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Posted by Mario Dovalina on June 5, 2002 05:36:00 UTC

I'm not as arrogant as you think I am. :)

"Your incredible 19 year old mind just blew my 16 year old mind out of the water...but could you really have learned what science is capable of in 19 years? I'm only 3 years behind you, and I don't think there is any way I could have gathered that information."

First off, I'm not attacking your intelligence in any way, and I'm not trying to sound like a jerk. I'm sorry if I came across that way.

It's not about compiling a list of ideas supportable and unsupportable by science. It's not about gathering information. It's just about understanding what the scientific method's limitations and core approaches are. Collecting information and drawing conclusions based on that is only 100% valid for that collection of information. The next observation might invalidate the data (The transfer from Newtonian physics to relativistic physics, for example, I think began due to observations in the way light bent around stars) So, I say that science makes no absolute statements about reality, and can never claim to know the truth, since we can never be sure if tomorrow we'll be proven wrong.

So, it's not an ideal system. But I think it's the best we have, and it can proven itself again and again through results derived from it. I hope you can understand where I'm coming from with this. It's not about accumulated knowledge which leads to this conclusion (which you hinted at) but understanding. I think you have a great store of knowledge and intelligence stored up, Sam, but you don't have a sufficient understanding of nature and science to tie it all together.

"You may consider it a phyisical impossiblity, but I say it is ridiculous. I don't know how you can say this. Mathematically, does 2+2=4? Is this not absolutally true?"

Is IS absolutely true, but only in an abstract sense. The equation 2+2=4 has no bearing in the outside world. We can't use abstract math to tell us the true nature of atoms, for example, because we don't know the equations that govern them. Abstract math is only 100% accurate relative to the data it governs, which does not always (I would say never) encompass every possible input. Reality is much more gritty and murky to us than human mathematics. So, what I'm saying is that when we move from the abstract to the concrete in debates like these, we have to abandon the notion of a knowable absolute truth and just focus on the evidence at hand.

If you can prove to me, with 100% certainty, any statement (for example, prove to me that you exist, with your own consciousness, and are not just a figment of my imagination.) I will be amazed. It can't be done.

"I don't know why God did this. I don't know why God did a lot of things. Does not mean he didn't!"

Yeah, you're right, anything is possible. But that's not the issue so much as what idea is the most plausible? The argument from ignorance (we don't know how process X works, so God must have done it) is not convincing.

"I know we are floating on magma, but the debate is over the drifting of the continents. Pangea and how the continents fit and etc. "

Okay, but this just ties back in to the age of the universe. As long as you admit that continental drift DOES take place then I won't fly into a mad rage.

"So you can observe Macroevolution right now? By going into a labrotory you can observe and repeat macroevolution? No. The past can not be scientifically proven."

Nothing can be proven beyond a shred of doubt. Again, the issue is what is the most plausible explanation given the data? Can we make a hill into a mountain overnight? No, but does that disprove continental drift? Of course not. Simply because an experiment is essentially unreproducable due to the time involved does not make it implausable. We can use the effects and remnants of the past to conclude with relative accuracy what happened. Just because it can't be repeated doesn't mean it can't be taken to be extremely scientific. If I saw evidence of an explosion, I would infer that a bomb went off, even if I couldn't make a bomb that large myself.

"I'm ordering a restraining order right now. :)
Why do you want to kill me?"

I get mad when people lump every non-fundie idea into the 'evolution' category and then go into debates with that preconception. It's simply not the case.

"if you believe in evolution then you do believe that the universe had an origin a long time ago and you do believe that life arose from non-living material, right? There is no way around those if you believe in evolution."

But evolutionary theory says nothing about the nature of that origin nor about what started life. Evolution does not exclude God. Do not confuse evolutionism with atheism. That's another issue entirely that I'd be glad to talk with you about, but if we overbroaden the argument it will get even more long-winded. Another time, perhaps?

"I'm only 3 years behind you"

You would be amazed how much you can learn in so short a time. I came here a year and a half ago and learned an incredible amount of science and philosophy. You just have to expose yourself to it.

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