Measured Against Reality

Monday, September 11, 2006

Science is not Dogmatic

Note: A follow-up to this post appears here.

Creationists and other science-haters often claim that scientists are dogmatic. Frequently they’ll say something about “dogmatic Darwinists” keeping “Intelligent Design” or “Creation Science” down, but just as often the accusation will be directed toward science and scientists in general.

Let me state this in no uncertain terms: anyone who claims that science is dogmatic is completely and totally ignorant.

First, what does dogma mean? Most definitions specifically state it’s a religious belief, but the ones that don’t say something to the effect of, “a belief that is held to be unquestionably true”, and they often throw in some language about lack of evidence for the belief.

Now, what is science? This definition is among the best I’ve ever seen: “Science refers to either: the scientific method – a process for evaluating empirical knowledge; or the organized body of knowledge gained by this process.” Throw in a reference to methodological naturalism and it’s perfect.

Any process specifically designed to test the natural world through observation, and evaluating the evidence gained from observation is, by definition, nondogmatic. Right off the bat the claims of dogmatism are false.

One of the central tenets of science is that nothing is ever truly proven. Every scientific theory can be overthrown if evidence is provided to invalidate it. Examples of this happening are too numerous to count, the classic one is Einstein’s General Relativity overthrowing Newton’s Law of Gravitation, but there are plenty more.

Science is based only on evidence and logical interpretation of that evidence. Hypotheses are posited, tested, make predictions, those are tested, and if the hypothesis passes the scrutiny of the scientific community, it will be accepted. At least until some new evidence challenges it, when the process begins again. It is not dogma.

Many scientists frequently point out that if someone came up with evidence that challenged an existing theory (such as Evolution or the Standard Model) and came up with a suitable theory to explain it, they’d be a hero. They’d be showered in awards and praise, and go down as one of The Greats. That’s exactly what Einstein and Darwin did, and they’re remembered as two of the greatest in their fields. How can science be called dogmatic when its greatest rewards are given to people who challenge the accepted theories?

The same claims of dogmatism are often applied to atheism as well. They are, at least for me, equally untrue. Atheism is (for most people) about the lack of evidence for any kind of deity. If someone showed me irrefutable proof that god (any god) actually exists, then I’d “believe” in it, the same way I “believe” in science. However, my confidence that this won’t happen is such that I feel perfectly secure claiming that god (any god) does not exist. Many people find this contradictory, saying that agnosticism is the only logical stance on the issue. To that I can only reply with a Richard Dawkins quote, “I’m agnostic about God the same way I’m agnostic about fairies.” God or gods should be held to the same standards as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and every other statement about the world: namely, show me the evidence, and I’ll believe it.

Neither science nor atheism is dogmatic, and claims to the contrary are simply wrong, and most likely don’t truly understand science or atheism. Which is too bad, because knowledge is infinitely more inspiring than dogmatic ignorance, no matter how comforting it may be.

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32 Comments:

  • you say atheist are not dogmatic but yet you reject the theory that God exist without proof. there is plenty of proof recorded over centuries that proves God does exist.
    Science is simply the study of God's laws (that portion of the Gospel that governs the Universe and nature). there is no deviants in pure science and the fulness of the Gospel.

    By Blogger epcookjr, at 11:11 AM, September 11, 2006  

  • "If someone showed me irrefutable proof that god (any god) actually exists, then I’d “believe” in it, the same way I “believe” in science."

    It's a circular agrument with you people. To say this in a blog asserting (and you provide no evidence, Mr Science, so this is an assertion, not proof) that science and materialism are not dogmatic is pure dogma. Materialists always say the same thing, but you read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, so say it along with me:

    Proof denies faith.

    I am not a believer in ID, I am not a creationist, nor a materialist. I simply don't care. Evolution is an unfalsifiable creation myth just like the Bible story.

    -Nick Coutis

    By Anonymous Nick Coutis, at 11:25 AM, September 11, 2006  

  • epcookjr, I have not seen any proof that God exists. You seem to have some, so could you show it to me? For the believer, science is indeed simply a study of god's laws. That's why I'm forced to ask, why do they want so earnestly to hide what we found out about these laws?

    Nick, first off science and materialism are separate things. Science is based off of methodological naturalism, which is simply "we can't study anything that isn't natural, so we won't". Materialism is "only the natural exists". Science is not materialism. So there goes the first part of your claim.

    The second part, that materialism is dogma, is more debatable, but I still disagree. I am a materialist because I see no evidence that the universe is not materialistic. Unfortunately, some people seem to think that you have to prove materialism to claim it is true, but it is impossible to prove that nothing supernatural exists. That's why I choose the simplier hypothesis until the other is shown to be true.

    Evolution is not unfalsiable. Every anti-scientific point has been made about Evolution a million times, and they've all been refuted before. A gigantic list is here: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html, and a refutation of "Evolution is unfalsifiable" is here: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA211.html. That you make that claim only shows you to be ignorant of the science of evolution. Those links (and Talk Origins in general) is very helpful in that regard, I've learned a lot from it.

    By Blogger Stupac2, at 11:42 AM, September 11, 2006  

  • The claims of Dogmatism leveled against the evolutionist (or scientist in general) arises not from a strict adherence to a belief, but to the adherence of a belief to the exclusion of anything contrary to the belief. Science bills itself as happily casting off the falsehoods of a disproven theory, but science does not (in the mainstream academic and research communities) even consider the possibility that a God-driven mechanism is responsible for our world, and so will not pursue any investigations arises from that premise, and instead will accuse any who do so of being merely superstitious, ignorant, and beneath the "acceptable" scientific community regardless of their findings. Imagine I put together a proposal to study the possibility that life could be created ex-nihilo, a la the story of Golem. Would any "credible" scientific board even speak to me, much less entertain the possibility that it could be feasable? I doubt it. Just as if I came to you and said I wanted funded to research my machine that makes skin invisible. Even today, many would scoff at such a notion, not realizing that such a machine does exist, and is wide use (go break a bone, and you can see it work, too). But, because the underlying theory sounds implausable, the research would not be allowed. Science is dogmatic by stating that a previous theory is so apparently correct that further research must take place from that background. It is no different than a "Christian scientist" taking the Bible, claiming everything in it is right, and then setting out to prove it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:55 AM, September 11, 2006  

  • Anonymous, experiments have been done about creation ex nihilo, recall Louis Pasteur and Spontaneous Generation. If you had good reason to believe that it could still occur, someone would give you funding, even if it's the Discovery Institute or another Creationism think-tank. You have to remember that scientific funding is very tight and competitive, and if you have a hypothesis that's not based on sound science you won't get funding. However, that's only from mainstream sources; you'll be able to find funding for any idea that isn't truly ludicrous, even if it comes outside of the mainstream establishment.

    And as I mentioned before, Science opperates through methodological naturalism, which says that we can't test the supernatural so we won't. That's why we don't consider it, we can't test hypotheses based on supernatural premises. Some scientists also don't think the supernatural exists, but the scientific method itself cannot go there, hence why it doesn't.

    Some people forget that many scientists are some form of deist, I believe it's about half. Take for instance Ken Miller, who's a practicing Catholic and Biologist, he wrote a book called "Finding Darwin's God" about evolution and God.

    I'm not sure if you're referencing X-rays with your "skin invisible" remark, but regardless there is active research being done into ways of making objects invisible, mainly through materials with negative indices of refraction.

    I hope I've cleared some things up.

    By Blogger Stupac2, at 12:11 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • It wasn't so much about needing things cleared up. It was more about offering a simple example to the point that science is inherently biased in what it is willing to study. I am a recent graduate of Colorado State University (nevermind the spelling errors previously, I am actually quite literate, but have been sick for a week and am in a bit of a fog) with a BA in Philosophy with a Religious Studies Concentration and a BS in Psychology. I am well aware from research work I have done with the psych department (help adinistering, that is, not being the subject of experiments), so I understand how a reputable study works from start to finish. The problem is that even if I conclusively proved the evolution was false, and my method was completely without flaw (and, of course I understand that is vertually impossible), if the research was even remotely associated with the Discovery Institute, many would discredit the research simply by means of an ad hominem attack against the DI (i.e. "those Creationist nutjobs at the DI have shown that X and Y, but they are Creationists, and they used to say that the earth was 6000 years old, blah blah blah") so that does not diminish the inherent difficulty of trying to experimentally put down evolution. Evolution is so strongly adhered to in the scientific community (recall all the times we are told that it is the bedrock of science, tying together biology, geology, chemistry, etc) that no one in a serious institute of scienc would seriously be willing to try to disprove it (nor would many want to). Further, just like Creationism, many people believe evolution without actually understanding what they claim to believe, and swear that anything else is patently false simply by virtue of being something else. That is dogmatism. The problem here is a distinction between science and scientists. A great many scientists are dogmatic. Science (of course) is not. Science is intangible, just like math (both of which have only their results for us to have and hold) and even religion itself. This is the same problem that religion faces. Religion is a great number of things that religious people are not (and vice versa). Religion is not, for example, violent. Many religious people are. As an aside, I am a Creationist. I do, however, believe in anything that I can experience firsthand (and yes, I have experienced God firsthand several times, no I will not get into it because it is not the point here) and so I have no problem accepting, for example, natural selection. As a last point, for what it is worth, I am also a biblical literalist (as much as I can be. I'm not a snake handler, though), but I am also very much into scientific inquiry, and I also do not adhere to the falsehoods that many people do insert into the Bible. For example, I do not hold the earth to be 6000 years old (or 10,000) or any other arbitrary number. That is not found anywhere in the Bible. It is just another example of how most people, regardless of the side they are on, do not understand the very argument they are arguing. BTW, my name is Charles, I was just too lazy to create a log in.

    By Anonymous Charles, at 12:38 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • God is involved in everyday life all the time, he gets mad when we are bad, and it is a drought; lets sacrifice someone.

    God is watching from above but doesn't do all that much in our individual lives from day to day; so make sure you give him as much thought as he gives you. Church once a week.

    God was never actually THAT involved.. he just got things started then that was it.

    Come on.. how people can honestly believe in religion is just stupid. Oh, what I was told as a child, that wasn't right, so lets use this new theory that we made up about the Watcher.

    What happens after that? God sneezed and the big bang happened? Get a grip. Believe in yourself, in the good things people have within themselves before those things are used and twisted by religion.

    You don't need religion to be a good person. That in itself should abolish the complete clusterfark that is religion.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:49 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • As stated before, i do have a psych degree. Maybe I could recommend a good therapist for you. You sound like you have a lot of hate. Read what I said about religion and practitioners of religion. Religion cannot be a clusterfuck. Religion, I think, does not procreate. Hope that helps.

    By Anonymous Charles, at 1:02 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • Charles, yes, most of what you said is true. And it is commonly held that as new ideas arise in science, they really only take over when the people who disagree die. This isn't entirely true, but it's a problem with people. Some are just like that. I've found most scientists to be rather open-minded, and none who really care what other people believe.

    I'm not entirely sure about whether or not evolution would be overthrown if the evidence existed. Evolutionary Biologists routinely say that they would switch, and I certainly hope they're not lying. But as you said, that's not likely to happen either way, evolution (as in, common descent, not how evolution occurs) is a fact.

    A better example that's trotted out more often is String Theory. It's in no way proven, but where much of the activity in theoretical physics is taking place. Some people whine about this, saying that there's inherent bias against those who don't agree that it's the Theory of Everything. They may be right, but I don't think so. As it stands String Theory is the most promising TOE, but if Loop Quantum Gravity or any other progresses to the point where they're more viable, people will jump ship.

    You'd be right that anyone who claims evolution is true without understanding it is dogmatic, but I have yet to meet anyone who does that. I do routinely see people claim it is false without understanding it.

    I might be getting myself into trouble challenging someone with much better credentials than I my own, but from what I've read Religions can be inherently violent, at least to the extent that if you believe what's written in their holy books then you believe that unbelievers should be killed (or something like that). I've read plenty of passages from the Koran like that, and quite a few from the Bible (mostly Old Testament). I'm currently reading "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris, and he's delt with Islam specifically quite a deal, and made some pretty persuasive (to me, at least) arguments that religion is inherently violent.

    But again, that's off topic, and I'm not really in good enough standing to debate it.

    And I do not doubt that you have had religious experiences, I know that other people have as well. You might be interesting in this description of a conversation with God that lead to Atheism: http://www.jhuger.com/mystic_atheism. I would, of course, say that mystic experiences have natural causes that we don't fully understand. I could very well be wrong.


    Anonymous, I agree with your main point, and found your phrasing humorous, if crude.

    By Blogger Stupac2, at 1:05 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • I think anonymous (not to be confused with the first anonymous, who was me) is a bit off target, and way off base. But, neither here nor there. As to what you (stupac) have said, you've almost proven yourself false through contradiction. You claim that science is not dogmatic, and then (assuming you are the author) claim that common descent is fact. That is little better then me claiming that Jesus was conceived by God and a mortal woman (or a mortal woman and a Roman soldier, or a woman and whatever ad infinitum is a fact). Common descent is held by many to be true, but go and look into it. It is such a convoluted theory that to claim it is fact is just silly. It seems that at every point I entered a new school system, that I've heard a different theory of common descent (and yes, we are talking public scholls up to and including a public university). First it was this singular progression, then it was a common ancestor, and the analogy of the tree with many branches, and so on and so forth. It is rather difficult to find a group of people (scientists or otherwise) who can agree as to what the theory actually holds. I could give you a great counter hypothesis, but I won't, at this time, because it is something that I am actually trying to initiate a study regarding, and so I have to be a bit sensitive as to whom I share my premise with, but, suffice to say, if it is correct it would completely disprove common descent (and no, it has nothing to do with the example below). Also, the point I was making earlier was that science has it's own dogmatic beliefs, and I'll illustrate it thusly. If you are not familiar with the story of the golem (not the one from Tolkein, either) go and read it, it is rather a good story. If it is true, then it serves well to make my point. So, according to the story of golem, a person, being long and properly studied in the Torah and Jewish mysticism, can unlock the secret by which God created man from the earth. Being human, of course, we cannot match God's perfection, but we can still perform a rudimentary form of this creation. So, having, say a dozen Talmudic scholars, who have learned this ability, all disbursed to different labs, with different experimenters, and in all other ways engaged in a well designed experiment made to maximize the effect of the scholars and their skill, and to eliminate as much as possible confounding variables and outside influence, if they could each (or even a few) create life from mud in this laboratory setting, in a manner that is repeatable, what do you suppose the scientific community would do? Chances are, it couldn't get this far, though, since if I went before the department of biology here, or pretty much anywhere, and said I knew people who could make living matter from mud, they'd lock me away. If, however, I went before that same board and said that I knew of a method at the chromosomal level that could show conclusively and unambiguously that there is a relationship between a human dna strand and a fish, they would be keenly interested. If not dogmatism, that is at least a serious bias issue. Lastly, how does a conversation with God lead to atheism? I think Descartes would have a field day with that.

    By Anonymous Charles, at 1:25 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • Well said and argued. Top drawer. Keep up the good work.

    The only quibble that I'd offer, and it's a small one is that you seem to be attacking a strawman. I agree with you that science is regularly called dogmatic by some; however, a reference or quote would improve your agrument.

    I wish I could do a better job of augmenting your thesis. I offer only that we not only welcome new explanations to your natural world, but eagerly, ever so eagerly, await the slightest hint of a problem with our theories. We yearn for the single data point that could help us better understand our world. If we seem unwilling to accept a new piece of data, we should question only the method in which the data point was collected, not its content. Our checklist is rather simple. Was the experiment double-blind? Was the observer unbiased? Can we repeat the observation? There are just a few simple steps to get our full attention. That's our method. It works well.

    Thanks!

    By Blogger Frank, at 1:38 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • Why do I need a good therapist? Because I don't believe in Creationism? God talks to you and you accept natural selection but I need the therapist? Interesting concept.

    Perhaps it is because I'm tired of you Creationist and Zealots running around trying to put your religion and your beliefs in my schools and my courtrooms and saying I'm a bad person and I'll go to hell because I don't share your beliefs. Of the billions of people on earth, a very small percentage actually believe the exact same thing; so who is right and who is wrong? Does everyone that isn't in the right party go to hell or do they all get off as at least trying and get into heaven anyway? If that's the case, why do you need religion at all when you are perfectly capable of being a loving, understanding, caring, passionate, human being without the influences of God or religion.

    Christians want their beliefs imposed throughout the United States from the classrooms to the courthouses, but if you say well if we teach about Christian ideals we'll have to teach about other religions. At which point Christians throw up their hands, and pout off, mumbling to just forget about it.

    Scientist will study and accept any testable and verifiable theory that would involve God. The simple fact of the matter is there is no proof of God.

    Show some proof; something that can be studied, and I'll reconsider my thoughts. Just because your brain does a bunch of electrical impulses and you think you are having a religious experience does not in fact make it so.

    I don't mean to offend you dear Charles, but you are simply, in my opinion, trying to play both sides. Like many scientists have said they were at least moderately religious when they actually aren't. (How can you say you don't believe in a God and get funding when 90% of Americans do.) Of course.. 90% of Americans also don't believe in evolution. You know, because that somehow less has evidence supporting it than a book from 2000 years ago, transcribed many times into many different languages all hand written for hundreds of years. No one could have made a mistake, and to think that it could have all been just a story to being with, man what a concept. Oh that part where human beings decided what would and would not be part of the Bible, just ignore that too please if you don't mind.

    Religion is a crutch for people that NEED something more to their lives but are content with accepting what they are told instead of using logical and dare I say scientific reasoning in their decision on what to believe.

    People that are like oh I believe in the scientific method but I believe in God. Well, you don't believe in them equally 50-50, so which on is it? And why? And what's the proof?

    If you believe in scientific theory and say you do but you believe in God, you are too afraid of the consequences of the "afterlife" to stand up and say probably not a God since there is such a complete lack of evidence. And that's fine, if you choose to not actually uphold to either belief and just want the middle ground.

    Sounds a lot like how the Bible and the meaning sure has changed a lot over the last 1500 years, yet the actual words inside it haven't changed. Yeah.. that's logical.

    Or maybe this is right. God created the universe. The universe happens to be so incredibly large that we cannot even correctly conceive the size of it in our mindseye. Yet that huge vastness of space, God had planned for us to one day discover space travel and the ability to travel at the speed of light, only to find out that this HUGE universe was made with just us in it. If God did it, why'd he make the universe so damn big if he just wanted to make some people in his image.

    Belief in God and religion is what people choose to live with and live by because they are scared of what the world would be like without it (How can people be good without God!? Yes, it is possible, though I haven't met many Christians that will accept it)

    What if you don't believe in God and you are wrong. What of it? Why does the belief in God a pre-requisite for being a good person?

    Christianity flip flops around throughout history, in fact the very idea of religion at all flounders around surviving off people's fear. Religion is the biggest hindrance to just about everything that you would want in this world. Peace, love, supporting other peoples that have nothing to offer us (ie Helping people in Africa instead of letting them starve just because they have nothing of monetary value to us so who cares) Just let me get my Starbucks and get on with my daily life right?

    Hate? Not exactly.. more like.. complete and utter frustration at the delusional beliefs of mankind when we should be way past such infantile ideas as having a big powerful daddy in the sky protecting us or at least to have made us in his image.

    Look, religion was good and all. Kept people in line, let civilizations grow. But people would have been just as well off and would be just as well off born today if people were raised about and to be good humans unrelated to some fluctuating scale told to you by a big organization. You don't need religion to not have sex before you are married; you don't need religion to not beat your wife; you don't need religion to tell you it is wrong to end someone else's life. The list goes on an on. People don't need religion, religion needs people. It is just a shame people feel like their lives would be empty and meaningless if they allowed themselves to actually rational examine the case for God.

    Faith has a very important role in a lot of people's lives. Makes them feel complete, makes them think things are going to be alright later, helps them get over their guilt by at least admitting it to the air; it has many valuable aspects.

    For weak minded people. Raised with the right beliefs and in the right way and religion is completely irrelevant to the type of person a child becomes. But in America you could raise the greatest most kind hearted person in history taught him in ways that didn't involve religion; and the second he says he's not religious he is shunned. Think a politician in America could ever get elected if they claimed they were Atheist? No matter what great humanitarian works the person did, they could never make it to office. Why is that exactly? Surely it is obvious he isn't a bad person, yet just because he denies God, you deny him. The mans good works are evident from his life, Gods work isn't evident anywhere; yet God gets all the praise and respect and this guy is turned out into the street. Logical?

    God made mankind in his image.
    That's mankind's ego buddy.
    No more, no less.

    Charles my friend, you may be right. Maybe God did show up and do something but as much as I might have tried and wanted to believe in a God (and yes, researched many religions) at the end of the day; I always come to the same conclusion. Belief in a God, any God, is at the very best completely illogical and at the worst destructive to mankind's progress.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:10 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • Oh yeah one more thing..

    About String Theory. It is an intresting idea.. intresting enough to keep up with the work they are doing in the field and trying to stay up-to-date with the arguements etc, to find out if they ever actually prove it or not. But I must say that while intresting, as of currently, it is much more of a religion than a science.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:14 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • According to Stephen Hawking in A Brief History of Time, "a theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations." He goes on to state, "any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single repeatable observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory."

    This is a view shared by Isaac Asimov. In Understanding Physics, Asimov spoke of theories as "arguments" where one deduces a "scheme" or model. Arguments or theories always begin with some premises - "arbitrary elements" as Hawking calls them (see above), which are here described as "assumptions". An assumption according to Asimov is "something accepted without proof, and it is incorrect to speak of an assumption as either true or false, since there is no way of proving it to be either. (If there were, it would no longer be an assumption.) It is better to consider assumptions as either useful or useless, depending on whether deductions made from them corresponded to reality.... On the other hand, it seems obvious that assumptions are the weak points in any argument, as they have to be accepted on faith in a philosophy of science that prides itself on its rationalism. Since we must start somewhere, we must have assumptions, but at least let us have as few assumptions as possible." (See Ockham's razor)

    As an example of the use of assumptions to formulate a theory, consider how Albert Einstein put forth his Special Theory of Relativity. He took two phenomena that had been observed — that the "addition of velocities" is valid (Galilean transformation), and that light did not appear to have an "addition of velocities" (Michelson-Morley experiment). He assumed both observations to be correct, and formulated his theory, based on these assumptions, by simply altering the Galilean transformation to accommodate the lack of addition of velocities with regard to the speed of light. The model created in his theory is, therefore, based on the assumption that light maintains a constant velocity (or more precisely: the speed of light is a constant).

    Science is simply the study of the laws of God that govern the Universe. Which laws are also parts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Based on Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, in biology, evolution is the change in the heritable traits of a population over successive generations, as determined by shifts in the allele frequencies of genes. Through the course of time, this process results in the origin of new species from existing ones (speciation) mammals from fish, birds from mammals, humans from apes, etc. All contemporary organisms are related to each other through common descent, the products of cumulative evolutionary changes over billions of years. Evolution is the source of the vast diversity of extant and extinct life on Earth.

    The basic mechanisms that produce evolutionary change are natural selection (which includes ecological, sexual, and kin selection) and genetic drift; these two mechanisms act on the genetic variation created by mutation, genetic recombination and gene flow. Natural selection is the process by which individual organisms with favorable traits are more likely to survive and reproduce. If those traits are heritable, they are passed to succeeding generations, with the result that beneficial heritable traits become more common in the next generation. Given enough time, this passive process can result in varied adaptations to changing environmental conditions. However, the idea that Genetics is proof that Darwin’s theory is correct is flawed.

    First, the assumption that time is constant could be false. At the creation of the Universe, it is possible that time moved at a much faster rate. Scientists have theorized that the speed of light was faster in the early creation of the Universe based on recent scientific observations.

    Secondly, Scientists have been manipulating genes, splicing them to benign viruses and introducing them in to animals and planters for years, thereby, creating genetically modified plants and animals in a single generation. The mechanics of how a genetic mutation came about in the first ancestor to have the gene that was passed on to his descendants is purely speculative. It is most probable that the obesity in America today is caused by humans consuming animals that have been genetically altered to be obese. It is possible that the common genome we share is because our ancient ancestors consumed animals for food.

    It is also possible that all living things have a common genome, not because we have a common ancestor, but because a common process was used in our creation.

    it has been proven that a new gene can be created by nature in less than 65 years.

    it is getting late for me. but tomarrow i will provide you will the proof you ask for. so anyone interested in it may view my post tomarrow evening.

    By Blogger epcookjr, at 3:09 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • All - I'm sorry, I can't comment on the overwhelming volume of text I just got, let alone really respond. Maybe if I have time later.

    Charles, I posted the link, it wasn't my personal conversation, only James Huger (the one who had it) can explain. I said "the fact of common descent" because there is so much evidence for it that it's very hard for an open mind not to come to that conclusion. If you doubt me, I had no knowledge of evolution at all before I started to read popularizers such as Richard Dawkins, and I was wholly convinced. As it appears to me, common descent is no more a belief than heliocentrism. If you doubt the evidence, there's a good list right here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/. It's essentially a quick list of evidence.

    I don't have the time to continue a conversation here, at least not right now, I'll try to comment more later.

    By Blogger Stupac2, at 3:26 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • ::flame::
    Creationists... diaf
    ::/flame::

    By Blogger Brad, at 4:03 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • Science is simply the study of the laws of God that govern the Universe.

    What were you saying about assumptions again?

    Which laws are also parts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Gospel of Jesus Christ eh? Is that fairly widespreadly accepted among all religions? Buddism? Which one or all; Theravada Buddhism, Mahyana Buddhism, or Vajrayana Buddism? Hinduism? The Chinese? Islam? FSM?

    How come God's role has been diminished from what it has been over the last 2000 years to now he's the one that started to universe, set the laws, and everything we find is directly exactly how God wanted it to be.

    Let me guess, if we ever find another dimension or another universe or make a wormhole or make space travel possible or figure out what started the big bang that made emptiness become a bang and then the entire universe. No we don't understand how the Big Bang happened exactly.. but giving credit to God.. let go of the childish need of God.

    Humanity cannot advance itself until it overcomes that hurdle.

    How can you justify moving God's power around and giving him credit for the laws of the universe.. because what? He started the Big Bang?

    Why did God make the universe so big if we are the only ones here? Why the Big Bang? Why not just put our solar system if we are the only ones he cares about anyway?
    --
    We find other life.
    "God put that there!"
    What about the Bible?
    "Well obviously we are only human how can we know God's plan!"
    And the life being the result of the Big Bang?
    "That's what I meant! God started the Big Bang with everything already thought up. Everything we discover in science is a result of what God wanted us to know. If God wanted other life to be on other planets, who are we to say God is wrong"
    --
    God put Earth at the center of the Universe once upon a time. Now he started the Big Bang with all the scientific universal (theories/)laws? Whatever is behind the curtain behind the Big Bang, oh that's Gods work too? When does it stop and you admit that science is the only answer?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:21 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • "We are all stardust"

    God who?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:28 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • Firstly in regards to my usage of the word "scientist": this word I use purely as a placeholder, not for those who practice scientific method but for those who believe in the ideas of science; i.e. those who believe what they were taught in public school. I used to fall into this camp, until I recovered my critical thinking skills.

    Moving on, I have read the talkorigins page to which you refer and I have questions to their arguments, all of which assume that the skeptic of the scientific/materialist POV is coming from a creationist perspective. I do not, and am not attempting to prove a creation story, so their arguments do not apply. QED.

    I use the labels of materialism and science in conjunction because your views come from both assumptions. Atheism is inherently materialistic, because it denies God (in the Classical sense of a God endowing or embodying all wisdom or knowledge, not in the Judeo-Christian sense of a creator God. Both may be capitalized, which adds to the confusion.)

    There are two camps here (as there often are): scientists or materialists and creationists. I fall into neither group.

    The rest of this thread is a fantastic read, and I wish I had been more a part of it, but I had to go to school. Ain't that a drag?

    The Discovery Institute, while interesting in its goals and theory, has thus far failed to produce any meaningful science of which I am aware.

    By Anonymous Nick Coutis, at 4:53 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • Nick - you're totally right about the DI, they haven't produced any real science, which is why their claims that Intelligent Design is science are hard to buy. And a lot of Talk Origins is just about the evidence, which is why it's a good resource.

    By Blogger Stupac2, at 5:16 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • anomnymous, the science of theology has many theories. just like the science of chemistry, the science of physics, or the science of biology. But, not all the theories are correct some being in total opposition to each other that they could not all be true. it is mankinds devine nature to seek after truth.
    I lived in the far east. I practiced and studied buddism. i was grew up a southern Baptist and I am a Mormon, a member of the church of Jesus Christ. my field of interest is Gravitational Physics.
    i mention this because you made the false assumtion that i made my affirmation that the laws of the Universe and nature are part of the gospel of Jesus Christ with out taking into account other religions.
    you ask "how come God's role has been deminished"? i thought you did not believe in God? although it is a little off topic, i'm happy for the opportunity to share my testimony.
    God is the literal Father of all mankind, not just on this planet but on numerous other planets as well. we were born angels in heaven long before this world was created. God wanted his children to become like him. he presented us with a plan were we would come to earth receive a physical body and learn to choose between good and evil. if we chose good we would again return to be with our Heavenly Father. He, knowing we would fail, provided a Savior for us, Jesus Christ. everyone who excepts Jesus Christ as his Savior and obeys his commandments will again live in the highest kingdom of heaven with our Heavenly Father. no, His role is not diminished but continues on forever. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ.
    he more that started te big bang. he controls the most simple details of the universe. if he became unhappy with us because we were so corrupt that we had to be distroyed, do you think he would just poof us out of existance? no, he would set the laws of the universe in motion to distroy us.
    why did he make the universe so big? maybe, He made it so big to acommadate all His children or maybe He made it so big to humble us and remind us there are things bigger than us.
    man put earth at the center of the Universe though misunderstanding.
    And now about the Bible; the Bible is actually a collection of books, a collection of journals, like diaries,history journals and scientific journal which contain empirical evidence of the existance of God. eye witness observations and testimony documented for about 4000 years by hundreds of observers. fore hundreds of years, we have looked at those in biblical times as being little more than cave dwellers. most recently we have discovered that they were quite scientifically advanced. they having city wide sewage systems, in door bathrooms, hot and cold running water, performed bain surgery, used anistesia and had an understanding of the universe ( it wasn't until the middle ages that some people thought the earth was flat). two major proofs that God exist are Prophesy and the Resurrection. oh! do i hear the screech of chairs sliding up to the computer to challenge me? then let me offer further proof. an ancient text found in America, covering a period beginning 600 years before the birth of Christ and ending 400 years after His death. An ancient text buried in the earth and unaltered for almost 2000 years that reveals the prophesies of God revealed to an ancient people and fulfilled in our time. empirical evidence, testimonies of those who both saw and heard Jesus Christ after his resurrection. eye witness accounts of those who withnessed the prophetic signs that preseded and followed the birth and death of Jesus Christ in the Americas. the Book of Mormon, in the last chapter, makes a promise that if you read the Book of Mormon and ask God with a sincere heart if it is true or not, God will reveal the truthfulness of it unto you. then you will know fore sure that God lives.
    if these are not enough, i give you something else. in 1832, a prophet of God revealed "Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina...For behold, the southern states shall be divided against the northern states.." revelation revealed by God and then fulfilled. and there is more.

    By Blogger epcookjr, at 3:16 PM, September 12, 2006  

  • global warming is dogmattic: some people call that science.

    By Blogger pati, at 1:02 PM, October 04, 2006  

  • Until the day when science can explain every scientifically investigated miracle, there is a "legitimate scientific probabiity" that god exists.

    See wikipedia: miracle of the sun

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:17 PM, September 10, 2009  

  • There is a fundamental flaw to your claim that science is not dogmatic, and it lies within the very way in which science operates, through publishing papers, and peer review. If you have a ground breaking hypothesis that doesn't hold with the generally held views of the scientific community, you will not get published, and your career ruined... As examples I cite Cremo and Thompson, Virginia Steen-Mclntyre and Hueyatlaco, and Dr. Peter Duesberg as just a few examples to be going on with.

    By Blogger Matt, at 1:26 AM, January 16, 2010  

  • i'm glad you wrote this. many people make no distinction between evidence and assumptions (or "belief", "faith", and what have you). thus, they fail to understand the argument for science to begin with, and embarrassingly enough, also their OWN argument against it.

    or, like nick here, they fail to understand the meaning of evidence altogether.

    By Anonymous Dani, at 3:25 PM, January 28, 2010  

  • The end of religious dogma!

    What science, religion, philosophy or theology, Hawkins or Dawkins thought impossible has happened. History now has it's first fully demonstrable proof for faith. And coming from outside all existing faiths, clearly has 'tradition' in the cross hairs. Quoting from an online review:

    "The first ever viable religious conception capable of leading reason, by faith, to observable consequences which can be tested and judged is now a reality. A teaching that delivers the first ever religious claim of insight into the human condition that meets the Enlightenment criteria of verifiable, direct cause and effect, evidence based truth embodied in experience. For the first time in history, however unexpected or unwelcome, the world must contend with a claim to new revealed truth, a moral wisdom not of human intellectual origin, offering access by faith, to absolute proof, an objective basis for moral principle and a fully rational and justifiable belief! "

    If confirmed and there appears a growing concerted effort to test and authenticate this material, of which I am taking part, this will represent a paradigm change in the nature of faith and in the moral and intellectual potential of human nature itself;  untangling the greatest  questions of human existence: sustainability, consciousness, meaning, suffering, free will and evil. And at the same time addressing the most profound problems of our age.

    While the religious will find this news most difficult, those who have claimed to be of an Enlightenment mind should find it of particular interest. But if they are unable to appreciate this change in the historical faith paradigm, to one that conforms precisely to a criteria subject to test and confirmation, then their own 'claim' to rationality is no more than pretension nor better then those theological illusions they find so abhorrent.

    A unexpected revolution appears to be under way. More info at http://www.energon.org.uk

    By Blogger klatu, at 9:33 AM, November 28, 2010  

  • Interesting post, to be honest I don't think the same because a person who believes that the world was made by God exactly as described in the Bible is a complete ignorant and when mainstream scientific research produces theoretical conclusions which contradict theories... it'd be nice if you can add something about it.

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  • dog·ma 1.a system of principles or tenets, as of a church.
    2.a specific tenet or doctrine authoritatively laid down, as by a church: the dogma of the Assumption.
    3.prescribed doctrine: political dogma.
    4.a settled or established opinion, belief, or principle.

    The first two reference churches the third, politics, none of which can produce the certainty of science, because science itself says "come up with something better." The fourth references opinion, belief, and principle, but established scientific fields are none of these by themselves. As in, in spite of the three terms, evidence is there despite any of them. Basic tenets of Science:
    1)All things are knowable;
    2)The world is based on cause and effect relationships;
    3)Senses are Reality;
    4)The principles of Nature are consistent and have a logical pattern.
    There is no science in the Bible. Nothing has been added to it since 98 AD. in spite of knowledge having grown by leaps and bounds. Stephen Jay Gould has a book(over 1,400 pages) that took me almost a year to read my wanting to digest every thing I could from it. It's entitled "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory" and I looked all over the place, bookstores and the internet for just one reference equally comparable about Creationism and I found nothing that produced the same level of evidence as Gould's book did for Evolution for Creationism. That doesn't bode well for Creationists evidence for their Creation "science."
    Stupac2, you're right, they're wrong.
    "The first ever viable religious conception capable of leading reason, by faith, to observable consequences which can be tested and judged is now a reality."
    Okay, klatu, so don't beat around the bush, come out with it. Your link doesn't do it, why did you even put it there? To push more dreamy nonsense on the rest of us? There is no way for me to download what you would like me to about whatever you're saying. Why the subterfuge, if it was that important why couch it in an obscure catch as catch can chase of links to the "final truth." Don't waste our time.

    By Blogger nash984954, at 4:32 PM, October 27, 2011  

  • As a philosopher I find science to be Based purely on conjecture Socrates would have torn it to shreds

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:06 PM, February 16, 2012  

  • I think your use of "definitions" is a little narrow in interpreting the claim of science as dogmatic. I think you are right in saying that by definition science should lack dogma by virtue of its descriptive (non-prescriptive) nature. Ideally this should be true. I think the argument, however, is that often "science" or, more accurately, those who tout scientific "fact" as the only real source of truth, specifically absolute truth, are guilty of dogmatic prescriptivism. I think any serious scientist who understands the limited nature of his method would agree that such an application is problematic. In other words, any application of science outside of its descriptivist methodology is questionable.

    By Blogger Justin, at 7:56 AM, April 10, 2012  

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