Why Science Matters

At my last job, my commute was about an hour each way, on a typical day. At times I would amuse myself by trying to figure out how much time I could save if I drove at 70, 75, 80, 85 miles per hour. Interestingly (or depressingly) enough, it never amounted to more than ten minutes — and that was assuming that I never slowed down, never got stuck behind someone who was only doing 70. In practice, the only times I ever made those 35 miles in less than 50 minutes was when I was returning home after midnight.

It also meant that if I had a 10 o’clock meeting, I had to be on the road by 9:00 at the very latest. It was very odd, the first time I woke up at 8:45, thought that even in emergency panic mode and with the sort of ruthless optimization that only a life-long geek would concoct, there was no way I could get dressed, cleaned enough to pass for presentable, make a cup of coffee so I wouldn’t crash on the highway, and make it behind the wheel in less than 20 minutes. I realized with a Cold Equations chill that I was already late, even though the meeting wouldn’t begin for more than an hour.


There’s a saying that “what you don’t know won’t hurt you” and it’s obvious nonsense: the cancer eating away at your liver, the distracted driver coming around the blind curve on the road, the mercury in your salmon steak, all can hurt or kill you, whether you know they’re there or not, whether you believe in them or not.

Science is a method for figuring out what the world is like, arguably the most reliable one ever devised. There continues to be debate as to what does and doesn’t constitute science, but as far as I can tell, the lab coats, equipment, double-blind experiments, methodological naturalism and all the rest are secondary. It really comes down to two questions that scientists must ask:

1) What is the world like?

The fundamental axiom of science is that if you want to know what the world around us is like, there’s no better way of finding out than to go look at it. This stands in contrast to approaches like divine inspiration, pure reasoning, and appeal to ancient authorities. As someone pointed out, “if the bird and the bird book disagree, trust the bird.” It doesn’t matter how many degrees you have, how many awards you’ve received, or how many experts disagree. If Stephen Hawking says that in a given setup, the dial should point one way, but you set up your equipment and the dial points another way, then you’re right and Hawking is wrong.

The second question is social, not methodological:

2) How do I know this isn’t garbage?

This is where the degrees, double-blind experiments, etc. come in. This is also what separates pseudoscientific fakes like Answers in Genesis’s “peer-reviewed” “research” journals from the real thing. Scientists go to a lot of effort to see whether and how they’re wrong.

Peer review and discussion in journals is just “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” applied to research: journals invite reviewers to comment on papers to give them a chance to look for errors, and the publication gives the entire world a chance to do so as well. Any scientist who expects to publish her results knows that her colleagues will be looking at her work to see if it’s garbage, so she needs to anticipate this by looking for errors herself.

Over the years, scientists and philosophers of science have come up with a whole slew of Ways To Be Wrong, from dirty equipment to self-delusion to signals lost in the noise to the experimenter affecting the experiment. A lot of effort in experimental design consists in seeing how it could fail; a scientist must ask himself, “how can I make sure this experiment tells me what the world is like, regardless of whether or not I like the result?”


By any measure, science has proven an immensely successful way of finding out what the world is like. We have models and theories that allow us to send probes to other planets, figure out which wheat stalks to cross to get a more disease-resistant variety, predict the weather a week from now, build computers and solar panels and better cheese-making vats, and so forth.

These models, theories, and tools allow us to go beyond our five senses, and peer into the future. They also allow us to ask “what if” questions. What if a 20 kg rock hit Oslo going at Mach 20? How much destruction would it cause? What if everyone in the US were inoculated against tuberculosis using a vaccine that kills 0.001% of those who receive it? Would this kill more people than it saved? What if the Caribbean sea were one degree warmer than it is now? How many more Cat 4 hurricanes would we expect to see?

Richard Feynman, in one of his essays, divided policy questions into scientific and moral questions: the scientific question is, “if I do X, what will happen?” and the moral question is “Do I want that to happen?” A scientist can tell you that if you place an explosive charge on such-and-such support pillar of such-and-such building, it will destroy the building and kill anyone in it. The moral question, “Do I want that building to be destroyed and any inhabitants killed?” depends on the specifics: is the building in the way of something else you want to build? Is it unoccupied? Does it harbor a terrorist cell? Are there any innocent bystanders?

Of course, since science has proven so reliable in answering many “what if?” questions, it is irresponsible to make policy decisions without the best scientific prediction of what it would entail. This would be like sending troops into combat without reconnoitering the terrain first. And, of course, ignoring the scientific evidence because one doesn’t like the conclusions is like ignoring a reconnaissance report because one doesn’t like what it says about enemy troop strength. As Richard Feynman said, with regards to the Challenger disaster,

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence
over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.

As technology advances and as the world becomes increasingly interconnected, there are more and more policy issues on which science can shed light. But naturally, people who stand to be adversely affected by policy decisions find it more expedient to shoot the messenger than to face up to the fact that they’re on the wrong side of an argument. Loggers and real estate developers don’t want to know that the forests they’re clearing today will change rain and erosion patterns and hurt people tomorrow. Factory owners don’t want to know that the cheaper or more efficient process they want to use will kill a hundred people through mercury poisoning. Drivers don’t want to think about how much they’re contributing to global warming and the depletion of fossil fuels. Disease-conscious consumers don’t want to think about the resources that went into making the plastic wrapper that their fruit came in.

But nature will not be fooled; closing our eyes will not stop these things from happening. The only responsible course is to use science where applicable to get a good idea of the consequences of our actions.

This is not to say that we should always do what appears best from the scientific model: we as a society seem to have decided that the (foreseeable, measurable) deaths from alcohol are preferable to the lost freedom and deaths that would result from outlawing it. Bulldozing a park to build a school, a park, or a factory may be a good trade-off, all things considered. But ignoring or denying scientific evidence is simply irresponsible.

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44 Responses to Why Science Matters

  1. PCDR says:

    This is really well thought out. It is exactly what skeptics of some scientific theories would like to see happen. For example

    You write:

    Over the years, scientists and philosophers of science have come up with a whole slew of Ways To Be Wrong, from dirty equipment to self-delusion to signals lost in the noise to the experimenter affecting the experiment. A lot of effort in experimental design consists in seeing how it could fail; a scientist must ask himself, “how can I make sure this experiment tells me what the world is like, regardless of whether or not I like the result?”

    Darwin himself said “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”
    Was Darwin wrong in this statement or does the fact that a single cell organism is in fact an incredibly complex thing break down the theory of evolution at the root – abiogenisis.

    Does the fossil record showing only complete complex organisms both in the animal and plant world with gaping holes in the theorized slow bit by bit change from one species to another not break down the theory of macro evolution?

    Or is it that some people do not like the results they see and observe and test so they stick to the theory anyway?

    These are just 2 of a vast number of observations that conflict with the evolution theory. When is enough failure enough?

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  2. arensb says:

    PCDR:

    Was Darwin wrong in this statement or does the fact that a single cell organism is in fact an incredibly complex thing break down the theory of evolution at the root – abiogenisis.

    Neither. The first organism(s) could have been poofed into existence by magic, and it wouldn’t affect the theory of evolution, which concerns itself with what happens once you have living beings.

    Come on, this is elementary stuff. You could have googled “evolution FAQ” and found this out, but you didn’t even bother to do that. Are you really that lazy, or are you afraid of reading “evilutionist” sources for fear that they might contaminate your brain?

    But let’s turn that around: Darwin came forward and said what it would take to falsify his theory. What would it take to convince you that your ideas about the origin of living beings and/or of species are wrong?

    Does the fossil record showing only complete complex organisms both in the animal and plant world with gaping holes in the theorized slow bit by bit change from one species to another not break down the theory of macro evolution?

    I’m not sure what you’re saying. Are you asking whether the presence of gaps in the fossil record falsifies evolution? If no, no: fossilization is a very rare event. No one expects there to be a fossil record of every species that ever existed.

    Or are you under the impression that there’s no such thing as a gradual series of fossils?

    Or is it that some people do not like the results they see and observe and test so they stick to the theory anyway?

    Mr. Pot, I’d like you to meet Mr. Kettle.

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  3. Fez says:

    Or is it that some peoplepcdr and all other YECs do not like the results they see and observe and test so they stick to the theorydelusion anyway?

    I fixed it for you.

    Keep moving those goalposts…

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  4. PCDR says:

    A few test to disprove the theory of creation:
    1. Show nothing producing something. Get your own Pot or kettle, call it black if you want, fill it with nothing, then pull something out of it.
    2. Create life. From non living stuff.
    3. Create a new stable element.
    4. Disprove the creation of coal in a lab. – show long periods of time are required
    5. Cause a genetic mutation that adds information to an organism. Grow feathers on a pig.
    6. Kill Christianity. In the Bible, God claims that satan will not be able to remove God’s word from the earth.

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  5. Fez says:

    Why should anyone bother answering your questions since you NEVER FUCKING ANSWER ANY? All you do is tuck tail and scurry away to start yet another thread to demonstrate your ignorance.

    Answer this question: What is the “theory of creation”? I’ll even give you a hint – there’s no such thing, jackass.

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  6. arensb says:

    PCDR:

    Show nothing producing something.

    Like virtual particles, you mean?

    Create life. From non living stuff.

    Let’s say that scientists manage to create a living being in the lab. Would this demonstrate (to your satisfaction) that God didn’t create the ones that already exist?

    Create a new stable element.

    IIRC technetium had to be synthesized because it doesn’t occur naturally. Granted, it has no stable isotopes, but 99Tc has a half-life of over 200,000 years, which is pretty good. Does that count for anything?

    There is also talk of an “island of stability”, that some elements with atomic number > 113 might have stable isotopes. Let’s say that scientist manage to assemble a few atoms of element 120, and they turn out to be stable. Would that really convince you that God didn’t create plants and animals and flood the earth?

    Disprove the creation of coal in a lab. – show long periods of time are required

    I suspect you’re talking about CC361.1. If so, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

    Cause a genetic mutation that adds information to an organism. Grow feathers on a pig.

    Please define “information”. How can I tell whether organism A has more, less, or the same amount of information as organism B? Basically, I’m asking you to answer the same question that I asked of Michael Egnor.

    Kill Christianity. In the Bible, God claims that satan will not be able to remove God’s word from the earth.

    What makes you think that I’m Satan? I assure you, I’m not.

    There’s also a chicken-and-egg problem here: if Christianity were to disappear, that would mean that those who today are Christians no longer believe its core tenets. That includes you. Which means that something else convinced you that Christianity was wrong.

    Or maybe you’re saying that demonstrating an error in the Bible would show that it’s not the work of a god. If the fact that Leviticus says that bats are birds and that that grasshoppers have four legs doesn’t convince you, why would anything? Also, see Ecclesiastes 11:5, where the author thought that developmental biology was such a deep mystery that it would never be solved — yet now you can buy textbooks about it for just a few hundred bucks.

    So #1 already happens. #2 and #3 can plausibly occur in the next few decades. #4 is misguided. #5 happens all the time for most commonly-used definitions of “information”, which is why creationists use a private definition of the word and won’t tell anyone what it is. #6 is either paradoxical or redundant.

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  7. PCDR says:

    Is the single cell complex enough to break down Darwin”s theory as he presupposed? Why or Why not.

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  8. arensb says:

    PCDR:
    Why would it?

    Also, which cell are you talking about? A human neuron? An amoeba? An E. coli ancestor from 150 million years ago?

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  9. PCDR says:

    Fez, the theory of creation is plainly spelled out in the compilation of 66 books by multiple authors written over the course of hundreds of years. You can read all about it here : http://www.biblegateway.com/ or listen to it here : http://www.bibles.net/.

    No sense letting everyone in on the secret of your comments by being so blatent about calling names.

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  10. PCDR says:

    Arensb:

    By definition, a virtual particle is not nothing. Nothing has zero properties. So you lied about #1 being false. You Admitted #2 and #3 as true. You sidestepped #4. You answered #5 with a question which is not an answer and your link was quite interesting to show your true colors. Evolution states that simple organisms are evolved first then more complex ones given millions of years. I will defer to you to use your own definition, but the proof must show how complex features are formed like the rotor motor tail on bacteria or a complete system such as the circulatory system in mammals, or how one complex feature can change into another like a Reptile scale into a bird feather. And #6 was not calling you satan, it was simply saying that if Christianity was not on earth any longer that would show the falsehood of the bible.

    In summary you lied about 1, admitted 2 and 3, avoided 4 and 5 and dismissed 6. I do not accept your answer.

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  11. arensb says:

    That’s not a scientific theory. Genesis 1 and 2 are fairly standard creation myths.

    Come back when you have a theory, or at least some testable hypotheses.

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  12. arensb says:

    PCDR:

    I will defer to you to use your own definition [of information], but the proof must show how complex features are formed like the rotor motor tail on bacteria or a complete system such as the circulatory system in mammals, or how one complex feature can change into another like a Reptile scale into a bird feather.

    Why? What does “information” have to do with feathers on pigs, or scales turning into feathers? Be explicit.

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  13. Troublesome Frog says:

    PCDR:

    By definition, a virtual particle is not nothing. Nothing has zero properties. So you lied about #1 being false.

    A clarification: I believe arensb pointed to virtual particles as an example of something that starts out as “nothing” (by not existing), comes into existence, and then ceases to exist. Of course, you start to get into some pretty freaky issues of what you really mean by “nothing” and whether the particle is “real” but that’s the world of quantum mechanics. It’s probably not something that can be debated in abstract intuitive terms.

    arensb’s responses to #2 and #3 seemed perfectly reasonable. Would you really dump your theory of creation if somebody created a stable element in a lab? Really?

    I also don’t see how arensb’s response to 4 was a dodge. Presumably your point is that the creation of coal in a short period of time negates the old earth argument that coal deposits would take a long time to form. The rebuttal is obvious: Regardless of how fast one “could” form coal, the deposits themselves show that they didn’t form quickly. It’s similar to the Grand Canyon flood model. Even if it were theoretically possible to lay down all of those layers “quickly” it doesn’t explain why you can crack open the layers and see things like footprints walking along single layers and animal burrows cutting through multiple layers. The whole structure of the stack has to be explained.

    Your question #5 is still nonsense. It may as well be, “Why are pigs so much funkier than horses? How do you explain the ADDITIONAL FUNK?” How does one quantify funk? Is there some sort of law of conservation of funk that we should be concerned about?

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  14. Fez says:

    Fez, the theory of creation is plainly spelled out in the compilation of 66 books by multiple authors written over the course of hundreds of years. You can read all about it here : http://www.biblegateway.com/ or listen to it here : http://www.bibles.net/.

    So on this thread you admit that your only proof of the correctness of Biblical claims is the Bible. Why couldn’t you admit that here when you were first asked to?

    No sense letting everyone in on the secret of your comments by being so blatent about calling names.

    Why? I’m not ashamed in the least and at least I’m consistent. Can’t say the same for you unfortunately.

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  15. arensb says:

    PCDR:

    You answered #5 with a question which is not an answer and your link was quite interesting to show your true colors.

    I assume you’re referring to the email exchange I had with Michael Egnor. Enlighten me, please: what are my true colors? All I tried to do in that exchange was to get him to define what he meant by “information” in a meaningful way.

    I can’t help noticing that you never tried to define it, either. Why not? I’m starting to suspect that there’s a passage in the creationist handbook that says, “at all costs, avoid defining your terms, so that you can switch definitions when cornered”.

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  16. arensb says:

    Troublesome Frog:

    The whole structure of the stack has to be explained.

    Right. It’s as if I had said that a particular 45 RPM record was made in 1955, pointing out that the recording label existed from 1930 to 1960, the artist’s heyday was 1954-1959, that particular song was written in 1955 and hit the top 40 that same year, the song on the B side was written in 1954, that the paper label was yellowed and used a font that was fashionable from 1940 to 1960, the disk itself was scratched, the grooves were worn from being played a lot, and that the edge sticking out of the sleeve had accumulated an amount of dust consistent with being in a closet for fifty-some years. And PCDR coming along and saying, “It only takes a few minutes to make vinyl, you know.”

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  17. menes777 says:

    I guess PCDR jumped ship and came to this thread?

    I think this guy is going to disbelieve whatever is put in front of him till the cows come home. He wants to believe in xianity so much that he is going to disbelieve anything you put in front of him. No matter how convincing the evidence, PCDR will always find a way to disbelieve it or continue to ask questions. Questions that may never be answered in this generation, several generations, or even at all. He can then sit back and smugly spout that since you can’t prove the unprovable point, the rest of your points are invalid.

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  18. Watcher says:

    Kudos to all of you for standing up to PCDR’s insanity; you have patience I wish I had. Also, I suppose if you deal with him long enough, you will qualify of degrees in psychiatry.

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  19. Eamon Knight says:

    Tnx; several of us are veterans of talk.origins where this was the daily fare.

    Like

  20. arensb says:

    If by “veteran” you mean “glutton for punishment” 🙂

    Like

  21. Fez says:

    And to think I frittered away so much of my valuable Usenet time on talk.bizarre…

    Like

  22. menes777 says:

    Did PCDR get huffy, take his ball and go home? Then claim that he was persecuted because he stood up for his Kris-chun values?

    Like

  23. arensb says:

    menes777:
    Oh my FSM! That means PCDR is none other than… Sarah Palin!

    Like

  24. menes777 says:

    That’s the new Racist Card, the Religion Card. Instead of someone saying they were persecuted because they were black, white, red or yellow, they can claim they were persecuted because they were Xian. Which is really sad that they then run away and claim to be martyrs because they were ignorant and incompetent.

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  25. PCDR says:

    Oh, you guys missed me and you know it. I could not access the sight for a week and I assumed that Arensb had seen the light and shut it down. Guess not. Then I was gone for a week at camp. Now I am back to torture you some more. I see there is a new person here named Watcher. Hi to you. My point is that Darwinian Evolution has been debunked so many times that to continue to defend it is not based on fact, but on faith. I do throw a lot of questions out, and I try to answer those tossed at me. I am big enough to admit that I believe some things on faith and not on proof not because I hate proof, but because there is no proof. Can you do the same?

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  26. PCDR says:

    http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/cells/insideacell

    Check out this site.

    All cells include the following parts:

    Cell Membrane – forms the outer boundary of the cell and allows only certain materials to move into or out of the cell
    Cytoplasm – a gel-like material inside the cell; it contains water and nutrients for the cell
    Nucleus – directs the activity of a cell; it contains chromosomes with the DNA
    Nuclear Membrane – separates the nucleus from the cytoplasm
    Endoplasmic Reticulum – moves materials around in the cell
    Ribosomes – make protein for the cell
    Golgi Bodies – are used for packaging and secreting of energy
    Mitochondria – break down food and release energy to the cell
    Lysosomes – are chemicals used to digest waste
    Vacuoles – are storage areas for the cell

    My questions today are simple. Which part of the cell was the last to evolve? What parts are not needed for the cell to be alive? Did all the parts evolve at the exact same time in the same cell? If a simplier cell than current cell structure was able to evolve, is one still able to evolve today? Why or Why Not? If yes, then where are they? Given that each of the parts of a cell is in itself a complex structure with many parts, what pieces of each part can the part do without? or did each part evolve fully formed with all its pieces?

    To simplify my questions, Did the single cell evolve whole, it was there a simplier single cell in the beginning? For Evolution to be a proven fact instead of a theory of beliefs, this basic question needs to be answered with some supporting data.

    I maintain a belief that even the simplest cell is far to complex and structured for random inorganic processes to create it. Darwin also admitted that if the single cell was shown to be complex, it would destroy his theory. I think Darwin today would laugh at you for defending it. Even non christian biologists admit this fact which is why you now have theories like “Life started in outer space and was brought here by a comet or asteroid”. It is obvious to those who admit it that the complex nature of life is so far beyond chance and probability and even possibility that is can not be explained by anything we know about natural laws.

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  27. PCDR says:

    Now you argue that Prokaryotes are simplier, well here are some parts:
    These are the 7 main structures of a prokaryotic cell with descriptions and functions.

    1) Ribosomes- A small Organelle constructed in the nucleoid, consisting of two subunits and functions as the site of protein synthesis in the cytoplasm. They are the free black dots in the cell diagram.

    2) Mesosome- The infolding of a cytoplasmic membrane. Involved in the separation of chromosomes in reproduction. In the diagram, it is the black infolding of the cell surface membrane.

    3) Cell Surface Membrane- First, if not only, layer of every living cell, prokaryotic or eukaryotic, that acts as a selective barrier. It lets certain substances leave and enter the cell. Regulates the cell’s chemical composition. The third outermost layer in the diagram.

    4) Cell Wall- A protective layer external to the plasma membrane and internal to the slime capsule in prokaryotes. Also found in eukaryotes such as plants, fungi, and some protists. Protects and supports the organism. It is the second outermost layer in the diagram.

    5) Slime Capsule- Secretion by prokaryotes of sticky substances that form another protective layer outside of the cell wall. Enable the organisms to adhere to their substrate and provide additional protection, including an increased resistance of pathogenic bacteria to host defenses. The outermost layer of the prokaryotic cell in the diagram above.

    6) Flagellum- A long cellular appendage specialized for locomotion. Formed from a core of nine outer doublet microtubules and two inner single microtubules, ensheathed in an extension of plasma membrane. Helps to move the cell by whipping the appendage back and forth. They are the long thin strands extending from the cell in the cell diagram.

    7) Plasmid- Plasmids are circular, double-stranded DNA molecules capable of replication within living cells. Although not essential for the survival of their host, they may encode a wide variety of genes that increase survival in adverse environmental conditions. They are not represented in the diagram because they are very small.

    8) Naked Nucleic Acid- They are the DNA usually found in the nucleus of eukaryotes but in prokaryotes they are in the nucleoid. Naked Nucleic Acids serve as the genes (chromosomes) that control the cell. It is the entire pink area in the cell diagram.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=mboc4.figgrp.2879 shows the complex nature of the flagellum motor. Which part of the flagellum motor evolved first? Last? doesn’t Darwin teach us that non benificial mutations get eliminated by natural selection? If you have a flagella without a motor, it is an anchor not propulsion. Sounds Like death to that bacteria. If you have a stator but no rotor, again, you have an anchor. If you have a stator and rotor but no flagella, you just waste energy. If you have all the parts, you still need to have instructions on how to run the motor. What if you only had forward with no reverse to change direction? What if you could not stop it? What if you could not turn it, only stop it? This is just one of the seven main parts. Help me out here to see why you think this came from rocks and water and ocean currents and volcanoes and undersea vents and lightning and what ever else formed these amazing pieces.

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  28. arensb says:

    You know, I was kind of hoping that during your absence, you’d take the time to, you know, maybe educate yourself. Perhaps don your atheism-proof asbestos gloves and anti-heresy goggles and crack the cover of The Blind Watchmaker or one of the other books I recommended.

    But since you exhibit no sign of having read or understood anything I’ve said, and since you’re making the same absurd claims and errors as before, allow me to try a different approach:

    Here’s a picture of a bunny with a pancake on its head:

    Like

  29. Fez says:

    PCDR Says:

    I could not access the sight for a week

    Next time, try taking the blinders off.

    Like

  30. arensb says:

    Oh, and I love how you first claim that “All cells include” nuclei, mitochondria, and Golgi apparata. And then turn around and say oh, by the way, here are some other cells that don’t have those parts.

    For that, you get a picture of a bunny with a pancake on its head:

    Like

  31. Troublesome Frog says:

    My questions today are simple.

    And, as usual, they’re different from the yet-unresolved questions posted earlier. Opening up new topic after new topic without ever coming to closure on one is usually a behavior exhibited by people who aren’t interested in understanding the problem in any great detail.

    Have you considered doing some research on the questions you just asked? I ask this because the last time you asked a series of questions on physics, you abandoned the topic completely as soon as the discussion started to bore down into the actual details of the answer. For example, you dismissed the equations for star formation out of hand, apparently because they were too complex for your liking. Or they were new. Or different. Or they smelled like soup. You were never clear about why.

    Now you’re back with another list of questions that covers volumes of research and detail, and you haven’t really given any indication that you’re willing to give the topic the necessary time and effort. The common belief among creationists seems to be, “Modern science has no explanation for this. I know this because nobody has come to my door, tied me to a chair, and force-fed me a lecture covering all of the material. All they’ve done is point me to books and asked me to spend months reading thousands of pages of stuff.” I can’t quite figure out why this is, but it appears to be so.

    You’re welcome to assume that there are no possible explanations for the flagellum simply because nobody has physically forced you to read the books that cover it. I’m afraid none of us are in the position to solve that problem for you.

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  32. Fez says:

    pcdr copy/pastes;

    For Evolution to be a proven fact instead of a theory of beliefs, this basic question needs to be answered with some supporting data.

    Why do you persist in displaying your ignorance by continuing to insist that evolution must explain the origin of life? Go ask your source and get back to us.

    Like

  33. menes777 says:

    My point is that Darwinian Evolution has been debunked so many times that to continue to defend it is not based on fact, but on faith.

    The point is that you haven’t debunked anything, except in your own mind. I could say all day long that the bible has been debunked so many times, that xianity has been debunked so many times, and so on. Yet it doesn’t mean anything with providing examples of how it was debunked. Generalizing also doesn’t prove your point either. You said this…

    Even non christian biologists admit this fact which is why you now have theories like “Life started in outer space and was brought here by a comet or asteroid”.

    How about some quotes (full quotes, not some quote mined snippet), sources on who has said this, and full explanations what they mean?

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  34. Fez says:

    Waaaaay back here I tried to draw you an analogy which you paraphrased thusly:

    So Fez you answered my questions with “You are to stupid to understand the science so I am not going to answer your questions.” Brilliant Response.

    To which I’ll now respond to you with a claim fully supported by the experiment that you yourself have participated in, “yes, yes it was absolutely effing brilliant!”

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  35. PCDR says:

    Main Entry: sci·ence
    Pronunciation: ˈsī-ən(t)s
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin scientia, from scient-, sciens having knowledge, from present participle of scire to know; perhaps akin to Sanskrit chyati he cuts off, Latin scindere to split — more at shed
    Date: 14th century
    1 : the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding
    2 a : a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study b : something (as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge
    3 a : knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method b : such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena : natural science
    4 : a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws

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  36. PCDR says:

    Main Entry: 1faith
    Pronunciation: ˈfāth
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural faiths ˈfāths, sometimes ˈfāthz
    Etymology: Middle English feith, from Anglo-French feid, fei, from Latin fides; akin to Latin fidere to trust — more at bide
    Date: 13th century
    1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
    2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
    3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

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  37. PCDR says:

    Main Entry: re·li·gion
    Pronunciation: ri-ˈli-jən
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Anglo-French religiun, Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back — more at rely
    Date: 13th century
    1 a : the state of a religious b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
    2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
    3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
    4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

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  38. PCDR says:

    Science is “3 a : knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method ”

    Faith is “b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof ”

    Religion is “4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith”

    MacroEvolution is not Science. It is Faith. When you defend it with ardor it becomes your religion. Genetics or Natural Selection or Survival of the fittest is Science. I have no problem with that. Even if you want to call it MicroEvolution, I have no problem with that. Teach it all you want as fact because it is. Do not take my tax money to fund support for MacroEvolution and call it science. Do not teach children that MacroEvolution is proven Fact. Do not Lie and Make up Fossils and continue to teach debunked theories. That is all I ask.

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  39. Troublesome Frog says:

    MacroEvolution is not Science. It is Faith. When you defend it with ardor it becomes your religion.

    If somebody insisted that gravity did not exist, would it be reasonable to accuse people who vigorously argue otherwise to be engaging in religious apologetics?

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  40. arensb says:

    I’m rather amused by the subtext of PCDR’s repeated comments: he’s using “religion” as a put-down, and implying that it’s not as good as science.

    Which raises a whole set of questions: why is it okay to believe that a magic man created a man out of dirt and a woman out of a bone, or that Joshua made the sun and moon stand still to give him time to slaughter his enemies, without any evidence; but not okay to believe that the animals and plants living today had ancestors that looked significantly different? I thought faith was supposed to be a good thing.

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  41. Polar Bear says:

    The main difference I see between science and religion:

    1) Scientific theories can and do change as new evidence is submitted.
    2) Religion resists change and growth … many times violently.

    I also look at it this way, the Bible (Torah, Qur’an, etc) tells us what God (Yahweh, Allah, etc) did, science explains how He did it.

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  42. menes777 says:

    The main difference I see between science and religion:

    1) Scientific theories can and do change as new evidence is submitted.
    2) Religion resists change and growth … many times violently.

    I also look at it this way, the Bible (Torah, Qur’an, etc) tells us what God (Yahweh, Allah, etc) did, science explains how He did it.

    This is what most creation scientists will tell you. They want you to think they are practicing real science to give their claims some credibility. However, the problem comes in when the science doesn’t match up with what the creationist wants to believe. Like say for example if the science shows that the earth is billions of years old, but the creationist wants to believe it’s only thousands. That’s when the creationists starts throwing things out like dating is wrong, continental drift doesn’t happen, and so on. That’s when the science becomes less like real science and becomes more like pseudoscience. The what ifs come out (what if God sped up radioactive decay rates in the past) and pretty soon all science is lost.

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  43. Polar Bear says:

    I get what you’re saying. That was just my personal view. I will believe scientific evidence over a book that has been translated and revised coutless times from many languages.

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