Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

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katzenjammer
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

Post by katzenjammer »

Any sort of argument needs rigorous definitions but for the sake of this discussion, perhaps some more general definitions will do. For instance, I have been disturbed by some peoples understanding of the theory of evolution. Here’s what I think evolution is---

The theory suggests a mechanism by which organisms can change. Evolution does not mean that organisms “progress” from a lower to a higher state. It does not mean that organisms must change from a simple to a more complex state; going “sideways” is quite acceptable. That is why single celled creatures still exist. Random genetic change is 99.9% discarded but that other .1% (numbers guessed at) provides some advantage and accumulated genetic change eventually results in a different organism. But this does not preclude the original. The environment changes and evolution describes a method for life to adapt to that change. The process is well established and is being used by design engineers to perfect things like propellers. Evolution is not a belief system; it is a process that works.

Without getting into the heat that this debate generates, can any of the theists go along with my rather simplistic definition?
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

Post by JonyDarko »

I am by no means a theists but i agree with your definition :)
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

Post by steven lloyd »

I suppose I would be considered a theist, and I have no problem whatsoever in accepting any part of your definition.
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

Post by NAB »

Interesting article;

http://communities.canada.com/vancouver ... eolog.aspx

Nab.

""The danger of “scientism:” When science becomes an ideology
By Douglas Todd 04-04-2009

There are two major obstacles to a rich public discussion on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and what it means to all of us. The most obvious obstacle is religious literalism, which leads to Creationism.
It’s the belief the Bible or other ancient sacred texts offer the first and last word on how humans came into existence. The second major barrier to a rewarding public conversation about the impact of evolution on the way we understand the world is not named nearly as much.
It is “scientism.”
Scientism is the belief that the sciences have no boundaries and will, in the end, be able to explain everything in the universe. Scientism can, like religious literalism, become its own ideology.
The Encyclopedia of Science, Technology and Ethics defines scientism as “an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of natural science to be applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences and the humanities).” Those who unknowingly fall into the trap of scientism act as if hard science is the only way of knowing reality. If something can’t be “proved” through the scientific method, through observable and measurable evidence, they say it’s irrelevant.
Scientism is terribly limiting of human understanding. It leaves little or no place for the insights of the arts, philosophy, psychology, literature, mythology, dreams, music, the emotions or spirituality.
Scientism essentially leaves little or no place for the imagination, which Albert Einstein, after all, said is “everything.”
Many people have been falling into the trap of scientism this year as commentators, including myself, have examined the legacy of Darwin, whose book, On the Origin of Species, was published 150 years ago.
While I am not at all persuaded by Creationists who believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, I also have trouble with those who claim science can only support the atheistic proposal that evolution is a result of pure chance.
Such people maintain orthodox science cannot contemplate the possibility that the evolutionary process may include elements of purpose. This is an example of scientism.
One of the scientists who appears to illustrate this view is Patrick Walden, who works at the TRIUMF Cyclotron Laboratory on the University of B.C. campus.
Walden had a punchy opinion piece published in Monday’s Vancouver Sun in which he began by applauding my proposal that public schools and universities expose more students to Darwin’s evolutionary theory.
However, while I greatly appreciate Walden’s willingness to step out of the confines of academia and take on the role of public intellectual, I disagree with the second part of his commentary.
Walden was bothered by my recommendation that the education system and the media help the public learn there is more than one operative theory of evolution — that there are actually at least 12.
Walden assumed I was challenging the general validity of Darwin’s theory of evolution. But I wasn’t. I think the proposal that humans evolved over billions of years from simpler life forms is a no-brainer.
However, I don’t believe either Darwin or neo-Darwinists have yet devised a complete picture of how evolution happens, or what drives it.
I detected more than a hint of scientism when Walden declared that neo-Darwinism (which he called “the modern evolutionary synthesis”) is the only theory accepted by respectable scientists.
Walden said four of the other scientific theories of evolution outlined by Carter Phipps in his article in EnlightenNext journal, including biologist’s Lynn Margulis theory of cooperation, are mere “additions” to neo-Darwinism.
Beyond that, Walden said the other seven proposed theories of evolution, some of which included philosophical and spiritual perspectives, are nothing more than “pseudo-scientific speculation.”
As such, Walden said, “they are nonsense.”
In other words, Walden, whose viewpoint represents that of many scientists, appears to believe that any discussion of evolution that does not uphold chance as the only driving force is ridiculous.
This is blinkered. It defaults to atheism. And it assumes incorrectly that what we believe, and the way we live, is always based on provable “facts,” which do not include conjecture, speculation or imagination.
Science has always had a speculative component, as we see with theories about quantum physics and the Big Bang and evolution.
Arguing that any theory about what drives evolution that is not essentially neo-Darwinistic is “nonsense” reflects blindness to the insights that have been offered by philosophy, cosmology and metaphysics, let alone the arts.
In addition to suggesting Walden’s approach reflects scientism, I would also say it is a manifestation of “disciplinolatry,” which is the conviction that one academic discipline contains everything that needs to be known about a subject.
Walden attempts to mock the idea that philosophy and even spirituality could be considered when trying to understand what fuels evolution: He acts as if I am arguing for Madame Blavatsky’s 19th-century esoteric theories (and her anti-Semitic views) to replace Darwin in public school science classes.
By creating this red herring, Walden ignores the great 20th century thinkers who have embraced evolutionary theory while offering innovative non-atheistic understandings about how it happens.
They include Alfred North Whitehead, Charles Hartshorne, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Marshal McLuhan, John Cobb, Ken Wilber, Charles Birch and countless other scientists and philosophers who are not as easy to write off as the eccentric Blavatsky.
The truth is that many scientists are slowly becoming more open to at least discussing the possibility that elements of purpose, not just chance, are inherent in the evolutionary process. They include the noted biologist Lynn Margulis, the first wife of the late astronomer Carl Sagan, and their science writer son, Dorion Sagan.
Walden appears to think highly of Margulis as an evolutionary theorist. But he fails to appreciate Margulis is willing to expand her mind beyond scientism.
Margulis and Sagan took part this year in an interdisciplinary conference on evolution with philosophers, scientists and theologians at the Vatican.
They have also contributed to books with spiritually inclined scientists and philosophers, including Back to Darwin: A Richer Account of Evolution (Eerdmans), edited by John Cobb. Back to Darwin says the lively exchange Margulis and Sagan join in on in the book “presents a holistic case for evolution that both theists and nontheists can accept.”
I would like to think Margulis and Sagan would also be willing to have some of the 12 theories of evolution discussed in public schools -- if not in biology classes, at least in courses on the history of science or the philosophy of science, as well as in classes on philosophy, world religions and metaphysics.
The general theory of evolution has been widely accepted by both atheists and thinkers with spiritual sensitivities. Everyone would agree, however, that evolution is also a theory that is incomplete.
When more evolutionary scientists open up to the insights of philosophers and those from other disciplines, I believe their beloved theory will itself evolve. It will become more complex and more elegant.

(PHOTO credit: Nathaniel Todd-Jones. Douglas Todd with Charles Darwin sculpure. Shot at London's Natural History Museum in March, 2009.)

The Charles Darwin conversation continues in Vancouver in many forms. Here is one.Meet the United Church minister who wrote the book, Darwin, Divinity and the Dance of the Cosmos: An Ecological Christianity""
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

Post by steven lloyd »

Great article Nabs. Definitely worth careful reading and critical consideration for those who are capable of that (ie. taking their ideological blinders off for a minute or two).

Ah, the world in between black and white thinking and absolutes. Fascinating.
Last edited by steven lloyd on Apr 5th, 2009, 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

Post by katzenjammer »

I am always amazed and amused by the lengths that some people will go to inject the theory of god into science.
I lifted this comment from the same article------------------
1) Scientism as he has defined it, it believed by rather few people, and almost no one would subscribe to the belief that science either can or will be able explain everything. This is simply false and stating otherwise is disingenuous.
2) While are some lively and interesting debates on the edges of evolution, there is no scientific split on what constitutes evolution. There is no "12 Theories of Evolution." The core mechanism that the mechanism of evolution is natural selection, is believed by almost all scientists. This is the old Gould-Dawkins debate redux: whilst both argued about the finer points, there was no argument on the fundementals of natural selection or natural selection. So this argument is simply a large red-herring as Todd surely knows.
3) Science never presumes to know or explain everything.. it is simply the best we have at reasoned thinking about the big questions about our lives.
Having endured this life and many of the curved balls it can throw at you, there are a lot of questions which science cannot answer because they are not the perview of science. Why was my daughter selected to die at childbirth? Could she at 60 days feel the love of her parents? Is there any way that I can have a meaningful understanding of her existance and that of others who have passed away? on and on ad infinitum. These are legitimate questions that can never be answered by science, and science makes no claim on them -- despite what Mr. Todd may think in his red herring fantasies -- and yes we should teach and talk about them in school. The danger comes when people advocate the mixing of papable things that are clearly not science. There is of course the baleful religious fundamentalists on one end. But on the other end are people like Mr. Todd, who in his quest for good deeds sets up science as a discipline to explain all (which it is not) and then advocates looser standards than those inherent to the system which we call science.
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

Post by zzontar »

Katts, could you give me an example of "sideways" evolution?
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

Post by katzenjammer »

zzontar wrote:Katts, could you give me an example of "sideways" evolution?


Lets not get hung up on semantics. I simply mean that organisms need not necessarily "improve" over time. A good model like the cockroach or alligator will remain or can remain unchanged over a long period. Simple organisms still exit. Evolution describes a mechanism for change; it does not mean the change needs be from simple to complex.
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

Post by Tumult »

Many people believe that science is the ultimate final arbiter of truth and is the only method to discern what is really real. That is the danger that "scientism" represents.

As far as evolution goes, there is a new understanding that challenges the primacy of DNA and shows the environment plays a more important role than previously accepted.
When one considers epigenetics in evolution it may provide a new and different understanding.

Here is a related article:
http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedi ... 061/page1/
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it”
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

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'Scientism' is just another straw man. It's not that science can or cannot explain everything, it's that whatever we can explain, we can explain scientifically. This is because science dynamically incorporates all the methods of knowledge that prove to work. Science would have incorporated even religion, if it had worked.
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

Post by Glacier »

Interesting topic. It seems this is a an old thread recently revived. Where did DoubleBarrel go?

DoubleBarrrel wrote:I have done a lot of research on this point. The evidence points towards a younger earth.


After reading your posts it seems your research solely includes Ken Hovind. The guy has some pretty crazy theories. He believes things like apricot pits cure cancer (they actually poison you), 911 was an inside job, Big Foot exists, and the earth is 6000 years old. One of his other conspiracy theories he believes is that income tax is optional. He is currently serving a 10 year jail sentence in the states for not paying his taxes.

I found his videos fascinating, but he falls into the same trap as the zeitgeist movies in that he throws in so many abvious falsehoods it is hard to trust what he says things that might be plausible.
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

Post by Mr Danksworth »

I wouldn't bank on an answer from Db. He ran away a year ago, never to be heard from again. Typical hit and run x-ian.
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

Post by Tumult »

soulra wrote:....whatever we can explain, we can explain scientifically....


This is simply not true.
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it”
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

Post by steven lloyd »

'Scientism' infects Darwinian debates

An unflinching belief that science can explain everything about evolution becomes its own ideology

By Douglas Todd, Vancouver SunApril 4, 2009


There are two major obstacles to a rich public discussion on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and what it means to all of us.

The most obvious obstacle is religious literalism, which leads to Creationism. It's the belief the Bible or other ancient sacred texts offer the first and last word on how humans came into existence.

The second major barrier to a rewarding public conversation about the impact of evolution on the way we understand the world is not named nearly as much.

It is "scientism."

Scientism is the belief that the sciences have no boundaries and will, in the end, be able to explain everything in the universe. Scientism can, like religious literalism, become its own ideology.

The Encyclopedia of Science, Technology and Ethics defines scientism as "an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of natural science to be applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences and the humanities)."

Those who unknowingly fall into the trap of scientism act as if hard science is the only way of knowing reality. If something can't be "proved" through the scientific method, through observable and measurable evidence, they say it's irrelevant.

Scientism is terribly limiting of human understanding. It leaves little or no place for the insights of the arts, philosophy, psychology, literature, mythology, dreams, music, the emotions or spirituality.
In general, scientism leaves little or no place for the imagination, which Albert Einstein, after all, said is "everything."

Many people have been falling into the trap of scientism this year as commentators, including myself, have examined the legacy of Darwin, whose book, On the Origin of Species, was published 150 years ago.

While I am not at all persuaded by Creationists who believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, I also have trouble with those who claim science can only support the atheistic proposal that evolution is a result of pure chance.

Such people maintain orthodox science cannot contemplate the possibility that the evolutionary process may include elements of purpose. This is an example of scientism.

One of the scientists who appears to illustrate this view is Patrick Walden, who works at the TRIUMF Cyclotron Laboratory on the University of B.C. campus.

Walden had a punchy opinion piece published in Monday's Vancouver Sun in which he began by applauding my proposal that public schools and universities expose more students to Darwin's evolutionary theory.

While I greatly appreciate Walden's willingness to step out of the confines of academia and take on the role of public intellectual, I disagree with the second part of his commentary.

Walden was bothered by my recommendation that the education system and the media help the public learn there is more than one operative theory of evolution -- that there are at least 12.
Walden assumed I was challenging the general validity of Darwin's theory of evolution. I wasn't.
I think the proposal that humans evolved over billions of years from simpler life forms is a no-brainer.

However, I don't believe either Darwin or neo-Darwinists have yet devised a complete picture of how evolution happens, or what drives it.

I detected more than a hint of scientism when Walden declared that neo-Darwinism (which he called "the modern evolutionary synthesis") is the only theory accepted by respectable scientists.
Walden said four of the other scientific theories of evolution outlined by Phipps in his article in EnlightenNext journal, including biologist's Lynn Margulis theory of cooperation, are mere "additions" to neo-Darwinism.

Beyond that, Walden said the other seven proposed theories of evolution, some of which included philosophical and spiritual perspectives, are nothing more than "pseudo-scientific speculation." As such, he said, "they are nonsense."

In other words, Walden, whose viewpoint represents that of many scientists, appears to believe that any discussion of evolution that does not uphold chance as the only driving force is ridiculous.
This is blinkered. It defaults to atheism. And it assumes incorrectly that what we believe, and the way we live, is always based on provable "facts," which do not include conjecture, speculation or imagination.

Science has always had a speculative component, as we see with theories about quantum physics and the Big Bang and evolution.

Arguing that any theory about what drives evolution that is not essentially neo-Darwinistic is "nonsense" reflects blindness to the insights that have been offered by philosophy, cosmology and metaphysics, let alone the arts.

In addition to suggesting Walden's approach reflects scientism, I would also say it is a manifestation of "disciplinolatry," which is the conviction that one academic discipline contains everything that needs to be known about a subject.

Walden attempts to mock the idea that philosophy and even spirituality could be considered when trying to understand what fuels evolution. He acts as if I am arguing for Madame Blavatsky's 19th-century esoteric theories (and her anti-Semitic views) to replace Darwin in public school science classes.

By creating this red herring, Walden ignores the great 20th-century thinkers who have embraced evolutionary theory while offering innovative non-atheistic understandings about how it happens.
They include Alfred North Whitehead, Charles Hartshorne, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Marshal McLuhan, John Cobb, Ken Wilber, Charles Birch and countless other scientists and philosophers who are not as easy to write off as the eccentric Blavatsky.

The truth is that many scientists are slowly becoming more open to at least discussing the possibility that elements of purpose, not just chance, are inherent in the evolutionary process.
They include the noted biologist Lynn Margulis, the first wife of the late astronomer Carl Sagan, and their science writer son, Dorion Sagan.


Walden appears to think highly of Margulis as an evolutionary theorist. But he fails to appreciate Margulis is willing to expand her mind beyond scientism.

Margulis and Sagan took part this year in an interdisciplinary conference on evolution with philosophers, scientists and theologians at the Vatican.

They have also contributed to books with spiritually inclined scientists and philosophers, including Back to Darwin: A Richer Account of Evolution (Eerdmans), edited by John Cobb. Back to Darwin says the lively exchange Margulis and Sagan join in on in the book "presents a holistic case for evolution that both theists and nontheists can accept."

I would like to think Margulis and Sagan would also be willing to have some of the 12 theories of evolution discussed in public schools -- if not in biology classes, at least in courses on the history of science or the philosophy of science, as well as in classes on philosophy, world religions and metaphysics.

The general theory of evolution has been widely accepted by both atheists and thinkers with spiritual sensitivities.Everyone would agree, however, that evolution is also a theory that is incomplete. When more evolutionary scientists open up to the insights of philosophers and those from other disciplines, I believe their beloved theory will itself evolve. It will become more complex and more elegant.
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Re: Evidence of God-Guided Evolution vs Scientific Evolution

Post by katzenjammer »

“Scientism, in the strong sense, is the self-annihilating view that only scientific claims are meaningful, which is not a scientific claim and hence, if true, not meaningful. Thus, scientism is either false or meaningless.”

When I read that article from the Sun that Nabcom and then Steven reposted I was assaulted with a malevolent odour not unlike that homogenized meat product that disguises the true ingredients in an Oscar-Meyer tubular container. At first, I couldn’t quite identify the odour but upon tasting the product the resemblance to ID was unmistakable. The flavour has been modified by adding a camouflaging spice. Undaunted by the general collapse of the Intelligent Design campaign, the theists are attempting to insert into the realm of evolutionary science the view that the theory is incomplete and does not explain everything and in particular the idea that evolutionary change MUST have some purpose. If there is a purpose then there must be a god. ID light perhaps.

I don’t profess any expertise in science (or anything else for that matter) but it seems to me that there is a general ignorance about what the scientific method is all about. I sense that those who might bandy about the expression scientism, use the word in a pejorative fashion against those like me who see science as the best way to determine reality from imagination. I start with the a priori assumption that there is only one reality and magic and magical beings are pretty much excluded. Could I be wrong? Certainly--- but you will have to show me how and why. God is not the automatic explanation for everything not yet understood, like how we all got here and where we are all going.

Science is a methodology. It is not a collection of facts that can be dogmatically used to pooh pooh other pursuits such as art, philosophy or religion and those that do so deserve the insult of “scientism”.
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