Sunday, September 6, 2009

11a. Is Creationism science?

In 1859 there didnt fall a book out of the blue sky , named The Origin of Species,and poofs...all of a sudden there was the evolution theory.

In fact the book is only original in that it brought long standing theories and empirical observations together in a coherent system.

Already at the end of the 18th century fossils were found and scientists tried to understand them. At the beginning of the 19th century scientific theories began to develop.

To mention a few:
1808, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Philosophie Zoologique
1844, Robert Chambers, Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation
1859, Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
And yes, Darwin at the end of a scientific evolution in his days.

The creation–evolution controversy is a recurring theological and cultural-political dispute about the origins of the Earth, humanity, life, and the universe, mainly initiated by US Unitarians, Quakers and Baptists in the ealy years of the 20th century.

A quote:
Creationism (...) is still very much a live phenomenon in American culture today — and in other parts of the world, like the Canadian West, to which it has been exported.

Popularity does not imply truth. Scientifically Creationism is worthless, philosophically it is confused, and theologically it is blinkered beyond repair. The same is true of its offspring, Intelligent Design Theory. But do not underestimate its social and political power.
End quote.

These statements are straighforward and definitely need supporting argumentation. They are the words of Michael Ruse, not only writer of the article on creationism in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosphy,

but also the philosopher who appeared as expert witnesses in the trail in Arkansas in 1981, arguing that Creationism has no place in state supported biology classes. In the courtroom, evolution won. (McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education)

So creationism is not a science. What arguments do I have to support that view. Lets's begin at the beginning.

Before we can start a debate on scientificity of creationism, we fist have to accept for certain the existence of God, a creator. But that is just a belief, that can be questioned, upheld by only a group of people. Reread also my lectures 7a and 7b for more clarification on this.

But then, given that we accept the existence of God, there is a book, written by men, but guided by the hand of God. We have to belief this too.So it is not just a book written by men.

Suppose we accept this too, regarding what is written in this book, is factual information, a literal description of all that happened. Every word in the Bible is factual truth.

Someone who regards creationism as a scientific explanation of the origin of species, also has to come up with a scientific explanation for how it is possible to hit the water of the Red Sea with a staff and make is clear a passage,

or in relation with our present knowledge of the earth atmosphere, how it can be scientifically explained that all of a sudden in the middle of the desert a voice sounds from the sky saying intelligible things.

If we have to take the Bible literally, then all these things are phenomena in the real world which can be reproduced or at least explained by the laws of nature, I would say.

But here we run into other problems. Some might say: no you should not take everything literally, but only Genesis 1 and 2. That is fine with me, but then I want to know what are the criteria to decide what has to be taken literally and what not?

There is a more general question here: where does the idea come from that we have to take what is written in the bible literally? Who ordered us to do so?

Saint Augustine, 354 -430 A.D., already struggled with this question and concluded, that a lot of the bible should be regarded as metaphors, not all, which brings us back to the former question.

When we regard the debate on evolution as a recurring theological and cultural-political dispute, mainly initiated by US Unitarians, Quakers and Baptists in the ealy years of the 20th century, then we have found the origine of this idea of taking the Bible as a literal account of what happened.

At the bottom it shows to be mainly a struggle of power about control on education in the US. Allthough it might be interesting, let's not start a discussion on why a government wants or should control education.

Sofar a number of question with an epistemological undercurrent regarding the relation between a God and a bible and what we regard as science these days.

So today the basic epistemological question could be: how to decide that the Bible offers us factual historical knowledge.

The Discussion

[13:34] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks..feel free..
[13:34] herman Bergson: Welcome Rodney
[13:34] Rodney Handrick: hello everyone
[[13:34] Abraxas Nagy: Hello Rod
[13:34] itsme Frederix: ferm statements and a (probably) retorical question (so far ...)
[13:34] Gemma Cleanslate: may i make it clear theh US government wants no part of this .. a few states with certain populations would like it
[13:35] Laura Lyne: To believe that the Bible is a reliable source of anything useful is a massive stretch on the best of days. There's no rational reason to think it does.
[13:35] herman Bergson: The Creationists do as some Intelligent Design people do too
[13:35] Myriam Brianna: well ... this only touches creationism in the old sense of the word: Bible thumping, 4000 year creationism. Today one encounters a new form of creationsm (ID, of course) which likes to pretend to not being influenced by the bible
[13:35] Laura Lyne: It's a mess, to be quite frank. Jumbled and full of contradictions.
[13:36] Gemma Cleanslate: seems so
[13:36] oola Neruda: i think that is a little bit rough, Laura.. for example, the ten commandments could be seen as early law
[13:36] Gemma Cleanslate: and the statistics of those who embrace are not encouraging
[13:36] herman Bergson: Yes indeed..Intelligent Design is an offspring of Crea...
[13:36] Gemma Cleanslate: poorly educated[13:37] Laura Lyne: It's hard to be very accurate in two lines or less, oola ;)
[13:37] Alarice Beaumont: gggrr... sorry
[13:37] Rodney Handrick: HA HA HA HA HA
[13:38] oola Neruda: yes that is true
[13:38] Myriam Brianna: and as such it gives a pretty effective way of attacking the actions of a creator as a scientific idea: A creator is an answer to everything, and therefore a null-answer :)
[13:38] herman Bergson: The question on evolution has been briefly disciusssed in Dutch parlement too...forgot when..but was discarded rapidly
[13:38] itsme Frederix: yep, we better forget that
[13:39] herman Bergson: Yes....was regarded as a bad moment in Holland..:-)
[13:39] Myriam Brianna: he-he
[13:39] Arlo Weir seemed to have missed that
[13:39] herman Bergson: So in fact it is mainly an American cultural-political discussion
[13:40] Laura Lyne: Americans have been very successful in exporting culture, and they're trying to export this as well
[13:40] Laura Lyne: not at the government level, usually
[13:40] Myriam Brianna: one that gets adherents in Europe, too. Evangelical groups are becoming a bit of a nuisance here in Germany *g*
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: oh god i hope not lololool
[13:40] Lian Hornet: ben stein is, at least, hehe
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: nono
[13:40] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:40] Arlo Weir: dont forget that americans originated from europe
[13:40] oola Neruda: i hate to see the conservatives being used to explain how everyone who believes in God believes or behaves
[13:41] Abraxas Nagy: the only real Americans are native Americans
[13:41] itsme Frederix: still I think its not a question of the Bible (true/untrue/whatever) but a question how to get things fitted, well some just can do it with a "creator" others with "bind faith", some have hope in evolution meaning things become better, others just believe in the rewards in heaven
[13:41] Gemma Cleanslate: lol yes
[13:41] Laura Lyne: Arlo: Yes, the early colonists consisted in large part of christian puritans who were getting a hard time for their extreme beliefs in the old world
[13:42] Rodney Handrick: this is true laura
[13:42] herman Bergson: Yes..
[13:42] Arlo Weir: amish :-P
[13:42] Laura Lyne: Yes, the Amish were Dutch :)
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: not quite some were mercenaries and treasure hunters
[13:42] Lian Hornet: still are mostly
[13:42] herman Bergson: Well let me put it in another way.....
[13:42] oola Neruda: and their beliefs do not necessarily represent everyone's beliefs at that time or now
[13:43] herman Bergson: Why would people want tobelieve that Genesis is the true scientific report of creation...what is the gain in it?
[13:43] Myriam Brianna: certainly not. But those are highly visible, "loud" beliefs, so they naturally get a lot of attention
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: well every one can blame eve!!!!!!!!!
[13:43] Abraxas Nagy: mm or the snake
[13:43] herman Bergson: Begin by blaming the creator himself...
[13:43] Lian Hornet: adherence to religious fundamentalism which sustains high membership and profit for churches
[13:43] oola Neruda: i think that if one says that one thing is not true then it opens the door for other things to not be true
[13:43] itsme Frederix: besides of that if you count it as a fact others make the story more believable, just people like a good story
[13:44] Laura Lyne: Well, they want the Bible to be literally true, since that means Jesus will literally return, and it lets them believe that these are the "end times".
[13:44] Gemma Cleanslate: true
[13:44] itsme Frederix: science is a good (even better?) story
[13:44] herman Bergson: So in fact you might say that this is a way to keep the group together
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:45] itsme Frederix: or to give it a start
[13:45] Arlo Weir: what religeon does not do that ?
[13:45] herman Bergson: In terms of control and as Lian says ..profits
[13:45] Laura Lyne: and political power
[13:45] herman Bergson: yes ..political power too
[13:45] oola Neruda: are catholics considered conservatives?
[13:45] Abraxas Nagy: Jezuits are
[13:45] herman Bergson: depends oola
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: some think that
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:46] itsme Frederix: mmm I do not like these arguments/conclusion I still geuss some people are really believers - just for the sake -
[13:46] Arlo Weir: humans are group animals the clog together everywhere even if they beleve in nothing at all
[13:46] oola Neruda: because that church had very high stakes in keeping people in line
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: that is very very true itsme
[13:46] Laura Lyne: Sure. It's what the leaders of such groups do that we're discussing.
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: they honestly just believe
[13:46] Gemma Cleanslate: and do not need proof
[13:46] oola Neruda: yes they do
[13:46] herman Bergson: Yes iItsme, I agree..and that believe makes sense too
[13:47] Myriam Brianna: and this belief is essential to their model of the world
[13:47] Lian Hornet: their proof is the serotonin released in their brains during church services
[13:47] Myriam Brianna: they cannot give it up to mere data, - if one part of the bible is not to be trusted, how can one then trust anything else?
[13:47] oola Neruda: nietzsche (god is dead) actually cut those "pious" people...the ones who really believed and lived as purely as possible...he cut them slack
[13:47] herman Bergson: Belief is an important factor in the coherence of the group
[13:47] Laura Lyne: Isn't it the dopamine? :)
[13:47] Alarice Beaumont: well the churches gave us ethics before there was ethics
[13:47] oola Neruda: but called everyone else hypocrits
[13:48] itsme Frederix: don't forget that the controll part also rules science once it becomes political - how much did we (as humans) invest in the BOMB
[13:48] Lian Hornet: both I would guess, but serotonin gives a religious experience
[13:48] Lian Hornet: and GABA
[13:48] herman Bergson: No Alarice that is not correct.....
[13:48] Arlo Weir: lol so every beliver is hooked to serotonin
[13:48] Myriam Brianna: very problematic ethics. Catholic morals for example suffer from the naturalistic fallacy
[13:48] Alarice Beaumont: no?
[13:48] herman Bergson: The Greek gave us ethics and the Romans
[13:49] itsme Frederix: Noda, Nietzsche was seeking for God, with a lantern (small light)
[13:49] herman Bergson: Aristoteles wrote the Ethica Nicomachia
[13:49] herman Bergson: The Church just incorporated it...Thomas Aquinas
[13:49] oola Neruda: mmmm he suffered deeply for his conclusions
[13:49] Alarice Beaumont: oh..ok
[13:49] Myriam Brianna: and ethics we gave ourselves, by evolving in human groups that won't function when it is permitted to randomly kill or steal ^^
[13:49] Laura Lyne: If you read the Bible, does it really contain what any sane person today would call ethics?
[13:49] Myriam Brianna: nope
[13:50] Lian Hornet: rarily in the first half
[13:50] Alarice Beaumont: hmm.. i would think so.. the ten amandments...
[13:50] Lian Hornet: much in the 2nd
[13:50] herman Bergson: To som eextend I would say Yes, Laura
[13:50] oola Neruda: are ethics the same as morals
[13:50] herman Bergson: But mainly the New Testament
[13:50] Laura Lyne: Jesus says some pretty horrendous things, too
[13:50] oola Neruda: i agree with hereman
[13:50] herman Bergson: in a general sense yes oola
[13:50] oola Neruda: new testement
[13:51] Arlo Weir: there are lots of those stories in the bible even ones that are totaly contridicting
[13:51] Myriam Brianna: in some parts - whenever the authors don't bring god into the story ;)
[13:52] Myriam Brianna: some ideas of the biblical Jesus are surprisingly modern. Ethics based on compassion, empathy, and of course the golden rule
[13:52] oola Neruda: jonah and the whale.... think... sea: chaos... whale: one's "ride" through chaos.... and being rescued from that... christ walking on water... walking on chaos...
[13:52] herman Bergson: Yes Myriam, but such ideas you find in all world religions
[13:53] Gemma Cleanslate: interesting yes
[13:53] Myriam Brianna: sure
[13:53] itsme Frederix: Myriam well there was some modern though every time - lets call it human thought (and not Goddisch)
[13:53] herman Bergson: At least we might conclude that the startingpoint of Creationism in Genesis 1 and 2 is not that rockbottom stable
[13:54] Lian Hornet: hehe..
[13:54] oola Neruda: creation.. 1,000 days is the same as one day when you look at it from God's eternal vantage point
[13:54] herman Bergson: It presupposes a lot of belief...
[13:54] oola Neruda: arthist think and talklike that
[13:54] Arlo Weir: its totlay redicules
[13:54] itsme Frederix: sure Herman, as is every startbottom NOT
[13:54] Myriam Brianna: and in the case of the biblical Jesus, well ... the origins of his similes are in part with the greek Kyniks
[13:54] herman Bergson: I dont agree Itsme....
[13:55] itsme Frederix: your welcome Herman
[13:55] herman Bergson: For instance....wasnt it you Laura that said that the existence of God is a testable hypthesis?
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: but creationists look on the 7 days as literal
[13:55] oola Neruda: artists think and talk like that
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: most of them
[13:55] oola Neruda: yes... and i see that as unfortunate and narrow minded
[13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: God could make things look old of youg
[13:55] Laura Lyne: No, I said that it *isn't* testable :)
[13:56] Laura Lyne: Which is why nothing involving God can ever be called science
[13:56] oola Neruda: that Bod could not do someething except in a manner they can understand
[13:56] herman Bergson: sorry...that is indeed more understandable...prob misread
[13:56] Myriam Brianna: not testable, but the idea of god is often self-contradictory. So, no need for testing. Let logic judge ^^
[13:56] oola Neruda: which is probably why it ws written that way in the first place... to "translate it" for people who could not otherwise "get it"
[13:57] Laura Lyne: That brings up the question: Why God? Why not the flying spaghetti monster?
[13:57] Lian Hornet: quantum physics is very self contradictory... hehe
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: I think i have to leave soon
[13:57] Lian Hornet: but testable!
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: hope to see you all thuesday
[13:57] herman Bergson: Yes Laura..:-)
[13:57] oola Neruda: right on Lian
[13:57] herman Bergson: Let's conclude with a remark by Laura....
[13:57] Myriam Brianna: it isn't self-contradictory, it's just counter-intuitive for humans who grew up in the mesocosmos
[13:57] itsme Frederix: Laura I guees because that flying spag. onster would be named God after a while
[13:58] herman Bergson: Plz...
[13:58] Lian Hornet: logically contradictory from a human standpoint, ya
[13:58] herman Bergson: Let me conclude this discussion
[13:58] herman Bergson: Laura said...." Which is why nothing involving God can ever be called science"
[13:59] itsme Frederix: Herman I guess so: that is stated literally in the Bible
[13:59] herman Bergson: In the next lecture we will answer the question why creationism doesnt meet the standards of science and how we know what is science.
[13:59] Myriam Brianna: but what gain would be a god to whom logic doesn't apply? You could never hope to understand his actions or utterances *gets quiet*
[13:59] oola Neruda: can philosopy be called science
[13:59] herman Bergson: No....
[14:00] Myriam Brianna: meta-science
[14:00] Laura Lyne: Not in the strict sense, no
[14:00] herman Bergson: Philosophy is a method of thinking
[14:00] itsme Frederix: like religion in a way
[14:00] herman Bergson: But we'll keep that discussion for next Tuesday :-)
[14:00] oola Neruda: so maybe not everything has a scientific expaination
[14:00] Laura Lyne: It differs from religion in that it uses rational thought to try to arrive at a model
[14:01] Laura Lyne: Religion is a "just so" story
[14:01] Myriam Brianna: and in this it comes near to the scientific method
[14:01] oola Neruda: instead of art
[14:01] itsme Frederix: in religion you just jump into it, in philosophy you carefully (or think so) put one feed for the other
[14:01] herman Bergson: I like that idea Itsme :-)
[14:01] oola Neruda: in art... you draw out from places inside that many do not go to
[14:02] oola Neruda: but can recognize
[14:02] You decline Sleeping Beauty ballerinas from A group member named Geneta Babii.
[14:02] itsme Frederix: Herman and after a few passes or more most start to dive to
[14:02] Myriam Brianna: well, art is not propositional. A creationist wants to be understood as someone who says something about the world
[14:02] Laura Lyne: Right
[14:02] herman Bergson: Let us contunue next Tuesday....
[14:03] oola Neruda: that is true laura
[14:03] herman Bergson: I thank you for you enthousiast participation
[14:03] itsme Frederix: great about methodology (or against it)
[14:03] oola Neruda: good point itsme
[14:03] Myriam Brianna: so I can live with Religion as "art" (in fact I'm religious in that way), but most religious people will not see their religion as art ^.-
[14:03] Lian Hornet: to answer you from earlier arlo
[14:04] Alarice Beaumont: for most religion is a way of living
[14:04] oola Neruda: joseph campbell
[14:04] herman Bergson: I can live with that art of life
[14:04] oola Neruda: jung
[14:04] Laura Lyne: Perhaps we should distinguish between "religion" and "spirituality"
[14:04] oola Neruda: women who run with the wolves
[14:04] Myriam Brianna: we should
[14:04] oola Neruda: archetypes
[14:05] herman Bergson: Yes Laura...but there we start another complex debate :-)
[14:05] Lian Hornet: - I think religious people are generally addicted to serotonin... of course, everything we like is eventaully related to neurotransmitters
[14:05] Lian Hornet: (to arlo)
[14:05] Laura Lyne: Well, that's what we're here for, isn't it? :D
[14:05] Lian Hornet: but the religious use the "feeling" as proof
[14:05] Arlo Weir: its just chemical en biological recation taking place
[14:05] Myriam Brianna: or between the concept of religion as used today, originating in the thought of lactantius, and Cicero's view on the same theme ^^
[14:05] herman Bergson: I agree, but I keep the duration of a class within limits
[14:05] Arlo Weir: feeling can be discussed as well
[14:06] Alarice Beaumont: have to leave sorry.. late here .. see you next tuesday :-) nite everyone
[14:06] Laura Lyne: Oh, sorry :) I tend to go off on tangents :)
[14:06] Myriam Brianna: cya Alarice
[14:06] oola Neruda: night al
[14:06] Rodney Handrick: goodnight oola
[14:06] oola Neruda: night rodney
[14:06] Rodney Handrick: bye Alarice
[14:06] herman Bergson: Class Dismissed
[14:06] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thanks for the work! herman

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