Raymond Finney asks questions, I got answers

| 15 Comments

State senatory Raymond Finney of Tennessee (a retired physician—hey, we've been making Orac squirm uncomfortably a lot lately) has just filed a resolution that asks a few questions. Actually, he's demanding that the Tennessee Department of Education answer these questions within a year or … well, I don't know what. He might stamp his foot and have a snit.

Continue reading "Raymond Finney asks questions, I got answers" (on Pharyngula)

15 Comments

Teapot.

Actually, I think you missed the quintessential bureaucratic reply to this posturing dolt:

“To answer Question 1 would require several research studies, preliminarily estimated to cost a gadzillion and 23 Tennessee Tax Dollars.

“With prompt early funding, we would expect, within the alloted year, to be able develop a proposal or proposals suitable for consideration by the appropriate legislative committees.”

There is absolutely no evidence of planning, intent, or purpose in the universe

I think planning and purpose are in the eye of the beholder. An atheist does not see the world as inherently meaningful, while a non-athiest does. Two individuals can look at the same data and interpret it in opposite ways.

So to this writer, it’s perfectly obvious that no evidence of intention can be found in nature. And his entire argument grows from that assumption. Because he has not perceived meaning or design, he “knows” that no one else can perceive it either.

The “fact” that there is no purpose in the universe is taught in science classes. They could simply teach the science of evolution, without the philosophical speculation. But they don’t see it as speculation, since they already believe it with certainty.

An atheist could teach biology without promoting his/her own personal philosophy. If only atheists could see that their atheism is a faith, not a scientific fact.

You might say meaning and purpose cannot be scientifically discovered, so scientists must assume they are absent. But it’s one thing to say we can’t measure meaning and purpose, quite another to insist there is none.

I think ID advocates (the saner ones, that is) merely want science texts to stop asserting materialism as a fact. They could teach evolution and mention neo-Darwinism as the currently accepted theory. But stop the deceptive practice of saying neo-Darwinism has been proven. Evolution has been as good as proven, the ND theory is not.

Just as we don’t know how to measure purpose in the universe, we also don’t know how to measure purposelessness. So students should be told the question is open.

Four threads and counting.

hey, RPC:

Are there any articles that show us examples of speciation through mutation and selection?

I wonder if this guy will enjoy being smacked about for his ignorance for a few months, like Blast from the Past did?

I think ID advocates (the saner ones, that is) merely want science texts to stop asserting materialism as a fact.

hint:

NOONE cares what you think.

go figure.

Realpc volunteered:

I think…

Why should anyone care? Your assertions are baseless and unoriginal. Try dealing with facts for a change.

realpc wrote:

… planning and purpose are in the eye of the beholder.

Assumptions about planning and purpose are in the eye of the beholder, as beauty is in the eye of the beer holder. The actual planning and purpose, or lack thereof, is either a historical reality or an illusion.

Two individuals can look at the same data and interpret it in opposite ways.

And one or both of them can be dead wrong.

… no evidence of intention can be found in nature. And his entire argument grows from that assumption. Because he has not perceived meaning or design, he “knows” that no one else can perceive it either.

Not exactly. What people see isn’t always what is there. Look-up N-rays.

The “fact” that there is no purpose in the universe is taught in science classes.

Now you’re playing word games. There is purpose in the universe, little human purposes, little monkey purposes, little mice intensions and the quest of a butterfly for a mate. You want to talk about God but you have to hide it behind a lot of obfuscation.

They could simply teach the science of evolution, without the philosophical speculation. But they don’t see it as speculation, since they already believe it with certainty.

If evolution is taught properly that message comes through. Sure it’s possible some God kicked off the universe and had some mysterious intension and plan, but evolution not only doesn’t need a designer to design life, introducing one denies the obvious power of the algorithm.

You’re free to speculate about any intelligent entity you want starting off the big bang – but you’re left, in the end, with the same question: where did that god come from? What is its origin?

If only atheists could see that their atheism is a faith, not a scientific fact.

It’s not a faith. It’s the utter lack of faith in claims like yours. Is your lack of belief and faith in Zeus, Isis or Shiva each a religious belief and a faith. You don’t even want to know more about them do you?

You might say meaning and purpose cannot be scientifically discovered, so scientists must assume they are absent.

It goes deeper than that. There are contradictions in the assumption of any god offered by religion.

But stop the deceptive practice of saying neo-Darwinism has been proven. Evolution has been as good as proven, the ND theory is not.

What does that even mean? Evolution has been as good as proven, the ND theory is not?

So students should be told the question is open.

Oh, sure the question is open – but I doubt if it’s as open as you seem to think.

http://normdoering.blogspot.com/

I think planning and purpose are in the eye of the beholder.

And thus not a matter of objective science. QED

I think ID advocates (the saner ones, that is) merely want science texts to stop asserting materialism as a fact.

Can you quote a science text that asserts materialism as a fact?

They could teach evolution and mention neo-Darwinism as the currently accepted theory.

They don’t just mention it, they teach it, as it is the current best scientific theory explaining the evidence. That’s what’s done throughout science education.

But stop the deceptive practice of saying neo-Darwinism has been proven. Evolution has been as good as proven, the ND theory is not.

Can you quote a science text that states that neo-Darwinism has been proven?

Realpc, Stop trying to derail threads. Got an argument? Have evidence to present? Fine. Open your own thread at After the Bar Closes.

Popper’s Ghost:

Reading between the lines here, I believe the argument you’re avoiding so neatly is that if Jesus is not positively affirmed, he is ipso facto being denied; there is no middle ground. Since Jesus lies at the very heart of all reality, and entire science texts fail to so much as mention this, these texts are flagrantly selective and materialistic in their outlook. Like an entire textbook on the history of the American South that somehow failed to refer, even indirectly, to the War of Northern Agression. And this despite the fact that little in Southern economics, politics, literature etc. over the last 150 years makes sense except in light of that war.

Yet realpc understands that he must make this case by implication and indirection, since on this forum, even mentioning Jesus by name causes all our atheistic minds to slam shut with a resounding BOOOM! after which REAL science can no longer be discussed at all.

Flint said, apparently not expressing his own opinion:

“…Jesus lies at the very heart of all reality…”

Alternatively (can’t resist this):

Jesus’ truth is the very heart of all reality.

Yup, Can’t have it both ways.

My reply to the senator:

I answer question 1 “Yes,” but my answers to questions 2 and 3 would be the same if I answered “No” or “I don’t know.” And I did not arrive at my answer by considering “the latest advances in multiple scientific disciplines,” because they do not ask questions about ultimate causes, only proximate causes.

As to questions 2 and 3, you need to be clear on exactly what you mean by “creationism.”

If it means that the Creator creates species by the method described by science, then it’s already taught, and it’s called “evolution.” Since evolution neither rules out a Creator (or designer) nor confines one to “gaps” in knowledge, I am free to infer whatever “creationist” explanation does not misrepresent the science. IOW, life on Earth has a 4-billion year history, species are biologically related by common descent, and the proximate cause of species change, for which explanations are becoming increasingly detailed, includes genetic variation and natural selection. This is the only explanation supported by multiple lines of independent evidence that Pope John Paul II described as “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated.”

If you define “creationism” as one of the mutually contradictory failed alternate accounts of biological history, they should not be taught in science class for the same reason that flat-Earthism and geocentrism should not be taught, and that is because they have been thoroughly refuted. Please note that advocates of “intelligent design” (ID) also do not want this “classic creationism” taught in science class either. Why do you think that is, Senator?

If you define “creationism” as the ID strategy, which attempts to find a designer in the “gaps,” then that is simply not science. Unlike classic creationism, which at least makes testable (and falsified) hypotheses about the “whats” and “whens” of biological history, ID prefers a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach that is completely vacuous, deliberately covers up the flaws and contradictions of classic creationism, and misrepresents evolution and the nature of science. Besides, the chief ID advocates do not want ID taught in taught in science class either. Why do you think that is, Senator?

If you define “creationism” as the phony “critical analysis” that only misrepresents evolution and promotes unreasonable doubt, then please tell me why this strategy insulates all the other failed alternatives from critical analysis? That’s especially perplexing because ID and classic creationism can be critically analyzed without the cherry picking of evidence, quote-mining, and baiting-and-switching of terms and concepts that are the centerpiece of the phony “critical analysis” of evolution.

I have given you several reasons — all above and beyond constitutional issues — why “creationism” as most people define it should not be taught anywhere. While some may say “teach creationism in church,” I for one object even more strongly to that because a church is the last place where one should bear false witness. Before anyone makes the absurd charge of “censorship,” please note that students free to read about discredited ideas on their own time, and I for one encourage them to do so, as long as they also take time to understand the refutations.

Dear Commissioner Seivers,

By now you have heard of the three questions that Senator Finney is proposing that you be requested to answer. The first of these questions is:

“Is the Universe and all that is within it, including human beings, created through purposeful, intelligent design by a Supreme Being, that is a Creator?”

Of course, this resolution may not be adopted by the Senate. If, however, the Tennessee Senate does pass this resolution, may I respectfully recommend to you the following answer:

“The employees of the Tennessee Department of Education are as diverse as the entire citizenry of this great State. The employees of this Department come from a broad range of religious backgrounds, and hold a broad range of religious beliefs. Some are Catholic, some are Protestant. Some are Jewish, some are Muslim. Some are Buddhist, some are Sikh. Some are agnostic, some are atheist. Some are devout in their religious observance, some are more casual.

“But each of them come to grips with their own personal answers to your questions in their own personal ways. I will not insult the individual dignity of these devoted public servants by offering a public answer to these questions, on behalf of the State agency they work for. I will not presume to answer questions of faith on their behalf. Nor will I adopt an official position on matters of faith on behalf of the Tennessee Department of Education.

“I have no further answer to these questions for you.”

realpc Wrote:

An atheist does not see the world as inherently meaningful

How presumptuous! An atheist can find meaning in life, friends and an occasional blog.

In other words, just because nature is purposeless doesn’t preclude that the individual can (must) find purpose in life.

There are much good things to do. Trolling is not one of them.

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on February 27, 2007 10:55 AM.

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