A Message to Creationists
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17-03-2012, 04:22 PM (This post was last modified: 17-03-2012 04:24 PM by morondog.)
RE: A Message to Creationists
(17-03-2012 04:07 PM)SixForty Wrote:  
(17-03-2012 03:38 PM)morondog Wrote:  but WHY? I assume you've put some thought into this?

Short answer: everything I study points me to this. Whether it be philosophy, various branches of science (i.e., geology, biology, astronomy, information theory), history, society, etc. In the end, for me, the overwhelming amount of evidence I see points to theism and a young earth. Not all of it, but way more than enough.

not your bible hmm?
sorry that was a bit snarky Wink
However others have studied these subjects and come to vastly different conclusions to you...
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17-03-2012, 04:25 PM
RE: A Message to Creationists
(17-03-2012 09:46 AM)morondog Wrote:  Given that you appreciate that we as humans are easily deluded, what makes you think that your magic book speaks truth?

"Don't you just love it how people exclude themselves from statements such as this?"

You'd never hear a statement like that, because humans are so stupid.

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17-03-2012, 04:31 PM
RE: A Message to Creationists
(17-03-2012 04:22 PM)morondog Wrote:  not your bible hmm?
sorry that was a bit snarky Wink
However others have studied these subjects and come to vastly different conclusions to you...

No worries about the snarkiness - I've got thick skin! Smile

Yes, the bible is definitely a part of it, and a large part of it. That would have fallen mostly under the "history" heading that I mentioned, but also under the science and philosophy headings as well.

As for others that have studied these subjects and come to vastly different conclusions, I fully expect that. People are different, will look at things in different ways, and come to different ideas. But I can't simply pick certain people and let them dictate to me what I should believe. Not even if it's a majority opinion - just because everybody else believes something, that doesn't mean that I should. I'd rather look into the issues myself, and come to my own conclusions and my own beliefs.

Even if that sticks me in the minority.
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17-03-2012, 04:38 PM
RE: A Message to Creationists
(17-03-2012 04:31 PM)SixForty Wrote:  
(17-03-2012 04:22 PM)morondog Wrote:  not your bible hmm?
sorry that was a bit snarky Wink
However others have studied these subjects and come to vastly different conclusions to you...

No worries about the snarkiness - I've got thick skin! Smile

Yes, the bible is definitely a part of it, and a large part of it. That would have fallen mostly under the "history" heading that I mentioned, but also under the science and philosophy headings as well.

As for others that have studied these subjects and come to vastly different conclusions, I fully expect that. People are different, will look at things in different ways, and come to different ideas. But I can't simply pick certain people and let them dictate to me what I should believe. Not even if it's a majority opinion - just because everybody else believes something, that doesn't mean that I should. I'd rather look into the issues myself, and come to my own conclusions and my own beliefs.

Even if that sticks me in the minority.

It's a risky position - do you see the number of subjects you quoted? To draw your own conclusions from such a vast range, you cannot be an expert in all... so you *must* get your knowledge from somewhere. I get mine by trusting that those who do the actual hard work of study know what they're about.
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17-03-2012, 04:53 PM
RE: A Message to Creationists
(17-03-2012 04:38 PM)morondog Wrote:  It's a risky position - do you see the number of subjects you quoted? To draw your own conclusions from such a vast range, you cannot be an expert in all... so you *must* get your knowledge from somewhere. I get mine by trusting that those who do the actual hard work of study know what they're about.

Oh, that's definitely true. And it becomes a matter of degrees, I guess.

For example, when we are children, initially we believe everything our parents say. As we grow up, we slowly (or quickly) move into learning things on our own about how the world works.

Your comment about trusting those who do the actual hard work of study is similar. For as children, we don't simply blindly trust our parents. They've often given us good reason to do so. They've cared for us, told us things that we've then found out to be true, etc. So any faith we've put in them is justified, because they've shown themselves to be trustworthy. And it's the same with scientists. If we don't know something or enough about a subject, we will often put our trust in someone more knowledgeable than us. The question then becomes, who do you trust, and why?

Blindly choosing to trust someone just because they have a certain degree is often not a good idea. They should have a track record, they should be open about their work, they should be honest about their motives, and many other qualities. It's just as prudent to study the people you will trust as it is to study the material on your own.

Back to your original point - there definitely are a broad range of subjects there. Some I study very in depth - others I don't study as in depth and do rely on other people who have studied more in depth than me. And those people I trust, I believe I have a good reason to trust - either they've proven themselves worthy to me through credentials I trust, or through past experiences where I've been able to confirm they are most often correct and very rarely wrong, or other criteria like that.

Ultimately, we are all going to trust other people to a certain degree - they best thing to do is have just as good reasons to trust those people, as you would for trusting any research you do on your own. It sounds like we both do that - we just likely use different criteria in who we trust and why.
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17-03-2012, 05:07 PM
RE: A Message to Creationists
(17-03-2012 04:53 PM)SixForty Wrote:  And it's the same with scientists. If we don't know something or enough about a subject, we will often put our trust in someone more knowledgeable than us. The question then becomes, who do you trust, and why?
The problem that I have is that Creationist scientists don't stack up well against normal ones Wink At least the ones I've come across.

Quote:Blindly choosing to trust someone just because they have a certain degree is often not a good idea. They should have a track record, they should be open about their work, they should be honest about their motives, and many other qualities. It's just as prudent to study the people you will trust as it is to study the material on your own.
Mainstream science is not open? The whole point of scientific method is to strive to be independent of personal bias.

Quote:Back to your original point - there definitely are a broad range of subjects there. Some I study very in depth - others I don't study as in depth and do rely on other people who have studied more in depth than me. And those people I trust, I believe I have a good reason to trust - either they've proven themselves worthy to me through credentials I trust, or through past experiences where I've been able to confirm they are most often correct and very rarely wrong, or other criteria like that.
Could you supply some names?

Quote:Ultimately, we are all going to trust other people to a certain degree - they best thing to do is have just as good reasons to trust those people, as you would for trusting any research you do on your own. It sounds like we both do that - we just likely use different criteria in who we trust and why.
I try to avoid trusting people - individuals - I'd rather go with consensus view. But I like your emphasis on personal decision and not hand-me-down wisdom.
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17-03-2012, 05:40 PM
RE: A Message to Creationists
(17-03-2012 05:07 PM)morondog Wrote:  The problem that I have is that Creationist scientists don't stack up well against normal ones Wink At least the ones I've come across.

That may very well be true for some - there are some absolutely idiotic creationists out there. But there are also idiotic evolutionists out there too! Wink I'd be curious to know which creationist scientists you'd put into that group.

(17-03-2012 05:07 PM)morondog Wrote:  Mainstream science is not open? The whole point of scientific method is to strive to be independent of personal bias.

I'm not accusing all mainstream science of not being open - I was simply saying that's one criteria I would use. I see open scientists on both sides, and I see closed-minded scientists on both sides.

But that being said, I typically find that creationist scientists are more open about their philosophical beliefs than evolutionist scientists. Like you say, the scientific method should strive to be independent of personal bias. But evolution, for the most part, suffers tremendously from the bias of naturalism. It presupposes that there MUST be only naturalistic explanations for everything. And most evolutionists aren't open about this bias, I find.

Personally, I don't accept naturalism as a philosophy, because I find it effectively breaks down and is self-refuting. And I think that pre-emptively excluding certain possible explanations from the scientific method is poor science.

(17-03-2012 05:07 PM)morondog Wrote:  Could you supply some names?

Sure. Dr Russ Humphreys is an eminent creationist physicist. He's done some remarkable research, and has been able to come up with models that provided better predictions that various secular scientists. For example, his models for planetary magnetism, based on creationist ideas, were able to predict almost perfectly the magnetic fields on Uranus and Neptune long before we were able to actually measure them, and that's something that secular scientists got completely wrong.

Dr John Hartnett is also an eminent creationist physicist, who has published numerous articles in secular journals. He's well respected in mainstream science for his credentials, holds multiple patents, and does lots of work that is neither creation nor evolution based which is well regarded.

Dr Steve Austin is a geologist who is one of the most authoritative experts on the Grand Canyon - the National Park Service has had him give teaching lectures to their staff, to educate them on various formations and fossil deposits.

I could list more if you'd like. One other thing that I should mention is that in my original list of criteria, I should have stated that I am more likely to put my trust in someone who shares the same philosophical beliefs that I do. It's not mandatory, but would be one of the things that does sway me. And this goes hand in hand with the statements I made above about naturalism. I would likely find that someone who shares the same philosophical beliefs is more likely to understand the evidence in the same way I would, and so I would trust their interpretation more often than I would trust someone who doesn't share my philosophical views.

(17-03-2012 05:07 PM)morondog Wrote:  I try to avoid trusting people - individuals - I'd rather go with consensus view. But I like your emphasis on personal decision and not hand-me-down wisdom.

And consensus view can work for a whole lot of things. And I'd even say that consensus view is probably more often right than it is wrong. But like we both agree, personal decision is better than hand-me-down wisdom. (I like that phrase, by the way - I may just borrow it from you to use elsewhere! Smile )
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17-03-2012, 11:34 PM
RE: A Message to Creationists
(17-03-2012 02:44 PM)SixForty Wrote:  
(17-03-2012 09:04 AM)Starcrash Wrote:  The emotional appeal here is as weak as the scientific one. You're not dealing with weak-minded people here.

I won't bother dealing with all the Strawman fallacies you've brought up, assuming what I believe when you don't actually know. However, this comment of yours bears some thought. Simply because it too is arbitrarily reversible, just as I did with the original poster's thoughts. Because that original post was simply an emotional appeal. Accepting atheism on the sole basis of emotional appeal would be just as weak as accepting theism on the sole basis of emotional appeal. Blind faith in either belief is just as bad.

You're not dealing with a weak minded person here. Smile

You're setting up a straw man by assuming that I agree with the original post and that I don't have a disagreement with its tactic of making an emotional appeal --- but this is to be expected. It's incredibly easy to straw man a person's argument, and it's the one fallacy that someone who understands logic can still make without meaning to do it. I may very well be attacking a position that you don't hold but that I assume... it's just that easy.

I don't believe that I'm dealing with a weak-minded person, and I didn't insinuate it (although I did imply that you must think that we are). But as a former Christian myself, I know what brought me to Christianity and I also know how most Christians come to it --- fear of Hell. If there were no Hell then very few would bother with it. That's why the "Romans Road" is simply a way of demonstrating that the bible says that everyone is going to Hell and 'here's the way to escape such a fate'. There are other reasons such as childhood indoctrination and needing to belong to a community, but fear is the biggest one that I encountered. And that is, if I'm not mistaken, an emotional appeal. I don't blame Christians for this one --- it's the same appeal used by Scientologists, Muslims, etc. Why? Because it works on most people.

But of course I'm not saying that fear of Hell brought you to God. And it's not in the interest of avoiding a straw man, although there's that too. It's because no Christian ever admits to it. The idea of "fire insurance" or a "Get out of Hell free card" is frowned upon and preachers speak against it (to a congregation of people who have already gotten it). But when preaching to the unconverted, it's almost a certainty that Hell will come up. Christians know that fear works, and so they'll use it. Do atheists use fear? Of course not --- there's nothing for us to threaten you with. We believe that you'll simply not exist anymore after you die, whether or not you agree with us.

So you may encounter emotional arguments here. They are to be expected on any forum where debates are held. But cut us some slack, because it could be worse. It just won't be, because of the nature of our beliefs.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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18-03-2012, 02:01 AM
RE: A Message to Creationists
To Starcrash:

I'd agree with you that a lot of people may come to the Christian faith through fear. And a lot of people may preach a message of fear. And I'll even agree that sometimes it's done as a method of control (which I personally find repugnant and horrible)

As for me personally, I'll actually step out a bit and grant you something you don't see very often. I'll admit that fear was a part of what brought me to God. I believe in the truth of Luke 12:4-5 "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell." It's not so much a fear of Hell specifically, it's a fear of a wrathful God in general.

For example, suppose Christianity is true for a moment. Suppose that an almighty God who has the power to create the entire universe did actually do just that. He has the power to create trillions and trillions and trillions of atoms all at once, he wrote the laws of physics and chemistry, he created all the animals on this planet, he brought my very soul into existence. You'd have to admit, he's pretty powerful. He could snuff me out of existence before I even had a thought to say goodbye. And then I went and made him mad. So yeah - I think I have a little bit of justification for fearing an almighty God.

But that's only part of it. For me, the best analogy I can come up with is when a husband cheats on his wife. He should beg for her forgiveness. He shouldn't go back to her and beg her not to leave him, just because he's afraid of her leaving him alone. And he shouldn't try to buy his way back into her good graces, because that's just not going to work. What he should do is simply go to her, get on his knees and apologize for doing her wrong, because it's the right thing to do. He may be motivated by fear of punishment, or he may be motivated by the desire of the joy of staying with her, but ultimately, both are a little bit off. He should really simply apologize because he's wronged her, and she deserves the apology. All he can hope for at that point is mercy.

It's not the greatest analogy, but it sort of shows how I feel about it. Everything I see, think and feel tells me there is a God who created me. And everything I see, think and feel tells me that I've done wrong against Him. And when I stood in front of those facts one day and truly faced up to that, I could do nothing but ask for forgiveness.

Now you are right that some religious people would use fear as a motivator. But again, if Christianity is true (which Christians truly do believe) then they'd really be downright jerks of the biggest kind if they didn't try to warn people about the consequences of their actions. I'm the first one to admit that I'm no fan of hellfire preaching, but if people don't know that they've sinned against God and what the consequences of that are, how can they ever accept the grace He extends to them?

Like you mentioned at the end - I don't really expect atheists to be overly emotional in their discussions or debates, because if they truly believe in atheism, them it doesn't really matter what others believe. And at the same time, I fully expect a Christian to be more emotional - because if Christianity is true, then they should be doing what they can to help others. They would be terrible people if they knew the path to eternal life and didn't share it, wouldn't they?
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18-03-2012, 02:20 AM
RE: A Message to Creationists
(17-03-2012 05:40 PM)SixForty Wrote:  That may very well be true for some - there are some absolutely idiotic creationists out there. But there are also idiotic evolutionists out there too! Wink I'd be curious to know which creationist scientists you'd put into that group.
Not that I feel the need to keep up, but I've actually seen Michael Behe speak, although I had no clue who he was at the time. Also had a looksie at William Dembski a while back. Some random dude came to our uni once - David somebody, made a big deal outta being a published physicist. Oh David Bloch. Yeesh. I nearly exploded at his lecture - it was basically a church love fest Tongue At least Behe raised this interesting idea of how you could actually prove evolution was not possible. Although from reading other reviews later on the examples he showed us were easily explained as products of evolution.

Quote:I'm not accusing all mainstream science of not being open - I was simply saying that's one criteria I would use. I see open scientists on both sides, and I see closed-minded scientists on both sides.
What I mean is that by submitting your papers for peer review and criticism you immediately remove the possibility that personal bias could control your conclusion - because everyone else will jump on you. It's not perfect, it doesn't mean that we'll hit truth every time we aim and fire, but it means that conclusions are open to refutation at any time, even dearly loved tenets like relativity - witness the furor over the recent neutrino experiments.

Quote:But that being said, I typically find that creationist scientists are more open about their philosophical beliefs than evolutionist scientists. Like you say, the scientific method should strive to be independent of personal bias. But evolution, for the most part, suffers tremendously from the bias of naturalism. It presupposes that there MUST be only naturalistic explanations for everything. And most evolutionists aren't open about this bias, I find.
I have encountered this accusation before. Basically it seems to be "You guys exclude God as a possibility from the outset, therefore you never find him, therefore you conclude that there is no God." Correct summary?

Quote:
(17-03-2012 05:07 PM)morondog Wrote:  Could you supply some names?
Sure. Dr Russ Humphreys is an eminent creationist physicist. He's done some remarkable research, and has been able to come up with models that provided better predictions that various secular scientists. For example, his models for planetary magnetism, based on creationist ideas, were able to predict almost perfectly the magnetic fields on Uranus and Neptune long before we were able to actually measure them, and that's something that secular scientists got completely wrong.

Dr John Hartnett is also an eminent creationist physicist, who has published numerous articles in secular journals. He's well respected in mainstream science for his credentials, holds multiple patents, and does lots of work that is neither creation nor evolution based which is well regarded.

Dr Steve Austin is a geologist who is one of the most authoritative experts on the Grand Canyon - the National Park Service has had him give teaching lectures to their staff, to educate them on various formations and fossil deposits.
Never heard of any of these guys Tongue Wikipedia here I come.

Quote:I could list more if you'd like. One other thing that I should mention is that in my original list of criteria, I should have stated that I am more likely to put my trust in someone who shares the same philosophical beliefs that I do. It's not mandatory, but would be one of the things that does sway me. And this goes hand in hand with the statements I made above about naturalism. I would likely find that someone who shares the same philosophical beliefs is more likely to understand the evidence in the same way I would, and so I would trust their interpretation more often than I would trust someone who doesn't share my philosophical views.
... You see this kind of automatically implies that you're gonna only really give weight to opinions that already agree with you. I also do this though - I dismiss most creationist stuff out of hand as not worthy of my attention.

Quote:
(17-03-2012 05:07 PM)morondog Wrote:  I try to avoid trusting people - individuals - I'd rather go with consensus view. But I like your emphasis on personal decision and not hand-me-down wisdom.

And consensus view can work for a whole lot of things. And I'd even say that consensus view is probably more often right than it is wrong. But like we both agree, personal decision is better than hand-me-down wisdom. (I like that phrase, by the way - I may just borrow it from you to use elsewhere! Smile )

Erk Dodgy Hope the phrase doesn't catch on in creationist circles - I'll feel so dirty Tongue Anyway I'm not sure if I agree with myself anymore. A man who completely ignores the consensus view has *got* to wonder if he's on the right track. It takes a lot of conviction to follow your own path - I would only feel comfortable doing that if I was certain that my knowledge of the subject in question was deeper or at least equivalent to anyone else's.
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