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Oh Boy. You're Not Gonna Like This

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Posted by Aurino Souza on November 13, 2003 21:26:09 UTC

Regardless, call someone's arguments Language Removed without giving a reason, or worse yet calling them Language Removed and then adding "I'd explain but it's not worth it" is an easy way to get someone really irritated really fast.

If I say "wrestling is Language Removed", I don't feel I have to explain myself better. Why do I have to back up my opinion on evolution? Do you really care what I think?

We may call it random from a macroscopic perspective in the same way that flipping a coin is "random" macroscopically, or the arrangement of molecules in a gas, but that's just a method of simplifying the issue.

So what exactly is being simplified in this case? What is really causing genetic mutations? We say coins are subject to the laws of classical mechanics, so their behaviour is not really random. What are the laws behind genetic mutations?

To call evolutionary theory "random" is really to mischaracterize it. The official definition of "survival of the fittest leading to adaptation" is random to the extent that the situations an organism will find itself in are unpredictable.

I'm not talking about that. What I dispute is the claim that the genetic mutations required to adapt to a new environment happen purely by chance. That is an extraordinary claim lacking evidence of any kind, extraordinary or otherwise.

I might also add that the status of your objection as "purely philosophical" rather than scientific is a little bit suspicious sounding, much like Aaron or Sam objecting to the Big Bang theory on religious grounds.

Yeah, I know that, that's why I don't like to discuss the issue. People always assume I have some agenda, when my only problem is that I see wild speculation being accepted as true.

Again, let's make something totally clear: evolutionary theory makes no philosophical claims.

This sounds like the NRA motto:"theories don't make claims, only people do"

Most people who are passionate about evolution theory claim that religion is superstition. Can you prove me wrong on that?

Any theological or philosophical ramifications of the theory that you don't like are not direct implications of the theory itself

You are putting the cart before the horse. You think I see it as "if this theory is true then I don't like what it implies". But I see it as "I find no evidence in the world around me that indicates that this theory might be true". Just as I don't find evidence that the stories in the bible are true.

So, there is no total, objective claim to absolute knowledge.

I didn't say that. Absolute knowledge exists as a matter of necessity. Moreover, the only kind of knowledge that exists is absolute knowledge; if something is true, then it's absolutely true.

Saying "I don't know, but here's a dozen reasons and various evidence that make think I'm right" is far more credible a statement than "I don't know, but I feel good about this idea."

Credibility has nothing to do with it. People are quite prolific at coming up with dozens of reasons and various evidence that make them think they're right, yet most of the time they are wrong. What just doesn't get to your head, because you erected an enormous barrier against it, is the possibility that most of our ideas about the universe and our place in it are just as ludicrous as the ones entertained a thousand years ago. You simply can't accept the possibility that we are as foolish as those people who believed they could control the weather by dancing, cure ailments by exorcism, or kill their enemies with voodoo dolls.

In order to understand what I'm talking about, you have to get rid of that prejudice. You have to accept the possibility that you are taking more things on faith, blind acceptance, or peer pressure than you might realize. Once you accept the possibility, you start searching for the portion of your knowledge that lacks justification. Once you find that portion, you realize most of the things you considered true were actually illusions. But the reward at the end of your search is that the little knowledge you are left with, it is far more reliable than the state of confusion you live in now. The universe is simple and easily understood; our ideas about it are not.

I know, that sounds like preaching, sorry. But you asked for it.

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