Author Topic: How to Slam Dunk Creationists on Evolution  (Read 43 times)


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How to Slam Dunk Creationists on Evolution
« on: August 06, 2017, 11:22:11 AM »
Paul Braterman
August 3, 2017

The 2001 discovery of the seven million-year-old Sahelanthropus, the first known upright ape-like creatures, was yet more proof of humanity’s place among the great apes. And yet Mike Pence, then a representative and now US vice president, argues for the opposite conclusion.

For him, our ideas about our ancestors have changed, proving once more that evolution was a theory, and therefore we should be free to teach other theories alongside evolution in our classrooms.

How to respond? The usual answer is that we should teach students the meaning of the word “theory” as used in science – that is, a hypothesis (or idea) that has stood up to repeated testing. Pence’s argument will then be exposed to be what philosophers call an equivocation – an argument that only seems to make sense because the same word is being used in two different senses.

Just words

Evolution, Pence argues, is a theory, theories are uncertain, therefore evolution is uncertain. But evolution is a theory only in the scientific sense of the word. And in the words of the National Academy of Sciences, “The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence.” Attaching this label to evolution is an indicator of strength, not weakness.



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Re: How to Slam Dunk Creationists on Evolution
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2017, 09:48:45 AM »

The truth is, it's all a model.  We have no way to know if the model is true.  We just know that the observations fit the model, but then, they would because the model has been developed to reflect the observations.  They give you numbers like 7 million years.  How do they know?  Because we have A, B, and C that indicate it's that old.  What are A, B, and C based on.  We believe that because we have seen X, Y, and Z. Pushed hard enough, you inevitable find that the science is based on assumptions, and if the assumptions are wrong, the model is wrong.

At the end of the day, it comes down to belief.  Belief is a choice.  Science is just another belief system.  It's one that does provide useful tools.  There's much of it that reliably reflects the observations, and yet, Newtonian physics was always true, until it wasn't.  Einsteinian physics may be replaced by Magueijo physics.  If that happens, the model may be more complete, but it remains a model. 

What really happened is anybody's guess.  At the end of the day, it comes down to a matter of faith. 
"There is no hope in government. There is only hope in the Lord and the freedom He gave us."- AtomicLibSmasher, Aug. 2008

 “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.” - Mark Twain