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Rigil Kent
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« on: September 14, 2014, 09:23:27 AM »

http://www.rapport.co.za/MyRapport/Briewe/Evolusie-is-n-feit-nie-n-geloof-nie-20140913

Featuring personal incredulity, and some weird mathematics. Civil so far.
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The Vulcan
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2014, 11:29:47 AM »

Jeesh, been reading this rapport and news24 opinion sections a bit, seems civility and reason has left the debaters on there a long, long time ago.

One of the things that frustrates me is that the non-religious always seems to make the religious out as being idiots for believing idiotic things, and really it isn't quite as simple as that.

The other thing that really, really gets my goat is the absurdities religious people come up w.r.t. evolution, things like evolution is [only in the colloquial sense]"just theory" and accepting evolution as fact being a type of religion/belief in itself, and wow, just the way that all the disciplines they don't really like get swept up under the evolution-rug.

Responses are all emotional, with very little show of even just being coherent and rational, I'd go as far to say comments are all but entirely unreasonable in most cases.

We are emotional beings, and we react emotionally, it's true. While I do not take the view that debates should be devoid from employing emotive tactics, I think it's astounding how quickly all online debates degenerates into emotional responses only, specifically when it comes to religion, in most other topics people seem to be far more reasonable and mature.
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2014, 12:26:09 PM »

That's true. There are also some popular misconceptions that almost always make their appearance on such forums. You mentioned the "evolution is just a theory" one. Another is that a modern animal can somehow give rise another modern species (today's example is that of whale turning into an elephant. Whether this is real ignorance, or feigned for the sake of creating a straw man argument is difficult to guess.
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The Vulcan
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2014, 12:38:16 PM »

Yeah, I also had a laugh when I read the whale example, I'm also quite ignorant when it comes to evolution and biology and it's never been one of my major interests, but I'm an avid book reader and have read at least a dozen books on it, so I have a least a rudimentary understanding; also the internet is also a great place to bump into such topics. I understand that whales are one of the few (only?) fish/mammal species that actually evolved from sea>land>sea, again, I could be wrong, but a bell is ringing dimly about this in my head Grin

You're perhaps missing the greatest one of all: "so we evolved from apes.." I'd like to know what kind of species humans are if we're not primates - this is also maybe feigned ignorance and probably has everything to do with arrogance and ego and not so much about knowledge, truth, science and all the good stuff

« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 13:05:06 PM by The Vulcan, Reason: LOL really bad grammar: to do about... uhmm, facepalm » Logged
Rigil Kent
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2014, 13:01:30 PM »

"so we evolved from apes.." ... has everything to do about arrogance and ego
Yes, the argument totally relies on the innate preconception that we are superior to our shit-flinging cousins. Which is ironic, considering the stuff that creationists do fling. Roll Eyes The Bible, in contrast, gives us a special place in the universe. It makes us feel special, and must therefore be right. It's probably some kind of appeal to emotion fallacy.
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The Vulcan
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2014, 14:46:49 PM »

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Megan de Beer - September 14, 2014 om 13:36
RapporteerKommentaarbeleid
evolusie is n leun uit die diepste donker hel waarheen julle sataniste heen gestuur sal word waar julle elke sekonde gepuinig gaan word tot in alle ewigheid.daar sal n geween en gekners van tande wees....ek gaan jul ook nie jammer kry nie.ek gaan jul ook nie mis nie..ek gaan net bly wees om ver van jul satan aanbidders verwyder te wees..dan kan jul en jul ou vrotsel papa lucifer in die vlamme dans en vir mekaar vra hoe dit gebeur het.dom sataniste.

And there we have it, seems Godwin's Law didn't take that long to come into play, using the satanist comparison is just a variation on the hitler attack, from my point of view anyway. Grin

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brianvds
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2014, 15:26:20 PM »

My guess is that Megan de Beer is in fact a militant atheist trying to make religion look stupid.

Anyway, dis nogal 'n puiniging om te lees... Evil
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Mefiante
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2014, 16:22:34 PM »

A little bit tangential to the present topic, but I’ve been thinking for some time about how debates with creationists, especially the YEC variety, usually go and how they come adrift.

Almost invariably, such “debates” (I’m using the term rather loosely) end up being about whether biological evolution is true or not.  Sceptics and other rational people typically jump to the defence of evolution with an array of evidences and arguments.

I now believe this approach to be a mistake.

Evolution is so well established as a properly scientific paradigm that it doesn’t need such a defence.  Its acceptance within the scientific community is so pervasive that less than 0.2% of biological and related scientists challenge the essentials of evolution.  They investigate and debate the nuances and details of evolution but not its core ideas, i.e. common descent, random mutation and various selection mechanisms.

Moreover, many mainstream religions take no issue with evolution, and happily make their narrative work against an evolutionary background.  Within Christianity, all major denominations have officially accepted evolution.  Also, many practising scientists have no trouble reconciling their faith with biological evolution.  It is chiefly just fringe Muslim and Protestant fundamentalists who seek to deny it.

The short of the aforesaid is that evolution is so thoroughly validated that the burden of proof now rests on its detractors.  Anyone who wants to make evolution go away had better put forward a scientific alternative that not only explains all the extant evidence supporting evolution, but is also testable and leads us to new and improved knowledge.  This requirement is no small ask and cannot be dodged.  And pointing out (imaginary or confabulated) weaknesses of evolution does not begin to address this:  Evolution could be entirely bogus but that fact in itself wouldn’t lend one iota’s support to YEC.  Nor does any contrived appeal to consequences of the No-Darwin-No-Hitler sort.

Debating evolution with YECs is therefore a total waste of time.  You’ll only frustrate yourself.  Instead, they must be challenged to provide their proposed scientific alternative that describes what happened when, by which means to explain what we observe today.  Their favourite response consists of citing bible verses, which of course does not make for a scientific alternative, and this must also be challenged accordingly.

But perhaps the best line of attack is to point out that most religious instances don’t take issue with evolution.  This includes OEC and ID proponents.  OECs and ID pushers don’t refute common descent and billions of years.  They reject all variants of the Omphalos hypothesis and respect the findings of science.  However, they add that there’s a conscious guiding intelligence behind nature, which is where they differ from scientists.

Consequently, there is more disagreement about evolution and natural history within religious traditions than there actually is between religion and science.  So next time a YEC starts mouthing inanities about evolution, don’t fall into the trap of enumerating all the proof supporting the theory.  The better response would be, “OECs and ID peddlers are as religious as you are but, like almost all scientists, they have no problem with evolution, common descent and billions of years of life history.  You should take up your gripe with them.

'Luthon64
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 17:25:53 PM by Mefiante, Reason: A Trinity of Minor Fixups » Logged
The Vulcan
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2014, 17:11:39 PM »



Yes, one of the major criticisms people had of the Nye/Ham debate at the time was that as a proponent of science, Nye was giving undue credence to the YEC-crap, thereby just playing into the hands of the likes of Ham and others who is not at all interested in having an actual debate, but rather to exploit it as a PR campaign to bolster creationist thinking and just attract more attention to his business, (sorry mean church, museum, teachings...)

What I mentioned earlier is that whenever the religion topic comes up and I'm asked about my convictions (well they mostly never ask about my convictions per se, but start with asking about which denomination I belong to)

The first thing people seem to jump to upon hearing I'm an atheist, is to chalk it up as a phase or that I'm on the wrong path and the like, thereafter it usually turns to me being an atheist = no morals + believe in evolution + big bang "theeries"

I'm asking once more, why do people automatically think that I should believe in evolution or have no morals when they hear "atheist"

Atheism is a single position on a single question, I might still believe in homeopathy, astrology, big foot, the tokoloshi, aliens, santa and the toothfairy for they know!

Why do people automatically jump the gun and make all these other non-god related assumptions about someone when they hear the word atheist, do they jump to the same conclusions if you say agnostic, as in my experience misconceptions about the word "agnostic" sometimes let people think you're still "spiritual, just not religious"

Which of course is utter bollocks as I am also agnostic, having no perfect knowledge, but my epistemological position has nothing to do with my metaphysical position now, does it?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 19:24:47 PM by The Vulcan » Logged
The Vulcan
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2014, 19:09:18 PM »

Ok, enough with the rhetoric.

Rationalwiki describes intellectual dishonesty as "willful ignorance" or "knowingly using logical fallacies"

Wikipedia has this to say about cognitive dissonance:
Quote
Cognitive Dissonance (The Art of Lying to Yourself)


In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values


It goes on to explain cognitive dissonance in the following way:
Quote
Reducing cognitive dissonance

Cognitive dissonance theory is founded on the assumption that individuals seek consistency between their expectations and their reality. Because of this, people engage in a process called dissonance reduction to bring their cognitions and actions in line with one another. This creation of uniformity allows for a lessening of psychological tension and distress. According to Festinger, dissonance reduction can be achieved in four ways:[1]

Attitude: "I am going on a diet and will avoid high fat food"
Behavior: Eating a doughnut or some other high fat food

    1. Change behavior/cognition

        (Ex: Stop eating the doughnut)

    2. Justify behavior/cognition by changing the conflicting cognition

        (Ex: "I'm allowed to cheat every once in a while")

    3. Justify behavior/cognition by adding new cognitions

        (Ex: "I'll spend 30 extra minutes at the gym to work it off")

    4. Ignore/Deny any information that conflicts with existing beliefs

        (Ex: "I did not eat that donut. I always eat healthy.")


So in effect intellectual dishonesty is also a form of cognitive dissonance (nr4)

Funny enough, Design matrix offers the following on intellectual dishonesty:
Quote
A. robustus then offers his/her clever twist by outlining the 10 Signs of Intellectual Dishonesty:

1. Arrogance or “I am the messenger of truth”

2. Handwaving or “Your views have no merit”.

3. Unwavering commitment or “I know I am right – why bother arguing?”

4. Avoiding/Ignoring the question or “  . . . and let’s not forget about . . .”

5. Never admitting error or “I am/We are right – regardless of your evidence”.

6. Employing double standards or “Your evidence is unacceptable (because it’s your evidence)”.

7. Argumentum ad hominem or “You’re a [insert label/stereotype here] . . . and you have a secret agenda”

8. Destroying a straw man or “You might say that, but how do you explain . . . ?”.

9. Ignoring the principles of critical thinking.

10. Ignoring [partial] defeat or See Sign #1


It should be pretty obvious to us that turning the topic to "so you must believe in evolution or x,y,z" is a tactic to shift the conversation and turn the table, so to speak, on you, once you state your atheism, and you say stuff like you can't believe in gods on faith alone and you require evidence, they usually
know they're screwed.

Still, it would be great to hear what you guys have to say.
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2014, 19:58:21 PM »

Debating evolution with YECs is therefore a total waste of time.
I've often wondered if the concomitant risk of a brain embolism makes talking to these chappies worthwhile. I  currently think yes, it could be, as long as the discussion plays out in public with lots of spectators. A private conversation is clearly useless.

Rigil
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brianvds
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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2014, 20:28:10 PM »

Debating evolution with YECs is therefore a total waste of time.  You’ll only frustrate yourself.  Instead, they must be challenged to provide their proposed scientific alternative that describes what happened when, by which means to explain what we observe today.  Their favourite response consists of citing bible verses, which of course does not make for a scientific alternative, and this must also be challenged accordingly.

Quite correct: the point of such a debate should not be to convince the YECs (which is more or less impossible) but to show to more or less neutral observers how nuts they are. And one should indeed mostly just ask them, over and over, what their scientific, testable theory of creation or ID is.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2014, 20:50:03 PM »

Rigil, I think you squarely missed my point.  I’m not saying it’s not worth debating YECs, especially in public.  I’m saying it’s not worth debating evolution with YECs.  As soon as you do this, you are debating on the YEC’s terms with which s/he is comfortable because s/he’s got a whole paper army of practised insubstantial clichés rallied behind him/her.

Besides pointing out that evolution has the agreement of virtually all scientists and by far the large majority of religious bodies, the only things a YEC should be challenged to do is (1) to provide a plausible, verifiable, scientific alternative to evolution that describes testable hypotheses concerning the when/where/what/how of what they propose, and (2) to account for the fact that most other religious instances stemming from the same source have no beef with evolution.

Debating the innards of evolution with a YEC is exactly what the YEC wants because it hides the extreme frailty of their own position.

'Luthon64
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2014, 21:18:38 PM »

No, I got your point the first time round. And it makes sense, provided that you and the YEC subscribe to the same idea of what scientific means.

In one of the later posts on the Rapport forum one person said that the continents cannot drift around on the ocean as science claim they do, because there is ground all the way down. And also, apparently excavations have shown that dinosaurs and humans were contemporaries. So my hopes aren't particularly high that the subtleties of the scientific method and falsification will be readily understood.

Rigil


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Mefiante
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« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2014, 22:01:27 PM »

Sure, they wouldn’t be YECs if they had the first grasp of what “scientific” means.  But that’s a wholly separate issue.  It’s enough in public debate to point out that a proposition is unscientific and maybe give a brief reason or two for saying so.  Anyone who needs a detailed in-depth exposition about why something is contra-scientific is probably beyond reach anyway.  And in public debates, people have a pretty good sense for sniffing out the confabulations from the trustworthy, which, it seems to me, is all the more reason not to fight any public battles on the YEC’s turf.

'Luthon64
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