Observation about creationist arguments
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08-07-2010, 05:58 AM
 
Observation about creationist arguments
Hi,
I'd like to propose the following dictionary entry for the word 'creationist':

Code:
creationist (noun): a person incapable of distinguishing between cause and purpose.

From my observation, creationist reasoning is invariably driven by "purposality" rather than causality.
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08-07-2010, 07:48 AM
RE: Observation about creationist arguments
Welcome to the forums!

What exactly do you mean by "purposality rather than causality"?

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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08-07-2010, 10:44 AM
 
RE: Observation about creationist arguments
Causality is the observation that every effect (change) must be preceded by cause. Purposality is a belief that every cause must be preceded by the purpose of achieving a particular effect.

If you look at most creationist arguments against evolution which look like "How did evolution create something as complex as X?", it's not really a question about the mechanics of evolution. It can be rephrased as "How did evolution achieve the goal of creating X and not something completely different?" This question doesn't make sense in terms of causality because there is no such goal in the first place. But if you don't address the implied purposality part of the question, creationists won't accept the answer.
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08-07-2010, 01:35 PM
RE: Observation about creationist arguments
Ah. Yes, that seems correct to me.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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08-07-2010, 03:34 PM
RE: Observation about creationist arguments
When someone asks "But how did the giraffe know to grow it's neck?" that's my sign to leave. Any yes, they tend to see a reason within everything. I guess it comes with the whole god thing. Plus, most people don't like the thought that the human race evolved for no particular reason, that god doesn't have some grand and great plan for their lives, that their loved-one's death isn't part of a great plan that will work out perfectly. The sad fact of it all, is that they can't handle the truth.

I don't believe Jesus is the son of God until I see the long form birth certificate!
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08-07-2010, 05:22 PM
 
RE: Observation about creationist arguments
(08-07-2010 03:34 PM)ashley.hunt60 Wrote:  When someone asks "But how did the giraffe know to grow it's neck?" that's my sign to leave. Any yes, they tend to see a reason within everything. I guess it comes with the whole god thing.

Actually, it's more of a strong correlation than a strict causation. It's really hard to say which causes the other or if one causes the other at all. In fact, purposality is the most common way of thinking about everything even for people who know formal logic inside and out and realize the fallacious nature of purposality.

For example, consider the question "Why do sheep flock together?" The obvious answer is "Because if they didn't, they'd be easily killed by wolves." And it's also an obvious purposality answer. It implies conscious decision rather than instinct. The correct answer is "Because only the sheep which do flock together get a chance to pass their genes on in the wild."

Next time I get into an argument about evolution with a creationist, I'm going to try to use some example which points out the absurdity of purposality and then ask him to rephrase the question only in terms of causality. I wonder what will happen.
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