me that I had already answered (only this time, knowingly asserting that whatever answer i happened to give would be “profoundly lacking”).

    Anyhow, that, in a soiled teacup, is the sort of “dialog” i generally expect to find on these issues.

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  10. walto:Anyhow, that, in a soiled teacup,

    Is that an allusion to the tea party which is only intelligible to Bostonians? Or have I missed the point because I stick with tea bags?

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  11. Ok, why the heck not, I’ll play:

    1. When considered as not only a discussion, but rather as a ‘debate,’ what is/are the key debate topic(s) over human & life origins really about?

    Conservative theists need a scapegoat for the social ills produced by modernity so they blame “Darwinism”.

    2. Is there a particular intractable problem that you have found never gets resolved in debates about human and life origins?

    I find it curious that anti-materialists are unable to grasp the concept of a self-organizing system or how a self-organizing system can spontaneously emerge.

    3. Which debate(s) about human and life origins do you feel most qualified to participate in? Given the diversity of fields and topics involved, it’s expected that everyone should be able to openly admit many things they don’t know about human and life origins.

    I have an undergraduate degree in biology with concentrations in cognitive science and paleoanthropology, so I’m competent about that stuff but hardly an expert. My expertise in 19th and 20th century American and German philosophy has some bearing on this “debate” but not too much.

    4. Is there a particular debate topic that you are surprised people try to raise with you because it is so obvious they wouldn’t have more than the slightest possibility of convincing an expert in the field?

    The claim that evolution is “random”.

    5. How many women are ‘debating’ about human and life origins in contrast to men?

    No idea.

    6. How many young people are more than superficially interested in human & life origins enough to ‘debate’ about it or to the extent that they keep track of debates on the topic in contrast with older people? Is there a level of getting fed up with listening to too much argumentation and controversy, especially in the USA, regarding this topic that late Millennials, Gen Y & Gen Z are less interested in bickering about events from 50,000+ years ago with only some vague & obscure comparison with ‘modern human beings’ (homo sapiens sapiens)? Are today’s youth much more interested in the recent understanding of humanity in the anthropocene period to worry too much if Darwin killed Adam & Eve or if instead he had just grown comfortably numb in his own unbelief?

    No idea.

    7. Is debating about human & life origins any fun? Does it frustrate people here to endlessly ‘debate’ with a guy like ST Cordova who claims to be both an IDist & a young earth creationist, or is it actually enjoyable or valuable for anyone? Not a few people still keep coming back to do it. There must be something motivational in ‘defending the anti-creationist, anti-IDist, anti-theistic evolutionist and sometimes anti-theology and anti-religious side in the argument,’ according to the skeptics here. What is it that makes people want to debate human & life origins?

    It’s sometimes fun for me but it’s more of an addiction — I just can’t let bullshit pass by without at least trying to point out that it is bullshit.

    8. If you could choose one opponent, who would you most like to debate with? If you want to be nice, then don’t name the person’s name, instead just speak of what you want to debate them about. Is there a specific subcategory of IDist, or materialist or evolutionary creationist, for example, that particularly grinds your wheels to a halt when they start speaking, such that you feel you must answer them online?

    Steve Fuller.

    9. Is it a kind of relentless opposition that is always linked with theology or worldview at its roots, rather than only natural science, which makes origins topics almost endlessly fascinating for people around the world and sometimes nearby at home?

    I think it’s political, not metaphysical — conservative theists blame “Darwinism” for the social ills produced by modernity since their worldview prevents from acknowledging the destructiveness of capitalism, and scientists try to point out that they’re just wrong about the science.

    10. Isn’t it almost comic that many participants on public forums like this one think they hold a ‘winning record’ in ‘debates’ about human and life origins on the internet (cf. Dunning-Kruger, illusory superiority) & in reality only few can really claim expertise over others on any given topic or field & if they have it, don’t need to ‘prove’ it anywhere on the internet against amateurs?

    Eh, sometimes?

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  12. BruceS: Is that an allusion to the tea party which is only intelligible to Bostonians? Or have I missed the point because I stick with tea bags?

    He’s riffing off the “tempest in a teacup” metaphor, I think.

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  13. Joe Felsenstein: Is directionality provided by natural selection “chance”? For example, fish getting good at swimming, or birds good at flying?

    No! It’s rather what particular species made “it” is chance. We won the race so we get to wonder about origins.

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  14. walto,

    I think that you’d prefer certain things not to be true that the best science suggests ARE true, and that, coincidentally, they are many of the same things that Fox News tells you are not true.

    I take the trouble to review the papers. I do not get my scientific opinions from fox news or msnbc or cnn. If you depend on the scientific consensus you will not understand the real issues. That was the point of my last post. Where is this hypothesis at this point? It is currently in the model building and testing point.

    In this case the scientific consensus is not based on a quantified hypothesis.

    I have no beef with being careful with carbon and methane emissions. What I have a problem with is saying we are fucked in 12 years when we don’t have a reliable model yet.

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  15. EricMH,

    Thanks for your kind encouragement, Eric.

    1. Yes, I agree both sides think truth is at stake. That is why we need a way to get at the truth more ‘objectively-socially’ than we currently have available.

    E.g. people who use false evidence, forgery, fraud, deceit or who double-talk, when caught red-handed (-voiced) then must face something automatic within the community that deters &/or de-accesses them from polluting the common well. Communicative behavioral change & confession would be required to participate by community decision. I’m thinking specifically about DI uses of ‘design theory,’ ‘design thinking’ & ‘design thinkers,’ though there are of course examples of this ‘truth-bending’ on both ‘sides’.

    “Both sides think there are fundamental human rights that will be lost if the other side’s argument triumphs.”

    Yes, ‘rights’ talk provides a strong background & undercurrent. The right to tell lies in public in my view should be limited or in some other way confronted in this era of ‘fake news’. Once evidence or strong argument is provided, people cannot simply go back as if that evidence or argument had not been presented to the community. We now have digital voting systems incoming to deal with this, although TSZ is much more primitive than PS & BioLogos in this regard, lacking Discourse software. DI highly manicures it’s communications with public to largely one-way nowadays.

    Welcoming, you touch on both external and internal. That is the heart of the IDM, as I see it. Largely Christian, but also some Jews, Muslims & Baha’is, who believe they/we are internally imprinted by the ‘spirit’ or ‘life’ of a divine Creator [and for the IDist, add ‘Designer’ as another name for the deity]. Without this, EricMH is simply not calling himself an ‘IDist.’ Is this incorrect?

    “how do we get the complex organization in our world”

    In short, you are simply the wrong person to speak for/about ‘we’ or ‘our’ with your informatics, mathematics & IDT approach. Sounds awkward. Wrong tools, wrong results.

    Sorry, but ‘you folks’ (DI, CSC, Biologic, MindMatters, IDEA clubs, Uncommon Descent, Salvo, fmr ISCID, etc.) are stacked the wrong way for such potentially rich conversations and simply need to recognize that. If you value truth, you’ll accept that reality as true.

    Yes, you might like to have those conversations about ‘we’ & ‘our’ on a social sciences and humanities level; a desire is obviously there. But inability to deliver is profound & apparently deliberate at the DI when it comes to ‘anthropic’ things. E.g. Smith isn’t even close to enough & he’s not really pushing ‘IDism’ when he does ‘human exceptionalism. He’s a First Things guy & apparently Roman Catholic (like Bruce Chapman). He’s not an IDist; just politically in the DI fan club.

    “The natural processes side just hand wave ‘natural processes’ and the other side just hand waves ‘intelligence’.”

    2. Yeah, I agree that’s a real problem. ‘Come into my web,’ says the spider to the fly.

    “I’m surprised the resident mathematical, information theory, and computer science experts in this public debate claim the mathematical theorems of ID are controversial.”

    “I’m not qualified to participate in the questions dealing with the scientific evidence. I am qualified insofar as the questions touch on the mathematics of information theory and the capabilities of computation.”

    Got it. I score myself higher re: participation in terms of “questions dealing with the scientific evidence” than you do, even though I’m not a natural scientist. I’ve worked with and studied science through other disciplinary lenses & believe people can learn a lot about “scientific evidence” even as a non-natural scientist. Maybe it’s our different epistemologies?

    4. It’s not really that surprising, since you mean different things. You speak about “ID” as a thing. They speak about it, & Dembski’s promised ‘mathematical ID’ incomplete work (& announced retirement from ‘ID’, then subsequent reinstatement as an IDist), as posturing. Not a few IDists over the years have painted bulls-eyes and drawn targets around them, claiming to have hit genius theory scientific contribution. ‘Bollocks, you have!,’ most people say to that.

    “They [Gauger & O’Leary] have some very good points, and seem much better at not getting drawn into polemics than the male participants. The males also seem to be unnecessarily rude to them, in a manner that could be considered bullying.”

    5. Well, when it comes to online typed words being interpreted as ‘bullying,’ then women can (& sometime do) do it just as accurately and effectively as men on the internet. Do you believe otherwise, Eric? For example, I was treated in an ‘unnecessarily rude’ way and ‘bullied’ just as you are now defending Gauger & O’Leary, by a woman at BioLogos who had/has moderator power.

    It would help if you included people like Stacy Trasancos, Kathryn Applegate & Jennifer Wiseman (all in your home country) & Katharine Hayhoe (from my home country) in your assessment. But that would require exiting the IDism echo chamber.

    Nancy Pearcey was once on-board with IDism at the DI, but seems not to have written anything about IDT recently (like many others, having become disenchanted & disillusioned with the DI & IDists). Janine (Dixon) Solfelt & Kelley J. Unger are part of the administrative glue that holds the DI together, but are not the DI’s thought leaders. Anyone else?

    Frankly, to me O’Leary is a crowd-pleasing obnoxious provocateur who has been seduced by IDism into renouncing just about all other earthly goods to become the movement’s hired ‘journalist.’ She’s not producing work on the intellectual level of scholarly criticism or original research. Hers is an amateurish pop almost hysterical obsession that has imo damaged this conversation in countless ways. Her ‘culture warring’ is often distasteful (anti-intellectual, anti-academic, anti-ASA, etc.) and leaves a bad mark on ‘Canadian content’ in this discussion. I don’t see how converting to Catholicism excuses the ongoing animosity she has produced between people with her ‘IDM’ activist writings.

    Worse than O’Leary, however, is Klinghoffer, whose agitation is excessive and relentless, with highly biased & partisan over-the-top propaganda. This is common knowledge outside of IDM echo chambers. These two ought to leave the IDM as Sarah Sanders left the White House. Time to go away & retire like Dembski did. (But West & Meyer wouldn’t want that, would they Eric?)

    Gauger is doing something different than the IDM and would likely leave the DI when eventually realizing her error with them. Her discussions with Swamidass and interaction with others at PS have been helpful and encouraging. I have respect for the way she conducted herself in light of Joshua’s tribal warfare with Lents against her and Behe. She is in some ways more important in the overall conversation than Swamidass, though Joshua is demonstrating he has MC aspirations and applications to ‘agitate for peace’.

    “I think most do not like to debate the issue, but also most take one side or the other for granted.”

    6. Yes, agreed not much interested in old debates. IDism now fits into the ‘past due date’ label. This recent ‘uprising’ narrative is another of the last long shots with West behind the wheel driving the IDist herd.

    I’ve found young people extremely open and curious about how to make sense of human and life origins when the sheets have been pulled off the usual suspects in the conversation. Yet they still call for openness, discussion & debate! Once IDism is distinguished from ‘intelligent design’ and ‘design theory,’ ‘design thinking’ & ‘design theorists’ are taken into account, the IDM can properly transform into a new entity not filled with such victimization, social angst & isolated superiority complexes, as their elder IDist leaders felt they needed to embody & personify. They threatened peace with their revolution & now Swamidass in St. Louis wants to bring it back to the USA version of the conversation.

    I’m glad you think, “[i]t’d be good if both sides of the younger generation spent more time thinking and questioning through their major worldview assumptions in an environment where it does not feel like a crisis.” However, I also believe you get wrong how you define “the secular side,” as if it means “faith in reason, science and the intellectual establishment.” Are you unfamiliar with Charles Taylor’s “A Secular Age” thesis? If so, you’d learn how to better & more appropriately use that term. Many religious theists globally also have “faith in reason, science and the intellectual establishment,” so this wedge is likely in the wrong place in your current DI-jumbled classification system.

    7. What is it that makes people want to debate human & life origins? -> “it seems to touch on some really foundational components of both sides’ worldviews.”

    Yes, agreed

    “I’m very interested in debating the mathematical/comp. sci. portion of the skeptics, because I cannot see why they consider ID to be so controversial.”

    8. Good. Then let’s find the right people for you, including but not limited to Shallit. Are you ready to speak with Abrahamic monotheists who reject IDT also?

    It’s more likely the philosophy of mind and psychological ‘implications’ of IDism that are controversial, than any contribution it’s proponents will make to ‘informatics’ or ‘mathematics’. Essentially, ‘mathematical ID’ (whatever that aspires to but has not achieved) seems to violate the Platonic separation between ‘ideas’ & ‘matter’ (read: real things). Thus, it’s kinda like an information-centric, Marxist version of creationism, built on over-use of probability theory that results in ideological probabilism at its extremes.

    Thus you get wide-eyed amateurs like STC flipping coins endlessly & praising gambling gods as ‘good representatives’ of IDism, rather than bumbling rebellious niche entertainers. Do you acknowledge this misdirection on the theme and the existence of ideological probabilism (give it a think through, please, if it’s the first time you’ve heard the term)?

    I’d like to understand the end game you have in mind that confuses you about why mathematicians and information theorists along with software developers, programmers & designers can honestly & openly reject IDT & still live in vertical priority as Abrahamic monotheists. Do you think you will turn those people to IDT, rather than being turned away from IDism yourself to a more realistic and mature view of science, philosophy & theology/worldview discourse involving origins & processes of change?

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  16. colewd:
    walto,

    I take the trouble to review the papers.I do not get my scientific opinions from fox news or msnbc or cnn.If you depend on the scientific consensus you will not understand the real issues. That was the point of my last post. Where is this hypothesis at this point?It is currently in the model building and testing point.

    In this case the scientific consensus is not based on a quantified hypothesis.

    I have no beef with being careful with carbon and methane emissions.What I have a problem with is saying we are fucked in 12 years when we don’t have a reliable model yet.

    If you don’t mind, I’ll take the views of 97% of working environmental scientists over yours. Nice to know you’re checking their models though. Heaven knows you’re just the guy to be entrusted with that crucial task. I’ve seen your work on Biblical predictions.

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  17. walto,

    If you don’t mind, I’ll take the views of 97% of working environmental scientists over yours.

    What exactly do 97% of the scientists agree on? How much is the world going to warm in the next 10, 25,50,75 years. What level of statistical confidence do those predictions have at this point? Are these all climate scientists?

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  18. colewd:
    walto,

    What exactly do 97% of the scientists agree on?How much is the world going to warm in the next 10, 25,50,75 years.What level of statistical confidence do those predictions have at this point?Are these all climate scientists?

    Read the article I linked for (the likely bullshit!) answers to your questions.

    I’m duly impressed to learn that you’re the guy checking the work as well as the credentials of these would-be environmental scientists. So i have to ask you: Are you consulting The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter to determine the appropriate confidence level to be used on climate measurements when you conduct your own meta-analysis?

    This is so cool!!!!

    ETA: As talk of global warming here constitutes a thread hijacking, I suggest you do an OP on your findings. I look forward to reading it–as well as what the Old Testament prognosticators figured the mean temperature (and barometric pressure if you can get that too) would be, exactly one mile over Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo during the next calendar year.

    (I have 50 bucks riding on this, so thanks!!!)

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  19. colewd,

    So, your excuse is that you don’t see agreement about how bad the problem is with precise average increased degrees already determined? There’s a lot of things we can already witness that show that climate change is real. So, I’m not waiting until everybody agrees to precise temperatures to the fourth decimal point before understanding that the effects are real, and that we’re too blame for it.

    Here, lately, there’s been several “hot” winters, with periods above freezing temperature with an occasional ice storm, followed by above freezing temperature. It used to be a few months of constant below freezing temperatures and snow, sometimes a lot of snow. Now snow is rare. Some places, also nearby, are flooded at record levels to this day.

    That before mentioning what’s in the news.

    Either way, waiting for precise temperatures seems nonsensical to me. Why would you deny what you can witness yourself? Or is it that you live somewhere where things have been smoother, you no longer remember what the weather was like there, and you refuse to believe the news?

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  20. Entropy,

    It’s ok–I think he might be using Nutter as well as Ezekial! How could that not be good?

    Look for his forthcoming OP on this with all the goods.

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  21. colewd:
    walto,

    What exactly do 97% of the scientists agree on?How much is the world going to warm in the next 10, 25,50,75 years.What level of statistical confidence do those predictions have at this point?Are these all climate scientists?

    From wiki:
    “Several studies of the consensus have been undertaken.[1] Among the most cited is a 2013 study of nearly 12,000 abstracts of peer-reviewed papers on climate science published since 1990, of which just over 4,000 papers expressed an opinion on the cause of recent global warming. Of these, 97% agree, explicitly or implicitly, that global warming is happening and is human-caused.[2][3] It is “extremely likely”[4] that this warming arises from “human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases”[4] in the atmosphere.[5] Natural change alone would have had a slight cooling effect rather than a warming effect.[6][7][8][9]

    This scientific opinion is expressed in synthesis reports, by scientific bodies of national or international standing, and by surveys of opinion among climate scientists. Individual scientists, universities, and laboratories contribute to the overall scientific opinion via their peer-reviewed publications, and the areas of collective agreement and relative certainty are summarised in these respected reports and surveys.[10] The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) was completed in 2014.[11] Its conclusions are summarized below:

    “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.”[12]
    “Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years.”[13]
    Human influence on the climate system is clear.[14] It is extremely likely (95-100% probability)[15] that human influence was the dominant cause of global warming between 1951-2010.[14]
    “Increasing magnitudes of [global] warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts.”[16]
    “A first step towards adaptation to future climate change is reducing vulnerability and exposure to present climate variability.”[17]
    “The overall risks of climate change impacts can be reduced by limiting the rate and magnitude of climate change”[16]
    Without new policies to mitigate climate change, projections suggest an increase in global mean temperature in 2100 of 3.7 to 4.8 °C, relative to pre-industrial levels (median values; the range is 2.5 to 7.8 °C including climate uncertainty).[18]
    The current trajectory of global greenhouse gas emissions is not consistent with limiting global warming to below 1.5 or 2°C, relative to pre-industrial levels.[19] Pledges made as part of the Cancún Agreements are broadly consistent with cost-effective scenarios that give a “likely” chance (66–100% probability) of limiting global warming (in 2100) to below 3 °C, relative to pre-industrial levels.[20]”

    For starters

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  22. Hmmm, for some reason, people are reading ‘origins debates’ but apparently somehow seeing instead ‘global warming debate’ or ‘climate change debate.’

    Could those persons seeing a different topic please either 1) go make another thread & stop diverting from this one or, 2) identify how ‘origins debates’ & ‘climate change/global warming debates’ overlap or what they have in common? Thanks.

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  23. Kantian Naturalist,

    “It’s sometimes fun for me but it’s more of an addiction — I just can’t let bullshit pass by without at least trying to point out that it is bullshit.”

    This was worth the rest. I take it to be a true & accurate statement of KN’s approach to origins debates.

    It’s a funny thing when one asks this: “what is/are the key debate topic(s) over human & life origins really about?” and gets the following as an answer:

    “Conservative theists need a scapegoat for the social ills produced by modernity so they blame “Darwinism”.”

    It’s all about ‘them’, a party to the debate, rather than about the evidence & arguments in the debate itself? Perhaps this shows why KN refuses to debate, since he just focuses on the people, not the content itself.

    Or maybe another person would say: Liberal atheists need a scapegoat for the social ills produced by ideologies like Darwinism (now dwindling), naturalism, materialism, physicalism, reductionism, agnosticism & anti-theism that have grown through Darwin’s legacy & the anti-religious activism of people self-labeling as ‘Darwinists’ (e.g. Dawkins’ ‘Generalized Darwinism’ or ‘Universal Darwinism’ as some call it) or ‘cultural evolutionists,’ so they blame ‘Intelligent Design’ or ‘creationism’ as the most handy options.

    “I find it curious that anti-materialists are unable to grasp the concept of a self-organizing system or how a self-organizing system can spontaneously emerge.”

    That’s interesting, as I’ve studied ‘self-organizing’ systems & worked with hyper-systemists. It may be a surprise that some ‘systems thinkers’ have no coherent concept of ‘self,’ having divorced it of ‘soul’ and ‘spirit.’ Thus they theoretically & also practically banish (or sometimes properly remove) themselves from communication with more than half the world immediately, and with more than that in ‘spiritual seekers’ to boot, simply by their semantic choices of what to exclude from the conversation. The exclusion of ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ for ‘self’ marks a key difference in KN’s ideology from more inspiring (and some would argue, humanizing) ones.

    I find it curious how a minority few disenchanted philosophists (e.g. Dennett, Rosenberg & Pigliucci) reject their own personal ‘soul,’ instead reducing to a concept of ‘self’ & then have the audacity to think they can foist their uninspiring ideas on an unsuspecting public (or even while working as an agnostic outsider at a private Catholic University?) as if we don’t notice it.

    “undergraduate degree in biology with concentrations in cognitive science and paleoanthropology”

    Didn’t know that. Helps explain some nasty diversionary tendencies away from ‘soulishness’ & ‘spirit’ and establishes a psychological link with Lizzie.

    “The claim that evolution is ‘random’.”

    Are you suggesting it has nothing to do with people who actually do make that claim about ‘evolution,’ i.e. that it is ‘random’? What does RMNS stand for & do no biologists or biology teachers use that phrase anymore?

    In this case, while not a ‘creationist’, I sympathize with how often people are lumped together with ‘creationists’ only because of (even just suspected) ‘shared religion,’ yet obviously not because of shared views of science, philosophy & theology/worldview.

    Donald T. Campbell made a large impact on several fields of thought in SSH, including but not limited to psychology. His phrase was “blind variation and selective retention.” Does this please you more than using ‘random’ by ‘creationists’, i.e. instead you’re ok with using ‘blind variation’ rather than ‘random mutation’? Or do you reject Campbell’s terminology (including his ‘evolutionary epistemology’) and replace it with your own in your own personal ‘evolutionary’ worldview? If not ‘blind,’ then what term instead?

    It would be unprofessional & disingenuous to avoid the ideology in DT Campbell, E.O. Wilson, Tooby & Cosmides, Jablonka & Lamb, Sanderson, Boyd & Richerson, Laland, Mesoudi, D.S. Wilson, and of course Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Diamond, Harari, et al., that impacts & largely defines their worldview evolutionism.

    “If you could choose one opponent, who would you most like to debate with?”

    Wow, Fuller’s your #1 opponent?!

    Well, he’s on my list too, but not so high up. This seems a very strange choice to me because I know him rather well and you two could easily find things in common to agree on together. Maybe there’s a specific argument with him you would wish to have in mind? He’s more ‘enchanted’ than you appear to be, but just as anti-‘religious’ (he was educated by Jesuits) and ‘self-organized’ around his own ego, which denies him much community building & makes him like a ‘tiny dancer’ into a one-man-show. Bruno Latour is Fuller’s self-appointed adversary & Latour is actually a Roman Catholic.

    To this question

    9. Is it a kind of relentless opposition that is always linked with theology or worldview at its roots, rather than only natural science, which makes origins topics almost endlessly fascinating for people around the world and sometimes nearby at home?

    KN wrote this:

    “I think it’s political, not metaphysical — conservative theists blame “Darwinism” for the social ills produced by modernity since their worldview prevents from acknowledging the destructiveness of capitalism, and scientists try to point out that they’re just wrong about the science.”

    Politics & theology/worldview are both involved. Capitalism has little to do with it; evidence Stephen Pinker, David Harvey & Jordan Peterson; that’s your philosophistic ‘disenchanted social justice’ fetish. You ought to have studied more rigorously & be in an economics, sociology or polisci faculty or department, instead of teaching & under-preaching philosophy as you do.

    To hand-wave away theology with ‘metaphysics’ (yes, you loathe & avoid metaphysics; we get that) doesn’t help your worldview. It is the people who believe in divine Creation and who are also leading scientists and scholars, e.g. Francis Collins, Owen Gingerich, John Polkinghorne, Jennifer Wiseman, Michael Heller, John Lennox, Sarah Coakley, Kenneth Miller, Saul Kripke, Aziz Sancar & Margaret Archer (check her out re: agency), that people stuck in KN’s agnosticism avoid like a plague.

    People who still blame ‘Darwinism’ for most of our world’s ‘social evils’ are outdated & largely irrelevant to the current leading conversation; it merely makes an easy target as low-hanging fruit at TSZ. It’s the rear-guard you argue with, so as to avoid the front guard of theists. This is why we don’t see KN over at PS, speaking with just as high quality scientists as here, if not better (Joe Felsenstein going to PS alone would tip the balance); because they’re mainly religious theists, along with a solid minority of atheists, yet not mainly disenchanted apostates to whom he can exude his ‘confidence’ in (2nd generation atheist) Sellars, rather than (episcopal Christian) Peirce or (religious Jewish) Kripke.

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  24. Gregory: It’s all about ‘them’, a party to the debate, rather than about the evidence & arguments in the debate itself? Perhaps this shows why KN refuses to debate, since he just focuses on the people, not the content itself.

    In your case , it seems to be all about ‘him’.

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  25. Gregory: Could those persons seeing a different topic please either 1) go make another thread & stop diverting from this one or, 2) identify how ‘origins debates’ & ‘climate change/global warming debates’ overlap or what they have in common? Thanks.

    Fair request, in the origins debate there is a claim that natural processes are incapable of creating an outcome without an unspecified intervention of an agent, in climate change there is a belief that natural processes cannot be affected by the a specific action of an agent.

    For some ,the answer is God in both cases.

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  26. newton,

    All about God? Amen.

    If you were an IDist you’d likely be scolding me the same way re: what I wrote to EricMH. It’s not first ‘personal,’ but positively critical within science, philosophy & theology/worldview discourse. EricMH can find the overlap with me quite easily. If you want to define how I responded to both him & KN, it’s a form of Menippean Satire for origins. Iow, “attacking mental attitudes rather than specific individuals or entities,” as the archetypes are readily available.

    Re: KN, I’m fighting the ‘mental attitude’ of agnostic/atheistic Judaism & suggesting far superior & ‘human’ is religious Judaism. He’s the only vehicle (afaik) for that here.

    The fact that he refuses to take a position & (so as to) ‘debate’ reveals at least one possibility that there is little to no ground on which his naturalistic, Marxist worldview is based that can be ‘defended’ or ‘apologized’ for. And I’m arguing against those ideologies, with whoever happens to be promoting them. No special treatment for KN, just rejection of his ideologies.

    KN’s already told TSZ how he accepts a combined mixture of many ideologies coming from the perspective of a secular Jew. With that it mind, it doesn’t really seem he knows what he believes positively; only negatively, in the sense that there simply cannot be a ‘Creator-God’ in any origins story he would possibly entertain. That’s a confession that KN has made here of his own volition, which is important for anyone reading the exchange to understand the background and the limits of what they can expect in the discussion. I will readily retract whatever above is claimed as in fact untrue by KN, but I won’t stop objecting to these ideologies and what appears as apathy behind them.

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  27. Does a worldview supervene upon facts?

    If not, wouldn’t it be useful to stick to debating facts, and get back to worldviews.

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  28. walto,

    Read the article I linked for (the likely bullshit!) answers to your questions.

    You don’t have a hypothesis you understand.

    newton,

    Thanks Newton:

    The current trajectory of global greenhouse gas emissions is not consistent with limiting global warming to below 1.5 or 2°C, relative to pre-industrial levels.[19] Pledges made as part of the Cancún Agreements are broadly consistent with cost-effective scenarios that give a “likely” chance (66–100% probability) of limiting global warming (in 2100) to below 3 °C, relative to pre-industrial levels.[20]”

    This looks pretty reasonable. Do you have a model you follow that has been reliable?

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  29. Entropy,

    Either way, waiting for precise temperatures seems nonsensical to me. Why would you deny what you can witness yourself? Or is it that you live somewhere where things have been smoother, you no longer remember what the weather was like there, and you refu?e to believe the news?

    Is there a clear hypothesis you can describe here. Newton appears to be on the right track. There are models out there, is there one that you think is reasonable?

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  30. A frozen mammoth was found in Siberia with well preserved, undigested, exotic vegetation in its stomach… They must’ve had a global warming that summer and then, suddenly, an ice age struck them like a bolt of lightning, so that the poor, woolly mammoth didn’t even have a chance to digest it’s lunch before it froze to death…

    A story like that has gotta be true…😅

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mammoths.html

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  31. J-Mac:
    A frozen mammoth was found in Siberia with well preserved, undigested, exotic vegetation in its stomach… They must’ve had a global warming that summer and then, suddenly, an ice age struck them like a bolt of lightning, so that the poor, woolly mammoth didn’t even have a chance to digest it’s lunch before it froze to death…

    A story like that has gotta be true…

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/mammoths.html

    Thanks for that link. I’d always wanted to read about that. So a mammoth fell into a Siberian ravine and died (likely immediately) of its injuries. Grains and seeds found in its mouth and stomach indicate it fell in the autumn, and froze quite quickly after it died. Since then Siberia has become colder, so the mammoth never thawed. The mammoth did NOT freeze to death.

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  32. Flint: Since then Siberia has become colder, so the mammoth never thawed. The mammoth did NOT freeze to death.

    It is a mystery all right that the mammoth never thawed for almost 37 000 years ever since global warming has hit Siberia suddenly again with temperatures reaching 38 ° C…

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  33. Flint: Thanks for that link. I’d always wanted to read about that. So a mammoth fell into a Siberian ravine and died (likely immediately) of its injuries. Grains and seeds found in its mouth and stomach indicate it fell in the autumn, and froze quite quickly after it died. Since then Siberia has become colder, so the mammoth never thawed. The mammoth did NOT freeze to death.

    J-Tard can’t read for comprehension. The instant freezing thing is J-Tard’s fellow wacko Ted Holden’s hypothesis

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  34. J-Mac: It is a mystery

    Most things, it seems, are a mystery to you. However there are those who are capable and that’s why you can use computers to spew your “ideas”.

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  35. colewd: Read the article I linked for (the likely bullshit!) answers to your questions.

    You don’t have a hypothesis you understand.

    I’m sticking with you Ezekial and Nutter.

    But I’d like to remind you that the OP originator has joined me in asking you to get your climate change theories (brilliant as they surely are) out of here and start your own goddam thread.

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  36. walto,

    But I’d like to remind you that the OP originator has joined me in asking you to get your climate change theories (brilliant as they surely are) out of here and start your own goddam thread.

    Fine. I was checking the depth of your understanding and it is now clear.

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  37. walto:
    colewd,

    And the evidence for your view, as always, is rock solid!

    I gotta ask you though: is your error rate higher than Ezekial’s? (I mean, it HAS to be higher than Nutter’s).

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  38. Gregory:
    newton,

    All about God? Amen.

    For some versions of the deity, for others He is more restrained His actions.

    If you were an IDist you’d likely be scolding me the same way re: what I wrote to EricMH. It’s not first ‘personal,’ but positively critical within science,philosophy & theology/worldview discourse.

    Scolding would imply some desire to change the behavior, not my interest.

    It was just an observation. And if you want to claim your observations on KN are some sort of impersonal critiques , go ahead. Likewise my observation would fall in the same category, in your opinion.

    EricMH can find the overlap with me quite easily. If you want to define how I responded to both him & KN, it’s a form of Menippean Satire for origins. Iow, “attacking mental attitudes rather than specific individuals or entities,” as the archetypes are readily available.

    Right, that is what you are doing. It is just bad luck the those individuals happen to defined by you as possessing those mental attitudes you have decided to satirize impersonally.

    As an aside, your comment does make me want to read “ Cat’s Cradle “ again.

    Re: KN, I’m fighting the ‘mental attitude’ of agnostic/atheistic Judaism & suggesting far superior & ‘human’ is religious Judaism. He’s the only vehicle (afaik) for that here.

    Not much of an impersonal satire when only one individual fits the profile, which part of the mental attitude that provokes you so much? Do you feel that mental attitude diminishes your particular religious beliefs, or like KN you find it hard not to respond to what you feel is bullshit?

    The fact that he refuses to take a position & (so as to) ‘debate’ reveals at least one possibility that there is little to no ground on which his naturalistic, Marxist worldview is based that can be ‘defended’ or ‘apologized’ for.

    So naturalistic Marxism mental attitude also impersonally bothers you about KN. What you are describing is not a debate of how the origin of life happened but a debate of the mental attitudes of participants engaged in the debate.

    I would say reluctance to engage also reveals possibility that life is too short or been there done that ,a knowledge of the trajectory such debates generally take ,among the many possibilities that come to mind.

    And I’m arguing against those ideologies, with whoever happens to be promoting them. No special treatment for KN, just rejection of his ideologies.

    Your view of his ideologies ,to be precise, from some list of mental attitudes which ,of course , you do not personally attack him for.

    Got it.

    KN’s already told TSZ how he accepts a combined mixture of many ideologies coming from the perspective of a secular Jew.

    Sounds reasonable even for non-secular ,non-Jews, the belief that truth takes many forms. Do all secular Jews have the same mental attitudes , if not, isn’t it just lazy and a misrepresentation to lump together ?

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  39. walto,

    And the evidence for your view, as always, is rock solid!

    How would you know? I am not part of the scientific consensus 🙂

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  40. OMagain,

    I don’t need to provide evidence to support the almost unanimous judgment of working scientists in the area. It’s entirely your (and the Bible’s) burden. Sorry.

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  41. OMagain,

    Because if you had evidence you would have provided it already.

    You guys are allergic to evidence 🙂

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  42. T_aquaticus: 1. It is about how we gain knowledge. With science, we start with the evidence and build to conclusions. In ID/creationism they start with the conclusion and reject evidence that contradicts that conclusion.

    So you see the ‘origins debate’ as between ‘science’ vs. ID/creationism, is that right? What do you do with someone like Francis Collins? Is he a ‘creationist’ in your book or does he stand on the ‘side of science’?

    2. Largely agreed, with caveat that there are far more non-creationists/non-IDists among religious scientists than the other way around. You appear stuck (like KN’s answer) on IDists/creationists & ignore non-IDist/non-creationists who are more mature in science, philosophy and theology/worldview discourse.

    4. “Anyone can change my mind if they have the evidence to support their claims.”

    Has your mind been changed about anything over at PS? Collins’ theological views on origins seem unaffected by the scientific evidence he has found, acknowledges & accepts.

    “The rest of the questions don’t seem to be of much import.”

    Ah, right. “What is it that makes people want to debate human & life origins?” Are you suggesting your approach to the topic of human & life origins has nothing to do with your worldview (atheism) at all, just about natural science?

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  43. colewd: You guys are allergic to evidence

    You believe what you believe in spite of not because of the evidence. So put that superior attitude back where it belongs, up your fundament.

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  44. OMagain,

    You believe what you believe in spite of not because of the evidence. So put that superior attitude back where it belongs, up your fundament.

    I believe what I do based on logic and the evidence along with what ever biases that clouds my thinking. You and Walto reject all evidence outside your materialist worldview. It turns out there is a lot of non material evidence if you open your eyes.

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  45. colewd,

    Why should I care about models or hypotheses on climate change at all? As I said, I’m witnessing the shit myself. The weather is going crazy around places I visit often, which is quite a piece of the globe, and right where I live. Therefore, this shit is happening.

    I have learned about it from talks by scientists. They might disagree in how severe it is, etc, but disasters are starting to happen. Should we wait for models that predict temperatures to the mili-degree, or should we act on whatever we can do? I prefer acting to waiting. It’s healthier for most people anyway. So, why not?

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  46. colewd: I believe what I do based on logic and the evidence

    And Biblical prophecies! Don’t forget those (the way the 97 percenters have). Plus your understanding of what “logic” and “evidence” mean are unique and original. That ought not to be discounted.

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  47. Entropy: I have learned about it from talks by scientists. They might disagree in how severe it is, etc, but disasters are starting to happen. Should we wait for models that predict temperatures to the mili-degree, or should we act on whatever we can do? I prefer acting to waiting. It’s healthier for most people anyway. So, why not?

    Living in a hurricane zone for 73 years, I have seen no increase in the frequency or severity of storms. The real data on hurricane frequency has only been available since weather satellites were launched.

    The cost of storms has increased because there is more shoddy development in high risk areas. This includes flood plains.

    In my layman’s opinion, the problem should be addressed in terms of energy budget. Anecdotes about extreme weather are countered by other anecdotes. It’s a counterproductive form of argument.

    And most proposed solutions are either politically unrealistic or counterproductive. Politically DOA, as in failing to address India and China.

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  48. petrushka: Living in a hurricane zone for 73 years, I have seen no increase in the frequency or severity of storms. The real data on hurricane frequency has only been available since weather satellites were launched.

    It’s mostly been catastrophe models that have upped the ante.

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